A HISTORICAL REVISION THROUGHOUT THE PERIOD OF AL-ANDALUS 711-1600
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A HISTORICAL REVISION THROUGHOUT THE PERIOD OF AL-ANDALUS 711-1600
1. - INTRODUCTION: The history of al-Andalus has traditionally been depreciated in Spain, due to a religious, cultural and racial rooted prejudice. Until no less then two decades ago, school books merely mentioned al-Andalus as a reflection of the so called 'Reconquista' a series of battles spread over 800 years whereby the Kingdoms of Aragon, Navarra, Castilla and Leon steadily gained land over the 'arabized' Spanish Muslim population of Al-Andalus. Since, al-Andalus has been presented as a Spanish territory occupied over centuries by foreigners. However we must not forget that the base of the population in al-Andalus was Muslim of a Hispano-Gothic origin. There was in any case a very diluted component of Arab origin profoundly integrated into the peninsular population. The inhabitants of al-Andalus where Spanish all the way, although of Muslim
faith, as where others who professed the Jewish religion. Except for specialized historians, no one has taken the trouble to investigate how the Andalusi civilization was, from the other side of the Christian-western border. A country that spoke other languages, had other customs, thought, dressed and behaved differently. Still today when we mention the expulsion of the last Moriscos, one century after the period of the Reconquista was over, we tend to do so as if there where strange people or foreigners. But people who have lived together for centuries leave their own print which cannot be erased. The historical study of al-Andalus reveals that the period was indeed one of the richest periods of a complex historical evolution, converting a great part of the Peninsula into a nation ahead of it's time, a centre of knowledge that shone across Europe and was a means to the scientific, literary and artistic phenomenon initiated in Italy in the XIV century called the Renaissance. More over, history reveals the transcendence that this long historical period had over Spanish culture, enriched by the diverse mix. The story of alAndalus is that of a people that merged their blood, faith and ideas forming an extraordinary civilization, al-Andalus. As a reminder and also for the sake of accuracy and objective questioning of what we may hear or know upon the subject, we present an exclusive insight into the history
of Al-Andalus. Through the different accounts you will be able to see how still today, there is some mystery involved around the story of Islam in Spain. In fact, the greatest motivation in our work is to research and promote an unbiased historical view. We intend to continue our work on this section until we have a well balanced equation and illustration of the History of Al-Andalus, though this booklet guide, however many pages and contrasting views that takes! On our tour in Andalusia, through the most diverse yet typical Spanish landscapes, you will be able to 'read history' directly, having glimpses of places' past as we approach our destinations, the greatest cities of al-Andalus.
2. - A FOREWARD EUROPE:
2.1.- EARLY MIDDLE AGE: Prior to the arrival of the Romans, there were indigenous Spanish people, Iberian Celts, and Iberian of Phoenician descent. In fact, many of Spain's major ports and coastal cities even today were founded by the Phoenicians and were a part of the subsequent Punic culture, against which the Romans fought so viciously. A caste system had been established by to impose "stability" by ordaining that the occupation of the father would be the occupation of his sons, but stability was far from achieved, hunger, raids and riots frequent. By the VI century the old Roman middle class had almost disappeared along with the fine Roman engineering of roads, sewers, aqueducts, etc., the country falling into disrepair. Early in the 4th century, all Romans became officially Christian by royal fiat of Emperor Constantine I, called "the Great" (ruled 324-337), who also named Constantinople as the new capitol of Rome. The Church, who never fully trusted the Roman aristocrats because they considered them to have strong Pagan predilections, allied with Rome and it's army. Though there where still powerful theological differences and intense hostilities in Europe.
The Visigoths, the Western branch of the Goths, had a kingdom in France from 418-507. They had converted to Christianity half a century before they crossed the Pirinees into Spain in 456, though following the Arian tradition, which cast doubt on the divinity of Jesus and which considered the concept of the Trinity as a dilution of strict monotheism. In the 5th century, the Germanic Suevi tribe "scorched the Galician earth in a 60 year terror". In an attempt to take over the nominally Roman Peninsula, the Suevi around 438 took over a great part of the north, reaching across until Zaragoza. It was at this point that Rome asked for support to the Visigoths. In 456 the Visigoth troops crossed the Pirinees drawing the Suevi back to what we know today as Galicia. The rest of the peninsula became part of the Visigoth Kingdom of Tolosa, with it's capital in Toulouse, France.
2.2.- RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN THE IBERIAN PENINSULA, ARIANS AND TRINITARIANS As to religion, the Visigoths where Arian â€“ followers of Ario, who negated trinity, considering it a form of polytheism â€“ which had extended throughout the Roman
Empire during the 4th century. Though there weren't confrontations with the so called 'orthodox Christians', the majority of Hispano-Roman population was Catholic, defenders of the idea of three personalities of one same God. The global picture of Europe until then had been very divided, religious views within Christianity not being an exception. In the peninsula, thousands of slaves, many of whom were Germanic, joined with their kin, who had become the real masters of Spain. In this equation we must not forget about the large population of Jews spread out through Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. The further power changed from milder Arianism to a more virulent Catholicism, which was completing itself by the 8th century, times got worse for the Jews. However, because of the size and geography of the Iberian Peninsula, there has always been many different 'pockets' of population. These pockets where extended around the country in a very decentralized and disperse manner. The Catholics where an aristocratic minority of only around 12% including clerics who held much corruption and confusion at this time, weak knowledge and lack of a consensus or any religious criteria. Moreover, they where opposed by a mass of what they considered as 'heretic' Christian movements throughout the entire country. Within the Visigoths there weren't only Arians but also Priscilian, following another old Unitarian Christian, Priscilio.
THE COUCILS OF TOLEDO AND NICEA:
In the midst of what can be considered a civil war, regular collective councils formed by selected bishops where a tool of the Church in it's alliance with the noble class. They were issued due to the need of finding a unifying criteria in the diverse picture of Christian religion in the early middle ages. Local councils where formed and then taken to the supreme councils in Toledo and further to Nice, the necessary means being adopted to eradicate all 'heresies'. This would reflect a rather dark age in the politics of the empire. There where XVII Councils of Toledo and Nice from 325 to 694-712. During the Council celebrated in 589, the division in Christianity is officially solved through the conversion of King Recaredo to Catholicism in 587 and Arianism was condemned as a 'heresy'. From here on the documents have a constant mention about Christian 'heretics', stating basically that they where 'Unitarian Christians', followers of Ario. Some further descriptions of the Unitarian Christian doctrine are issued here which where otherwise completely wiped out during
the later 'Inquisition'. Iberia lived a profound religious crisis. Spain had come to a severe 'dark age' in which human rights where being abused on a regular basis by the Clerics, wealth and work were taxed at will by local Monarchs and epidemics where frequent. The country was divided between the mostly aristocrat Hispano-Roman, the Goths, being division within Christian faith itself and discomfort of the Jews who where submitted to a miserable condition close to slavery. The climate in the VII century didn't get any better. The clergy and the two main noble families, that of Wamba and Chindasvinto, where divided into Arian, Unitarian and the known Trinitarian. The Arian were already in touch with intellectuals in the north and with the more developed regions such as Egypt and Damascus, due to the eastern cultural revolution. A characteristic of the Visigoth kingship is that the crown was not hereditary, but by appointment. The king before last, Vitzia, converted to Arianism, as did his inheritor, the dethroned Aguila. Rodrigo, who took the throne, was however Trinitarian. These being the ingredients, something was needed to change.
DECADENCE OF THE VISIGOTH KINGDOM AND THE FORMATION OF ALANDALUS.
The mystery surrounding the introduction of Islam in Spain can further be seen in new theories of modern, free thinking investigators like Ignacio Olagüe or Emilio Gonzalez Ferrín. After thorough research through the remaining historical and geological documentation of the era, these historians maintain that the Spanish Inquisition has hidden and re-written more than the modern 'official historians' would like to admit. Ignacio Olgagüe even sustains, through research into the Church's historical archives and the above mentioned Councils of the 4th-7th Century, that no Arabs ever 'invaded' Spain. Both follow that it would actually be an Arian Christian (Monotheist) movement of defence against the Roman Catholic (Trinitarian) armed repression of the Bishops and Monarchs, who had been allied to Roman military force since the Council of Nice 400 E.C. Towards the beginning of the VIII Century, the Visigoth kingdom who's capital was Toledo, was in the midst of a political and social crisis provoked by the impoverishment of economy, frequent droughts, hunger in the lower classes, lack of prestige of the monarchs and how not, a rivalry in the noble class.
As the post of the throne was not hereditary but by appointment, the main noble families rivalled against each other to achieve it. Kings where frequently assassinated by members of the noble class who aspired to take the throne. This struggle ended weakening the Visigoth Kingdom. In this state of affairs, the king before last, Vitzia, tried to make the crown hereditary. As it happened, when he passed away, his young son Aguila was proclaimed king, but part of the noble class refused to accept him and put the charge onto a noble man named Rodrigo, duke of the Betic region, who was Catholic. In spite of his efforts, Rodrigo couldn't avoid a civil war breaking throughout the country. The sons of Vitzia had decided to get back in throne to whatever effect. From here the story becomes unclear and there are many elements of legend in it. It is at this point when the sons of Vitzia decided to seek help from the nearby Muslims to dethrone Rodrigo. The Archbishop of Seville, Oppas, uncle of Aguila, the dethroned son of Vitzia, asked his governor, Count Don Julian of Centaur, to negotiate with the governor of North Africa under the Umayyad Dynasty of the Caliph Al-Walid I of Damascus, Musa Ibn Nusayr. It is not known how many Muslims went into Spain, some say only 400, others 7000, others 12.000 troops. The prior more likely, whoever they were, they were only relatively new Muslims since the new Prophet, Muhammad,
had revealed the religion of Islam only 50 years before. Another element that historians give importance to is the discomfort in the Jewish communities, lived in exile around Tingitania, north of current Morocco. Many refugees from Spain, both Jewish and Visigoth, lived in Ceuta. What explains such a speedy penetration into the peninsula, as well as the later permanence of Muslims in Spain, is the fact that the Unitarian Visigoths where much closer to eastern cultural revolution and the new Muslim faith, than to the alternative Roman Catholic Church. Hence they would give the allied army the local support as they swiftly moved through the Peninsula. In 711, Don Julian, helped the Islamized Berber Tariq, the Lieutenant Colonel of Musa across the strait from Morocco to Spain. The sons of Vitzia, archbishop Oppas and other Gothic noblemen summed to a small group of Islamized troops which where commanded by Tariq. Since then the name given to the rock is Gibraltar, or JablTarr, Arabic for 'Mountain of Tarr(iq)'. Musa, a charismatic figure himself, freshly invigorated by the cultural revolution in the east and moreover by the spirit of a newly revealed religion, would enter into Spain in 712 C.E. further establishing an independent state from Rome.
This was celebrated by the casting of new coins in Toledo stating the Quranic verses ''There is no god but The God'' (la ilaha illa Allah), ''He was not borne nor does he beget'' (lam yalid wa lam yulad). These first verses, where to express the one common thing between the three subsequent cultures living in al-Andalus. One God, three cultures: Christian (mostly Unitarian), Muslim and Jew. A minority of Catholics also remained, who where mostly clerics. It is paradoxical that the latest of the Councils of Toledo, number XVIII from 712, has been removed from the safely preserved Church archives and nothing is know of it. There is obvious speculation over what this Council contained since this was the same year when the first coins where cast in Toledo with a declaration of the Unity of God as well as a known verse of the Qur'an, but so far making no mention of Muhammad. The Muslims made a pact with noble Goths helping them to enter the peninsula, respecting their property, status and privileges. In just 3 years a mixed army of some 3 to 12 thousand men took power over the peninsula up to Zaragoza, and in one more year the entire peninsula was under Muslim government. Many towns opened their doors to the Muslims offering no resistance and in fact welcoming them as their rescuers, others surrendered through advantageous agreements.
The most notorious case is of a Visigoth duke Theodomiro from Murcia, who could continue to govern in his territory â€“ which was to be newly named Tudmir - after his agreement with the Muslims. Subsequently, the Muslim culture and religion spread over the entire Spain, Al-Andalus was born. The battle of Covadonga in Asturias was to later symbolize the resistance of a Catholic-Christian north Spain by the hands of the Asturian King Pelayo. Much in the same manner the battle of Tours in Poitiers 732 E.C, is generally remembered as: when Europe was saved from the Islamic advance, by merit of French Charles Martel. Though there remain many historical paradoxes, some say the battle was simply one of many battles between northern and southern Gales, each accusing the other of being 'heretic'; in a time when Spain and France were effectively 'one same land'. From these independent Kingdoms in the north of Spain and in a parallel manner to the Crusades in the rest of Europe, the Catholic Kingdoms of Spain initiated the so called 'Reconquista': A series of battles spread over 800 years whereby the Kingdoms of Aragon, Navarra, Castilla and Leon supported by the Church of Rome, steadily gained land over the 'arabized' Spanish Muslim population of alAndalus. On the other hand, within the newly named al-
Andalus, in spite of Islam becoming the official religion of the new state, no one was forced to convert. On the contrary, Christians and Jews where allowed to practise their religions and even Muslims shared churches with the old Christians before building their own mosques. The result was a safe guarded environment and the beginning of a great Civilization in Europe â€“ from the European dark ages to a brighter future and the establishment of a technological and scientific foundation.
4.- A FOREWARD FROM THE MIDDLE EAST, THE RISING OF ISLAM: THE FOUR RIGHTEOUS CALIPHS
Politically speaking, the scene in the East was not entirely different. Islam, the new Abrahamic religion revealed through the prophecy of Muhammad, was already divided after it's first century. After the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, there where already divisions during the succession of his four 'righteous Caliphs', his companions: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali. In 636 the Muslims defeated the Persians at
Qadisiyya in a battle which proved to be decisive. Thereafter the Persians continually retreated; the Muslims quickly conquered northern Iraq and moved into western Iran. After the battle at Nihavand in 642, the Persians could offer no more resistance and the remainder of Iran was left open to conquest. The last Sassanid king fled to Khurasan and was assassinated in 651. The offensive against the Byzantines in Syria continued. The Muslims reached Damascus in 635 but were forced to withdraw to Yarmuk; there they defeated the Byzantines decisively and thus faced little resistance in occupying the remainder of Syria and Palestine. The troops then marched into northern Iraq and Armenia, and into Egypt. The Byzantines relinquished Egypt to the Muslims under a peace treaty in 641. The peace treaties concluded under Umar allowed the conquered peoples to retain their land and religion; they were given the status of "protected peoples" (dhimmi) and were required to pay a special tax, known as the jizya. Abandoned lands were confiscated to supply income for the treasury. Umar was murdered in 644. Uthman attempted to retain the unity of the empire by appointing members of his own clan, the Umayyads, to governorships; in particular, the governorship of his kinsman Muawiya was enlarged to include the whole of Syria and northern Iraq.
Uthman was also murdered, at the hands of discontented Egyptians in 656, and the notables of Medina selected Ali b. Abi Talib, the Prophet's nephew, as Caliph. His failure to punish Uthman's assassins quickly generated outrage. Civil war broke out under the leadership of Talha and Zubayr, two of Ali's former supporters, and Aisha, former wife of Muhammad and daughter of Abu Bakr. The rebellion was suppressed near Basra at the famous Battle of the Camel, so-called because Aisha watched the battle from her palanquin atop a camel. Meanwhile, in Syria Muawiya refused to pay Ali allegiance. The two men confronted each other with their armies at Siffin in early 657, where Muawiya called for an arbitration. The arbitration solved nothing, but it did serve to delegitimize Ali in the eyes of some of his supporters, who deserted Ali's army and withdrew to Nahrawan, east of the Tigris. The Syrians acknowledged Muawiya as caliph, and he was able to take control of Egypt later that year. In 658, the secedes in Nahrawan, known as Kharijites, were decimated by Ali's army. By this time Ali's rule had been reduced to central and southern Iraq; he was murdered by a Kharijite in 661. Muawiya became caliph of the entire Muslim empire moving the capital from Arabia to Damascus in Syria, thus beginning the period of the Umayyad caliphate.
THE ABASSID CALIPHATE
The Abbasid descended from Abbas ibn Abd alMuttalib (566 â€“ 662), one of the youngest uncles of Muhammad, because of which they considered themselves the true successor of Muhammad as opposed to the Umayyads. The Umayyads were descended from Umayya, and were a clan separate from Muhammad's in the Quraish tribe. The Abbasids also distinguished themselves from the Umayyads by attacking their moral character and administration in general. According to Ira Lapidus, "The Abbasid revolt was supported largely by Arabs, mainly the aggrieved settlers of Marw with the addition of the Yemeni faction and their Mawali". The Abbasids also appealed to non-Arab Muslims, known as mawali, who remained outside the kinship-based society of the Arabs and were perceived as a lower class within the Umayyad empire. Muhammad ibn 'Ali, a great-grandson of Abbas, began to campaign for the return of power to the family of Muhammad, the Hashimites, in Persia during the reign of Umar II. During the reign of Marwan II, this opposition culminated in the rebellion of Ibrahim the Imam, the fourth
in descent from Abbas. Supported by the province of Khorasan, Iran, he achieved considerable success, but was captured in the year 747 and died in prison; some hold that he was assassinated. The quarrel was taken up by his brother Abdullah, known by the name of Abu al-'Abbas as-Saffah, who defeated the Umayyads in 750 in the Battle of the Zab near the Great Zab and was subsequently proclaimed caliph. The first change the Abbasids made was to move the empire's capital from Damascus, in Syria, to Baghdad in Iraq. This was to both appease as well to be closer to the Persian mawali support base that existed in this region more influenced by Persian history and culture, and part of the Persian mawali demand for less Arab dominance in the empire. Baghdad was established on the Tigris River in 762. A new position, that of the vizier, was also established to delegate central authority, and even greater authority was delegated to local emirs. Eventually, this meant that many Abbasid caliphs were relegated to a more ceremonial role than under the Umayyads, as the viziers began to exert greater influence, and the role of the old Arab aristocracy was slowly replaced by a Persian bureaucracy. In this state of affairs, Muslims had already gained influence and control over the Maghreb in the late 7th
century. By 682 Musa ibn Nusayr had defeated the Byzantines at Kairouan in what is now Morocco. By the 8th century the Maghreb had become home to a number of Muslims fleeing from the Abbasid rule. Immediately after their victory Abu al-'Abbas asSaffah sent his forces to North Africa, where only as late as 789, Idris I, direct descendants of the Prophet and his nephew Ali was to become the ruler of the newly Islamized Berber population.
5.- THE UMAYYAD EMIRATE OF AL-ANDALUS Spain is a large country, it's cities well spaced and self governed, it took a great leader to organize and unite them into one nation. 40 years after 712 rivalry and instability again swept across the Peninsula. In 756 a ginger haired, blue eyed warrior named Abd al-Rahman, arrived in Spain after some years of hiding in Tunisia. He claimed to be the only Syrian survivor of the last Umayyad Dynasty. The Umayyads, while out of power, were not destroyed completely it seems. The only surviving member of the Umayyad royal family ultimately made his way to Spain. Striving for the unity of the Iberian Peninsula he
fought several battles and further declared an Islamic Emirate based in Cordoba. He is since to be remembered as Abd al-Rahman I, the first Umayyad Emir of Al-Andalus. Al-Andalus continued to be an independent Muslim kingdom, under the blessing of the caliphs in Baghdad. This was the beginning of the Umayyad emirate, during which his successors would make al-Andalus the most advanced country in the West, improving upon economy, agriculture and industry, and creating a culture which would later illuminate Europe. We have to see this period as a very delicate mosaic in the religious aspect. In 817 there had been a revolt in Cordoba where a group of Muslims rose against the Caliph protesting about a general 'religious' laxity and tolerance over the Jews, Christians and new converts to Islam. The Caliph at the time, Al-Hakm II, grandson of Abd alRahman I and father of Abd al-Brahman II, ordered the exile of the entire rebel area and for the district to be literally 'flattened' and left unreconstructed. This is said to be the origin of the Andalusi Medina within the city of Fez, in Morocco. Another conflict occurred when the Catholic monk Eulogio discovered about the new religion of Islam, in 850 from texts about the new Prophet Muhammad and his revelations. Hearing the news, Christian monks would approach the Emir at Cordoba and after enquiring about the
religion of Islam and the prophet Muhammad, insult and defame him publicly and insistingly until AbdelRahman II great-grandson of Abd al-Rahman I, punished them by public execution. This manner of Christian martyrdom became popular for a while until it was condemned as 'suicidal' and improper by the head of the Catholic Church in Toledo. In 844 the Vikings from Scandinavia and Northern Europe sacked Lisbon, Cadiz and Medina Sidonia, and then captured Seville. However, the Muslims counter attacked and defeated them. The Vikings carried out further raids on al-Andalus but the Muslims fought back effectively. The first navy of the Emirate was built after this humiliating Viking ascent of the Guadalquivir in 844. These and other raids prompted a shipbuilding program at the dockyards of Seville. The Andalusian navy was thenceforth employed to patrol the Iberian coastline under the caliphs Abd alRahman III and Al-Hakam II (961 â€“ 76). By the next century, piracy from North Africans superseded Viking raids. Another story relates about Umar Ibn Hafsun, in 889, who was a Muslim 'convert' natural of Ronda and descendant of the last Visigoth King Witiza. In face of what he considered classicism and hypocrisy from behalf of the Umayyad Rulers, turned back to his roots as a Christian, of the Arian Unitarian faith. Moreover he formed a rebellion over the midlands mountains of Al-Andalus, 'protecting'
nearly all of what was later to be the Granada Kingdom, against the Caliphs tax collectors, defending and promoting a popular class in the form of his own Kingdom. This Christian Kingdom within the Emirate of the Umayyad Dynasty was to last for 40 years until 917. Sources vary as to whether Umar Ibn Hafsun died under the Christian name of Samuel in his local town, Bobastro, or whether he was captured and sent as a mercenary to the North fronts due to his courage. In this uneasy but steady manner, the Umayyad Dynasty of Cordoba was to last for nearly three hundred years, although at no stage could it boast of having 'fixed' borders, nor internal stability. Al-Andalus was in fact under permanent siege by the Catholic Kingdoms of Aragon and Castile from the North and yet a worse threat from the South by the Fatimid Caliphate, a new disloyal movement against the existing Abbasid Caliphs, which had formed in the North of Africa. The Fatimid threat shared it's roots within the very Umayyad Dynasty of Damascus and hence was a larger threat to the state of Al-Andalus then the 'lesser' problem of the Christian restlessness in the north. Under this climate, seven generations after Abd alRahman I, Abd al-Rahman III declared himself the Caliph of Islam turning Al-Andalus into a Caliphate. He declared sovereignty over Muslim faith from a politically independent state, this represented the peak of an Islamic Golden Age in Spain.
Map 1: Al-Andalus, 790 to 1300 a.c.
6.- RELIGION IN EARLY AL-ANDALUS AND THE SPREAD OF ISLAM Under the Muslims, both Jews and Christians, who were "People of the Book" were treated well, aside from taxes and allowed to worship freely, with a few restrictions - the Christians were not to ring their church bells. Muslims, Christians, and Jews all dressed similarly, and the Muslims often attended Christian celebrations. These Christians who lived in many ways like the Muslims were known as
Mozarabs, from the Arabic word musta'rib, meaning arabized. As we know most of Spanish Christian population practised an Arian approach to their faith, in so being very in line with the 'new' faith of Islam. Slaves at this time were mostly war captives and included Africans, Slavs, and Germans, among others. Those who became Muslim would be freed and those who became soldiers would be paid generously. The Muslim Caliphs of Cordoba formed great armies of Slavs. Abd al-Rahman II is well known to have had a personal army of 20.000 Slavs whom where called the 'silent' ones since they couldn't talk Arabic. Captured Jews were generally ransomed by the Jewish community. Christians in north Europe where even embarrassed by the flood of Christian slaves who fled to alAndalus from their Christian masters in the north. It is interesting to talk about a study made by the American historian Richard W. Bulliet by analyzing medieval Islamic biographical dictionaries, which where a common genre of the time and provide a generous amount of biographical and genealogical information. We can conclude from the study that the very diverse population present in the Iberian Peninsula, would over a period of two centuries, no less, turn towards a dominant oriental culture and only later be influenced by the 'new religion' of Islam. Muslim names with diverse family names, would
roughly double in numbers every fifty years until a natural balance was reached. An early 8% in 800 turned into 12% of the population by 850, to then double again by 900 and reaching a rough 50% by 950 A.C. The curve gradually flattens at a 75% Muslim population by the year 1.000. This can be contrasted to the fact that in Cordoba, the very heart of the Caliphate, it is not until 850 C.E. that the Catholic-Roman Church would learn about Islam through Monk Eulogio's readings about 'the new Prophet' (Muhammad (s)) in manuscripts he found at a Christian library during a journey to Navarra. Precisely around the same time, the first Muezzins would start to call publicly to prayer from the minaret of the mosque at Cordoba and Islam was to become socially noticeable.
7.- THE CALIPHATE OF AL-ANDALUS
In 929, nearly two centuries after the Umayyad AbdelRahman I came to Spain, his descendant AbdelRahman III declared himself caliph or spiritual leader of the Hispano-Muslim. In other words, completely independent from the caliph in Baghdad both politically and spiritually, it was the birth of the Caliphate of al-Andalus. Under his kingdom, Muslim Spain reached it's maximum expansion, covering three quarters of the
peninsula and connecting to Tangier and other locations in Maghreb. The splendid court of the caliphs, where science and arts glowed from, was moved to a fortress court city to the north of Cordoba, the famous Medinat al-Zahra. Cordoba under the Caliphate, with a permanent population of perhaps 1.000.000 overtook Constantinople as the largest and most prosperous city in Europe. Within the Islamic world, Cordoba took an economic lead over East and West and was one of the leading cultural centres. The work of its most important philosophers and scientists (notably Abulcasis and Averroes) had a major influence on the intellectual life of medieval Europe. By the end of the reign of Abd al-Rahman III, the king of Leon, the queen of Navarra, and the counts of Castile and Barcelona, all Christians, acknowledged him as their overlord and sent him annual tribute. Paradoxically quite a few Andalusian "Moors" had red and blond hair and blue eyes, since Spain had been populated by Visigoths, Vandals, and other Germanic tribes before the Arab and Berber invasions and subsequent conversion to Islam. Abd al-Rahman III - with his red hair and blue eyes, typical of many Andalusian rulers - reunited al-Andalus in a golden age. After the death of Abd al-Rahman III, Hisham II, a
boy of thirteen, ascended to the throne. The real ruler was Ibn abi Emir, General and Chief of state, also known as AlMansur, The Victorious. He continued to lead al-Andalus with military might. Reached this point in politics, the Caliph himself being overruled by his own chief of State, with the death of Al-Mansur, al-Andalus fell into a period of political instability that ended with the fall of the caliphate. The Umayyad would decay until in 1031, a republic was declared in Cordoba since no one was prepared to accept the position of Caliph. Civil war and unrest followed, with 28 princedoms being formed. These multiple princedoms were known as the Taifa Kingdoms.
8.- THE TAIFA KINGDOMS AND THE
ALMORAVID TAKE OVER
The death of Al-Mansur marked the end of the Umayyad dynasty and Muslim Spain succumbed to civil strife. In 1031 the great Caliphate was ended and al-Andalus split into a multitude of small kingdoms. These small kingdoms, ruled by the ta'ifs, were not politically strong. Nonetheless, the arts flourished throughout Andalusia, and Muslim Spain was a centre for music, poetry, literature, and the sciences.
Map 2: Map of the taifas in 1031
The Taifa kingdoms of al-Andalus were generally too weak and divided to defend themselves against repeated raids and demands for tribute from the Christian states to the north and west. Known to the Muslims as "the Galician nations", the raids had spread from their initial strongholds in Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque country and the Carolinian Marca Hispanica to become the Kingdoms of Navarra, Leon, Portugal, Castile and Aragon and the County of Barcelona. Eventually raids turned into conquests and in response the taifa kings were forced to request help from the Almoravid, Islamic rulers of the Maghreb. The notable dynasty of the Almoravid (1062-1147) began in southern Morocco and moved into al-Andalus. The Berber Almoravid
were harsh, puritanical, orthodox Muslims, critical of the grandeur of the Umayyads which they considered decadent. Spanish Christians, with help from other European Christians, continued with their Reconquista to take Spain from the Muslims. Over time they made inroads against the Muslims who were all too often fighting with each other. In 1085, the Spanish retook Toledo, in the north of alAndalus. For another 125 years the Christian Spanish made no great inroads into al-Andalus. In 1086 the Almoravid ruler of Morocco Yusuf ibn Tashfin was invited by the Muslim princes in Iberia to defend them against Alfonso VI, King of Castile and Leon. In that year, Yusuf ibn Tashfin crossed the straits to Algeciras and inflicted a severe defeat on Map 3: Map showing the extent of the Christians at the azthe Almoravid empire Zallaqah. Realizing the weakness of the Taifa kingdoms and the continuing threat of the Christian north who had recently taken Toledo, Yusuf ibn Tashfin removed all Muslim princes in Iberia and
annexed their states by 1094, except for the one at Zaragoza. Further, he regained Valencia from the Christians. Inevitably the Almoravids who had lived a sober life in BerberĂa, in al-Andalus turned to a more luxurious and pleasurable lifestyle which the Taifa kings where prone to. Taking advantage of this decadence, another African Berber Dinasty, the Almohads, conquered their positions in Morocco, while the Almoravids where dethroned in alAndalus.
9. THE ALMOHAD INTERVENTION IN AL-ANDALUS The Almohads, a religious and political group that spread from Northern Africa into al-Andalus, united the entire coast of the Maghreb from the Atlantic Ocean to the frontier of Egypt for a brief period from 1147 to 1258. The Almoravids were succeeded in the 12th century by Map 4: Almohad dynasty and surrounding the Almohads after states, c. 1200. the victory of Abu
Yusuf Ya'qub Al-Mansur over the Castilian Alfonso VIII at the Battle of Alarcos.
In 1212, Almohad troops were defeated in Navas de Tolosa, 150 km miles North-east of Cordoba, by the combined forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile, the kings of Aragon and Navarra, a contingent of Templars and other knights from Portugal as well as French Crusaders. After this battle, they saw the fall of Cordoba in 1236, and their own capital, Seville, was taken by the Christian King , in 1248. By 1250 Almohad power completely collapsed. For the third and last time, al-Andalus divided into several Taifa kingdoms. Under the advantage of these quarrels between Muslim kings, the advance of the Christians over Muslims lands, the so called 'Reconquista', advanced at a steady pace. The Taifas, newly independent but now weakened, were quickly conquered by Portugal, Castile and Aragon. After the fall of Murcia (1243) and the Algarve (1249), only the Emirate of Granada survived as a Muslim state, paying tribute to Castile. Most of its tribute was paid in gold from present-day Mali and Burkina Faso that was carried to Iberia through the merchant routes of the Sahara. The Maghreb and al-Andalus were plunged into bitter civil wars between various Hispano-Muslim and
Berber factions. Finally, all that remained of the independent Muslim state was the Kingdom of Granada, a small section of southern Spain on the Mediterranean.
10.GRANADA, THE LAST MUSLIM KINGDOM OF AL-ANDALUS With these defeats, al-Andalus was mostly parcelled out among the various sovereigns until only the Kingdom of Granada remained under Islamic control stretching through the south and eastern mountain formations from Malaga to nearly Murcia. Surrounded, the Nazari Kingdom of Granada survived for nearly two centuries and a half, thanks to the protection offered by it's natural geography in the surrounding mountain areas and a network of enclave fortified cities in key locations. Malaga, Ronda, Antequera, Alcala la Real, Loja, AlmerĂa, SalobreĂąa, to mention but a few. During this final period of Muslim Spain, the Nasrid kings paid tribute to the Kings of Castille. Granada being the wealthiest city in Spain, also became a sanctuary for Muslims fleeing Christian attacks and maintained a careful balance of diplomacy and military defence and strength.
The final Nasrid dynasty of Granada began in 1232. Granada was a thriving state, rich with trade, particularly silk, and the arts. The magnificent fortress and palace called al-Hamra was begun in 1248 and completed about one hundred years later. Now known as the Alhambra, it is the oldest Islamic palace in the world to survive in a good state of preservation. Out of Granada, the last Muslim threat to the Christian kingdoms was the rise of the Marinids in Morocco during the 14th century, who took Granada into their sphere of influence and occupied some of its cities, like Algeciras. However, they were unable to take Tarifa, which held out until the arrival of the Castilian Army led by Alfonso XI. The Castilian king, helped by Alfonso IV of Portugal and Pedro IV of Aragon, decisively defeated the Marinids at the Battle of Salado in 1340 and took Algeciras in 1344. Gibraltar was besieged from the Kingdom of Granada in 1349â€“1350. Alfonso XI along with most of his army perished by the Black Death. His successor, Pedro of Castile, made peace with the Muslims and turned his attention to Christian lands, starting a period of almost 150 years of rebellions and wars between the Christian states that secured the survival of Granada. In 1469 the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile signalled the launching of the final assault
on Spanish Islam as they convinced the Pope to declare their war a crusade. The Spanish Inquisition was created by the Catholic Kings in 1478, its task was to seek out heretics and non-Christians, beginning again a reign of terror for the Jews who had been well integrated into the Muslim world for several hundred years. The final war against Granada began in 1481. Isabel brought in German and Italian artillery to destroy the protective outposts on the hills surrounding Granada. The final checkmate was produced when Granada was surrounded and the Christian Kings, after 10 years of siege over the city, decided to found a new city from their camp outside Granada. This city was to be called, Santa Fe, or Holy Faith, and encouraged the last Muslim King of Granada to hand over the keys to the Medina under peaceful terms for the remaining Muslims of his kingdom.
Map 5: Granada, the last Muslim Kingdom.
In January 1492, after a long siege, the Muslim sultan, Muhammad XII Abu-Abdullah (Boabdil), signed the handover treatise within the palace of the Alhambra, handing in the keys of the city to the Catholic Kings. The contract signed was called the 'Capitulations of Granada' and was to guarantee the rights of Muslims in Spain thereon, though in time proved to be fraud. The Christians Kings had sovereign control over all of Spain, marking the end of al-Andalus. An interesting fact is that the same year, Christopher Columbus was sent out to officially 'discover' and exploit what up to then had been kept within families as secret commercial routes. While the Reconquista signalled the end of alAndalus, Andalusian culture continued to survive in small pockets for well over one century and it has exerted an undeniable influence on Spanish culture to this day.
11.SPANISH MUSLIMS UNDER CHRISTIAN RULE: THE MORISCOS While Castile had always been strictly against Islam, Aragon was more tolerant. Now united they both agreed that any Islamic or Jewish presence was forbidden, and forced to convert by the Inquisition. After the Christian take over and steady repression of
the non-Catholic population, many Muslims and Jews left for Muslim ruled countries, although most couldn't afford to move and stayed. Named at first 'Mudejares' (in Arabic the 'domesticated'). Those Jews who refused to convert became known as the Sephardic. Jews formerly Spanish who fled around the Mediterranean, many to North Africa, some eventually going as far as the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey - many still speaking a form of medieval Spanish known as Ladino. A massive number of Jews expelled by the Reconquista crossed the Straits of Gibraltar to the Maghreb, followed by a smaller wave of Muslims fleeing from the fall of Granada. Breaking the agreements made in the Capitulaciones of Granada, in 1502 thousands of Andalusian Muslims fled Spain for the Maghreb after decrees of expulsion. During the 16th century more people of Jewish or Muslim background were expelled from Spain or fled persecution there, and settled in Morocco. Many of them had been forcefully converted from Islam and Judaism to Catholicism, by baptism in public squares, but were suspected of continuing to practice their previous religions secretly. These new Christians are called Moriscos, or Moorish population and where treated as 'heretic' due to their ongoing Islamic traditions. In 1568, two generations after Granada's treague to the Christians, the Moriscos took it to arms in a rebellion
which was to spread from the mountains of Ronda, through the Alpujarras, Granada (particularly in the Albaycin) and further north in Valencia mountain regions. Under Philip III of the new united Catholic Spain, remaining 'Moriscos' where repatriated and dissipated to other areas in the north and Ronda until later Royal decrees of expulsion where expedited. As late as 1609 to 1614 thousands more "Moriscos" fled Spain, arriving in the Maghreb. The Sephardic Jews lived well enough in the Maghreb until the coming of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century, which began persecuting and restricting them. By the first decade of the 17th century all in Spain were forced to convert to Catholicism or be forcibly deported. In this short time, 3 million Muslims and Jews were executed or banished. "1492 marked the official end to Islamic rule in alAndalus. However, this did not mean all the Muslims left alAndalus in one go. Muslims lived in al-Andalus for at least two hundred years after the fall (1492). Their lives were not easy. In many cases they were forced to give up their identities, could not practice Islam in public, they were not allowed to speak Arabic (and therefore could not pray in congregation) or even give their children Muslim names! So what began as tolerance for the practice of Islam in alAndalus and allowing for their affairs to be judged under Shariah courts (Capitulations of Granada) slowly but surely
led to the persecution of the Muslims of al-Andalus until no trace was to be found."
AL-ANDALUS, A CULTURAL REVOLUTION
Al-Andalus was in it's time the most vigorous source of culture in Europe. To a great degree the civilization of alAndalus was the result of the mutual influences between Christians, Jews and Muslims. The print of al-Andalus is present today in many customs, as well as in architecture and romance languages, specially Castillian or regular Spanish language. We are going to take a journey in the past, to go into the cities, walk the streets, enter the homes to understand how the HispanoMuslim lived, studied, worked and enjoyed their time.
12.1. - THE MEDINAS OF AL-ANDALUS Hispano-Muslim towns where similar to those we find today in the north of Africa and the Middle East. They had a centre of the medina, walled city where there was an al-Kasr or government residence and the main mosque. They also had open spaces such as markets, little gardens and graveyards. They where surrounded by further walls and
external town areas, the arrabiales. The medina, city in Arabic, had defensive towers, with optical communication systems and offered it's inhabitants protection in times of war. The cities, both small and large, created stable environments where scholars in the different sciences would gather to share and further develop their studies. Large cities had sewerage systems for dirty water, public fountains with drinkable water and numerous baths. There where also funduqs or guest houses for the caravans which brought diverse merchandises to the town, coming from the farmlands, other cities or diverse foreign countries. The main streets of the medina where born at the doors of the city wall and had a stoned finish. The rest where a labyrinth of little alleyways. Due to a lack in construction regulations people would construct their home where and as they thought most suitable, which made streets never be completely straight and the town would soon turn into a genuine labyrinth which locals knew like the back of their hands.
12.2. - SCIENCE AND AL-ANDALUS
The model of cities as protected, stable environments, where men of different sciences where commissioned to study and develop the different sciences, had already brought a cultural revolution in the East. Such cities such as Damascus and Baghdad collected and further developed elements from the Byzantine, Persian, Hindus and Chinese, integrating them within the Islamic holistic approach to knowledge. Further, the wise Hispano-Muslims, strongly influenced by this eastern revolution, also studied divulged ancient Greece's philosophical work. New ways to sail at sea where opened by the development of the compass, new methods of irrigation for the fields where introduced and paper was manufactured towards books of science. Abd al-Rahman I was a strong and hard leader, but at the same time encouraged the intellectual movement that was to help al-Andalus become a centre of learning and culture equal to Baghdad from the 9 th to 11th Centuries. Furthermore, music and poetry were strongly encouraged during the time of Abd al-Rahman II who reigned between 822 and 852. In 822 the then famous musician Ziryab arrived from the Baghdad court to al-Andalus by invitation of the Emir Al-Hakm I. Upon arrival he found that Al-Hakm I had just
passed away, though his son Abd al Rahman II renewed his fathers invitation and Ziryab became one of the four most favoured (and hence powerful) people in his Abd al Rahman II’s court. Ziryab, also known as the 'Blackbird', brought the traditions and influences of the eastern Islamic empire to alAndalus, becoming a trendsetter in Andalusian culture. Well versed in several scientific disciplines as well as being an accomplished poet and musician, he contributed in fields such as gastronomy and dressing fashions of the time. The dazzling level an Eastern Muslim culture led many Christians to aspire to and imitate it. They chose Arabic names and spoke Arabic. The bible was translated into Arabic. These old Christians formed a large cultural movement of their own that lead them to being referred to as Mozarabs or al-mustaribun – ‘the arabized ones’ and where mostly of Arian, Unitarian faith. The earliest Andalusian pottery centre has been dated to 850 in Pechine (Bajana) where the first glazed pottery has been found. By 900 AD glazed pottery was being made in Cordoba, Seville, Toledo, Valencia and other cities – one and a half centuries before it was made in Europe. Cotton and moreover, silk production was learnt by the Muslims from the Chinese and was introduced into alAndalus through the silk routes during the middle of the 9 th Century. Abd al-Rahman II set up royal workshops for the
weaving of silk, wool and cotton garments that were inscribed with his name and were gifted to dignitaries and officials as robes of honour. By the 10th century, distinctly Andalusian designs were being produced which included human and animals figures, floral and vegetative patterns and were often bordered by a band of kufik calligraphy. Cordoba artists visited the east to learn new techniques which they applied in the royal workshops of Madinat alZarha and in Cordoba there where 5000 embroiderers, both men and women, making up an entire district of the city (one of the 32 districts in Cordoba at that time). The brocades of al-Andalus won fame and were exported to the east and sold in Damascus, Baghdad and other further flung cities. In Egypt, Fatimid rulers sent out gifts of silk cloth and carpets made in al-Andalus. Almeria became renowned throughout the Islamic world for its brocaded textiles, which it exported to Christian Europe and Byzantium. Though we cannot under mind the importance of cotton and silk in a more prominent function, the production of paper. Paper was the key to the spreading of knowledge in all sciences. It was through these early paper production techniques that the libraries in Cรณrdoba could enjoy the richest sources in knowledge of all sciences and could compete with cities such as Alexandria, Damascus or the very Baghdad.
Following the time of Abd al-Rahman II, there was a slow decline of the power of the Umayyad Caliphate in alAndalus until Abd al-Rahman III came to power in 912 and reigned for 49 years. Islamic power in al-Andalus reached its peak during these years as Abd al-Rahman III, breaking free from the Abbasids in Baghdad, Abd al-Rahman III built the strongest navy along North Africa, to be used for commerce and protection. He entertained ambassadors from places such as Byzantium, Germany, France and Italy. Commerce and agriculture flourished and so did arts, sciences and technology, reaching its peak with important manuscripts describing theory and biographies of the eminent scholars of al-Andalus. During the Caliphate period, Cordoba had up to eight hundred fountains and six hundred public baths. There is discussion over the population figure of the capital of alAndalus, Cordoba, some say it didn't have more than 300.000 inhabitants, an enormous figure for the Muddle Ages, though others go further to say it had up to 1 million and over. Whichever the case, It was one of the three largest cities in the world, along with Constantinople and Baghdad. The other most populated Hispano-Muslim towns where Sevilla, with around 83.000 inhabitants; Toledo with 37.000; Granada and Badajoz, with 26.000; together with Zaragoza and Valencia with 15.500. Around each city
resided large rural communities going from the flat fields to the very top of mountains where we would frequently find temples and key defensive fortresses. To this population we must also add a generous figure for travellers, who would come by earth or sea, to benefit from this harmonious civilisation, ahead of it's time. During the time of the Taifa kings, poetry and music continued to be highly popular and to flourish. Some princes became accomplished singers and musicians. One such prince was Al-Mutamid who ruled in Seville from 1069-91. Seville became known as the capital for literature and the arts as well as a centre for the manufacture of musical instruments. Toledo and Zaragoza were particularly known for philosophy and science. Even during the time of the Almohads (1088-1145), when a more puritanical climate swept the country and music declined in popularity and quality, Islamic philosophy and science matured and began to make its way into Europe. Muslims and non-Muslims often came from abroad to study in the famous libraries and universities of alAndalus after the Reconquista of Toledo in 1085. The most noted of these was Michael Scot (c.1175 to c. 1235), who took the works of Ibn Rushd ("Averroes") and Ibn Siena ("Avicenna") to Italy. This transmission was to have a significant impact on the formation of the European
Renaissance. On the other hand even as the Catholics took over alAndalus, they continued to make use of the fine Muslim craftsmen in their territories. The traditional Muslim Andalusi styles under Spanish Christian rule in architecture, gardening, music, and most textile crafts is known as "mudejar", or ''adopted'' in Arabic language. Buildings were built that looked just like their Muslim predecessors, save for the inclusion of Spanish Christian motives within the otherwise Muslim decorative scheme.
13. CITIES AND MONUMENTS VISITED DURING THE TOUR 13.1. - CĂ“RDOBA Some 140 Km south of Navas de Tolosa, lies the capital of the Caliphate of Al-Andalus, Cordoba. During our sightseeing day, we will witness the unique culture and historic buildings from the Caliphal period of Al-Andalus (929-1031). Prior to Cordoba being a caliphate, al-Andalus was kept together as an Emirate since 750 and ruled from Cordoba by the Umaya family. We will visit Cordoba's main Mosque, which contains many secrets as it stands witness to History. Nowadays the mosque is used as a Cathedral since its reform in the mid 16th Century.
We'll also visit what was effectively the first Parliament in Europe. The Palatial City of Medinat al Zahra from where the government organized and commissioned taxes that were collected from as far as the silk and gold routes reached: eastwards to China and India and southwards to Senegal and deeper into Africa! Although the Court city only lasted just under 100 years, it symbolizes the climax of Muslim Spain, the Umayyad Caliphate and its downfall. After this period the Caliphate fell into smaller units or provinces becoming fortified Kingdoms in themselves. As we penetrate into Andalusia we will at times have views of fortress cities surrounded by olive tree fields that stretch to the horizon. The River GuadalQuivir (Kabir) from Cordoba to Sevilla, makes it's way through the 'campiĂąa': fields planted with sunflowers, wheat and corn, a s well as olive, orange and other fruit orchards. It was here that during the Caliphal period up to 10.000 arrows and 2.000 bows where fabricated monthly, and it was also the land which bread the best 'arabian' horses. 13.2.- SEVILLA The ongoing battles against the Christians in the northern front, which was now settled well beyond Toledo, led the Almoravids in Sevilla to call in the more radical
Almohads from Northern Africa for support. Sevilla is where the Almoravids settled in the early 11th Century, taking over Cordoba and the entire west of Andalucia. This, in turn, served to further intensify the already existing divisions in Islamic Spain. A turning point in history was the battle of Navas de Tolosa, already mentioned above, which took place in 1212 a.C. The Catholic-Christian alliance took over Cordoba in 1236 a.C. and Sevilla in 1248 a.C. The highly fortified Granada Kingdom remained stretched along the southern mountain ridges from Gibraltar to Murcia. This was the last Muslim Kingdom in Spain, and lasted for another 250 years. During this last period of Muslim rule, Sevilla became an important capital to the Christian monarchs, whom in a later period would become friendly with the Muslim sultans of Granada, receiving not only taxes but all sorts of gifts, arts and crafts. A witness of this is the incredible Alcazar Palace of Sevilla, â€œcommissioned by Christian kings, built by Muslim craftsmen and financed by Jewish bankersâ€? it is again a symbol of the tolerance and balance between these three cultures. i) THE GIRALDA: The Giralda was the minaret of the major Almohad mosque in Seville, and, together with the orange tree courtyard are it's only remains. The minaret was constructed
between 1184 and 1198 although the mosque was previous and was joined to the Alkasr by a threading wall, since it also had a defensive function. The tower had a spiral ramp inside sustained by volts; you could access to the top on horseback. It's interior is square, the four fronts are divided in three vertical ramps each and in the middle ramps there where open windows and balconies and the middle ramps where decorated by rhombus patterns, an Almohad characteristic. The tower concluded by a semi-spheric copper ornamentation crowned by decreasing similar copper spheres, all of this over a second smaller body of the tower. An earthquake in 1356 destroyed the upper part of the tower. In the XVI century, the current body of bells was installed, finished off by a round ball with a sculpture representing Christian faith in bronx, which at its time turned, being named â€œel Giraldilloâ€?, 'the little turner', after which the Giralda is named. 13.3. -
There was a time when the entire Christian Peninsula was said to live off the taxes collected from the Kingdom of Granada, this was the price the prosperous Muslim Kingdom paid to remain in peace. Although not all times were equally stable. Just over two centuries later, Isabel the Catholic of
Castille and Fernando II of Aragon, would unite in a marriage that would prove itself deadly to “heretics” (Muslims and Jews). Having established the 'Holy Inquisition' in 1480, this would be the the beginning of a violent farewell to Islam in Spain. You will note as you approach Granada the town of Santa Fé. This town was founded by Isabel and Fernando after the Christian army had camped at the site for 10 years, in their siege of the city of Granada. After this long and stalled checkmate around the city of Granada, the Kingdom was signed over to the Catholic Kings, in the Alhambra itself, by the last Muslim King of Granada: Muhammad Abu Abdullah in 1492, only after guaranteeing Muslim rights in his Kingdom. Witnessing what the Spirit of Al-Andalus once was, the Alhambra is home to to daily stream of 4-8 thousand visitors who glimpse in wonder at what was the motto of a time: ''Wa lã Galiba illallah'', ''There is no victor but God''. The display of beautiful Arabic invocations and reminders inscribed in palaces and gardens is echoed throughout the entire city as the Alhambra crowns the city, lying harmonious to the natural surroundings on the ledge of 'La Sabika'.
13.4. - TOLEDO Before Toledo we'll move through 'La Mancha', the Lands of Don Quixote, an imaginary literary figure through who's adventures we have an insight into the delicate intricacy of the later Christian period and heavy Inquisition beginning in the early 17th C. The book has much merit as a critic to the time since the Inquisition was a time when books would be burned and the authors tortured and then killed if thought to be heretic. This applied to Islamic, Jewish or any other publication not Catholic-Christian. Castilla La Mancha stretches across 300 km of vast plains until it reaches the Mountain range of Sierra Morena to the South. Here, just south of DespeĂąaperros Natural Park, you may want to watch out for 'Navas Tolosa' village, this was the setting to one of the most significant battles between Muslims and Christians, taking place in 1212 a.C. You will understand its specific importance within the different periods of Islamic Spain. Toledo itself was the historical capital of Spain before and after the Muslim period. The city has a specific importance during both the Muslim and Christian rule. It is said that Toledo was the place where modern Science was founded. After being taken from the Muslims in 1085 it served as a place of exchange of knowledge between the two
sides (11-13th C). Muslim literates were allowed to remain in Toledo long after its takeover. They were commissioned by Christian noblemen and royalty to translate and further develop the Sciences found in Al-Andalus and the rest of the Muslim world including Persia and the Middle East. One of the most interesting sites is an old mosque called ''Cristo de la Luz'' (Christ of Light) where we can indeed find inscribed the beginning of the Quranic verse of ''The Light''.
14. CONCLUSION The scope and interest of Al-Andalus is immense since Al-Andalus was in fact the first monarchic democracy to be established in Europe, in the IXth Century. As a foundation stone of Europe and the modern world, we should try to come close to Al-Andalus, learn more about it. We might find clues about our world, how to live in it better and avoid falling into the same mistakes. This is what Al-Andalus Experience is about, for you to get beyond the veils of your daily life and step into the true lands of Al-Andalus through it's generous heritage which can most be witnessed in Cordoba and Granada provinces.
Unfortunately there is a general miss culture which has lead to offering the worldwide public a 'historical pantomime' going as far as to bend history into a series of fables and chronicles which in many cases pay little tribute reality. This is well known to modern Spanish historians and researchers and we know exactly where the mistakes or 'black holes' are in both popular and official account of history. As an organization we are in touch with researchers and historians as well as publishers and editors, it is our intention to rediscover the true history of AlAndalus and weâ€™re working on several projects in this line. Through our tours we invite you to participate in the memory of Al-Andalus and also help you actively to discover it. Al-Andalus Experience originally emerged partly due to the lack of a service that goes about solving logistic problems for Muslim travellers in Spain. A great part of our team and collaborators are of Muslim faith and religion, hence we appreciate the needs and interests of Muslim travellers.
It is evident that our world needs to go beyond the veils and prejudice of labels, to hold respect for the diverse nature of humanity, if we are to walk into a peaceful and blessed future.
Please feel free to contribute to our edition by writing to us to: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for your interest and support.
Compiled and edited by: Ahmad Zaruq Summers, Granada, Spain. email@example.com
References: Así Vivieron en al-Andalus, la historia ignorada Jesús Greus. Historia General de al-Andalus Emilio González Ferrín. La Revolución Islámica en Occidente Ignacio Olagüe. Moorish Spain Richard Fletcher. Moorish culture in Spain Titus Buckhardt. The Arab Contribution to Islamic Art: From the Seventh to the Fifteenth Centuries Wijdan, Ali. . The Story of the Moors in Spain Lane-Pool, Stanley. Wikipedia The Free Enciclopedia. Special thanks to: Ahmad González, Duha Escudero, Abdennasser Nejari, Abdul Rahim Morad, Rahma Harrison, Tahira Whiteman, Munira Mendoza, Zak Whiteman, Nuria Ribelles, Amina González, Nuruddin Margarit, in particular. And to all of our supporters, partners and collaborators in Spain and around the world. THANK YOU!
TOUR ITINERARY PLAN:
Tuesday 28 Dec 2010 – FES – SEVILLA Late evening arrival in Sevilla.
Wednesday 29 Dec 2010 – SEVILLA Visit Riverside and Torre del Oro (10am). Visit Alkasr Palaces 11pm. Visit Giralda 'minarete' tower and the cathedral of Seville 13'30h. Mid day snacks. Transfer to Granada.
Thursday 30 Dec 2010 â€“ GRANADA Visit Alhambra palaces and gardens (min. 3Km walk). Visit Granada's mosque and Islamic center in the Albayzin, including surrounding areas and Mirador de San Nicolas. (min. 1,5 km walk). Visit Sacromonte area for views upon the Alhambra. (min. 1,0 km walk). Mid day prayer at Granada Albayzin mosque (vith view to Alhambra) this is by the famous viewing point of San Nicolas. Free evening for shopping, walking, or enjoying the hotel services.
Friday 31 Dec 2010 – CÓRDOBA 11 h. Calahorra tower museum of al-Andalus. 12'30 h. Visit Córdoba's historical Mosque. 13'30 h. Visit the Palace of the Kings and Caliphs (if time available). Explore the oldest medina area and it's surrounding walls. Break for snack and prayer at Salon de Te halal house in Córdoba. Mid day prayer at Salón de Té, Córdoba. 18'30 Depart to Seville.
Saturday 1 Jan 2011 – CÓRDOBA – TOLEDO MADRID Stop at Toledo for 4 h. Free time non guided visit. Arrive at Madrid, bus tour of the city. Check into Hotel.
SUNDAY 2 Jan 2011 - MADRID â€“ DEPARTURE Airport transfer to Madrid Barajas for departure. Prayer room available at Terminal 4 Barajas airport. Farewells and departure. End of our tour. Thank you for visiting us in AndalucĂa! Ahmad Zaruq Summers Founder and Manager Al-Andalus Experience, tours & events in Andalucia, Spain. www.alandalus-experience.com firstname.lastname@example.org Working in happy collaboration with: Abdul Rahim Morad, Managing Director Ibn Battuta, Islamic Tours www.ibnbattuta.net
An edition by Al-Andalus Experience in collaboration with Ibn Battuta & Gala Tours. ÂŠ Al-Andalus Experience 2011.
A historical revision from 711 to 1609, Islamic Spain.