In his Major Life of St. Francis, St. Bonaventure relates how Francis and Br. Illuminatus walked through line of crusaders besieging the Egyptian city of Damietta and were subsequently captured and beaten by the Muslim sentinels. They were then dragged before Sultan Malik al-Kamil where Francis made his "pitch," inviting the sultan to convert to Christianity. As the story has been related in other places as well, it seems that the two men conversed respectfully with each other--though neither was able to change the other's mind.
Before providing safe escort back to the Christian army, the sultan offered many gifts to Francis. The Poverello refused them all--except, it is said, for an ivory horn which had been used to call the Muslims to prayer. Once back in Italy, Francis would have someone blow that horn when he was preparing to preach.
I was hoping to find some written record of this meeting from the Muslim perspective, but apparently none exists. I did find this interesting tidbit, though. Apparently on the tomb of one of Malik al-Kamil's advisers there is an inscription to the effect that: the things which befell al-Kamil on account of the monk are well known.
|Stained glass window in St. Francis Church, Teutopolis, IL|