Sicily, a beautiful island in the Mediterranean, which politically belongs to Italy, was once part of the history of Islamic geography in its medieval era. Collected for the first time in the history of the confrontation between the two sides, since the advent of Islam.
This Islamic presence in Sicily was exciting and strange in its beginning and end, and it lasted for a little more than two centuries. The Muslims, above settlement and reconstruction, were able to establish a civilization, and preserve a legacy that still bears witness to their presence to this day through several evidence and a thousand years after their departure. Why did Muslims enter the island of Sicily? And how did they face the mighty Byzantine power that was controlling the Mediterranean and its islands at that time? And what are the most important traces of them and evidence of their presence on this rich volcanic island?
The sun of the first century AH was not completed until the Muslims conquered the entire countries of North Africa and Andalusia, as well as the Levant and Egypt, and the Islamic-Byzantine confrontation became stronger than before. The arena of confrontation and constant fighting, and the continuous revenge of the Byzantine forces on the coastal cities and the Islamic fleets, which the Muslims realized the necessity of establishing strong fleets and ports on their long coasts.
The Abbasids realized the seriousness of these raids, so they kept the House of Maritime Industry, which was founded by the Umayyads in the city of Tyre, and then transferred it to the city of Acre in the year 247 AH / 681 AD. Then the island of Crete later, and the maritime observation points on the coast of the Levant increased until the city of Tarsus became one of the offensive military ports for the Islamic naval forces.
This was in the Levant and Egypt, but in North Africa, the Islamic-Byzantine confrontation did not stop since the moments of the first Islamic conquests. And his support from Egypt, and this campaign was followed by a number of other campaigns as in the year 84 AH and the year 92 AH, although the fleeting naval campaigns did not aim to seize and stay in Sicily.
The first attempts to establish a house for the manufacture of warships in Tunisia were at the hands of its then governor, Musa bin Nasir, and that was in the year 84 AH / 703 AD, and he was one of the important leaders of the Andalusian conquest later. The construction of a hundred boats, and there are other narrations that indicate that the governor, Hassan bin Numan, was the one who built this military arsenal before the mandate of Musa bin Nusair.
Thus, Tunisia became a strategic naval center for Islamic fleets since the end of the first century AH, from which the invasions were going out against the Roman Byzantine presence in the Mediterranean. Musa bin Nasir sent the Tunisian fleet in the year 89 AH / 707 AD to attack the naval bases of the Romans on the islands near the Islamic possessions in North Africa , the Islamic fleet attacked the islands of Menorca and Mallorca near the coast of Spain, and it was not satisfied with this, but was able to annex them to Islamic sovereignty.
Since that important moment in the history of the Islamic naval forces, Muslims realized the strategic and economic importance of the island of Qusra, near the Tunisian coast and located in the middle of the distance with Sicily. Muslim geographers and travelers praised the excellent location of this island; Because it is “in front of Africa near Tunisia, and between it and Sicily there is a stream, and figs and cotton are brought from it. Musa bin Nasir in the year 88 AH / 707 AD decided to seize this island and take it as a forward base for his fleet in repelling the attacks of the Byzantines, and he assigned to this task one of his most skilled leaders He is Abd al-Malik ibn Qatan al-Fihri, and Abd al-Malik succeeded in his mission with great success, and was able to annex the island of Qusra, near Sicily, to an African state or Tunisia” .
From Qosra, and under the Umayyad rule and the early Abbasid caliphs before Harun al-Rashid, fleets and warships went out to raid the island of Sicily, and were able to inflict sabotage and destruction with the Roman fleet anchored in its ports, and day after day the Muslims were increasing the experience of this island, its locations, and its importance in the sea The Mediterranean, and in deterring the Romans from raiding the coasts and Islamic cities.