Al-Andalus: The Lost Civilization
How many people now know who Ibn Hazm, Al-Mu’tamid, Ibn Tufayl, Abu Ishaq al-Butruji were, or even where they came from? Most probably, not many. Yet these were among the most important scientists and thinkers of their age and lived in Al-Andalus.
The year 1492 has long been a historical landmark: the Americans recently celebrated the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s ‘discovery’ of the new continent. But there was another 500th anniversary to be marked in 1992. Although this event was also of momentous importance for the history of mankind, it has attracted much less attention. The event we are referring to was the fall of the last Muslim city left in Spain: Granada. The date was the second day of 1492 when the Catholic king of Castile captured the city which had been governed for nearly eight centuries by Muslims.
The Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, which marked one of the most magnificent and glorious periods in Islamic history began with an invitation from one side of a civil war then raging in Visigothic Spain in 711. Musa Ibn Nusayr, the Umayyad governor of North Africa, was asked to help the rival of a Visigoth king. Thereupon, Nusayr ordered his general Tariq Ibn Ziyad to aid these people with an army of 7,000.
In the following years he himself went to Spain. Within seven years the Muslims took control of the whole of the Peninsula, except for Galicia and Austuria. Muslim rule was accepted voluntarily by many Spaniards and over time some of them accepted Islam. The Andalusian Muslims did little to disturb the natives and allowed them to perform their religions and customs.
After the dissolution of the central Umayyad government between 1009 and 1031 as a result of uprisings and a succession of weak rulers, a number of independent petty kingdoms (in Arabic mutluk al-tawaif and in Spanish taifa) became established. In spite of the fact that these little kingdoms were weaker than the former Umayyad state, an astonishing flowering of arts and learning took place during the taifa period.
by: Aarish Manal Pasha