Tag Archives: Al-Andalus

The End Of Islamic Garnata

After a series of negotiations and assurances that the Christians would safeguard the agreement that was about to be signed, the Garnata Capitulations were signed in 1491, (otherwise known as The Treaty of Garnata), and in 1492 the Christian forces took over the city, and thus Islamic rule of Andalus ended after almost 780 years of continuous rule. Albeit this did not mean that 1492 marked the end of the Muslim presence in Andalus, as they remained for another hundred or more years or so. As for Abu Abdullah he ended up dying in obscurity fleeing from Andalus to Morocco.

Islam flourished in Andalus, but due to our disunity and worldy desires, we lost Andalus in a mere 780 years, wherein not even a trace of it exists in modern day Spain. The rulers then were not unlike the rulers now and likewise the people of those lands not unlike us. However, the history of Andalus that we’re interested in, in this project is not the above history. Nay, it is actually what happened after the Treaty of Garnata that is of interest to us, in that it applies to many a situation of Muslims today, be it the first, (or second), generation western Muslim who are living in Dar Al Kufr , by virtue of birth or immigration due to economic reasons, (and even political asylum seekers), and of those Muslims in ‘Muslim’ countries, and their thoughts in relation to their rulers and their view of the Kuffaar.

The Muslims of Andalus were assured by the Christian Kings that all treaty capitulations shall be upheld and Muslims could continue to practice as they wish, run their Shariah courts and in general have freedoms that, by today’s standards, would seem magnanimous on the part of Christian conquerors.

However, within ten years they broke the treaty by creating their own pretext and thus began forcefully converting Muslims, destroying Arabic books, (including the Quran), banning the Arabic language and finally killing or imprisoning people that violated any of their bans on Islam by way of the Inquisition and its Inquisitorial courts which bear an uncanny resemblance to the CIA created ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ program and its protocols, (wherein people would disappear all of a sudden, taken to an unknown location , without habeas corpus rights being granted to the families of the detainee, and were detained for extended periods of time while subjected to psychological and physical torture for alleged acts of ‘terrorism’). Muslims had to increasingly use
Aljamiado (Al Ajamiyya), to communicate instead of Arabic and lie to Christians about their faith while secretly maintaining their Salat, fasting, Zakat and even Hajj during these trying times.

At this juncture, it would be fitting to discuss Al Ajamiyya or Aljamiado. In our context, Aljamiado refers to writings which utilizes the Arabic script for transcribing Romance languages such as Spanish. The most common reason for its increasing popularity in the 16 century is thought to be due to the restrictions placed upon the use of Arabic from the mid 16 centuries, Muslims had to adapt to these restrictions by using Castillian.

However, this explanation by itself would be inaccurate. It cannot be stressed enough that Ajamiyya had been in use since the 14 and 15 , (perhaps even earlier), century due to the fact that Muslims that were living anywhere other than Garnata, (such as Arghun (Aragon), Valencia and Castile), started forgetting their Arabic and acclimatizing gradually, but increasingly, to Spanish. Some of the works that have been unearthed in Spain and elsewhere in Ajamiyya are for the most part meant for the common people and serve an educational role to educate the Muslims of Spain about Islam, usually in a summarized format, (therefore making these books easy to hide from the prying eyes of the Inquisitors). Some of the non Islamic works in
Ajamiyya that have been found are as follows:

“Prose narratives (divisible into romances, short stories, and legends): Rekontamiento del rey Alisandere (Story of King Alexander), Historia de los amores de París y Viana, Libro de las batallas, Leyenda de ‘Ali ibnu abi Talib y las cuarenta doncellas (Legend of ‘Ali ibnu abi Talib and the Forty Damsels), El baño de Zarieb, and Leyenda de Yuçuf (Legend of Joseph).

Eschatological texts: Estoria del día del juicio (Story of the Day of Judgment) and Ascención de Mahoma a los cielos
(Ascension of Muhammad to the Heavens). Biblical legends:

La leyenda de Ibrahim (The Legend of Abraham), Historia del sacrificio de Ismael (Story of the Sacrifice of Ishmael), Las demandas de Muça (The Questions of Moses), Leyenda de Muça con la paloma y el halcón (Legend of Moses with the Dove and the Falcon), Muerte de Muça (Death of Moses),
Historia de Ayub (Story of Job), Recontamiento de Çulayman
(Story of Solomon), Nacimiento de Iça (Birth of Jesus), Jesús resucita a Sem hijo de Noe (Jesus Resuscitates Shem, Son of Noah), and Historia del rey Jesús (Story of King Jesus).

Travel literature: Itinerario de España y Turquía (Itinerary of Spain and Turkey) and Avisos para el caminante (Warnings for the Walker). Didactic prose: Los castigos de ‘Ali (The Moral Teachings of ‘Ali), Los castigos de Alhaquim a su hijo
(The Moral Teachings of al-Hakim for His Son), Los castigos
del hijo de Edam (The Moral Teachings of the Son of Edam),
Libro y translado de buenas doctrinas y castigos y buenas
costumbres (Book of Good Doctrine, Moral Teachings, and Good Habits), and Libro de predicas y examplos y doctrinas para medecinar el alma y amar la otra vida y aborrecer este mundo (Book of Preachings, Exempla, and Doctrine to Heal the Soul, Love the Life to Come, and Abhor This World).

Treatises on popular beliefs and superstitions: Libro de dichos maravillosos (Book of Marvelous Sayings), Libro de las suertes
(The Book of Fortunes), and Libro de los sueños (Book of Dreams).

Anti-Christian and anti-Jewish polemics: Disputa contra los judíos y disputa contra los cristianos (Dispute against the Jews and Dispute against the Christians) and
Preguntas de unos judíos a Muhammad (Questions of Some Jews to Muhammad)… Poetic works: Poema de Yuçuf, Almadha de alabança al annabi Muhammad (Poem of Praise for the Prophet Muhammad), Historia genealógica de Mahoma
(Genealogical History of Muhammad), and Coplas en alabança del-adín del-aliçlam (Verses in Praise of the Religion of Islam), (Barletta, 8).”

One of the more famous Muslim scholars of the Mudajjan and ‘Morisco’ period is Isa Al Shaadhili. He was a faqih and the
qadi of the Jama’a of Al Shaqoubiyah, (Segovia), in Castile, during the middle of the 15 century CE. He was one of the Ahl Al Dajn, as were the rest of the community that was with him in Castile. He was Maliki by way of his fiqh as was virtually everyone in the Maghrib and Andalus, (until the Uthmani forces took control during the 16 century CE, wherein the population of Ahnaaf/Hanafis began to increase). As is evident from his name he was a Sufi of the Shadhiliyya order which is the most prevelant in the Maghrib today and was then too, along with the Tijaniyya order.  In 1462 CE, he wrote his most famous book, Breviario Sunni , (‘Introduction to the Sunnah’), which was a manual designed to aid Muslims in their daily practice of Islam. He also had the infamy of having cooperated with the Christian authorities of Segovia to translate the Quran from Arabic to Castilian.

As for the religious works that were translated into Spanish were:

1. Tafsir of Ibn Ali Zaminin

2. Tafsir Ghareeb Al Quran of Al Sijistani

3. Ibn Salama’s work on Ayaat that are mansukh , (abrogated)

4. Some works on different modes of Qiraat, even some that argue the difference between Warsh and Qaloon

5. Kitaab Fihi Tafseer Mukhtalif Al Hadith by Ibn Qutayba

6. The Forty Hadith of Imam Ghazali

7. Kitaab Shihab Akbar by Al Quda’i

8. Kitab Anwar Al Saniyya by Ibn Juzayy

9. B’ad Al Khalq Wa Qisaas Al Anbiya by Al Farisi

10. Kitab Al Anwar by Abu Al Hassan Al Bakri

11. Rai’ Al Durar by Al Qazwini

12. Al Risaala by Ibn Zayd Al Qayrawani 1

3. Kitab Al Istadhkaar by Abd Al Barr Al Namari

14. Kitab Al Iqtisaad fee Al Itiqaad by Imam Ghazali

And many more. Below is an example of Ajamiyya text, (the following is a Spanish translation of the Quran written in Arabic script):


In other contexts, the word aljamiado is sometimes used for other non-Semitic language written in Arabic letters. For example, some Serbo-Croatian, Bosnian and Albanian texts written in Arabic script during the Ottoman period have been referred to as aljamiado.

A very interesting example of the principle of writing another language in Arabic script is
Xiao’erjing , which is the method by which Hui Chinese Muslims use to write Mandarin Chinese in Arabic script. Formerly the Dungan descendants of these Chinese Muslims in Central Asia also used this method of writing until the Soviet Union banned it by enacting writing reforms which forced the Dungan people to replace Xiao’erjing with a Roman script and later a Cyrillic one, which they continue to use until today. However, in our discussion, we are only referring to Spanish written in Arabic script.


Returning to the Muslims of Andalus, it must be clear, and it will be discussed, that Christians in their treachery had deliberately designed a method by which the Muslims in Andalus would not be able to escape to the Maghrib and would thus, by their calculations, have to accept Christianity and enlarge the number of Christian followers in the land. One hundred and fifty years later from the Treaty of Garnata, after two major insurgencies, the resilience of Muslims holding on to their faith and their refusal to become Murtad , (apostate), (even when their nobles were the first in line to apostasize and safeguard their wealth), the Spanish decided to expel all the Muslims, (by now they were called Moriscos), and admit their defeat at the hands of a few hundred thousand oppressed souls.

A mention should be made of an issue that deserves our attention, and that is the question that is on the mind of most Muslims when they touch this topic, that if they converted, then how can they be Muslim (speaking of the period of 1502 where Mudajjan status had ended all over spain and everyone was forced to convert and called Morsico’s)? It is a question which scholars have tussled over and were tussling with at the time over how to rule on this question. In hindsight and availability of documents, it was seen that what was imposed on the Muslims of Andalus, (who either wanted to leave and weren’t able to due to poverty and not able to afford the transport off the peninsula or were captured before reaching the ports, and not those who deliberately desired to stay in Andalus, unless they were attempting to regroup and lead an insurgency to liberate Andalus from the Kuffaar), by its very definition was Ikrah in its textbook definition, (i.e. compulsion and coercion).

Therefore if we look at what the scholars have said in regard to a situation like this, we can see that there were grounds for them to pretend to convert, while still being Muslim, ( Taqiyyah or dissimulation). Imam Nawawi in his Arba’ain in Hadith number 39:

ﻋَﻦِ ﺍﺑْﻦِ ﻋَﺒَّﺎﺱٍ ﺭَﺿِﻲَ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪُ ﻋَﻨْﻪُ ﺃَﻥَّ ﺭَﺳُﻮﻝَ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪِ ﺻَﻠَّﻰ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪُ ﻋَﻠَﻴْﻪِ ﻭَﺳَﻠَّﻢَ ﻗَﺎﻝَ :
ﺇﻥَّ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪَ ﺗَﺠَﺎﻭَﺯَ ﻟِﻲ ﻋَﻦْ ﺃُﻣَّﺘِﻲ ﺍﻟْﺨَﻄَﺄَ ﻭَﺍﻟﻨِّﺴْﻴَﺎﻥَ ﻭَﻣَﺎ ﺍﺳْﺘُﻜْﺮِﻫُﻮﺍ ﻋَﻠَﻴْﻪِ
‏( ﺣَﺪِﻳﺚٌ ﺣَﺴَﻦٌ، ﺭَﻭَﺍﻩُ ﺍﺑْﻦُ ﻣَﺎﺟَﻪ، ﻭَﺍﻟْﺒَﻴْﻬَﻘِﻲُّ “ ﺍﻟﺴُّﻨَﻦ ‏)

Ibn Abbas, (radiyAllāhu ‘anhu) , reported that the Messenger of Allāh, ( ﺻﻠَّﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠَّﻢ ), said:
“Truly Allāh has for my sake pardoned the mistakes and forgetfulness of my community, and for what they have done under force or duress.” [1]

The Ulema cite in support of this Hadith, (Along with Surah Al Ahzab, Ayah 5 and Surah Baqarah, Ayah 286), cite this
ayah :

ﻣَﻦ ﻛَﻔَﺮَ ﺑِﺎﻟﻠَّﻪِ ﻣِﻦ ﺑَﻌْﺪِ ﺇﻳﻤَـﻨِﻪِ ﺇِﻻَّ ﻣَﻦْ ﺃُﻛْﺮِﻩَ ﻭَﻗَﻠْﺒُﻪُ ﻣُﻄْﻤَﺌِﻦٌّ ﺑِﺎﻹِﻳﻤَـﻦِ ﻭَﻟَـﻜِﻦ ﻣَّﻦ ﺷَﺮَﺡَ ﺑِﺎﻟْﻜُﻔْﺮِ ﺻَﺪْﺭًﺍ ﻓَﻌَﻠَﻴْﻬِﻢْ ﻏَﻀَﺐٌ ﻣِّﻦَ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪِ ﻭَﻟَﻬُﻢْ ﻋَﺬَﺍﺏٌ ﻋَﻈِﻴﻢٌ 2

Whoever disbelieves in Allāh after his belief – except one who was forced while his heart is at peace with the faith – but whoever opens their breasts to disbelief, on them is wrath from Allāh, and theirs will be a terrible torment

Ibn Kathir States in the Ayah regarding “except one who was forced while his heart is at peace with the faith:”

“ This is an exception in the case of one who utters statements of disbelief and verbally agrees with the Mushrikin because he is forced to do so by the beatings and abuse to which he is subjected, but his heart refuses to accept what he is saying, and he is, in reality, at peace with his faith in Allāh and His Messenger. The scholars agreed that if a person is forced into disbelief, it is permissible for him to either go along with them in the interests of self-preservation, or to refuse, as Bilal did when they were inflicting all sorts of torture on him, even placing a huge rock on his chest in the intense heat and telling him to admit others as partners with Allāh. He refused, saying, “Alone, Alone.” And he said, “By Allāh, if I knew any word more annoying to you than this, I would say it.” May Allāh be pleased with him. Similarly, when the Liar Musaylimah asked Habib bin Zayd Al-Ansari, “Do you bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh” He said, “Yes.” Then Musaylimah asked, “Do you bear witness that I am the messenger of Allāh” Habib said, “I do not hear you.” Musaylimah kept cutting him, piece by piece, but he remained steadfast insisting on his words. It is better and preferable for the Muslim to remain steadfast in his religion, even if that leads to him being killed, as was mentioned by Al-Hafiz Ibn ‘Asakir in his biography of ‘Abdullah bin Hudhafah Al-Sahmi, one of the Companions. He said that he was taken prisoner by the Romans, who brought him to their king. The king said, “Become a Christian, and I will give you a share of my kingdom and my daughter in marriage.”

‘Abdullah said: “If you were to give me all that you possess and all that Arabs possess to make me give up the religion of Muhammad even for an instant, I would not do it.” The king said, “Then I will kill you.” ‘Abdullah said, “It is up to you.” The king gave orders that he should be crucified, and commanded his archers to shoot near his hands and feet while ordering him to become a Christian, but he still refused. Then the king gave orders that he should be brought down, and that a big vessel made of copper be brought and heated up. Then, while ‘Abdullah was watching, one of the Muslim prisoners was brought out and thrown into it, until all that was left of him was scorched bones. The king ordered him to become a Christian, but he still refused. Then he ordered that ‘Abdullah be thrown into the vessel, and he was brought back to the pulley to be thrown in. ‘Abdullah wept, and the king hoped that he would respond to him, so he called him, but ‘Abdullah said, “I only weep because I have only one soul with which to be thrown into this vessel at this moment for the sake of Allāh; I wish that I had as many souls as there are hairs on my body with which I could undergo this torture for the sake of Allāh.”

According to some reports, the king imprisoned him and deprived him of food and drink for several days, then he sent him wine and pork, and he did not come near them. Then the king called him and asked him, “What stopped you from eating” ‘Abdullah said, “It is permissible for me (under these circumstances), but I did not want to give you the opportunity to gloat…”

So as Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) says, “It is better and preferable for the Muslim to remain steadfast in his religion, even if that leads to him being killed…” indicating a preference to be steadfast and be put to death, (as in the case of Habib bin Zayd Al Ansari), than apostasizing. However, as we see in the case of Abdullah Hudhaifa Al Shami, he says, “It is permissible for me (under these circumstances), but I did not want to give you the opportunity to gloat.” So it can be ascertained doing things such as eating pork and drinking wine are permissible under compulsion but not the preferable mode of action as the first recourse.

Another view or category is the distinction between speech and actions. In terms of speech, a person might be forced and allowed to say something that is not allowable. The scholars say he should not practice taqiyah . Taqiyah means to say or do something which you do not believe in and are not satisfied with. This only applies to sayings and not actions. Regarding this issue there is an agreement among the Muslim scholars. They say that whoever is forced to say something that is not allowed in shari’ah , then he will be allowed to say it – he will not be regarded or considered as ‘saying’ it. There is another condition that the scholars set.

They say that whenever a person is put into ikrah or duress, the duress should be definite and most likely to happen and not just something the person imagines or assumes. He has to be sure. Through proofs such as these Scholars who understood the situation of the Andalusis issued fatawa stating that, (if the Muslims are truly under ikrah as mentioned above), they can state that they are christian but in their heart not believe, play with words to make statements that are favorable to Christians but neither are outright shirk and kufr . These ahadith and ayaat are, if you will, part of the camp of people that did not, or could not resist the Christians or were unable to leave the land due to genuine Ikrah .

However, on the other hand in Surah Al Nisaa,’ ( Ayah 97), Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) clarifies the conditions of remaining in mushrik lands without putting oneself into a sinful position:

ﺇِﻥَّ ﺍﻟَّﺬِﻳﻦَ ﺗَﻮَﻓَّﺎﻫُﻢُ ﺍﻟْﻤَﻶﺋِﻜَﺔُ ﻇَﺎﻟِﻤِﻲ ﺃَﻧْﻔُﺴِﻬِﻢْ ﻗَﺎﻟُﻮﺍْ ﻓِﻴﻢَ ﻛُﻨﺘُﻢْ ﻗَﺎﻟُﻮﺍْ ﻛُﻨَّﺎ ﻣُﺴْﺘَﻀْﻌَﻔِﻴﻦَ ﻓِﻲ ﺍﻷَﺭْﺽِ ﻗَﺎﻟْﻮَﺍْ ﺃَﻟَﻢْ ﺗَﻜُﻦْ ﺃَﺭْﺽُ ﺍﻟﻠّﻪِ ﻭَﺍﺳِﻌَﺔً ﻓَﺘُﻬَﺎﺟِﺮُﻭﺍْ ﻓِﻴﻬَﺎ ﻓَﺄُﻭْﻟَـﺌِﻚَ ﻣَﺄْﻭَﺍﻫُﻢْ ﺟَﻬَﻨَّﻢُ ﻭَﺳَﺎﺀﺕْ ﻣَﺼِﻴﺮًﺍ 3

Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) clarifies this Ayah by stating:

Al-Bukhari recorded that Muhammad bin ‘Abdur-Rahmān, Abu Al-Aswad, said, “The people of Al-Madinah were forced to prepare an army (to fight against the people of Ash-Sham during the Khilafah of Abdullah bin Az-Zubayir at Makkah), and I was enlisted in it. Then I met ‘Ikrimah, the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbas, and informed him (about it), and he forbade me strongly from doing so (i.e., to enlist in that army), and then he said to me, ‘Ibn ‘Abbas told me that some Muslims used to go out with the idolators increasing the size of their army against the Messenger of Allāh . Then, an arrow would hit one of them and kill him, or he would be struck on his neck (with a sword) and killed, and Allāh sent down the Ayah,

ﺇِﻥَّ ﺍﻟَّﺬِﻳﻦَ ﺗَﻮَﻓَّـﻬُﻢُ ﺍﻟْﻤَﻠَـﺌِﻜَﺔُ ﻇَـﻠِﻤِﻰ ﺃَﻧﻔُﺴِﻬِﻢْ

‘Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves’

Ad-Dahhak stated that this Ayah was revealed about some hypocrites who did not join the Messenger of Allāh but remained in Makkah and went out with the idolators for the battle of Badr. They were killed among those who were killed. Thus, this honorable Ayah was revealed about those who reside among the idolators, while able to perform Hijrah and unable to practice the faith. Such people will be committing injustice against themselves and falling into a prohibition according to the consensus [emphasis is mine] and also according to this Ayah,

ﺇِﻥَّ ﺍﻟَّﺬِﻳﻦَ ﺗَﻮَﻓَّـﻬُﻢُ ﺍﻟْﻤَﻠَـﺌِﻜَﺔُ ﻇَـﻠِﻤِﻰ ﺃَﻧﻔُﺴِﻬِﻢْ

“Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves,” by refraining from Hijrah,
ﻗَﺎﻟُﻮﺍْ ﻓِﻴﻢَ ﻛُﻨﺘُﻢْ

They (angels) say (to them): ‘In what (condition) were you’
meaning, why did you remain here and not perform Hijrah

ﻗَﺎﻟُﻮﺍْ ﻛُﻨَّﺎ ﻣُﺴْﺘَﻀْﻌَﻔِﻴﻦَ ﻓِﻰ ﺍﻻٌّﺭْﺽِ

They reply: ‘We were weak and oppressed on the earth.’
meaning, we are unable to leave the land or move about in the earth,

ﻗَﺎﻟْﻮﺍْ ﺃَﻟَﻢْ ﺗَﻜُﻦْ ﺃَﺭْﺽُ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪِ ﻭَﺳِﻌَﺔً

They (angels) say: ‘Was not the earth of Allāh spacious enough for you’

Abu Dawud recorded that Samurah bin Jundub said that the Messenger of Allāh said:

ﻣَﻦْ ﺟَﺎﻣَﻊَ ﺍﻟْﻤُﺸْﺮِﻙَ ﻭَﺳَﻜَﻦَ ﻣَﻌَﻪُ ﻓَﺈِﻧَّﻪُ ﻣِﺜْﻠُﻪ

“Whoever mingles with the mushrik and resides with him, he is just like him.”

In essence Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) explains the ayah by saying that those who have the ability to make hijrah , (i.e. they were able to leave the land or able to traverse the earth without prohibition), and do not do it, and have an inability to practice their Islam, will be falling into a prohibition according to the concensus of scholars. The issue directly applies to the Muslims in Andalus after 1492, as many Muslims, (who had the ability to make hijrah ), chose to stay behind in the misguided notion that if they stayed they could reclaim Andalus from the Christians with the help of the Fatimi / Mahdi, (when clearly they neither had the force inside Andalus or in the Maghrib to help them achieve that. Furthermore, Uthmani help never came until much later in a very meager form. The best solution would have been to regroup in the Maghrib in order to regain Andalus), or simply that, they had an attachment to the land and didn’t want to leave, even if it meant hardship, slavery or even feigned or real apostasy to Christianity.

It is clear according to the scholars how grave the issue of living among the Mushrikeen is, as, Imam Ibn Katheer cites a hadith from Abi Dawood that whosoever lives and mingles with the mushrikeen, is like him (i.e. a mushrik ). Moreover a hadith is narrated where “some munafiqeen who did not join the Messenger of Allāh but remained in Makkah and went out with the mushrikeen for the battle of Badr. They were killed among those who were killed.” Imam Ibn Kathir explains that the Ayah applies to those who were able to make hijrah, unable to practice their Islam and resided amongst the
mushrikeen. However the hadith adds that those Muslims, who fought under the mushrikeen at Badr against the Prophet ( ﺻﻠَّﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠَّﻢ ), and were killed, died in a state where they would be wronging themselves. It is a stark reminder especially to those living in countries ruled by kafirs such as in those of the Americas and Europe.

Their armies have come to do nothing short of occupation and the manipulation, if not annihilation, of the Deen of Islam and Muslims. Many Muslims fight in these armies and put themselves at great peril.

As for those who still are obstinate and choose to remain in kafir lands when they have the wherewithal to leave, they are at risk of being drafted into the armies of kafir host countries and put their aakhirah [hereafter] in peril.

Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) proceeds to provide the exeptions to this Ayah by clarifying the proceeding Ayah :

ﺇِﻻَّ ﺍﻟْﻤُﺴْﺘَﻀْﻌَﻔِﻴﻦَ

‘Except the weak’ until the end of the Ayah, is an excuse that Allāh gives for this type of people not to emigrate, because they are unable to free themselves from the idolators. And even if they did, they would not know which way to go. This is why Allāh said,

ﻻَ ﻳَﺴْﺘَﻄِﻴﻌُﻮﻥَ ﺣِﻴﻠَﺔً ﻭَﻻَ ﻳَﻬْﺘَﺪُﻭﻥَ ﺳَﺒِﻴﻼً

“Who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way,” meaning, they do not find the way to emigrate, as Mujahid, ‘Ikrimah and As-Suddi stated.

Allāh’s statement,

ﻓَﺄُﻭْﻟَـﺌِﻚَ ﻋَﺴَﻰ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪُ ﺃَﻥ ﻳَﻌْﻔُﻮَ ﻋَﻨْﻬُﻢْ

“These are they whom Allāh is likely to forgive them” means, pardon them for not migrating, and here, ‘likely’ means He shall…

Allāh’s statement,

ﻭَﻣَﻦ ﻳُﻬَﺎﺟِﺮْ ﻓِﻰ ﺳَﺒِﻴﻞِ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪِ ﻳَﺠِﺪْ ﻓِﻰ ﺍﻻٌّﺭْﺽِ ﻣُﺮَﺍﻏَﻤﺎً ﻛَﺜِﻴﺮﺍً ﻭَﺳَﻌَﺔً

“He who emigrates in the cause of Allāh, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by.” this encourages the believers to perform Hijrah and abandon the idolators, for wherever the believer emigrates, he will find a safe refuge to resort to. Mujahid said that,

ﻣُﺮَﺍﻏَﻤﺎً ﻛَﺜِﻴﺮﺍً

“many dwelling places” means, he will find a way out of what he dislikes. Allāh’s statement,

“and plenty to live by” refers to provision. Qatadah also said that,

ﻳَﺠِﺪْ ﻓِﻰ ﺍﻻٌّﺭْﺽِ ﻣُﺮَﺍﻏَﻤﺎً ﻛَﺜِﻴﺮﺍً ﻭَﺳَﻌَﺔً

“…will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by” means, Allāh will take him from misguidance to guidance and from poverty to richness.

Allāh’s statement,

ﻭَﻣَﻦ ﻳَﺨْﺮُﺝْ ﻣِﻦ ﺑَﻴْﺘِﻪِ ﻣُﻬَـﺠِﺮﺍً ﺇِﻟَﻰ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪِ ﻭَﺭَﺳُﻮﻟِﻪِ ﺛُﻢَّ ﻳُﺪْﺭِﻛْﻪُ ﺍﻟْﻤَﻮْﺕُ ﻓَﻘَﺪْ ﻭَﻗَﻊَ ﺃَﺟْﺮُﻩُ ﻋَﻠﻰَ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪِ

“And whosoever leaves his home as an emigrant unto Allāh and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward is then surely, incumbent upon Allāh.” means, whoever starts emigrating and dies on the way, he will acquire the reward of those who emigrate for Allāh. The Two Sahihs, along with the Musnad and Sunan compilers, recorded that ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) said that the Messenger of Allāh (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said:

ﺇِﻧَّﻤَﺎ ﺍﻟْﺄَﻋْﻤَﺎﻝُ ﺑِﺎﻟﻨِّــﻴَّﺎﺕِ، ﻭَﺇِﻧَّﻤَﺎ ﻟِﻜُﻞِّ ﺍﻣْﺮِﻯﺀٍ ﻣَﺎ ﻧَﻮَﻯ، ﻓَﻤَﻦْ ﻛَﺎﻧَﺖْ ﻫِﺠْﺮَﺗُﻪُ ﺇِﻟَﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪِ ﻭَﺭَﺳُﻮﻟِﻪِ، ﻓَﻬِﺠْﺮَﺗُﻪُ ﺇِﻟَﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪِ ﻭَﺭَﺳُﻮﻟِﻪِ، ﻭَﻣَﻦْ ﻛَﺎﻧَﺖْ ﻫِﺠْﺮَﺗُﻪُ ﺇِﻟﻰ ﺩُﻧْﻴَﺎ ﻳُﺼِﻴﺒُﻬَﺎ، ﺃَﻭِ ﺍﻣْﺮَﺃَﺓٍ ﻳَﺘَﺰَﻭَّﺟُﻬَﺎ، ﻓَﻬِﺠْﺮَﺗُﻪُ ﺇِﻟﻰ ﻣَﺎ ﻫَﺎﺟَﺮَ ﺇِﻟَﻴْﻪ 4

The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will be rewarded according to what he has intended. So, whoever emigrated to Allāh and His Messenger, then his emigration is for Allāh and His Messenger. And whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration is for what he emigrated for.

This Hadith is general, it applies to Hijrah as well as every other deed …

In this the exception is clear, in that, the only ones excused are those that are:

1. Unable to free themselves from the idolators

2. And those, even if they were to free themselves, would not know which way to go, or find the way to emigrate.

In addition, many Muslims after the Treaty of Garnata, exclaimed that the reason they didn’t want to go to the Maghrib was because life was rough there and there was no living to be made in Andalus, (as an Andalusi Muslim had asked Imam Wanshirisi during the 1500’s).

However Allāh ( ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﻠﻰ ) states clearly the muhajir who emigrates fee sabillilah [in the cause of Allāh], “…will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by.” So Allāh ( ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﻠﻰ ), is not saying there is a possibility of sustenance or shelter, rather, He is saying that there will be shelter and sustenance for those who immigrated in His path.

Hand in hand with the previous verses, the people mentioned here are those who were put to trial and were under oppression, and could not leave the land, but when they opportunity arose, they emigrated in His path and waged
Struggle as Allāh ( ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﻠﻰ ), states in Verse 110 of Surah Al Nahl:

ﺛُﻢَّ ﺇِﻥَّ ﺭَﺑَّﻚَ ﻟِﻠَّﺬِﻳﻦَ ﻫَـﺠَﺮُﻭﺍْ ﻣِﻦ ﺑَﻌْﺪِ ﻣَﺎ ﻓُﺘِﻨُﻮﺍْ ﺛُﻢَّ ﺟَـﻬَﺪُﻭﺍْ ﻭَﺻَﺒَﺮُﻭﺍْ ﺇِﻥَّ ﺭَﺑَّﻚَ ﻣِﻦ ﺑَﻌْﺪِﻫَﺎ ﻟَﻐَﻔُﻮﺭٌ ﺭَّﺣِﻴﻢٌ

Then, verily, your Lord for those who emigrated after they were put to trials and then struggled in His Path, and were patient, – after this, your Lord is indeed Forgiving, Most Merciful.

About this Ayah , Ibn Kathir States:

“This refers to another group of people who were oppressed in Makkah and whose position with their own people was weak, so they went along with them when they were tried by them. Then they managed to escape by emigrating, leaving their homeland, families and wealth behind, seeking the pleasure and forgiveness of Allāh. They joined the believers and fought with them against the disbelievers, bearing hardship with patience.
Allāh tells them that after this, meaning after their giving in when put to the test, He will forgive them and show mercy to them when they are resurrected.”

This Ayah fits in perfectly of those Muslims who after hiding their faith for a number of years and safeguarding it, managed to escape Andalus and subsequently managed to join up with the Ghazis of the Uthamani navy such as Khair Al Deen, (in the West he is called Barbarossa, or Red Beard), to raid Christian vessels to terrorize the enemies of Allāh and wage battle in His Path. This dichotomy is a perfect way to understand the Muslims of Andalus after 1492, but in its own way, it is a way to understand Muslims in the West today, and even those living under tyrannical Muslim regimes in the ‘east.’



[1] A Saheeh hadith related by Ibn Majah, Al-Baihaqi and others

[2] Surah Nahl, Ayah 106

[3] Surah 4 Ayah 97

[4] Sahih Bukhari, Hadith #: 1

Did Islam Spread by Sword??

[By brother Firas Alkhateeb]

It’s a common accusation made against Muslims and Islam in general: “The only reason Islam is a world religion is because it spread by the sword.” It’s a favorite remark of Islamophobes who parade as analysts and historians fear-mongering about the threat Islam supposedly poses to the Western World. With it being such a hot topic that causes so much debate, it is appropriate to analyze and study this topic to better understand whether it is valid or not.

Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Persia – The First Conquests

After the life of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), Islamic expansion truly began in the early 630s, AD. Campaigns against the Byzantine and Sassanid (Persian) Empires were initiated which pitted this new religion of Islam, with its desert Arabian warriors against the established and ancient empires centered in Constantinople and Ctesiphon.

Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu), the first caliph of Islam, gave these armies rules which would seem very constricting by today’s standards of warfare:

“Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.”¹

These rules were very unique and innovative for the time. Just before this Muslim expansion, the Persians and Byzantines had fought a decades-long war that left lands from Syria to Iraq in ruins. Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) made it clear that Muslim armies do not operate by the same principles and restrict their fights to the armies and governments of the enemy, not the general populace. Islamic Shari’ah law, based on the example of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu), clearly forbids the use of force against anyone except in legitimate cases of war against a clearly defined enemy.*

The purpose of this article is not to delve into the tactics and individual battles of this conquest of Egypt, Syria and Iraq. It is enough for our purposes here to state that Syria was under Muslim control by 638, Egypt by 642, and Iraq/Persia by 644. The Byzantine Empire, having lost its religious base in Syria, as well as its commercial base in Egypt was greatly weakened. The Sassanid Empire, on the other hand, completely ceased to exist after the Muslim conquest. Politically, it was a disaster for these two giant empires. But, going back to the main idea of this article, how did Islam as a religion spread in the conquered areas??

Unequivocally, the general populace was not forced or induced to convert to Islam. If anything, they were encouraged to continue living their lives as they had for centuries before. In the example of the conquest of Jerusalem , the caliph at the time, Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu), wrote in the surrender treaty with the patriarchs of city:

He [Umar] has given them an assurance of safety for themselves, for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and healthy of the city…Their churches will not be inhabited by Muslims and will not be destroyed… They will not be forcibly converted.²


The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which Umar promised to protect when the city came under Muslim control

No other empire or state at the time had such ideas about religious tolerance. Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), being a companion of the Prophet, sets a precedent in this treaty about the treatment of conquered peoples in Islamic law. The rest of the conquered lands, in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Persia had similar treaties. Whether the citizens of the conquered lands were Christian, Jew, Sabians, or Zoroastrians, they were allowed to keep their religious traditions. There exists not one example of forced conversion in these early conquests.

Proof of the lack of forced conversion in these areas is the remaining Christian communities in these countries. For the first few centuries after the Muslim conquest, the majority of the population of these areas remained Christian. Slowly, they began to take on Islam as their religion and Arabic as their language. Today, large percentages of Christians remain in Egypt (9%), Syria (10%), Lebanon (39%), and Iraq (3%). If those early Muslim conquests (or even later Muslim rulers) forced conversion on anyone, there would be no Christian communities in those countries. Their existence is proof of Islam not spreading by the sword in these areas.

North Africa and Spain

The soldiers and leaders of these early conquests in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Persia were from the first generation of Muslims. Many of them were even companions of the Prophet. What would happen as Muslim expansion continued in later generations, as Muslim armies fought the Byzantines further West, in North Africa and later, in Spain??

The majority of the population of the North African coast in the 600s were Berbers. While the Byzantine Empire controlled most of the coast from Egypt to Algeria, the people of those areas were generally not loyal to the Byzantines who had great trouble trying to subdue the region. Political and social upheaval in the century before Islam led to a devastated region, which was probably just a shell of its former glory as a Roman province.

The first Umayyad caliph, Muawiya (radhiyallahu anhu), appointed a general, Uqba bin Nafi (radhiyallahu anhu), to conquer the North African coast from the Byzantines in the 660s.

Again, without getting into the details of the tactics and battles, within the course of a few decades, Muslim control over North Africa was solidified.

The same pattern we saw in Southwest Asia continued in North Africa. Conversions were not forced on any of the local populations. No accounts, by either Muslim or non-Muslim sources, mention forced conversion of the Berbers. Indeed, many Berbers did convert to Islam quite quickly. That strengthened the Muslim armies, as huge numbers of newly-converted Berbers would join the armies sweeping across the continent. Had these Berbers been forced to convert, they certainly would not have had the zeal and enthusiasm for Islam that would cause them to join the armies and spread Islamic political control even further against the Byzantines.

After the Muslim conquest of North Africa, came a proposal that would prove to change world history forever. In the early 700s, the Iberian Peninsula (present-day Spain and Portugal) was under the control of the Visigothic King Roderic. A nobleman from Iberia sent to the Muslim governor of North Africa, complaining about the oppressive and tyranical rule of Roderic. The nobleman promised to support a Muslim invasion against Roderic with his own troops if they intervened.

The Rock of Gibraltar, where Tariq ibn Ziyad’s army landed in their pursuit of Roderic, with a modern mosque in the foreground

After a few preliminary raids to gauge the local populations’ support for such an intervention, the Muslim general Tariq ibn Ziyad (rahimahullah) (who may possibly have been Berber himself), ferried an army across from Morocco to Iberia in 711. Within months, Tariq’s army had defeated King Roderic and opened up the country to Muslim control. Within 3 years, the entire Iberian Peninsula was under Muslim control. Many cities, hearing of the justice of Muslim rule, voluntarily opened their doors and welcomed Muslim armies, who ended what they saw as the oppressive rule of the Visigoths.

More documentary evidence survives from this conquest proving that the conquest did not mean forced conversion. In April 713, a Muslim governor in the region negotiated a treaty with a Visigothic noble, which included the provision that the local people “will not be killed or taken prisoner. Nor will they be separated from their women and children. They will not be coerced in matters of religion, their churches will not be burned.”³

We see again in the example of Muslim Spain (which would later be called al-Andalus) that the locals (mostly Christians, although a sizable Jewish population also existed) were not forced to convert to Islam. In fact, in later centuries, an almost utopian society of religious tolerance existed in al-Andalus, in which Muslims, Jews, and Christians all experienced a golden age of knowledge, culture, and philosophy. This enlightened land of religious tolerance would end centuries later with the Christian Reconquista which effectively ethnically cleansed Muslims and Jews from the entire peninsula.

The Indian Subcontinent

Today, two of the most populous Muslim countries in the world, Pakistan (2rd most Muslims), and India (3rd most Muslims), occupy the Indian subcontinent. Islam has had an incredible and lasting impact on the region in all aspects of life. However, even through centuries of Muslim rule by different empires and dynasties, Hinduism and other religions remain as important aspects of the subcontinent.

The reasons for Muslim invasion into the subcontinent were justified by the time period’s rules of warfare. A ship filled with daughters of Muslim traders who were trading in Sri Lanka was attacked by pirates from Sindh (what is now Pakistan) who captured and enslaved the women. Seeking to liberate the women and punish the pirates, an expedition was sent out in 710, led by Muhammad bin Qasim, an Arab from the city of Ta’if.

Bin Qasim’s military expedition into this distant and remote land was made successful by very important social issues in India.

The caste system, which originated from Hindu belief, divided society up into very strictly controlled social classes. Those on top led wealthy, comfortable lives, while those on the bottom (particularly untouchables) were seen as the scourge of society. Added to this were the Buddhists, who were generally oppressed by the Hindu princes throughout the country.

With the entrance of Muslim armies, which carried with them the promise of an equal society, many Buddhists and lower castes welcomed the Muslim armies. In fact, the first Muslims of Indian origin were probably from the lower castes, as Islam offered them an escape from the oppressive social system they were accustomed to.

With the conquest of Sindh, Muhammad bin Qasim showed that Islamic law’s protection of religious minorities was not just for Christians and Jews.

Buddhists and Hindus in the subcontinent were given religious freedom and were not forced to convert. In one case, a Buddhist community complained to bin Qasim of their fear that the Muslim armies would force Islam upon them and they would have to leave the practices of their ancestors. Bin Qasim held a meeting with the Buddhist and Hindu leaders of the town, and promised them religious freedom and asked them to continue leading their lives as they had previously.


We now come back to the question posed at the beginning of the article: did Islam spread by the sword? While numerous people with political and religious agendas make their case otherwise, it is seen as a clear and indisputable fact that the religion of Islam was not spread through violence, coercion, fear, or bloodshed. There exist no accounts of people being forced to convert to Islam under any circumstances. While the political and military control of Muslim leaders did in fact spread through defensive warfare, Muslim leaders and generals in fact went out of their way to protect the rights of other religious groups. The warfare was always carried out only against the governments and armies that the Muslims were at war with. The local citizens were left alone. Although this article only gives specific examples of a few regions, this trend continued throughout Islamic history, following the precedent of the early Muslims.

It is important to note that these are some of the first examples in history of religious tolerance. While religious tolerance and freedom are first seen in “Western” civilization in the Enlightenment of the 1600s and 1700s, Muslims have practiced religious freedom since the 600s AD. The arguments made by some political and historical “pundits” about Islamic belief spreading violently and through warfare clearly have no historical basis. In fact, Muslim religious toleration has influenced the historical tradition of such ideas in lands as diverse as Europe, the Americans and India.


* By extension, modern day terrorism clearly goes against Islamic law.

1-  Aboul-Enein, H. Yousuf and Zuhur, Sherifa, Islamic Rulings on Warfare , p. 22, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Diane Publishing Co., Darby PA

2- Kennedy, H. (2007). The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press. pg.91

3- Kennedy, H. (2007). The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In.  Philadelphia: Da Capo Press. pg.315


Aboul-Enein, H. Yousuf and Zuhur, Sherifa, Islamic Rulings on Warfare , p. 22, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Diane Publishing Co., Darby PA

CIA World Factbook

Kennedy, H. (2007). The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In.  Philadelphia: Da Capo Press.

Ochsenwald, W., & Fisher, S. (2003). The Middle East: A History . (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.


“With the royal banners and the cross of Pagan Christians plainly visible on the red walls of the Alhambra: …the Moorish king with about eighty or a hundred on horseback very well dressed went forth to kiss the hand of their Highnesses. Whom they received with much love and courtesy and there they handed over to him his son, who had been a hostage from the time of his capture, and as they stood there, there came about four hundred captives, of this who were in the enclosure, with the cross and a solemn procession singing the Te Deum Laudamus [a devotional hymn], and their highnesses dismounted to adore the Cross to the accompaniment of the tears and reverential devotion of the crowd…and the Moorish King and the Moors who were with him for their part could not disguise the sadness and pain they felt for the joy of the Christians, and certainly with much reason on account of their loss, for Granada is the most distinguished and chief thing in the world…”[1]

The date was the second of January, 1492, and the occasion was the procession of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella into the Al Hamra,’ something which was not even imaginable by Spanish Monarchs up till one hundred years prior. When Tariq Ibn Ziyaad(Rahimahullah)marched across Jabal Tariq and into Andalus to liberate it from the Visigoths, he would have shuddered to think that within eight hundred years, Muslims would not only be defeated in Andalus, where the pure blood of thousands of mujahideen under his command flowed and shahada was attained, but that Islam itself would be expelled from it within in a further hundred years. Coincidentally, the same year Tariq (rahimahullah) invaded Andalus was also the same year, at the tender age of 17, Muhammad bin Qasim Al-Thaqafi (rahimahullah), The noble Ummayad Qa’id and Mujahid, under order of the Khalifa Walid I, raided Sindh in retaliation to Hindu Pirate raids launched from there and established Ummayad control over Sind, (and later Punjab). Would Tariq (rahimahullah)have imagined Andalus’s fate when he landed upon those shores and made his famous speech as recounted by Imam Maqri in Al Nafh Al Tib :

“Oh my warriors, whither would you flee? Behind you is the sea, before you, the enemy. By Allāh! there is no salvation for you but in your courage and perseverance. Consider your situation;-here you are on this island like so many orphans cast upon the world; you will soon be met by a powerful enemy, surrounding you on all sides like the infuriated billows of a tempestuous seas, and sending against you countless warriors, drowned in steel, and provided with every store and description of arms. What can you oppose them [with]? You have no other weapons than your swords, no provisions but those that you may snatch from the hands of your enemies…Banish all fear from your hearts, trust that victory shall be ours, and that the barbarian king will not be able to withstand the shock of our arms. Here he comes to make us the masters of his cities and castles, and to deliver into our hands his countless treasures; and if you only seize the opportunity now presented, it may perhaps be the means of your becoming the owners of them [2] , besides saving yourself from certain death. Do not think that I impose upon you a task from which I shrink myself, or that I try to conceal from you the dangers attending this expedition. No: you have certainly a great deal to encounter, but know that if you only suffer for a while, you will reap in the end an abundant harvest of pleasures and enjoyments. And do not imagine that while I speak to you I mean not to act as I speak, for as my interest in this is greater, so will my behavior on this occasion surpass yours [3] . You know well that the khalifa Abdu-l-Malik Ibnu-l-Waleed has chosen you, like so many heroes from among the brave; you know that the great lords of this island are willing to make you their sons and brethren in marriage, if you only rush on like so many brave men to the fight, and behave like true champions and valiant knights; you know that the recompenses of Allāh await you if you are prepared to uphold His word, and proclaim his deen in this peninsula…Bear in mind that Allāh (ﺗﻌﻠﻰ ) will select, according to this promise, those that distinguish themselves most among you, and grant them due reward both in this world and the hereafter and know likewise that I shall be the first to set you the example, and to put in practice what I recommend you to do [4] ; for it is my intention, on the meeting of the two hosts, to attack the Christian tyrant Roderic and kill him with my own hand, Insha’Allāh . When you see me bearing against him, charge along with me; if I kill him, the victory is ours; if I am killed before I reach him, do not trouble yourselves about me, but fight as if I were still alive and among you, and follow up my purpose…If, however, I should be killed, after inflicting death upon their king, appoint a man from among you who unites both courage and experience, and may command you in this emergency, and follow up the success. If you follow my instructions, we are sure of victory, (Makkari, The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain, Vol. 1, 310-311) [5] “
Tariq’s (rahimahullah) troops replied resoundingly thus:

ﻗﺪ ﻗﻄﻌﻨﺎ ﺍﻵﻣﺎﻝ ﻣﻤﺎ ﻳﺨﺎﻟﻒ ﻣﺎ ﻋﺰﻣﺖ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ، ﻓﺎﺣﻀﺮ ﺇﻟﻴﻪ ﻓﺈﻧﻨﺎ ﻣﻌﻚ ﻭﺑﻴﻦ ﻳﺪﻳﻚ

“We are ready to follow you, O Tariq! We shall all, to the last man, stand by you, and fight for you; nor could we avoid it were we otherwise disposed… (ibid, 311). [6] “

The sacrifices and victories that laid the foundation of the western frontier of Islam, (or as Arabs referred to it as one of the Maghribain , or the ‘west’s’ in reference to North Western Africa and Andalus), seemingly had gone to waste and many Muslims of today see it as a period of nostalgia and of glory lost. We remember it as a time where Muslims excelled in the science, Fiqh, Philosophy and numerous other fields. Unfortunately, confusion is our lot due to not only our military defeats and conquest at the hands of the
Kuffaar over the previous five hundred years in every part of the world and at the hand of every kafir nation, but also the mental colonization that has taken place in the minds of not only the previous generations, but the youth as well. We have been led to believe Andalus was a land of Convivencia , (Coexistence), between Islam, Christianity and Judaism and Western or Western influenced Muslim Scholars reiterate the examples of the translation schools in Tulaytulah, (Toledo), where apparently Muslims and Jews worked together to translate books of Plato and Aristotle, or of the ‘ Zambra [7] ‘ and the musical styles of Andalus, since these worldly and Batil (Falsehood), things are what the West is interested in studying.

Subsequently they disseminate these views through scholarly work, wherein they then work their way down to the masses, (Muslim and non-Muslim alike). However, Muslims that read these books seem to forget that Andalus was the land of jihad, where continuous Ghazwa ‘s took place on the frontier, ( Thagr ) against the Kuffaar in the lands beyond the Pyrenees up to Tours in France, (which is merely a few hundred kilometres from Paris). It was a place where talented
Fuquha , (almost all Maliki), vigorously carried out their duty of guiding the masses and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, (Amr Bil Ma’aroof wa Nahya A’nil Munkar).

On the other hand, those of us that can read Arabic and took the time and trouble to read Muslim sources on the history of Andalus in Arabic, then the picture is certainly clearer with the glaring and the almost inexplicable abrupt end to the account of Islam in Spain. As I explained earlier, for reasons that I will touch upon in the conclusion of this work, Muslim historians’ account of Islamic Spain ends in 1492 with the capitulation treaty being signed between Abu AbdAllāh Muhammad Ithna Ashr (The 12 ), which surrendered the Emirate of Garnata (Granada) to the Spanish, but at the same time allowed the Muslims that remained in the Emirate, full freedom of worship and protected their rights, (going as far as even promising to punish anyone who peers into a Muslim household).

The agreement seemed to be made binding upon the Spanish Crown of Castille but as we shall see, it was broken within ten years after the agreement was put into effect, (I have included terms of the capitulation from Carvajal’s account in Appendix G and Imam Maqri’s in I). Great insight is offered on the issue of the Moriscos and Muslims in Spain after 1492, and the ambivlance shown by Muslims towards the issue by Prof. L.P. Harvey of the University of Chicago:

It is surprising that there has been so little debate within the Islamic world about this final aspect of the experience of Spains Muslims. In 1991, when the Islamic peoples are in the midst of a great debate on where they stand in relation to the modern western world, the experience of the Moriscos is not without relevance. Rather than focus on the Moriscos, however, modern Muslims seem to prefer to direct their attention towards other aspects of the experience of Andalus, on the philosophers of the 5 /11 -7 /13 centuries, or on the heroic conquerors of earlier periods, (Manuela, ‘Handbuch Der Orientalistik,’ 303).”

Undoubtedly, a clear understanding of this most complicated, (but nonetheless, important), of histories can not be attempted until we briefly recap Andalus’s history to bring the issue at hand, (Muslims in Andalus post-1492), in perspective.


[1] From a Letter of an eyewitness to the surrender of the Al Hamra’ to the Bishop of Leon

[2] SubhanAllah! Even though they are heavily outnumbered and are facing what most military strategists would have said was definite defeat and death, here Tariq is saying that Roderic has come to the battlefield to make the Muslims masters of the land of Andalus! He epitomized fearlessness and tawakkul on the battlefield.

[3] Unlike our rulers of today, Tariq says that not only will he give the orders and be on the field with his men, but he will surpass them in taking risks, courage and bravery!

[4] He practiced what he preached, once again, unlike our rulers and military commanders today.

[5] In the Arabic edition, this quotation is located in Vol. 1, on page(s) 240-241

[6] The translator did a sloppy job of this quote. I would have translated it like this: “We have already cut off any hope of what differs from your plan upon him [Roderic], So [lets] go to [fight] him [Roderic]. Verily we are with you and under your command!” And Allah knows best.

[7] In Maghrebi Arabic spoken in Morocco, ‘ zambra ‘, (in Arabic Zamra’ ), means party. Originally this Arabic term was used to describe the noises made by the sounds of lively crowds and certain musical instruments, such as in a party or celebration. The term was applied during the 15th century in Spain when the Muslims continuted their famous and traditional celebrations of song, dance, music, joke and story telling or ‘ Zamr.’ Documents dated to the 1600’s describe the Zamra’ as festivities with the music of wind instruments such as the sounds of pipes and flutes. These were banned by the Kingdom of Spain in the 16 century as sign of Muslim culture, (as were other things such as hijab and salat among many others). ‘Zambra’ could also mean a band of musicians and may have derived from the Arabic word “Samra’” that meant an ‘evening party that went on all night’ or ‘zamara’ meaning ‘musicians.’ The word was also been used to describe an ‘uproar’ or ‘sound of certain instruments and muffled voices with merry-making. If any one was curious, the custom of shouting ‘ole’ in Spain, (generally and in the dance called Flamenco), is derived from the Arabic expression Wa’Allah (‘By Allah’) that was presumably used during the Zamra’ dances.