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The Battle Of The Ditch (Al-Khandaq) Of The Cordoban Caliph 'Abd Al-Raḥmān III

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Chapter Summary

During the first part of the reign of 'Abd al-Rahman III, the Christians, especially those of Jilliqiya, were able to inflict great damage on the Muslims, as in Ordono II's attack against Evora in the year 301/913. The term al-khandaq (the ditch or trench), which was used to identify the battle led to the defeat of the caliphal army, referred to a &t;ravine&t;-where the Christian troops defeated the Muslims. Ibn Hayyan used the term jihad to describe Ordono II's expedition against the Muslims in 303/915. Albrecht Noth interpreted this surprising usage of jihad as indicating that jihad is not always a term with religious connotations, and that this instance of the term, designating a Christian attack, indicates that it had acquired a &t;secular&t; meaning. However, Judith Loebenstein considers that this episode indicates precisely the opposite: just as the Muslims understood their fight against the Christians as a religious struggle.

Keywords: Abd al-Rahman III; Al-Khandaq; Cordoban Caliph 'Abd Al-Rahman; ditch; Ditch (Al-Khandaq); Ibn Hayyan; jihad; Judith Loebenstein



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