Post-classical history

§ Examples of God’s Benevolence: An Ascetic is Concealed from the Franks

I myself have witnessed161 a case of God’s benevolence (may He be exalted) and His good protection. The Franks (may God curse them) [92] encamped against us with their cavalry and infantry, with the Orontes between us. The river was at full spate to such a degree that they could neither cross over to us nor we to them. So they encamped on the mountain in their tents. A band of them then came down towards the orchards on their side and, letting their horses graze freely on the green fodder, they went to sleep. Now, a group of youths from the infantry of Shayzar stripped down, flinging off their clothes, picked up their swords and swam over to those men sleeping there. They killed a few of them, but the Franks outnumbered our comrades so our men threw themselves into the water and crossed back over. Meanwhile, the Frankish army had streamed down from the mountain like a flash-flood. On their side stood a mosque known as the Mosque of Abu al-Majd ibn Sumayya, in which lived a man known as Hasan the Ascetic. He was standing on the roof of some rooms in the mosque praying, wearing a black woollen garment. We stood watching him without any way to get over to him.

The Franks had come and were now stopped at the door to the mosque. They climbed up towards him while we thought to ourselves, ‘There is no power or strength save in God! They’re going to kill him now!’

But he, by God, never interrupted his prayers and remained in his place. The Franks turned around and went down, mounted their horses and rode away, while Hasan remained standing where he was, praying. There is no doubt in my mind that God (glory be to Him) blinded them to him and concealed him from their gaze. Glory be to the Almighty, the Merciful!

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