Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in English



First Advisor

Nicole Rice

Second Advisor

Stephen Sicari


‘Ali ibn Tahir al-Sulami’s Kitab al-Jihad, The Book of the Jihad (1105), translated by Niall Christie, is a publicly dictated call to jihad in which al-Sulami attempts to motivate his listeners to go and fight against the Franj who have invaded Muslim lands and captured Jerusalem during the First Crusade. This paper examines how al-Sulami emphasizes the importance of al-jihad al-asghar through the merging of the ‘lesser’ and ‘greater’ jihads, which ultimately leads to him theorizing a reconfigured idea of jihad where he spiritualizes military jihad. Furthermore, this paper focuses on the literary choices al-Sulami makes while using Qur’anic verses and hadith to prove the importance of prioritizing al-jihad al-asghar during this particular time when the Muslim ummah is being attacked by the Franj. Al-Sulami’s speech, or rather the limited parts we have access to, may be seen as a “guidebook” for the Muslims going to jihad, for he includes various instructions regarding jihad. In addition, by making a distinction between individual jihad versus militaristic jihad, al-Sulami clarifies who bears responsibility for jihad, while also encouraging his audience of the religious significance of fighting against the Franj and defending Islam and its lands. He also includes stories, specifically battles, from the life of the Prophet and merges them with Qur’anic verses to show his readers the importance of military jihad.

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