SPAIN Historical perspective

Basheer Photo

by

M.Basheer Ahmed M.D.
President and Founder of IMPMS

I studied the history of Muslim conquest of Spain and the role of Khalifa Abdur Rahman Ummayyad khalifa of Western Muslim empire. I had the fascination to visit the remnants of his empire in Cordoba and Granada. Later on I read about the visit of Allamah Iqbal to the Cordoba Mosque in 1933 and the marvelous inspiring poem he composed sitting in the shade of the Mosque.This was the source of inspiration for me to see the Grand Mosque of Cordova and the glory of the lost Muslim empire of the west.

Tariq bin Ziad landed at the coast of Gibraltar in the year 711 and conquered most part of the Spain within a year. Muslims ruled Spain for next 800 years.

MADRID: Madrid [Majrit during Muslim period] is the capital and a historical city of Spain The Islamic Center of Madrid  was built by Saudi Arabia in 1991 at the cost of 20 million dollars(It is worth seeing).You can go to Toledo, Cordoba, and Granada by car or train; it is about 200 miles from Madrid.

Toledo was the first capital of the Muslim Spain and four years later Cordoba became the capital of the Muslim Spain- Andalusia.

Cordoba is the most historical place where the second largest Mosque in the world is located. CORDOBA MOSQUE(MEZQUITA).KhalifaAbdur Rahman started building the mosque, which was completed by his succeors.3/4th of the mosque was converted to a Cathedral. You can only envision its grandeur and exquisite beauty through its marvelously decorated pillars, arches and Quranic verses written around them. The Cordoba Mosque was the imagination of Abdur Rahman I on the pattern of the Mosque of Damascus. Construction and expansion was continued by his successors, Abdur Rahman II & III, Al-Hakim and Al-Mansur. A Rahman III ordered the construction of minaret which is now embedded in the tower of the Cathedral. King Ferdinand III conquered Cordoba in 1236 and started the transformation of Masjid into church.(Try to offer two RakaahNafil,  near the Mehrab if possible or permissible. It is usually prohibited).

MADINAT al- ZAHRA:the Masjid is located on the bank of WadiulKabir [Guadalquivir] and a magnificent city Madinat-Al - Zahra [City of Al-Zahra],  was established four miles away from the Cordoba Mosque.. The city is now in ruins and only its archaeological remains are the attraction of tourists. It was regarded as one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. When the Europe was in dark ages Cordoba was one of the most advanced cities of the world. It has half a million population with 700 Mosque, 500 Public baths, and a large library with half a million books. Cordoba also became the capital for the higher studies for the entire world. The most famous Philosophers Ibn Rushd(Muslim) and Maimonedes(Jewish) were born there. Some of the most distinguished Scholars in Astronomy, Philosophy, Mathematics, Sciences and Medicine were teaching in the universities. It was from the Muslim Spain that the Era of the modern civilization dawned over the whole Europe. In the year 1236 Christian forces recaptured Cordoba and the Muslims Spain capital was moved to Seville and it was moved to Granada in 1248 where the Muslims ruled until the end of the Muslim Era in 1492.

ALHAMBRA PALACE IN GRANADA: It is at a distance of about 80 miles from Cordoba a beautiful landscape from the mountain top to the valley where the Palace of Alhambra was built in the fourteenth century. It was built by red stones and that is why it is known as Alhambra.  The palace is in ruins but it is worth visiting to experience its past glamour and splendor. Throughout the palace there are numerous Arabic Inscriptions. One inscription repeated several places “Nothing is eternal and powerful except Allah”.

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MADINAT al- ZAHRA:the Masjid is located on the bank of WadiulKabir [Guadalquivir] and a magnificent city Madinat-Al - Zahra [City of Al-Zahra],  was established four miles away from the Cordoba Mosque.. The city is now in ruins and only its archaeological remains are the attraction of tourists. It was regarded as one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. When the Europe was in dark ages Cordoba was one of the most advanced cities of the world. It has half a million population with 700 Mosque, 500 Public baths, and a large library with half a million books. Cordoba also became the capital for the higher studies for the entire world. The most famous Philosophers Ibn Rushd(Muslim) and Maimonedes(Jewish) were born there. Some of the most distinguished Scholars in Astronomy, Philosophy, Mathematics, Sciences and Medicine were teaching in the universities. It was from the Muslim Spain that the Era of the modern civilization dawned over the whole Europe. In the year 1236 Christian forces recaptured Cordoba and the Muslims Spain capital was moved to Seville and it was moved to Granada in 1248 where the Muslims ruled until the end of the Muslim Era in 1492.

ALHAMBRA PALACE IN GRANADA: It is at a distance of about 80 miles from Cordoba a beautiful landscape from the mountain top to the valley where the Palace of Alhambra was built in the fourteenth century. It was built by red stones and that is why it is known as Alhambra.  The palace is in ruins but it is worth visiting to experience its past glamour and splendor. Throughout the palace there are numerous Arabic Inscriptions. One inscription repeated several places “Nothing is eternal and powerful except Allah”.

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The great empire of the Spain started disintegrating due to infights, corruptions, nepotism, power politics. The small municipalities declared independence and due to their lavish expenditure they became clients of the Northern Christian Princess.  The external threats resulted in recon quest of the entire Spain by the Christian forces and the last king of Granada was deported in 1492. This is sad history of Muslims. Unfortunately we never took lessons from the History and several great Muslim Empires lost their territory   due to the above mentioned factors.

Some of the great scientist and Scholars of the Spain. Please search Google for the detailed contributions of these Muslim Scholars and Scientist.

AbulQasim al-Zahrawi(936-1035): The Most eminent 10th century Surgeon was the first Physician who established Surgery as a (Specialty). His books were taught in European medical schools as text books of the Surgery for 500yrs..  He was the first physician to establish a large medical school in Spain.

Ibn Hazm(994-1064): A great Scholars who wrote 400 books on various subjects Islamic History, Theology , Philosophy and Sciences. He promoted the importance of the true research based on the observation and inference, not just on Philosophical and Hypothetical Ideas. He also emphasized harmonization and interdependence of the religious and the Secular Sciences.

Abbas Ibn Firnas : He was the first Scientist to attempt to fly by the use of wooden frame and feathers. Although he failed in his attempt his Ideas of Flying which were started in 9th century prevailed.

Al-Idrisi(1100-1166): He was a famous Geographer who was the first one to draw the World Map.

Ibn Zuhr(1113-1199): Was a famous Surgeon and Pharmacist . His books were taught in Europe until 15th century.

Ibn- Rushd(1126-1198):  Was a great Philosopher. His commentaries on Aristotelian philosophy resulted in preservation of Aristotle’s work  and had a significant influence on the European Philosophy. He was the most influential philosopher whose work has resulted in promoting the Idea that there is no contradiction between Philosophy and Science and it became the foundation for the Renaissance in Europe. His ideas were opposed by Muslim theologiests and as a result of  this Muslims lost their supreme Status in Science and Technology and we are still  not been able to gain back the progress we attained in 7th to 15th century. You can see his great statue near the grand mosque of Cordoba.

Ibn al-Abari(1165-1240): The great Sufi philosopher.

Ibn Khaldun (1330-1406):  One of the Greatest Social Scientist of the World. His work was regarded  as the greatest work of its kind in social sciences that has ever been created by Human mind in any time. (Encyclopedia Britannica).