A Short History

The events of September 11 are significant in world history. It wasn’t just a random date picked by the Muslim terrorists who attacked the United States in 2001, using four American aircraft to crash one into the Pentagon, another into a field in Pennsylvania, and two more into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. It also commemorates the day in 1683 when the Muslim troops of the Ottoman Empire launched an assault on Vienna, Austria, to launch their campaign against Europe and Christianity.

If you know history, you might add that the Turkish army reached Belgrade in late March of 1683, looking to overthrow the heart of the Christian empire. So, did the terrorists of 2001 pick the wrong day as their target? I don’t think. I think the perpetrators gave Allah a second chance to defend Islam and its assault on the secular and Christian world. As we will see, it was September 12 when the Muslim stronghold from AD 632 to 1683 was finally defeated. A few subsequent battles left this dynasty in pieces up until today, leaving a few Muslim radicals with the desire to see its return.

A Central belief for both faiths

Historically there has been a conflict between Christianity and Islam for centuries. In this battle, the underlining premise of both armies was that both felt vindicated as they held to the fact that their religious scriptures granted them victory due to their religious persuasion. “Deus Vult” was the battle cry of the Christian armies, and “Allah Uakkbar” was the cry of the Muslim armies. Both parties believed themselves to be the custodians of the judgment of God. So the victor would be vindicated. Christian troops held to scriptures like Deuteronomy 20:4

“For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

There is the perception that truth will prevail, and those in honor of truth will be victorious in war. Surah Al-A’raaf (7), Ayah 158 promises,

“Say: `O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah, to whom belongs the dominion of the Heavens and the Earth: there is no God but He. It is He Who gives life and causes death.”

Muslim armies also held to the Quran affirming in Surah Al-Anfal (8), a Medinan surah completed after the Battle of Badr.

“O you who believe, when you meet an enemy, be firm, and remember Allah much, that you may be successful. And obey Allah and His Apostle. And fall with no disputes, lest ye falter and your strength fail; but be steadfast! For Allah is with those who patiently persevere. Be not as those who came forth from their dwellings boastfully. And to be seen of men and debar (men) from the way of Allah. And Allah encompasses what they do” (viii. 45-46).

Here the Muslims have been encouraged to observe five principles of war:

  1. Be steadfast in the face of the enemy.
  2. Have complete reliance on the help of Allah and remember Him much.
  3. Have the unity of purpose and solidarity of corporate life before your eyes.
  4. Be fully aware of the lofty goal before you in fighting.
  5. Don’t be proud and boastful in your behavior.

Both Muslims and Christian Europe were assured that the winner would be vindicated because God would grant the right belief victory. Do Muslims have an “Us versus Them” mentality? One cannot but notice that the attackers of September 11 ridiculed and hated the presented values of Americans. They saw their Christian values of charity and tolerance as weaknesses, just like the Moslem Turks did in 1683. They subsequently sought to reveal America’s weakness and reveal the possibility of its complete demise.

Similarly, the Battle of Vienna was intended to be the first battle in a campaign of jihad that would conclude in the conquest of Europe by Islam and the destruction of Christianity. In order to celebrate their conquest’s success, the Muslims needed to take control of the heart of Christian devotion, saying that they would convert the Vatican into a stable for their horses and convert St. Peter’s Cathedral into a mosque. What are some of the categories of disbelievers? With the revelation of Surah Taubah (9), the disbelievers were divided into three categories:

  1. Ahlul-Harb (those at war with Islam).
  2. Ahlul-`Ahd (those with whom they had a treaty).
  3. Ahludh-Dhimmah (People of the Book who pay jizyah in return for the Muslims’protection of them).

The Muslims Invade Europe

On September 11, 1683, the Muslim invasion of Europe started with the Battle of Vienna. The Moslem Turks and Tartars, who were sure they would be able to breach the city’s defenses with their cannon after weakening both the populace and the city’s fortifications during the two-month siege, significantly outnumbered the united Christian troops of the “Holy League.” On September 11, Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa executed 30,000 Christian prisoners as a way to mark the beginning of the fight for Vienna.

The Viennese soldiers repelled the Moslems on the 11th, but the city’s guardians realized they could not hold out for another day of combat. When the army of the Polish king, Jan III Sobieski, arrived on September 12, the battle’s momentum changed. Our Lady of Czestochowa, whose image was a Polish national treasure, was the protector of his land, and he had committed the success of his army to her care. He managed to secure the high ground on the mountain above the battleground and set up his cannon to fire down on the Ottoman camp—a practically impossible achievement.

When the Ottomans launched their attack at around 4 AM on September 12 under the famous Islamic symbol of the crescent moon, attempting to obstruct the deployment of the “Holy League” forces, the fight began before the deployment of all the Christian battalions. Charles of Lorraine advanced with the Imperial army on the left and the other Holy Roman Imperial soldiers in the middle. The majority of the Ottoman force, under the direction of Kara Mustafa, launched a counterattack. At the same time, some elite troops were kept back in preparation for a simultaneous attack on the city. It is crucial to notice that in classical Islamic law, there are primary divisions that are important to recognize:

1) dar al-Islam (lit. territory of Islam/voluntary submission to God), denoting regions where Islamic law prevails,

2) dar al-sulh (lit. territory of treaty) denoting non-Islamic lands which have concluded an armistice with a Muslim government, and

3) dar al-Harb (lit. territory of war), denoting adjoining non-Islamic lands whose rulers are called upon to accept Islam.

Anyone not under the rule and subjugation of Allah is deemed a kafur and under Allah’s stipulated judgment.

Christian Hope

Before Jan Sobieski came, the Ottoman leadership had planned to capture Vienna, but time ran out. Their sappers had planned an enormous final detonation to breach the city walls. Ten mines were prepared to detonate, but Viennese forces discovered and neutralized them. As the Polish troops made a significant attack on the Ottoman right flank, a big fight began. The Ottomans persisted in their attempts to seize the city rather than concentrating on the conflict with the rescue army.

The Polish soldiers still controlled the high terrain to the right after twelve hours of combat. The troops cheered as the Polish cavalry slowly emerged from the woodland on the flanks. At around five o’clock, the cavalry was commanded to assault in four groups, three Polish and one from the Holy Roman Empire. The most significant cavalry attack in history was made by 18 000 soldiers, the renowned “Winged Hussars,” under the command of Jan III Sobieski! The sum tore through the Ottomans’ lines, worn down after the protracted battle on two fronts. Finally, the cavalry advanced directly toward the Ottoman camp and Kara Mustafa’s administrative center. The surviving Viennese garrison, sensing triumph, sallied out of its walls to partake in the assault.

The crescent moon was obscured by a cloud just as the cavalry charged; to the superstitious Turks, this was a bad omen. Moreover, following the failure of both the attempt to weaken the walls and the attack on the city, the Ottoman men were worn out and disheartened. By evening, the Moslem Turks had significantly retreated to the south and east due to the cavalry’s arrival, which had shifted the battle’s momentum against them. Nevertheless, the Christian soldiers had won the conflict and preserved Vienna less than three hours after the horse onslaught.

The 300-year conflict between the troops of the Christian Central European kingdoms and the Muslim Ottoman Empire ended with the Ottoman Turks’ defeat at Vienna on September 12. Because it was the last attempt by Muslims to extend their influence in Europe, historians view the Battle of Vienna as one of the pivotal conflicts in human history.

Why did they fight?

  • Fighting was a Da’wah to Tawheed[1] because the rulers of the empire and kingdoms of the time used their power and influence to prevent Islam and those calling it from reaching the land of Allah and His creation, claiming that it was their land and that those people were their subjects. Fighting them was, therefore, indispensable.
  • Fighting was also necessary to crush shirk by removing the tyrant rulers of these societies where they legislated for the people and forced them to go for judgment in their disputes to their manufactured laws through enticement and coercion.
  • Fighting was also necessary to remove every ruler worshipped other than Allah[2] and who opposed the call of Islam. It was required to remove every ruler who haughtily refused to enter the religion of Islam or to pay jizyah, insisting on exalting themselves in the land and practicing corruption.
  • Fighting was necessary to obliterate fitnah (persecution and shirk) and raise the Law of Allah above all else. Surah Al-Anfal (8), Ayah 39 say,

“And fight them until persecution is no more and religion is wholly for Allah.”

Muslims are commanded to establish the sovereignty of Allah’s Law in the land of Allah and over His creation. Therefore, we are commanded not to allow anyone to judge people by anything other than the Law of Allah. Those who refuse and resist must be fought. There are three types of jihad. Jihad is classified into inner (“greater”) jihad, which involves a struggle against one’s base impulses, and external (“lesser”) jihad, which is further subdivided into jihad of the pen/tongue (debate or persuasion) and jihad of the sword.[3]

The reality of Christian Muslim excursions.

With the sixteenth-century Reformation and the slow demise of the Ottoman Empire, we recognize that Christian catholicism and Imperial Islamicism were interrupted by forces beyond them. To Catholic Christians, the greatest schism occurred when most of Europe became more sympathetic to the reformers’ cause. In Islam, there is the decline and decimation of a thousand-year stronghold. Today we recognize that both these factions perceived what they proposed to be the will of God, yet, both were wrong. Wrong in that neither spoke for what Christ emphatically said nor declared what God wanted. The 16th Century reformation in a waypoint toward a different milieu, one where God conquered and ruled supreme.   


[1] In the Qurʾān, jihād is a term with multiple meanings. During the Meccan period (c. 610–622 CE), when the Prophet Muhammad received revelations of the Qurʾān at Mecca, the emphasis was on the internal dimension of jihad, termed ṣabr, which refers to the practice of “patient forbearance” by Muslims in the face of life’s vicissitudes and toward those who wish them harm.

[2] The Qurʾān also speaks of carrying out jihad utilizing the Qurʾān against the pagan Meccans during the Meccan period (25:52), implying a verbal and discursive struggle against those who reject the message of Islam. In the Medinan period (622–632), during which Muhammad received Qurʾānic revelations at Medina, a new dimension of jihad emerged: fighting in self-defense against the aggression of the Meccan persecutors, termed qitāl.

[3] https://carm.org/islam/the-truth-about-islam-killing-the-quran-terrorism-and-the-so-called-religion-of-peace/