It is known to those interested in comparative historical studies that the two experiences of the Crusades in the Islamic East and religious coexistence in Andalusia were hot lines of contact between the Islamic and Christian cultures, and that many of the inheritances of newly formed stereotypes and mental images about Islam – especially among Europeans – have historical shadows and roots within that tumultuous meeting, which Selma took place in many moments in the history of Islamic Andalusia, or in the midst of fierce wars that lasted for two centuries in the vicinity of Jerusalem.
And if the Islamic civilization is famous for putting civilization al acquaintance as a prominent feature in its approach; The identification of the historical defects remains a major priority within the features of this acquaintance. It is useful cognitively to realize that many of the roots of the current phenomena that call for clash as an alternative to dialogue and coexistence have their ancient roots, and that some of the extremist Christian movements that originated in Andalusia may be one of the incubators The cultural right that is ideologically derived from the extremist Christian right that is prevalent in Europe today, especially in terms of perceptions and hostile attitude towards the different.
Moreover, extrapolating that experience may suffice us to bother repeating mistakes and bloody fates between civilizations; A large part of the brutality of the Church Inquisition towards Muslims – and indeed Jews as well – was caused by these distorted images of the other religiously different, and in a clearer sense in which the early Islamophobia at the time played a major role in incitement and exaggeration.
This article seeks to shed light on the experience of Muslim Andalusia with a pattern of Islamophobia adopted by extremist Christian movements; A wide range of church references and Christian pastoral leaders objected to it, and considered it a violation of the peaceful civil coexistence experience in the country among its Muslim, Christian and Jewish components, and called for drying up the sources of this hatred.
The Andalusian Islamic legislator also saw in it a severe damage to social security. For this, he established a penal system that fits his era and criminalizes insulting the sanctities and religious symbols of all religions, and does not differentiate in punishment between a Muslim who offends or a Christian who scorns. This is something that many countries lack at present, which makes the legislative void that deters contempt of religions an entry point for any unruly individual attempts that do more harm than good. We will also discuss the extent to which Andalusian Christian fanatics deny the legacy of that tolerance and respect – with which the Muslims met them – after they restored the rule of the country, and we will monitor the ways of transmitting this legacy to the European neighborhood, in which he found a balm for his societal ills and his inter-religious wars.
We – in this article – do not look for congruence between the past and the present in the model of Islamophobia, and we do not call for the repetition of reactions between Muslims and Christians through these hot spots; Rather, all we hope here is to learn from history in order to support the dialogue and acquaintance of civilizations instead of war and conflict, and to avoid contempt for religions and sanctities that fuel these military wars and economic conflicts that drain everyone’s energies!
The geographical location of the Islamic West in general constituted a fertile ground for the cross-fertilization of civilizations and religions, and a home for peoples and races to know each other. It was a land of friction and an arena for the collision or coexistence of these and those, especially Andalusia, which for eight centuries was a creative mixture of religions and races, corrupted by religious and intellectual tolerance in most of the eras of the Islamic presence in it.
This tolerance and coexistence has fueled many writers and philosophers throughout history, as they have talked at length about its types and manifestations. Historians – Europeans and Spaniards – are almost unanimously agreed that the rulers of Andalusia adopted a new and peerless approach in dealing with this pluralism since the advent of Christianity in those regions. Perhaps the one who gathered what was mentioned in this was the saying of the French orientalist Count Henri de Castries (d. 1346 AH / 1927 AD) in his book ‘Islam.. Thoughts and Swans’, which he issued about 150 years ago: Who were they in the days of their submission to the rule of the ancient Germans!!
As we saw in a previous article on Andalusian influence in Spanish and European culture ; The efforts to confront the Arabization movement that spread among the Christian communities in Andalusia were not limited to individual Christian notables; Rather, organized Christian groups became involved in it, one of which was the “Volunteer Martyrs” movement that appeared in the thirties of the third AH / ninth century AD, and one of its leaders was the priest Eulogius of Córdoba (died 244 AH / 858 AD), but its efforts failed to stem the tide of Arabization and Islamization; According to the French orientalist Levi Provencal (d. 1376 AH / 1956 AD) in his book ‘Arab Civilization in Spain’, and also as we will see from our presentation here of the events and fate of this movement.
In the midst of the expansion of religious freedoms in Andalusia, which – since the Islamic conquest of 92 AH / 711 AD – has been protected by written covenants; Christians and Jews found an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Arab-Islamic culture, and this is not evidenced by the complaint of Bishop Alvaro de córdoba (died 240 AH / 854 AD), who was one of the Christian clergy who strongly condemned this situation, as he denounced the resort of young Christians to Learn the Arabic language and the human sciences written in it, as stated in the document “Indiculus Luminosus” written in the year 240 AH/854 AD at the height of the events of the “Martyrs Movement”!!
Alvaro’s complaints about the penetration of Arab-Islamic culture among Christians – especially their youth – were mentioned by the Spanish orientalist Angel Gonzalez Palencia (d. 1368 AH / 1949 AD) in his book ‘The History of Andalusian Thought’, as well as the Spanish historian and orientalist Juan Burnett (d. 1432 AH / 2011 AD) in His book ‘The virtue of Andalusia over the West’.
During those complaints; Alvaro criticized Islam and its Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. It was easy for this priest to learn Islamic law due to his knowledge of Arabic, but he refused. Paolo Alfaro was a symbol of cultural symbols among Arabists and a friend of the most prominent leader of the movement, Reverend Eulogio de Córdoba (died 244 AH/858 AD).
After the failure of all efforts to discourage Christian youth from learning the Andalusian Islamic culture, especially by the priests Eulogio and Alvaro; These two men took the path of attacking Islam in particular, so they took the initiative to establish what later became known as the “Martyrs’ Movement.” They began inciting Christian youth against Islam and insulting his Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in public places, mosques and squares.
angry growing upنشأ
Orientalist de Castri tells us about the circumstances of the emergence of this extreme right-wing movement, and the feelings of frustration that prompted its founders to release it because of the confidence of their Christian followers in the tolerance and justice of the Muslim community around them. He says, “The Andalusian Church imagined in the year 851 AD (237 AH) that it was on the brink of persecution from the Muslims, while the common Christians in Cordoba practiced the rites of their religion with confidence and did not doubt the government of the Arabs. They filled their consciences with hatred and malice!
Then de Castre specifically mentions the role of Reverend Eulogio, especially in this religious mobilization, and that “he always met with those who hated Islam and addressed them until he stirred their consciences (= their emotions) because of the strength of his statement, and they all sought death for their religion!”
It seems that the reasons for the emergence of this far-right movement were multiple; According to what the Egyptian historian specializing in the history of Andalusia Muhammad Abdullah Annan (d. 1407 AH / 1986 AD) sees – in his book ‘The State of Islam in Andalusia’ – religious factors were not the only source of this prejudice that the Christians of Cordoba ignited towards the Islamic government, but rather social factors Also its effect on igniting it. That is because priests and fanatics used to protect them (= anger them) and were provoked by the honor and glory surrounding the Islamic rule, the pomp and luxury shown by the ruling body, and the luxurious life that the Islamic community enjoyed.
Annan does not rule out the political motive that motivates the participation of the Christians of Cordoba in any way in the revolutions that were started in other places to overthrow the Islamic authority in the country; He says that “it was in the power of those fanatics in cities far from Cordoba – such as Toledo and others – to raise the flag of the revolution and to fight their rulers face to face, but the revolution in Cordoba was a difficult matter, so they tried then to sow the seeds of sectarian strife and religious and social chaos, and to try to cite a path.” The clash and the challenge. The priests and the fanatics sought to achieve their goal by a simple and dangerous means together, which is to speak out against the Arab Prophet and his religion.
In this context; It is worth mentioning the book written by Eulogio, entitled “Holy Memories or Memories of the Martyrs” (Memoriales de Los Santos/ Memoralis Sanctórum), and its aim was to counter the criticisms of Christian notables – clerics and political officials – for these extremist acts that began to spread among their youth, and the success of Those criticisms in reducing the circle of spread.
Eulogio’s book is the only source that documents those events that were completely neglected by Arab sources, except for what appears to be an orphan reference to one of its incidents that occurred during the second half of the third/ninth century AD. Imam Iyad al-Maliki (d. 544 AH / 1149 AD) spoke twice – in his book ‘Al-Shifa by Defining the Rights of the Prophet, peace be upon him’ – about the opinions of the jurists regarding “a Christianity that began (= shouted) by denying the Lordship and the sonship of Jesus to God… and the denial of Muhammad in prophecy.”
According to the Spanish researcher Sonia Aguilar Gomez in ‘Memories of the Saints of Cordoba by Saint Eulogio of Cordoba’; Eulogio composed part of these memories in prison when he was arrested because of his extremist incitement activity, and he sent a long letter about it to the bishop of the city of Pamplona in northern Spain, and he also gave it to the two Christian girls “Flora” and “Maria”, who we will give a glimpse later About their activity in this right-wing movement hostile to the message of Islam and its Prophet, peace be upon him.
And according to what Reverend Eulogio told us in his memoirs, according to Gomethe’s study; He claims to have found a biography of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, in “Deir Liri” located in a remote area in the city of Nafara / Nabara in northeastern Spain on the border with France. His aim in that was to undermine the Prophet ﷺ, and to incite young Christians against everything related to Islam.
It is noted here that the Andalusian Christian “martyrs’ movement” used “Christian martyrdom” as a means to incite and spread hatred in the Andalusian multi-national and religious society. The movement was based on the Christian idea of ”beating” its members who defy the applicable Andalusian laws, which generally criminalized contempt for religious sanctities without distinction between religions.
Hence, the members of the movement were exposing themselves to the rule of law, as the death penalty was the adopted in that era to punish the perpetrators of the crime of insulting all the prophets, and they used this type of “martyrdom” ending to stir the emotions of Christians in Andalusia and Europe, thus igniting devastating religious conflicts between the two major religions in the region.
French historian Pierre Guichard sees – in his book ‘Muslim Spain: Umayyad Andalusia.. During the Eighth and Eleventh Century A.D.’- that the first seed of the “Volunteer Martyrs of Cordoba” movement dates back to the year 825 CE corresponding to the year 210 AH, when two people who were defaming Islam and its Prophet, peace be upon him, were tried. .
He also tells us that in the year 213 AH / 828 AD, the King of the Franks, Louis I, nicknamed “The Pious” (d. 225 AH / 840 AD) sent a letter to the Christians of the city of Merida, west of Andalusia, inciting them to resist the Islamic presence in Andalusia. According to Pierre Gichard; After two decades, those roots grew to appear in the form of a more intense and extreme movement.
The name “Martyrs of Cordoba”, then, is the title by which a group of Arabized Christians – estimated at fifty people – chose “voluntary martyrdom” in blatant defiance of Islamic law during the rule of the Umayyad princes Abd al-Rahman II (d. 238 AH / 852 AD) and Muhammad I (d. 273 AH). /886 AD), specifically between the years 235 AH / 850 AD and 244 AH / 858 AD.
Eulogio claimed that the Arabs of Cordoba were “facing death” and therefore their Christian brothers should stand by them to face the “mistakes of Islam”, even if they “martyred” for this. In the aftermath; The Arabized ecclesiastical authorities – which maintained a friendly attitude towards the Islamic authority – refused at the time to grant the status of “martyrs” to those who died for this, because – according to them – they were not victims of any persecution, but rather they sacrificed themselves by challenging the Islamic faith. Later their leaders are “saints”, they have feasts celebrated in their names, and their own cemetery is called “Martyrs’ Garden!”
Eulogio – in his book ‘Memorial de los Santos’ – strongly and desperately defended those who attacked Islam and were “martyred” at the hands of Muslims; He says: “I will go out to confront those who not only deny the dictates of the martyrs upon them, but even those who have covered them with their insults and blasphemies;
According to the American historian of civilizations Will Durant (d. 1402 AH / 1981 AD) in ‘The Story of Civilization’; When this anti-Islam movement intensified and its propaganda spread, a great deal of concern became evident: “Many Christians – clerics and non-religious men – were not satisfied with this race for death, and they said to this enthusiastic group: The Sultan allows us to practice the rites of our religion and does not persecute us, so what is the reason? To this extreme intolerance?”
According to what Annan quotes from the orientalist Dozi; The Council did not object to the principle of martyrdom in itself, but issued its decision denouncing the behavior of those extremists, warning sincere Christians against following their behavior, and the necessity of arresting every violator!
It appears that the first “martyr” of the Cordoba Martyrs’ Movement was a monk; According to the Dutch orientalist Reinhart Dozy (d. 1300 AH / 1883 AD) – in his book ‘Muslims in Andalusia’ – the Cordovan judiciary ruled “the execution of a Christian fanatic, who was called ‘Santo Perfecto’… He was cursing Islam and calling its Prophet mad and the worst of traits.” [He was executed] on the day of Eid al-Fitr in the year 235AH/850AD.” Some of his supporters from the church were affected by his death and announced his promotion from the rank of “monk” to “saint”.
Following the Perfecto incident; Eulogio took advantage of this to fan the flames of hatred in the hearts of the Arabists against the Umayyad authorities. “A group of Christian fanatics led by Eulgios/Eulochio formed a group of Christian fanatics who made their goal publicly insulting the Prophet and welcoming the killing, believing that the fate of those who are killed among its members is heaven.” According to historian Durant.
De Castri informs us that among the “martyrs” was a Christian clergyman named “Isaac”, a descendant of a noble Christian Cordoba family, and he spoke the Arabic language fluently, which qualified him to assume the position of “clerk” with the Cordoba authorities. One day, this “Isaac” came to the judge declaring his conversion to Islam. When the latter asked him to pronounce the two testimonies, he launched a barrage of insults at the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and insulted Islam in a disgraceful manner.
De Castry recounts the scene of the trial of Isaac and his colleagues, saying: “The judge was deafening so that he would not sentence them to death, and wise Christians saw these as fanatical people seeking suicide.” Although the judge initially hesitated to sentence the man, excusing him that he might have a mental illness; Isaac insisted on insulting and insulting Islam, which led the judge under compulsion to sentence him, and his death was on June 5, 851 AD (236 AH).
The orientalist Dozi also mentions of those who “martyred” a young man called “Sancho” who was a soldier in the Amiri Guard, and his saturation with the ideas of the extremist Eulogio led him to a state of hysterical enthusiasm, so he started shouting at the top of his voice inside the Emirate Palace while cursing Islam and its Prophet.
Membership of the “Martyrs’ Movement” – or the “Arabist extremist party” as Provencal calls it – was not restricted to men; Rather, women had a great contribution to it, especially the girls whose minds were imbued with the extremist thought of Priest Eulogio. The orientalists Dozzi and de Castry mentioned Flora and Maria as ardent members of this far-right movement.
The girl, “Flora”, was from an honorable and mixed-religious Cordopi home, her father was a Muslim and her mother was Christian. She used to meet with Reverend Eulogio, who urged her to persevere in her position and to “martyrize” for him. When her Muslim brother found out about her connection to the movement, he handed her over to the city judge. When he asked her about her, she showered him and Islam with insults. However, the judge took pity on her because she belonged to a Muslim house, taking into account the vigor of her youth, so he ordered her to be disciplined and imprisoned in the hope that she would retract her abusive stance.
According to Castre; Eulogio used to meet Flora in prison from time to time – because he was a prisoner there as well – and he spread his extremist ideology in her heart, and weakened her decision to refrain from these actions, which she regretted – under prison pressure – to engage in them. It seems that the priest succeeded in this endeavour; As soon as Flora was released, she reverted to insulting the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, so she was brought again to the judge, who found no escape from condemning her – reluctantly – to apostasy, as she was originally from a Muslim family, so she joined the ranks of the “martyrs” on November 24, 853 AD ( 239 AH), and was nicknamed “Saint Flora” (Santa Flora).
Her young Christian colleague “Maria” – whose father was a Christian and her mother was a Muslim who converted to Christianity – met the same fate by a court ruling for insulting Islam and its Prophet; It was such that she was praying in the “Church of San Thisisclo” – where she met Flora – praying to God to inspire her patience to bear the cruelty of “martyrdom”.
According to Durant’s account of events; The “martyrdom” of Flora and Maria “encouraged.. Eulogios / Eulogio began to demand new victims, so priests, monks and women came to the court for insulting the Prophet and demanding that they be executed!!” The Spanish sources mention of the women who were “martyred”: “Laura”, who became a nun after the death of her husband, and “Leocricia”, who renounced Islam as a result of the ideas of Eulogio.
Threatening and escalating
Prior to the death of the Prince of Andalusia, Abd al-Rahman II, loyalists of this extremist movement stormed the Great Mosque of Cordoba, which provided Reverend Eulogio with a new pretext that prompted him to insist on galvanizing his followers and reviving the spirit of religious enthusiasm in their souls.
At that time, the Andalusian authority saw in that right-wing movement a great danger to civil and social peace; So she summoned senior Spanish priests, and demanded that they hold a “church council” to study the problem and find effective ways to discourage members of the movement from abusing the sanctities and symbols of the Islamic religion, in order to stave off what threatens the coexistence of society.
Among the priests who attended the council and denounced these reckless acts – when they realized the truth of this alleged martyrdom and its danger – was the bishop of Seville in the south of the country, Recafrido, and the high-ranking political official in the Umayyad palace, Count Gomez Antoniano – called by Arab sources: Qumas ibn Antianian He died after 246 AH/860 AD). Both criticized Eulogio for his extremist tendencies, considering what he and his supporters did to be suicide, prohibited by Christian teaching.
Concerning this, the French orientalist de Castre says: “When that enraged the churches and became anxious, Prince Abd al-Rahman II gathered the most senior priests in Cordoba in the year 237 AH/852 AD, under the leadership of the Bishop of Seville, Ricafrido.. They denounced their actions. ] Except to accuse them of betraying the religion of Christ.
As soon as Prince Muhammad took over the reins of power in Andalusia – a successor to his father, Abd al-Rahman II – he ordered the arrest of the leader of the “martyrs’ movement” Eulogio. His anti-Islam revolution, which led Prince Muhammad to order his arrest again, so he was tried and executed on Saturday, 2 Dhu al-Hijjah 244 AH / March 11, 859 AD.
and at the end of Reverend Eulogio; One of the most extreme Christian right movements during the Islamic rule in Andalusia was turned; According to Durant, “the strife subsided seven years after his death (= Eulogio), and between the years 859-983 AD (244-372 AH), only two incidents of insults and killings were heard, and we did not hear [after that] about other incidents of this kind during the Islamic rule. in Spain”, which formed the first seed for the emergence of Islamophobia in Europe at the beginning of the third century AH / ninth century AD.
The “Martyrs’ Movement” became notorious in Andalusia and then spread to Christian parts of Europe, stirring feelings of sympathy and anger. And as Dr. Suhail Taqqosh quotes – in ‘History of the Muslims in Andalusia’ – on the authority of the Orientalist Levi Provencal and others; This movement took on a “Crusader dimension for the first time on the external level.” Two monks from the monastery of Saint-Germain in France visited Cordoba and secretly met the spiritual leader of the movement, and then carried with them “the relics of these martyrs saints” to direct the attention of Europe towards Cordoba and thus dress the movement in religious clothing. Politically, with the aim of undermining and weakening the pillars of the Islamic state in Andalusia.
Despite Durant’s assertion that the movement of the “Martyrs of Cordoba” has completely disappeared since the end of the third / tenth century AD; The orientalist de Castre tells us that the fires of this movement were not completely extinguished, as evidenced by its resurgence in a movement similar to it. The days of the Almohad state appeared in the second important metropolis of Andalusia, the city of Seville.
St. Francisco de Asís (died 623 AH / 1226 AD) – prompted by successive Christian military victories over Muslims – urged his loyalists to spread Christianity among Muslims, and the first thing they did was that they “entered a mosque in Seville and Muslims pray, and they spread the Gospel.” They preach the Christian religion!!
And the Muslims were only expelled from the mosque, but instead of abandoning their provocative activity to Muslim public opinion in Medina; They went to the King’s Palace (= palace) and began to challenge the Holy Qur’an, so they were sentenced to prison, but this only increased their activity. According to de Castri; The Assisi saint had earlier sent some Franciscan monks to Morocco to evangelize Muslims!!
A witness from its people testified that Islamic tolerance and good treatment of non-Muslims was – surprisingly – one of the factors that exploded these offensive movements against the sanctities of Islam. Henri de Castry says: “The Muslims’ exaggeration in benevolence towards their opponents is what paved the way for the revolution against them, as it allowed the fanatics to unite their command to disobey, and to take advantage of opportunities to eliminate the state that gave them the right to life and freedom of religion”!!
After Andalusia reached the height of its renaissance and opulence spread to most of its parts; The demon of discrimination, arrogance, and pre-Islamic zeal awoke in the souls of its people, so they dispersed their paths, and Andalusia was torn apart kingdoms and principalities among the “kings of the sects,” although some of them knew periods of peace and quiet that were brief flashes in the dark night.
As a result, and given the characteristic of tolerance prevailing at the time; Christians and Jews took advantage of the situation, making it a mount to defame Islam and its people. Although the efforts of the Cordoba Martyrs Movement did not succeed in converting these accusations into public activity in its crudeness and arrogance; It was not possible to block its appearance in a cultural and intellectual current characterized by populism and hatred and hatred for Muslims, mainly represented by priests and monks who were tempting the hearts of Christian youth against Islam and its Prophet, peace be upon him.
This appeared in Christian popular literature, especially poems, songs and legends, and it seems that this was a product of religious freedom that some fanatical Christians exploited its lush shades to weave myths about Islam and the personality of its Noble Messenger, saying that Muslims revere an “idolatry” called “Mahoma”. The Spanish orientalist Burnett, in his aforementioned study, referred to the French “Song of Roland”, which talks about Islam and the Qur’an, an epic poem consisting of thousands of verses written at the end of the eleventh century in Old French.
Spanish Arabization – in its first wave – reached its climax between the seventh and ninth centuries AH / 13th and 15th AD, when the Spaniards composed works in the form of polemical contradictions to attack Islam, and these compositions – according to the mood of those Christian eras – were based on individual perceptions, and on myths and legends derived It is more from the Spanish collective imagination than based on defensible facts and facts.
Among those books we mention: “The History of Spain” by King Alfonso X of Castile (d. 683 AH / 1284 AD), known as “The Wise” (El Sabio), in which he devoted a large space to the life of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, whose contents ranged between fanatical prejudice and lack of scientific accuracy in many data. The movement of translation from Arabic to Spanish flourished during the era of this learned king – as the orientalist Palencia says, when he ordered the translation of science books and Arab-Islamic heritage – in literature, physics and astronomy – into Spanish and Latin.
However, this Orientalism will pave another way through translation works, religious controversy and Christianization attempts, as we find that abundant Islamic sources – in the forefront of which are the Holy Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah – will be translated either into Castilian or Latin, as well as being treated with study and analysis, which will help in the transmission of this heritage to Europe Which later made good use of it in building a culture of lasting religious coexistence, as we shall see.
Perhaps the reason for engaging in these works is the return of the Islamic expansion in Andalusia , and the control of Christians over the most important northern Andalusian cities in general and especially Toledo, which fell definitively in 478 AH/1086 AD, where it became the vital focus of this Orientalist activity through the “School of Toledo”, which is the first school of translation in Western Europe, and was founded by the Catalan theologian Raymond Lull (d. 716 AH / 1316 AD).
The French writer specializing in ancient Catalan literature, Armond Linares (d. 1418 AH / 1997 AD) – in his research ‘Raymond Loll’s Residence in Bejaia’ – tells us that this lol, when he visited Bejaia in Algeria, addressed the people there in Arabic, showing them the sincerity of Christianity and attacking the faith of Islam! He spared no effort in evangelizing Muslims due to his probing into the depths of the Arab-Islamic culture. European priests and monks flocked to his school in Toledo, especially from France and England.
This led to a difference of ideas and movements within the Toledo school, which reinforced the push by Spanish Orientalism in the direction of religious debate with the other in the midst of the intensification of the flames of the Crusades in the Islamic East, and the Spanish version of it continued, represented by the “wars to recover” Andalusia from the Muslims. Here, the concept of “weapon of the word”, the argument and the pen emerged – in many cases – ahead of the weapon of arrows and swords, due to the imbalance of power at the time in favor of the Muslims.
This transformation was expressed by one of the great Spanish churchmen during the rule of the Almoravid state, namely Peter the Magnificent (d. 551 AH / 1156 AD) – who was behind the completion of the first translation of the Holy Qur’an into Latin (completed in 538 AH / 1143 AD) by saying: “I will not attack you ( = Muslims) as many of us do with weapons, but I will address you only words of calm and prudence, not violence”; According to historian Richard Southern (d. 1422 AH / 2001 AD) in his book ‘The Image of Islam in Medieval Europe’
It is evident from this glorified Peter’s words that the religious conflict among Christians took another path in the second era of the consolidation of Muslim rule in Andalusia throughout the sixth / twelfth century AD, after the military machine, myths and legends failed to Christianize Muslims; It is a new style that we can call “soft Christianization”.
Despite all the attacks, religious revolutions, Christianization attempts, and the cursing and insulting methodology to undermine Islam and its noble Prophet, which was adopted by priests and monks; The majority of Andalusian Muslims met this with more tolerance and containment, and they adopted the science of religious debates, drawing inspiration from their approach from the Almighty’s verse:
The phenomenon of religious controversy was one of the factors that prompted non-Muslims in Andalusia to learn the Arabic language, culture and Islamic sciences; Therefore, Palentia mentions – in his book ‘The History of Andalusian Thought’ – that “admiration for Arab culture was not the only reason for studying the books of Muslims in all cases, but some of them studied them in order to learn and gather evidence to confront Islam and its followers.”
And the matter was not limited to the non-Muslim residents of Andalusia, but it also included other residents of its northern neighborhood; During the period between the fifth and eighth centuries AH / 11th and 14th AD, many European students came to the centers of Islamic science in Andalusia and Morocco, and they immersed themselves in medicine, philosophy, mathematics and other sciences, and experienced the religious coexistence of the country that they were unfamiliar with throughout their European continent. In addition to the foregoing about the students of the Toledo School; We refer here to priests and kings who flocked to the “University of Al-Qarawiyyin” in the city of Fez – the scientific capital of Morocco – to learn the Arabic language.
At the level of practical benefit from that knowledge and experience; The Portuguese historian Adalberto Alves – in his book ‘Portugal: Echoes of an Arab Past’ – informs us of the attempt of some Spanish Christian kingdoms to imitate the Islamic system of the dhimmis after the end of the main course of the “Reconquista Wars” in the middle of the seventh / thirteenth century AD, in order to protect Muslim minorities and grant them the right Dwelling, religious practice and trade.
It seems that the Christian rulers of western Andalusia (Portugal) were influenced in turn by the Andalusian model of religious tolerance, as the early Portuguese established a judicial system similar to the one that organized the affairs of the dhimmis in the arms of the Islamic state in Andalusia, a system that Europe later inspired to solve the dilemma of its internal religious wars between Catholics and Protestantism, as we shall see.
But this precedent, inspired by the Andalusian Islamic experience, quickly turned into its opposite, into religious fanaticism and the eradication of violators of the creed of the sons of the same nation, after the completion of the “Reconquista Wars” by toppling the last Islamic stronghold in Islamic Andalusia, the Kingdom of Granada in 897 AH / 1492 AD, when the Kings of Spain and Portugal – Isabella (d. 910 AH / 1504 AD) and her husband Fernando II of Aragon (d. 922 AH / 1516 AD) – the agreement to hand over the keys of Granada, the provisions of which stipulated that Muslims should not be forced to convert to Christianity.
The Spanish historian and anthropologist Julio Caro Baroja (d. 1416 AH / 1995 AD) – in his book “The Muslims of Granada after 1492 AD” – explained that by highlighting the main role in it of the most prominent leader of the forced Christianization movement in Andalusia, the Reverend Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (d. 922 AH / 1517 AD) who led the right-wing ecclesiastical current to eradicate the Muslims, so the forced Christianization in his reign took a violent turn, with which the Muslim was given the choice between Christianization or imprisonment and torture!!
As a result of this indiscriminate policy; Some Muslims rebelled against the oppression of the Christian rulers of Spain and their eradicating church. Many of them immigrated to North Africa and settled in the major cities of the Islamic West such as Tetouan, Fez, Salé, Rabat, Tlemcen, Oran, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli, all the way to Alexandria in Egypt and the coasts of the Levant. While the majority of Muslims who were forced to stay in their countries “consecrated”, and who later invented their own secret language called “El Aljímído” (the foreign), a Spanish language written in the Arabic letter.
With those results, forced Christianization or forced displacement; It is clear to what extent the Spanish Christian kings and the men of their church – when they were able again to tighten their control over Andalusia – to the legacy of the culture of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence that Muslims had established on its soil for eight centuries, to be confirmed by the words of Abu Al-Fawares Al-Tamimi Al-Baghdadi (d. 574 AH / 1178 AD):
So this disparity between us is enough for you ** and every vessel in which it is poured sprinkles.
Looking at the testimonies given by European orientalists who are familiar with the finer details of the history of the relationship between Islam and the West, which we will mention more of later; It is no wonder that researchers in Andalusian studies – such as Hussein Munis (d. 1417 AH / 1996 AD) in his book ‘The Dawn of Andalusia’ and Dr. Ahmed Shalabi (d. 1421 AH / 2000 AD) in the ‘Encyclopedia of Islamic History’ – concluded that the tolerance and religious freedom that spread throughout Andalusia were They have a profound impact on the emergence of Enlightenment ideas and philosophies and religious freedom of expression throughout Europe.
Europe found the “Age of Lights” – in the model of Andalusian religious tolerance and its eastern Islamic counterpart, which it experienced during the era of the Crusades (491-690 AH / 1096-1291 AD) – a final solution to the dilemma of its religious wars. What we have already mentioned about Alvish about the roots of that Andalusian influence, which he said goes back to the moment of the end of the “reconquista wars”, and the attempt of some Christian kingdoms to imitate the Islamic system for the dhimmis to protect Muslim minorities and grant them the right to housing and the practice of rituals in religious homes and open dealings in trade .
In the early eleventh century AH / seventeenth century AD, discussions of the phenomenon of Islamic tolerance in Andalusia were first raised by the philosophies of the “Enlightenment Age”, in order to discredit the Spanish Catholic monarchy, which expelled its inhabitants of Muslim origin in the wake of the terrible Inquisition; Christian Spain – according to Alves – imposed a harsh law that reflects its extremism and the meaning: “Either you enter our religion or you will die!”
Although they raised these discussions at that early time; European thinkers at that time lacked sufficient information about Andalusia to enable them to engage in research and exploration in this unique phenomenon for them, and it was necessary to wait for the year 1178 AH / 1765 AD when the shelves of the European library increased with a new book chosen by its owner, Denis Dominique Cardon (d. 1197 AH / 1783 AD). ) Title: ‘History of Africa and Spain under the Rule of the Arabs’.
In 1203 AH / 1791 AD – at the height of the French Revolution – Clarisse de Florian (d. 1206 AH / 1794 AD) followed him with his book ‘Historical Background on the Muslims of Spain’ on the history of Andalusia and the Islamic presence in it, providing an important enlightening repertoire on the experience of religious tolerance in Islamic Andalusia, and that At a time when Europe still needed such an experience the most.
De Florian wrote in this book, saying: “We have to note that these Moors (= Muslims) – whom many historians present to us on the grounds that they are savages and bloodthirsty – left their beliefs, their churches and their judgment for the peoples they occupied.” De Florian did not miss the opportunity to compare the way Muslims were treated after the overthrow of Granada by the Spaniards, and the way Christians were treated under Islamic rule when they were the masters of the country.
It is this civilizational influence of Islamic Andalusia in its European neighborhood – including its legal dimensions in the treatment of the different religious or sectarian – that made Fernando Pessoa (d. 1354 AH / 1935 AD) – one of the masters of Portuguese literature during the twentieth century – confirms that Portugal is a Latin / Arab people And he proclaims his famous saying: “The Arabs and Muslims are the ones who taught us!”
and like Bisswa; His Spanish neighbor, America Castro (d. 1392 AH / 1972 AD) – in his book ‘The Historical Reality of Spain’ – believes that Catholic Spain has “denied its Andalusian Islamic and Jewish heritage alike,” noting that his country “was enjoying prosperity and tolerance during the Islamic era more than any other time ago”!
And the historian Alvish quotes – in his aforementioned book – about the French orientalist and sociologist Jacques Augustin Burke (d. 1416 AH / 1995 AD) – who was teaching at the University of Algiers – as saying: “I call for dialogues – even if there are rivalries – that are objective, rather than mutual ignorance. I also invite to Andalusia with a renewed spirit, from which, at the same time, the accumulated ruins and unbreakable hope are transferred to us!!
Alves also tells about the contemporary Portuguese historian and poet Borges Coelho saying: “The analysis of the course of Spain and Portugal – without invoking the traces of Islam in it – is an unbridled desire to falsify the present by forgetting the past.” Then Alvish tells us about Europe’s permanent prejudice against Islam and its people, saying: “Over the course of time, Europe has always looked at the Islamic world with a view of fanaticism and domination! From there it developed the spirit of the Crusades, and then the unbridled desire for colonial domination!!”
Ignore and prejudice
Despite what has been written about the experience of religious coexistence and social tolerance in the countries of Islam, especially Andalusia, and its virtues in providing science, knowledge and a solid civilizational experience to Europe, on which it based its great renaissance, with the testimony of the great Western historians themselves, as we have quoted simple examples of it here There are orientalists who deny this to Muslims, and accuse them of obstructing the progress of Spain during the Middle Ages, blaming them for the calamities in which Spain was floundering at the time. The prejudiced visions of these orientalists provide a continuous source of nourishment for the tendency of Islamophobia among the religious extremist right-wing currents in the Iberian Peninsula and throughout Europe.
Speaking about the hostility of some Spanish orientalists to Islam, Juan Goytisolo Gay (d. 1438 AH / 2017 AD) says – in his book ‘On Spanish Orientalism’ -: “You should not be surprised by the hostility and the set of prejudices that most of our authors show about Islam,” and they are the ones he described as holders of ethnocentric Muslims. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Spanish researcher Marthelino Menendez i Pelayo (d. 1330 AH / 1912 AD), commenting on the expulsion of Muslims from Andalusia: “I do not hesitate to consider it the realization of an inevitable historical law, but I am very sorry that it has been so late”!!
And Juan Goytisolo quotes the Chilean novelist Jose Donoso (d. 1417 AH / 1996 AD) that “the false civilization of Muslims was nothing more than barbarism!” The Spanish theorist and philosopher Jose Artega y Gasset (d. 1355 AH / 1955 AD) judged Islamic cultural life to be “dry and sterile”!! He denied that the Arabs had formed an essential component of the Spanish national identity.
Goytisolo adds that authors such as the Spanish orientalist Francisco Javier Simone (d. 1315 AH / 1897 AD) “only write, act and speak in the name of Christianity in the face of another civilization they consider a low one”; Simonet described Islam as “the great brake on all progress”. We also mention among these ungrateful Spanish orientalist historian Claudio Sanchez Albornoth (d. 1405 AH / 1984 AD), the author of the book ‘Spain: A Historical Enigma’, in which he underestimates the contribution of Islamic Andalusia to building the civilization of Spain.
Thus, the presence of Muslims and Jews for Albornoth made it difficult to form a “Spain entity”; The long struggle against Muslims and the “Wars of Reconquista” all drained a lot of energy that could have been devoted to other goals such as economic development. As for the Jews; He describes their role in the history of Spain as very negative, “as they were usurers living on the misery of the people”, and therefore he thought that they should have been expelled long before the fall of Granada, as did other European countries such as England.
recognition and fairness
In contrast, the ungrateful breath of the beautiful and civilized Islamic Andalusia on Spain and the West as a whole A brilliant constellation of Western Orientalists cites their testimonies acknowledging gratitude and offering sincere thanks for this beautiful one. Speaking about Islamic tolerance in Andalusia; The Dutch orientalist Dozi wrote in his book ‘Kings of Sects and Looks in the History of Islam’ saying:
“We see that Islam has spread at an amazing speed among those peoples that it invaded, and this is a phenomenon the world has never seen before, and it appears at first sight to be a secret (= hidden) mystery that cannot be solved or justified, especially if we know that this religion did not Forcing anyone to enter it! Muhammad used to command tolerance and anger [towards the Jews and Christians]… so he granted them their religious freedom on the condition that they pay the tribute imposed on them, and increased his tolerance with them.”
Douzi also says: “The Muslims have kept the inhabitants of Andalusia on their religion, law, and judiciary, and imitated them in jobs until some of them were officials in the court of the Caliphs.” And after him, the French Henri de Castry came to admit that in Andalusia, “the freedom of religion was very extreme, so when Europe persecuted the Jews, they resorted to the Caliphs of Andalusia in Cordoba, but when King Carlos entered the city of Zaragoza, he ordered his soldiers to demolish the synagogues of Jews and mosques of Muslims!”
And he adds in one of his comprehensive historical comparisons: “We know that Christians, during the Crusades, did not enter a country without wielding the sword against its Jews and Muslims. This confirms that the Jews found refuge and refuge in Islam. If they remain until now, then the credit for it is due to the benevolence of Muslims and the softness of their side.” “!!
Then de Castre decides – in a summary to which his historical research has brought him – that the fair student must “realize that the Islamic religion did not spread by violence and force, but rather it is more correct to say: that the large number of Muslims and their softness were the cause of the fall of the Arab kingdom” in Andalusia and Sicily And other European regions!!
* Disclaimer: We provide here the original addresses of the foreign sources – not localized – mentioned in the article with an unofficial translation to facilitate the reader who is not familiar with their languages; They are arranged according to their occurrence in the text: