Al-Andalus

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Al-Andalus and Christian kingdoms circa 1000 AD
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Al-Andalus (Arabic: الأندلس‎, trans. al-ʼAndalus; Spanish: Al-Ándalus; Portuguese: Al-Andalus; Aragonese: Al-Andalus; Catalan: Al-Àndalus; Berber: Andalus or Wandalus), also known as Muslim Spain or Islamic Iberia, was a medieval Muslim cultural domain and territory occupying at its peak most of what are today Spain and Portugal. (At its greatest geographical extent, in the eighth century, southern France -- Septimania—was briefly under its control.) The name more generally describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Muslims (given the generic name of Moors) at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed constantly as the reconquista progressed.[1][2][3]

Following the Muslim conquest of Hispania, Al-Andalus was divided into five administrative units, corresponding roughly to modern Andalusia, Galicia and Portugal, Castile and León, Aragon, county of Barcelona and Septimania.[4] As a political domain, it successively constituted a province of the Umayyad Caliphate, initiated by the Caliph Al-Walid I (711–750); the Emirate of Córdoba (c. 750–929); the Caliphate of Córdoba (929–1031); and the Caliphate of Córdoba's taifa (successor) kingdoms. Rule under these kingdoms saw a rise in cultural exchange and cooperation between Muslims and Christians, with Christians and Jews considered as protected people who paid a tax to the state but enjoyed "internal autonomy".[5] It is noted that under the Caliphate of Córdoba, al-Andalus was a beacon of learning, and the city of Córdoba became one of the leading cultural and economic centres in Europe and throughout the Mediterranean Basin and the Islamic world. A number of achievements that advanced Islamic and Western science came from Al-Andalus including major advances in trigonometry (Geber), astronomy (Arzachel), surgery (Abulcasis), pharmacology (Avenzoar), and other fields. Indeed al-Andalus became a major educational center for Europe and the Mediterranean region as well as a conduit for culture and science between the Islamic world and the Christian world.

For much of its history, Al-Andalus existed in conflict with Christian kingdoms to the north. After the fall of the Umayyad caliphate, Al-Andalus was fragmented into a number of minor states and principalities, most notably the Emirate of Granada. Attacks from the Christian Castillians intensified, led by Alfonso VI. The Almoravid empire intervened and repelled the Christian attacks on the region, deposing the weak Andalusian Muslim princes and including Al-Andalus under direct Berber rule. In succeeding centuries, Al-Andalus became a province of the Berber Muslim empires of the Almoravids and Almohads, both based in Marrakesh.

Ultimately the Christian kingdoms of the north overpowered their Muslim neighbors. In 1085, Alfonso VI captured Toledo, starting a gradual Muslim decline. With the fall of Córdoba in 1236, the Emirate of Granada was the only Muslim territory in what is now Spain. The Portuguese Reconquista culminated in 1249 with the conquest of the Algarve by Afonso III. In 1238, the Emirate of Granada officially became a tributary state to the Kingdom of Castile, then ruled by King Ferdinand III. Finally, on January 2, 1492, Emir Muhammad XII surrendered the Emirate of Granada to Queen Isabella I of Castile, who along with her husband King Ferdinand II of Aragon were known as the "Catholic Monarchs." The surrender ended Al-Andalus as a political entity, though aspects of Islamic culture are still evident in the region.

Etymology[edit]

The etymology of "Al-Andalus" is disputed, as is the extent of Iberian territory encompassed by the name over the centuries. The name is first attested to by inscriptions on coins minted by the new Muslim government in Iberia, circa 715 (the uncertainty in the year is due to the fact that the coins were bilingual in Latin and Arabic and the two inscriptions differ as to the year of minting).

At least three specific etymologies have been proposed in Western scholarship, all presuming that the name arose after the Roman period in the Iberian Peninsula's history. Their originators or defenders have been historians. Recently, linguistics expertise has been brought to bear on the issue. Arguments from toponymy (the study of place names), history, and language structure demonstrate the lack of substance in all following proposals, and evidence has been presented that the name predates, rather than postdates, the Roman occupation.[6]

Vandal theory[edit]

The name Andalusia or Vandalusia is traditionally believed to be derived from Vandal (the Germanic tribe that briefly colonized parts of Iberia from 409 to 429). The proposal is sometimes associated with the 19th-century historian Reinhart Dozy, but it predates him and he recognized some of its shortcomings. Although he accepted that Al-Andalus derived from Vandal,[7] he believed that geographically it referred only to the harbour from which the Vandals departed Iberia for (North) Africa—the location of which harbour was unknown.[8]

Visigoth theory[edit]

In the 1980s, the historian Heinz Halm, also rejecting the Vandal proposal, originated an innovative alternative. Halm took as his points of departure ancient reports that Germanic tribes in general were reported to have distributed conquered lands by having members draw lots, and that Iberia during the period of Visigothic rule was sometimes known to outsiders by a Latin name, Gothica Sors, whose meaning is 'Gothic lot'. Halm thereupon speculated that the Visigoths themselves might have called their new lands "lot lands" and done so in their own language. However, the Gothic language version of the term Gothica Sors is not attested. Halm claimed to have been able to reconstruct it, proposing that it was *landahlauts (the asterisk is the standard symbol among linguists for a linguistic form that is proposed but has not been attested). Halm then suggested that the hypothetical Gothic language term gave rise to both the attested Latin term, Gothica Sors (by translating the meaning) and the Arabic name, Al-Andalus (by phonetic imitation).[9] However, Halm did not offer evidence (historical or linguistic) that any of the language developments in his argument had in fact occurred.

Atlantis theory[edit]

Moorish Bazaar

Another proposal is that Andalus is an Arabic-language version of the name Atlantis. This idea has recently been defended by the Spanish historian Vallvé, but purely on the grounds that it is allegedly plausible phonetically and would explain several toponymic facts (no historical evidence was offered).[10]

Vallvé writes:

Arabic texts offering the first mentions of the island of Al-Andalus and the sea of al-Andalus become extraordinarily clear if we substitute this expressions with "Atlantis" or "Atlantic". The same can be said with reference to Hercules and the Amazons whose island, according to Arabic commentaries of these Greek and Latin legends, was located in jauf Al-Andalus—that is, to the north or interior of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Island of Al-Andalus is mentioned in an anonymous Arabic chronicle of the conquest of Iberia composed two to three centuries after the fact.[11][12] It is identified as the location of the landfall of the advance guard of the Moorish conquest of Iberia. The chronicle also says that "Island of al-Andalus" was subsequently renamed "Island of Tarifa". The preliminary conquest force of a few hundred, led by the Berber chief, Tarif abu Zura, seized the first bit of land they encountered after crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in 710. The main conquest force led by Tariq ibn Ziyad followed them a year later. The landfall, now known in Spain as either Punta Marroquí or Punta de Tarifa, is in fact the southern tip of an islet, presently known as Isla de Tarifa or Isla de las Palomas, just offshore of the Iberian mainland.

This testimony of the Arab chronicle, the modern name Isla de Tarifa, and the above-mentioned toponymic evidence that Andaluz is a name of pre-Roman origin taken together lead to the supposition that the Island of Andalus is the present day Isla de Tarifa, which lies just offshore from the modern day Spanish city of Tarifa. The extension of the scope of the designation "Al-Andalus" from a single islet to all of Iberia has several historical precedents.

History[edit]

Province of the Caliphate[edit]

The Age of the Caliphs
  Muhammad, 622–632
  Patriarchal Caliphate, 632–661
  Umayyad Caliphate, 661–750

During the caliphate of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I, the Berber commander Tariq ibn-Ziyad led a small force that landed at Gibraltar on April 30, 711, ostensibly to intervene in a Visigothic civil war. After a decisive victory over King Roderic at the Battle of Guadalete on July 19, 711, Tariq ibn-Ziyad, joined by Arab governor Musa ibn Nusayr of Ifriqiya, brought most of the Visigothic Kingdom under Muslim occupation in a seven-year campaign. They crossed the Pyrenees and occupied Visigothic Septimania in southern France.

Most of the Iberian peninsula became part of the expanding Umayyad empire, under the name of Al-Andalus. It was organized as a province subordinate to Ifriqiya, so, for the first few decades, the governors of al-Andalus were appointed by the emir of Kairouan, rather than the Caliph in Damascus. The regional capital was set at Córdoba, and the initial influx of Muslim colonists were widely distributed – Arab colonists were assigned to the south and east, while Berber colonists were scattered across the west and center.[citation needed] Visigothic lords who agreed to recognize Muslim suzerainty were allowed to retain their fiefs (notably, in Murcia, Galicia, and the Ebro valley). Resistant Visigoths took refuge in the Cantabrian highlands, where they carved out a rump state, the Kingdom of Asturias.

The province of al-Andalus just after the Islamic conquest, 720

In the 720s, the Andalusian governors launched several sa'ifa raids into Aquitaine, but were severely defeated by Duke Odo the Great of Aquitaine at the Battle of Toulouse (721). However, after crushing Odo's Berber ally Uthman ibn Naissa on the eastern Pyrenees, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi led an expedition north across the western Pyrenees and defeated the Aquitanian duke, who in turn appealed to the Frankish leader Charles Martel for assistance, offering to place himself under Carolingian sovereignty. At the Battle of Poitiers in 732, the Andalusian raiding army was defeated by Charles Martel. In 734, the Andalusians launched raids to the east, capturing Avignon and Arles and overran much of Provence. In 737, they climbed up the Rhône valley, reached as far as Burgundy. Charles Martel of the Franks, with the assistance of Liutprand of the Lombards, invaded Burgundy and Provence and expelled the raiders by 739.

Islamic-period garden in the Alhambra.

Relations between Arabs and Berbers in al-Andalus had been tense in the years after the conquest. Berbers heavily outnumbered the Arabs in the province, and had done the bulk of the fighting, but they had been given the lesser plums of the conquest and were assigned the harsher duties (e.g. garrisoning the more troubled areas). Although some Arab governors had cultivated their Berber lieutenants, others had grievously mistreated them. Mutinies by Berber soldiers were frequent, e.g. in 729, the Berber commander Munnus revolted and managed to carve out a rebel state in Cerdanya for a spell. In 740, a great Berber Revolt erupted in the Maghreb (North Africa). To put down the rebellion, the Umayyad Caliph Hisham dispatched a large Arab army, composed of regiments (Junds) of Bilad Ash-Sham[13] to North Africa. But the great Syrian army was crushed by the Berber rebels at the Battle of Bagdoura (in Morocco). Heartened by the victories of their North African brethren, the Berbers of al-Andalus quickly raised their own revolt. Berber garrisons in northern Spain mutinied, deposed their Arab commanders, and organized a large rebel army to march against the strongholds of Toledo, Cordoba, and Algeciras. The Andalusian Arab governor, joined by the remnant of the Syrian army (some 10,000) which had fled across the straits, crushed the Berber rebels in a series of ferocious battles in 742. However, a quarrel immediately erupted between the Syrian commanders and the older Andalusian Arabs. The Syrians defeated the Andalusians at the hard-fought Battle of Aqua Portora in August 742 but were too few to impose themselves on the province. The quarrel was settled in 743 with the distribution of the Syrians in regimental fiefs across al-Andalus – the Damascus jund was established in Elvira (Granada), the Jordan jund in Rayyu (Málaga and Archidona), the Jund Filastin jund in Medina-Sidonia and Jerez, the Emesa (Hims) jund in Seville and Niebla, and the Qinnasrin jund in Jaén. The Egypt jund was divided between Beja (Alentejo) in the west and Tudmir (Murcia) in the east.[14] The arrival of the Syrians increased substantially the Arab element in the Iberian peninsula and helped deepen the Muslim hold on the south. However, at the same time, unwilling to be governed, the Syrian junds carried on an existence of autonomous feudal anarchy, severely destabilizing the authority of the governor of al-Andalus.

A second significant consequence of the revolt was the expansion of the Kingdom of the Asturias, hitherto confined to enclaves in the Cantabrian highlands. After the rebellious Berber garrisons evacuated the northern frontier fortresses, the Christian king Alfonso I of Asturias set about immediately seizing the empty forts for himself, quickly adding the northwestern provinces of Galicia and León to his fledgling kingdom. The Asturians evacuated the Christian populations from the towns and villages of the Galician-Leonese lowlands, creating an empty buffer zone in the Douro River valley (the "Desert of the Duero"). This newly emptied frontier would remain roughly in place for the next few centuries as the boundary between the Christian north and the Islamic south. Between this frontier and the Andalusian heartland in the south, the Andalusian state organized three large march territories (thughur): the lower march (capital initially at Mérida, later Badajoz), the middle march (centered at Toledo), and the upper march (centered at Zaragoza)

A gold Dinar minted in Al-Andalus

These disturbances and disorders also allowed the Franks, now under the leadership of Pepin the Short, to invade the strategic strip of Septimania in 752, hoping to deprive Andalusians of their easy launching pad for raids into Francia. After a lengthy siege, the last Arab stronghold, the citadel of Narbonne, finally fell to the Franks in 759. Al-Andalus was sealed off at the Pyrenees.[15]

The third consequence of the Berber revolt was the collapse of the authority of the Damascus Caliphate over the western provinces. With the Umayyad Caliphs distracted by the challenge of the Abbasids in the east, the western provinces of the Maghreb and al-Andalus spun out of their control. From around 745, the Fihrids, an illustrious local Arab clan descended from Oqba ibn Nafi al-Fihri, seized power in the western provinces and ruled them almost as a private family empire of their own – Abd al-Rahman ibn Habib al-Fihri in Ifriqiya and Yūsuf al-Fihri in al-Andalus. The Fihrids welcomed the fall of the Umayyads in the east, in 750, and sought to reach an understanding with the Abbasids, hoping they might be allowed to continue their autonomous existence. But when the Abbassids rejected the offer and demanded submission, the Fihrids declared independence and, probably out of spite, invited the deposed remnants of the Umayyad clan to take refuge in their dominions. It was a fateful decision that they soon regretted, for the Umayyads, the sons and grandsons of caliphs, had a more legitimate claim to rule than the Fihrids themselves. Rebellious-minded local lords, disenchanted with the autocratic rule of the Fihrids, intrigued with the arriving Umayyad exiles.

Umayyad Emirate and Caliphate of Córdoba[edit]

The interior of the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba formerly the Great Mosque of Córdoba. The original mosque (742), since much enlarged, was built on the site of the Visigothic Christian 'Saint Vincent basilica' (600) then reconquered and designated the Christian Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in 1236.

In 756, the exiled Umayyad prince Abd al-Rahman I (nicknamed al-Dākhil, the 'Immigrant') ousted Yūsuf al-Fihri to establish himself as the Emir of Córdoba. He refused to submit to the Abbasid caliph, as Abbasid forces had killed most of his family. Over a thirty-year reign, he established a tenuous rule over much of al-Andalus, overcoming partisans of both the al-Fihri family and of the Abbasid caliph.[16]

For the next century and a half, his descendants continued as emirs of Córdoba with nominal control over the rest of al-Andalus and sometimes parts of western North Africa, but with real control, particularly over the marches along the Christian border, vacillating depending on the competence of the individual emir. Indeed, the power of emir Abdallah ibn Muhammad (circa 900) did not extend beyond Córdoba itself. But his grandson Abd-al-Rahman III, who succeeded him in 912, not only rapidly restored Umayyad power throughout al-Andalus but extended it into western North Africa as well. In 929 he proclaimed himself Caliph, elevating the emirate to a position competing in prestige not only with the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad but also the Shi'ite caliph in Tunis—with whom he was competing for control of North Africa.

The Caliphate of Cordoba c. 1000 at the apogee of Al-Mansur

The period of the Caliphate is seen as the golden age of al-Andalus. Crops produced using irrigation, along with food imported from the Middle East, provided the area around Córdoba and some other Andalusī cities with an agricultural economic sector that was the most advanced in Europe by far. Among European cities, Córdoba under the Caliphate, with a population of perhaps 500,000, eventually overtook Constantinople as the largest and most prosperous city in Europe.[17] Within the Islamic world, Córdoba was one of the leading cultural centres. The work of its most important philosophers and scientists (notably Abulcasis and Averroes) had a major influence on the intellectual life of medieval Europe.

Muslims and non-Muslims often came from abroad to study in the famous libraries and universities of al-Andalus after the reconquest of Toledo in 1085. The most noted of these was Michael Scot (c. 1175 to c. 1235), who took the works of Ibn Rushd ("Averroes") and Ibn Sina ("Avicenna") to Italy. This transmission was to have a significant impact on the formation of the European Renaissance.

First Taifas period[edit]

The Caliphate broke up into many Taifa states in 1031. (The northern areas shown here in white, red, yellow, and dark blue were Christian.)

The Córdoba Caliphate effectively collapsed during a ruinous civil war between 1009 and 1013, although it was not finally abolished until 1031 when Al-Andalus broke up into a number of mostly independent mini-states and principalities called taifas. These were generally too weak to defend themselves against repeated raids and demands for tribute from the Christian states to the north and west, which were known to the Muslims as "the Galician nations",[18] and which had spread from their initial strongholds in Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque country, and the Carolingian Marca Hispanica to become the Kingdoms of Navarre, León, Portugal, Castile and Aragon, and the County of Barcelona. Eventually raids turned into conquests, and in response the Taifa kings were forced to request help from the Almoravids, Muslim Berber rulers of the Maghreb. Their desperate maneuver would eventually fall to their disadvantage, however, as the Almoravids they had summoned from the south went on to conquer and annex all the Taifa kingdoms.

Almoravids, Almohads and Marinids[edit]

Expansion of the Almohad state in the 12th century

In 1086 the Almoravid ruler of Morocco, Yusuf ibn Tashfin, was invited by the Muslim princes in Iberia to defend them against Alfonso VI, King of Castile and León. In that year, Tashfin crossed the straits to Algeciras and inflicted a severe defeat on the Christians at the Battle of Sagrajas. By 1094, Yusuf ibn Tashfin had removed all Muslim princes in Iberia and had annexed their states, except for the one at Zaragoza. He also regained Valencia from the Christians.

The Almoravids were succeeded by the Almohads, another Berber dynasty, after the victory of Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur over the Castilian Alfonso VIII at the Battle of Alarcos in 1195. In 1212 a coalition of Christian kings under the leadership of the Castilian Alfonso VIII defeated the Almohads at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. The Almohads continued to rule Al Andalus for another decade, though with much reduced power and prestige. The civil wars following the death of Abu Ya'qub Yusuf II rapidly led to the re-establishment of taifas. The taifas, newly independent but now weakened, were quickly conquered by Portugal, Castile, and Aragon. After the fall of Murcia (1243) and the Algarve (1249), only the Emirate of Granada survived as a Muslim state, and only as a tributary of Castile. Most of its tribute was paid in gold that was carried to Iberia from present-day Mali and Burkina Faso through the merchant routes of the Sahara.

Map showing the extent of the Almoravid empire

The last Muslim threat to the Christian kingdoms was the rise of the Marinids in Morocco during the 14th century. They took Granada into their sphere of influence and occupied some of its cities, like Algeciras. However, they were unable to take Tarifa, which held out until the arrival of the Castilian Army led by Alfonso XI. The Castilian king, with the help of Afonso IV of Portugal and Peter IV of Aragon, decisively defeated the Marinids at the Battle of Río Salado in 1340 and took Algeciras in 1344. Gibraltar, then under Granadian rule, was besieged in 1349–50. Alfonso XI and most of his army perished by the Black Death. His successor, Peter of Castile, made peace with the Muslims and turned his attention to Christian lands, starting a period of almost 150 years of rebellions and wars between the Christian states that secured the survival of Granada.

In 1469 the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile signaled the launch of the final assault on the Emirate of Granada (Gharnatah). The King and Queen convinced the Pope to declare their war a crusade. The Christians crushed one center of resistance after another and finally, in January 1492, after a long siege, the Moorish sultan Muhammad XII surrendered the fortress palace, the renowned Alhambra (see Fall of Granada).

Fall of Muslim power[edit]

The last Muslim bastion, Granada, fell in 1492. By this time Muslims in Castile numbered half a million. After the fall, "100,000 had died or been enslaved, 200,000 emigrated, and 200,000 remained as the residual population. Many of the Muslim elite, including Muhammad XII, who had been given the area of the Alpujarras mountains as a principality, found life under Christian rule intolerable and passed over into North Africa."[19] Under the conditions of capitulation, the Muslims in the Granada were to be allowed to continue to practice their religion. This freedom was forcibly removed about 1500 (Jimenez de Cisneros), although in the kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia (both now part of Spain) the freedom of religion continued for another twenty years. The descendants of the Muslims were expelled from Spain in 1609 (Expulsion of the Moriscos)

Modern talk of re-Islamicizing al-Andalus[edit]

The desire to reconquer, or more specifically re-Islamicize, al-Andalus has been used as rhetoric by leaders of Islamic states and has been discussed by Spanish politicians. Osama bin Laden, for example, several times spoke of al-Andalus, which was reported after the 2004 Madrid bombings.[20][21][22] The Muslim Brotherhood[23] and ISIS announced their intention to "retake" al-Andalus.[24][25]

Society[edit]

A manuscript page of the Qur'an in the script developed in al-Andalus, 12th century

The society of Al-Andalus was made up of three main religious groups: Christians, Muslims, and Jews. The Muslims, though united on the religious level, had several ethnic divisions, the main being the distinction between the Berbers and the Arabs. Mozarabs were Christians who had long lived under Muslim rule, adopting many Arabic customs, art, and words, while still maintaining their Christian rituals and their own Romance languages. Each of these communities inhabited distinct neighborhoods in the cities. In the 10th century a massive conversion of Christians took place, and muladies (Muslims of native Iberian origin), formed the majority of Muslims. The Muladies had spoken in a Romance dialect of Latin called Mozarabic while increasingly adopting the Arabic language, which eventually evolved into the Andalusian dialect in which Muslims, Jews, and Christians became monolingual in by the time of the Emirate of Granada. Eventually, the Muladies, and later the Berber tribes, adopted an Arabic identity like the majority of subject people in Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and North Africa. Muladies, together with other Muslims, comprised eighty percent of the population of Al-Andalus by around 1100.[26][27]

The Berbers, who made up the bulk of the invaders, lived in the mountainous regions of what is now the north of Portugal and in the Meseta Central, while the Arabs settled in the south and in the Ebro Valley in the northeast.[citation needed] The Jews worked mainly as tax collectors, in trade, or as doctors or ambassadors. At the end of the 15th century there were about 50,000 Jews in Granada and roughly 100,000 in the whole of Islamic Iberia.[28]

Non-Muslims under the Caliphate[edit]

A later illustration, depicting the Jewish soldiers fighting alongside the forces of Muhammed IX, Nasrid Sultan of Granada, at the Battle of La Higueruela, 1431

The non-Muslims were given the status of ahl al-dhimma (the people under protection), with adults paying a "Jizya" tax, equal to one dinar per year with exemptions for old people, women, children, and the disabled. Those who were neither Christians nor Jews, such as Pagans, were given the status of Majus.[29]

The treatment of non-Muslims in the Caliphate has been a subject of considerable debate among scholars and commentators, especially those interested in drawing parallels to the coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims in the modern world.[30]

Image of a Jewish cantor reading the Passover story in al-Andalus, from a 14th-century Spanish Haggadah

Jews constituted more than five percent of the population.[31] Al-Andalus was a key centre of Jewish life during the early Middle Ages, producing important scholars and one of the most stable and wealthy Jewish communities. Bernard Lewis takes issue with this view, arguing its modern use is ahistorical and apologetic. He argues that Islam traditionally did not offer equality nor even pretended to, and that it would have been both a "theological as well as a logical absurdity."[32] However, even Bernard Lewis states:

Generally, the Jewish people were allowed to practice their religion and live according to the laws and scriptures of their community. Furthermore, the restrictions to which they were subject were social and symbolic rather than tangible and practical in character. That is to say, these regulations served to define the relationship between the two communities, and not to oppress the Jewish population.

[33]Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (1984)

The Caliphate treated non-Muslims differently at different times. The longest period of tolerance began after 912 with the reign of Abd-ar-Rahman III and his son, Al-Hakam II, when the Jews of Al-Andalus prospered, devoting themselves to the service of the Caliphate of Córdoba, to the study of the sciences, and to commerce and industry, especially trading in silk and slaves, in this way promoting the prosperity of the country. Southern Iberia became an asylum for the oppressed Jews of other countries.[34][35]

Under the Almoravids and the Almohads there may have been intermittent persecution of Jews,[36] but sources are extremely scarce and do not give a clear picture, though the situation appears to have deteriorated after 1160.[37]

Muslim pogroms against Jews in Al-Andalus occurred in Córdoba (1011) and in Granada (1066).[38][39][40] However, massacres of dhimmis are rare in Islamic history.[41] The Jews of Granada did not have dhimmi status.

The Almohads, who had taken control of the Almoravids' Maghribi and Andalusian territories by 1147,[42] far surpassed the Almoravides in fundamentalist outlook, and they treated the non-Muslims harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews and Christians emigrated.[43][44] Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands,[43] while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.[45]

Culture[edit]

One detail of the arabesques completed towards the end of Muslim rule of Spain by Yusuf I (1333–1353) and Muhammed V, Sultan of Granada (1353–1391), the Alhambra is a reflection of the culture of the last centuries of the Moorish rule of Al-Andalus, reduced to the Emirate of Granada.

Many tribes, religions, and races coexisted in al-Andalus, each contributing to its intellectual prosperity. Literacy in Islamic Iberia was far more widespread than in many other nations in the West at the time.[46] From the earliest days, the Umayyads wanted to be seen as intellectual rivals to the Abbasids, and for Córdoba to have libraries and educational institutions to rival Baghdad's. Although there was a clear rivalry between the two powers, freedom to travel between the two Caliphates was allowed, which helped spread new ideas and innovations over time.

Philosophy[edit]

Andalusian philosophy[edit]

The historian Said Al-Andalusi wrote that Caliph Abd-ar-Rahman III had collected libraries of books and granted patronage to scholars of medicine and "ancient sciences". Later, al-Mustansir (Al-Hakam II) went yet further, building a university and libraries in Córdoba. Córdoba became one of the world's leading centres of medicine and philosophical debate.

However, when Al-Hakam's son Hisham II took over, real power was ceded to the hajib, al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir. Al-Mansur was a distinctly religious man and disapproved of the sciences of astronomy, logic, and especially astrology, so much so that many books on these subjects, which had been preserved and collected at great expense by Al-Hakam II, were burned publicly. However, with Al-Mansur's death in 1002, interest in philosophy revived. Numerous scholars emerged, including Abu Uthman Ibn Fathun, whose masterwork was the philosophical treatise "Tree of Wisdom". Maslamah Ibn Ahmad al-Majriti (died 1008) was an outstanding scholar in astronomy and astrology; he was an intrepid traveller who journeyed all over the Islamic world and beyond and kept in touch with the Brethren of Purity. Indeed, he is said to have brought the 51 "Epistles of the Brethren of Purity" to al-Andalus and added the compendium to this work, although it is quite possible that it was added later by another scholar with the name al-Majriti. Another book attributed to al-Majriti is the Ghayat al-Hakim, "The Aim of the Sage", which explored a synthesis of Platonism with Hermetic philosophy. Its use of incantations led the book to be widely dismissed in later years, although the Sufi communities kept studies of it.

Averroes, founder of the Averroism school of philosophy, was influential in the rise of secular thought in Western Europe.

A prominent follower of al-Majriti was the philosopher and geometer Abu al-Hakam al-Kirmani. A follower of his, in turn, was the great Abu Bakr Ibn al-Sayigh, usually known in the Arab world as Ibn Bajjah, "Avempace"

The Andalusian philosopher Averroes (1126–1198) was the founder of the Averroism school of philosophy, and his works and commentaries had an impact on medieval thought in Western Europe. Another influential Andalusian philosopher was Ibn Tufail.

Jewish philosophy and culture[edit]

Jewish Street Sign in Toledo, Spain

As Jewish thought in Babylonia declined, the tolerance of al-Andalus made it the new centre of Jewish intellectual endeavours. Poets and commentators like Judah Halevi (1086–1145) and Dunash ben Labrat (920–990) contributed to the cultural life of al-Andalus, but the area was even more important to the development of Jewish philosophy. A stream of Jewish philosophers, cross-fertilizing with Muslim philosophers (see joint Jewish and Islamic philosophies), culminated with the widely celebrated Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages, Maimonides (1135–1205), though he did not actually do any of his work in al-Andalus because his family fled persecution by the Almohads when he was 13.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Para los autores árabes medievales, el término Al-Andalus designa la totalidad de las zonas conquistadas — siquiera temporalmente — por tropas arabo-musulmanas en territorios actualmente pertenecientes a Portugal, España y Francia" ("For medieval Arab authors, al-Andalus designated all the conquered areas — even temporarily —by Arab-Muslim troops in territories now belonging to Portugal, Spain and France"), José Ángel García de Cortázar, V Semana de Estudios Medievales: Nájera, 1 al 5 de agosto de 1994, Gobierno de La Rioja, Instituto de Estudios Riojanos, 1995, p.52.
  2. ^ Eloy Benito Ruano (2002). Tópicos y realidades de la Edad Media. Real Academia de la Historia. p. 79. ISBN 978-84-95983-06-0. ""Los arabes y musulmanes de la Edad Media aplicaron el nombre de Al-andalus a todas aquellas tierras que habian formado parte del reino visigodo: la Peninsula Ibérica y la Septimania ultrapirenaica." ("The Arabs and Muslims from the Middle Ages used the name of al-Andalus for all those lands that were formerly part of the Visigothic kingdom: the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania")" 
  3. ^ "Andalus, al-" Oxford Dictionary of Islam. John L. Esposito, Ed. Oxford University Press. 2003. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed 12 June 2006.
  4. ^ Joseph F. O'Callaghan, A History of Medieval Spain, Cornell University Press, 1983, p.142
  5. ^ Lewis, Bernard. The Jews of Islam. PrincetMeyrick, Fredrick. The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Holy Communion.on, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984.pg. 14. "Under the ruling Caliph (the descendant of Mohammed--the prophet of G-d on earth), the Jews were able to preserve their rites and traditions. Peaceful coexistence led to their economic and social expansion. Their status was that of Dhimmis, non-Muslims living in a land governed by Muslims. The Jews had limited autonomy, but full rights to practice their religion, as well as full protection by their Muslim rulers, but this did not occur for free. There was a specific tax called the jizya that Dhimmis had to pay to receive these benefits. Having its origin in the Qur'an, it states Dhimmis who did not pay this tax, should either convert to Islam, or face the death penalty (Qur'an 9, 29). This tax, higher than the tax Muslims had to pay, was in several occasions one of the most important sources of income for the kingdom. The jizya was not only a tax, but also a symbolic expression of subordination (Lewis 14)."It is a common misapprehension that the holy war meant that the Muslims gave their opponents a choice 'between Islam and the sword'. This was sometimes the case, but only when the opponents were polytheist and idol-worshippers. For Jews, Christians, and other 'People of the Book', there was a third possibility, they might become a 'protected group', paying a tax or tribute to the Muslims but enjoying internal autonomy" (Watt 144)
  6. ^ Bossong, Georg (2002). Restle, David; Zaefferer, Dietmar, eds. "Der Name al-Andalus: neue Überlegungen zu einem alten Problem" [The Name al-Andalus: Revisiting an Old Problem]. Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs. Sounds and systems: studies in structure and change. (in German) (Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton) 141: 149. ISSN 1861-4302. Retrieved 8 September 2013. "Only a few years after the lslamic conquest of Spain, al-Andalus appears in coin inscriptions as the Arabic equivalent of Hispania. The traditionally held view that the etymology of this name has to do with the Vandals is shown to have no serlous foundation. The phonetic, morphosyntactic, and also historical problems connected with this etymology are too numerous. Moreover, the existence of this name in various parts of central and northern Spain proves that al-Andalus cannot be derived from this Germanic tribe. It was the original name of the Punta Marroquí cape near Tarifa; very soon, it became generalized to designate the whole Peninsula. Undoubtedly, the name is of Pre-Indo-European origin. The parts of this compound (anda and luz) are frequent in the indigenous toponymy of the Iberian Peninsula." 
  7. ^ Reinhart Anne Pieter Dozy (November 2009). Recherches Sur L'Histoire Et la Littérature de L'Espagne Pendant Le Moyen Age. BiblioBazaar. p. 303. ISBN 978-1-117-03148-4. 
  8. ^ Bossong 2002, p. 150
  9. ^ Halm, Heinz (1989). "Al-Andalus und Gothica Sors". Der Islam 66 (2): 252–263. doi:10.1515/islm.1989.66.2.252. 
  10. ^ Joaquín Vallvé (1986). La división territorial de la España musulmana. Instituto de Filología. pp. 55–59. ISBN 978-84-00-06295-8. 
  11. ^ Majmū'ah Akhbār; Emilio Lafuente y Alcántara (1867). Ajbar MachmuØa: Coleccion de tradiciones ; Crónica anónima del siglo xi, dada á luz por primera vez. M. Rivadeneyra. p. 255. 
  12. ^ Bossong: The document in question is the Akhbar Majmu'a fi fath Al-Andalus, "Collection of traditions on the conquest of al-Andalus". It was published in Spanish translation in 1867 by Emilio Lafuente y Alcántara. Its subtitle indicates it dates from the 11th century, but several historians today say the 10th century instead, during the rule of caliph 'Abd al-Rahman III.
  13. ^ Specifically, 27,000 Syrian troops were composed of 6,000 men from each of the four main Syrian junds of Jund Dimashq (Damascus), Jund Hims (Homs), Jund al-Urdunn (Jordan), and Jund Filastin (Filastin), plus 3,000 from Jund Qinnasrin. An additional 3,000 were picked up in Egypt. See R. Dozy (1913) Spanish Islam: A History of the Muslims in Spain (translated by Francis Griffin Stokes from the Spanish Histoire de Musulmans d'Espagne) Chatto & Windus, London, page 133
  14. ^ Levi-Provençal, (1950: p.48); Kennedy (1996: p.45).
  15. ^ Franco Cardini, Europe and Islam , Wiley-Blackwell, 2001, p. 9
  16. ^ Roger Collins, "The Arab Conquest of Spain, 710–797", pp. 113–140 & 168–182.
  17. ^ Tertius Chandler. Four Thousand Years of Urban Growth: An Historical Census (1987), St. David's University Press (etext.org). ISBN 0-88946-207-0.
  18. ^ Khaldun. The Muqaddimah
  19. ^ Henry Kamen, Spain 1469–1714 A Society of Conflict Third edition, pp 37–38.
  20. ^ Isambard Wilkinson, "History points finger at revenge for lost Moor kingdom", Daily Telegraph, March 13, 2004; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/1456745/History-points-finger-at-revenge-for-lost-Moor-kingdom.html
  21. ^ "Madrid 1: Does Bin Laden wish to reclaim “Occupied Spain”?" Mideast Dispatch Archive, Tom Gross Media, http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/000171.html
  22. ^ <"La obsesión de Al Qaeda por Andalucía", Europa Press [Spain], January 2, 2010, http://www.europapress.es/opinion/josecavero/jose-cavero-obsesion-qaeda-andalucia-20100102120045.html
  23. ^ Stanley, Tim (24 April 2013). "The Muslim Brotherhood wants Spain back. Can the Christians have Egypt in exchange?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  24. ^ Unsigned, "ISIS spells out historic plan to retake Andalucia", Olive Press, 8/20/2014, http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2014/08/10/isis-spells-out-historic-plan-to-retake-andalucia/, consulted 9/15/2014
  25. ^ The Week Staff, "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: The man who would be caliph", The Week, 9/13/2014, http://theweek.com/article/index/267920/abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-the-man-who-would-be-caliph, consulted 9/15/2014
  26. ^ Glick 1999, Chapter 5: Ethnic Relations.
  27. ^ "The rate of conversion is slow until the tenth century (less than one-quarter of the eventual total number of converts had been converted); the explosive period coincides closely with the reign of 'Abd al-Rahmdn III (912–961); the process is completed (eighty percent converted) by around 1100. The curve, moreover, makes possible a reasonable estimate of the religious distribution of the population. Assuming that there were seven million Hispano-Romans in the peninsula in 711 and that the numbers of this segment of the population remained level through the eleventh century (with population growth balancing out Christian migration to the north), then by 912 there would have been approximately 2.8 million indigenous Muslims (muwalladûn) plus Arabs and Berbers. At this point Christians still vastly outnumbered Muslims. By 1100, however, the number of indigenous Muslims would have risen to a majority of 5.6 million.", (Glick 1999, Chapter 1: At the crossroads of civilization)
  28. ^ Wasserstein, 1995, p. 101.
  29. ^ Jayyusi. The legacy of Muslim Spain
  30. ^ Cohen, Mark R. (1994). Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691010823. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  31. ^ Spain — AL ANDALUS 
  32. ^ Lewis, Bernard W (1984). The Jews of Islam, p. 4.
  33. ^ Bernard Lewis 1984, p. 26
  34. ^ Stavans, 2003, p. 10.
  35. ^ Kraemer, 2005, pp. 10–13.
  36. ^ O'Callaghan, 1975, p. 286.
  37. ^ Roth, 1994, pp. 113–116.
  38. ^ Frederick M. Schweitzer, Marvin Perry., Anti-Semitism: myth and hate from antiquity to the present, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, ISBN 0-312-16561-7, pp. 267–268.
  39. ^ Granada by Richard Gottheil, Meyer Kayserling, Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906 ed.
  40. ^ Harzig, Hoerder and Shubert, 2003, p. 42.
  41. ^ Lewis, Bernard (1987) [1984], The Jews of Islam, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, pp. 44–45, ISBN 978-0-691-00807-3, LCCN 84042575, OCLC 17588445 
  42. ^ Islamic world. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved September 2, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  43. ^ a b Frank and Leaman, 2003, pp. 137–138.
  44. ^ The Almohads 
  45. ^ Kraemer, 2005, pp. 16–17.
  46. ^ Previte-Orton (1971), vol. 1, pg. 377

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

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  • Cohen, Mark. 1995. Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01082-X
  • Collins, Roger. 1989. The Arab Conquest of Spain, 710–797, Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19405-3
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  • Lafuente y Alcántara, Emilio, translator. 1867. Ajbar Machmua (colección de tradiciones): crónica anónima del siglo XI / dada a luz por primera vez, traducida y anotada por Emilio Lafuente y Alcántara. Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia y Geografía. In Spanish and Arabic. Also available in the public domain online, see External Links.
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°N 4°W / 37°N 4°W / 37; -4