Al-Andalus, which means, “to become green at the end of the summer” is referred to the territory occupied by the Muslim empire in Southern Spain, which refer to the cities of Almeria, Malaga, Cadiz, Huelva, Seville, Cordoba, Jaen and Granada. 1 This civilization spanned the eighth to the fifteenth century. In 711, Arabs crossed the Straight of Gibraltar (derived from ‘Gabal Al-Tariq’: ‘Mountain of Tariq’) and established control over much of the Iberian Peninsula. 2 Of the Arab conquest, Muslims called the area of the Iberian Peninsula they occupied, “Al-Andalus.” This land called Al-Andalus, hence often called “Andalusia” had at one point included Portugal, Southern France, and the Balearic Islands. Within 3 years, in 714, Muslims had occupied almost all the peninsula. Muslims crossed to Sicily and established control there for 130 years, until Muslim rule fell in 1091 to the Normans. Muslims also established rule in parts of France, but they were soon defeated by Charles Martel in 756, in which remains today one of the greatest victories for Christian Europe for bringing a halt to Islam’s expansion. The Muslims who arrived and settled in Andalus were called “Moors,” (‘dark’) a corrupt and negative term referring to the people who came from Morocco. They themselves, however, did not use the term to refer to themselves.
Muslims took control under the leadership of Tariq ibn Ziyad and his army of 12,000 troops. King Roderic, the last Visigoth ruler had reportedly “kidnapped” and raped the Governor of Ceuta, Count Julian’s daughter who was sent to be educated. Julian vowed to Roderic, “the next time I return to Spain, I promise to bring you some hawks the like of which your Majesty has never seen!” Julian, a Christian, appealed to Musa ibn Nusayr, the Umayyad Governor of N. Africa for assistance in avenging Roderic for his crime, and hence take him out of rule. Musa did not commit to a full-scale invasion, but called upon his lieutenant to take charge. Because of the weakened Visigoth kingdom due to internal conflicts, and the Muslims’ organization, the Muslim army easily defeated Roderic’s army of over 90,000 men almost without resistance. 3
As an important reminder, during Islamic rule in Muslim history, we recall that upon hearing the news that a Muslim woman had been dishonored, Khilafah (Caliph) Jafer Al-Mansoor, despite risk of inciting war, ordered his entire army to burn the city in protest because the Roman Emperor failed to punish the offenders.
Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed the Straight of ‘Gibraltar’ at first with the sole intention of avenging king Roderic for the crime he committed. However, because of the weakness of the kingdom due to civil war, Tariq opted to continue his occupation of Roderic’s entire empire. Another theory for the occupation by the Arab Muslims of Spain is that because of their persecution, the Jews called upon their contacts in North Africa, who in turn encouraged the able Arabs to capture Spain. This allowed the Almoravids and the Almohads to establish themselves in Spain. 4 Nevertheless, without a doubt, the Jews supported and welcomed Muslims in Spain because they were great beneficiaries under Muslim rule. 5
Muslims entered Spain not as aggressors or oppressors, but as liberators. In this multicultural society, many Jews and Christians held government positions. Moreover, the Golden Age of Jewish history is in fact known as the period of Muslim rule in Spain. Islam allowed the Jews to flourish in Spain, with the example of the renowned philosopher Moses Maimonides, (Musa ibn Maymun) who wrote Guide to the Perplexed. “Judaism probably welcomed the conquest of Spain by the Muslims in 711. With the Muslim conquest began a Golden Age of freedom and tolerance for Jews. They freely entered the fields of government, science, medicine, and literature.” 6 Spain was home to by far the largest and most brilliant Jewish community in Europe; elsewhere, the Jews were hounded and persecuted. Although non-Muslims paid more in taxes than the Muslims, it was by far less than any previous government had imposed upon them, especially Roderic’s. In addition, it obviously wasn’t much of a burden, however, since non-Muslims freely opted and longed to live under Muslim rule.
“Throughout the period of Islamic rule, Al-Andalus was a remarkable example and outstanding model of tolerance.” 7 We fail to remember that the tolerance the Muslims, in accordance to their faith, displayed towards the Jews and Christians enabled them all to live together in relative peace and harmony, an indication of the Greatness of Islam, without question. No where else has there been so long and so close of a relationship between the 3 Great faiths. All Jews and Christians were allowed to maintain their beliefs and live their lives as they desired as long as they respected their Muslim rulers. “Some Mozarabs took issue with the tolerance Muslim authorities displayed toward them and the Jews, a tolerance based on two Qur’anic verses: “No compulsion is there in religion” (2:256) and “If thy Lord had willed, whoever is in the earth would have believed, all of them, all together. Wouldst thou then constrain the people until they are believers?” (10:99)…” 8 As a result of the compassion Islam displayed towards the non-Muslims inhabitants, many of them embraced Islam. Many accepted Islam simply because Islam provided a superior, healthier way of life at a time when the social system was in rapid decay. 9 Unfortunately, religious tolerance was never a virtue in Christian Europe, as in the example of Charlemagne. 10 And so, the peace exhibited under Muslim rule did not continue after the last of the Muslim rulers was defeated in 1492.
In chapter 109 of the Qur’an, the Holy Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through the Angel Gabriel, Allah advises mankind:
“Say to the disbelievers:
I do not worship that which you worship.
Nor do you worship that which I worship.
And Nor will I worship that which you have worshiped.
Neither will you worship that which I worship.
To you belongs your religion, and to me mine.”
“In a time of tranquility and justice, the Christians have never been compelled to renounce the Gospel and to embrace the Qur’an.” 11 As a result of the tolerance displayed by Islam, the incredibly rich language of the Muslims became the official language of literature and scholarship in Spain for all by the year 1000. Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike devoted their time in studying Arabic. Christians essentially spoke Arabic, which was “often better than their Latin.” 12 They absorbed the Arabic culture so much so that they began to be called, “mozarabs” a corruption of “must’arib” meaning the “Arabized ones.” Furthermore, the Christian Priest Alvaro complained in the 9th century that Christians preferred to read Arabic writings and studied Muslim theologians and philosophers rather than their own. He exclaimed, “Oh, the pain and the sorrow! The Christians have even forgotten their own language, and in every thousand you will not find one who can write a letter in respectable Latin to a friend, while as soon as they have to write Arabic, there is no difficulty in finding a whole multitude who can express themselves with the greatest elegance in this language…” 13
The Muslims played a principal role in the history of Spain. Their presence illuminated the Iberian Peninsula while the rest of Europe was engulfed in darkness. And so, Andalusia produced a great civilization far ahead and advanced than the rest of Europe. Under their rule, Muslims made Spain a center for learning and knowledge. The Muslims were taught reading, writing, math, Arabic, Qur’an, and Hadith (Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH), and became leaders in math, science, medicine, astronomy, navigation, etc. Al-Andalus became renowned for its prosperity as people who quested for knowledge journeyed from afar to learn in its universities under the feet of the Muslims. As a result, Andalus gave rise to a great many intellectual giants. Muslim Spain produced philosophers, physicians, scientists, judges, artists, and the like. Ibn Rushd, (Averroes) Ibn Sina, (Avicenna) Ibn Zuhr, (Avenzoar), Al-Kwarizmi, (Algorizm) and Al-Razi, (Razes) to name a few, were all Muslims educated in Andalus. 14 Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, was also educated in Andalusia. It is from the Andalusian philosophers, Ibn Rushd, and Ibn Sina that great renowned Christian men like St. Thomas Aquinas borrowed their philosophies. Both St. Thomas Aquinas and Dante called Ibn Rushd or “Averroes” the “The Commentator” and incorporated the views of Muslims. Through the works of Aristotle, Ibn Rushd reconciled reason with religion. However, Aquinas attempted to refute Ibn Rushd’s ideas because they placed a great deal of emphasis on human reason over faith, which were a “threat” to Christian beliefs. 15 Interestingly enough, Thomas Aquinas described Arabs as “brutal men dwelling in the desert.” Dante himself was familiar with Muslim figures. It is reported by countless historians, including William Phipps, in his book, Muhammad and Jesus: A Comparison of the Prophets and their Teachings, that the theme of Divine Comedy was inspired by the mi’raj or ascension of the Prophet (PBUH) into heaven from upon the rock which today sits below the dome of Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. 16 Roger Bacon, another individual who refrained from describing Arabs and Muslims in kind words, consulted Ibn Sina’s (Avicenna) work. Ibn Sina’s work, Al-Qanun, (Canon) the widely studied medical work was used in European Universities for over 300 years, and formed half the medical curriculum. 17 In any case, the list of contributions from the Andalusian Muslims is endless.
The Islamic civilization had reached its peak in the 10th century, and by 1100, the number of Muslims rose to 5.6 million. 18 There existed in Cordoba alone, 200,000 houses, 600 mosques, 900 public baths, 10,000 lamps, 50 hospitals, lighted and paved streets. Muslims introduced public baths because of their need to to wash in preparation for prayer 5x a day. Libraries and research institutions grew rapidly in Muslim Spain, while the rest of Europe remained illiterate.
In Muslim Spain, knowledge from Greece and Rome was preserved. Arab scholars produced encyclopedias on medicine and astronomy in 11th century, also including astrology, psychology, zoology, biology, botany, chemistry, physics, mathematics, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc., which Christian scholars acquired and translated. Toledo thrived essentially because of its Muslim rule, and became the “cradle of learning,” and the chief point of interaction between the Muslims, Christians and Jews. Western scholars traveled to Spain and Sicily to learn Arabic and to make transcripts of texts in Latin. Muslims produced cotton, paper, salt, silk, satin, pepper, stamps, clocks, soaps, rulers, maps, globes, furs, velvets, described over 200 surgical instruments, and named over 200 stars with Arabic names. Hence, it was this Islamic civilization in Spain that was the main threshold behind the European Renaissance. During the time the Muslims set foot in Spain in 711 until 1084 (a year before Toledo was taken) Muslim Spain had become an area unique to the entire world.
The Muslim artisans applied their remarkable skills to architecture in making mosques (masajid) and palaces. The Muslims mastered technique and design. The Alhambra Palace, and The Great Mosque of Cordoba, are just two of the famous magnificent architectural masterpieces of the Muslims which can still be seen today. Of the Alhambra, it is called, “a utopia, the brightest memory of a lost golden age of pleasure, poetry, tolerance, art, and learning.” 19 One Muslim poet wrote:
“A sun dwells in this place and even its shadow is blessed.
In this palace a multitude of pleasures capture the eye and suspend the intellect.
Here a crystal world teaches marvels.
Everywhere Beauty is carved, opulence is manifest.”
The Islamic architecture in Spain is elaborate and decorative with intricate designs. Stone, and stucco, plaster for coating exterior walls, were widely favored. Later, brick replaced stone. 20 The “Mezquita” or The Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Alhambra of Granada are two Islamic monuments that utilize this design. There are, however, not many examples of Islamic architecture remaining today in Spain because many were destroyed or converted from mosques to churches when Muslims were later exterminated (officially) in the year 1492 and beyond. The Alhambra is the only palace left nearly intact and preserved of all the Muslim masterpieces in Spain. 21
Narrated by Ibn Abbas (RA), the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Whoever creates a living image in this world (i.e, human, animal) will be charged with putting a soul in it which he will never be able to do.”
Muslim artists were prohibited from making images of living things so that they could concentrate on the oneness of God. Paintings of inanimate objects, trees and flowers were permitted. Islamic ideology teaches that the making of images can lead to idolatry. It can also lead to praising of one’s own work, which does away with humility and humbleness, important virtues stressed in Islam. Inevitably, it leads to one’s neglect of the remembrance of Allah, and one’s neglect of the fact that it was Allah who gave the artist the talent from birth. It is also rivaling with Allah Himself who is the sole creator of the Universe and its inhabitants. Though many of Muslims therefore abstained from painting figures of people and animals, Islamic art was far from lacking beauty. Muslim scribes in Spain developed calligraphy into art form. Islamic art is known for its repetitious patterns, a constant reminder of the uniqueness of God. 22 Calligraphical, floral, arabesque, and geometric designs flourished in the Muslim world.
“The city of Granada finds her equal not in Cairo, nor Damascus, nor Iraq. She is the Bride Unveiled While the others are just the dowry.”
The “Alhambra” meaning the “Red Fort” or “Red Palace” is located in the city of Granada (‘Gharnatah’). It is called the “Red Fort” because of the red of the surrounding landscape. Alhambra comes from the Arabic word, “Al-Hamra” meaning “the red.” The construction was begun in the Nasrid period, and completed in the fourteenth century. Muhammad al-Ghalib built the foundations of the Alhambra while further construction was made by his son, Muhammad II. Inside and around the Alhambra are inscriptions of Arabic writing like “Kingdom is for Allah” and “Wa La Ghalib illa Allah,” which means, “There is no Conqueror (Victor) except Allah.” king Abu Abdullah (Boabdil) was called by his people as, “Al-Ghalib” (The Conqueror). Yet, when recognizing his imminent defeat, he exclaimed otherwise proclaiming that none other than God was the Greatest. Hence, “There is no Conqueror except God,” became the motto of his descendents. 23 Among other verses and poetry inscribed on the Alhambra walls are poems by Ibn Zamrak who was also the chief minister to King Muhammad V, and Ibn Al-Khatib who was also a historian, and a physician.
The splendor of the Alhambra and its gardens have inspired many musicians, artists, and authors. Among them was renowned author, Washington Irving, who took up residence in the Alhambra and wrote Tales of the Alhambra. The artist M.C. Escher’s interest began when in 1936 he visited the Alhambra and was fascinated with its tile patterns, and spent days sketching them. The inspiration here lay the foundation for his work – for which he is most famous for. He based his work on these intricate Arabic designs, and repetitive floral and mathematical patterns.
The Golden Age of Islam began under ‘Abdur-Rahman, the first Umayyad ruler, called the “Falcon of Andalus.” He united the various tribes and groups of peoples in Andalusia when he became ameer (caliph) of Cordoba in 756. 24 Soon after he was proclaimed ameer, he laid plans to begin the construction of the Great Mosque of Cordoba. It was at one time the second largest mosque in the Muslim world. Al-Hakam, ‘Abdur-Rahman’s son, was responsible for extending the Great Mosque in 961-966. 25 The mihrab of the Mosque of Cordoba, a niche in the wall indicating the direction of the Kaaba, was reportedly decorated with 320 bags of mosaic cubes; a mixture of Byzantine art along with corinthean and ionic pillars. 26 On the greatness of the Great Mosque, “One can understand perfectly the exaltation of the poet who praises its greatness: ‘The gold shines in your domes like the lightening which flashes among the clouds.'” 27 Muslim Cordoba was described as the “jewel of the tenth century.” It was compared with Constantinople and Baghdad. 28 Cordoba, Seville, and Madinat al-Zahra in the 10th century were one of the greatest centers of art and culture. 29 In fact, Madinat al-Zahra, the caliphate residence, was regarded as one of the “wonders of the age” until it was destroyed in the 11th century.
Muslim Spain saw many dynasties that ruled her. The 11th century marked the decline of the Umayyad empire, which had ruled for some 300 years, with the rise of small parties in 1010. In 1056 rose the Almoravides. As the Almoravides began to disintegrate, the Almohades emerged by 1130 — whose decline in 1269 paved way for Christian forces to begin gaining control of much of the peninsula. Toledo and Cordoba were already in Christian control. In 1492, with the fall of the last Nasrid ruler in Granada, Andalus was finally taken by the Christian troops under Ferdinand and Isabella.
In 1469, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon had married to unite their kingdoms in order to occupy Spain. Cordoba was taken by Castile in 1236, and Seville in 1248. Only Granada remained as the last Muslim stronghold until. Section by section, Ferdinand and Isabella finally took Spain in 1492.
“…Where are the great kings who built cities and castles and fortified them with towering walls? What happened to the lionhearted valorous ones who made their enemy suffer humiliation in the battlefields? Time waned under their feet and they ended inside dark graves. Think of it and take heed.” (Abu Bakr (R.A.) in the Beauty of the Righteous and the Ranks of the Elite)
Muhammad XII, known as Abu Abdullah (‘Father of Abdullah’) and hence as “Boabdil” was the last king of Granada who reigned during the Nasrid period. Abu Abdullah signed the treaty in November 1491 for the surrender of Granada in January of 1492. 30 He was exiled while his people were left to be persecuted. To her distraught and weeping son, Aishah, said unforgiving, “You weep like a woman for a city you could not defend like a man!”
The surrender of Granada, however, did not quite mark the end of Islam in Spain. Islam had remained strong in Spain for eight centuries. However, as the military power in the Christian North began to strengthen, Al-Andalus gradually began to shrink. A few centuries later, the Muslims and Islam disappeared from Spain entirely.
Isabella, in her fierce quest to eradicate Islam from Spain, issued forth decrees of mass conversions in her ‘Holy War’ ** against the Muslims. Muslim prayers were forbidden and mosques in their original splendor were destroyed and converted into churches. 31 Muslims were converted to Christianity, who were usually insincere Christians fearing for their lives, but remained Muslim by heart. They too, called “Moriscos” were soon to be expelled, in 1605, because they weren’t accepted as real Christians, and certainly weren’t allowed to live as Muslims and embrace Islam openly. 32
1492, is better known as the year Columbus “discovered” America. In fact, current research suggests that IT discovered him, and that he actually never set foot on the mainland. 33 Furthermore, we learn that among other words of Arabic origin is the name of the capital city of Florida, Tallahassee. Among other names are “zenith,” (cenit) “nadir,” (nadir) “lemon,” (limun) “sugar,” (sukkar) “orange,” (naranj) “banana,” (banana) “alcohol,” (al-kohl) “algebra,” (al-jabr) “atlas,” (atlas) “safari,” (safr) and even “Hawaii” comes from the Arabic word, “Hawaa.” As a matter of fact, almost all of the Native tribes’ vocabulary included the word “Allah.” Traces of the Arab culture brought here to the Native Americans can still be seen today, in this letter from a Native American Muslim. The languages of Spanish, Italian, English, Urdu, and Hindi all have traces of Arabic influence. Wherever the Muslims went, they brought their culture and language. Within a century of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s death, Islam spread across as far West as Spain and Portugal, and as far East as China.
Columbus reportedly observed that the dress code for the Native American women were modest long dresses, and of the dress code included the covering of the face (like the women of Andalusia). The Native peoples had a great civilization prior to Columbus’ arrival. During their expansion west, Muslims were already thinking about voyaging to America in 956 because it was well-known to them that America existed and they had the technology to cross the Atlantic. Some historians, in fact, suggest that Spain’s Muslims arrived in America 500 years prior to Columbus. (956 would then seem accurate) America was the “New World” only to the Europeans. 34 If it weren’t for the maps of Andalusian Muslim, Al-Idrisi (Dreses) Columbus wouldn’t have been able to set sail, period. In October of 1492, Columbus claimed he saw a mosque and discovered “bearded men (like the men of Andalusia) who knelt for prayer 5 times a day.” In addition, at least 30% of men brought into America with Columbus were Muslim. 35 Historians Sylvianne Diouf and Allan Austin shed light on the topic of Muslims in the Americas. 36
In 1492, we also learn of the mass exodus from Spain, due to the inquisition ordered by Queen Isabella. Many Muslims and Jews left Andalusia because their rights were taken from them. However, they were very fortunate if they were able to escape with their lives from their own land. Muslims were ordered to convert or be killed. Many stayed behind and secretly remained Muslim, while others who resisted were burned at the stake. An estimated 3 million were expelled from Spain, along with all of Spain’s skilled workers and masterminds. Undoubtedly, Spain soon found herself victim to her own cruelty… 37
“The land deprived of skillful irrigation of the Moors grew impoverished and neglected, the richest and most fertile valleys languished and were deserted, and most of the populous cities which had filled every district in Andalusia, fell into ruinous decay; and beggars, friars, and bandits took the place of scholars, merchants and knights. So low fell Spain when she had driven away the Moors. Such is the melancholy contrast offered by her history.” 38
Until the inquisition, Muslims were free to practice their religion freely. However, during the inquisition led by Isabella, the rights of Muslims and Jews were taken away. The final expulsion occurred in early 17th century when all the remaining ‘Moriscos,’ those who were forcibly baptized, were forced from Spain in 1605. 39 The inquisition was finally completed, and naturally, Spain fell into depression and was reduced to nothingness.
“The Arabs suddenly appeared in Spain like a star which crosses through the air with its light, spreads its flames on the Horizon and then vanishes rapidly into naught.” 40
Later kings failed to implement the teachings of Islam. Internal divisions and personal conflicts amongst the corrupt Muslim leaders led to the end of Islamic rule at the hands of the crusading Christians. As time went on, the inhabitants of Andalus in their enjoyment of their prosperity and wealth became even more materialistic. The first Muslims, however, affirmed the declaration of faith, “There is no God except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” prayed five times a day, fasted in the month of Ramadan, gave 2.5% of their savings to charity, and performed the pilgrimage to Mecca if they had the means. Muslims prevailed in Al-Andalus because they had forgotten their Arabness or “Arabism.” They were aware that they were Muslims only, and not divided by race, or nationality. Islam gave the Arabs an identity. An example of the Arabs before the advent of Islam: “When news is brought to him of the birth of a female child, his face darkens and he is filled with inner grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has received. Shall he retain it or bury it in the dust? What an evil choice they decide on!” (Qur’an, 16:58-59) Islam emerged and elevated the status of women, and strongly condemned this practice. “And when the baby girl that was buried alive is asked for what crime was she killed!?…then every soul will know what he has done!” (81:8-9;14)
What were the Arabs before Islam? Sayyid Qutb (outstanding Muslim scholar, born in 1906 executed by the Egyptian government in 1966 because of his passion for Islam) in his commentary of Surah al-Feel (Chapter 105) of the Holy Qur’an states, “The only ideology the Arabs advanced for mankind was the Islamic faith which raised them to the position of human leadership. If they forsake it they will no longer have any function or role to play in human history…It is Allah who provides guidance for us lest we go astray.”
“This day I have perfected your religion for you and have completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” (Qur’an, 5:3). By analyzing the tragedy of Islam in Andalus, we find that the Muslims of Spain disregarded the fact that Allah indeed blessed them with Islam, and therefore went astray. They were so successful that as a result, Muslims believe that they treasured the wealth they accumulated so much so that they became arrogant and deviated from the practice of Al-Islam; disregarding the commandments of Allah, and the Sunnah (imitating his actions, and way of life) of the Prophet (PBUH). They failed to remember their prosperity and wealth came from Allah and Him alone. Therefore, Allah took away the abundance of wealth, power, supremacy, and favors that He bestowed upon them so that they would remember. Allah says in the Qur’an, “Remember Me, and I will remember you. Give thanks to Me and never deny Me” (2:152). When the Muslims in Spain neglected Allah, He therefore neglected them. Allah asks mankind repeatedly in chapter 55, Surah Rahman, of the Qur’an, “Which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?” –All praise and glory is due to Allah, and Him alone!
Historian L.P. Harvey stated that we must not dwell on the failure of the Muslims in Spain, and instead admire the stubbornness put forth by the Muslims in defense of their land.
The legacy of al-Andalus serves as a lesson for Muslims. The persecution of Muslims in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries was a great trial of their faith, as is the entire life of a Muslim; this was a great challenge from Allah. Many died fighting for Islam aware of the rewards for such a death. 41
For those Muslims who were driven out of Andalus or were slain for their unwavering faith, Allah reassures mankind, “…I will forgive all the shortcomings and remove the evil deeds of those who were expelled from their homes or were persecuted for My sake and who fought for My cause and were slain. I shall admit them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. This is their reward from Allah, and with Allah alone is the richest reward!” (Qur’an, 3:195) Allah humma Ameen!
“Spain and the West stand forever in their debt.” 42 The Muslims were instrumental in making Spain a “Paradise on Earth,” and issuing forth the Renaissance. I’ve observed that professors of philosophy, theology and history will agree with you concerning the greatness of Muslim Spain, yet they only speak of it once you’ve initiated the conversation! Muslim Spain is hardly spoken of, while the works of Muslims in Al-Andalus until this day remain unknown and underappreciated. “The intellectual community which the northern scholars found in Spain was so far superior to what they had at home that it left a lasting jealousy of Arab culture, which was to color Western opinions for centuries.” 43
The 1.2 billion plus Muslims of the world today have the same potential as of the Muslims of the past. One of our great many challenges today is to recreate the dynamic legacy which existed in Al-Andalus. In the example of the main character, ‘Isabella,’ (a REAL Queen!) in Dehlvi’s book, the Andalusian Muslimah (female Muslim) who lived and died for Islam, we must remind the world that Al-Andalus was a supreme example of tolerance and justice because of the religion of Spain’s people, not the fact that they were Arab or Spanish by race. By its outstanding example, Muslim Spain proves to the world that as a melting pot of religious faiths and races, we can, in reality, live and prosper with one another.
Originally posted: Andalusia When It Was…