Muslimcommunities > Spain under  Muslims :a Brilliant Metropolis and a Civilizational Connection


Spain under  Muslims :a Brilliant Metropolis and a Civilizational Connection

The Location:

The location of Spain is to the South West of Europe.  Its capital is Madrid and it occupies most of  the Iberian peninsula. Spain is also neighbored by Portugal, separated by Al-Prince mountains from France and by the strait of Gibraltar, derived from Tariq, from Morocco.  The famous cities in Spain are: Bercelona, Saragossa, and Qurtuba. Spain is famous for its long coast along the Mediterranean Sea toward the East and South East.

A Historical Background:

In the First century AD, Spain was governed by the Iberians, the ancient natives of the country who acquired the Roman nationality.  Soon after, and more definitely in the fifth and sixth century AD, Spain was conquered by the Barbarians who combated a destructive war against it.  However, the eighth century, year 711 AD. was conspicuous to Spain.  In this year, the Islamic conquest which was led by Tariq ibn  Ziyad, began.  Tariq ibn Ziyad conquered Al-Kout king in a fierce battle in «Wadi Bekka» or the «Valley of Bekka».  In the following year, Tariq was supported by Musa ibn Nusayr in drafting a huge army . Together they continued their victorious conquest in Spain . In  the year 93 Hijra, the two leaders entered Spain and re-named it Al-Andalus.  Unfortunately, what marked the beginning of Muslims’ gradual defeat was Charles Martel who stopped  the Muslim’s conquest to the European continent in the battle of Bowatiya in the year 115 Hijri, 733 AD.

The Umayyads reigned Al-Andalus for 39 years.  This reign reached its culminating point during the reign of Abd-Ruhman who was known by the “entrant.” However, Muslims’ great kingdom in Spain  deteriorated.  They suffered from divisions, splinters, and conflicts among themselves.  Such corrupted issues weakened them and facilitated the way to Koushtala army to subjugate Muslims inside Spain.  Koushtala restored Spain in 1492, the same year when Coulombs started his discovery expedition to America.  This year, 1492 AD. witnessed the final departure of Muslims from Spain after eight centuries of  reign .What makes  Al-Andalus a brilliant metropolises and a civilizational connection between Islam and the West is the historic and the remarkable features which Muslims had left behind. Such traces which were conspicuous in their beauty, accuracy, and charm, covered all fields and were considered as a main foundation to the world and to the European civilization as well.

Furthermore, what is worth mentioning in this regard, is Muslims’ divergence  in their way of living.  Indeed, they didn’t follow a definite pattern in Al-Andalus; on the contrary, the changeable circumstances that used to hit Spain played a great role in allowing Muslims to show their civilizational marks and to produce their own political and mental conceptions, in other words, what ever is related to their way of living.  This age of prosperity wasn’t only due to the efforts of those who conquered Spain; nor was it due to those who were living there, but it was also due to the efforts of those who converted to Islam, in addition to those who adopted Muslim’s traditions and customs.

The Conquerors:

At the beginning of their conquest, Muslims were called «The Moslem’s conquerors».  This name covered all Muslims who participated in the above mentioned conquest whether they were the first conquerors of the Iberian’s Island (Spain and Portugal nowadays) in the year 92 AD. 711 Hijri or the Barbarians who assisted Tariq ibn Ziyad, and they were Seven Thousands, or the Arabs who were headed by Musa ibn Nusayr and those who came from Arab East and entered the Iberian’s Island in 712 AD.

The above mentioned parties achieved a remarkable victory and subjugated mostly all Spain except some regions  that were to the North.  In fact, had it not been to Charles Martel’s interference, the conquerors could have entered all France.  After Muslim’s deep pénétration in some French cities, Charles Martel fought  a battle against them in the year 732 AD. He was able  stop their conquest and defeat them in the battle  of «The martyr’s Royal» in which Muslims didn’t only lose the war, but they also lost one of their greatest fighters, Abd Ruhman-Al Ghafiq.

Since the beginning of the Islamic conquest, Al-Andolus was governed by both, the Umayyads and the Abbasiads.  Soon after, Al-Andalus became an independent principality ruled by Abd Ruhman I, «The ‘entrant’ who had previously ran away  from the Abbasiad’s authorities.  Abd Ruhman took Qurtuba as a capital to his emirate. In his attempt to make Qurtuba a great capital similar to Damascus, and having been inspired by the Umayyads’ Mosque, Abd-Ruhman founded and built Qurtuba Mosque.  After the end of this principality in 929 AD., Abd-Ruhman III became the successor.  Abd-Ruhman III,<the supporter>ruled until the death of the king   Abd-Al Malik, , in 1031 AD. whose death led to the disunion inside the caliphate and to the emergence of Al-Mamaliik sects who ruled some scattered countries in Al-Andalus’ lands.


The state of divisions and conflicts that shook Al-Andalus empowered and strengthened Spain, which was ruled by its king, Al Fonso the Sixth.  The Spanish Army was able to restore Toledo City from Muslims in 1058.  the collapse of Toledo was a fatal blow to the Muslims who immediately asked for the support of their brothers in Morocco, Al Moravids . Al-Moravids were so responding  that they didn’t only aid the Muslims in Spain but they also attacked the Spanish near Badajos ,to the West of Spain and won the Battle of Az-Zallaqah in 1086 AD. This victorious incident encouraged their leader to usurp Muslims of their reign and to dominate for a long duration ,that lasted until 1148 AD.

What is worth to be mentioned is that the name, «Al Moravids

was given to the followers of the religious thinker, Al Kerwane, Abdullah ibn Yassine Al Jadoule who was sent with Al Moravids to teach them God’s codes.

The Monotheists:

The Monotheists, who ruled Al Andalus until 1232 AD.  Were Al Moravids’ successors. This group of people was concerned with the restoration of the Islamic conception  among people.  The Monotheists aimed at helping Muslims to come back to Islam, to its Prophet’s Sunnah, and to the Holy Book, Quran, especially after the occupancy of some Moroccan thinkers with the exaggeration in interpreting the Islamic religion and its Holy doctrine.

Since Ishbiliya ,(Servile), became their capital, the Monotheists tried to make it one of the best capitals among the great civilized capitals in the world.  Consequently, they constructed many civilizational landmarks such as «Al Khiralda» or the Minaret.  The Minaret was first founded by Abou Yakoub Yusuf in 1172 AD. then it was completed by his son Abou Yusuf Yakoub.  Nowadays, the Minaret is viewed not only as a symbol of Servile itself but also as  the Moslem’s greatest ruins in Al-Andalus.  In addition to the Minaret, the Monotheists had left behind another historic ruin which is «The Gold Tower».  The «Gold Tower» was constructed to observe the movement of the navigation and to defend Servile from any sudden attack that might be done by the Qushtalas; needless to say that the Qushtalas became so powerful that they didn’t only dominate most of Al-Andalus’ important cities, but they attempted at striking the Islamic reign in Al-Andalus as well.  Having witnessed  this challenging and conflicting state on the behalf of the Qushtalas, some Islamic notables emerged  to withstand the status-quo.  In this sense, Ibn Al-Ahmar, after the death of his rival Ibn Houd, founded the Granada kingdom .This kingdom includes: Granada, Malta, and some southern countries in Al-Andalus. Furthermore, Ibn Al-Ahmar’s greatest achievements appeared in his ability to construct the «Red Castle» which was and is still considered as Muslims’  masterpiece that they left behind in Al-Andalus’ lands.

Al Asalima and their begotten (Al Mouwallidoun):

Moslem’s generosity, courtesy, and benevolence encouraged the natives, who suffered from the cruelty of Al Kouts, to convert to Islam.  Such people were called Al-Asalima. The name of the begotten or Al Mouwalidoon was given to their sons. In fact, both Muslims and Al-Asalima peacefully lived among each other with neither conflicts nor discriminations.  Among Al-Asalima were some notables, thinkers, and authors.Such as, Mehde Ben Muslim who  held the judicial authority in Qurtuba during the reign of Aqba ibn Al Hijaj AlSaloule and Mohammed Ali Ben Ahmad Ben Said Hazm, who  was an encyclopedic thinker and a famous author.  It was rumored that the latter thinker was of Christian Origin.

Al –Saqualibs:

Although Saqualibs’ origin is an amalgam of different races , it was rumored that they are of European origin.  They came to Spain from the Slav countries which are located to the East of Europe.  It is Worth mentioning that the Spanish authorities gave much attention to the distinguished thinkers among Al-Saqualibs so that they could be easily manipulated according to governments’ benefits.

At the beginning of their arrival, Al- Saqualibs led a poor way of living.  They held mean jobs and were no more than servants.  However, their situation was gradually improved due to their rise in number during the reign of AbdulRuhman  AbdulNassir. Soon after, and during Al-Mansur   ibn Abi Amr’s reign, they started holding important  positions such as in the  military and business sectors.

Indeed, had it not been for the emergence of some thinkers and authors who could reach the highest ranks in leadership, Saqualibs couldn’t have ruled Spain for such a long duration of time which lasted until 411 Hijra 1021 AD.


Al-Moudajjanoun are the group of people who stayed in Iberia, and more definitely in Catolonia and Aragonese territories, after its restoration by the Christians.  After their defeats in Toledo in 1058A.D, Belnesia in 1094 AD. and Mourisia in 1266 AD., Al-Moudajjanoun increased in number.  However, they were mistreated and prohibited from using Arabic language as a means of communication among themselves.  As a result, they started looking for another language of their own.  This language was the «Al-Khemaido».

«Al-Khemaido» was the use of Arabic expressions in Spanish letters.  Besides, Al-Moudajjanoun took part in the progress and the civilization of Spain.  In fact, they helped in the construction of buildings and they excelled in art.  That is why the Islamic features appear in mostly all the churches which were built during their epoch. Most importantly, the museums of Madrid, Toledo, Granada, and Qurtuba still exhibit Al-Moudajjanoun’s skills and crafts due to their traditional and extra ordinary beauty.


Al-Mursiyah are the Muslims who stayed in Spain after their catastrophic defeat in Al-Andalus.  This group of people wasn’t only violently controlled and mistreated by the Spanish authorities, but it was also forced to Christianize into the Catholic sect.

Hence the members of this group were called «Al Mursiyah» or «The Young Muslims» or the «Christianized Arabs».  As a matter of fact, Mursiyah tried to preserve what was symbolic to them; for instance, they kept on using « Al Khemiado language» which was used by their ancestors, Al Moudajjanoun ,and which continued to be used until the 18th century.  Most importantly, Al-Mursiyah were able to produce a literature of their own.  Their literature was called Al Mourisk Literature.  However, what made their situation unbearable was the fact that the Spanish authorities violated all the 67 conditions which included Muslims rights and duties on the Spanish Lands.  Thus, having tasted  the bitterness of tyranny, Al Mursiyah rebelled several times, but the most important rebellion was the one that occurred in Ghwadeece in 1500 AD. Needless to say that Ghwadeece, during that time, was part of Bene Nasser’s Kingdoms in Granada since 1238 AD. Indeed, although Al Mursiyah  resisted all the attempts that aimed at driving them away from their Islamic traditions, beliefs, and customs, they couldn’t withstand the legislated laws through which Muslims were prevented from showing any of their Islamic features.  Having found that the use of power couldn’t give any result, and having been claimed that Al Mursiyah were conspiring against the government through secret contacts with foreign groups, Al-Mursiyah yielded to the Spanish authorities’ laws which  issued their exile from Spain in 1609 AD.

Consequently, they left for Tuna, Algiers, and Morocco where they founded some cities and villages such as Testour.  There , some great thinkers and philosophers emerged.  We name, for inslance, the great author, Ahmad Ben Al Kassim Al Fakih Ben Shiekh Al Houjare who was known as Al Shahab Al Houjare. 

Al Morose:

Al-Morose is the plural form of Morow which is originated from Morocco and which means the Arab or the Moslems who arrived from Morocco.  However, this title is misused and misunderstood by the Spanish.  To them, it means all the Arabs whether they were from Morocco or from the East even if they were Christians.  Most importantly, the Spanish used this word,Morrow,as an insolence to insult the Arabs.  In fact, it means any unpleasant thing.

Al Moros Qurtadus:

Al Morose Qurtadus is a name given to the Muslims who were working in plantation and in herding cattle.  It also means those who were forbidden from leaving Spain, simply because they were manipulated as slaves to their masters.  Meanwhile, the inquisition courts of Spain which continued their duties until the 18th century, issued some legislations through which Muslims were allowed to show some of their Islamic signs and features.  Unfortunately, certain thinkers and authors  such as Khofiandose, were so fanatic against Muslims that their rejection to whatever was issued by the inquisition courts led to the termination of these courts in 1235 Hijra, 1820 AD.


Even after their departure from Spain, Muslims’ traces remained the most dominant in all fields.  Most contemporary Arabists, Spanish Christians who adopted some of the Islamic traditions, preferred to learn the Arabic language, to stay in the areas which had been previously ruled by the Arabs, and to dwell in houses which had on Arab design.

Due to Muslim’s long duration of reign in Spain, there emerged an Arabist movement called Arabism.  This movement was considered as the oldest oriental movement in the West.  The Arab-Spaniards  demonstrated their concern to whatever was written for and about both Islam and Arabs.  They tried not only to focus on the studies of Islam and its civilization, but, most importantly, they tried to learn and understand the Arabic language perfectly well. Here, it’s necessary that we mention Amilio Garthia Gomaise due to his great achievements in this Arabist movement.  He played an indispensable role in clarifying and highlighting the Arab-Islamic civilization in Al-Andalus through his researches and lectures.

Muslims who longed for their grand fathers’ glory:

Since the Middle of the 19th century, the number of Muslims in Spain began to  increase due to many reasons.  First of all, Spain was and is still regarded as one of the most beautiful countries in addition to its moderate climate and its indigenous hospitality, kindness and tolerance with the foreigners.  Such qualities encouraged some Muslims especially those who longed for the good old days to return to Spain and to settle in its most famous cities such as Madrid, the capital, which was founded by the Andalusian prince, Mouhammed Ben AbdulRuhman Ben Al Hakam, and Qartaba and Granada where Muslims founded their own houses, castles, and villas; they also  established their Mosques and many Islamic institutions.  To intermingle with the Spanish, they encouraged the Arab Spain friendship, built clubs, and many press associations which could strengthen the bonds between the Arabs and the Spanish.  Furthermore, Muslims were able to hold important professions and positions in Spain, some were doctors; others were either businessmen or restaurant-owners. In spite of all of this, Muslims encountered  and still encounter so many troubles due to some Spanish fanaticism against the Arabs as well as due to the government’s  intended recklessness towards them.