Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Ribat, a muslim model for Christian religious militia such as the Knights Templar?

Ribat at Monastir, Tunesia
source Wikipedia
In the paper "Europe Penetrated by lslam. - The Orientalization of the Order of the Templars" Jörg Feuchter writes the following:

"The Templars were the first military order,  a completely new, hybrid type of organization merging the hitherto mutually exclusive spheres of chivalry and monasticism into a single institution of sacred violence.a Beforehand, chivalry and monasticism had been regarded as incompatible spheres.

Although an accepted theory of just war had already been established by Augustine (354-430), killing, even in just wars, was considered an act that demanded penance. While monks viewed themselves as the true "soldiers of Christ" (milites Christi), the worldly trade of the soldier was largely disregarded by the church.

The fusion of chivalry and religious life in the Templars was soon accepted. Not only did the order receive a life rule at the council of Troyes in 1128 (or 1129) as well as wide-ranging privileges granted by Pope Innocent II in 1139, but on the latter occasion it was also officially declared a part of "God's militia" ("Dei militia").

When the Templars were first established in the twelfth century many followed Bernard of Clairvaux and hailed the new religious militia. Yet there were also those who scorned it, like Bernard's fellow Cistercian, Isaac de Stella, who called the Templar Order a monster whose rule of life must have been drawn from the
flfth gospel, i.e., that of the devil, time, during the entire Middle Ages there was never the slightest hint that the invention of the military orders, which had taken place in Palestine, had anything to do with a Muslim influence.

It was only at the beginning of the nineteenth century that the suggestion was flrst made that these orders were inspired by Muslim institutions. (...) According to supporters of this theory the context of Christianity provided an insufficient explanation for the birth of these orders. Instead, a Muslim antetype was imputed. The medieval Templars and other similar groups can, in this view, only be understood as a more or less direct imitation of the Islamic Ribat.

A Ribat is generally conceived of as a fortified convent populated by Islamic warrior monks, or, more succinctly, as a Muslim military monastery. This assertion of a Muslim model for the military orders evolved and thrived in the twentieth century. Although direct evidence was never put forward to support it, it has endured and continues to be defended by many scholars in religious and medieval studies.

However, research by Orientalists has revealed that the supposed model institution, the Muslim military monastery never existed. It has been shown that the notion of the Ribät as a convent of Muslim warrior monks is the result of an illegitimate conflation of spatially, chronologically, and conceptually dissociated references."


Wikipedia states: "Classically, ribat referred to the guard duty at a frontier outpost in order to defend dar al-Islam. The one who performs ribat is called murabit. Contemporary use of the term ribat is common among Islamic militant groups such as al-Qa'ida or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as well as by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to attack Jews who visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

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