We moved from Tibnin (Syria) - may God destroy it - through continuous farms and ordered settlements whose inhabitants were all Muslims, living comfortably with the Franks. God protect us from such temptation. They surrender half their crops to the Franks at harvest time, and pay as well a poll-tax of one dinar and five qirat for each person. Other than that, they are not interfered with, save for a light tax on the fruits of trees. Their houses and all their effects are left to their full possession. All the coastal cities occupied by the Franks are managed in this fashion, the rural districts, the villages and farms, belonging to the Muslims. But their hearts have been seduced, for they observe how unlike them in ease and comfort are their brethren in the Muslim regions under their (Muslim) governors. This is one of the misfortunes afflicting the Muslims. The Muslim community bewails the injustice of a landlord of its own faith, and applauds the conduct of its opponent and enemy and is accustomed to justice from him. He who laments this state must turn to God.
During our stay in Tyre, we rested in one of the Mosques that remained in Muslim hands. One of the Muslim elders of Tyre told us that it had been wrested from them in the year 518 H (June 24th, 1124). They thereupon decided to abandon the town, and to make good their escape. So it happened, and they dispersed among the Muslim lands. But there were some whose love of native land impelled them to return and, under the conditions of a safeguard which was written for them, to live amongst the infidels. "God is the master of His affair." [Al-Qur'an 12:21]. Glorious is God, and great is His power. His will overcomes all impediments.
There can be no excuse in the eyes of God for a Muslim to stay in an infidel country, save when passing through it, while the way lies clear in the Muslim lands. They will face pains and terrors such as the abasement and destitution of the capitation (tax) and more especially, amongst the base and lower orders, the hearing of what will distress the heart in the reviling of him (Muhammad) whose memory of God has sanctified, and whose rank He has exalted; there is also the absence of cleanliness, the mixing with the pigs, and all the other prohibited matters too numerous to be related or enumerated. Beware, beware if entering their lands. May God Most High grant His beneficent indulgence for this sin into which our feet have slipped (of setting foot there), but His forgiveness is not given save after accepting our penitence. Glory be unto God, the Master. There is no Lord but He.
The Muslim people of the Island of Sicily suffer, amongst other tribulations, one that is very sore. Should a man show anger to his wife or his son, or a woman to her daughter, the one who is the object of displeasure may perversely throw himself into a church, and there be baptised and turn Christian. Then there will be for the father no way of approaching his son, or the mother her daughter. Conceive now the state of one so afflicted in his family, or evening his son. The dread of their falling to this temptation would alone shorten his life. The Muslims of Sicily therefore are most watchful. The most clear-sighted of them fear that it shall chance to them all as it did in earlier times to the Muslim inhabitants of Crete. There a Christian despotism so long visited them with one (painful) circumstance after another that they were all constrained to turn Christian, only those escaping whom God decreed. But the word of chastisement shall fall upon these infidels. God's will shall prevail: there is indeed no God but He.
We came upon another striking example of their state, such as breaks the spirit in pity and melts the heart in compassion. One of the notables of this town of Trapani sent his son to one of our pilgrim companions, desiring of him that he would accept his daughter, a young virgin who was nearing the age of puberty. Should he be pleased with her, he could marry her; if not, he could marry her to any of of his countrymen who liked her. She would go with them, content to leave her father and her brothers, desiring to escape from the temptation (of apostasy), and to live in the lands of the Muslims. The man sought after, in order to win a heavenly reward, accepted the offer, and we helped him to seize an opportunity which would lead him to the felicities both of this world and the next.
We ourselves were filled with wonder at a situation which would lead a man to give up so readily a trust tied to his heart, and to surrender her to one strange to her, to bear patience the want of her, and to suffer longings for her and loneliness without her. We were likewise amazed at the girl - may God protect her - and at her willingness to leave her kin for her love of Islam.
(s) The Travels of Ibn Jubayr
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