The Ḥanbalī Emigration of 551 AH/1156 AD from the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in Light of Legal Opinions on Muslims under Non-Muslim Rule
Bogdan Smarandache (Toronto)
In 551 AH/1156 AD a family of Muslims inhabiting the foothills of Samaria began their two-decade exodus from the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Banū Qudāma comprised a cohesive kin-group and developed a strong affiliation with the Ḥanbalī legal school. They eventually founded a new neighbourhood in the environs of Damascus known as the Ṣāliḥīya. According to the Banū Qudāma’s family history the cause of this migration was the extreme oppression of a single Frankish lord. The narrative, however, is suspect and my aim is to examine in detail the events surrounding the migration of the Banū Qudāma. The migration can be linked to wider ideological and political developments under the reign of Nūr al-Dīn ibn Zankī (541‐569/1146‐1174), as Joseph Drory points out. I argue that the migration can also be linked to wider changes in attitudes towards Muslims living under non-Muslim rule, which often found expression in legal opinions (fatwās). On the one hand, by upholding Islamic law on the frontier the Banū Qudāma followed the example of the founder of the Ḥanbalī legal school, Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (d. 241/855). However, the economic activity of the Banū Qudāma could be viewed as duplicitous at a time when intense hostility towards the Franks created social pressure to dissociate. Whereas the community could initially justify a stance on either side of the legal divide it became more difficult to justify their habitation in the Kingdom of Jerusalem by the mid-6th/12th century. My analysis of the emigration thus considers wider developments in Islamic legal thought as well as events that functioned as catalysts for the Banū Qudāma’s decision to emigrate.