Some consider al-Andalus (Islamic Spain), with its rugged peaks and plush river valleys and endless expanse of olive groves and fruit orchards, to have been paradise lost. For others it was a high point of Muslim achievement in the sciences, philosophy, and the arts. Still others consider it the epitome of a medieval pluralistic society where Muslims, Christians and Jews shared a common culture and created a unique and humane society for nearly 800 years.
Muslims conquered the Iberian peninsula in 711 CE, under the leadership of the famous Berber general Tariq ibn Ziyad. With the establishment of the Abbasids in the east around 750, al-Andalus proclaimed independence under the leadership of Abd al-Rahman I, a young prince of the Umayyad household. Thus, from the outset, al-Andalus began to formulate its own unique identity as part of the larger panoply of Muslim territories. Contributing to this was the fact that indigenous Hispani-Romans assimilated to the Arabic culture, and while some remained Christians or Jews, a great majority embraced Islam as their religion. Qurtubah (Cordoba), the Umayyad capital, became famous as a center of administration and learning, giving birth to such eminent figures as Ibn Hazm and Ibn Rushd, Ishbiliyyah (Sevilla) was renowned for its handicrafts and poetic flair, and Tulaytulah (Toledo) was a city where scientists such as al-Zarqali gathered to study the stars and formulate advances in mathematics. After 1250, Gharnatah (Granada) stood as the last Muslim kingdom against the encroachment of increasingly powerful northern Christian kingdoms, and shone in a brilliant effervescence of architecture, literature, music, artisanship, and religious scholarship. The sad and tragic conquest of Granada in 1492 by the Catholic monarchs Isabella and Fernando represents one of the watershed events of Muslim and world history, causing us to reflect on the vicissitudes of time and impermanence of human endeavors.
Yet the loss of al-Andalus, while lamentable, can serve an important and noble purpose. It is a reminder to Muslims and others today of what Muslims are capable of, if they have Allah's favor and if they strive to implement the teachings of Islam that engender strong and vibrant societies. The ideals of freedom of thought, religious pluralism, gender egalitarianism and opportunity, consultative leadership, and education that bind religious instruction to practical knowledge, have been manifested to certain degrees in various ways in past Muslim societies. Muslims today, rather than simply pointing proudly to the achievements of the past vis a vis other past societies and believing that their work is done because "Islam is the solution", must grapple with contemporary realities and be progressive and innovative in applying the rich source material of the Qur'an and Sunnah to formulate a "new al-Andalus" in Muslim lands that expresses these ideals in new ways and that takes a rightful place of leadership in the modern world.
|Learn more about the historical al-Andalus, by joining IslamiCity's 8-day tour to Southern Spain, April 20-28, 2002. The tour is being led by Munir Shaikh, a PhD student at UCLA who specializes in the history, culture and architecture of al-Andalus. You will visit the cities of Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada, and explore the famous Umayyad Masjid of Cordoba, the Alcazar in Sevilla, and the Alhambra palace in Granada. You will also meet with local Muslims living in Spain and pray Jumah at a masjid in Granada. This is an educational and fun trip that you don't want to miss. For more details and cost, please visit: www.islamicity.com/travel/spain or you can call (310) 642-0006 Ext 202 (USA Phone number, Pacific Time)|
Your article was excellent 'food for thought', and further
discussion -if only you had focus groups. They would
pray, think and learn-and begin to carry out the
directives they receive from Allah......
and we're well on our way to not only saving ourselves,
but our fellow human beings also.
Oh yes, Islam is the answer-not only to America's woes-
but the rest of the world as well !!!!!!
(I personally feel it could be simple& effective given the
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of any
[email protected] or [email protected]
P.S. Have any number of ideas for a "think tank"-if you
know of someone who needs such a person-please
give them my e-mail.
May Allah continue to bless your staff with the "Vision"
to put Islam in action in the 21st century & in
accordance with the Quran & sunnah. It's so beautiful.
The sum total of any man, is the thoughts he says and repeats to himself as he exists in the presense of The Lord, and those he says and repeats to others as he exists in the presence of The Lord.
This is the only thing a man takes with him, beyond the shedding of the flesh - What he has taught himself to believe and become.
Would that each man give himself over to the creator while in the flesh, to become everything he could ever become as a spiritual being while still in the flesh. This is wisdom.
i am poor in english language.
Thank you very much for your article. I entirely agree with you ,Muslims are indeed capable of great things , if they have ALLAH's favor and if they strive hard to spread the teachings of Islam.
Your bother in islam ,
I really like the great work you people are doing. Keep up the work of Dawah. May Allah continue to strengthen you (Amin).
Documentary Film on Muslim Spain in 1991 ! Even to day that is the ONLY work which
stands on Islamic Spain. The documentary is still being sold.
Thank you for the real work of Allah by givivg us the Islam in the actual sense May Almighty Allah reward you abundantly.
However, i will be very greatful if the verses or some other islamic sources that is explorable to increase my search in the word of Allah,or through the hadith could be sent to me to be able to develop on the software and programme writing for the sake of Allah. though not rich to meet the financial implication but i will appreciate if some document is sent to me whether soft copy or hard copy.
i will be very grateful to hear favourable response from you.
May Allah(SWT) continue to bless HIS noble course you are pursuing.
Thanks and Illal Amam Insha Allah
another thing that bothers me is that we keep talking about how sinfull is west and their way of life, when it comes to alcohol and prostitution. well nowdays you can get that in middle east too. u.a.e. and bahrain for example. i dond uderstand what use will it be to talk about our achivements in the past, when our enemies, which we have more than we know about, wll use that to bite us in the back with whats happening today. you want to formulate a new al-andalus, well thats great thing to do. start form the heart of islam, not from its forehead.
We Muslims need to revisit this part of our history to remind us that it is our duty to explore Allah's creations, His signs, along with studying Quran in madrasas.