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The History of Muslim Spain

 
 
Ahmad
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 11:40 am
 http://www.wideview.it/travel/Granada_2003/big/3_3802_.jpg

When you think of European culture, one of the first things that may come to your mind is the renaissance. Many of the roots of European culture can be traced back to that glorious time of art, science, commerce and architecture. But did you know that long before the renaissance there was a place of humanistic beauty in Muslim Spain? Not only was it artistic, scientific and commercial, but it also exhibited incredible tolerance, imagination and poetry. Moors, as the Spaniards call the Muslims, populated Spain for nearly 700 years. As you'll see, it was their civilization that enlightened Europe and brought it out of the dark ages to usher in the renaissance. Many of their cultural and intellectual influences still live with us today.

Way back during the eighth century, Europe was still knee-deep in the Medieval period. That's not the only thing they were knee-deep in. In his book, "The Day The Universe Changed," the historian James Burke describes how the typical European townspeople lived:

"The inhabitants threw all their refuse into the drains in the center of the narrow streets. The stench must have been overwhelming, though it appears to have gone virtually unnoticed. Mixed with excrement and urine would be the soiled reeds and straw used to cover the dirt floors. (p. 32)

http://www.xmission.com/~dderhak/index/moors.htm
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 12:54 pm
This should be a very interesting topic Ahmed, and welcome to A2K! I agree with the fact that Moors enlightened Spain, much as the Italian Catherine di Medici enlightened France. Mind you, I am reminded of a lot of ugliness during that period, especially regarding the ousting of the Jews in both Spain and France. Then Spain kicked out the Moors and elected Castro (Okay, I'm skipping a ton of history). Strange country...please, enlighten us more regarding the tale.
Ahmad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 01:38 pm
The History of Islam in Spain is such emotional one for me, I came from SYRIA but my ancestors lived in AL ANDALUS ( as we muslims call Spain) for 200 years before they were expelled after 1492 AD by the catholics.

we still have the key to our home in the magical city of Granada until today, we pass it from Generation to generation.

this site should be great help:

http://www.muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=260
margo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 02:00 pm
It's a fascinating topic. It was what got me interested in Spain originally, and I;ve travelled there twice now. The architecture is magnificent.

Where are you now, Ahmad?
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 03:30 pm
I too am interested in this topic. Welcome to A2K Ahmad.
0 Replies
 
Charli
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 10:18 pm
Welcome!
Welcome to A2K, Ahmad!

Interesting how one-sided a look at history can be. Case in point: Our Book Club is reading Steven Nadler's, "Rembrandt's Jews." In the book, there is much discussion about the Jews' expulsion from Spain and their resettling in Holland (The Netherlands). Often the Jews had converted to Catholicism (conversos) to escape the Inquisition. Not once do the words (or a discussion of) Muslim, Moslem, Islam, Arabs, Morocco, etc., etc., etc., appear in the text.

Anyone who has been to Spain - Granada especially! - realizes the extent and profound influence of the 700 years' plus Arabic residence had on Spanish culture. The effects - consequences, power, prestige -were many: the music: flamenco, for example. Also, including the Spanish language: the "al-"(a+el) words ("the'), such as "Alhambra" - Al Hambra - The Red House. And the dozens of words we've adopted in English: algebra, alfalfa, alkali, . . . , ad infinitum.

A digression: you can pick out the Sephardim names in Israel - Pares (Perez) and others.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 11:29 pm
Also interested.

To start with I am interested in the architecture/landscape architecture and long history of culture, most of all in Andalusia. But I'm also interested in the travails and sometimes happy circumstances of people after that expulsion.

Back in ...a while ago now, it was 1993. I was at a train station with my husband in early morning, leaving Siena, Italy. We were getting coffees and sitting down and landed at sets of tables against a wall. On his left were an apparent tourist couple from the US, as we were, to be truthful, but I thought of us as travelers, perhaps a useless affectation, but important to me. Anyway, four guys sat down next to me, around the next table, and I think it was one of them who at least nodded when I looked over, and soon we were trying to speak italian together, each worse than the other. They were from Morocco; I don't remember now what their work was, they did tell me, as I told them we were from California. We were busy trying to say something like italia e' bella... In the meantime, the blond wife of the couple on my husband's left was waving quietly yet frantically and I finally turned toward her. She told me to WATCH OUT.

I turned and kept semitalking, and we waved as we caught our train. I come from field workers, as far as I know, and tailors and teachers, not all so long ago, in Ireland.

I know there is talk now that Europe's key worry re terrorism is centered in Morocco. This is terrible, that this fear shuts people off, in both directions. I don't know what that woman's fear was back then, probably that they would think I was a loose woman, or that they would take my purse.

I've read Jane Kramer's articles on the edge cities of immigrants in France, was it Dijon?(in the New Yorker)... and see decades or centuries of trouble with people not connecting.

I don't know about you, Ahmad, maybe you don't agree with me, but I only see hope for us all, the enrichment of all culture, with continued conversation.
0 Replies
 
Ahmad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 12:10 am
margo wrote:
It's a fascinating topic. It was what got me interested in Spain originally, and I;ve travelled there twice now. The architecture is magnificent.


Indeed, you cant help but feel great admiration for the majestic buildings muslims left there specially Alhambra palce in Granada, and the LA MEZQUITA ( or the grand mosque ) in Cordoba.

The builders and the craftsmen who build these magnificent buildings were brought from Syria in the early 10th century.

In Syria, you can see similar types of buildings, in fact, 2 years ago, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain invited our president to Cordoba to open a musuem dedicated for the Ummayad era of Spain, the ummayad family rules the muslim world for nearly 200 years after the death of prophet muhammad ( Peace be upon him ).

Quote:
Where are you now, Ahmad?


I live now in Finland.
0 Replies
 
Ahmad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 12:11 am
littlek wrote:
I too am interested in this topic. Welcome to A2K Ahmad.


Thank you so much, very kind of you.
0 Replies
 
Ahmad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 12:21 am
Re: Welcome!
Charli wrote:
Welcome to A2K, Ahmad!


Thank you.

Quote:
Interesting how one-sided a look at history can be. Case in point: Our Book Club is reading Steven Nadler's, "Rembrandt's Jews." In the book, there is much discussion about the Jews' expulsion from Spain and their resettling in Holland (The Netherlands). Often the Jews had converted to Catholicism (conversos) to escape the Inquisition. Not once do the words (or a discussion of) Muslim, Moslem, Islam, Arabs, Morocco, etc., etc., etc., appear in the text.


very interesting ! You know, when Europe was persecuting the jews, killing them, burning them alive, blaming them for all the evils of their societies, Muslims in Spain welcomed the Jews, open their doors for them, gave them land and shelter and they prospered, I refer you to a jewish site which deals with Jewish heritage called Jewish gates:

''The tolerance of the Umayyad regime made Muslim Spain a refuge for Jews, and their numbers increased dramatically.''

Source: http://www.jewishgates.com/file.asp?File_ID=126

it is worth noting that the explusion of Jews is as tragic as it can be cant be compared with the explusion of Muslims, Muslims lived in Spain for 800 years, built the land, turned Spain into one of the most advanced nations in the old world, they were living there in their millions and yet when the christian inquestion courts started, they were given 2 choice, either to convert to christianity or die !! many of them fled to Morocco and north africa and back to Syria.

But Muslims did not flee alone, they took with them the JEWS, it was the muslim boats and ships that transfered the Jews into safety and that is why there are jews still living in North Africa and the middle east until now.

Shame, the jews did not return the favour !! look what they are doing to the palestinean muslims and christians in Palestine Sad

Quote:
Anyone who has been to Spain - Granada especially! - realizes the extent and profound influence of the 700 years' plus Arabic residence had on Spanish culture. The effects - consequences, power, prestige -were many: the music: flamenco, for example. Also, including the Spanish language: the "al-"(a+el) words ("the'), such as "Alhambra" - Al Hambra - The Red House. And the dozens of words we've adopted in English: algebra, alfalfa, alkali, . . . , ad infinitum.


Indeed, nearly 30% of the Spanish Langauge is from Arabic origin:

Examples:

Spanish Words Adopted from Arabic
0 Replies
 
Ahmad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 12:51 am
ossobuco wrote:
Also interested.

To start with I am interested in the architecture/landscape architecture and long history of culture, most of all in Andalusia. But I'm also interested in the travails and sometimes happy circumstances of people after that expulsion.


There is interesting book written in 1850s by an American diplomat called Washington Irving, the book called Tales of Alhambra, it is magnificent, the author visited Alhambra in 1825 and wrote what he saw back then, it is worth reading.

Quote:
I know there is talk now that Europe's key worry re terrorism is centered in Morocco. This is terrible, that this fear shuts people off, in both directions. I don't know what that woman's fear was back then, probably that they would think I was a loose woman, or that they would take my purse.


Maybe it was just Islamophobia, as you know there is hysteric paranoia regarding Muslims nowadays in Europe, we become the Jews of Europe in the 1930s Sad

Quote:
I've read Jane Kramer's articles on the edge cities of immigrants in France, was it Dijon?(in the New Yorker)... and see decades or centuries of trouble with people not connecting.


The problem is that the French cant accept multi culturalism as the case in America for example...The French for example issued a law banning Muslim woman from wearing the headscarfs in schools !! what do you think the French muslims would feel about this ?? it is blatant religious discrimination against Muslims.

Muslims in France live in ghetto-style quarters, the rate of unemployment among them is 70% higher than their French counter parts, if you apply for a job in France and your name is AHMAD, you wont be accepted, changing your name to TONY will land you very good job very quickly Sad

Sadly ! Racism and Discrimination is rife in France.

As to the issue of terrorism, it is central issue, unless the west realize its own mistakes and its own terrorism against Muslims, you will always find fanatics from our side recruting and brain washing young muslims to committ an act of terrorism.

Look what is happening in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya and other spots around the world, Muslims are killed daily and no one cares, it is not even reported !! did you know that last week, 700 muslims were slaughtered to death in Nigeria by christian terrorists ? the American media did not report this !! of course they wont because in this case, MUSLIMS are the victims !!

Terrorism stems from terror, terrorism is reaction to terror, violence begets violence.

There is NO excuse for terrorism, there is NO cause that justifies killing innocent Americans or innocent westerners, also, there is NO excuse for killing thousands of iraqi Muslims, there is NO excuse for killing dozen of palestineans DAILy at the hands of the Israeli terrorists .

Islam strongly denounces terrorism:

http://www.islamdenouncesterrorism.com

Quote:
I don't know about you, Ahmad, maybe you don't agree with me, but I only see hope for us all, the enrichment of all culture, with continued conversation.


I agree with you and I respect your opinion, but dont you think every story has 2 sides ???
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 01:08 am
I do have a book that I found in a used book store, I see by the first page that I paid ten dollars for it, but it is valuable to me from the frontispiece on... never mnd the monetary value. Let's just say, with your inspiration, I'll get a recent edition... as when I do read books, they might get more used looking quickly if I fall asleep while reading.

the book is The Bibliophile Edition (it even has a number)
The Works
of
Washington Irving

Chronicle of the Conquest
of Granada

No, I haven't read it, but I'll put it higher on the stack.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 01:31 am
Hmm, I have been looking this up on line. The Tales of the Alhambra is readily available, but I don't see this one anywhere...
0 Replies
 
Ahmad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 01:44 am
Tales of Alhambra is must read !! it is an amazing magical book, the langauge is little old but it is very much understood.
0 Replies
 
Rick d Israeli
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 01:16 pm
ahmad wrote:
very interesting ! You know, when Europe was persecuting the jews, killing them, burning them alive, blaming them for all the evils of their societies, Muslims in Spain welcomed the Jews, open their doors for them, gave them land and shelter and they prospered


I don't want to spoil anything, so I first say this: the way the Jews were treated in the Muslim world that time was much better than compared with the Christian world that time. But that does not mean that the Jews in the Muslim world did not undergo hardships: there was the so-called "dhimma"-status, which ruled how Jews and Christians should be treated. This meant that Jewish and Christian men could not marry Muslim women, not build their religious buildings higher than mosques. Sometimes it meant that Jews had to live in a ghetto. They had a very low status in court, could not carry weapons and had to pay special taxes. Luckily, this situation was at least much better than it was in Europe, and the Jewish population really prospered under Muslim rule most of the time. So again: the way the Jews were treated in the Muslim world that time was much better than compared with the Christian world that time. I don't want people saying immediately "look at those Muslims, how they treat other people". I hate that. But I just felt the urge to add something to this.

For the rest no comments.
0 Replies
 
Ahmad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2004 11:54 pm
Rick d'Israeli wrote:

I don't want to spoil anything, so I first say this: the way the Jews were treated in the Muslim world that time was much better than compared with the Christian world that time. But that does not mean that the Jews in the Muslim world did not undergo hardships: there was the so-called "dhimma"-status, which ruled how Jews and Christians should be treated. This meant that Jewish and Christian men could not marry Muslim women, not build their religious buildings higher than mosques. Sometimes it meant that Jews had to live in a ghetto.


This is very unture, even Jewish accounts refute this, christians and jews who live in Muslim land are required to pay certain tax for not going to the army, it is the muslims who not only pay higher tax called Zakat but also go to the army and fight to protect the jews and the christians.
0 Replies
 
yilmaz101
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2004 07:56 am
And also muslims to were forbidden from building buildings higher than mosques. You can see it very clearly from paintings and early pictures of Istanbuls skyline. Also the taxation issue basically boils down to this. The muslims are by law required to pay an income tax, as stated by Ahmad, called zakat, and also serve in the military, and they (and their posessions) were subject to mobilization. Whereas the nonmuslim populations payed a tax that basically absolved them from any service requirements, and their persons and posessions were protected. They were not subject to sharia laws as the muslims, but had their own courts to meet out justice in accordance with their faith and cultures. As for the ghettos, you should see the "ghettos" in Istanbul, Baghdad or Damascus, they were as good a part of town as any, In Istanbul the area called karakoy, the place around the galata tower, overlooking the golden horn. As a matter of fact the ottoman empire spent more on building infrastructure in the balkans (prodominantly non muslim) than it did on anatolia, or the middle east, Ahmad can probably testify to that. One last point the jewish population of istanbul (however diminished now by immigration to israel) was not indiginous, they were mostly transported from spain to escape the onslought of the inquisition (a rather scientific name for a barbaric act).
0 Replies
 
Rick d Israeli
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2004 11:16 am
ahmad wrote:
This is very unture, even Jewish accounts refute this


I got this information from a Jewish historian, though being this only a minor detail.

yilmaz101 wrote:
And also muslims to were forbidden from building buildings higher than mosques


Also a minor detail: in the case of Christians and Jews, they were not allowed to build their religious buildings higher than mosques, as I said in my post. That is a difference with Muslim religious buildings, for with that I mean mosques (and they were the highest buildings).

yilmaz101 wrote:
One last point the jewish population of istanbul (however diminished now by immigration to israel) was not indiginous, they were mostly transported from spain to escape the onslought of the inquisition (a rather scientific name for a barbaric act).


Totally true, for what I know Istanbul was honored for giving shelter to so many Spanish Jews who fled the Inquisition.
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2004 12:52 pm
Both Islam and Judaism come from the Abramaic tradition. I see no reason why we have so many troubles getting along today. One thing Ahmad mentioned regarding Jews "not returning the favour", well, from your very astute posts here I'm sure you realize that the atrocities of a corrupt government cannot be blamed on a people as a whole. I am Jewish, my wife is Catholic, and half her family is Muslim. We have no problems. Perhaps if the world would ignore politics and focus on our personal similarities, it would be a better place for all.
0 Replies
 
Ahmad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2004 12:59 am
re: cavfancier

I agree with you, throughout history, Muslims and Jews were living in peace and harmony until the zionists came and stole Palestine from the palestineans, there where troubles started !!

Check these historical accounts from jewish sources:

The Jews of Aleppo ( Aleppo is the city where I came from in Syria, the second largest and the commerical capital of Syria )

''The politics of the region depended on the rulers. With the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of Rome, the Romans placed restrictions on Jews. These were lifted with the Arab conquest in 636 CE, when Islamic caliphates began ruling the region. From the seventh Century until the end of Ottoman rule, the Jewish community was self-governed. Self-government entitled the Jews to freedom of religion, a separate court system ruled by local rabbis to handle internal disputes, and military protection''

Source : Sarina Roffé is a career journalist and the author of Branching Out: The Kassin and Labaton Dynasties . She is a member of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. of New York, and Brooklyn's Syrian Jewish community.

JEWISH GATES:

The tolerance of the Umayyad regime made Muslim Spain a refuge for Jews, and their numbers increased dramatically.
The real Jewish cultural revival began in the tenth century under Abd al-Rachman III (912-961CE), who assumed the title of caliph in 929 CE in Cordoba ( Spain ). At that time Cordoba was a center of both Arab and Jewish culture. This was the time of the political rise of the court physician Hisdai ibn Shaprut.


Source: The Jewish Gates

http://www.jewishgates.com/file.asp?File_ID=126

Colin Thubron, the British author, writes in his book Jerusalem, " In the early centuries, the Muslims were generally tolerant of the Jews and lived with them peacefully while Europe was steeped in persecution.''

Salman ben Yeruham, A Karaite Jewish author, writing about A.D. 950, the Muslims granted the Jews access to Jerusalem and its holy sites. Salman wrote:

"As it is known, Jerusalem remained under the rule of the Rum [the Byzantines] for more than 500 years, during which they [the Jews] were not able to enter Jerusalem. Anyone who was discovered entering was killed. When by the mercy of the God of Israel the Rum departed from us and the kingdom of Ishmael [the Arabs] appeared, the Jews were granted permission to enter and reside there."

During the reign of Saladin this traditional Islamic tolerance continued. Conversely, when the Crusaders entered Jerusalem, they burned the Jews in their synagogue.

From 1099 to 1189, Jews were not allowed to live in the city. But with the Muslim repossession of Jerusalem, Jews were allowed to return. The Spanish poet Yehuda al-Harizi, who was in Jerusalem in 1207, described the significance for the Jews of the recovery of Jerusalem by Saladin:

[ In A.D. 1190] God aroused the spirit of the prince of the Ishmaelites [Saladin], a prudent and courageous man, who came with his entire army, besieged Jerusalem, took it and had it proclaimed throughout the country that he would receive and accept the entire race of Ephraim, wherever they came from. And so we came from all comers of the world to take up residence here. We now live here in the shadow of peace.

Further testament to Saladin's tolerance comes from the eminent German Jewish historian of the Nineteenth Century, Heinrich Graetz. In his Geschichte der Juden [History of the Jews], vol. 11, published in 1853, he states that the Sultan, " opened the whole kingdom to the persecuted Jews, so they came to it, seeking security and finding justice.''

At about the same time that Jews were fleeing from Spain and seeking refuge in Arab lands and elsewhere (15th and 16th Centuries), the Ottoman Empire opened its doors to them and gave them refuge. The prominent Jewish banker Don Joseph Nasi, a refugee from Portugal, was made advisor to Sultan Suleiman who showered the emigre with honors.

There are a number of statements from prominent Jews expressing gratitude to the Ottomans for their generous treatment of fugitive Jews. In his History of the Jews, A. L. Sachar, a former president of Brandeis University, noted:

"Jews had found refuge in the Ottoman dominions for many decades before the expulsion from Spain. During the fifteenth-century persecutions in Germany, thousands had fled eastward and had been well received in the Turkish provinces. Life was secure and the morrow could be greeted without terror.''

Source:

Source : Arab American Roman Catholic Community:

http://www.al-bushra.org/bushra/logo.gif

http://www.al-bushra.org/jerusalem1/jerhist.htm
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