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Muslim Dynasties that ruled Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalusia) - a recap


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Ruhi_Rose
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« on: May 21, 2022, 09:25:04 am »



It's interesting to know that the region of Andalusia was actually not the entire Iberian Peninsula, but just the southern region.  Yet, it was the cultural advancement, educational progress and widespread literacy here that made it predominant over the entire Iberian Peninsula and rest of Europe for nearly 800 years.  The term "Andalusia" became symbolic of the entire Iberian Peninsula.







Ommayads in the Iberian Peninsula

Soon after the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by Tareq bin Ziyad and his mentor Musa bin Nusair, the Muslim dominated Andalusia was managed by representatives of the Ommayads seated in Damascus, Syria, sending them as governors who made mutual treaties and agreements with various segments of the locals. That was the scenario until 756 AD when Abdur Rehman (the first) conquered the entire southern Iberian Peninsula after the fall of Ommayads in Damascus and established the Ommayad rule in southern Iberia (Andalusia) for a total of 260 years, from 756 AD to 1010 AD. 

When the Abbasids came to power in 750 AD with their capital in Baghdad, the Ommayad authority was no more in the regions of Syria and Iraq.  Abdur Rehman, who was a young Ommayad of the ruling family, sought refuge with his Amazigh (Berber) mother’s tribe in Morocco.  In 755 AD he went to the Iberian Peninsula and in 756 AD he gained control of Cordoba.  There he became the emir (ruler) of Andalus, independent of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad.  Of his descendants, Abdul Rehman III changed his title from emir to caliph making Cordoba even more independent of Baghdad.     Although the Muslim rule in Andalusia did not start with Abdur Rehman I, he established it as a vibrant, independent, and long-lasting political and cultural power.

When the Ommayad rule in Damascus came to an end, Andalusia was governed by Yusuf al-Fihrī who descended from Banu Fihri clan that had connections with the Quraish of Makkah.   Yusuf was an experienced Ommayad general and a governor of Andalus.  His rule was from 747 AD to 756 AD until Abdur Rehman I arrived.  After making his way to Spain in 755, Abdur Rehman astutely studied the political landscape.  He handled the rival factions with tremendous political expertise and in the process gained lot of support for himself.  Eventually he was strong enough to challenge Yusuf al-Fihri and in 756 AD defeated him in the outskirts of Cordoba, choosing the city as the Ommayad capital of Al-Andalusia until 929 AD.   This event in history brought an end to the period of the governors in Andalusia and established the Umayyad state in the region.

It was in this period that Cordoba began to shine with reflections of Syrian heritage. Abdur Rehman I ruled from 756 AD to 788 AD.  Abdur Rehman II was in power from 822 AD to 852 AD, and Abdur Rehman III from 912 AD to 961 AD. They were the most outstanding Ommayad leaders in Andalusia. In between them, other Ommayad rulers in descending order of the caliphate came to rule.  By the time of Abdur Rehman III, the court was centered in Madinat al-Zahra in the suburbs of Córdoba, synonymous with beauty and sophistication with hundreds of structures including mosques, inns, schools, hospitals, technical and intellectual workshops, exquisite architecture with patterns, stucco and stone walls etc.  The Great Mosque of Cordoba was built in the reign of Abdur Rehman I.   

Unfortunately, in 1010 Madinat al-Zahra was destroyed during a Berber revolt and its riches plundered. Many of the valuables were stolen and smuggled to northern Europe where they were admired, preserved and reproduced through imitation.  That's when the Ommayad rule in Andalusia ended.
 




Berber unrest had various causes.  As we know, during the invasion of the Iberian Peninsula by Tareq Ziyad in 711 AD, his  forces  largely included Berbers from northern regions of Morocco and Algeria and some Arabs from Western Asia (Middle-East).  Later on,  unfortunately ethnic differences began to pop up between the Maghrebi Berber Arabs and the Arabs of West Asia (mainly Syria and Iraq).  Though all of them did stand under the Ommayad banner, they didn't mix together socially and also resided in different areas of the towns and cities.  Some historians write that the Berbers were usually given the tougher tasks to handle while the Arabs took care of the more cushy duties.  It is also claimed that at some point the Arab rulers of the Maghreb were planning to impose a tax on Muslim Berbers.  Though historical data provides no such evidence, presumably resentment within the Berbers deepened to its maximum because of this plan and sparked Berber rebellions across the Maghreb that spilled on to Andalusia in 730 AD, that is, prior to the Ommayad takeover by Abdur Rehman (the first) and continued periodically for decades.  In several of these uprisings the Berbers reportedly sought alliances with locals of northern Spain and southern France against the Arab rulers.  A very wrong move by the Berbers for sure.  Obviously, frictions continually caused by ethnic differences were a constant cause of weakening the Ommayad military preventing it from expanding and stabilizing its government in Andalusia.  This was the prime cause of the downfall of the Ommayads in Cordoba.   


Abbadid Dynasty

Al-Motamid of Abbadid Arab Muslim dynasty ruled from 1069 to 1091.  This dynasty had only three rulers and he was the last.


Al-Moravids

Abbadids were succeeded by Al-Moravids, a Berber Muslim dynasty.  The rulers did not call themselves 'caliphs' rather they were known as Amir-al-momin and they recognized the Abbasids in Baghdad as the center of the Muslim power.   The rule of the Moravids ended in 1147.


Almohads

Al-Moravids were succeeded by the Almohads which was another Berber Muslim dynasty of the tribe of Masmuda and retained Marrakesh as the center of power.   In fact, none of the Berber dynasties gave up their connections in Morocco.  Rule of Almohads lasted until 1212 AD leaving Andalusia fragmented into principalities vulnerable to plundering attacks of Christian kingdoms of the north of the country.


Nasrid rule in Al-Andalusia





Nasrid dynasty came after the Al-Mohads in 1232 and successfully established its sovereignty.  The beginning of any reign and how it came about is never clear in history.   But we do know that the Nasrid dynasty descended from Saad ibn Ubadah, a companion of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Medinah.  Saad was the chief of the tribe of Banu Khazraj. Nasrid dynasty was founded by Muhammad  Ibn Nasr that ruled Granada and its surroundings in the southern Iberian Peninsula of Andalusia. Similar to the Ommayads, the Nasrids were the longest ruling Muslim dynasty in the Iberian Peninsula reigning for a little over 260 years from the establishment of the Emirate of Granada in 1230 to its annexation in 1492.  The famous Alhambra palace-fortress complex in Granada (presently one of the top tourist attractions in Europe) was constructed by the Nasrids.  They managed to keep uneasy peace with their ever-disputing and hostile Christian neighbors in the north of the country. 

While discussing Andalusia let us also not forget the Marinids, a very tolerant Arabized Berber dynasty.   They were mostly influential in the Maghreb particularly after the fall of the Al-Mohads and were very supportive of the Nasrids in Granada.  The Marinids in Andalusia were defeated by the Christian kingdom of Castile 1344.  Despite the tough political situation for the Nasrids, for over two and a half centuries Granada served as a great cultural and educational center of the world.  Eventually, deep political crisis in the Muslim world across the Maghreb in the 15th century impacted Andalusia.  Simultaneously the union of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon through a political marriage of Catholic extremists, Isabella and Ferdinand - whose avowed goal was the expulsion of all Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula - led to the downfall of the Nasrids in 1492.  The rule of the last Nasrid caliph, Abu Abdallah Muhammad XII (1482–92) was fraught with perpetual civil unrest.   Abu Abdallah Muhammad XII  went on exile to Morocco in Fes on January 2, 1492.  This ended nearly 800 years of Islamic presence in the Iberian Peninsula.   

Conquest of Granada and the end of Muslim rule did not satisfy the territorial and monetary greed of the Reconquista.  Soon after, Isabella went on an endless spree instigating segments of hardcore Catholic sea-farers experienced in piracy, plunder and murder, to invade parts of Africa and the Americas.  One of them was Christopher Columbus who slaughtered thousands of natives in the Americas and shared much of his ill-gotten booty with Isabella and her husband in Spain.  It was a political scam.  Isabella needed to keep up the bloodied adventurous spirit to harness the spirit of the disgruntled Castilians against common causes and common enemies.   Like a demagogue, she whipped up violence against outsiders to help maintain calm at home. 


Briefly, on what happened in Al-Andalusia after the Muslim rule




Another very important part of Andalusian history is after it ended - the brutal expulsion of Muslims from Andalusia-turned-Spain.  Catholics of the Iberian Peninsula north of Andalusia were religious fanatics, perpetually simmering beneath a façade of silence.  Although prevailed for centuries between Andalusia and the north, it was an uneasy peace.   But the most staggering part of post-Andalusian history is what happened to the Muslim population in Christian-ruled Spain after 1492.

Steady decline in the quality of life of Andalusian Muslims continued from 1492 to 1614.  Until 1500 the Muslims were allowed to retain their Faith.  In 1502 they were ordered to convert to Christianity or leave.  Inquisition that was directed against the Jews a little earlier was now directed against the Muslims as well.  By far the majority decided to leave.  But a smaller number of Muslims (about 200,000)  who were too disconcerted and resourceless were compelled to stay and outwardly pretend to be “Christians.”  Adding insult to injury, the Spanish called them “moriscos” meaning “small moors.”  Fortunately these Muslims or the so-called moriscos received help from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and also support from the Ottoman Empire which was fast spreading in that period.  The hardcore Catholics of Spain became suspicious of those they called “moriscos” viewing them as the fifth column ..  the enemy within.   Isabella and Ferdinand, died in 1504 and 1516, respectively.  Ferdinand remarried just a few months after Isabella's death.  Between 1609 and 1614 all Muslims living in Spain (that was only the poor “moriscos”) were told to leave.  Except for a very small number who stayed behind as a favor granted to them by some Spanish aristocrats, all others were expelled.  This drastic and brutal measure changed the Spanish society forever.  Western historians talk little about it which makes this episode still more painful.  A brutal and blatant fact such as this needs to be told and exposed, not slipped under the rug.   Many Jews who didn’t convert to Christianity were also expelled but they were much less in number than the Muslims.  Yet, in 2015, over 522 years after the bigotry of 1609, the Spanish government apologized to the Jews but not to the Muslims. 


 


However, whether anyone likes it or not, facts don’t change.  The domination of Muslims in Andalusia – a land first conquered by the Ommayads in 711 AD – has left a rich and dazzling heritage in Spain seen until the present in language, customs and architecture of the land, leaving visitors and tourists spellbound.


Correcting misconceptions and falsifications




Some stupid folks refer to the Ommayads in the Iberian Peninsula as  "Spanish Ommayads."   During Muslim rule the land of southern Iberian Peninsula was called Al-Andalusia.  Moreover, Spain is the modern name.  Even before the Muslim rule, it was not called 'Spain.'  It was known as either Roman Hispania or the Iberian Peninsula.  It was in the 1480s when Castile and Aragon unified after the accursed marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand, when the region of Castile and Aragon got the name, 'Spain.'   Even after the fall of Andalusia and end of Muslim rule in1492, only the unified region of Castile and Aragon was called Spain.  The rest was still known as Hispania or Iberia.  As the years went by, there were more reunions through the 1500s and 1600s between the despot monarchs of Castile/Aragon region and Portugal which in the 2nd and 3rd centuries was called Lusitania and in the 6th century, Portucale.  Gradually the names Spain and Portugal emerged for the former Hispania and Portucale, respectively.





Tabari and Ibn Kathir, who thought themselves to be "historians," stated that the Iberian Peninsula was first conquered by the Muslims during the time of Osman bin Affan, the third righteous Caliph.  But just as both Tabari and Kathir have been a major source of disinformation through false Hadith narrations and incorrect interpretations of the Noble Quran, their claim about the first conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the reign of Osman bin Affan is also completely wrong.   The land was first conquered by Tareq bin Ziyad in 711 AD. 

In Spain and Portugal today, everyone is raised and educated with the negative idea that the "Moors came and took away the Iberian peninsula."  This is the patter taught in their schools and colleges.  They do not even utter the term "Andalus."   The emphasis is only on the Reconquista and all its hype in abundance.  Most of these propagandists and spin doctors are not even aware of the Andalusian teachings that have shaped their lives, ushering their ancestors from brute savagery to civilization.




Related posts:

-  "Gibraltar"
-  Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain
-  The Last Muslim Ruler of Al-Andalusia
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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2022, 01:39:27 pm »



Love this one .. great read!  Subhan'Allah.   It must have required plenty of research to prepare this. 
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2022, 01:42:54 pm »



You know, like us, my husband too is darn interested in history, viz. Islamic History.   Last week he and a bunch of his friends had a discussion-and-Zoom-dinner ‘gupshup’ over this topic.  We know Islamic History is vast, Subhan’Allah.  He and another friend of his chose Andalusian segment of our history for the Zoom talk.   His friend talked about ‘Jabal Tareq’ and its distortion to “Gibraltar.”  My husband spoke on the entire Andalusian history, that is, all the dynasties that ruled Andalusia during that 780 years period.  Both of us worked hard to prepare this write-up.  Alhumdulilah.  Glad you guys liked it.
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2022, 01:45:28 pm »



Fabulous idea, Mash'Allah.   Really informative piece, all in one and yet comprehensive enough to read it in a fairly short time.     

Btw, Sis, what is “gupshup”  ? 
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2022, 01:47:28 pm »



Ah! 😃

gupshup = chit-chat with friends
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2022, 01:49:59 pm »



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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2022, 11:40:00 am »



Prize re-cap of a very lengthy history.   I gotta save and keep it.
 
Sister Ruhi, how did everyone eat dinner together at Zoom  ?  😀
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2022, 11:44:59 am »



😀

Laptop placed on the kitchen table.  At dinner time, everyone got their plate full a foodies (Alhumdulilah) in front of the laptop screen, ate and chatted …….   😉  😊   That's as far as one can safely go with Covid still looming large around the globe .. cause ya know, it was a large circle of their friends getting together .. like around 35 of them.  Social distancing and zoom got necessary.
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2022, 11:51:11 am »


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