A Few Days in Undulus / Spain By Mufti Taqi Usmani Sahib
1: Detail of the script of the wall of the Mexuar Hall in Al Hamra Palace: ِب إِ اَل هللا ( اَل غاال اOnly Allah is victorious.)
خاموش اذانیں ہیں تیری با ِد سحر میں Silent Azans reverberate in your dawn breeze
پوشیدہ تیری خاک میں سجدوں کے نشاں ہیں Hidden in your earth are the marks of prostrations
Contents A Few Days in Undulus ...................................................................................................... 3 In Laushah ..................................................................................................................... 10 At Al Hamra .................................................................................................................. 17 Qurtubah ....................................................................................................................... 21 Jami' Qurtubah .............................................................................................................. 24 Allah! Donâ€™t let a future visit of ours to a Masjid be in such helplessness! ................. 28 Al Wadi-l Kabir and its bridge...................................................................................... 30 In Madinatuz Zahra ....................................................................................................... 32 In Maliqah ..................................................................................................................... 38 Antaqirah....................................................................................................................... 40 Glossary ............................................................................................................................ 43
A Few Days in Undulus A conference was held recently at Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, organized jointly by Islamic Fiqh Academy and Islamic Development Bank (Jeddah). The topic for discussion was “the Shara'i Status of Contemporary Financial Transactions”. I too was supposed to participate. I started my journey by a PIA flight on the morning of 19 Rabi'ul Akhir 1410 AH (=18 Nov 1989). As there is no direct flight available for Rabat, I had to travel via Paris. The plane landed at Cairo too, and finally after spending 11 hours inside plane, we landed at Orli airport of Paris at 3 in the afternoon. After waiting for around four hours at the airport, I got my next flight at 7:30 pm. The Air France plane took us to Rabat where we landed at 9 pm Moroccan local time after three hours of flight. We were provided accommodations at the same Regency Hotel in one of whose halls the conference was to be held. I remained busy for five days in the meetings of the conference and the sub-meetings of its Presidential Board. Though we found occasions to go outside and visit different locations of Rabat city, the continual meetings inside and incessant rains outside ensured that we spent most of our time inside the hotel. Morocco is the nearest Muslim country to Spain. I had been eager to visit this part of the earth since childhood due to the splendid 800-year1 history of Muslims there. I had thought it would be great if I could make use of Spain’s proximity to Morocco and fulfill my desire to visit it. However, due to the busy schedule, it was not possible to spend much time on this. Additionally I needed a companion for this journey. Allah provided us with the means as the conference ended two days before schedule and I could not find a suitable flight for Karachi in these two days. On the other hand, my honorable friend Sa'id Ahmad Sahib, not only agreed to accompany my humble self on this journey but also took the responsibility for making all the arrangements for the journey. And he carried them out so well that I didn’t need to do anything. Our first plan was to go to Tanjah from Rabat by train, use a steamer to cross the Mediterranean Sea which would have taken us from Tanjah to Al Jaziratul Khazra port. But we had limited time and this route would have taken up an entire day, so we opted for traveling to Maliqah coast by flight. The conference ended in the evening of 23 Rabi'ul Akhir 1410 (=22 Nov 1989) and we left for Ad Darul Baiza (Casablanca) by car
It is 781 years from 711 to 1492. In 711, Muslims conquered Undulus. In 1492, the last remaining Muslim state of Granada fell to the invading Christians.
the next morning at 7. This journey takes two hours by road. On the right, the Atlantic coast accompanies the traveler while on the left, greenery covers the earth up to the skyline. On and off, small hamlets kept appearing. At around 9 in the morning, we reached Muhammad V Airport of Casablanca. At 9:30 am, the Spanish Iberian Airlines flight took off for Maliqah. After leaving Casablanca, it took 50 minutes to cross the sea, and in no time, we could see the Spanish coast and the buildings spread over Maliqah. It was 1:30 pm local time when the flight landed on the sprawling Maliqah airport. As for the detailed account of Maliqah, I will give that at the end, Allah willing. For now, it is sufficient to know that even in the times of Muslims, it was an important port-city, and momentous events of Undulus’ history are associated with it. When we were done with the immigration checks and all, after stepping out of the flight, it was nearly 2:30 in the afternoon. The journey to Garnatah from here was around 2.5 to 3 hours, so we performed Zuhr Salah at Garnatah airport itself. This was the land whose every inch had reverberated with the sounds of Takbir for 800 years, where perhaps no piece of land could be found without the imprints of Muslim prostrations. But today there was no one to tell us even the correct direction of Qiblah. We found out the Qiblah direction through compass and in a corner of the airport, both of us performed Zuhr Salah in congregation. In the land where every newborn child would first learn the declaration of Allah's Oneness and Muhammad's ﷺprophethood, and would first observe the performance of Salah, today the acts of our Salah were so unfamiliar and amazing for the local inhabitants that the passersby kept gazing and wondering at us. I had occasions to perform Salah at numerous places – at times, even public places – in America and Europe, yet nowhere else did I come across such an ignorance of the locals with the acts of Salah. Anyway, with feelings of longing and wistfulness, we completed our first Salah in the land of Undulus. Like other western nations, here too cars are available on rent for selfdriving. We hired a Fiat car for two days. Personally I had misgivings regarding this for the roads here were unknown to us and we didn't know the local language as well. So, driving on our own could get us into difficulties on our way. However, my friend and travel-companion took the challenge and undertook the responsibility of driving the car himself. We also found a map for traveling to Garnatah here, and with the help of this map, Sa'id Sahib started off for Garnatah. We had to make some effort to reach the highway leading to Garnatah, but soon enough on the city roads of Maliqah itself, road signs indicating the way to Garnatah started appearing. These signs had been erected at short distances at the right places with such continuality that we did not need to ask anyone afterwards. Following those signs, we came out of the dense habitations of Maliqah to a neat and clean highway leading to
Garnatah. Gradually, the clusters of city buildings came to an end giving space to a series of green-covered hills on both sides of the road. Up to our range of vision, enchanting olive trees spread upon the hills and in the intervening valleys. Observation was confirming in totality the descriptions that I had read about the natural beauty of Undulus in books of history and literature. This was the same land of Undulus which had played host to the 800-year-long history of the rise and fall of Muslims and whose stories had remained the center of my interest and the captivator of my heart since childhood. The eyes of imagination had made countless sketches of the land. The charming valleys of my imaginary world were now before my eyes where, it seemed, a movie of the events of the past 800 years was running. The people who had proclaimed the hymns of Takbir in the shade of swords had been stupefied with peacocks and tambor-strings, visual beauty and melodies, and had fallen into a deep slumber after impressing the world with their grandeur and glory for 800 years. Consequently, none of their emblems today stood untampered. Undulus, also known as Hispania2 and Spain, lies in the South-West of Europe. It borders France in its North and Portugal in its West. In its South and West, flows the Mediterranean Sea, also called the Roman Sea. Towards the Southern coast of Undulus, the Mediterranean Sea tapers off to a narrow water-strait through which it falls into the Atlantic Ocean. Nowadays, this strait is famous as Strait of Jabalut Tariq or Gibraltar. On the other end of this strait, the African continent begins whose west-most country is Morocco. In my travelogue of Algeria, I have written about the conquests of Morocco by 'Uqbah bin Nafi'. By the end of the first century AH, Muslims had gone conquering through the northern strip of Africa up to the Atlantic Ocean. A special feature of the Muslim power of the early centuries was that they were not driven by the imperialistic urge nor did they aim at the expansion of territorial area under their control. Instead, they had risen up with the mission of liberating Allah’s servants from the slavery of humans to the servitude of Allah. As a result, wherever the flags of their victories were hoisted, the rule of justice, equity, peace and amity was established. Naturally, the conquered people loved them instead of hating them. And the masses suffering from oppression and tyranny in the regions of land deprived of their rule would long for the Muslims to conquer their land and establish their reign.
It is said that the first peoples who inhabited this region after Nuh’s علیه السالمdeluge were called Undulush. The Arabs transformed the sh ( )شto s ()س, making it Undulus. Later on, a Roman king, called Ashban ruled this country. He also built the city of Ashbiliyah. The city of Ashbiliyah came to be known as Ashbaniyah. Gradually, the name began to be applied for the entire country. The corrupted form of Ashbaniyah is Hispaniyah or Spain. (Nafhuẗ T̈ib by Muqri, p. 130) 2
In those days, a Christian king ruled Spain who is called Roderic in English books of history and Luzariq in Arabic books. At the same time, a Berber chief Count Julian ruled over Sabtah on the Moroccan coast. Though Julian was a Christian, Roderic had made him his vassal making him pay regular tributes. Roderic was a tyrant. One of his disgusting practices was that he used to keep adolescent boys and girls of his subjects under his care under the pretext of royal education and training. He would then use them to fulfill his lust. An adolescent daughter of Julian too remained under Roderic’s care who later made her the instrument of his lust. The girl was able to communicate to her father Julian about her abuse and molestation. This created an irrepressible rage of hatred against Roderic and his state in Julian’s heart. This was the time when Muslims under the command of Musa bin Nusair had conquered most of North Africa. Julian headed to Musa bin Nusair with a delegation and solicited him to attack Spain and rescue the people from Roderic’s tyranny and oppression. At this request from Julian, Musa bin Nusair sought permission from Khalifah Walid bin 'Abdul Malik to attack Undulus. The Khalifah gave permission emphasizing the need for precaution. After this, Musa bin Nusair started by sending minor expeditions from Tanjah to Undulus to gain a wise estimate of the ground situation. When these expeditions succeeded, Musa bin Nusair sent a large army under the command of Tariq bin Ziyad to attack Spain. Tariq bin Ziyad’s army comprised 7000 Muslims. Four large ships were used to transport them from Tanjah to Undulus. The ships kept transporting the soldiers for several days till the entire army landed upon the coast of Spain which till today is well-known as Jabalut Tariq. According to reports, when Tariq bin Ziyad boarded the ship to Undulus, he fell asleep a short while later. In his dream, he saw the noble Prophet and chief of both the worlds, Muhammad ﷺ. Tariq saw him, the rightly-guided Khalifahs and some other companions, armed with swords and bows, walking on the sea and going towards Undulus. When the Prophet ﷺpassed by Tariq bin Ziyad, he urged: “Tariq! Keep marching.” Then, Tariq saw that the Prophet ﷺand his holy companions overtook him and entered Undulus before him. On getting up, Tariq was quite delighted. He had received the tidings of victory over Undulus. He announced this good news to his companions which raised the morale of the Mujahids by leaps and bounds3.
Nafhut Tib, vol. 1 p. 239
According to legends, when the entire army had gathered on the Undulus coast, Tariq put his ships to fire, to ensure that no path other than victory or death was left for the army. Iqbal has put this legend to verse in these couplets of his: کار تو بہ نگا ِہ خرد خطاست ِ گفتند
طارق چو بر کنارۂ اندلس سفینہ سوخت
When Tariq put the ships to fire on the Undulus coast
People said, “In the eyes of intellect, you have made a mistake.”
ترک سبب زروئے شریعت کجا رواست؟ ِ
دوریم از سوا ِد وطن باز چوں رسیم؟
We are far away from our fatherland, how will we be able to return?
Even the Shari'ah doesn’t allow doing away with material means.
ملک خدائے ماست ملک ماست کہ ہر ملک ِ ِ
ت خویش بہ شمشیر برد وگفت ِ خندید ودس
He smiled, took his sword in his hand, and said,
“Every country is our country, since Allah’s country is our country.
Tariq had landed with his army on the coast of Jabalul Fath aka Jabalut Tariq. He was able to conquer the coastal strip up to Al Jaziratul Khazra without any notable resistance. But after that, Roderic sent his famous commander Theodomir with a huge army to confront Tariq. Several battles took place between him and the Muslim army one after the other, and in every battle he had to suffer defeat. As a result of continual losses, he lost his courage, and wrote to his king Roderic, “Only God knows whether the people I am fighting have come down from the heavens or gushed up from the earth. The only way to confront them is for you to face them with an unprecedentedly huge army.” On getting this message from his commander-in-chief, Roderic formed a massive army of 70,000 soldiers and marched towards Tariq. On this side, Musa bin Nusair dispatched a reinforcement of 5000 Mujahids to support Tariq bin Ziyad. Now Tariq bin Ziyad’s army had grown to the strength of 12,000. Julian’s army, probably, was in addition to this. When the two armies faced each other at Lakkah Valley, Tariq delivered the historic speech which till today has been reported by an amazingly large number of reporters. Each and every word of the speech indicates Tariq’s courage, determination and valor. Some of the sentences of this speech are: “People! Where is the place for you to flee? Behind you lies the sea and in front of you the enemy. So, by Allah, the only option left for you is to stand true to your vow with your Lord and be steadfast. Remember, you are more helpless in this peninsula than the
orphans sitting on the dining spread of a miser. The enemy has arrived with its entire army and store of weapons to confront you. They also have food in ample quantity. As for you, there is no shelter except your swords. You have no provision except what you win from your enemy. If a long time passes without you gaining a remarkable victory, you will lose courage. Your awe that envelopes the hearts of your enemies will be replaced by impertinence and effrontery. To avoid this gloomy end, there is only one way. And that is to stand up to this despotic ruler with steely steadfastness, whom his secure city has presented before you. If you prepare yourself for death, it is possible to make use of this rare opportunity. “Never have I frightened you with a task from which I have kept a safe distance. Nor have I ever urged you to a mission – where the cheapest capital is human life – without beginning it myself. Know well that if you are able to endure today’s hardship, you will get to relish the delight and comfort for a long period. “Allah’s help and support is with you. This deed of yours will serve as a memento to you in this world as well as in the hereafter. Remember that I am the first one to present myself for the mission I am urging you towards. When the two armies clash, it is my resolve to attack the most wicked individual of the enemy community, Roderic. And Allah willing, I will kill him by my own hands. “March forward and attack with me. If I die after Roderick is killed, I will have relieved you of Roderick’s responsibility. And there is no dearth of valiant and intelligent people among you to whom you can assign your command. If I meet my Lord before reaching Roderic, it is your duty to take my place in fulfilling this vow of mine. Continue with the charge, all of you, together. Instead of worrying about the entire peninsula, just take up the responsibility of doing away with this individual. That will be sufficient for you, as the enemy will lose courage after that.4”
The original Arabic words are: ، واعلموا أنّكم في هذہ الجزیرة أضیع من األیتام، ولیس لكم وهللا إَل الصدق والصبر،والعدو أمامكم ، أین المفر؟ البحر من ورائكم،أیّها الناس ّ وَل أقوات إَلّ ما تستخلصونه من أیدي، وأنتم َل وزر لكم إَل سیوفكم، وأقواته موفورة،عدوكم بجیشه وأسلحته ّ وقد استقبلكم،في مأدبة اللئام فادفعوا عن، وتعوضت القلوب من رعبها منكم الجراءة ا علیكم، وإن امتدّت بكم األیام على افتقاركم ولم تنجزوا لكم أمرا ً ذهبت ریحكم،عدوكم ّ ّ ، فقد ألقت به إلیكم مدینته الحصینة،أنفسكم خذَلن هذہ العاقبة من أمركم بمناجزة هذا الطاغیة وإن انتهاز الفرصة فیه لممكن إن سمحتم واعلموا أنّكم إن، وَل حملتكم على خط ٍة أرخص متاعٍ فیها النفوس إَلّ وأنا أبدأ بنفسي، وإنّي لم أحذّركم أمرا ً أنا عنه بنجوة،ألنفسكم بالموت ّ وقد بلغكم ما أنشأت،ي صبرتم على ّ فما حظكم فیه بأوفى من حظ، فال ترغبوا بأنفسكم عن نفسي،ً استمعتم باألرفه األلذّ طویال،ًاألشق قلیال المقصورات في قصور الملوك، والحلل المنسوجة بالعقیان،الدر والمرجان ّ الرافالت في، من بنات الیونان،هذہ الجزیرة من الحور الحسان ثقةً منه،ً ورضیكم لملوك هذہ الجزیرة صهاراً وأختانا،ً وقد انتخبكم الولید بن عبد الملك أمیر المؤمنین من األبطال عربانا،ذوي التیجان ّ لیكون، واستماحكم بمجالدة األبطال والفرسان،للطعان ّ بارتیاحكم ولیكون، وإظهار دینه بهذہ الجزیرة،حظه منكم ثواب هللا على إعالء كلمته ً ّ ب مجی ل أو ي ن أ واعلموا ،الدارین في ا ذكر لكم یكون ما على إنجادكم ي ول تعالى وهللا ،سواكم المؤمنین دون ومن دونه من لكم خالصة مغنمها ٍ ّ ّ فإن هلكت بعدہ، فاحملوا معي، وأنّي عند ملتقى الجم اعین حام ٌل بنفسي على طاغیة القوم لذریق فقاتله إن شاء هللا تعالى،إلى ما دعوتكم إلیه ، احملوا بأنفسكم علیه، وإن هلكت قبل وصولي إلیه فاخلفوني في عزیمتي هذہ، ولم یعوزكم بط ٌل عاقل تسندون أموركم إلیه،فقد كفیتكم أمرہ . فإنهم بعدہ یخذلون،واكتفوا اله ّم من فتح هذہ الجزیرة بقتله Nafhut Tib by Muqri, vol. 1, pp. 225-226; Al Maktabatush Shamilah: 1/240-241
Tariq’s companions were already enthused with the spirit of Jihad and yearning for martyrdom. This speech of Tariq blew a new spirit in them. They fought in the battle of Lakkah Valley completely disregarding their own bodies and lives. The battle continued for eight days without a break leading to large heaps of dead bodies. In the end, victory and triumph was achieved by the Muslims. Roderic’s army fled in complete disarray. Roderic himself died in this historic battle. Some reports say that he was killed by Tariq bin Ziyad himself. According to others, his rider-less horse was found near the river which suggested that he died by drowning himself in it. This victory of the Lakkah Valley which the Muslims achieved after the grueling battle extending over a week proved to be the preface for Muslims’ entry into Europe. This had opened the doors of Europe for the Muslims. After this, the Muslims kept marching ahead winning all the cities of Undulus. They also succeeded in conquering Tulaitulah (Toledo), the then capital of Undulus. They continued their advance till they reached the foot of Pyrenees Mountains (at the French border in the north). After conquering Undulus, the Muslims ruled here for 800 years during which they lit exemplary lamps of knowledge, scholarship, culture and civilization, making this region the most developed of all countries at the time. With the collation of these historic events arrayed in our imaginations, we continued on our way to Garnatah. There was light cloud in the sky and the road wound itself through small green hills. On the surface of hills and in the intervening valleys, beautiful trees of olive were spread up to the skyline in near-perfect geometric arrangements. The eyes of imagination could see the courageous caravans of the Mujahids of Islam ascending and descending the terrain. This day, our car seemed to swim through the squeaky-clean road which when obstructed by a mountain carved its way by slicing a tunnel through it. But 1300 years ago, the caravans of desert-dwellers had walked through these challenging terrains supported only by their fortitude and conviction and had finally reached the foot of Pyrenees mountains. Iqbal had said the following verses in the tongue of Tariq bin Ziyad as tribute to these Allah-loving Mujahids only: ق خدائی ِ جنہیں تو نے بخشا ہے ذو
یہ غازی یہ تیرے پُر اسرار بندے
These Mujahids, these mysterious servants of yours
Whom you have bestowed with godliness
سمٹ کر پہاڑ اُن کی ہیبت سے رائی
دو نیم ان کی ٹهوکر سے صحرا ودریا
Deserts and rivers get split apart into two by their kicks
Mountains collapse into dust by their awe.
At short distances, small hamlets and some mid-sized towns kept passing by. Their names suggested that they were the corrupted forms of Arabic words. For example, there was a comparatively larger town on the way, named Casabermeja. Casa is, in fact, the altered form of the Arabic word qasr. It was clear that the city must have born the name Qasr e Barmajah. As the entire region is mountainous, there would be at least one hill in every village and town. At the peak of the mountain, a prominent church would be visible, whose minaret would be similar to the minarets of Undulus mosques. As an edict was issued a short while after Undulus’ fall to convert all the mosques in the country to churches, in all likelihood, these churches constructed over hilltops and having minarets of same style everywhere must have been mosques in the past, and the voice of five-times Azan must have echoed from them. Now, the same minarets appeared to be lamenting in their metaphorical tongues: کیا وہ تکبیر اب ہمیشہ کے لیے خاموش ہے
زمزموں سے جس کے لذت گیر اب تک گوش ہے
Have the Takbirs whose melodies are still enchanting the ear
gone silent forever?
In Laushah As we wanted to reach Garnatah before sunset, Sa'id Sahib was driving the car at electric pace. At the same time, I was narrating various incidents of Undulus’ history which he was listening to with keen interest, and with feelings of longing and wistfulness. After nearly two hours of travel, the markings of a large city started appearing. I guessed it to be the suburbs of Garnatah. But no, we found out the city-name on a road sign after some time: Lojah. I was struck with wonder. I presumed it to be the altered form of the famous Undulus city of Laushah. And so it was, as we came to know later on through enquiry. It was the same Laushah about which I had read in books countless number of times. The renowned historian, minister and literary figure of Undulus, Lisanuddin Ibnul Khatib (d. 776AH) belonged to this city. He is the same Lisanuddin Ibnul Khatib whose book Al Ihatah fi Akhbari Garnatah5 is considered the most authoritative history of Garnatah. To commemorate him, Muqri compiled his famous book Nafhuẗ T̈ib comprising 10 volumes which turned out to be the best book on political, academic, literary and cultural history of the whole of Undulus. It was the same Laushah which had the status of the most developed and well-known city of Garnatah in the Muslim era. Great luminaries of science and literature were born here. In the last days, countless epics of valor and sacrifice were executed during battles with Christians. When the Catholic king Ferdinand of Qashtalah attacked this city in 887 AH
Al Ihatah fi Akhbari Garnatah =Comprehensive compilation of reports of Granada
(=1482 CE), 3000 volunteers under the leadership of Shaikh 'Ali Al 'Attar formed an Alexandrian wall of resolution and fortitude. These martyrdom-seekers forced Ferdinand’s multitudinous army to retreat and protected the city with their blood and sweat. Four years later, Ferdinand invaded the city once again, but this time much more than the weapons of arrows and swords, he wielded the weapons of deceit, treachery, and conspiracies of internal traitors. Consequently, this city was snatched away from the Mulsims even before Garnatah, in such a tragic manner that today, it is necessary to turn over the pages of books to recognize its name. Garnatah lies at nearly 25 miles east of Laushah. So, after departing from Laushah, we reached the outskirts of Garnatah city in less than half an hour. Having entered the city we knew neither of any road, nor the address of any hotel. We parked our car at a crossroad to enquire about the address of a hotel from a nearby shop, but we failed because we could not speak the local language. Here, English-speakers are seen very rarely. It’s the same throughout almost the entire Europe. Whichever country you visit other than Britain, the locals will not only be unfamiliar with English language, but will in fact actively dislike it. Every country speaks its own language and is proud of it. Only in our Asian and African countries we find this slavish mindset that English language is taken as the pinnacle of knowledge and accomplishment. People feel smug about their capability to speak and write English to the extent that they have even deformed the fair shape of their own languages. They have pushed their own languages to oblivion by forcibly inserting English words without any reasonable need. Anyhow, we could not find any English speaker at nearby shops. Sa'id Sahib had seen a tourist center at some distance and he felt there must be someone there to understand English. He got off the car to get the information. As the car was parked at an insecure location, I remained seated in it. When I cast my looks around myself, I found the name of the road where we were parked to be “Alpujarra Road”. Certainly, this was a corrupted form of Al Fijarah which had been an old locality in Garnatah. All the current names in Undulus starting with “Al” have Arabic origins and some reflection easily guides to their Arabic roots. After some time, Sa'id Sahib returned with the information. The largest hotel in Garnatah was Hotel Luz not far away from where we were. After a little search, we could see the hotel. There was a reasonable space for parking too in the hotel cellar. So, we parked the car there and entered the hotel. We were to stay at the 11th floor. When we peered out of the balcony of our hotel, we found a large section of Garnatah city before our eyes. Some medieval-style buildings were distinguishable. Behind them, the snow-capped peaks of Sierra Nevada presented a captivating sight. Garnatah lies at the foot of Sierra Nevada. How many an exemplary manifestations of world revolutions these snow-capped hills had witnessed in the valley below it! Countless cavalcades of conquerors and numerous funeral processions of vanquished had passed by them. A fair number of civilizations
entered here playing the music of festivity, but in the end were buried in an atmosphere heavy with mourning and lamentations. The peaks of Sierra Nevada have been witnessing this spectacle for centuries and had they possessed some tongue, they would have commented: ہوتا ہے شب و روز تماشا میرے آگے
بازیچہ اطفال ہے دنیا میرے آگے ٔ
The world is like a child’s toy before me,
A cinema gets played out before me every day and night.
Garnatah is derived from the Latin word grānātum meaning seeded and the Spanish word granada meaning pomegranate. The city was named Garnatah on account of some unknown association. When the Muslims conquered Undulus, there was no city by this name initially, and the region where the present-day Garnatah is located was called Al Birah. When the city of Garnatah was built around 4th century AH, Al Birah city was merged into it, and the whole became famous as Garnatah. From then on, this city has been the most exquisite and well-developed center of civilization in Undulus. Owing to its enchanting landscape, fine climate, admirable natural and human resources, in fact in all aspects, this city used to be considered Paradise-like. In its south-east, lay the snowcapped peaks which are a part of Sierra Nevada mountain range. On one of its ends passed the Shinil river, which is nowadays called GeNil river. It is the same river describing which Lisanuddin Ibnul Khatib had said the famous literary quote: وألف منه في ِشنِیلها
لمصر تفخر بنیلها وما ٍ
How can Egypt pride itself on its Nile
When Garnatah possesses a thousand Niles?
The notable point in this couplet is that the numerical equivalent of the letter ( شsh) was 1000 according to the Maghribites. As Shinil is formed by adding the letter ( شsh) to Nil, Lisanuddin made up the premise that Shinil excels the Nil (Nile) by a thousand times. In addition to its mountain and river, Granada was a city of lush pastures, evergreen meadows and lovely waterfalls. Praising it, Lisanuddin had said: والریاض ِعذارہ ّ وجهٌ جمیل
الریاض كأنّه ّ ف به ّ بلد ٌ ت ُح
Orchards surround the city as if
It is a charming face whose cheeks are the gardens,
سوارہ ومن الجسور المحكمات ِ ُ
Its river looks like the wrist of a delicate girl
ٍصم غاداة وكأنّما وادیه ِمع ا whose bangles are formed by the tenacious bridges
The region was quite rich in natural resources too with mines of gold, silver, lead and iron. It produced blue vitriol and silk and its forests boasted of varieties of fragrant woods. In short, Allah had made this region affluent with all kinds of resources, and so it continued to be the capital of Muslims for ages. When the Muslim flags got lowered in other regions of Undulus, Muslims all over Undulus made it their last refuge. This increased its population manifold, making it the largest and the most developed city of Undulus. Knowledge and scholarship were so prevalent here that its universities were renowned all over the world for their high academic standards and students from royal families of Christian Europe considered learning here a mark of pride. The Muslims reigned over this region for over 800 years. They lit lamps of refined culture and noble civilization which were matchless in the then world. However, when the abundance of resources led them to the path of luxury and opulence, and the control of religion over them and the concern for Hereafter in their life started slackening, this advancement of culture and civilization could not save them from falling into the abyss of decline. This was the Garnatah where in the past the sights of non-Muslim envoys would get dazzled. It was the same Garnatah where Abu 'Abdullah surrendered the keys of the city to Ferdinand and Isabella to get his life pardoned7 and he considered it a great achievement for himself. It was also the lot of Garnatah to witness the burning of knowledge and scholarship in the form of Arabic books – the repositories of knowledge and scholarship – for weeks at a stretch. Its mosques were transformed into churches, its Muslims converted to Christianity by sword, its women robbed of their chastity and honor, and life in this land was made so unbearable for the Muslims that after some time, no sign of a Shahadah--proclaimer was left here. Perhaps no other place in the world witnessed such an agonizing history of Mulsims’ rise and fall. Sa'id Sahib and I stood watching Sierra Nevada and the sprawling city in its foothills, while the shadows of these historical events lingered before our eyes of imagination till the sun set down. We couldn’t have proper meal at noon, so we were feeling somewhat hungry. We thought of going down and looking for some halal, lawful food which would also give us an opportunity of excursion into the city. The dining hall of our hotel had not opened yet, so we planned to find something in a nearby restaurant. We came out of the hotel and found that we were in one of the busy, crowded and fashionable city-centers. We visited
Al Ihatah fi Akhbari Garnatah by Lisanuddin Ibnul Khatib (d. 776 AH): 1/25 (Al Maktabatush Shamilah) On January 2, 1492 Muhammad XII of Granada (King Boabdil) surrendered the Emirate of Granada, the city of Granada, and the Alhambra palace. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granada_War) 7
several restaurants in the vicinity only to find that none of them would open up for meals before 8 in the night. We kept walking along the main road on which our hotel lay. After a short walk we found a board displaying Alhambra and an arrow on it pointed towards the way to it. We started on the way as indicated in the board. After a short walk, we were at a cross-road, where the roadside board giving the direction to Al Hamra was pointing right. We turned right into a relatively narrow street flanked by a long series of shops. On the right and left, there were a large number of old-style narrow lanes whose construction style bore witness to their old age. It seemed like we were in the old part of Garnatah. In a coffee house on this road, we took tea, and then proceeded on the road hoping that there might be some ancient monument of old days existing even now. A brief stroll later, we could see an ancient, splendid stone structure beside a medievalstyle crossroad which was the highest and most outstanding of all the surrounding buildings. Its top was adorned with the same kind of tetrahedral, tall minaret as we had seen frequently on our way from Maliqah. Its architectural style indicated that it could be some magnificent mosque. We walked towards it with enthusiasm. A couple of beggars were begging at its gate. The main gate of the building, made of robust chocolate-colored wood appeared closed, but a small door within the large one was open. We could enter through it by lowering our heads. When we got inside, we found a dark verandah on whose sides there were two large gates to enter the building. The left gate was closed, so it was possible to enter the building only through the right. We peeked inside through it and found it to be a church where a congregation of Christians was performing its religious rituals. We came out of the building but my heart kept asserting that this building must have belonged to a mosque which was later altered into a church. My deduction proved right. A little investigation told us that this building was originally Jami' Garnatah which had been altered to a church. Long ago it used to be the largest Jami' Masjid of the splendid city of Garnatah. It felt as if something hard and painful had struck the heart. Over the grand mosque where zealots of monotheism had performed prostrations of devotion before their Lord for centuries and from where the call of Azan had risen aloft five times a day to bless and illuminate the entire surroundings, today the dark shadows of disbelief and polytheism hovered. خاموش اذانیں ہیں تیری با ِد سحر میں
پوشیدہ تیری خاک میں سجدوں کے نشاں ہیں
Hidden in your earth are the marks of prostrations,
Silent Azans linger in your morning breeze.
The Christians who had usurped the kingdom of Undulus from Muslims were extremely bigoted, narrow-minded and depraved. A while after establishing their rule over this place, they issued an order to convert all the mosques into churches. Consequently, all the
magnificent mosques of Undulus were transformed to churches. This majestic mosque too fell prey to this tyrannical decree. Even worse, the graves of the Christian conquerors of Garnatah, Ferdinand and Isabella were constructed in this mosque. Owing to this intolerant ideology, no mosque now remains in Undulus. Some Western writers have defended this Christian act of converting mosques to churches claiming that this was an act of vengeance on the part of Christians, as the Muslims had, in their opinion, converted many churches into mosques earlier in their conquered regions. The Christians retaliated in kind and converted mosques into churches. Actually, this response from Christians is a gross injustice to truth and facts. First, the incidents of Muslims converting churches to mosques are rare. Then, nowhere in the lands conquered by Muslims do we find anything even remotely comparable to what was done to the mosques in Undulus: no remains were left of even a single mosque in the entire country. According to the Shari'ah ruling in Islam, if Muslims conquer a region by sword through battle, not through truce, then they have full authority over the lands and buildings of the conquered land. This authority also includes doing away with a non-Muslim place of worship, if necessary, or converting them into mosques. In spite this, Muslim conquerors have rarely used this lawful authority. Though at some places, churches were converted to mosques owing to some necessity or exigency, the overwhelming number of non-Muslim places of worship were left as they were. But in the regions which were won by truce – particularly where the truce also included keeping the non-Muslim places of worship safe – not even a single incident occurred in history – or at least I haven’t found yet – when a non-Muslim place of worship was demolished by force or converted into a mosque. Contrary to this, Garnatah was not conquered through battle. They won it through truce by a written agreement. Before taking control of Garnatah’s Al Hamra palace from Abu 'Abdullah, Ferdinand and Isabella had already signed a written agreement consisting of 67 clauses. The following conditions were quite clearly mentioned in the agreement: 1. No harm will be done to the lives and properties of Muslims, whether rich or poor. They will be free to reside wherever they wished. 2. Christians will not interfere in religious matters of Muslims. They will not create any hindrance to the performance of religious rituals. 3. Masjids and religious endowments (waqfs) will exist as before. 4. No Christian shall enter a mosque. 5. In judicial matters pertaining to Muslims, Islamic Shari'ah rulings will be followed. 6. The Christians who have embraced Islam will not be coerced into reverting to Christianity. If a Muslim wants to convert to Christianity, a Muslim and a
Christian official will together investigate to ascertain that there has been no coercion upon the Muslim.8 After putting their signatures to this agreement, they did not consider it worth more than a lifeless piece of paper. There was not a single clause in the agreement which was not brazenly breached and flagrantly violated. True that the eyes of Ferdinand, Isabella and their contemporary Christian priests were covered with the foul-smelling blinders of bigotry, but what can explain the so-called liberal historians presenting lame justifications on their behalf? Most astonishingly, these self-proclaimed liberals continue with their unsuccessful quest for some shadow of rationality and fairness even in this inhuman violation of fairness and truth. The only correct explanation that can be put forward for this event is the misfortune of Muslims’ sins, and nothing else! Our hearts reeling in a world of shock and trauma, we walked ahead of that building. Once again we kept following the road signs indicating the way to Al Hamra. In this way, we had to pass by several streets and lanes in succession. The entire locality was the old part of Garnatah. One more magnificent and ancient building came into our view on the way. There was also a crowd of youths there. We learnt that it was a university. Later enquiries revealed that its name was La Madraza9, evidently the corrupted form of Al Madrasah (Islamic seminary). In the Muslim Age, it was the largest madrasah of Garnatah where students from not only Garnatah but also from remote European and West African countries would come for education. Only Allah knows how many notable men of letters from our history had kept the streams of knowledge and scholarship flowing on. Today, it is not possible to even count their number or know their names. The inner eye could see the likes of 'Allamah Shatibi, Ibnul Khatib, Abul Hasan Ibnul Imam – Allah’s mercy be upon all of them – walking and strolling. Later on, I read in an English booklet on Garnatah's introduction that in the Islamic age, this building was considered one of the most magnificent in Garnatah. Its main gate was made of marble topped by a horseshoe-shaped arch. The ceiling had stunning and intricate decorations and Arabic texts were inscribed over the windows. The booklet also says that it was a grand university of Muslims from where Ibnul Fajjar, Ibne Marzuq, Abul Barakat, Balfani, Ibnut Tausi and Ibn Faifa had graduated. Sultan Yusuf I had constructed this university. Then, in the days of Christian reign, Charles I vandalized it
The detailed clauses of the agreement are very long. Only some of them have been mentioned here. For further details, refer the Arabic book Nafhut Tib 6/277, and the Urdu book Khilafat e Undulus by Nawab Zul Qadr Jang, p.299. 9 The Madrasah of Granada (Spanish: Madraza de Granada, also Yusufiyya, Casa de la Ciencia, Palacio de la Madraza) was a Madrasah or mosque school in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was founded in 1349 by the Nasrid monarch Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. The building is currently part of the University of Granada and is the seat of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de Nuestra Señora de las Angustias ("Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Our Lady of Sorrows"). (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrasah_of_Granada)’
and restructured it into a modern university in 1526. He also made many alterations to the building. Once we moved ahead of Al Madrasah we found ourselves winding through the lanes and then back at the main road originating from our hotel. The road ended at a large square at whose center there was a statue and a streaming fountain. The square was called BibRambla. Through research, I learnt that in the Muslim Age, it was the largest square of Garnatah known as Mayadan Babur Ramlah. Bib-Rambla was its corrupted form. Several roads originate from this square to different directions. Their names too are medieval and Islamic. For example, one of them is Zacatin which was originally called Shari'us Saqqatin. Another road is Boabdil, which was earlier known as Shari' Abu 'Abdullah. The signboard indicating the way to Al Hamra was pointing left here, so we turned in that direction. It was a broad street but after a little distance a building constructed in its center had eaten up its large width. The road passed by the building’s left like a narrow lane. At the end of this narrow road, there was a signboard indicating that the road went towards Albayzin. Albayzin is in fact the corrupted form of Garnatah’s ancient locality of Hayyul Bayyazin, a famous historic locality of Garnatah. It is said that many monuments of the Muslim Age are still found here. But the road had become somewhat dark here and we had no idea how far Bayyazin was. So, instead of walking on, we turned back. On left, a narrow lane was going towards Qasrul Hamra. Upon turning into it, we found that the lane was ascending up a hill. On enquiry we came to know that Al Hamra was quite far, at a distance of 1-1.5 mile and that it would get closed at 5 pm. It opens for tourists at 9:30. We too did not intend to visit Al Hamra at that time. We only wanted to enquire about its timings, etc. and to have a stroll around this medieval region of the city. So, at a shop on the same lane, we purchased the booklet giving introduction to Garnatah which has been mentioned before. We then started for our hotel.
At Al Hamra Next morning, immediately after breakfast, we hired a taxi and left for Al Hamra fortress. The road to which we had walked by foot last night went on ascending a mountain continuously till it landed at the top of the mountain in front of the fortress gate. This magnificent historic fortress was originally constructed in the 4th century AH. Later on, various rulers of Garnatah kept modifying it till finally Muhammad bin Al Ahmar An Nasri made numerous changes and additions to it making it the sultanate’s headquarters. At the end of 7th century AH, his son Muhammad bin Ahmar10 – famously known as
In the original Urdu book too, both father and sons are named as Muhammad bin Ahmar.
Galib Billah – built the royal palace inside the fortress which is now known as Qasrul Hamra. Again, his sons added many novelties to the fortress making it the masterpiece of art and architecture at the time. The entire region of Al Hamra which includes the fortress, the royal palace, gardens, etc. covers 736 meters in length and nearly 200 meters in width. A strong rampart, some of which still remains, surrounded it. Passing us through various delightful gardens, the taxi brought us to the point where the main buildings of the fortress and palace started. We learnt that the fortress gate was still closed and would open 15 minutes later. The Al Hamra which we had been reading about in history books since childhood was now before our eyes, an embodiment for unsavory lessons of life. It was now a palpable commentary to the Quranic words of ( اوت ُ ِع ُّز امن تاشاا ُء اوت ُ ِذ ُّل امن تاشاا ُءYou bestow honor on whom You will and bring disgrace to whom You will11.) Many an embodiment of hubris and arrogance kept proclaiming the slogan of أنا وَل غیري (Me and only me. No one else except me.) in front of this magnificent construction or inside it! The haughtiness of many a tyrant was reduced to dust at its porch! Here, many a head were crowned with royal diadems and many a body were relieved of their heads! How many a historical secret does this building conceal in its ruins as it stands till today imparting a lesson to learn and understand. When the fortress’ gate opened a while later, we were the first ones to enter it. At every few steps, we would find dilapidated buildings narrating tales of the past. The historical place nearest to the door is Burjul Hirasah, the highest tower of Al Hamra, also known as Al Qasabah. In some distant past, the Muslim flag used to flutter over this tower. But when the last Muslim ruler of Garnatah, Abu 'Abdullah gifted to Ferdinand the key of Al Hamra in a silver saucer, the first subjugational action that Ferdinand took was to remove the Muslim flag from the tower and get a wooden cross installed there by the hands of priests. From that day till this day, the cross remains stationed there, enough to bruise the heart of any Muslim tourist entering Al Hamra. The area of Burjul Hirasah was the military and defensive part of Al Hamra. Even around it, the remnants of military-style buildings can be seen. The royal palace of Al Hamra lies at some distance from here towards the east. A tourist has to pass by several dilapidated buildings and ruins. Worn down walls of small rooms, cells constructed behind deep and heavy iron bars which were probably used as prisons, deep wells, tunnels, secret passages, rising and descending steps, military posts built over the ramparts, in short, the entire plan of a military fortress exists in its splendor and grandeur. At some time in the past, a common man would not be allowed to even pass close to it, but today it appears as
if some children had been playing the game of sand-houses, then all of a sudden they started quarreling, and in the end went away leaving behind the broken down and upturned houses. After crossing the distance intervening between the military fortress and the royal palace, we found one more gate for entry to the palace. From here starts the series of stately and imposing magnificent palaces which made Al Hamra famous all over the world. First comes the portion which has been nicknamed Masadah or Marbizul Usud (both meaning lion-den) in history books. It is a large yard surrounded with galleries with series of arches on all four sides. At its center lies a tank. Lion-like statues have been constructed at the bottom of the tank on all four corners. Probably, the eyes, nose and facial features of the statues were deliberately not carved lest it should qualify as the statue prohibited in Islam. From their mouths, water keeps gushing out in the form of fountains. This is considered one of the most beautiful parts of the palace.
Adjacent to it lies the building known as Qa'atus Sufara (Envoy Hall) where the king used to meet foreign envoys. The entire Quranic chapter of Al Mulk (the kingdom) has been written on its wall in beautiful calligraphy. Nearby lie the women’s rooms and the royal bathroom. Each of these has been constructed using the most spectacular of marbles and there is such intricate artwork on them that defies logic even in this machine age. A visitor cannot help marveling at their ingenuity in turning rocks into wax. At numerous places on the walls and ceilings, the Banu Ahmar slogan of ب اإَل هللا ( اَل غاا ِل اThe only conqueror is Allah.) has been carved in exquisite 'Arabic calligraphy. The slogan also serves as the complete commentary over the tragic fate of Al Hamra as well. 'Arabic poems have also been carved into the stones of the rooms in Undulusi script. Reading all of them would require a fairly long time. The famous Qa'tul Ukhtain (the Two Sisters’ Hall) constructed out of two exactly similar marble stones also lies here. The similarity of the marble stones lends the building its name. This was the residence of the grief-stricken mother of Garnatah’s last crownholder, Abu 'Abdullah, who was also the wife of a mujahid of the caliber of Abul Hasan and who made no secret of her strong disapproval of her son Abu 'Abdullah’s friendly relations with Christians. The northern windows of most of these buildings open out towards the city of Garnatah. From here one can clearly view the renowned locality of Hayyul Bayyazin (Albayzin) lying at the foot of the mountain. From here, the residents of the palace could have a bird’s eye view over the city at any time. Behind these palatial buildings are delightful gardens from where one can have a look at the captivating peaks of Sierra Nevada on one side and the magnificent buildings of Al Hamra on the other side. Even today when these gardens lie desolate, a tourist cannot
help getting charmed by the delightful scenery that they provide. Only Allah knows how amazingly beautiful the gardens would have been in their heydays! To the North-East of Al Hamra lies a separate hillock populated by another series of buildings and gardens called Jannatul 'Arif (Generalife). A Garnatan ruler had constructed this garden as royal park. Lying on the slope of Sierra Nevada, it consists of several beautiful palatial buildings. Various kinds of trees and plants adorn the lush lawns in their front. From the central gate of this building up to the palace of Al Hamra, there is a long passage made of green vines. The way the walls, ceiling and inside archs have been shaped out of vines elicit visitors' compliments for the builder's aesthetic tastes. How anguished the hearts of Muslims would have been when they had left behind this beautiful palace and the 800-year-long Undulusian history associated with it at the mercy of Christians? The very thought makes the heart leap into the mouth. Even Abu 'Abdullah, whose stupidity and incompetency were the prime apparent causes for the fall of Garnatah, could not control his eyes as he cast his last looks on Al Hamra from atop a hillock on his way out of the fortress. He started crying like a child. On seeing him crying, his mother Queen 'Aishah who had been observing his sonâ€™s cowardice since ages, said, â€œSon, when you could not show men-like valor on the battle-field, what good will this children-like cry do?â€? At around 11 in the morning, we left Al Hamra to get back to our hotel. We took our belongings from the hotel and got into the car parked in the cellar. Now, our destination was Qurtubah which lies at a distance of nearly 200 kilometers from here. In modern developed nations, the road network has been made so convenient with pointers and signposts that even a stranger has little difficulty finding his way. Expectedly, we kept founding signs guiding us towards Qurtubah right from Garnatah. At last we drove up to the highway to Qurtubah. A short while later we were in a mountainous region lush with greenery. In our entire range of vision, we could only see small hills and intervening valleys, both covered with greenery and flowers. The road would go round and up a hill then down it with similar circumambulation. Another hill would soon come into view. In the form of these hillocks, Allah had placed security guards on the gates of Garnatah, and benefiting from them the Mujahids had for centuries been holding the enemy off. At the end of the mountainous region, we passed by several villages and settlements passed on the way. In every village, we would atop a hill there a prominent church with a minar like the ones we had been witnessing during our journey from Maliqah. In all probability, they were masjids in the Muslim Age, which the Christians later converted to churches. After a travel of almost three hours, the signs of Qurtubah started coming into view at the horizons.
Qurtubah Qurtubah is one of the ancient cities of Undulus. Even in the history of second century BC we find its mention as a flourishing city. In those days, it was called Cordoba. When the Muslims conquered it in the 1st century AH, it was ruled by Qutis. When Tariq bin Ziyad won it in 92 AH (=721 CE), the Muslim army came across as very generous and lenient to the city residents. Initially after conquering Undulus, the Muslims had made Ishbiliyah their capital, but in the days of Khalifah Sulaiman bin 'Abdul Malik, the Undulus governor Samh bin Malik Khaulani transferred the capital to Qurtubah. Since then, it remained the Khilafah headquarters for centuries. When 'Abdur Rahman Ad Dakhil established Umawi Sultanate here in 138 AH, this city prospered immensely. The Umawi family ruled Qurtubah for over three centuries. After them, there were successive regimes of Banu Hamud, Banu Jabur, Banu 'Abbad, Murabits, and Muwahhids. Eventually, the Christian king of Qashtalah, Ferdinand captured it in 63412 AH. Thus, the Muslims ruled here for 542 years. In the Muslim Age, Qurtubah was one of the most culturally developed cities of the world. It had 21 large palaces. When the city was surveyed during the reign of Hisham Al Muaiyyad (366-399 AH), there were more than 250,000 houses here. The number of shops here was 80,400. In the days of 'Abdur Rahman Ad Dakhil, there 490 masjids in the city. Later, we find mention of up to 1600 masjids in history books13. Historians and literary writers have written complete books to describe the splendid buildings, marvelous roads, robust bridges, giant factories with respect to that age, etc. which the Muslims adorned Qurtubah with in their days of glory. The famous historian of Undulus, Muqri has devoted a complete volume in his book Nafhut Tib describing Qurtubah. In the field of knowledge and learning too, Qurtubah was considered the greatest city of Undulus. Most of the prominent figures in the field of learning who emerged from Undulus belonged to Qurtubah alone. The greats from this city who received universal acclaim for their scholarship include the well-known Quran commentator and explainer of Sahih by Imam Muslim, Allamah Qurtubi; the pioneer of Jurisprudence and Philosophy, Ibn Rushd; one of the fathers of the Ahle Zahir school of thought, 'Allamah Ibn Hazm; and the widely acknowledged scientist of Medicine and Surgery, Abul Qasim Zahrawi.
634 AH = 29 June 1236 Nafhut Tib 2/79
The libraries of Qurtubah were considered a legend all over the world. Not a single house could be found without a worthwhile library. So popular was knowledge and literature here and such was the interest of general public in it. That a particular person had a rare manuscript of such and such book which was not available anywhere else, was considered the most interesting topic to chatter over in the society. People who did not possess a natural flair regarding good books were not viewed with respect in the society. It led to many people keeping almirahs of books merely as status symbol and adorning them with books of various sciences and arts. In this regard, there is an interesting story narrated by Muqri of a Hazrami scholar who himself is the narrator. “I was in need of a rare book, so I came to Qurtubah in its search. I hunted for it in everyone of the book markets, but could not find it. At last, I came to an auction-site where books were up for sale to the highest bidder. I leapt with joy when I saw the very book which I needed. I started offering higher bids again and again. But every time I made a bid, another person would bid still higher. It went on till the other person made a bid which was much beyond its value and my means. I requested the auctioneer to let me meet the person who was making such exorbitant bids. He pointed me in the direction of a person who by his attire appeared to be a wealthy man. I went to him, and said, “You look like a great Jurisprudence scholar. If you are really in need of the book, then I will withdraw my bid in your favor.” “Oh, no. I am not a scholar,” he replied. “I am not even aware what’s there in the book. But recently, I constructed a grand library in my house to vie with those of other honorables in the city. There is a small vacant place in one of the almirahs and this book would exactly fit in the space. Additionally its cover is quite attractive and its transcript elegant. That’s the reason I want to purchase the book: to fill up the vacant space.” At this, I said, “He is getting almond who has no teeth in his mouth.”14 Once an argument arose between the well-known scholar of Qurtubah, Ibn Rushd and a tycoon of Ishbiliyah, Abu Bakr ibn Zahr regarding which was better: Qurtubah or Ishbiliyah. When Abu Bakr ibn Zahr enumerated myriads of Ishbiliyah’s enviable features, Ibn Rushd replied: I have no knowledge about the veracity of the qualities of Ishbiliyah you are mentioning. But I know one thing for sure. When a scholar is Ishbiliyah dies, his library of books is
Nafhut Tib 2/11
sent to Qurtubah for sale. And when a wretched musician of Qurtubah dies, his instruments are sent to Ishbiliyah for sale.”15 One can easily imagine the academic and literary environs of a city where the common people show so much love for books and libraries. Naturally, we find historians writing in great detail how zealous and enthusiastic even the women and children of this city were towards scholarship. As a result of this widespread academic passion in the city, its people were considered extraordinary in their nobility, dignity, cordial manners, genial conduct, and sobriety. Despite the excess of luxuries they were blessed with, the charm of natural scenery, the vitalizing nature of climate, and abundance of parks, they stayed miles away from vulgar acts and uncivilized evils. Describing the people of Qurtubah, an Undulus citizen writes: To their credit, they wear clean and good clothes, fully adhere to Allah’s commands, and perform the five regular Salahs with punctuality. All the people of Qurtubah highly revere the grand Jami’ mosque of the city. If any person finds a wine-cup anywhere, he breaks it without hesitation. They wholly detest all kinds of evil acts. Three things stand out as symbols of their pride and glory: nobility of blood, soldierly skills, and knowledge.”16 The Qurtubah about which I had read such remarkable attributes, the Qurtubah in whose charming atmosphere were written the books which to this day remain an excellent source of guidance for students like me, the very same Qurtubah was before my eyes now. But its world had transformed. No trace of faith and Iman, nor love for knowledge and scholarship could be seen. The masjids, the madrasahs, the books and libraries all had vanished. The nobility and sobriety, the plenty of brilliant minds who had made the region prominent in the entire world, were all gone. Now, before my eyes was a European city of the 20th century on whose roads there was a race for materialism, and whose adjoining buildings were inhabited by Kufr and Shirk, Disbelief and Denigration of Allah. Having subjugated nobility and grace by virtue of their brutal swords, its inhabitants had travelled for 7 centuries reaching a destination where idolatry and Latworship were making mouths at the virtues of nobility and grace, branding it the ancient ignorance. Moving ahead of the starting houses of Qurtubah, we saw a river with a bridge overlying it. It was the famous river of Qurtubah, Al Wadi-l Kabir. Close to it was a dilapidated
Nafhut Tib 2/11 Nafhut Tib 2/10
wall which must have been the rampart of Qurtubah city in the past. Once we had crossed the bridge, we found ourselves in the main city. We had asked the Reception section at Hotel Liz in Garnatah at the time of our departure for a good hotel at Qurtubah, and accordingly without any trouble we reached the gate of the 12-storey Hotel Mail. It was the most renowned hotel of Qurtubah, and no sooner had we entered our allotted room than we found that its service standard was much higher than Hotel Liz of Garnatah. It was about 1:45 pm when we reached our Hotel. The Reception staff told us that Jami' Qurtubah (the Grand Mosque of Qurtubah) opens at 4 for tourists. So we performed Zuhr Salah and had lunch in the restaurant. In western countries where Halal meat – of permissible animals slaughtered according to Shari’ah rules – is difficult to come by, boiled fish is the second best option. Our taste-buds were thus sufficiently pampered by the fresh and hygienic fish of the Al Wadi-l Kabir river. After lunch, we hired a taxi and left for Jami' Qurtubah. Winding its way through mazelike roads and neighborhoods of Qurtubah, the taxi stopped in front of a vast fortress-like building. The driver informed us that we were at Jami' Qurtubah. Before us was the high and imposing vast building made of robust stones, its walls supported by massive props built on the ground.
Jami' Qurtubah Where Jami' Qurtubah stands now, there used to be a temple in the days of Roman idolators. When the Christian religion spread in Spain, they demolished the temple and built a church known as Vincent. When the Muslims conquered Qurtubah in 711 CE, they were faced with a dilemma similar to that at the time of Dismashq’s conquest17. Just as Dimashq’s church had been divided into two, so was the church of Qurtubah in accordance with the terms of the agreement. The Muslims let one part remain as church, while the other was made a Masjid. For a long time, the Masjid and church co-existed. But when Qurtubah became the Muslim capital in 766 CE, and its population increased rapidly, the Masjid portion became insufficient for the growing number of Salahperformers. At last, when 'Abdur Rahman Ad Dakhil (731-788) became the ruler, the question of expanding Jami' Qurtubah cropped up before him. There was no way to expand it other than merging the church into the Masjid. But the Muslims were bound by the agreement with the Christians according to which the church had to remain in one half of the place. The Muslim traditions and Shari’ah rulings would not permit including the church land into Masjid without the local Christians’ willing consent. So, 'Abdur Rahman Ad Dakhil invited notable Christian gentlemen and offered them to sell the church land in return for a price of their choice. As the sale of church land is permissible
For details of the incident, refer Jahañ Didah by Mufti Taqi Uthmani, pages 372-374.
in Christian religion, they had no religious impediment in accepting this proposal, but they still refused. There were continuous efforts by the Muslims to gain their consent. At last they agreed to sell the land at an exorbitant price and also upon the condition that they would be allowed to reconstruct their demolished churches outside the city. 'Abdur Rahman Ad Dakhil accepted the condition and as a result, the Masjid got this portion of land as well. After obtaining the extensive land, 'Abdur Rahman Ad Dakhil started the Masjid construction afresh. The scheme for the Masjid prepared by an expert architect of Dimashq was quite grand and ambitious and its completion required many years. But 'Abdur Rahman Ad Dakhil died in 172 AH18 just two years after the construction had started. The construction was carried on by his son Hisham after him who completed the construction in 6 years at an expense of 80,000 dinar. The later Khalifahs of Banu Umayyah kept expanding it till it reached its final state in eight stages of construction. The sheer vastness and splendor of the interior of Jami' Qurtubah gave it a prominent position throughout the world. Even today perhaps, no Masjid in the world has a vaster roofed portion, and this entire area is made up of elegant galleries for every row. The roofs of these galleries are dome-shaped and unending rows of marble pillars of striking beauty lie on both their sides. In the Muslim Age, there were 1470 such pillars in total and the Masjid covered an area of 33,150 square cubit (arm-length).19 With hearts thumping with apprehension, we entered the Masjid when it opened. We could see unending rows of pillars spread all around to a long distance in this historic and magnificent Masjid. The pillars though shabby still charmed the eyes of the viewers, but darkness and silence reigned over the entire vastness of the hall. According to some history books, the Masjid’s ceiling had 360 niche-holes engineered in a manner that the sun would enter a different hole on each day of the year.20 At night, the 280 chandeliers containing 7425 lamp-cups used to be lit up. The annual amount of oil used up by these lamps was 251 ¼ qintar (nearly 12,500 kg). Nearly 140 kg of wax and 34.5 kg of cotton were used up annually in making the candles and wicks. Every Friday, 1/2 kg of fragrant aloes wood and ¼ kg of ambergris used to be burnt up in the Masjid. But today, alas, the Masjid was dark even in the day. Some electric bulbs were lit at considerable distances which were obviously insufficient to chase away the darkness. This darkness seemed to be the visual representation of the dark shadows of Kufr and Shirk which has been dominating the Masjid for several centuries.
172 AH (=788 CE) Nafhut Tib 2/85-87 20 Nafhut Tib 2/60 19
Upon entering, the entire left hand side wall was filled with numerous church-rooms constructed by Christians and containing myriads of outrageous idols. In the exact center of the Masjid, a large church has be constructing desecrating the mosque and vandalizing its beautiful architecture. Polytheistic pictures have been engraved upon the dome-shaped roofs of the beautiful Masjid galleries. Large podiums have been constructed for churchservice. Chairs have been arranged to a great distance in front of these podiums. The manner and style of changes made to the Masjid by Christians clearly outline the fact that the purpose was not to fulfill any real need of the church. The only intention was to mutilate the Islamic spirit of the Masjid. The only purpose before them was to ensure that no portion of this magnificent Masjid escaped Christian violations. If the architectural changes harmed the main construction, they had little concern for it. So, they have freely violated the Masjid displaying their chauvinistic crassness and bigotry, not letting any part of the Masjid escape defacement at their hands. The only portion that had escaped sacrilege was the Imam’s arch and a space of two-three rows of Salah- performers. A rope had been tied across the pillars to separate this area from the rest. It was perhaps meant to serve as a memorial to the Masjid. There was a thick layer of dust over this splendidly beautiful and elaborately carved arch. Its charming visage had wilted under the tyrannies of the Christian Age. Nearby was the pulpit from where – long, long ago – orators like Qazi Munzir ibn Sa'id’s fiery speeches used to invigorate the atmosphere and liven up the dead hearts. This is the part of Masjid where for sure, geniuses like 'Allamah Qurtubi, 'Allamah Ibn Rushd and Hafiz Ibn 'Abdul Barr had performed Salahs. Despite the thousands of Christian iniquities, one cannot fail to perceive the fragrance of the Allah-remembering, Zikr-performing voices of these holy souls. But alas!
اُیس وک ا ج رتےتس ںیہ منبر ورحماب The pulpits and archs starve for
وہ دجسہ رو ِج رںیم سج ےس اکنپ اجیت یھت The prostrations that used to rock the earth’s soul
It was now time for 'Asr and we had planned to perform 'Asr Salah in Masjid Qurtubah right at the time of setting out from the hotel. We wondered who had given us this baseless report that Masjid Qurtubah had now been opened for Salah-performers. This report was false and even now organizing Salah was not permitted here. That one or two tourist could come here and perform a Salah was quite beside the point. Anyway, my
friend and co-traveler Sa'id Sahib said the Azan, but there was no one to respond to the heart-touching call of 21ِص االة ي اعلاى ال ا ّح ا. And so we two performed the 'Asr Salah standing near the arch. While prostrating over the floor of this Masjid, it seemed as if the distance of eight centuries had shrunk all of a sudden. We had come out of the dark tunnel of times into the open air illuminated with beams of Tauhid22 in all directions. The air was echoing with the praise and glory of Allah, the One, the Partnerless. The significance of 23ي األاعلى ُ became more سب احانا اربِّ ا perceptible here. The glory of my Lord is far high above the lights and shadows of rise and fall. He was the High and Sublime when this Masjid had become small for the growing numbers of prostrating foreheads. And He stays the High and Supreme when no single foot stirred towards the arch at the call of ِص االة ي اعلاى ال ا ّح ا. Whether the adherents to His Tauhid be in hundreds of millions or be as few as to be counted on fingers, whether the people with His Din rooted into their hearts be powerful enough to awe the world with their grandeur and majesty, or they be vanquished and trounced by their own misdeeds, nothing makes the slightest difference to His overarching glory as the One and Only, as the Independent on Whom all others are dependent.
ُاہبر وہ ہک زخاں اَل إِلها إِ اَل هللا This melody is not fettered by the seasons of rose and tulip
ہی ہمغن لصفِ لگ و الہل اک ںیہن پادنب There stays no god but Allah, be it spring or autumn.
Other than this arch there was no place in this vast Masjid sprawling in every direction which could give peace to heart and sight. All the remaining parts of the mosque moaned due to the wounds inflicted by the Christians, injuring our hearts and livers too. For a while we stayed near the arch, then stared with longing, wistful eyes at the magnificent pillars whose shadows in some distant past had been the venue for sacred assemblies of Zikr and contemplation, which had the hosted the classes of knowledge and learning. It used to be the place where humanity was taught civility and chivalry, where the lamps of science and arts lighted up, where humans were honored with the crown of dignity and piety. The pillars must be remembering those sacred assemblies. Their forlorn existence embodies a petition to the Muslims of the world. It’s a painful cry for help which can be witnessed here with eyes but can’t be heard.
ص اال ِة علاى ال ا ي ا = ّح اCome for Salah Tauhid = Monotheism 23 ي األاعلى ُ = Glory be to my Lord, the High سب احانا اربِّ ا 21 22
Allah! Don’t let a future visit of ours to a Masjid be in such helplessness! At that time there were only two Muslims in the legendarily vast Masjid: the two of us, and both were silent. After a short while, Sa'id Sahib who had been enduring this chilling scene for quite some time, broke the silence. “Taqi Sahib! Let’s move away from here, fast. It feels so suffocating here.” Obviously, this suffocation had not come from the place being cramped – which was anything but that – or the gloom spread over there. It was a strangulation against which neither I nor he had any power. Slowly we stepped towards the exit door on the other side of the Masjid. As if this was not enough, another blow lay in wait to hit our hearts. Just inside this gate, a musician had been busy for long setting up and arranging his guitar and harmonium. The moment we passed by him, he started blaring his music. A spontaneous prayer came to the lips: Allah! Don’t let any future visit of ours to a Masjid be in such helplessness! I have lost count of the historical monuments I have visited in my life. I have had the occasion to visit numerous lesson-imparting relics, but the pining and helpless longing that Jami' Qurtubah left in the heart and mind remains unprecedented. I now realized how overcome with emotions Iqbal – May he receive mercy – would have been when he said his legendary poem in and on Masjid Qurtubah. (The Urdu poem has been taken from http://iqbalurdu.blogspot.in/2011/04/bal-e-jibril124-masjid-e-qurtaba.html) The succession of day and night, is the architect of events. The succession of day and night, is the root of life and death.
ۂلسلس رور و شب شقن رگِ احدپاب ۂلسلس رور و شب الصِ ایحب و مماب
The succession of day and night, is a two‐ tone silken thread,
ۂلسلس رور و شب پا ِر رحریِ دو رپگ
With which the Divine Being, prepares Its robe of Attributes.
سج ےس انبیت ےہ داب اینپ قَناےئ افصب
The succession of day and night, is the lament of the melody of the Beginning.
سا ِر ارل یک اغفں،ۂلسلس رور و شب
Through it, the Being demonstrates the ups and downs of possibilities.
رری و مبِ اکانئب،سج ےس دِاھکیت ےہ داب
Now it tests you, now it sets a value on me.
ھجم وک رپکھنا ےہ ہی،ھجت وک رپکھنا ےہ ہی
The succession of day and night is the touchstone of the universe;
ۂلسلس رور و شب صبریفِ اکانئب
But what if you are found wanting, What if I am found undeserving.
ںیم وہں ارگ مک ایعر،تُو وہ ارگ مک ایعر
Death is your ultimate destiny, Death is my final end.
ومب ےہ ریمی نراب،ومب ےہ ریتی نراب
What else is the reality of your days and nights,
ریتے شب و رور یک اور تقیقح یہ ایک
Just a wave in the river of time, without day, without night.
! سج ںیم ہن دِں ےہ ہن راب،اپک رامےن یک َرو
Frail and temporary, all miracles of craft,
زجعمہ اہےئ ُہبر،ا ین و افین امتم
Transient, all worldly achievements; Temporary, all worldly accomplishments.
ِ ،اکر اہجں ےب ابثب ِ !اکر اہجں ےب ابثب
Al Wadi-l Kabir and its bridge As we came out of the Masjid, we found the ground wet with drizzle from the clouds. We moved on in the direction of the Qiblah wall of Jami' Qurtubah and a short walk later, we found an ancient gate of the city-rampart. This was Babul Qantarah which was used to enter the city from the south in the Muslim Age. The gate of the Muslim Age is no more. This gate was built by a Christian architect. In front of this gate is an east-west road, upon crossing which we found ourselves on the bank of the famous river of Qurtubah, Al Wadi-l Kabir. Even while entering the city in the morning, we had crossed the river in our car through a modern bridge. I had guessed that this river could be Al Wadi-l Kabir as this is the only river whose name is found in the descriptions of Qurtubah in history books. A look at a signboard on the river bank which read Guadalquivir confirmed that it was nothing but a corrupted form of Al Wadi-l Kabir. In the old days, the city of Qurtubah lay on the north bank of this river. Immediately upon crossing the river, the city rampart started beyond which were situated royal palaces. In the first century AH, when Tariq ibn Ziyad had finished the Battle of Lakkah Valley, he dispatched different divisions of his army to various cities of Undulus. The commander of the division sent to conquer Qurtubah was Khalifah Walid ibn 'Abdul Malik’s freed slave, Mugith Rumi. Mugith approached the city from the south, and halted at Shaqandah, a short distance before Al Wadi-l Kabir. To conquer Qurtubah, they first needed to cross the river and then capture the robust and lofty ramparts of the city which was not an ordinary task. But the people who had come out of their comfortable homes to raise high Allah’s Din had Allah’s help accompanying them. Mugith’s spies stopped a shepherd near Shaqandah and enquired him about the city. The shepherd informed them that fearing a battle, the war commanders of Qurtubah had already fled to Tulaitulah. Only a small army stayed behind to try protecting the city. Regarding the rampart of Qurtubah, the shepherd informed that it was quite strong and impenetrable, however there was a hole at one place which the Muslim army could benefit from. When Mugith decided to march towards Qurtubah at night, another Divine assistance came in the form of heavy rain which muffled the sounds of the marching horses’ hoofs. Consequently, the Muslim army was able to cross the bridge over Al Wadi-l Kabir without meeting any resistance. Due to the rain and cold, the guards of the rampart had also left their positions and taken shelter inside their adjoining posts leaving the rampart unguarded. The hole in the rampart reported by the shepherd was really present but it was so high that reaching it still remained a formidable task. Then a valiant Mujahid succeeded in reaching the high hole by first climbing an adjoining fig tree. Mugith unravelled his turban and threw one of its ends towards him, who caught hold of it and it became a
ladder for the Muslims. One after the other, several Mujahids reached the hole and together they jumped inside. They overpowered the nearby guards and opened the citygate. In this way, the city fell to the Muslims without any significant resistance.24 We stood before the very bank of Al Wadi-l Kabir where this revolutionary battle had taken place 13 centuries ago. Upon crossing the road and reaching the river-bank, we also saw an ancient and derelict bridge extending towards the south. Today, it looks like an ordinary bridge crumbling due to old age. But long ago, it was considered the most magnificent bridge in the world. As there was no other bridge comparable to it in robustness, ruggedness and expanse, it was considered a wonder of the world at the time. Before the blessed advent of the Muslims, there was a small and weak bridge here. When Hazrat 'Umar ibn 'Abdul 'Aziz took up the responsibility of the Khilafah, he felt the needs of Qurtubah city, sitting at a distance of thousands of miles in Dimashq. He ordered the governor of Undulus, Samh ibn Malik Khaulani to construct a grand bridge over Al Wadi-l Kabir. Under the supervision of expert architect, 'Abdur Rahman ibn 'Ubaidullah Al Gafiqi, the construction of this splendid bridge completed in 101 AH. It was 800 cubit long and over 40 yard wide at a height of 60 cubits above the river surface. Eighteen beautiful water-gates had been constructed under it and over it there were 19 turrets. As there was no bridge like unto it in the entire world, therefore a historian comments: .إن قنطرة قرطبة إحدى أعاجیب الدنیا The Qurtubah bridge is one of the wonders of the world. 25
The bridge has been extended and repaired frequently but for most of it, it remains the bridge constructed by the Muslims. The revolutions of days and continuous neglect have disfigured it and it now looks as if nobody has paid any attention towards its dilapidated state for long years. However, its robust bases still narrate the story of its glorious youth. Standing over the bridge, we could see the river flowing beneath on both its sides. As it was winter, the flow was lazy and weeds growing up here and there also obstructed the stream. On the banks of the rivers we could also see some remains of ancient buildings. We learnt that they were windmills constructed by Muslims, and which was a specialization of Undulus Muslims. Walking on the bridge, when we reached its south end, we found a gate of another old fort. It was a very old fort constructed in the Roman period and was called Calagurris. In the Muslim Age, it attained fame as Qalbarah, and now its name is Calahorra. Only a
Nafhut Tib by Muqri 1/245 Nafhut Tib 1/26
small part of the fort remains now where a government office is running. Road expansion has devoured its major portion.
In Madinatuz Zahra Standing on the Al Wadi-l Kabir Bridge, we gestured a taxi to stop and got into it. We asked the driver to drive to Madinatuz Zahra. Initially, the driver could not understand us. In response to our brief English sentences, he would start a lecture in Spanish which would fly above our heads. Then, I took out a tour booklet for Qurtubah which had a picture of Madinatuz Zahra. When I showed him the picture, he understood at once. He then went on a long rant describing and extolling the place in Spanish interspersed with a few English words. He seemed convinced that we were understanding each word of his. Perhaps, some of our English sentences uttered in response to him broke his happy confidence in us. He then thought it best to remain quiet. Madinatuz Zahra is nearly 8 miles away from Qurtubah. Out car kept moving through various roads and localities of Qurtubah, which is now a modern city constructed anew after demolishing the ancient buildings. As a result, there is not much heritage left from the Muslim Age except Jami' Qurtubah and some buildings close to it. However, many roads and localities still have names that upon a closer scrutiny reveal their 'Arabic roots. A short while later, we had come out of Qurtubah city. We were now passing through a valley where lush pastures adjoined the road on both sides. We saw a signboard saying Madinatuz Zahra and pointing towards right. Our car turned right and an ancient-style wall on our left now kept our company as the car ran on the new road. This was the boundary-wall of Madinatuz Zahra. After about a kilometer, the valley ended and the road turned left rising towards a green mountain. In almost the middle of the mountain, the taxi-driver stopped the car and informed us that this was the way to enter Madinatuz Zahra. Getting down the taxi, we found a mountain east of the road, and on the west there was a green valley spread to a great distance wherein we could glimpse the ruins of Madinatuz Zahra. Madinatuz Zahra was a satellite town constructed to provide accommodations for the Khalifahs of Qurtubah and his dependents. Khalifah 'Abdur Rahman An Nasir had started its construction in 325 AH26. The reason given for this is that a female slave of Khalifah 'Abdur Rahman An Nasir died leaving behind huge amount of inheritance. The Khalifah issued the edict that the inheritance money be used to secure the release of Mulsim prisoners in the custody of Christians. It was learnt upon investigation that there were only a few Muslim prisoners held by the Christians and even after securing their release, the major option of the inheritance remained. On this occasion, the Khalifahâ€™s queen
325 AH = 937 CE
Zahra expressed her wish that an exquisite township be constructed in her name. To accomplish the queen’s wish, Khalifah Nasir started the construction of Madinatuz Zahra. Most of the parts of Madinatuz Zahra had been completed in 25 years during the reign of Khalifah Nasir himself. However several of its buildings were constructed later in the days of Khalifah Al Hakam II. At that time, the town was nearly 2700 yard long from east to west, and 1700 yard wide from north to south. Madinatuz Zahra included royal palaces, courts, assembly houses, Jami' Masjid, and residential houses for members of the royal family. It was considered the most beautiful town in the world in those days. Perhaps the mountain on which stood was the very Jabal-ul 'Arus regarding which I had read an interesting story in history-books. When the construction of Madinatuz Zahra finished, and Queen Zahra visited it for inspection along with Khalifah Nasir, she was all praise for the architecture. But a dark, ugly mountain by its side caught her attention and she remarked to the Khalifah: “Shall this pretty, charming bondmaid remain in the laps of this Negro?” Khalifah Nasir then got the ungainly trees uprooted from the mountain and planted gardens of fruit trees on the mountain from place to place. The mountain had now become pretty like a bride giving it the name of Jabal-ul 'Arus. In its charm and splendor, majesty and magnificence, awe and glory, Madinatuz Zahra was one of its kind in the entire world. Delegations from large countries of Asia and Europe would sometimes come to Undulus just to visit it. One of the halls in the palace was known as Khalifah Palace whose ceilings and walls were made of gold and transparent marble. In the center of the ceiling, hung the exceptionally exquisite jewelry gifted to Khalifah Nasir by Constantinople’s king, Leo. At the heart of the hall, there was a beautiful tank filled with mercury. There were eight-arched doors on every side of the hall. The arches were supported by pillars made of multi-colored stones and crystals. The gates were made of ebony and ivory adorned by artwork in gold and gilded with gems. When sunlight entered the hall, ceiling and wall would shine brilliantly dazzling the observers’ eyes. When Khalifah Nasir would be in the hall and he wished to cast awe upon the attendees, he would gesture one of his servants to shake the shiny mercury in the tank. As the mercury shook, the sunlight would flash in the entire hall like lightning. It would appear as if the entire hall was rotating. Some foreign envoys ignorant of the secret would start trembling with awe and fear.27
Nafhut Tib 2/65-68
Only Allah knows how many such wonders Madinatuz Zahra comprised. It even had artificial rivers and gardens constructed like natural habitats for different wild animals where they could live like in their natural habitats. The culture of game reserves so common in our times has its origin in Madinatuz Zahra. Apparently, the age in which Madinatuz Zahra had been constructed was the age of ascent of Muslims and major powers of the world were supposedly struck with fear and awe at the sight of this earthly Paradise. But if we take a realistic look, we will have to admit that the decline of Muslims started in Undulus started with the construction of these very lavish palaces which gradually deprived the Muslims of their austerity, tenacity and stoic life. At a time when this grand royal palace was being constructed, how did the clerics with heart and mind perform their duty of calling the Khalifah’s attention to this aspect? We find several amazing incidents of this nature in history books. In those days, the sermonizer and Imam of Royal Masjid was Qazi Munzir ibn Sa'id whose eloquent and moving sermons were considered an extraordinary treasure of 'Arabic literature in Undulus. When Khalifah Nasir would come to perform Salah behind him, he would passionately criticize single-minded quest for worldly gains and the extravagant expenditure being taken in the path of luxury and opulence. Once Khalifah Nasir was sitting in the above-mentioned royal hall whose ceilings and walls had been constructed of gold and marble. Once he said to his courtiers, “Is there any king however great in this world who has such an outstanding accomplishment to his credit in the entire history of architecture? Is there any building even remotely comparable to what I have achieved in this building?” Kings’ courts have always been populated with sycophant courtiers. They confirmed the Khalifah’s opinion with enthusiastic zeal and began complimenting him with inordinate praises. Just then, Qazi Munzir ibn Sa'id too entered the court. In front of him too, the Khalifah expressed pride over his accomplishment of constructing this golden building with golden ceilings. In response, Qazi Munzir said, “Commander of Believers, Allah has bestowed you immensely with His grace and generosity. I never guessed that despite this you would forget that grace and generosity from Allah and express pride over something which Allah has deemed suitable for Kafirs.” “How do you say that?” enquired Khalifah Nasir. Qazi Munzir replied by reciting the following Quranic verse:
)٣٣( ار اج اعلای اها ایظ اه ُرونا سقُفًا ِمن فِ ا ُ الرح ام ِن ِلبُیُو ِت ِهم ِ اس أ ُ امةً او احداة ً لا اج اعلناا ِل امن ایكفُ ُر ِب ا ُ او الو اَل أان ای ُكونا النا ِ ض ٍة او ام اع )٣٣( ع ال احیااةِ الدُّنیاا اواْل ِخ ارة ُ ِعندا ار ِبّكا ِلل ُمتاقِینا ُ ) او ُزخ ُرفًا او ِإن ُك ُّل ذالِكا لا اما امت اا٣٣( س ُر ًرا اعلای اها ایتا ِكئُونا ُ او ِلبُیُو ِت ِهم أاب اوابًا او )٣٣-٣٣ :(الزخرف Were it not that all people would become of a single creed (i.e. disbelief), We would have made, for those who disbelieve in Allah the Most Gracious, the roofs of their houses of silver, as also the stairs, on which they would climb, the doors of their homes, and the coaches on which they would recline, and (would have made some of these things) of gold-ornaments. All this is nothing but an enjoyment of the worldly life. And the Hereafter, with your Lord, is (destined) for the God-fearing. (Zukhruf: 33-35) On hearing these verses, Khalifah Nasir was so overwhelmed that he lowered his head. Qazi Munzir continued the thread of his speech full of eloquent counsels. Tears started flowing out of the king’s eyes. He later on ordered the gold and silver removed from the ceiling of the hall. It was again Qazi Munzir ibn Sa'id who said these verses regarding Madinatuz Zahra and also recited them before the Khalifah: أما تام اهل،أوقاته فیها
مستغرقا !یا باني الزهراء ِ
لو لم تكن زهرتها تذبُل
هلل! ما أحسناها رونقا
O founder of Zahra! Having devoted all your time to it, don’t you ever ponder? By Allah! Its splendor would be amazing, but only if its flower didn’t wilt!
It seems that Qazi Munzir could see the end of this lavish palace with his eyes! This grand and magnificent town which had needed 40 years could show its charm for merely 35 years. Civil war broke out in the country in 398 AH28 in which Madinatuz Zahra suffered such a devastation that all its splendor and magnificence fell to the ground in a moment. When a minister of Undulus, Abul Hazm passed by it in 435 AH, he observed that the Madinatuz Zahra which once had the honor of being the residence of kings and princes was now a habitat for wild animals and birds. At this admonitory sight, he had said the verses:
398 AH = 1008 CE
ُ س اكانُ ِك ال ِع زاز علینا؟ ُ أین
ضاناوا قلتُ یوما ً لدار قوم ت ا ا
ثم ساروا ولستُ أعل ُم أینا
هُنا أقاموا قلیال:فأجابت
One day, I said to the building of a people who had gone extinct,
Where are you inhabitants whom we loved dearly?
It replied: “They stayed here only for a while,
Then they departed, but I don’t know to where.”
We stood in the center of Jabal-ul 'Arus hill. Before us was an office of the Archaeology department, and behind it we could see the ruins of Madinatuz Zahra on the slope of the hills to a long distance. Till 1910 CE, there was no trace left of Madinatuz Zahra. Then the Archaeologists found some ruins here at the foot of the hill which led to further excavations. And thus the remains of this once-magnificent town were discovered. The excavation work has continued since 1910 without break and in this 80-year period, major parts of the town have been discovered. In different parts of the remains, we kept observing the samples of admonition and pining, which had degraded to an extent that it was now difficult to find out what they had been constructed for. Through all these excavations, only one court of the royal palace, Majlisul Munis, has been discovered in something of its original state. The Spanish government has started repairing the court to bring to its original state. The splintered stones of the arches, ceilings and floors of the court had been found scattered haphazardly around here. They have been collected and they are being combined together with much intricacy and pain and being fit in their proper places. Consequently, the hall of Majlisul Munis can now be observed in almost its original condition. Outside the hall there is a verandah. Standing here, we could see ancient ruins spread to a long distance and behind them there were pastures up to the horizons. Looking at the natural beauty, the climate and environment, one can’t help marveling at the exceptional flair of the people who had selected this site. A quote by an Undulusi litterateur in praise of Undulus came to mind here. The ruler of the time had ordered his banishment from the city. The litterateur wrote an eloquent letter to the ruler which made the ruler annul his order. He had started the letter with these words: ٌ سا او ا، او اما ٌء ُّمتادا ِّف ٌق،سائِ ٌح ... طائِ ٌر ُّمتا ارنِّ ٌم اوه ااوا ٌء ا،ط ُّمدابا ٌج او ِب ا،ص ِقی ٌل یاا ا أُفُ ٌق ا:ِي اجناةُ الدُّنیاا كای ا،س ِیّدِي ار ُق األُندُلُ ا ِ ف أُفا س اوه ا My Lord! How do I leave Undulus when it is the paradise of this world with its beaming horizons, embellished carpet-like earth, rhythmic waves of air, frolicking water, singing birds, … These words mapped a hundred per cent to the scene before our eyes here. The excavation of Madinatuz Zahra continues to this day with due expertise and diligence, but even the portion of the city already unearthed is quite vast, and requires a
long time to explore. For a while, we walked through this lesson-imparting place, but as the time for Magrib Salah was at hand, we soon started back towards our hotel. After the 'Isha Salah and dinner at night, we came out of the hotel for a walk. The weather was pleasantly cool making this stroll amidst the broad roads and elegant buildings of Qurtubah really worth-remembering. Like Garnatah no remains of the old days are visible in its central region. It appears that the entire city has been rebuilt under a plan and hence all the features of modern European cities are available here. It was the intervening night between Saturday and Sunday, and perhaps there was some festival too in the city. From the hustle and bustle on the city roads it seemed like all the residents of Qurtubah had come out on roads. A thought struck me that many of them must be of 'Arab descent with Muslim ancestors. After the Chriastian subjugation, the unprecedented scale on which the Muslims were terrorized and forced to convert into Christianity meant that thousands of Muslims had completed dissolved into the Christian population. This historical fact means that there has to be a vast number of citizens of Islamic descent in modern Undulus. Though no Islamic feature is now left in their manners and profiles, yet some behaviors and qualities of theirs seem to be a memento to the old golden days. Though centuries of passed since the fall of Muslim rule and though and though revolutions of history have transformed their very world, yet these few mannerisms persist as a fickle memento to their old days. First, the facial features and build of Undulus inhabitants are somewhat different from those of the people of other European regions. The wheatish tint in their white complexion along with sharp features of the face serve as reminder of their 'Arabic origin. And in contrast to other European regions, there is more cordiality, humility and liveliness here. The zeal and enthusiasm they show when meeting one another is quite like the 'Arabs’. In fact, the first word that comes out of their tongues when meeting is “Ola” which probably is the corruption of the 'Arabic greeting Ahla29. Likewise, the 'Arabic style of hugging and kissing each other continues to this days among the people of Undulus. The custom of washing hands before and after meals continues too which I haven’t seen in any other part of Europe. That’s why the dining areas of large hotels usually have arrangement for hand-wash. Apparently, this too is a misty souvenir of the Islamic age which had in some long past blessed the region with its bounties! 'Arabic language too has significant influence on the Spanish language. Many of its words have 'Arabic roots which have been Spanised after some minor alterations. For example, bridge is called Al Qantarah in 'Arabic, the Undulus people call it Alcantara.
Ahla = = أهالwelcome
The 'Arabs call sugar As Sukkar and in Spanish, it is called Azucar. The 'Arabic Aruzz meaning rice has become Arroz in Spanish, and Al Qaryah (village) Alquria. The leader is still called Al Caide after 'Arabic Al Qaid, and the trustworthy Al Amin after its 'Arabic counterpart.30 In brief, the influence of 'Arabic language on Spanish stands out prominently even now. As a general rule, every Spanish words starting with Al surely has 'Arabic root.
In Maliqah The next morning was cloudy and it was drizzling lightly. Our ticket was booked on the 2 pm airplane to Paris of that very day. This meant we had to reach the airport by at most 1 pm, and Maliqah was nearly 200 km from here. Due to the light rain, there was also a possibility of our journey taking longer. So, we left for Maliqah soon after breakfast. As it was Sunday, people were mostly enjoying the holiday in their homes and the road was free of traffic congestion. When we left Qurtubah, the rain stopped and our car went swimming on the shining, neat highway. Many small hamlets and towns passed by us, but because of the holiday all looked forlorn. Nearly 20-25 miles before Maliqah, a strikingly beautiful mountain series started. It was the renowned mountain range Al Bashsharat31 (Alpujarras) of Undulus which continues up to Al Maryah alongside the Mediterranean coast in south Garnatah. It once used to be considered the most beautiful region of Undulus. This is the very region where Abu 'Abdullah had stayed for some time after being deprived of his Garnatah throne. When he was exiled from there too, the Muslims of this region started a guerrilla war against the Christians which continued for a fairly long time. Till the 9th century AH32, the Muslims continued their valiant struggle against the Christian oppressors.
Al Qantarah = = القنطرةbridge; As Sukkar = = السكرsugar; Aruzz = األر ّز ُ = rice; Al Qaryah = = القریة village; Al Qaid = = القائدleader; Al Amin = = األمینtrustworthy 31 Alpujarra (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpujarras): The Alpujarra is a natural and historical region in Andalucia, Spain, between the Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean. It extends over two provinces, Granada and Almería; it is sometimes referred to in the plural as "Las Alpujarras". The Catholic "Reconquista" of Spain progressed to the extent that by 1462 only the "Kingdom of Granada" - including the Alpujarra - was left in Moorish hands; and in 1492 the city of Granada fell to the "Catholic Monarchs". Their attempts to force Christianity on the Moslem inhabitants led to successive revolts, in particular that which began in 1568. It was a fierce struggle, in which the Spaniards had to deploy large forces against this rural population, there was much cruelty on both sides; it ended with the death of the last Moorish leader in March 1571. The Catholic Monarchs ordered the expulsion of Moors from the territory of Granada, who were taken in forced marches to other parts of Spain. Only a few, considered to have genuinely converted to Christianity, were allowed to remain, in principle to instruct new settlers in local farming practices. 32 1490s (899 AH = 1494 CE) 30
The region is so rich in natural beauty that after driving up a high mountain we could not hold ourselves back from stopping. We stopped the car, came out and spent some time enjoying the stunning scenery presented by the lush valley spread before us. We entered Maliqah city at around 11 am. Maliqah is a well-known ancient city of Undulus whose history goes even beyond Hazrat 'Isa’s اعلای ِه الس ااال ُمdays. In the Muslim age, it was the capital city of a full-fledged state, and today too it is the capital of Malaga state. During the Muslim age too, it was an important port-city and economic center of Undulus. Out of its agricultural produces, fig and grape stood out throughout Undulus. The craft of making golden earthen-wares was considered the most prominent industry of Maliqah, and it retains its pre-eminence all over the country to this day. The Muslim rule continued for nearly 800 years in this city which produced several great scholars who are famous with the appendage of Maliqi to their names. When the major cities and provinces of Undulus fell prey to Christian domination and only Garnatah remained free under the Muslims, even then Maliqah continued to be under the Muslim rule. In the last days, Sultan Abul Hasan sat on the throne of Garnatah and reducing his kingdom, he gave away Maliqah’s rule to his brother Az Zagal. Maliqah was now an autonomous state. The two brothers Abul Hasan and Az Zagal, then started Jihad to put a brake to the aggressive Christian ambitions. They achieved several successes against the Christians which raised the morale of the Muslims. It appeared that a movement would start all over Undulus to liberate it from the Christian yoke. But just then, employing palatial conspiracies, Abul Hasan’s son, Abu 'Abdullah rebelled against his father. The Christian agent Abu 'Abdullah forced his valorous father to leave the throne and Abu 'Abdullah thus became the ruler of Garnatah. Abul Hasan fled Garnatah to his brother Az Zagal. But the incident had served its purpose. The bond of mutual cooperation that had existed between Garnatah and Maliqah was snapped. This mutual animosity did what the Christian masters of Abu 'Abdullah had hoped for. The Christians were now stronger and more potent having regained lots of their lost ground. The brothers Abul Hasan and Az Zagal still continued their Jihad against the Christians in the period of 888-891 AH. In 891 AH, however, both the brothers attained martyrdom fighting the Christians. After their martyrdom, the Muslim force was like a lifeless body. The Christian rulers of Qashtalah, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella soon captured Maliqah. After the fall of Maliqah, the Christian agent Abu 'Abdullah’s reign over Garnatah too could not last more than seven years. In 898 AH, the traitor Abu 'Abdullah surrendered Garnatah to Ferdinand and Isabella. In the Muslim age though Maliqah was an important city, it was not as large as the likes of Garnatah and Qurtubah. But today, the balance has reversed. In area, population and urban facilities, the Maliqah of today is much larger than Qurtubah and Garnatah. Owing to the sea-port and international airport, it is now more important than present-day
Qurtubah and Garnatah. The sea-coast of Maliqah too is considered quite charming. Even the climate here is not as cold as other regions of Europe. All of this has made this city into a major center of tourism. Even diligent search does not show up any remains of the Muslim age in the Maliqah of today. It is said that a market from the Muslim days still exists in Maliqah which is now used as vegetable market. The Jami' Masjid of Maliqah which the Christians after their capture of the city had converted into church is now an important ancient building of the city. Then there still exists a fortress from the Muslim age at some distance from the city on the northern coast. It is called Hisn Jabal Fa'rah33. But to visit them, we needed plenty of time and a guide too none of which were available to us. So, we could see neither.
Antaqirah In the short time available to us before our check-in at airport, we had a general look at the cityâ€™s landscape. Making use of the city map, we also selected a beach to visit. It lay at a few miles distance west of the airport. It was labelled as Antequera in the map, actually the corrupted form of Antaqirah, an ancient city of Maliqah province located north of the sea at some height. It is said that some of the remains of the city-wall from the Muslim age still exist. On a nearby hill, a magnificent fortress built in the Muslim age also exists. To the east of the city, there is a hillock where a cellar lies at 65 feet above the ground level. It is considered to be an underground graveyard of pre-historic times. There is a marble building on one of the mountains adjoining the city. Among the people of this city, a poet Abu Bakr Yahya ibn Muhammad Ansari Hakin Antaqiri attained fame and renown. The city of Antaqirah remained under the Muslim rule till 813 AH34. Later, when the Christians established their rule over it, the Muslims of the city were forced to flee to Garnatah. Thatâ€™s why a neighbourhood near the Al Hamra Fort continues to be called Antaqirah after them.35 However, today Antaqirah is a tourist city replete with skyscrapers and rented flats. People stay here for weeks to relish the sea-beach. As it was winter, there was not much crowd currently, but we heard that in summer, the region gets crowded with tourists. We parked our car for a while on the coastal road of Antaqirah, Marine Drive. Eerie silence ruled over the entire beach. Before us, the waves of the Mediterranean Sea were
Source: Al Athar-ul Undulusiyah Al Baqiyah by Muhammad 'Abdullah Ghannan, published at Cairo in 1381 AH, p. 228 34 813 AH = 1410 CE 35 Source: Undulus ka Tarikhi Jugrafiyah (Historical Geography of Undulus) by Muhammad 'Inayatullah, published at Hyderabad Deccan, p. 126
rolling. Tearing apart the chest of this sea, the Muslims had in some long gone days arrived at the Undulus coast. This very sea had been the silent spectator of the valiant Muslim onslaught of the legendary Mujahids whom Iqbal had described as:
رحب پاری اگہ اھت نج ےک ونیفسں اک یھبک There used to be an uproar from these desert-dwellers here,
ويلجبں ےک ا ایشےن نج یک ولتاروں ںیم ےھت
اھت اہیں اگنہہم اِں رحصا ونیشنں اک یھبک The dwellers whose port was playing with the sea-waves,
رزلےل نج ےس اشنہشوہں ےک درپاروں ںیم ےھت
Their swords comprised the nests of lightning,
They caused quakes in the courts of emperors.
And then, this is the same sea that witnessed 800 years later the ravaged and devastated sons of these valorous Mujahids boarding the ships to Marakish, when anyone who managed to flee here with his family was considered fortunate and looked upon with envious eyes. Again this is the sea which saw the ships of the renowned mariner of Islamic history, Khairuddin Barbarusa saving the Undulus Muhajirs (refugees) from the assaults of the Christians and ferrying them to the safety of Marakish and Al Jazair. And today this is the very sea at whose coasts are established the Allah-forgetting lairs of tourism and debauchery. )٠٣١ : (آل عمران.اس ِ اوتِلكا األایاا ُم نُداا ِولُ اها ابینا النا These are the days of ups and downs which We rotate among the people. (Quran 3:140) Overcome with the images of the past and present of Undulus, my friend and co-traveller Sa'id Sahib on one occasion called out on the spur of the moment, “Will Muslims ever again be able to illuminate this region with the light of Faith!?” “At present if the Muslims are able to retain their currently-held lands and ensure that the history of Undulus is not repeated there, even that would be great!” I replied. The causes of the Muslims’ rise in Undulus were obvious and so were the causes of their downfall:
طاوس و رپاب ا رخ، ریشمش و انسں اول
At first the sword and spear; the zitherâ€™s and the luteâ€™s soft sighs at last Now, the choice is left to us!
'Abdur Rahman Ad Dakhil
عبد الرحمان الداخلAbd al-Rahman ibn Mu'awiya ibn Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (731–788)
Abnae Jabalut Tariq
آبنائے جبل الطارقStrait of Gibraltar
Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad XII Ad Darul Baiza Al Bashsharat Al Birah Al Hamra Al Jazair Al Jaziratul Khazra Al Wadi-l Kabir Antaqirah Babul Qantarah Babur Ramlah Bahre Mutawassit Bahre Rum Bahre Uqiyanus Dimashq Garnatah
أبو عبد هللا محمد الثاني عشرBoabdil الدار البیضاءCasablanca البشاراتAlpujarra البیرةElvira الحمراAlhambra الجزائرAlgeria الجزیرة الخضراءAlgeciras الوادي الكبیر أنتقیرةAntequera باب القنطرة باب الرملةBib-Rambla بحر متوسطMediterranean Sea بحر رومMediterranean Sea Atlantic Ocean دمشقDamascus غرناطةGranada
Hisn Jabal Fa'rah
حصن جبل فارةGibralfaro
Ishbiliyah Jabalu Shulair
إشبیلیةSeville ُ جبلSierra Nevada شلایر
Jabaluth Thalj Jannatul 'Arif Khairuddin Barbarusa Lakkah Laushah Luzariq Madinatuz Zahra Majlisul Munis
جبل الثلجSierra Nevada جنة العریفGeneralife خیر الدین بارباروسا لكةGuadalete لوشةLoja لذریقRoderic مدینة الزهراMedina Azahara مجلس المونس
Marbizul Usud Masadah Musa bin Nusair Qa'atus Sufara Qalbarah Qashtalah
مربض األسود مأسدة موسى بن نصیرMusa bin Nusayr قاعة السفراء قلبرة قشتالةCastile
قصر الخلفاءKhalifah Palace
قاعة األختینTwo Sisters' Hall
Shari' Abu 'Abdullah Shari'us Saqqatin
ٰ شارع أبو عبدBoabdil اّلل شارع السقاطینZacatin
طلیطلةToledo أندلسSpain Casabermeja ازابیالIsabella Pyrenees بنجنتVincent کالی گورسCalagurris کاَل ہوراCalahorra