Praying and training to be warriors in communities called Ribats, a certain class of muslim warrior could have been an influence on the founders of the Knights Templar. Unless somebody wants to dispute this and please feel free. But it’s certainly tempting to believe that knights who found themselves exposed to the influences of the Islamic world, adopted some of their practices. They saw Ribat warriors effectively combining prayer with fighting and thought, hey – we’ll have some of that.
The Ribat was the fortress in which these volunteer Muslim warriors lived. Small communities of devout soldiers who looked out for any sign of attack by sea or land. Those living in a Ribat – dwelt like monks in cells. In fact, the style of the Ribat influenced later Muslim schools or “madrassas”. There is a good example of a Ribat at Sousse in Tunisia. At the start of the millennium, the ruins of a ribat were discovered in the Algarve, southern Portugal.
Ribats thrived in the early centuries of Islam under the Abbasid caliphate but later declined. The construction of these fortresses followed an identikit model – three circular towers and one square one as a watchtower. The ribat at Sousse incorporated earlier Byzantine marble columns, This reuse of Byzantine and Roman materials and copying of their designs was common in the first centuries of the caliphate.