”Oh my warriors, whither would you flee? Behind you is the sea, before you, the enemy. You have left now only the hope of your courage and your constancy ….. Put far from you the disgrace from which you flee in dreams, and attack this monarch who has left his strongly fortified city to meet you. Here is a splendid opportunity to defeat him, if you will consent to expose yourselves freely to death. Do not believe that I desire to incite you to face dangers that I shall refuse to share with you. In the attack, I myself will be in the fore, where the chance of life is always least.”
It was the beginning of a new chapter in history. The time was changing, and so was the history along with it. The army of Allah had already landed on the borders of Spain, which had been under the rule of a cruel monarchy for centuries. The Visigoth rulers of Spain had nothing to do with their subjects other than asking for servitude. The roots of the Spanish kingdom were hollowed out because the authority, despite having a huge army and abundance of resources, didn’t have the support of the masses. Exploitation of workers, subjugation of slaves, and victimisation of ordinary citizens had created a great barrier between the authorities and the subjects. Men became masters over other men and much more. Such was the situation in the Iberian Peninsula when Tariq bin Ziyad was addressing his army with above mentioned words. History recorded his words and the courage of his army. They were 7,000 men who footed on land that was unfamiliar to them, nor were they adapted to the climate of the peninsula. However, they came here not to go back but to remove the shackles in which the people were tied up. They came here to free the men from the slavery of other men and bring them into the slavery of Allah, the Ultimate Master. They challenged the powerful ruler Roderick, despite his powerful army, which consisteded of 1 lack soldiers. By the grace of Allah, Ibn Ziyad emerged victorious. The reason for their victories that as they came with great intentions, they were pious souls and not the materialistic minds, who landed there in order to establish justice and to free the people from shackles and burdens which were imposed upon them. They were the people about whom Allah SWT said: “[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters.” (Surah Hajj)
The conquest of Spain opened the gateways for many new chapters of Islamic history. This land was thereafter named Andalusia. Andalusia was blessed with an abundance of natural resources and a favourable climate. The 800-year-long Muslim rule in Spain is often regarded as the “Golden Period. In contrast, the same time is regarded by Christians as the “dark ages” because their priests were busy looting the people in the name of religion and the role of kings was not than that of puppets to the priests.
Many new inventions and discoveries took place in this blessed land of Andalusia. Scientific knowledge, architecture, mathematics, and philosophy flourished in Spain during the rule of the Muslims. Some noted names in history include Abbas ibn Farnas, who was very curious to make a flying saucer, in which he somewhat succeeded by constructing a pair of wings out of feathers in a wooden frame, and attempting to fly — preceding Leonardo da Vinci by some 600 years. Al-Khwarizmi’s famous book entitled The Calculation of Integration and Equation reached Al-Andalus at an early date, and became the foundation of much later mathematical development. Al Zarqali, known to the Latin West as Arzachel, was another leading mathematician and astronomer who combined theoretical knowledge with technical skills, and excelled at the construction of precision instruments for astronomical use. He built a water clock capable of determining the hours of the day and night and indicating the days of the lunar month. Another example is Ibn Juljul, who was born in Córdoba in 943, became a leading physician by the age of 24 (he began his studies of medicine at 14) and compiled a commentary on the De Materia Medica of Dioscorides and a special treatise on drugs found in Al-Andalus.
These examples are not enough to give a glance look at the golden period of Spain. There are a lot more that can’t be described over here, as they need, without exaggeration, several pages to compile them. In short, the people of Muslim Spain were far ahead of their times, or, to be true, they were blessed by Allah with creative minds and the capability to use the resources in the right way.
However, Allah SWT helps His slaves until they remain on the right path. As soon as they deviate, warnings are given to them. If they return to the right, that’s good for them, but if they keep on transgressing, they are punished. This is the Sunnah of Allah, The Most Wise. Similar was the case with the rulers of Andalusia. They ruled there for centuries, and as the time passed, they began deviating towards the wrong path. They got indulged in worldly pleasures, forgetting about their responsibilities and duties. They kept aside the commandments of Allah. Hence, they were taken away with all the resources they had. They were humiliated and expelled from this land. Mass killings, forced conversion to Christianity became their fate. They were humiliated at the hands of Christians. Their libraries with lakhs and lakhs of books were set ablaze, their names were erased, and what not! They suffered from genocide. Azaan was banned, Masjids were locked up, and they were stopped from praying. The example of great architecture, Cordoba Masjid was turned into a church and is still in the same position. The remains of Islamic practices were also erased, and the Deen of Allah was mocked up! And no one could stop it, no one could resist it. People became silent witnesses, and the Golden History of Muslim Spain just became the story on pages, recorded in books! Allama Iqbal, when he went to Spain, shed his tears, and his pain took the shape of his words, which he penned down, naming it “Masjid e Qurtuba.”
At one place, he says
Haspaniya tu khoon e musalman ka ameen he
Maanind e Haram Paak he tu meri nazar men
However, the misfortune is not only the loss of this place and this golden age; the more severe pain is that we are unaware of the history of Andalusia; we neither know nor care to know about it. Andalusia could be regained if we strive for it, but we would strive only if we had knowledge about it! Justice could once again be established on the land, but only when we feel the pain and try to correct our mistakes. The ruins of Andalusia await another Tariq bin Ziyad and his army who could regain the lost treasure!!