The Rise And Fall Of Muslim Spain History Essay

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For my study, I am traveling to compose about Islamic Spain because I was and am fascinated by the highs in which the Muslims reached but are far from today. At the start of the seventh century, much of Europe was in a province of darkness. While the people of Arabia and Africa where prospering, those of Spain were under the oppressive regulation of oppressive Visigoth swayer, Roderick. The traditional narrative is that in the twelvemonth 711, an laden Christian head, Julian, went to Musa ibn Nusair, the governor of North Africa, with a supplication for aid against the troublesome swayer. The capturing of Spain was an easy undertaking for the Muslims and the easy removed the autocrats from power. During the aureate old ages of Islamic regulation, Spain was thought to be a beacon of visible radiation in the so dark and formidable medieval Europe. Spain was a centre of larning and wisdom. It is said that every bit many as 60,000 treatises, verse forms and digests were published each twelvemonth in Al-Andalus ( Muslim Spain ) . In comparing, modern Spain published 46,330 books per twelvemonth as of 1996. Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together side by side in harmoniousness. However, it was non to last. Due to loss of religion, corruptness and much unfairness done to the non-Muslims of the land, the autumn of Islam was difficult and brawny.

By 711, the people of Iberia ( present twenty-four hours Spain and Portugal ) were fed up with their swayers, the Visigoths ( intending Goths of the West ) . Though the Visigoths were Christians, they were barbarous and unfair. Narratives were told of slaying and other terrible unfairness, which merely further enraged the people. It is said that when the Muslim ground forces came processing through towns and small towns, the people of the land cheered for their new leaders.

Painting done by an unknown creative person of a conflict between Muslim and Christian forces

When approached by the Christian Chief, Julian, Musa ibn Nusair, the so governor of North Africa, decided to direct a immature general, Tariq bin Ziyad. Tariq led a force of seven 1000s military personnels to the North. The topographic point where they landed on the Spanish seashore, Gibraltar, was named after Tariq ( Jabal At-Tariq intending stone of Tariq ) . The Visigoth ground forces was easy defeated, largely due to the divisions amongst the Visigoths and their Alliess. This, in bend, led to the demoralisation of the combatants themselves. During the conflict, it is said that Roderick, the leader of the Visigoths, was killed but his organic structure was ne’er found.

The Muslim ground forces went on to capture most of the Iberian Peninsula. This all went on during a seven twelvemonth run. However when the Muslims attempted to suppress France, they were defeated by the Frankish Catholic King, Charles Martel in 732.

The grounds for the Muslims rapid success in Spain were multiple. First, When the North African ground forces defeated the last Visigoth male monarch, the cardinal authorities fell apart. Besides, the Muslims provided generous resignation footings in contrast to the rough conditions under the Visigoths. Another ground could be that Mush of society was already demoralized and wanted alteration. At the clip, the lone 1s who prospered and lived in luxury were the rich. Much of the hapless lived as helot ( people bound to the land like slaves ) . The conquest proved to be a blessing for the helot, who were exploited for centuries by the Goths and Romans before them. However, the in-between category were likely the worst away ; non merely did they do small money, but they besides had to transport the load of the revenue enhancements used to fund society. Peoples lost hope in the clergy ( church ) who would utilize this revenue enhancement money and spend it for themselves and non at all assistance the people.

The Golden Age

Though some may deny this, the epoch in which the Muslims had control over Spain was one of cognition and enlightenment. There were many libraries and centres of larning. Peoples studied literature, doctrine, architecture, medical specialty, poesy and etc. Al Andalus was a centre of larning for people of all backgrounds, Muslims, Jews and Christians. There were many libraries, universities, and other centres of larning. Peoples studied the scientific disciplines, doctrine, architecture, literature, poesy and etc. Peoples, for the most portion, lived in peace and prosperity. They no longer disquieted about unfairness and freedom. As stated by Stanley Lane-Poole in his book, Muslims in Spain, “ The conquest did off with the overgrown estates of the great Lords and clerics, and converted them into little proprietaries ; it removed the heavy load of the in-between category and restricted revenue enhancements ; land revenue enhancement levied every bit for Muslims and Christians ; it induced a widespread emancipation of slaves and a extremist betterment in the betterment of the unemancipated, who now became about independent husbandmans in the service of their non-agricultural Muslim Masterss. ”

However, even thought the Muslims ( Arabs and Moors ) overtook the land together, they were non united. The recognition goes to Amir Abd Al-Rahman, who founded the emirate of Cordoba, and was able to acquire the assorted Muslim groups who had conquered Europe to draw together in governing it. As a consequence, stableness was established and lasted for centuries. This gave Al-Andalus a feeling of safety and peace non found in other parts of Europe at the clip.

Inside the gardens of the Alhambra Palace

Al- Andalus had many great metropoliss, one of which was the metropolis of Cordoba. This great metropolis boasted a population of about 500,000, compared to 38,000 in Paris, France. It was the biggest and most comfortable metropolis in all of Europe. Cordoba was a prima literary and educational centre in the Islamic universe since many of import and influential scientists and philosophers came from Cordoba, such as Averroes ( ibn Rushd ) , Abulcasis and Avicenna ( ibn Sina ) , they may hold had a immense impact on the start of the European Renaissance. The economic system of Cordoba was dining and many different industries were invigorated after the conquering. Such industries included agribusiness, ceramics, metalwork, fabrics and etc. , Tariffs and revenue enhancements were a beginning of income for the flush metropolis.

Great Mosque of Cordoba Spain, now a Cathedral

Islam besides greatly influenced the architecture and edifices of Spain. Today you could happen many cathedrals and churches that were one time mosques. An illustration of such would be the La Mezquita ( intending The Mosque ) . This great cathedral was one time a great mosque in the metropolis of Cordoba. It was considered an architectural effort at its clip. Another astonishing construction is the Alhambra in Granada. Alhambra comes from the Arabic word, Al-Hamra, intending The Red One. It is a beautiful castle with fluxing gardens. You can happen many such constructions and efforts in Spain which show the influences of Islam and the Arabs.

Society and Religion

Before the Muslims came, Spain was home to other groups of people, largely Christians, but besides Jews. Since the Visigoths who ruled before the Muslims were devout Christians, many Jews had to populate in concealing to avoid their wrath. Besides, the Visigoths imposed their version of Christianity, which was sometimes on the threshold of inhuman treatment. In the beginning, the Visigoths were good Christian swayers ; yet, they so became corrupt, utilizing revenue enhancement money to reenforce the church. Fortunately, this was all to alter.

Islamic Spain is sometimes described as a “ aureate age ” of spiritual cultural tolerance and interfaith harmoniousness between Muslims, Christians and Jews. Non- Muslims were non forced to populate in hapless countries in town nor in any other specific locations. They were non forced into any signifier of bondage. Besides, unlike many other states, the Christians and Jews were non forced to abandon their faith nor were they stopped from practising their faiths.

Illustration of Muslims and Jews contending together side by side in conflict

Hebrews and Christians were non stopped or prevented from gaining money, but normally, they would hold occupations disliked by Muslims, such as tanning and abattoir. But these occupations were non needfully unsavory ; there were occupations in banking and covering with gold and Ag.

However, Non-Muslims had to follow the regulations set by the province. Some of these regulations were:

They had to accept Islamic power

They had to pay a revenue enhancement called Jizya to the Muslim swayers and sometimes paid higher rates of other revenue enhancements

They avoided blasphemy

They Could non seek to change over Muslims

There were limitations on edifice temples and churches

They could non have an heritage from a Muslim

They could non will anything to a Muslim

They could non have a Muslim slave

A Non-Muslim adult male could non get married a Muslim adult female ( but the contrary was acceptable )

A Non-Muslim could non give grounds in an Islamic tribunal

A Non-Muslim would acquire lower compensation than Muslims for the same hurt

Many Non-Muslims became portion of the Muslim civilization in Al- Andalus. They began to dress and look like Muslims ( some adult females even wore hijjab ) and began to talk Arabic and take Arabic names. Christians and Jews where tolerated for many grounds, One of which chief grounds is that in Islam it is decreed that Muslims must handle the people of the book ( Christians and Jews ) with regard.

Quran ( 29:46 ) : Be gracious when you argue with the Peoples of the Book [ Christians and Jews ) , except with those among them who do evil. Say: We believe in that which is revealed to us and which was revealed to you. Our God and your God is one.

Besides, handling them nicely besides proved to be advantageous to the Muslims. They proved to be loyal because they had no associations with other Muslims groups they provided the authorities with workers who could easy be trained and removed if necessary.

Unfortunately, there were periods of clip in which this was non ever the instance and Non- Muslims were treated harshly due to unfair leaders. But overall, Minorities were treated much worse after the autumn of the Islamic imperium and under the control of Spain by the Christianity.

The Decline

Sadly, the epoch of Al-Andalus was non to last. Slowly, yet certainly, the great land was broken into little spots and new swayers were looking after their princedoms. By the early 1000s, there were many divisions between the Muslim swayers. As a consequence, when the Christian ground forces began to infiltrate the split up lands, many swayers betrayed each other and turned against one another.

The grounds for Muslim failing were multiple. Of these, the most of import was that the leaders became corrupt and had lost their faith. Consequently, they were cruel, selfish and unfair. This led to the mistreatment of the Jews and Christians of Spain. They were non allowed to hold taller houses than the Muslims and could non demo nor pattern their religion ( any mark of faith was punishable by jurisprudence ) . The consequence was misgiving between Muslims and their Non-Muslim neighbours.

Rebellions and invasions of Christians inside the state and from outside the state were platitude and led to the existent death of Muslim Spain. The divisions between the people made it really easy for Christian provinces to take over the lands, one by one. This gives a whole new significance to the stating, Divide and Conquer.

The Reconquista

Pulling of Crusaders contending against Muslims

The Reconquista ( Reconquest ) was the procedure by which the Catholic Kingdoms of northern Spain finally managed to win in get the better ofing and suppressing the southern Muslim provinces of the Iberian Peninsula. The first great metropolis to fall was the metropolis of Toledo in 1085. After, Toledo fell into the custodies of the Christian powers ; it was n’t hard for the Christian reformers to catch the remainder of Al-Andalus. This was because Toledo was about in the centre of the Spanish peninsula and its loss opened the flood-gates for farther invasions from the North ( were the Christian ruled ) .

After Toledo fell, most of Al-Andalus was captured except for the Emirate of Granada. Later, in 1482, the Christian forces began the Granada War in an effort to win over the metropolis, the Alhambra and many other of import landmarks. By 1492, the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabelle I and King Ferdinand II had complete control over the Emirate of Granada. There was a pact signed, which allowed the Muslims some spiritual freedoms. However, these freedoms were granted by the municipality in the towns and the interpreted these rights harmonizing to their wish and understanding. The first Archbishop of Granada after the Catholic conquering took a reasonably tolerant position.

Regretfully, this fugitive episode of tolerance did non last and was emphasized after the decease of the Archbishop. Under the regulation of the new Cardinal, mass transitions took topographic point and 1000s of Arabic texts were burned. Moslems were given one of two picks: either go a Christian or go forth the land. The bulk of the Andalusi people decided to go Christian, but in secret practiced Islam ( Taqiyyah ) . To weed out the true Christians from the false 1s, the Spanish Inquisition was formed. By detecting what they called “ leery behaviour ” , such as non eating porc or imbibing vino, the Christian people of Spain hunted down and killed the Muslims. As a consequence, a Grand Mufti passed a opinion saying that Muslims may make things that would otherwise give away their true faith, such as imbibing and eating haram things. This protected the Muslims for a piece.

However, no affair how reliable they seemed, the Arabs and Moors of Andalus were ever deemed as 2nd category citizens. Finally, all usage of the Arabic linguistic communication was banned and all Arabic texts were burned. Peoples could non dress harmonizing to Muslim or Arab civilization and they could non raise their kids the Islamic manner. When people rebelled, monolithic slaughtering was carried out and the bulk of the Arabs and Moors were expelled from their places. Consequently, the state lost much of its knowing people and fell one time once more into the dark ages. When the Arabs and Moors were banished, Christian Spain shone, like the Moon, with borrowed visible radiation ; so came the occultation, and in that darkness, Spain has groveled of all time since.

Moslems in Spain Today

Typical Muslim household in Spain

Today, the bulk of Muslims populating in Spain are immigrants from North Africa, peculiarly Morocco. However there are still converts to Islam. Approximately, 2.5 % of the population is Muslim doing it the 2nd largest faith in a preponderantly Christian state. Many Christians find that they had ascendants who were Muslim and get down to look at Islam in a new visible radiation. Besides, some Spanish ( and Portuguese ) words could be found to hold been derived from Arabic significances. For illustration, the Spanish word “ oxala ” means if God volitions, a batch like the Islamic inshallah.


In decision, Muslims have to larn from their errors of the yesteryear. If you look at the universe today, you would recognize that much of the leaders of the Muslim universe and divided like the junior-grade lands of the great Al-Andalus. Moslems need to unify and travel back to their roots. They must recognize that on the interior, we are all Muslims ; we are all the same, that we are one Ummah, one state. We have to work hard to help our brothers and sisters in demand and get the better of all of our failings. Unfortunately, though we all look back to the times of the great Islamic imperiums and reminisce, most of us do nil to better our state of affairs. Al-Andalus was a great imperium during times of spiritual scholarship and survey, but when the people began to lose religion, it fell to our enemies, everlastingly shadowed by the loss of wisdom, cognition and enlightenment.