Course:  Church History (1)

Course Title:  Church History and the Standard of the New Testament

Lesson Seven: The Spread of Islam and the Crusades.


Introduction:  The city of Jerusalem.

The spread of Islam after the death of Muhammed led to Jerusalem being taken by Caliph Umar in 637. 

The Dome of the Rock (Mosque of Umar) was built in 691 under the rule of  Abd al-Malik (685-705)          

Jerusalem remained under Muslim control until 1099 when the Crusaders captured Jerusalem.

The city was held by the Crusaders until 1187 when Saladin regained the city for Islam. 



The founding of Islam

Timeline of the Life of Muhammed


Before Muhammed, Mecca – polytheistic

Preaching of Muhammed - monotheistic

Kaaba and pilgrimage rites become Islamic. 


Muhammed (570-632)

1)  Receives messages from Gabriel when meditating in a cave near Mecca (from 610)

2)  Preaches messages in Mecca (from 613).

3)  Flees to Medina (620)

4)  Marches on Mecca – bloodless victory. (630). Kaaba and pilgrimage rites become Islamic.

5)  Muhammed performs Hajj with tens of thousands of Muslims. (632)

6)  Muhammed dies.  Rule of the Caliphs begins. (632)



Main Points:

1.  The spread of Islam from the death of Muhammed until the Battle of Tours (632-732)


The rule of the Caliphs.

a)      Rashidun Caliphate (632-661)

Timeline of the Rashidun Caliphate


           1)  Abu Bakr. First Caliphate (632-644).

           First Muslim Ruler

Considered first Rashidun Caliph by Sunni’s (regarded as a usurper by Shia’s). 

Abu Bakr’s Caliphate lasted 2years and 3 months.

His daughter, Aisha, had been one of Muhammed’s wives. 

She was betrothed to Muhammed when she was 6 or 7 years old, but remained with her parents until she was 9 years when the marriage was consummated.

632-33 Wars of Ridda (apostasy) – against rebellious tribes in Arabia.

633 ‘Futuhat’ (Muslim conquests) begin.  Muslim conquest of southern Mesopotamia


     2)  Umar. Second Caliphate (634-644).

                        Caliph Umar – most powerful of the four Rashidun Caliphs.

                        His daughter, Hafsa, married Mohammed when she was 20 and he was 56.

                        Muslim armies under Umar took control of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, North African coast, parts of Persian and Byzantine Empires

                        Jerusalem captured (637)

                        Umar overthrew 36,000 cities or castles.

                        Destroyed 4,000 churches

                        Built 1400 mosques


Umar murdered by Persian slave. 644




3)     Uthman. Third Caliphate (644-656).

                        Conquests continue under the third Rashidun Caliph Uthman.

                        c. 650 Caliph Uthman forms committee to compile the text of the Koran.

                        656 Uthman murdered.


     4)  Ali.  Fourth Caliphate (656-661).

                        Ali becomes fourth Rashidun Caliph (regarded as first Imam by Shia’s).

                        657  Battle of Siffin. Muawiya, governor of Syria rebels against Ali, result of the battle is indecisive.

                        659  Arbitration at Adruh is opposed by Ali's supporters.

                        661  Murder of Ali.



            b)  Umayyad Caliphate (661-750)

Timeline of the Umayyad Caliphate


1)  Muawiya becomes Caliph. (661-680)

                        680  Death of Husayn (son of Ali and Fatima – the daughter of Muhammed). 

                        Killed at the Battle of Karbala (Iraq) in 680 (year 61 in Islamic calendar)

                        Beginning of Shia Ali or ‘party of Ali’.


                        2)   Reign of Abd al-Malik (685-705) 

                        691  Dome of the Rock (Mosque of Umar) built in Jerusalem.   

                        Central administration

                        Arabic becomes official written language

                        Arab coinage is established.

                        Ruling classes in East and West Africa convert to Islam.


                        3)  Conquest of Spain

                        711     April 30, Arab armies enter Spain from North Africa.

                        732     Muslim empire reaches its furthest extent.

732     Battle of Tours.  Franks under Charles Martel defeat the Muslim forces, and the advance of Islam in Western Europe is halted.

                                    Islam remained in Granada (Southern Spain) until 1492


History of the Caliphate after 750

Timeline of the Caliphate (750 - 1924)


Abassid Caliphate (750-1258)

Shadow Caliphate (1258-1517) under the patronage of the Mamluk Sultanate

Ottoman Caliphate (1517- 1918)

End of the Caliphate 1924 – power of the Caliphate transferred to Turkish Grand National Assembly.


Note:   The aim of present day Islamic Extremist groups is: ‘to establish a caliphate based on Sharia law’.



2.  The Crusades. 

Crusades to take the Holy Land from Muslim rulers.


Doctrine of supererogation

The doctrine of supererogation is the teaching that Christ, the Apostles and the saints, having done more than that which God required of them, have acquired a treasury of merits for the Church.

The Pope as the successor of Peter has the authority to pass on these merits to penitent sinners.

The excess merits are distributed through indulgences.


The doctrine of purgatory

The doctrine of purgatory is the teaching that penitent sinners who are not yet free from sin are not able to enter heaven immediately but must first be purified in purgatory. 

The teaching puts sins into two categories – venial and mortal.

Venial sins are lesser sins – those who die who die free of mortal sins through the sacraments must be purged of venial sins in purgatory before they can enter heaven. 

Mortal sins are graver - those who die with unconfessed mortal sin will suffer eternal torment in Hell.

The sacrament of baptism removes all sin ‘venial and mortal’.  Mortal sins committed after baptism must be removed through the sacraments of confession and ‘last rites’.

Indulgences are given to reduce the time necessary for a penitent sinner to remain in purgatory.

Indulgences provided a means for the Church to achieve its ends.


Two swords temporal and spiritual.

The spiritual authority of Peter’s successor enables the Pope to exercise civil authority. 

  • Pope Urban II (1088-99) offered indulgences for those who went on a crusade.

‘Relying, however, on the mercy of God and the authority of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, we relax unto faithful Christians, who shall take up arms against them and assume the burden of this pilgrimage, the enormous (immensas) penances for their crimes.  Moreover, let those who die there in true repentance, have no doubt that they will receive both pardon for sin and the fruit of eternal reward.’

·        Pope Eugene III summons a second crusade (1145)

‘According to the institution of our aforesaid predecessor, by the authority of almighty God and by that of St. Peter the chief of the Apostles, conceded to us by God, we grant such remission and absolution of sins, that he who shall devoutly begin so sacred a journey and shall accomplish it, or shall die during it, shall obtain the absolution for all his sins which with a humble and contrite heart he shall confess, and shall receive the fruit of eternal retribution from the Remunerator of all.’


Details of the Crusades

Peasants Crusade (1096)  Peter the Hermit (1050-1115) m

ade pilgrimage to Holy Land.  Claimed he saw Christians tortured and killed. Promoted armed pilgrimage.  20,000 responded.  Forced Jews at Regensburg to be baptised.  Pillaged on route.  The Peasants were wiped out as soon as they entered Asia Minor (Near Nicea in 1096).


First Crusade (1095-1099).  Urban II (1088-1099). Indulgences offered to those who went on crusade. Pilgrimages were already associated with indulgences.

"All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested."

Result - Crusaders gained control of Jerusalem in 1099.




Second Crusade (1145-1148) Bernard of Clairvaux (c.1090-1153).  50,000 volunteered to go on crusade through his preaching.  Second crusade ended in total failure despite being led by the greatest preacher of the day, King Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad III of Germany. 

Bernard of Clairvaux was instrumental in the formation of the Knights Templar and wrote the first 'rules' of the order.


Saladin (c.1138-1193)

 Kurd from N. Iraq, became vizier (high officer) in Egypt (c.1170).

He defeated other competing Muslim leaders in Egypt and made Egypt  a major power in the Middle East. 

He declared a jihad against the Christians. 



Third Crusade (1187-1191)

The Crusade of the Kings.  Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor who drowned on way to Holy Land,  Philip II of France, Richard I ‘the Lionheart’ (1157-1199).

Crusaders took Acre. 

Richard made agreement with Saladin allowing Christians access to Jerusalem.





Film ’Kingdom of Heaven’.   Fictional story based on this period.  In the film Balian makes an agreement with Saladin allowing his family to leave Jerusalem in safety.  







Fourth Crusade (1198 -1204)

Fourth crusade never reached Jerusalem.

Needed finance.

Diverted to Constantinople.  (Greek Orthodox city).

Took Constantinople in 1204

Destroyed the library of Constantinople and looted the city.

Final rift in the Great Schism with the Greek Orthodox Church.


In 2001 Pope John Paul II made an apology to the Greek Orthodox Church for the actions of the Crusaders in 1204.



Childrens Crusade (1212)


Stephen – A peasant boy from a village near Vendome in France

Nicholas – A boy from Cologne in Germany

Thousands of boys from 6 years old upwards left their work in the fields and ran after the cross to go on crusade to the Holy Land.  Parents, relatives and friends could not stop them.

They were asked why they thought they could achieve what Kings with armies had failed to do. They replied they were being led by the Divine will and whatever God wanted them to do they were willing to obey.

The results were disastrous.  Most of them were never heard of again and were probably sold into slavery.







Fifth Crusade (1218-1222)

Crusade against Egypt - Francis of Assisi.



This crusade is not mentioned in some accounts of the crusades because it was against Egypt.

In 1219 Francis went on crusade to Egypt seeking to convert the Sultan Al-Kamil to Christianity while the crusaders fought to take control of Damietta.  Francis was not successful.  When Francis returned he sought to live a life of imitation to Christ.  It was claimed that stigmata appeared showing his identification with Christ and his suffering.





Sixth Crusade (1228 – 1229)

Led by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II

1225  Married Yolande of Jerusalem (daughter of John of Brienne).

Laid claim to Jerusalem through marriage.

Excommunicated by the Pope in 1227.

Made a treaty with the Muslims and was able to enter Jerusalem on 17 March 1229.

Papal excommunication lifted 1229




Seventh Crusade (1248 – 1250)

Failed crusade led by Louis IX of France.

Louis captured during battle for Cairo.

Louis released on payment of ransom of 50,000 gold bezants



Eighth Crusade (1267-1272)



Louis IX led crusade.  Landing at Tunis.

Louis died in Tunis of sickness


Ninth Crusade (1271-72)

Prince Edward of England (Edward I) sailed to Acre after the death of Louis in Tunis.






3.  The Inquisition

Crusade against heresy.

Medieval Inquisition also known as the Episcopal Inquisition (1184-1230).

Papal Bull issued 1184 ‘Ad abolendam

For the purpose of doing away with heresy.

Initially opposed the Catharists in Southern France.

Not very successful


Council of Toulouse 1229

Decreed the forceful suppression of heresy.

Forbade the possession of vernacular Bibles.

Papal Inquisition (1230’s) - Decree to be upheld by the Dominican Order (Pope Gregory IX).

Inquisition persecuted the Waldensians.








.  Peter Waldo of Lyons c.1182-1217

Prosperous merchant

Gave away his wealth to preach to the common people.

Followers first called the 'Poor men of Lyons' later called Waldensians.

Sought to preach in the common language to ordinary people.

Forbidden to do so by the Third Lateran Council in Rome.

Translated portions of the scripture and preached to the poor around the region of the Alps.

Excommunicated 1184 by Lucius III




Four Inquisitions of the Roman Catholic Church

Medieval Inquisition (1184-1230’s)

Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834)

Portuguese Inquisition (1536-1821)

Roman Inquisition (1542-1860)




1.          The phenomenal spread of Islam during the 7th and 8th centuries brought Jerusalem under Islamic control.

2.          Pilgrimages to the Holy Land became increasingly difficult.  The Pope’s power ‘secular and spiritual’ could raise an army to go on Crusade to free the Holy Land from Islamic control.

3.          The idea of Crusade spread to include heresy.  A crusade against error – Inquisition.