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Islamic in Spain

There are a number of Islamic communities in Spain but the major one is the Al-andalus. This name is derived from an Arabic name given to those parts governed by Muslims. Due to civil wars, these communities broke up into a number of independent states known as the Taifas. The Taifas were constantly under attacks by the Christians and since they were too weak to defend themselves they were forced to seek help from the Almoravids. The Almoravids are fundamentalist Islam rulers of Maghreb. Due to war, they lost their statesmanship. This saw the rise of Almohads.

Initially the Al-andulus comprised of three major groups and this included the Christians, Jews and Muslims. However how much Muslims are united on religious levels they encounter many ethnic divisions the sole one being the Arabs and the Berbers. Berber s are considered to be a minority in terms of race with a clear majority in north Africa. There is also the category of Mozarabs. They are Christians that have lived in Muslim dominated areas hence taken many Arabic customs and world but maintaining their Christian rituals and own Latin language.

They compose of a upper ranked people in the society like scholars. The Shi’ite and Sunnis are Islamic communities that came into practice after the death of prophet Mohamed. Disagreement erupted among companions on the way to elect a caliph. Amongst the Shi’ite, it was agreed that the successor must be a direct descendant of but the Sunnis the successor is selected on the basis of his piety. “William 2004 pp 110” The mudejar who are the Muslims of Al-andalus remained in Christian territories but never converted to Christianity but owed their allegiance to Christian kings..

Relationship between different communities in Islamic Spain. All the Muslims share some similarities regardless of how they came to exist. They have respect to property . During the Islamic reign in Spain, Christians were allowed to worship freely in their churches equally to the Jews in their synagogues without any fear of persecution. Its factual that No none Muslim individual was ever forced to join the Muslim army forces and the only thing they had to do was to pay taxes to the Muslim government. Tax paying granted everyone protection by the government.

Justice was equally practiced and alienation and civilization were a not a major thing among them. All Muslims in Spain have mutual acknowledgment to one another and they practice full tolerance. The Arab Muslim culture has played a vital leading part in constructing world’s scientific renaissance which has actually left a mark in Spain. The mudejar also denotes an Iberian architecture style and decoration specifically of Aragon and Castile. Their taste and workmanship were greatly influenced in the early 12 th and 16th centuries.

Their distinctive style is still prevalent in architecture and so does their music and arts. The mudejars revised the Western styles of construction but used their own Islamic influences to construct hence not obtaining the creation of brand shapes or structures. The combination of Christians,Jews and Muslims living closely,resulted to an architectural style on Iberian peninsula which is characterized by the use of bricks as a major building material. The mudejars style of building is said to have very distinct tiling system that have been difficult to understand. “Antony 2005 pp 110”

Evidently, even after Muslims were not employed in the building and construction industry, there many distinctive styles that they had introduced was still widely and sorted in Spanish architecture and one of their well known example is the Casa de Pilatos at Seville. Arabic language was learnt as an official language . When other nations in the world could not hear of the world tolerance,Spain was enjoying a peaceful environment. With the tolerance of Al-andalus and the fall of Jewish in Babylonia, it gave the Al-andalus a green light to become the center of Jewish intellectual success.

A number of poets mentioned like Judah Halevi and Dunash Ben Habrat who actually were a major contribution to the culture and life of Al- andulus. Learning of the Arabic language was more beneficial to the Jewish philosophy because a number of them who crossbred with the Muslim gave the rise to the most important Jewish thinkers. By the 10th century, Cordoba city had above six hundred and fifty libraries with approximately more than fifty thousand palaces and about seventy libraries which had more than half a million books.

At the same time in Europe, the largest Christian Library had only about four hundred manuscripts and in France, The University Of Paris had about two thousand books only. The libraries in Al-alandus are believed to have published more than fifty thousand copies in a year. Comparatively modern Spain publishes about four thousand six hundred copies in a year. Because of the Al-alandus, Cordoba city was one of the leading worlds most recognized of medicine and debate in philosophy. Its noted that the caliph collected books and proceeded to build universities and a number of libraries in Cordoba.

The caliph went as far as hiring the best scholars to write books for the libraries and he paid them handsomely. Culture and custom practices became intermixed. For instance. Its a known practice among the Muslims to wash hands and feet before entering a mosque. This Arabic culture was adopted by the Jewish who also washed their hands and feet before entering the synagogue. During the period which many Jewish and Muslim scholars left the Muslim controlled sections in Spain they re settled in Toledo.

Here,there was the “Toledo school” which was a known center of linguistic. Some scholars who existed here include Herman the German and Gerard Cremona. In Toledo,the Jewish were more concerned with changing Arabic texts to romance languages and translating Hebrew and Greek into Arabic. Toledo was later confiscated by Christian forces. In medicine, Muslims from Al-alandus were highly recognized because their art of healing. During this time in Europe they had not developed art of healing. Their other contributions in the medicine field include physiology.

Worth noting is a book by Abu-al Qasim who is perceived as “founder of present surgery”. He contributed greatly to the field of medicine and one of his books was later changed to Latin language which was not only used in European but also in Muslim medical school. A notable contribution is by one pupil of Ishaq-al-Mawsil is that he introduced andulucian courts to fashion,luxurious fabrics and deodorants which were later introduced to the Europeans countries. In painting styles the Islam Spain were in the front line in introducing styles which were later adopted in Iberian countries.

Muslim conquest of Spain can be quoted to have seen the making of Europe. Spanish cuisine which mostly comprises of pastries and pepper among others was influenced Islam. Currently this cuisine has actually have itself in the diets of other European countries. The three course meal was actually invented by a Persian chef and is widely used in the Europe. Al-andulus contributed greatly in western technology like botany,history,geography and importance of the windmill. Different styles in metal working and weaving also were contributed by them.

Arabic literature in Hebrew has played a great role in that Arabic language has been felt on literacy growth of Hebrew. Arabic language existed alongside other native languages. It was used in church and to the early merchants as a business language. Other European nations including the Scandinavian countries got their Arabic influences from the Spanish and Italian Portuguese. Apparently any person who has the the knowledge of the Arabic language, is well acquainted with grammar. “Peterson 2002, pp189”

Arabic language contribution are still being felt because there is more pressure exerted for teaching Arabic in Jewish schools. In the late 1940s, Arabic was insisted to be a language of instruction in schools on Arabs sides and Arab pupils were obligated to learn Hebrew. Around 6th century,Arabic literature came in in written fragment. The seventh century saw the growth and expansion of Islam and the Quran. The Quran had a positive influence to both the Arabic and literature in Hebrew.

The Spanish monuments have actually had effect up to date in the world at large. Their architectural types that include mosque,tomb palace ,tomb among others have been copied by many countries. The Torah scrolls in Jewish synagogues and the haikal of the Coptic churches were actually derived from the Islamic towers. The present Jewish Cordoba which is a well known place in Spain and other countries was initially occupied by the Muslims Arabs. The Catalan town of Tortosa also has got its historical background of Arab Muslims.

The Jews occupied important positions and the Muslims provided a link to them and the Christians the liberation of Christians in the early 12th century, Jews took over the Muslim shipyard i the 13th century and the new Jewish quarter was established and currently preserved. “John 2000,pp189” Granada which is a small province in modern Spain survived regardless of its neighboring places being occupied by Christians. It was ruled by Beni Nasr who lived in exemplary palace with beautiful gardens that were watered.

These gardens have actually bee copied by many countries to decorate their gardens. In most places monuments are surrounded with beautiful flowers and water. One common monument that is shared by the Jews, Christians and Islams is the dome of the rock. Their features include both Islamic and early Christianity. Islamic and Christianity including the Jews share a belief in that no use of animals carvings should be use in their mosques or churches as it portrayed idol worship but the Islams in Spain were the initiators of this

Discoveries reveal that to design their city,countries like Baghdad hired a former Jew from Khorosan Iran to do the work. Evidently its worth noting that Islamic architecture has actually contributed gretly in every aspect of peoples lives in todays worlds. .

Works cited.

John Boswell. ”Muslim communities under fourteenth century”. Yale:Yale University Press. 2000. Peterson Harvey. ”Islamic Spain” Chicago:University of Chicago press. 2002. Antony Rogers. “The Arabic level” New York:Macmillan. 2005

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