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Shmuel Ha Levi ben Yosef Nagrillah and ISIS


Centuries before the soldiers and fellow travelers of ISIS put their deeds and feelings to verse, an 11th century warrior, leader of the Muslim forces of Granada wrote the following after one of his victories. This poem was not incidental to the poet’s

literary production. It is one of his more than 40 battlefield and post battle panegyrics.

“Their strong men lay on the battleeld, puffed up like bellows and pregnant women. All together they lay..The slain we left for the jackals, for the leopards and wild boars; their flesh we gave as a gift to the wolves of the field and the birds of heaven.

And great was the banquet, all were satiated.. . . Great and rich was the banquet prepared, and all were filled, drunk on blood without measure. The hyenas made their rounds, and the night was deafened with the cries of the ostriches . . .

And we conquered their land, destroyed the fortresses and towers, subjugated villages and towns, and overwhelmed the capital city with violence.”

The author of these verses, Sh’muel Ha Levi ben Yosef Nagrillah

known also as Abu Iṣḥāq Ism ‘l bin an-Naghrī lah was Jewish, the General in charge of the Taifa of Granada’s Muslim military forces, and King Habbus al-Muzaffar's Vizier, his highest ranking advisor on matters political and military.

Unknown to today’s ISIS versfiers, this Jewish soldier/poet of Muslim troops is their ironic literary predecessor.


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