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CULTURAL SYMBIOSIS IN AL-ANDALUS

A Metaphor for Peace

Sanaa Osseiran
(Editor)

UNESCO
Regional Office for Education in the Arab States
Beirut - Lebanon
2004
The cover photo is by Riad a1 Chorbachi
The Arabic words on the cover mean: Knowledge,Science,Culture,Logic,
Coexistence.

The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this


publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsover on the part
of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country,territory,city or area
or of its authorities,or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or
boundaries.

The authors are responsible for the choice and the presentation of the facts
contained in this book and for the opinions expressed therein,which are not
necessarily those of U N E S C O and do not commit the Organization.

Published in 2004 by the United Nations Educational,


Scientific and Cultural Organization
Regional OEce for Education in the Arab States
P.0. Box: 11-5244
Beirut - Lebanon
Printed by Joseph Diab

ISBN 92-990012-
4-3
0U N E S C O 2004
All rights reserved
Printed in Lebanon
ODE TO AL-ANDALUS

Tellme who you are my friend


Look into your history
and the tree of life willshow you
the mosaic of your habits and customs
of your ideology and beliefs,of your
philosophy and your art.

Look deeply my friend into how rivers shake


and melt when they meet seas and oceans
and become one,yet are considered different.

My al-Andalusbelongs to all and to none


It is one reflectionof humanity explored
and broughtfrom the shade and the shadow,
from the obscure to light,to serve as the torch,
as a metaphor:

Vision with me along these lines the beating rhythm


of music andpoetry,of astrology and astronomy
of psychological and physiological healing
of medical art,of knowledge and learning
sought around the globe to enlighten and
progress the development of humankind
of religions that debated and dialogued between
conservatives and the liberals
a debate carried out today with no spirit
akin to the time of al-Andalus.

My al-Andalus,so many wrote about


you andfor you
but those who wrote this book sought the
triangle,the trinity of knowledge,science
and peace for each readel;and notfor
one culture,or identity.

1
It aims to tellall monotheist religions
and believers,wake up,we are one and
our plurality is not antagonistic
different,
our diversity is enriching,our identity is
multiple,but we all belong to one God,
one humanity.

Join me in this endeavour to link humanity


in afurther efforttopromote
a culture of peace based on knowledge.

Sanaa Osserian

11
In Memoriam

Cultural Symbiosis in al-Andalusrepresentsa visionary dream of the


late Sanaa Osseiran, who recognized that intercultural coexistence,
universalvalues and tolerance between Muslims, Christians and Jews
during the GoldenAgeof a/-Andalusrepresents a symbol for todays
world. Between the 8th and the 13th centuries,an unusual symbiotic
relationship between people of different cultures emerged with creativity
and brilliance. The people were often a mosaic of many disciplines--
philosophy, science, medicine, jurisprudence, music and the arts,and
--
rational thinking which flourished and left a remarkable heritage for the
world. The period has been recognized by numerous historians as the
most creative civilization in the Middle Ages and unique in its universal
vision with values which are needed today.AI-Andalus was in effect,a
moment of history in advance of its time,for it was the 20th century that
institutionalized international cooperation, human rights, coexistence,
tolerance -- the same elements that characterized al-Andalus.

As Sanaa Osseiran has stated: Inthe twenty-firstcentury,humankind


is witnessing two contrasting developments: the rise of intolerance and
intractable conflicts between peoples and a recognition of the need for
prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts and differences in situations
of global interdependence, on a planet with limited resources. This
publication is a cooperative effort of internationalscholars who emphasized
the socio-econornicand political infrastructures permitting dialogue and
interchange,and the philosophic, religious,scientific,literary,musical and
everyday life dimensions of that interchange. The prevention and
management of conflict in these exchanges is a centraltheme.

The work was a contribution to the International Year for the Dialogue
Amongst Civilizations, and the on-going International Decade for a
Culture of Peace and Non-Violencefor the Children of the World (2001-
2010) and was primarily sponsored by UNESCO and the International
Peace Research Association (IPRA)for which Sanaa was the UNESCO
representative,from 1989-1997.In 2002, the authors,friends in the
international peace network, and colleagues in the United Nations

iii
system,decided to publish this work as a memorial to Sanaa,in the hope
that one day her dream willbecome a reality.

Daughter of Lebanon, bintLubnan,Sanaa was proud of her Arab


heritage and above all,embued with universalvalues: she was indeed a
citizen of the world. Born in the ancient city of Sidon, a crossroads of
culture and civilizations,Sanaa carried with her a sense of history,for to be
born in the Middle East, where the first civilizations emerged is to be a
living symbol of cultural symbiosis,which Sanaa creatively applied in her
life and work.She attended universities in three differentcountries,worked
on Middle East issues in severalinternationalinstitutions,wrote numerous
articles and publications and was a member of the Mc Bride Commission
in 1982 during the conflict in Lebanon. Her dynamic creativity and vision
led her to initiate a series of innovative training workshops for civil society
in Lebanon during the conflict,on peace and conflict resolution between
the various groups. This resulted in a training manual on Educationfor
Peace,Human Rights and Democracywhich was utilized in Lebanese
schools and distributed throughout the world. In 1992, she initiated this
timely project on al-Andalus with the cooperation of the outstanding
scholars whose illuminating chapters are herein presented.

Returning to Lebanon, Sanaa continued her activities in the Arab


region and undertook several missions for UNESCO and also
participated in regional conferences.In the Fall of 1999 she joined the
United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Western Sahara,where she
played an active role untilher illness.

Sanaa had a visionary mission: to translate peace theory into


practice. She worked as she lived with brilliance,creativity and integrity,
always conscious of the human values of tolerance,respect for others
and intercultural dialogue.She believed in the capacity of individuals to
influence change and,she did.Her immortal spirit and commitmentto a
peaceful and just world for all humanity are represented in this work,and
willcontinue to illuminate the hearts and minds of all who knew her.

Friends of Sanaa

iv
Editorial Comments

The transdisciplinary subjects covered in the book provide


background for the general reader as well as for use in university courses
on history, political science, law, sociology,economics, cultural heritage,
science and peace education. It may also be useful for projects for policy
makers, civil society, youth, Euro-Mediterranean forums, in the Arab
region and throughout the world. Questions and comments have been
included at the end of each chapter for further study and include an
attempt to place al-Andalus in historical perspective by comparisons with
other civilizations, as well as contemporary issues, and by relating the
period to the development of international institutions, peace education
and principles of conflict prevention and resolution.

The al-Andalus project was launched over ten years ago and in spite
of extensive effort it was not possible to contact all the authors who so
generously contributed their interesting chapters. Therefore,w e apologize
to the authors and readers for any editorial or structural errors and faulty
translations due to lack of the original texts. Furthermore,as a result of the
passage of time, and technological changes in computers and diskettes,
the Arabic names were transcribed into symbols,similar to hieroglyphics
or cuneiform and a key,a modern Rosetta stone, was prepared to
decipher the symbols. Therefore,there may be some errors and incorrect
names although Arabic spellings were checked when possible.

W e would like to extend profound appreciation to the various authors


who were contacted for their invaluable professional help and advice and
their review of their respective chapters.

Special appreciation is extended to UNESCOs Regional Bureau for


Education in the Arab States, Beirut, for publishing the book. Sincere
gratitude is also extended to the numerous members of U N E S C O s staff
in the Education Sector in Paris who willingly assisted in advice and
technical matters, particularly the Documentation and Information
Service and members of the Division for the Promotion of Quality
Education.

V
The photos of the Alhambra in Granada were contributed by Riad AI
Chorbachi to whom w e are most appreciative; others are from
UNESCOs archives, taken by F. Alcoceba and those on Portugal are
from Teresa Judice-Gamito.

Additional appreciation is extended to various members of the


international peace network for their thoughtful advice and assistance,
several U N staff members who helped in locating the authors in their
respective countries. Numerous individuals throughout the world gave
advice and assistance, many of whom did not know Sanaa. The entire
endeavour was indeed a symbiosis of international cooperation.

In order to have worldwide diffusion this publication is also available on two


UNESCO Websites:www.unesco.org/general/eng/about/office/external/beyrout h
(UNEDBAS,Beirut) and www.unesco.ora/education/nved(Non-violenceEducation,
UNESCO,Paris).
Additional copies can be obtained from the UNESCO Regional Bureau for the
Arab States Email: Beirut@unesco.org and UNESCO, Paris sdi@.unesco.org

The ideas and opinions expressed in this work are those of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect UNESCOs point of view.

vi
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pages
Ode to al-Andalus.................................................................................... i
In Memoriam ............................................................................................ iii
EditorialComments..
................................................................................ v

Introduction: Culture as a Foundation for Peace


1. Culture as a Vehicle for Peace-Building and Conflict Resolution
Sanaa Osseiran ..................................................................................... 3
2.The Peace Significance of al-Andalus
Juan Gutierrez ....................................................................................... 13
3.Peace as Cultural Symbiosis
James Calleja ........................................................................................ 25

Geographicaland Historical Background


4. Geographical and Historical Framework: The Iberian Peninsula
under Muslim GovernmentVIIth to XV Centuries
Francisco Franco-Sanchez................................................................... 37
5. The Western Part of al-Andalus(Kingdom of Portugal and Algarve)
Teresa Judice Gamito ........................................................................... 57
6.Military Conflicts,Tensions and Peace
Mike1 de Epalza ................................................................................... 71

SociologicalBackground
7.Unity and Variety in Medieval Islamic Society: Ethnic Diversity
and Social Classes in Muslim Spain
Roberto Marin-Guzman...................................................................... 9I

Philosophical and Spiritual Dimensions


8. Philosophical Development in al-Andalus
Miguel Cruz-Hernandez..................................................................... 109

vii
9. A Philosophical Model: Ibn Gabirol and Maimonides A Mystical
Convergence
Haim Zafrani ....................................................................................... 129
ScientificExchanges
10.ScientificActivities and Inter-CulturalRelations
Ahmed Djebarre ................................................................................. 147
1 1. Exchanges in Medicine in al-Andalus,8th to 13th Centuries
Sami K.Hamarneh ............................................................................ 167
12.The Influence of al-Andaluson Western Culture
Amin Tibi .......................................................................................... 197
Judicial and Political Administration and Economic Production
13.A Historical Model of Coexistence
Augustin Bermudez-Aznar................................................................. 211
14.Political and Administrative Exchanges
Maria JesusViguerra-Morins............................................................. 223
15. Economic Production and Commercial Exchanges During the Taifa
Period:11th Century
Muhammad Benaboud ...................................................................... 237

Encounters in Daily Life


16.Islamic Education Under the Caliphate
Mohammad Issa ................................................................................. 255
17.Exchanges in Daily Life
Ahmed Chahlan .................................................................................. 269

Forms of Artistic Creativity


18.Al-Andalus:The Language of Forms, Continuity and Innovation
Claudio Torres .................................................................................... 287
19.Musical Universe and Exchanges in al-Andalus
Mahmoud Guettat ...................................................................... 297

...
VI11
Appendices

1. Acknowledgements .......................................................................... 3 19

11. AuthorsBiodata .............................................................................. 321

111. Glossary ........................................................................................... 326

IV. Additional References ...................................................................... 334

V. Universal Declaration of H u m a n Rights ........................................... 336

VI. United Nations Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence
for the Children of the World .......................................................... 342

VII. Chapter Notes ................................................................................... 344

ix
Court of Lions,Alhambra - Granada
Riad A1 Chovbachi

X
Those who incline towards peace, make
peace with them andplace your faith in God
- The Koran ;S. VIIlj v.61 -

Blessedare thepeacemakers for they shall


be called the children of God
- Mathew 5:3-11 -

And they shall beat their swords into


ploughshares and their spears into pruning
hooks... nation shall not lift up sword against
nation.... Neither shall they learn war
anymore
- Isaiah 2:4 -

1
Al- Andalus was a melting pot for
civilizations and cultures.Each unit developed
its own personality, whilst choosing to belong
to a whole, which was Arab/Muslim
- Sanaa Osseiran -

2
INTRODUCTION:
CULTURE AS A FOUNDATION FOR PEACE

-
1 Culture as a Vehicle for Peace-Building
and Conflict Resolution

bY
Sanaa W.Osseiran

Your ideology speaks of Judaism,of Brahmanism,Hinduism, Buddhism,


Christianity and Islam.My ideology willreveal to you that it is not that of any
religious denomination,for absolute religion has multiple facets, similar to
those of one hand with its separateJiveJingers.
Your ideology believes that the glory ofpeople is linked with the names of
their conquering heroes.And they become infated withpride when mentioning
Nebuchanezzar; Ramses, Alexander; Ceasar; Hannibal and Napolkon. But I
myself see heroism in the writings of Confucius, Laotzu, Socrates,Plato, al-
Ghazali,Rumi,Copernic and Pasteur.
- Gibran Khalil Gibran -
The heritage of al-Andalushas provided us with a collective memory of fruitful
coexistence,a memory which is of concern to us today because history also has
bequeathed a collective memory of coexistence where social peace has made it
possible to create a cultural identity common to Arab,Muslim,Christian,Jew,Roman,
Visigothic and other ethnic and religious groups.While ethnicity as a term was not yet
employed,as that ofrace was,today ethnicity and the search for cultural identity have
become two ofthe major causes ofconflictbetween ethnic and religiousgroups.
The introductorycontributionsinthis volume attemptto deepenour comprehension
ofdefinitionsofpeace and violenceand analyze how a cultureofpeace canbe developed
throughco-operation,culture being defined here in its broadest senseconcerning shared
customs,traditions,arts, languages,music,poetry, costumes,food and rhythm of life
transmitted &om generation to generation. This volume has incorporated certain
contributions which highlight this encounter,pointing out how it was possible and
became reflected in an expression ofthe k e choice ofa cultural identity.

3
Conflicts can be considered as an intrinsic part of human development and
growth.They exist within the family,between the young and the old,between
different social classes and political parties and within every competitive and
dynamic force in a given society.
Conflicts are progressive, meaning that they may lead to changing and
improving positively a given situation.Therefore,the goal is, as Elise Boulding
asserts not to abolish conflicts,but to replace destructive ways of dealing with
conflicts with constructive ones (1).
However,the past demonstrates the ingenuity of man to settle disputes at
times through peaceful negotiations and,at other,through military force.As a
result,the focus in conflict prevention in many areas in the world is on delving
into the historical and traditional methods used by various culturesin the past for
solving conflicts. Consequently, we witness another form of how culture is
useful in conflict resolution.Both history and culture remain valid as sources of
inspiration for solving modern conflicts.They teach us how to re-evaluateand
understand mans adaptation to new situations and new conditions.In addition,
they indicate the circumstances under which these adaptations and changes
occur.If they indicate that the outcome of a conflict situation is asymmetrical,
then it remains latent in our memories, until similar circumstances make it
resurge again. An example of this is the awakening of suppressed cultural
identities in the former Soviet Union or in former Yugoslavia, as well in the
many ethnic conflicts which prevail today on the African continent.
In al-Andalus,we have an example of how human ingenuity was reflected
in the ability of its leaders and society to adapt, modify and change in
accordance with the needs ofthat society.The ArabMuslim expansion took into
considerationthe modes ofthinking and behaviour ofthe existing population.It
recognized the value of the existing cultures. It adopted, incorporated and
integrated certain positive features of these cultures into the development of its
government.One example which can be cited is the use and development ofthe
Roman irrigation system.
Al-Andalushas a history ofcultural inter-linkagewhich is a term often used
today in the peace vocabulary as a factor which contributes to confidence-
building and peace-buildingmeasures. For in its essence,cultural inter-linkage
permits the recognition of common roots and similar attributes.It may also be
seen as interdependence,when peoples and civilizations adopt and remodel each
othersexpressions in ways which fit their own societal needs.Furthermore,the
recognition of similar attributes and linkages permits the building of confidence

4
instead of fear in the other.As Lucie Bolens writes: cultural contacts had an
overriding effect with respect to humanistic culture in the Mediterranean
societies, allowing people to grow accustomed to difference. In the
Mediterranean region, particularly in Sicily and al-Andalus,the habit of
communal feeling and living together disappeared less quickly than in the North,
where the need for a single,distinctive consciousness closed Christian society
against Jews and Muslims alike, leading, subsequently to the persecution of
Christian heresies (2).
Arab/Muslim leaders did not impose their way ofliving on the people.They
applied Muslim law to Jews and Christians in line with how these two religious
communities were to be treated in Islam as being part of the faith ofAbraham.
Thus, they were granted the dhimma or protected people status. The word
protectedis in itselfa reflection ofcare and responsibility,ofcommitment and
respect. In its essence it refuses the exclusion of others.Hence Jews and
Christianswere allowed to lead their own lives,direct their own courts and their
own schools and were granted freedom to speak and develop their own
languages.While the dhirnrna status was not applied rigorously at all times under
ArabMuslim rule in al-Andalus,nevertheless it explains why coexistence and
the access of Jews to high governmental positions were possible.The dhimma
status may be considered today as a negation of the right to equality for each
citizen in a nation-state system and in contradiction with the principles of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (3). Nevertheless the notion of dhimma
was the most advanced notion in Medieval times and permitted the Arab/Muslim
Empire in al-Andalusand elsewhere to incorporate many types of ethnic and
religious beliefs. In addition,it allowed different groups to coexist.The fact that
Jews and Christians had been persecuted in the past enhanced their loyalty and
their acceptance ofArab/Muslim expansion.
Furthermore the unique experience of al-Andalusis perhaps related to the
open spacewhich permitted citizens of the East to travel to the West. Thus
people travelled and took the time to observe other peoples and their way oflife.
The Arab/Muslim Empire was a huge cultural area and it was the home of
citizens and cultures from Sumer,(Mesopotamia), Egypt, Babylon, Phoenicia,
Palestine,Byzantium,Greece, Rome,Persia and Assyria. Modern nation-states
which representthese people belong to such geographical areas those now called
the Middle East,the Near East,theArab World,North Afi-ica,the Mediterranean,
Southern Europe or Central Asia.
Culturally these people felt as one and yet each culture was and is unique.
Conflicts arose when one group repressed the other,unjustly controlled sources

5
of wealth or imposed its political hegemony, laws and restrictions on another
group. In the articles by Mike1 de Epalza and Roberto Marin-Guzmhn,it is
explained that many of the conflicts and tensions which occurred in al-Andalus
were due to ideological and political conflicts between the central and regional
powers. But, they were never identity conflicts as is the case in our modern
conflicts today.In effect,identity conflicts could not have been a cause ofconflict
during this period because Islam permitted Jews and Christians to exercise fi-eely
their religion, and ensured that the community had the basic necessities of life.
The dignity of man, irrespective of his religious beliefs was ensured in al-
Andalus.However,this is not the case in many nation states today,whether it is
a Muslim nation state, or a secular one. Minorities do not find it possible to
express their cultural identity,often closely linked with religious traditions.
In al-Andalus,comparisons between the types of government and the
ethical and moral commitments within the mosaic of al-Andalussociety bear
witness to the direct link between the quality of leadership and peaceful
economic well-being. The triangle which comprises three basic elements:
leadership,morality,and economic justice and responsibility,remains valid and
provides ideal elements for the world today.
A report by the Secretary General of the United Nations on Preventionof
Armed Conflictnoted that internal conflicts of the nineties left more than 5
million fatalities and 25 million refugees throughout the world. Many oftodays
conflicts are due to economic disparity between communities and nations and to
cultural repression linked to the type and maturity of political leadership.The
nation-statein its attempt to integrate all these elements into society has mistaken
integrationfor homogeneity,statelawfor stateinterests,inasmuch as the
state has become the ultimate essence ofpeoplesexistencerather than vice versa.
Each culture contains the seeds of peace and the seeds of violence. What
may tip the balance of a peaceful culture into becoming violent is the gap
between its image of itself and the mirror it reflects to others. Such a situation
may be caused by reasons which feed on each other.O n the one hand,we create
an image of the other,that is the enemyfor reasons which cause reactions
altering this image by either closing up on itselfor by becoming violent. O n the
other hand,this image may be created,adapted or reproduced in accordancewith
changes in the society, in the world and with time without loosing its basic
essence to promote human dignity and development.
A n interesting example of the image of the otheris to be found in the
research undertaken by Aziz El-Azmion attitudes in al-Andalustowards the

6
Christians in the Northern Kingdoms of Spain as opposed to those towards the
Christians who lived under ArabIMuslim rule. In his study Mortal Enemies,
Invisible Neighbours (AzizEl-Azmi,1992), El-Azmimaintains that there was
a divorce between what the Andalusians presumably saw and knew,and what
they wrote. The portrayal oftheir northern counter-partdid not in fact reflect the
every day knowledge al-Andalus had of them. El-Azmiasserts that any
impression of their northern adversaries was as might be required by military
propaganda,with its topoi ofevil and its representation ofthe other. Likewise,
Juan Goytisolo asserts that a negative image ofthe Arab/Muslim Moor exists in
Spanish literature (4).
This dehumanizationis present in every society when culture is used to negate
others. This cultural violence permeates all modern nation-statesocieties. There
is,therefore,a need to look into various cultural spaces,that is,the actual day-to-
day knowledge which permits us to see others as the mirror of our own image.
Ai-Andalus was a melting pot for civilizations and cultures. Each unit
developed its own personality,whilst choosing to belong to a whole,which was
Arab/Muslim.However,this whole also had the ability to absorb,improve and
innovate and was strong enough to incorporate others into its mould without
either side feeling that its own specificity was being diluted. For this reason
conflicts of identity were not considered as political and ideological conflicts in
ai-Andalus,as we can see in the contribution of Professor Mike1 de Epalza on
conflict,tension and peace in al-Andalus.In fact,human dignity finds its major
expression in the right of minorities to exercise religious freedom and
expression, and the basic needs of an individual or a community are assured,
which is another reason why conflicts of identity did not comprise sources of
tension in al-Andalus.
Culture can be a vehicle for peace-buildingif it is not threatened by other
cultures and if fear is not the underlying basis of its protective identity.
Consequently, if the cultural identity of a group is based upon fear,
fundamentalismand rejection ofotherswill result.In other words,mistrust is the
mother ofall conflicts.However,ifin the world today all currentsofthought and
cultures are allowed free expression and the possibility to interact,then their
interaction will bear results,just as it did in al-Andalus.Culture is therefore a
major means for learning how we can liberate ourselves from fear,a sine quo
non for peace-building and conflict resolution. Ethnicity also has become
synonymous with differences today but, if we change our attitude towards
ethnicity and ignore differences in others,or learn from such differences,then
relationshipswill move from an atmosphere of conflict to one of sharing.

7
Experiences in the IberianPeninsula during various periods between the 8th
and the 13thcenturies are encouragingwhen we reflect on the future,because the
universality of the past is reasserted today, although in a far more rapid form
than in the past,because ofthe development of communications.This feeling of
universality is not limited to the elite, but to ordinary people also. When one
speaks of economic disparity between the North and the South,one speaks of
both a bi-polar economic and cultural world. However,this polarity does not
stop us from trying to bridge the gap between these worlds,which is precisely
why the cultural dimension in development is considered today as an
indispensable factor for the achievement of economic progress in all countries.
If culture in al-Andalus enabled the different religious and ethnic
communities to consider themselves as one society,today civic culture may be
considered as a culture embodying all possible variations in a given society.A
civic culture can incorporatethe specificity of a given group into a national and
world culture. Montgomery Watt maintained that one of the reasons the epoch
of al-Andalus is considered a great age is because the Arabs encouraged a
genuine feeling of citizenship.
If a civic culture can be defined as one encouraging the participation,
interaction,equity, intellectual and economic well-being of everyone,then it
existed in al-Andalus.Many contributions in this book stress the high level of
civic culture and how the different groups communicated.Communication was,
in fact, so strong that even after the fall of Granada in 1492,Jews from al-
Andalus carried with them the heritage of al-Andalus.Similarly,the Mozarabs
chose to continue speaking Arabic and to follow Arab/Muslim traditions in
Toledo after its fall to Christian rule.
H o w did this happen? Many people today omit mentioning,either through
lack of knowledge or unconscious embarrassment,that the Arab/Muslim legal
system permitted such a participation and coexistence.Islam,in its view of the
world,was and is able to take on many shapes and forms,for it is varied,yet one
and we should become acquainted with the different schools ofjurisprudence
and the different societal customs in Muslim societies which vary in accordance
with the region and the society in question. One of the underlying factors is
Islams conception ofpeace and human relations,the latter always being based
on a contractual relationship between two parties in the temporal world.
In Islam and in Arabic, salaamthe word for peace means harmony,
conciliation and tranquillity.From the outset the Arabs offered an agreement of
peace to the Roman,Jewish and Visigothic populations.These agreementswere

8
of three types:the first is the M u ahadahor treaty between two communities or
states;the second is the Muhadanah derived from Hudnah or truce; and the
third concerns the aman which is a pledge of security granted to non-Muslims
wishing to live in Muslim territory. This next was a unique initiative in
coexistence between the ruler and the ruled for that period of history.
A further concept in Islam which permitted the incorporation of many
religions and races is that of umma or community. This concept by-passes
codification ofrace,ethnicity,origin,nobility or wealth.While it has not always
been applied,nevertheless,in itself,it facilitated the acceptance of others,and
their presence among Muslims.
Furthermore, the quest for knowledge in al-Andalus society is another
cultural element which increased the bond between people. Men of learning
could discuss their opinions freely as long as they did not defame Islam. This
combination of mysticism, philosophy and jurisprudence contributed to
increasing the interest of the population in the arts and in knowledge which is
why a man ofcommerce might read philosophy and a man ofmedicine be versed
in music,poetry and literature.For when spirituality was at its height,the soul
was master and the mind was constantly developing, so that a certain level of a
human existence was assured. This certainly helped to achieve an inner
tranquillity within a given society as opposed to times when only economic
welfare was stressed.
In conclusion, culture can play a role in peace-building and conflict
resolution when it has the ability to develop,adapt and modify certain exclusive
features which may cause fear. The politicizing of culture prohibits it from
playing its traditional role of encouraging humankind to regard other cultures as
a source of inspiration,as a means from which ideas and images can be created
to assist in confidence-buildingand peace-building measures (5). If cultures
were equated with the light and rays ofthe sun,we could witness variety in their
intensity depending on the angle from which we face the light.However,despite
the differences in intensity, it remains a source of illumination. This is how
culture and cultures can become a bridge toward conflict prevention and
resolution.

9
Discussion Questions

1. Examine the schools ofArab/Muslimjurisprudenceand its implementation


for the different categories of society and the ah1 a1 dhimma. Note the
application of Islamicjurisprudence today in various societies.

2. Develop a parallel analysis on human and social rights in the ancient


Mediterranean civilizations: Sumer;Babylon (TheCode of Hammurabi),
Egypt,Phoenicia,Greece,(democracy),Rome (administrationand law),
Persia and other civilizations,such as China,India,the Incas,Aztecs and
Mayans. (note: N, Kramer cites in LHistoireCommence a Sumer,
Flammarion, Paris, 1986, that numerous cuneiform tablets mention
elements of human rights and democratic practices in ancient Sumer).

3. Elaborate the principles of good citizenship, civic values and good


governance encouraged in al-Andalus.Compare it with the status of ethnic
and religiousgroupsin your country and region todayand in countriesof the
Middle East,Africa,Asia and LatinAmerica whichare experiencing tensions.

4. The author notes the importance of culture and traditionaltechniques


of solving disagreements in the familu, community and nation,such as
Arab mediation and consensus, African palabre, Asian and Latin
American traditions.Analyze the role of socio-culturalvalues and
traditions in developing peaceful societies and in conflict prevention
and resolution.Apply these integrated concepts to problem solving in
your community and educationalinstitution.

5. What role does the granting ofcivil and social rights and respect for other
cultureshave in themaintenance ofpeace and coexistence? Give examples
in al-Andalusand also throughout history What has been the impact of the
absence ofhuman rights on thenumerous conflictsofthe 2Gh-2Ist centuries?

6.Noting the advanced concepts of coexistence and tolerance in a1Andalus


for the peopleof the book,examine the evolution of legalprinciples and
conventions in history concerning the rights of humanity from the 10th
century onward,such as the Magna Carfa,the English Bill of Rights,the
philosophers of the Enlightenment,the French Rights of Man and Citizens,
the U.S. Constitution and especially the UNs Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and its protocols. (seeAppendix).

10
Alhambra Gardens, Granada
Riad Al-Chorbachi

11
The same species who invented war is
capable of inventing peace
- the Seville Declaration -

12
-
2 The Peace Significance of al-Andalus

bY
Juan Gutierrez

The theme ofthe book: Cultural Symbiosisin al-Andalus- the contribution of


Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Iberian Peninsula to global civilization, is
symbolic but not precise. Al-Andalus is the name Muslims gave to their rule in
the Iberian Peninsula,just as Sepharad is the name Jews gave to the parts of the
Iberian Peninsula where they dwelled. However,important parts of the cultural
symbiosis,such as Toledos School of Translators,took place,not in al-Andalus,
but in the Christian kingdoms.
The purpose of the al-Andaluspro-jectis to obtain from the past a cultural
contribution for the construction of peace in our present world. Historical
memory,the consciousness ofpast peace,is dealt with in this book as a resource
for future peace.
The past peace consisted ofthe six centuries between 711 and 1300or even
beyond,when Christian,Muslim and Jewish communities lived together in the
Iberian Peninsula and cooperated in creating a cultural symbiosis which has
enriched and contributed to the development of world civilization.
Our present world,almost sixty years after the beginning ofthe nuclear age,
has reached heights of development which surpass the boldest dreams.Although
many voices call it one-sidedand,for the scientific community concerned with
peace,it suffers under a violence maybe less crude but more devastating and less
viable than ever before. For its future, it needs a kind of peace implying
development in justice and a coexistence which allows for the sharing of a
common destiny.In these times of profound change,the building of this peace
is a key issue.It implies a transformation ofthe international order,ofthe social
order, but, no less, of human identity - attitudes,perceptions, ideologies and
cosmologies,all ofthis encompassed in culture.
To aid in this transformation,a number of engaged peace researchers have
insisted in recent years on the importance of imagining future peace and of
recalling past peace.Elise and Kenneth Boulding,represent the best illustration
of this. Whereas Elise has developed methods of imagininga new world in

13
peace(l), Kenneth declared, The direction I would most like to see peace
research develop is a very careful study of the history of peace and how it has
been achieved(2).

1- Perceived Past Peace and Future Peace in the Making


What are the relationships between perceived past peace and future peace in
the making? This is a two-fold question: Could history be a basis for the future
which would allow for prophecy and,if so,how? And what is peace?
As a background for this query, one has to establish at least tentative
answers to these questions in order to reach beyond the interpretation of al-
Andalus as merely a past episode in history, meaningless for the future,and to
understand the promise of peace it contains. This chapter is an explicit and
articulated account of a search for these answers.

-
2 Historv as a Basis for the Future
This is the question that the philosophy of history has attempted to answer
for over 200 years, and it is still unsolved for todays futurology, social
psychology and other disciplines. The answer is essential to every peace
commitment,for peace research and for the anthropology of peace, and some
elements ofthis answer could be advanced:
-
1 The future is open,not determined by the past. No guarantee for future
peace can be drawn from history. However, from the past, the hope for
peace can be drawn - a peace which cannot be achieved through the iron
laws of determination but rather through freely chosen human commitment.
-
2 Based on the past,the necessity for and merits ofwar and ofhostility can
be denied. Biology does not condemn humanity to war [..I Just as wars
begin in the minds of men, peace also begins in our minds. The same
species who invented war is capable of inventing peace. The responsibility
lies with each of us (Seville Statement on Violence, 1986).
-
3 Past peace can influence the future,not independently of human beings,
as if it followed a law of astronomy,but through the human mind. Identity
and history are closely interrelated. The past, as it is perceived and
constructed, participates in the creation of the future as it molds the
collective identity ofpeoples. From childhood and throughout our lives,we
are exposed to a teaching of history which persuades us who we are, to
which community we belong,which values we possess,what we can hope

14
and aim for,whom we can trust,whom we should distrust,resist or abhor.
This identity inspires attitudes and behaviour which build and transform
institutions and form the future.
-
4 Between perceived past and future in the making, there is never
symmetry.History is not an eternalrepetition of the same,as Nietzsche
stated(4). The future is not the blueprint of the past. There is no point in
trying to find, already built, in the past what you aim to achieve in the
future.The ancient,golden years belong to the myths oforigin.What can be
searched for and found in the past are elements significant to and
illuminating for future peace, such as, for example, the convivial
coexistence which at one time characterized the relations among Muslims,
Christians and Jews in al-Andalus,which is a necessary element of future
peace.This is why al-Andaluscannot be considered a model or a paradigm,
but a metaphor for future peace, as Muhammad Aziza, President of the
Euro-ArabUniversity, suggested.
5 - It would be reductionistto draw all elements for building the future from
a single scenario in the past. Peace in our times has to overcome religious
fundamentalism in Christianity,Judaism, and Islam;and for this it has to
draw elements ofreligioustolerance from al-Andalus,or from MaYmonides
unorthodoxy,originality bordering on heterodoxy according to Professor
Zafrani(5). These are precious elements which cannot be found in other
epochs,such as in the following period when the Inquisition set the rules to
persecute and destroy religious diversity, or in the period before the
Westphalian Peace,when Europe was involved in wars among Christians of
different churches. Throughout different periods of history religious
intolerance and fundamentalismhas been manifested at different times by
Christians,Jews and Muslims-the three monotheistic religions. The way
Muslims offered terms ofpeace to Christians and Jews by allowing them to
keep their own religion is peace-inspiring compared with the way the
Conquistadors conquered America. However, peace in our time has to be
based on human rights as well,and has to draw on the United Nations
principles and internationallaw.It should be based on democracy,universal
suffrage,the liberation ofwomen,social equality and economicjustice,and
has to consider democratic and social revolutions throughout history.
6 - One may or may not believe in historical progress,but the future goals
which guide our efforts are different from anything achieved in the past and
the peace one is committed to build in our epoch is a product of our time
and different from peace in the past. Today,for example,peace must not

15
only be established among existing human beings and societies,but also has
to bear in mind the future generations and the type of world we bequeath to
them. These challenges which impose tasks for implementing peace were
not present in the past with todaysurgency.
7 - The original Greek etymology of metaphor means to carry a load from
one place to another.A metaphor is a bridge between two unlike entities,
across which elements of a recalled realm are transferred to a different one.
These elements may embody values which,when transferred to a different
framework, become essential resources inspiring and empowering
commitment aimed at a focus of concern in the new framework.This may
take place between the past and the future. Metaphor can elicit peace
elements from a past period such as al-Andalusand generate engagement
for future peace in the making.
It is important to distinguish metaphors from myths and, especially, from
modern myths as invoked by Rosenberg (6)and Sorel,because,while being very
similar in some ways, they are opposite approaches to history. Myths, like
metaphors,bridge two frameworks which can be distant in time or overlap each
other.It transfers and transforms elements bearing values into powerful resources.
But myths have to be judged as means to operate in the present.It is nonsense to
discuss how they can be applied materially to the course of history(7). The
question is not their truth,but their effectiveness.It doesnt matter much if they
are products of fantasy or tendencies which enter the mind with the insistence of
instinct (8). They are: the power of the irrational over human thought and
behaviour(9). Every myth presents itselfas authoritative [..I The original Greek
term for myth (myths) denotes word,in the sense of a decisive, final
pronouncement. It differs from logos,the word whose validity or truth can be
demonstrated( 10). Myths present the model for mansbehavior( 11).
During recent history,myths have been in their worst version,the irrational
rationale for what German National Socialism called Entschlossenheiten,(grim
determination for self-destructionand destruction of theothersallowing no
space for questions).
Myths constructed as an unquestioned, compelling template to shape
behaviour has been a cultural resource to create the premises of war and
hostility.It could never be shared by the different sides of a conflict.
Peace,on the other hand, needs the metaphor,logos,shared as a dialogue
(dialogos)by the different sides in a conflict, and drawing inspiration from a
past which does not claim to be perfect, without fault or shadow,and which

16
allows for diversity of interpretations. Metaphors cannot operate according to
the law of power, but in accordance with the logic of freedom.Metaphors are
imperfect,vulnerable - truth and scientific proof as a guarantee of truth being
their only protection.And,yet, metaphors are cultural means of peace.
It would,therefore be fragile and,in the long term,not sustainableif,due to
the bias of some wishful thinking, the al-Andalusmetaphor yielded to myth,
appearing in an idealized form and concealing the negative aspects of its
historical reality. This is why the educational dimension of al-Andalus is
anchored in specific,scientific research.
In this book, al-Andalusas a peace metaphor finds diverse interpretations
from chapter to chapter according to the different sensitivitiesofeach researcher,
each of whom can feel unchallenged in hidher place, undisturbed by the
contrasting views of his colleagues. The tolerance, convivial coexistence,
cooperation and creativity which characterized al-Andalusare not presented as
the never-to-be-equaledutmost of perfection.

-
3 What is Peace?
There is a manifold concept ofpeace,a variety ofpeace conceptions.In this
chapter,this diversity may be summarized in the following manner:
a - Negative peace: absence of war. Traditionally,peace was defined as
absence ofwar and ofthreat ofwar.This was Kantsfocus( 12), and,today,remains
the focus ofscientists such as Norbert0 Bobbio( 13). Absence ofwar is, indeed,of
paramount importance for the survival of humanity and life and there are both
wars and threats ofwar in our world today.According to this criteria,Coudehove-
Kalergi,in the fifties,and a number ofNorth American and Canadian researchers,
in the seventies and eighties, classified as peacehlsocietiesthose where there
was generally an absence ofphysical conflict for a century or more( 14).
According to this,al-Andaluswould never be listed as a peacefil society,as
there were frequentwars throughout its seven centuriesofexistence.There were
never total wars, offering unconditional surrender as the only alternative to
destruction,and before Alfonso VI ruled in Toledo in 1085,there were more
conflicts between insurgents and incumbents in the same society than wars
between armies ofopposing states and societies.So lack ofwar is not an element
of the al-Andaluspeace metaphor.
O n the other hand, this metaphor contains other elements which, when
translated to the future,become resources for this kind of peace as lack of war.

17
War is hardly feasible without the enemy images of the others in the conflict.
These are dehumanized, threatening images which justify and call for
militarism,hostility,war and destruction as the only means of protection (1 5).
These enemy images of Jews,Muslims and Christians can only be constructed
overshadowing the memory of the positive cooperation among Muslims,
Christians and Jews as described in the following chapters.Remembering it is
an antidote to war-readiness.Perceived past peace can,therefore,not be free of
war and still be a contribution against war in present times.
b - Peace as absence of violence. From the time of Kant to today, the
concept of peace has expanded in many different ways.
First, it expanded from the level of relations between states to include
relations between groups and persons, and relations to nature or to future
generations which shall live on the earth they inherit from us in the condition we
leave it. Peace,accordingly,does not only mean absence ofwar,but also absence
of violence.
Violence, however, does not mean just violent action and, therefore,the
concept of peace includes more today than lack of war plus lack of violent
action.Peace as non-violence has incorporated such elements as justice or
freedom from oppression. It has to do,not only with behaviour, but also with
structures and culture.
Within the scientific field, it was Johan Galtung who coined the terms
structuralviolence(1 6)and culturalviolence(1 7).According to him,structural
violence consists not of acts such as direct violence,but of underlying processes.
There is structuralviolence when various groups are in the same structure with the
result that some are treated better than others,in other words,some are benefiting
and others are abused.Inferiorization,submission,oppression,exploitation are all
cases of structural violence.
Strong criticisms have been aimed at this concept of structural violence,but
all critics agree that the idea of peace should include justice and freedom (18).
Cultural violence,according to Galtung,is neither act nor process,but underlies
both as something more durable and collective,anchored in social consciousness:
it is linked with cosmologies,ideologies,forms of identity,the we above the
othersimages,the world view as a battlefield between good and evil.
-
c Peace as cooDeration.It is evident that each element of violence is paired
with a corresponding factor of peace. Adam Curle has presented a positive
definition ofpeace as cooperation,contributionto mutual benefit,as a relationship

18
which is positive for all who enter into it. Mutual help, mutual understanding,
solidarity,interest and cooperation as a result from that mutual help (19).
d - Peace as human fulfilment.The expansion ofthe peace concept does not,
however, end here. Both Johan Galtung and Adam Curle, as well as other
researchers (Eckhardt,Thee,Krippendorf),focus peace as a condition ofhuman
fulfilment,and link peace with development.As early as 1955,Theodor Lentz
stated that,the true alternative to war and extinction is not survival in a limited,
moderate status quo.The true alternative is life with the highest standard (20).
At this point of expansion, some voices declared that such an all-
encompassing definition ofpeace has turned into an infinition(21).
There is a riddle in this boundless, extended concept of peace. How can
peace mean peace and something more, like justice,liberation and all other
dimensions ofhuman hlfilment? This must obey a reason which transcends the
rules of logic.
Let us formulate a tentative answer:the definition of peace which guides
peace research and various types of peace efforts is not just analytical. It is,
instead,inspired by human needs and wants and has an existential flair;more
than fact-oriented,it is value-oriented. The underlying value of peace is
humanity,beingor life.According to it, for example, a peace with no
justice and freedomis meaningless,as peace is only meaningful if linked with
justice, liberation and all other dimensions of human fulfillment, both at
individual level and for humanity as a whole.
Very much in accordance with this focus,peace research is incorporating
themes such as: World Order Studies,Cosmology,Ecology and Development.
UNESCOs understanding of peace seems to be in line with this approach. It
defined peace in the Yamoussoukro Congress as a modeof behaviourand a
deep-rooted commitment to the principles of liberty, justice, equality and
solidarity among all human beings, and also a harmonious partnership of
humankind with the environment(22).

-
4 The Peace Sipnificance of al-Andalus
Peace as a focus of concern is, according to this, an ideal, something
unachieved. It is historically dependent on the challenges of each epoch and a
certain developmentbelongs to peace: peace brings milk and honey.
Of course,not the whole repertoire of positive peace as human fulfillment
can be found in al-Andalus.Positive peace is an unachieved peace which

19
responds to all human needs and ultimately steers every peace concern. But
some traits ofit are prefigured in al-Andalus:cooperation,advancement towards
fulfillment and tolerance.
There was a convivial coexistence in al-Andalus,meaning by this the factthat
the three heterogeneous communities could share the same territory, lead an
autonomous life in their own enclaves ruled by their own officials in accordance
with their own laws,and interact and cooperate for over seven centuries,keeping
their identity and religion.There were many changes all throughout this period and
this coexistence was at stake under the spirit of holy war,crusades,reconquest.It
finally ended in violence with the reconquest of Granada, forced conversion,
expulsion ofJews and Moriscos.
This was not a perfect peace,but,on the whole,it builds a peace-inspiring,
historical background for the search ofa way out ofsome ofthe most destructive
conflicts of our time - conflicts impregnated with pervading ideological whites
and blacks and fundamentalist approaches,where the identity of peoples and
minorities is endangered.As a peace metaphor,it refers particularly to todays
Jews, Christians and Muslims facing the historical challenge to put an end to
hostility and to build peace in the Middle East and among themselves (23).
This convivial coexistence created a unique cultural symbiosis which
contributed in manifold ways to human fulfillment,reaching far beyond the
historical limits of al-Andalus.Our world civilization is much indebted to those
achievements in science, philosophy, arts, literature, and agriculture,
accomplished in al-Andalus.Every present or future advance in these fields will
be based on a background to which al-Andalus made a contribution. As a
cultural symbiosis it is not a heritage for a few, but a common heritage for
humankind. This is a characteristic of peace symbolized in the architecture of
Toledo,Cordoba,Granada,Seville.
While there are diverse opinions about the kind of tolerance which existed
in al-Andalus,there is no doubt that it was the basis which provided space for
that cultural symbiosis,and that it was unparalleled in that epoch (24). Tolerance
was indeed rooted in Islam,but Islam has found different interpretations,more
or less tolerant in the history of al-Andalus and up to our present times.
Tolerance built Madinat al-Zahraand intransigence destroyed it. For a limited
time this tolerance was extended also to Christian territories as witnessed by
Toledos school of translation in opposition to the intransigence of the
Inquisition. The memory of that epoch seems to be blurred among todays
Jewish,Muslim and Christian fundamentalism and has to be brought back as a

20
message full of significancefor the search for tolerance at all levelsThis is one
ofthe most decisive tasks for peace-makingand peace-buildingtoday.
Tolerance is primarily a way ofdealing with power and,therefore,has to be
first accredited to the ones in power.Jews,however,did not have power.Their
tolerance was low-keyand different.Still,they were able to survive,maintaining
their identity for 700 years acting peacefully. Their often-threatenedsurvival
depended on the positive contributions they made as interpreters, architects,
administrators,scientists,teachers,artists,to communities they lived with. This
positive cooperation of the powerless, to a certain extent offered by Mozarabs
and Mudejares as well, is to their credit,and is the peaceful counterpart to the
tolerance of the powerholders.It is a great source of inspiration for peaceful
conflict solving and a challenge for all those who base their security on
destructive power.

21
Discussion Questions

1. Describe the evolution of the concept of peace during the past


centuries, noting the various theories on structural and cultural
violence of Johan Galtung and subsequent definitions of peace .

2. The author states that ahistorical memory is a resource for future


peace.How would you write a historyof peaceand what historic
facts,values and development should be emphasized?

3. Discuss the Seville Statement on Violence,prepared by international


social and natural scientists which states that war is not inherited from
our animal ancestors; nor programmed into human nature or
evolution; humans do not have a violent brain and there is no instinct
or motivation for war. They concluded that thesame species who
invented war is capable of inventing peace.

4. Compare the mutual tolerance and coexistence among Muslims,


Christians and Jews in the ?Ofhto centuries with the situation in
Europe in the 16th to the 20th century Note that tolerance for people
of the bookhas been present throughouthistory in Muslim countries.

5. Examine examples of fundamentalism throughout history in


Christianity,Judaism and Islam and analyze whether it has a genuine
base in the principles of each religion or is a limited interpretation out
of contextof a specific faith.

6. The United Nations International Decade for a Culture of Peace and


non-Violencefor the Children of the World (2001-2010)is a challenge
for humanity, to change from a cultureof warto a cultureof peace.
Obtain the programmefor actionand draw up a global policy to
prevent conflict in the future.

7.Simulate a UN Security Council debate on this issue, as well as


possible initiatives of the U N and the Secretary General for the
development of a conflict prevention strategy and mechanisms. (see
the SG report on Preventionof Armed Conflict,training material from
UNITAR and David Hamburg,TheKilling Fields,an exhaustive study
on prevention of conflict).

22
23
Yn all societies culture and education,of which
the rudiments are provided by the family
environment,foster the harmonious integration
of individuals and groups in the community
- UNESCO,1985 -

24
-
3 Peace as Cultural Symbiosis

bY
James Calleja

Very few other periods in the history of humanity are as challenging to the
quest for peace as those that came after the velvetrevolutionsin Eastern Europe
and the Gulfcrises.This book is not about the conquest ofa lasting political peace
but about a cultural process which aims at promoting peace among peoples.The
authors of the different chapters have sought to identifjr with accuracy and
respect,a period in the history ofal-Andalus,which representsa tangible example
to future generations of the ingredients,other than the political aspects,of peace
through culture.The essaysthereforerepresentthe convictionthat,underlying the
relationships between cultures and the opportunitiesavailable for promoting their
symbiosis, there exists an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary foundation
which merits a clear assessment.
No historian can deny what Norman Daniel writes:the biggest impact ofthe
Arabs on medieval Europe was in Spain,or that through Spain the rest ofEurope
received its most accurate impressions of the Arabs( 1). Furthermore Daniel
states that no one can question the fact that it was in Spain more than anywhere
that for so long the two cultures developed in parallel(2). The work here should
therefore be read in the spirit of al-Andalusand the new emerging philosophy
built on a culture of peace. That a Euro-Mediterraneancountry such as Spain
should be the centre of the history of peace is evidence of that spiritual treasure
to posterity found in Pope John XXlllsencyclical letter Pacem in Terras.More
than that,it is the spirit ofa new European order which constantly attempts to find
in its own intellectual and spiritual tradition a foundation which is in many ways
a reformulation of the spirit of Spain between the sthand 13thcenturies.

-
1 Semantic Analvsis of Peace
The problem of peace is how a person becomes worthy of it and not its
acquisition. Before reading about the spirit of al-Andalus,it is reasonable to
make a purely semantic analysis of the concept of peace. There are two reasons
for this. The first is that the word peacehas one meaning but many
interpretations;the second is that peace is much more than the results of the

25
devastation of conflicts, it is a process, a learning process. To elucidate the
premises of the epistemology of peace in the context of Muslim,Christian and
Jewish cultures,one needs to formulate the meaning of peace in these different
cultures.The Hebrew word for peace is shalom,which means completenessor
wholeness.According to MacQuarrie (3), shalom is derived from the verb
shalem,which in its various forms can mean,to makecomplete,tofinishor
even tomake an end of.Therefore the Jewish concept ofpeace is related to the
concept of unity,wholeness and completeness.
In the Muslim world, the concept of peace, salaam, finds its philosophic
origin in Islam.The unity and continuity ofMuslim culture is reiterated by many
philosophers and scholars of the classical period. Peace is the fruit of learning.
The more a person learns, the more equilibrium he finds within himself and
within others. And by culture, Muslim philosophers maintained the
Mediterranean culture (4)in which Muslim thought has itsdeepest ethos,on the
one hand,and contemporary western culture its genetic roots on the other.
In the Christian tradition,John XXIII calls for a fundamental replacement
against the scenery of the emerging technological age: In place of the balance
of military power which is regarded today as the guarantee of peace,we must
substitute mutual trust as the surer way to real peace. This is possible because it
is demanded by reason, it is eminently desirable and it will bring great
reward( 5).
Replacing balance in arms by mutual trust is perhaps the most
comprehensive meaning of peace in the Christian world which correlates with
the Jewish idea of wholenessand unityand the Muslim call for a culture of
peace;peace as the result of onescultural interaction with the otherwithin the
same culture or outside onesown sphere of modes of living and thinking.
In this first stage ofphilosophical reflection,one comes across a concept of
peace made up of three basic values that in effect are the essence of the three
great monotheistic religions of the Mediterranean. O n the one hand, one can
derive the concept of communication from the Muslim interpretation of peace
through justice,reason and culture;the Jews, in their rich traditional history,
sought to promote an idea of peace based upon completeness.To complete an
act or a project one seeks co-operationor at least the minimum respect of others
to realize onesideas.One may therefore consider the concept of co-operation,
coexistence as a vehicle to peace as derived from the Muslim salaam and the
Hebrew shalom.The Christian peace concept is based upon love and trust.Trust
requires confidence. Confidence-building could be the third element in this

26
unifying concept of peace as derived from the philosophical and theological
foundations of the Muslim,Hebrew,and Christian tradition.
Previously,mention was made of ones worthiness of peace. Peace could
remain an utopian dream if commonalties among civilizations continued to be
suppressed rather than exploited. The Mediterranean is a fertile ground where
cultures could become vehicles of peace. However, one must ensure,that in
order to obtain peace and/orto be worthy of it, communication should have no
political,economic,social or cultural obstacles.Co-operationshould become the
basic tool for bringing people together, for making their existence a language
possessing a state of peace. Trust can be built if there is confidence, if history
proves to be the coming of an age ofmaturity.
Semantically speaking, peace could therefore mean communication, co-
operation and confidence-buildingin a hierarchical manner which allows the
value ofpeace to change,to adapt,to grow,to be dynamic.In al-Andalus,during
the period here researched,this process took place at various levels,in different
forms and under the most difficult circumstances imaginable. But it happened.
It may not have been the norm but it was enough to institutionalize this period
as a provocative sign for a possible peace.

2 - The Vagaries of Interpretation


Can peace speak with a united voice? This is one of the major obstacles to
any peace process,to its interpretation,the hermeneutic parameters of a strategy
which should lead people to communicate better,co-operateconstructively and
to build confidence.
During the Madrid Peace Conference,the headlines of Time International
Magazine read:The Search for Peace.W ill Muslims and Jews ever speak the
same language?(6) What is the language of peace? Many maintain it is its
interpretation but, more than that, it is the goodwill which determines the
limits of hostility and the endless boundaries of peace.Peace,as a definition
or an interpretation,is bound to be measured by the credibility of proposals
made to sustain its process. One of the objectives put forward to developing
countries in the Report of the South Commission is an example of how one
could define and interpret peace : Speak with a united voice in making clear
proposals, so as to play a leading role in this process. The proposals should
aim at capturing the imagination of the worlds people and especially of the
young;they should rise above parochialism to articulate a vision of the world
as one human family(7).

27
From this contribution, which comes from eminent world scientists and
politicians,one can derive four fundamentalelements which canhelp define peace.
Those worthyof peaceare the ones who speak with a united voice,those who
make clear proposals,those whose voice capture the imaginationofthe young and
thosewho articulatevisions.In contrastto the conceptofpeace as being the absence
ofdirect,structuralor culturalviolence,the presence ofa unified voice,ofconcrete
positive proposals,ofimaginationand ofvision,and forms recognized as universal
concepts upon which a peace process could find fertile ground (8).
The contributionsin this book should be read with this positive interpretation
ofpeace in mind.Ifone attributesthe qualities ofpeace to the absenceofnegative
qualitiesin human nature,one may miss the positive and spiritualdimensions ofa
concept which builds closer links among human beings rather than a theory of
peace which enhances protective, precautionary walls of silence. The basic
difference between Galtungs offensivedefence of peace and this non-
provocative,constructive foundation forpeace is in its methodology,its approach
and the way in which people should learn how to become worthy ofpeace.
Historically speaking,when Johan Galtung,the father of peace research,
first pronounced his concept of peace as the absence of violence, his theory
became the raison ditre,and rightly so,of peace research at a time when the
Cold War was at its peak,when the seeds of institutionalizedpeace were being
sown.Galtungs tree today has bore fruit,almost in abundance.The fall ofthe
Berlin Wall was one of the Norwegians prophecies. His philosophy may be
attributed to the first generation ofpeace research: peace through the conquest
ofcivil and political rights.Peace as the absence ofdirect violence.
The second generation ofpeace research may be assigned to those writers,
including Galtung himself, who refer to peace as the absence of structural
violence, be it social, economic or cultural violence. W e are a long way,
especially in the so-calledThird World, from the accomplishment of this vital
area ofhuman development.
Yet in many parts ofthe world,a third generation of peace research,peace
predicated upon the notion of solidarity,is already underway. Solidarity infuses
a human dimension into those areas of study and development where it has all
too often been missing.This it does at the expense ofthe eliminationofviolence
in its direct,structural and cultural manifest. The precise correlation of peace
with solidarity has, as its goal, the challenge and ambition that every human
being should nurture for the brotherhood ofmen and women,that is for human
beings in a finite world.

28
This book may be an example of a legacy that binds a past where peace
meant at times solidarity with a present which needs to make coexistence a
common heritage ofhumankind.The interpretation ofpeace as solidarity relates
to the previous founding elements of communication, co-operation and
confidence-building.To what extent can this interpretation of peace be worked
out through cultural symbiosis?H o w can one use the institutional,historical and
human resources which are available to carry out this work?

3 - Cultural Svmbiosis :Epistemolopical Foundations


Planning peace is a task which requires clear objectives.Consultations on
peace can be productive ifthe visions are clear,ifthey aim at nurturing in future
generations a spiritual and material sense of a more just world. Peace is one of
the most recent educational terms used in programmes at various levels of
instruction.Youth today has experienced violence directly or indirectly and
therefore can better understand and appreciate the benefits of peace.Very often,
these experiences take place in educational institutions and at home through the
media. In all societies culture and education of which the rudiments are
provided by the family environment, foster the harmonious integration of
individuals and groups in the community(9). These factors contribute towards
greater socialization and determine economic and social development.
Symbiosis takes place between the various societies. The nature of this
symbiosis could be of a political,economic and social dimension.It could also
be a cultural symbiosis.
Immanuel Kant, in his well-known pamphlet Perpetual Peace (1 795)
believed that as culture grows and humankind gradually moves towards greater
agreement over their principles, they lead to mutual understanding and
peace( IO). The role that culture could play to promote peace is understood by
many as an intellectual approach towards greater communication,co-operation
and confidence-building among peoples. In this respect, cultural symbiosis is
much more than this,since the coming together of cultures must be taken as an
a priori step which intentionally associates dissimilar cultural qualities with a
mutually advantageous and unifying peace process. Although the subject
culturalsymbiosisis an extremely vast and complex one,yet its teleological
essence is primarily peaceful and endogenous.It is peaceful, because however
different and even antagonistic cultures may be, their coming together is the
work ofpeople who,at heart,cherish the values ofconviviality.It is endogenous
because the meeting of cultures is based upon the actual circumstances of
societies and the needs and aspirations oftheir populations and secondly on the

29
existing and potential resourceswhether human,material,technicalor financial,
which any such society may possess( 11).
Cultural symbiosis may therefore be interpreted within this framework:as
peaceful and endogenous.The readings would make more sense ifseen through
this perspective.Whether the combination be Muslims/Jews,Jews/Christians,
Christians/Muslims,Jews/Christians/Muslims,the reader should seekto develop
a frame of mind which promotes a type or style of development in accordance
with the unified features of cultures and the multiple patterns of thought and
action.This work should then be viewed as an instrument which could restore
cultural identity in all its constituentparts,through a symbiosis ofthe contexts
and notions ofthe spirit ofmedieval al-Andalus.By restoring cultural identity,I
mean the revival ofvalues which mobilize the energy ofpeoples to invest in a
common depositofknowledge made up ofthe various beliefs,attitudes,patterns
ofbehaviour and relationships,in one word,culture.
One may deliberately claim that the results of this research are the first
investmentsin a deposit which,in the long run,should give tangible examplesof
cultural symbiosis.The very factthat so many scholarshave accepted to combine
their efforts so as to provide a source of reference that enhances peace is already
a step in the right direction. Cultural symbiosis is a term that allows the scholar
and the reader to prophesize a future.The words of Kant are very appropriate :
We can obtain a prophetic historical narrative of things to come by depicting
those events whose apriori possibility suggeststhat they will in fact happen.But
how is it possible to have history a priori? The answer is that it is possible ifthe
prophet himself occasions and produces the events he predicts.(1 2)
The epistemology ofculturalsymbiosisfinds,in the words ofKant,a direction
towards a future which one can construct,idealize,dream about,but also produce.
In this connection,the becoming of a history a priori draws on the collective
cultural experience ofeach scholarand ofeach reader,giving confidence to enable
them to shapetheir common destiny and build their future together.

-
4 Models of Peace in al-Andalus
H o w is it possible to prove that the above statements are true? What form
of relationship could be mentally constructed out ofthe spirit ofal-Andalus?Is
the subject-matter about which we are arguing a sphere which exists
independently of our present state of affairs? These are some questions which
the authors seek to answer in the course of this volume. For the spirit of al-
Andalus has been given, by the various experts, a new, powerful and

30
illuminatingform deductively valid by the representationofthe ideal.Deductive
validity,according to Tiles: the arguments which ought rationally to persuade a
person wholly on the strength of the acceptability of the premises - and partly
because it can be studied by concentrating entirely on the forms of arguments -
whatever the constituent premises and conclusions say, true or false, all
arguments which have one of the correct forms are valid (1 3). It is extremely
important to believe that whatever, be it historically, culturally or politically
valid, comes out of the experience of al-Andalus,provides us with different
options and ways of focusing upon a possible future, through the existing
accounts of the scholars.The concept of peace which emerges out of the spirit
of al-Andalus is one that generates a multiplicity of agreeable truths tied
together by the very same range of possibilities that the historical period in
question provides,is thought to provide and is scientifically made to provide.
It is certainly not difficult to understand how the spirit of al-Andalus,in its
purely historical bearings, could be taken as a model of peace. The horrors of
religious wars, to mention a classical example,could defeat such argument a
priori. But if, out of negative experiences of human degradation, we derive
lessons of peace,then many cultural,political and social similarities could be
positively exploited rather than suppressed.Norman Daniel says that: when we
have accepted all the uncomfortablefacts of aggression,we are free to study the
invasion of the Arab homeland by Europeans for its inherent interest,and find
that, although they failed in so many ways to provide intercultural links, the
Crusader states have a use and a meaning for the relations of the Arabs with
Europe. They constitute an essential step in the development of the future
relations of the two peoples,and they exemplifL the parallel development ofthe
two heirs ofthe ancient world( 14). Europeans and Arabs continued to see each
other as persecutors and aggressors;they could never share each othersculture,
accept each othersdifference.The crusading experience brought about a Cold
War between Europeans and Arabs which later ages inherited. But it also
nourished among various academic circles the need for reconciliation, for
mutual respect,for intercultural interaction.This century,in particular,has seen
this new development emerging as a matter of priority. What is lacking,and in
some connections undermining,is the fact that mutual respect presupposes the
acquisition of certain knowledge and attitudes which only appropriate education
and communication can transmit.This is still the missing link,a gap which this
volume attempts to fill.
If, then, one was forced to identify the problem of the Mediterranean,
including the Middle East,one would have to say that in addition to the political

31
and historic issues involved,it might also include a question of communication.
The people who border this explosive(in a politically/negative and in a
culturally/positive way) region may be minimizing each others cultural
perspective.Culturally speaking,the ColdWarlingers on.This means that it is
almost impossible forthe countriesinvolved to determine among themselvestheir
own destinies and enhance the security oftheir common cultural heritage (1 5).
This also means that one is obliged to create instruments of peace for the
advent of a cultureof peace.Such a culture can only take shape where new
partnerships are established (16).

-
5 InterculturalPeace: an a1 Andalus Synthesis
As explained through the various spheres of knowledge and the different
sectors ofthe al-Andalussociety,there remainsthe question of society as totality
as Philip Allott puts it: the total effect of the structure system of a particular
society,the effect which surpasses all actual conceiving and self-conceivingin
society, all actual self-creating and socializing, that which makes a particular
society into a unique society,with a unique identity.There remainsthe questionnot
ofsociety-through-itself (society created by itself)nor ofsociety-for-itself(society
conceived by itself) but ofsociety-in-itself(society conceived as totality) (17). The
al-Andalusspirit, that is the al-Andalussociety-in-itself,its culture, is a unique
experience in the history of humanity which, in itself, transcends human
consciousness and the physical world because ofits totality.It is the dimension of
relativity fiom beyond relativity (Allott) the dimension ofjudgement.
Allottsperspectivesofthe elements ofinternationalculture are apposite to
our rationalization of a fact (the al-Andalussociety) which becomes a message
through judgement. The dimension of relativity makes of every human
measurement (in religion,mythology, morality, science,art, economy,music,
history,law,literature,philosophy,and others) a relative,provisional and partial
statement:It is a dimension which makes it possible to see society as a whole,
as if w e were seeing it from outside (18). W e shall discover dilemmas,
paradoxes,mysteries,uncertainties,ambiguities,obscuritieswhich may never be
fully resolved but which would certainly reflect the truth that society-in-itselfis
permanently imperfect, incomplete and developing simply because it is
governed by the most unpredictable living creature - the human being. The
potential relativity of judgement of facts enables us, on the other hand, to
conceive the realization ofa more perfect,complete and just society which may
have some of the features of the past society but which is certainly unique in
itselfas a new emerging reality.

32
The spiritual dimension of al-Andalusshould therefore be the dimension of
the ideal: the idea of all our ideas,the potentiality of all our possibilities,the
direction of our becoming,the ultimate source of all our imagining,the ultimate
order of all our reasoning.And the ideal is contained in the concept of peace as
communication, co-operation and confidence-building. If peace, as Saint
Augustine says,is a well-disposed order (19), such an ultimate order,in the
unpredictable circumstances of human life,has to be a dynamic order,one in
which cultures converge and diverge,where cultures become the source of all
imagination,especially that related to the future.
Therefore,the pretext of peace as the driving force behind the message of
al-Andalusshould be seen not as a hypothesis but as a synthesis of the totality
of facts,intentions,predictions,willingness and the rest ofall that is. Unless this
is truly conceived as process of realization, the culture of the al-Andalusspirit
would be lost,it would not serve the purpose of its very essence - the totalizing,
self-transcendingand self-judgingspirit.
Beyond the enriching experiences of al-Andaluslie the objectives of the
whole human race,humanity in its totality.In particular,we are here focusing
upon three Mediterranean cultures which have given to civilization a wealth of
knowledge and values but which are still in search of a common ground where
the freedom of coexistence on the various social levels generates endogenous
development and peace.
The Mediterranean region is still in search of a model of development,of a
language in which no one is humiliated,of a philosophy which respects unity in
diversity. The absence of these basic features of any international community
hinder a process which can widely be termed as peace,the tranquillityoforder
(Saint Augustine), one in which mobility of ideas and people enrich one another,
where fundamental needs are catered for in an institutionalized manner, where
investment policies centre around the dignity of the human being, his freedom
to live in his homeland,to reap the fruits ofhis generations,to live in peace side-
by-sidewith his neighbour.
This is but one facetofreality.On the other side,still inthe Mediterranean area,
is the old-continentin search of a pan-Europeanpolitical and economic unity
based upon a general cultural and social reality which favours greater community,
a sense of belonging.H o w these two worlds can come together for mutual benefit
is a problem of education,of mentalities,of respect for one another.One may, of
course,opt for a futuristic-radicalapproach,put an end to the present situation and
create a community starting from completely new international values hitherto

33
unknown to society (20). The other possible optionwould be to searchfor a cultural
approach for the fhre development ofthe Mediterraneanhliddle Eastern region
with special ties with Europe,including the Northern countries which,for peace
purposes,possess experience and credibility.
The al-Andalussynthesis is an example of an intercultural peace which
contains the components of the cultures ofthe Mediterranean and the ideals of
the new European peace order after the fall ofthe Berlin Wall.The changesneed
to start from within and have to be seen in their totality.Having an instrument
such as the al-Andalussynthesis is the same as being in possession of a vision,
an external perspective contained within the particular internal perspective of a
given society. One has to look upon the al-Andalussynthesis as a legitimate
cultural phenomenon,with its crises, failures and cycles, filling the spiritual
emptiness of a region in search of itself.
The process should start among future generations.People are aware ofthe
ever-increasing power of communication over the future of society and very
often tie their aspirations to the values of commonalties,the purpose of their
very existence.Positively exploited,this process leads to the inevitable wish to
co-operateconstructively,to seek ways and means of determining ones future
through old new words, ideas,theories and values which once again will flow
into the social and cultural consciousness of the people who border the
Mediterranean region building trust and self-realization.
Whether or not the al-Andalus synthesis is a different name for a
Mediterraneamiddle Eastern peace vision is certainly a pertinent question.The
ideals of this project tend to regard the two terms as synonymous and as a good
exampleto call on present-dayJews,Christiansand Muslimsto partake ofthe fruits
oftheircultural symbiosisand to assimilate it as,in part,their own authentic legacy.
Beyond the shores of the marenostrumthe al-Andaluslegacy may well be
regarded as a foundation for peace in the process of globalization. With the
advancementsin scienceand communicationtechnology the world hastmly become
a global village in which diversities mix and enrich or destroy each other. In this
process of cultural and political maturation or marginalization people constantly
request models ofsecurity,well-being,freedom,survival and identity. Al-Andalus
provides all ofthese basic needs not only in its historical context but beyond its
historicalperspective. It is in many ways the melting pot ofa political vision which
aims at providing a forum for dialogue,respect for diversity and the structures of
fundamental freedoms and human rights. It also advocates universal mechanisms
which should advance the principles and practice ofa law governed civil society.

34
Discussion Questions

I. In the analysis on the concept of peace, the al-Andalus metaphor


provides a contemporary context for the present day conflict in the
Middle East. Discuss this subject in the light of Chapter Three.

2, Discuss the plan of action drawn up at Barcelona, for cooperation


between Mediterranean countries, and its implementation by the
European Union. What further actions could be undertaken?

3,How can contemporary decision makers apply in real situations the


theoretical framework mentioned in this chapter, that peace is a
combination of communication,cooperationand confidence -building?
Apply to present internationalproblems.

4.In recalling the cultural wealth of this remarkable period in Arab and
European history, consider how it can pave the way for a peaceful
future beyond Europe,the Middle East and North Africa. What are the
major obstacles of peace today that can be overcome through the
lessons of a/-Andalus?

5. AI-Andalusas a metaphor for peace appeals to future generations. In


what manner can young generations re-visit this period from the
perspective of peace and international cooperation and design a
better future for themselves and the world?

6. Discuss lmmanuel Kantsargument regarding history a priori, that is,


a prophetic historical narrative of desirable futures. How does this
relate to peace?

35
The Grand Mosque of Cordoba
Riad Al-Chovbachi

36
GEOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL
FRAMEWORK

4 - The Iberian Peninsula under Muslim Government


-
Sfh 15thcenturies

bY
Francisco Franco-Sanchez

-
1 T h e Geographic Framework of al-Andalus
In the Middle Ages Muslim geographers described the Peninsula of al-
Andalus as a triangle which they divided into three regions - East, West
(separated by an imaginary vertical line that passed through the city of
Toledo) and South (which would coincide with the ancient region of the
Roman Albacete and modern Andalusia). The geographic characteristic of
being a peninsula gave al-Andalusspecial relations with the Mediterranean
world, a reason why at that time the sea was a route that linked a variety of
cities and ports in Europe and North Africa. One must not forget that the
conquering Muslims reached the Iberian Peninsula by sea, nor that the
majority of travellers who arrived in al-Andalusthrough the centuries came
from the Mediterranean and entered from the skarq al-Andalus (the East of
al-Andalus,the ports of Murcia,Alicante and Valencia, in particular) or from
ports on the South of the Peninsula.
The Muslim population of al-Andalus was mainly rural, but urban
structures were of major importance. Cities fulfilled essential functions as
religious,political, administrative,military and economic centres where the
rural populations of the neighbouring areas flocked to attend the Friday
prayers, or to claim justice from the judge,or to bring over their products or
to buy some from the urban markets. The Jewish population also had a
predominantly urban character; its communities (more or less numerous,
depending on the place and on social and political circumstances) were in the
principal cities of the Iberian Peninsula (on the Muslim side and in the
Christian Kingdoms of the North), and only Lucena (until the 16fhcentury)
was an entirely Jewish city.

37
Between the different Muslim cities in al-Andalusthere were great rural or
interurban distances.In these vast zones there were several elements which were
also dependent on the main regional cities: these were the paths and roads that
linked villages,as well as networks oftowers and castles.They guaranteed with
vigilance the security of these roads and cities.All these areas (even the most
remote roads or strongholds) depended on the cities from an administrative,
religious,military and economic point of view. One must take this into account
in order to understand the relations of the inhabitants of al-Andaluswith their
geographical milieu.
Contrary to the Muslim population which settled in cities or depended on
them,Ibn Hawqal (a geographer ofthe lofhcentury) describesthe inhabitants in
the North of the Iberian Peninsula as people who ignore all types of urban life
and belong to the Christian faith. Consequently,these people led a rural and
warlike life,as opposed to the Muslims.To this effect one should be acquainted
with the ideological perspectives in which the inhabitants of al-Andalus
mutually viewed one another.The Muslims considered the people of the North
as tributaries belonging to the Christian faith,who acknowledge the sovereignty
of the legitimate Muslim governor of the Peninsula by paying tax.However,if
they did not pay the tax the Muslims would consider them rebels and would
therefore launch military expeditions against them. O n the other hand, the
Christian counties and kingdoms of the North wanted to gain greater
independenceby paying taxes and by revolting when they could. In this manner
they progressively won territories and cities over which they governed.
In view ofthese geographical mutations,it should be noted that the Muslims
used the term al-Andalus to designateall the IberianPeninsula:meaning Spain and
Portugal which were under their control.Christian Spain was called tlsbunyiu.The
Jewish population termed it the Sephurud Peninsula,irrespective of whether the
ruling power was Christian or Muslim.
The Christians organized themselves in counties and Kingdoms of Galicia,
Leon, Castile,Navarre and CataZuAu. In so doing they were able to conquer
Muslim controlled territories until Muslim rule was reduced to the Kingdom of
Granada in the Peninsula.
As such, borders and frontiers also changed continually throughout the
history of the Peninsula. Similarly the political, administrative and military
systems as well as cultural spheres varied accordingly.
The political centres changed also according to the historical periods.Under
the Umayyad Caliphate,al-Andalusdepended indirectly on Damascus and was

38
attached to the administration ofIfiiqiyu (modern Tunisia with Kairawan as its
provincial capital). While under the Amirate and the Caliphate of Cordoba
political independence was maintained vis-a-visthe Orient. The political and
administrative capital of al-Andaluswas Cordoba. But Marrakech became the
capital under the African dynasties (Almoravids and Almohads).
These political changes did not affect the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
Cultural exchanges continued with the Orient, similarly oriental scholars and
travellers visited al-Andalus in search of knowledge. All these scholars and
travellers contributed towards the great development in the scientific,literary,
linguistic and artistic fields and in all spheres of knowledge, in a climate of
scientific exchange.As a result ofthis environment fruitful intellectual relations
existed between Muslims,Christians and Jews in the Iberian Peninsula.

-
2 The Historical Framework of al-Andalus
After the death of the prophet Muhammad, his faithhl disciples undertook
the conquest of vast territories extending from the Arabian Peninsula, to
Mesopotamia,Persia,and reached as far as India and towards the West. The
Muslim religion spread quickly due to its mighty armies. Soon,North Africa
was conquered. In 670AD/49Hthe city of Kairawan was founded south of
Tunis,and Carthage was conquered in the year 689AD/69H. The whole area of
modern Tunisia constituted roughly the province of Ifriqiya. From there,
successive expeditions were launched that conquered modern Algeria and
Morocco.Furthermore expeditions were launched on the shores of the Iberian
Peninsula in 705AD/85-86Hand in 709AD/90H. Arab historians allude also to
an expedition made to Tarifa in 710AD/91H.
With the support of the Byzantine governor of Ceuta, Count Julian,the
troops of Tariq b. Ziyadssent by Musa b. Nusayr (the governor or wali of the
province of Ifikpju), crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and took over the
government of the Iberian Peninsula. They did so either by expeditions
following Roman roads or by signing pacts with local authorities and
inhabitants,or through military conquests. Subsequent to these expeditions in
which governor M u d b. Nusayr himself and his two sons participated, the
Muslims became masters of all the Peninsula. They set up their capital in
Cordoba and adapted the Visigothic administration to suit their new
requirements.
Therefore,the Muslim rule started with its political power based on a distant
government ofthe Umayyad Caliphate ofDamascus.This government lasted for

39
half a century with internal struggles between the various Arab factions of
Cordoba,until the Caliphate of Damascus nominated a new governor.
With the violent accession to the Caliphate of the Abbasid rule,almost all
the representatives of the Umayyads were exterminated. Prince Abd al-
Rahman, whose mother was a Maghrebine Berber managed to escape the
massacre ofthe family,fled towards the Maghreb and succeeded in winning the
support of a section of the Arabs of al-Andalusin favour of his cause.Thus,he
became the master of Cordoba in 756AD/138H.
From this time onwards one has to speak of an independent Amirate,for
Abd al-Rahman breaks all his political ties with the new caliphal capital,
Baghdad,and governs the Peninsula in an autonomous manner.The reforms of
the Umayyads in al-Andalus was felt in the administration, the army, the
building of fortificationsand in almost all the different spheres of government.
Having consolidated the foundations of a strong al-Andalus state, the
successors of Abd al-RahmanI gradually strengthened their ascendancy over
the administration.For two centuries and a half, until the so-called periodof
the tu $U kingdomsprosperity increased and so did economy and demography.
Nevertheless,problems appeared: attacks by the Christians in the North of the
Peninsula,danger from the Normans on the shores,threats from the Fatimids of
Ifriqiyu,political expansion of the Maghreb. In view of the danger facing the
Umayyad Government of Cordoba, the powerful Fatimid dynasty which had
named a Shiitecaliph,the Amir of al-Andalus,Abd al-Rahman111, assumed
also the title of caliph,ignoring the existence ofthe Sunnite caliph of Baghdad,
with whom the government of al-Andalus had no relations and whose
remoteness no longer represented for him either threat or utility. Thisis the
period of the Caliphate of Cordoba where the appropriation of the caliph title
endows the al-Andalusauthorities with political and religious significance in
contrast with the other two caliphs :the heretical Fatimid ShiiteofIfriqiyuand
the distant Abbasid Sunnite.
The successors of Abdal-RahmanI11 kept the title ofcaliph,but at the end
of the lothcentury,an ambitious person, Abu Amir Muhammad b. Abu Amir
known as al-Mansur(meaning the victorious) assumed various prerogatives of
power,during the infancy of the caliph in office,Hisham 11. Although retaining
only the title of hujib or Prime Minister,he assumed all the executive powers of
the caliphs. This political situation was maintained by his two sons and
successors in the post of hajib,until the second of these sons,Abdal-Rahman
Sanchueloappointed himself heir to the Caliphate.

40
The population ofCordoba revolted and a civil war broke out from 1010AD
onwards.It is the period known asJtna, where three social groups struggled for
the supreme power in al-Andalus:the Arab nobility,including descendants ofthe
indigenous inhabitants of Visigothic Hispania, the saqaliba, generally of
Christian and European origin who occupied high official functions and the
Berber military troops, brought over fi-omthe Maghreb by al-Mansurand his
sons,to strengthen their armies.
As a consequence of the civil war in the llth century,the political unity of
al-Andalusbroke up into several ta 'fa kingdoms,which inherited the splendour
and the richness of the former kingdom. In spite of the wars that broke out
between the different ta'fa kings,nevertheless taxes were still being collected
in the principalities, which ensured economic wealth. Similarly, literary
production thrived,and the ta'fa kings extended their intellectual patronage to
sciences.Therefore,the 1 lth century may be considered as a century of wealth,
culture,science and also,conflict.
Starting with the ta'ifa kingdoms onwards,we observe a certain degree of
religious radicalization. Religious differences between Muslims and Christians
grew and paved the way to the process of the Reconquista. Two factors put an
end to the former convivial environment between the different social groups in
the Peninsula:on one hand,the military orders,on the other,the attitude ofthe
Almoravids and Almohads dynasties. Consequently,the Jewish and Muslim
minorities in the Christian kingdoms suffered as well as the Jewish and
Mozarabs minorities in al-Andalus.
At the end of the 11" century,the Almoravids of Marrakesh established
their power in al-Andalus. Called upon by a fraction of the population, they
ruled for more than half a century in al-Andalus.Their downfall in the Maghreb,
provoked by the rise ofthe powerful politico-religiousmovement ofAlmohads,
was the origin of a new ta'ifa period, and lead consequently to the
decentralization in al-Andalus,in the middle of the 12thcentury.
TheAlmohads,also ofBerber origin,succeeded in re-uniflingvast territories,
-
that extended from Valencia - in al-Andalus to Tripoli - in Ifriqiya.They carried
out important military and administrative reforms there. Meanwhile,the military
power of the Christians broke down the resistance of the Empire and succeeded,
during the second quarter of the 13thcentury,in taking over the major territories
of al-Andalus:Majorca and Ibiza,Cordoba,Valencia, Seville,Alicante, Murcia,
and Portuguese Algarve. Consequently,the Muslim territories were reduced from
the second quarter ofthe 1 3th century onward,to the Kingdom ofGranada where

41
the Nasrid dynasty ruled until the end ofthe 15thcentury.Muslim society and Arab
culture remained alive in this part ofthe Iberian Peninsula.
In 1492AD/897H,Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand ofAragon (known as the
Catholic kings), conquered the kingdom ofGranada and finally put an end to the
Muslim kingdoms in al-Andalus.
From the beginning ofthe Reconguistu some Muslims decided to remain in
the Iberian Peninsula under Christian domination. As the Christian conquest
advanced these Muslims enjoyed special status recognized by the Christian
power. They were grouped in outlying quarters, they were called ul-jumuu
which became known later as Mudejars.
In the first quarter of the 16* century,Muslims were compelled to convert to
Christianity and were designated since that time as Moriscos. They secretly kept their
Muslim faith and,for that reason,were persecuted by the Inquisition.These Moriscos
were later expelled fiom Spain for religious,social and economic reasons by Felipe III,
between 1609AD/1017Hand 1614ADA022H.The Maghreb,Turkey and other Muslim
countries in the Mediterranean basin became the new home ofthese Spanish Moriscos.

-
3 Chronoloyical framework
The following chronological tables, integrated the different data, dates,Muslim
Christian,orJewishhistoric personages,et cetera,intheirepoch.This willhelp to outliie
the background ofthe different events described in the following chapters ofthe book.

I DATE HISTORIC FACTS


I 1 MUSLIM CONQUEST OF THE IBERIAN PENINSULA
1 710191 I Expedition of Tariq b. Ziyad to the Iberian Peninsula.
711192 Tariq b. Ziyad, helped by the fleet of Count Julian, the
Byzantine Governor of Cuenta,and a small group of Berber
mercenaries, manages to reach the Iberian Peninsula. He
obtains the submission of a fraction of inhabitants of
Visigothic Hispania.
7 13194 Pact ofTeodomiro Gandarez with Abdal-Aziz,son of Musa
b. Nusayr, governor of Ifriqiya.According to this pact, the
Christians of Tudmir (Murcia and Alicante) were subject to
the Muslim government, in exchange for a legal status that
acknowledged their liberties.(see de Epalza)

42
DEPENDENT AMIRATE OF DAMASCUS
716-756/97-138 Succession of different governors in al-Andalus
appointed directly by the Umayyads Caliph ofDamascus.
INDEPENDENT AMIRATE OF CORDOBA
756-7881138-172 The Umayyad Amir Abd al-Rahman I b. Muawiya
flees the Orient, arrives in al-Andalus and wins the
support of certain military groups and Arab nobility.H e
conquers Cordoba with this army and takes over power
in al-Andalus.Administrative and military restructuring
of al-Andalustook place.
788-796/172-180 Hisham I
796-822/180-206 Al-Hakam I
822-8521206-238 Abd al-RahmanI1
852-886/238-273 Muhammad I
886-8881273-275 Al-Munsirb. Muhammad I
888-9121275-300 Abd Allah b. Muhammad I
912-300 Muhammad b. AbdAllah
912-929/300-3
16 Abd al-Rahman I1 conquers political dissidents. Great
economic development,great centralizationand peace.
UMMAYAD CALIPHATE
929-9611316-350 Abd al-RahmanI11 decidesto assume the caliphal title.
961-9761350-366 Al-Hakam I1 al-Mustansir
976-10091366-399 Hisham I1 al-Muyadd
981-1 002/371-392 Abu Amir al-Mansur,de facto governor of al-Andalus
occupies the post of Hajib or Prime Minister. A period
noted for Muslim attacks against Christian kingdoms in
the north ofthe Iberian Peninsula.
1002-10081392-39! Al-Mansurwas succeeded by his son Abdal-Malikal-
Muzaffar.
1008-10091399 Abd al-Rahman,known as Sanchuelo,succeeds his
brother.

43
CIVIL W A R OR FITNA
10091399 Muhammad I1 al-Mahdi
10091399 Sulayman al-Mustain
1010-10131400-403Hisham I1
1013-10161403-407 Sulayman al-Mustain
10181408 Abd ai-RahmanIV al-Murtada
1023-1024/414 Abd al-RahmanV al-Mustazhir
1024-10251414-416Muhammad 111 al-Mutadd
1027-10311420-422 Hisham I11 al-Mu
PERIOD OF THE TAIFA KINGDOMS
1031-1090/422-482The taifa kingdoms were the consequent result of the
civil war,the most important were:
The Banu Jahwar of Cordoba (1031-1069)
1031-10431422-435 Abu-1-HamalJahwar
1043-1058/435-450Abu-1-Walidb. Jahwar
1058-1069/450-461Abd al-Malikb. Jahwar
The Banu Abbadof Seville (1023-1091)
10231414 Isrnailb. Abbad
1023-10421414-433 Abu-I-QasimMuhammad b. Abbad
I 042-10691433-461 al-Mutadid bi-1-lah
1069-1091/461-484Muhammed b.Abbad al-Mutamid
The Banu H u d of Saragossa (1040-1142)
1040-10461431-438 Sulayrnan b. Hud al-Mustainbi-1-lah
1046-10821438-475Ahmad I al-Muqtadir
1082-10851475-478 Yusuf al-Mutamin
1085-11101478-453 Ahmad I1 al-Mustainb.Hud
111 0111301453-524 Abd al-Malikhadal-Dawla
1130-1146/524-540Abu JafarAhmad b.Hud Sayf al-Da

44
The Banu di-l-Nun of Toledo (e. 1016-1085)
1016-10431407-423Isrnailb. dil-Nunal-Hafir
1043-10851423-437 Abu-l-HasanYahya al-Mamun
1075-10851437-478 Yahya a1 Qadir
The Banu-l-Aftas of Badajoz (1022-1094)
1022-10451413-437 Abd Allah b. al-Aftasal-Mansur
1045-10681437-460 Ibn al-Aftasal-Muzaffar,who was succeeded by his two
sons,in disagreement with each other.
1067-81460-464 Yahya al-Mansur
1067-81460-464 Al-Mutawakkilb. al-Aftas
The Banu Ziri of Granada (c. 1013-1090)
1013-10181403-410 Zawi b. Z
iri
1019-1038/410-429 Habus b. Maksan
1038-10731429-465 Badis b. Habus
1073-10901465-483 AbdAllah b. Buluggin
The Banu Sumadih dAlmeria (1041-1091)
1041-10521433-443 Man b.Ahmad b. Sumadih
1052-10911443-484Al-Mutasim
d. 10911484 Ahmad Muizz al-Dawla

45
Other dynasties governed in Denia, Albarracin, Murcia, etc.,
during the 11th century.

THE ALMORAVID DYNASTY


The first two Caliphs of the Almoravid dynasty were
Yahya b. Umar(d. 1056/447) and Abu Bakr b. Umar
(d. 1087/479). They enlarged their rule and consolidated
their power.
During the government of Yusuf b. Tashufin (1061-
1106/453-51 I), the Almoravids crossed the Straits of
Gibraltar in 1090/482and conquered al-Andalus.
Among the small Muslim emirates of the Iberian
Peninsula which followed the decomposition of the
Almoravid Empire, one can mention the kingdoms of
Ibn Iyad(1146/541)and of Ibn Mardanis (1 172/670),
who governed almost all the East and the South of the
Iberian Peninsula.
CONQUEST OF THE ALMOHAD DYNASTY
The Almohads, another politico-religious movement,
emerged in the North African mountains. Their first
Caliph,Ibn Tumart al-Mahdimanaged to consolidate the
dynasty and to conquer vast domains in North Africa.
Between 1147-1232/541-629)
1 130-1 163/524-558 Abd al-Mumin succeeded in extending the
Almohad Kingdom and laid siege to Marrakesh. He
crossed over to the Iberian Peninsula and annexed
almost the entire area.
1163-1184/558-58C Abu Yaqub Yusuf
1184-1199/580-595 Abu YusufYaqub al-Mansur
1199-1213/595-611 Muhammad al-Nasir
1213-1224/611-62C Yusuf I1 al-Mustansir

46
NASRID KINGDOM OF GRANADA
1232-14921629-897 The Christians progressively gained the territories
conquered by the Almohads, until the time when the
Kingdom of Granada was the only representativeof the
Muslim power in the Iberian Peninsula. Several
sovereigns succeeded one another until 1492/897:the
year in which Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand ofAragon
(the Catholic Kings) definitely take over Granada, the
capital of the Kingdom.
MUDEJARES 12fh-15fh
centuries
The Mudejars are those Muslims who remained in the
(12th -I 6thcenturies) Christians territories conquered
from the llth century onwards. Their status was
recognized by Christian law.
-
MORISCOS 16fh 17fhcenturies
The Moriscos are Spanish Muslims forced to convert to
Christianity at the end of the l S h century and at the
beginning of the 16thcentury. Although, almost all of
them kept secretly their Muslim faith.
King Philippe I11 of Spain ordered their expulsion in
1609AD/1017H until 1614AD/I022H

47
-
b The Evolution of the Christian Kinpdoms of the North in the Iberian
Peninsula.

After the Muslim conquest (711-725AD/92-106H),the nobility, the


bishops and the principal members of the Visigoth society emigrated
towards the North of the Iberian Peninsula, especially to Asturias, and to
the Pyrenees.

SthCENTURY
In Asturias, a small core of resistance was constituted.

I 1
718-737/99-118 Pelayo
~~~

I
739-757421-139 Alfonso 1 started repopulating the region of Asturias.
~~~ ~~

In Navarra
A small number of Christians managed to obtain independence from the
Muslim government of Cordoba.
Frankish resistance
After having tried to occupy the South of present day France,the Muslims
were defeated in Poitiers - 732AD/113H.Charlemagne (768-814AD/150-
198H)occupied the regions to the North of the Ebro and annexed them to
his realm: the counties ofAragon,Sobrarbe,Ribagorza and Pallars,as well
as the Catalan counties (areas called the Hispanic steps).

gth CENTURY
Repopulating the Hispanic regions:

791-842/174-227 Alfonso I1
I 850-866/235-251 I Ordofio I
I 866-910/251-297 I Alfonso 111
Navarra
Iiiigo Arista (820-85lAD/204-236H)was its first King. His successors
reigned an independent Navarra.

48
851-870/236-256 Garcia Ifiiguez
870-905/256-292 Fortun GarcCs

878-897/264-283 Wilfred I

10th CENTURY
I Navarra
1 905-926/292-3
13 1 Sancho GarcCs I
I 926-970/131-359 I Garcia Sanchez I annexed Aragon
I 970-994/359-383 I Sancho GarcCs I1 Abarca
I 994-1000/383-390 I
-
Garcia SanchezI1
Frankish Counties
Certain counties such as those of Aragon, Sobrarbe,Ribagorza and Pallars
were annexed throughout the century by Navarra.
Other countieslikethe Hispania steppes continue striving for independence
from Barcelona from which they became independent in the 1 lth century
AD/Sth century H.

897-911/283-298 Borrell
I Towards947/335 I Suner
I 947-992/335-381 I Borrell I1
I 992-1018/381-408 I Ramon Borrell
Kingdom of Leon: Composed ofthe regions of Galicia,Asturias,Leon and
Castile.

49
914-9241301-31 1 Ordoiio I1
925-9311312-318 Alfonso I V
935-9511323-339 Ramiro I1
951-9561339-344 Ordoiio I11
956-9661344-355 Sancho I el Craso
966-9841355-373 Ramiro 111: his reign was marked by al-Mansurs
expeditions and the retreat of the Christians.
984-9991373-3
89 Bermudo I1

1035-10541426-445 I Garcia Sanchez I11


1054-10761445-468 Under Sancho GarcCs I V Y the kingdom was shared
between Castilians and Aragonese.

1032-1065/423-457 Ferdinand I the Great. This period marks a


predominance over Leon.
1062-10721453-464 Sancho I1

The Christian conquest reached the river Tajo.

1063-10941454-486 Sancho I Ramirez


1094-11041486-497 Pedro I
The Christian conquest reached the river Ebro.
The County of Barcelona emancipate himself from the Frankish crown:

50
1018-1035/308-426 Roman Berenguer I
1035-1076/426-468 Ramon Berenguer I
1076-1082/468-474 Ramon Berenguer I1
1082-1096/474-489 Roman Berenguer I1
1096-1 13 1/489-525 Ramon Berenguer I11
1131-1162/525-557 Ramon Berenguer IV

12th CENTURY

' Kingdoms were united through matrimony. With Dofia Urraca (1109-
1126ADJ502-519) 502-519H):Castile and Leon.
With Alfonso I1 (1 162-1196/557-592):Aragon and CataluAa
Castile and Leon kept their union under Alfonso VII(Il26-1157/519-551)
1 On his death,they separated again:
Castile with Sancho 111 (1157-1158/551-552)
' And Leon with Ferdinand I1 (1157-1188/551-583)
1 1188-1230/583-627Alfonso IX
Portugal: Alfonso Henriquez inherits the county and is recognized as
sovereign.

13th CENTURY

Aragon (1 196-1213AD/592-609H):
With Peter I1 the Catholic: Conquest of
new territories
James I (1213-1276AD/609-674H):
conquest of Majorca and Ibiza 1229-
1235 ADJ626-632H:Valencia 1238-1245ADJ635-642H
1 1276-1285/674-683 1 Peter 111 the Great I
I 1285-1291/683-690 I Alfonso 111: occupation of Minorca
I
51
1252-1284/649-682 Alfonso X the Wise: conquest of Murcia, and great
cultural development.
1284-12951682-694 Sancho IV,occupation ofTarifa. 1295-1312AD/694-
71 1H Ferdinand IV

Portugal: Alfonso I1 crosses the river Tajo during his reign (1211-
1223AD/607-619H). 1223-1248AD/619-645H Sancho I1 reaches the
Atlantic coast and the river Guadiana.

I 1248-1278/645-676 I Alfonso I11


1 1278-1325/676-725 I Dionis

14th CENTURY

Aragon: Expansion via the Mediterranean under James I1 (1291-


1327AD/689-727H)

1327-13361727-736 Alfonso IV
1336-13871736-788 Peter 1V: Annexation of the Balearic Islands to the
crown ofAragon

I 1395-1410/797-812 I Martin I
1410-1416/812-818 Ferdinand ofAntequera and I ofAragon

52
Navarra: Isolated from the rest of the Iberian Peninsula under French
Kings 1304-1309AD/703-708H
And with the House of Evreux 1309-1425AD/708-828H

Castile
1312-13501711-750 Alfonso XI
1350-1369/750-770 Peter I
1369-1379/770-780 Henry 11 of Trastamare
1379-13901780-792 John I
1390-14061792-808 Henry I11
Portwal

1325-13561725-756-7 Alfonso IV
1356-13671756-7-768 Peter I
1367-13831768-784 Ferdinand I
1383-14331784-836 John I ofAvis

15th CENTURY
Araeon

1416-1458/818-862 Alfonso V
1458-1479/862-883
John I1 ofArapon
I 479-1516/883-921
Ferdinand 11, the future Catholic king
Navarra

1387-1425/788-828 Charles I11 was succeeded by his daughter Blanche


(1425-1441AD/828-844H),but after her death civil
war broke out.She was succeeded by her husband
John 11, King of Aragon. Following Johns death
(1 479/883), Navarra became independent under
the House of Foix (1479-1512AD/883-917H)and
Ferdinand the Catholic annexed Navarra in
1512AD/917H.

53
Portugal I
1383-1433/784-836 John I ofAvis
1
-1433-1438/836-84 Edward I
1438-1481/841-885 Alfonso V
1481-149S/885-900 John IT
1495-1521/900-927 Manuel I
Castile
1406-1454/808-85
8 John I1 of Castile and Leon
1454-14741858-878 Henry IV
1474-1504/878-909H A war of succession was followed by Isabels
accession to power.
1479/883H In the year 1479AD/883H, King Ferdinand,
(Catholic), was crowned King ofAragon,married
since 1469AD/883Hto Isabel I. Unification of the
Kingdom of Castile and Aragon.
1492/897 Fall of the Muslim Kingdom of Granada

54
cd
-0
-
0
.3
0
cd
cd
pi
55
56
-
5 The Most Western Part of Al-Andalus
(Ancient Kingdoms of Portugal and the Algarve)

by
Teresa Judice Gamito

The ancient kingdomsofPortugal and the Algarve,as they were called,


were formed in the most western part of Al-Andalus,(Algarve,al-Gharb in
Arabic, indicates the West). Between the 8th and the 15th centuries the
dynamics developed in the social process of this area varied in accordance
with the different moments.Moments of great instability and change existed
together with others of stability, in which the relationship established
between the various religious and ethnic components of its population
developed in great equilibrium and harmony. However,this equilibrium and
harmony was not achieved without costs.Although the great majority of the
population remained basically the same,resulting from the different ethnic
additions during centuries, only the dominant minorities changed. The
general adjustments of the population were not without difficulties,whether
small or great.
Three main phases can thus be considered regarding the territory ofPortugal:
1. The first, between the 5thand the sth centuries,which in a sense prepared
for and preceded the coming of the Muslims and possessing a high degree of
culture and civilization unique in Europe at that time;
2. The second, the Islamic expansion and domain of the Peninsula - a1
Andalus - which presented three important periods: the invasion and conquest;
the peaceful Islamic domination;and the collapse ofthe Islamic Amirate,which
became later the caliphate of Cordoba,its breaking up into small kingdoms,the
taifas,and the slow process of the Reconquista;
3. The third, the persistence of cultural and social traces of the Islamic
domain in Iberia on its inhabitants,their way of living,mentality and forms of
art, in the succeeding centuries.

57
Between the 5th and the 8th centuries
Everywhere,the last decades of the Roman Empire and rule were marked
by moments of intense social disorder and alarming administrative abuse. They
were indeed only accentuated by the actual disintegration ofthe Roman Empire
itself,and the constant attacks and invasions ofGerman peoples along its eastern
frontiers. However,the Visigoths managed to become allies ofthe Romans and
when the German and Gothic invasions ofthe Peninsula occurred,they provided
a good excuse for the Visigoths,already established in the Narbonense,to cross
the Pyrenees and come into the Iberian Peninsula to assist them. They came to
help the populations ofthe adjoining areas,namely the Terraconense,to fight the
barbaric invading tribes. The same can be said about the Byzantines,who came
to recover,for Christendom,the coasts of the Mediterranean and who were,by
then,well established in the North of Africa (1). The Byzantines came to the
Peninsula on the behalf ofAtanagildo against Atila,to help him in his fight for
power. They seemed to have agreed on a peace treaty in which the Byzantines
would be allowed to conquer the territory further towards the West. In the
Iberian Peninsula they founded a kingdom at Cordoba. They would have thus
occupied the whole southern part ofIberia by 554. Elvora or Evora (in Alentejo,
southern Portugal) was probably their furthest northern point. However,it was
in Algarve that they remained longer,until the year of624 (Goubert 1950,Judice
Gamito 1996).
The prestige and influence of the Roman Empire in the Orient was
enormous, and Constantinople was a magnificent and luxurious monumental
town. Throughout the Dark Ages, Constantinople radiated with its culture,
civilization and richness,remaining the guardian ofRomadWestern civilization.
It is interesting to note that the immediate impact ofthe German peoples upon the
western part of the Roman Empire was not felt to be a complete change,or the
total loss ofthe previously established pattern of life:the different peoples living
there continued to consider themselves as Romans and act as such (2). Therefore
when the Visigoth king Atanagildo asked Justinian,for help to fight Agila, his
Arian rival,Liberius,a very experienced military chief,was sent to Iberia to give
support to Atanagildo. The sources are scarce as far as the Byzantine domain is
concerned. However, we know that Liberius established the Byzantine
headquarters either at Cordoba or Carthagena between 551 and 554.
Among the Byzantine chiefs in the Peninsula only a few are known. One
was Comentiolus,who came to help Leovigildo,king ofthe Visigoths,againsthis
son Hermegildo. Hermegildo had become Christian, ruled over Seville and
rebelled against his father,but was defeated and killed at Tarragona. Another

58
famous Byzantine chief in Iberia was Cesarius (3). Defeated by King Sisebuto,
his territory was reduced to the Algarve area. Ossonoba (Faro) became his
stronghold and the main Byzantine centre in the Iberian Peninsula (4).Here they
stayed until 624.
Concerning this aspect,perhaps the best approach is that given by Goubert,
when he suggests that the absence of the Ossonoba bishops in the Roman
Catholic concilia might be a good indicator of the Byzantine presence and
domain in the area. Between Petrus Ossonubensispresence at the 3rd Concilium
of Toledo from 589 to 653,no bishop from Ossonoba was present or signed the
4th,5th,6th and 7th Concilia of Toledo. Only in the 8th Concilium,in the year
of 653,did a representative of the Ossonoba bishop sign his name on the books:
Sagarellos,diaconus Saturnini episcopi ecclesia ossonobensis. The reason for
the absence of the Ossonoba bishops from those concilia,was then,according to
Goubert,due to the fact that the area was under the rule of the orthodox church
ofByzance (5). It was under Suintila that the last Byzantines were forced to leave
Iberia,and this became a Visigoth kingdom in its entirety,with the exception of
the kingdom ofthe Suebos and some isolated parts of Cantabria (6).
However,the weakness ofthe Visigoth domain was already a fact: first due
to religious differences between Catholics and Arians,until Recaredo accepted
Catholicism; later the contjnuous fights between the various nobility factions
and their family clientele,followed by the consequentpunishments or amnesties
(Orlandis 1975). The various Visigoth governers were either too despotic or too
feeble giving way to serious and long social and economic crisis,which greatly
contributed towards its growing instability and collapse. In addition to these
aspects ofinstability,the sophisticationand cultivated manners ofthe inhabitants
of the Iberian Peninsula were remarkable, and they became the proper
foundation ofAI-Andalus.

-
The Islamic Expansion and Domain of the Peninsula A1 Andalus
The general historical details of the Islamic expansion and domain of the
Peninsula will certainly be explained at greater length in the general part of this
collective work. Concerning the South and the Western areas of the Peninsula
an important role was played by the small ethnic and religious elements of the
population,which changed in accordance with the circumstances and at different
moments ofthe process,while others fled to more secure areas.
Initially,it was especially among the Jewish communities living within the
Christian population that the Muslims looked to for support. Whenever there

59
was a large number of Jews living in the towns,they felt they did not need to
leave a strong garrison behind,for the Jews formed indeed the best garrison at
their service (7).This was the case in Cordoba, Seville and Elvira. It also
emphasizesthe usual poor social relationship between Jews and Christians. In
times ofdefeat and weakness for the ChristiansNisigoth,the Jews took the side
of the conqueror. This might also have happened because the Christians had
already started persecuting the Jews,based on religiousantagonism.
However crueland brutal the conflictsofthe time might have been,and they
were certainly similar on both sides, no great difference was felt between
fighting against their own partners and rivals or their enemies. When fighting,
both Christians and Muslims shared the same cruelty, which was in fact a
characteristic of the period. But beyond this aspect,both peoples, at different
times,constituted a minority in the occupied areas. This was the case when the
Muslims invaded and dominated the Peninsula, and when Christians re-
conqueredthe previous Christian areas,where the Visigoth kingdom had been
located,thus defeating the Muslims.In both situationsthe same attitude is found.
First it was the Muslims who accepted easily the other religious and ethnic
groups. At a later time,it was the Christians who did the same concerning the
Muslims. For the social and economic equilibrium ofthose regions,peace and
understanding were needed. The different social categories and parts of the
population should be able to carry on their different tasks and goods should be
supplied. In this sense,a very special role seems to have been played by the
Mozarabes or Mustarab,first emphasized by Herculano and so well stressed by
Mattoso (1987,pp.19-34). However their role was soon reduced,for most ofthe
population adopted Islam.
In AI-Andalus,an atmosphere oftolerance and respect dominated most of
the members of the society in a circumstance probably unique in history. The
newly arrived:Muslims, Berbers, slaves and free-men;and the old occupants:
Iberian-Romans, Gothic, Germans and Jews, were all engaged in the
reconstruction of their country and life. The Amirate of Cordoba, already
showing strong autonomy by the second halfofthe 8thcentury onwards,became
in 929a Caliphate,independent either from Damas or Baghdad (Levy Provenqal
1932,pp. 44-61)and, as long as it existed,it was a brilliant time of cultural
development and tolerance. Each group could maintain its faith,its customs and
contacts even outside their kingdom and Arabic became the spoken language.
This was the predominant atmosphere until the 1 1 th century.
The early Iberian-Romansociety,especially that of the South,was fairly
keen on its cultivated way oflife,appreciatingthe luxurious objects and fabrics

60
they had alwaysreceived from the Orient.In a sense,they had been able to carry
on their preferred way of life first under the Byzantines and Visigoths,and later
under the Muslims. Particularly attractive were the exotic fabrics,the beautiful
silks, the jewels and the musical instruments. Musicians and visitors to the
different courts were common. Circulation of people and goods within the
Mediterranean basin was a characteristic ofthe time,as we can see in the many
works on these aspects (8). W e can say that this aspect was also emphasized
through the many luxurious and exotic artefacts,found in the area and which
were present at the 17th European exhibition that took place in Lisbon in 1994.
This exhibition allowed the visitors to become acquainted with and have a
glimpse of those sophisticated items, which reached us from those vanished
times,from that historic period. In this context we must refer to a more recent

k
exhibition eld in Paris, at the Institut du Monde Arabe, on Andalusie, from
Damas to ordoba (2000/01),which showed clearly the refinement of al-
Andalus and its civilization.
More rdcently the numerous excavations carried out on Islamic contexts
in the Iberian Peninsula,also stress the cultural importance of the Muslims in
Spain and Portugal.The cultural contacts between the Orient and the Occident
and vice-versatook place more and more frequently (9). Literature,medicine
and science developed greatly. The Classical authors, some of them
completely forgotten, were once again read and appreciated through and
thanks to Arabic translations.
The Mozarabes or Mustarab,the so called Christians,who continued to
live in the Islamic areas of Iberia under Islamic rule,although keeping their
religion, were strongly Islamized,speaking Arabic or both Arabic and Latin
(Menendez Pidal 1976); only a few remained Christian. They were greatly
influenced by Islamic culture and way of living. The cultural fascination
exerted upon these peoples by the Islamic sophisticated courts, cultivated
manners, scientific and comprehensive knowledge was enormous. A good
example is that of Sesnando, the owner and Count of Montemor and later
governor of Coimbra. He was educated by the king of the taifa of Seville,in
which he became the vizier of Abu-Amr Abbad al-Mutabid Ibn Muhammad,
around 1040-1050. His friendship and relationship with the Muslims would
have been always peaceful,ifcircumstanceshad not forced him otherwise,but
he tried all his life to make the Christians,and namely Alfonso the VIth,King
of Leon, to respect both the Mozarabes and the Arabs themselves,in their
differences and religious rituals and beliefs.

61
As Mattoso stresses,in the beginning ofthe Reconquista, the area between
the rivers Mondego and Douro provided positive examples of the good
relationship existing between Muslims and Mozarabes, and even between the
Christians and the Mozarabes (Mattoso 1987,pp. 31-32).This might have been
probably due to the fact that both opposing parties looked for their support or
tried to make a kind ofbarrier between themselvesand their nearby enemies. At
other times the Christians hardly recognized the Mozarabes: they persecuted
them in their fighting,for they lived,dressed and spoke like the Muslims. But
even then,tolerance predominated in the Muslim areas.This situation was only
definitely broken with the Crusaders.
There are numerous examples of such tolerance in those times. W e could
give another example, that of Henry of Burgundy, Earl of Portugal, Father
Alphonse Henriques, the first king of Portugal, who, after vanquishing the
Moorish king of Lamego,was allowed to continue his post as governor of the
town,keeping the same privileges as before. Another such example is provided
by the description of the surrendering of UksQnuba or Santa Maria dal Harum
(Faro), by King Alphonse the IIIrd of Portugal,in 1249 (10). The city has kept
its pre-Romanname of Ossonoba under the Islamic invasion and domination of
the Peninsula:(Uksikuba,as it appears in the Islamic sources and reports Garcia
Domingues 1986,p.118; Judice Gamito 2001). It was only later, in the llth
century,that its name changed to Santa Maria dal Harum,after its governor Said
Ibn Harum and the legendary miracle ofthe Holy Virgin.An important aspect is
that it witnessed the continuation of the Christians in the town where they could
keep their own church and worship under the Muslim rule.
Following this general attitude,King Alphonse the IIIrd allowed the Moorish
population ofFaro to keep their possessionsproviding they paid the same tributesfor
their houses,lands and vineyards as they used to pay to their Muslim lords. Those
who wanted to leave could also do so in peace,and reach other Muslim regions.
Possibly connected with this attitude it is interesting to emphasize that every
coat ofarms ofthe conquered towns and castles in the Algarve kept side by side,
the Christian kingdom and the Arab governor,both of them ruling from then on
in the place.

T h e Remaininp Traces of the Islamic Domain in Iberia


Having settled in this area of the Iberian Peninsula for more than five
hundred years and being the last ofthe great invadors ofthe Peninsula,the traces
of the Muslim influence and culture can be found in great quantity and quality.

62
Although we miss the large and sumptuous monuments of Granada and Seville,
and only a Mosque, in MCrtola, survived the entire long period of Christian
destructionsand architectural changes. However,the truth is that strong evidence
ofthe passage of the Arabs is found in the everyday vocabulary,in the linguistic
phenomena,in ethnographic and artistic aspects,in agriculture,in the music and
singing of the people, in historical documents,in and through archaeology even
in the Late Gothic architecture in Portugal in the I6thcentury (1 1).
Archaeological research has provided interesting studies on the remaining
traces of ancient customs,some ofthem probe deeply into the past,taking us back
to timeless activities and practices, as for example in agriculture and metal work.
In this sense,ethno-archaeologicalresearch projects have helped us to detect a
certain continuity and archaism, especially in connection with, and within,the
most isolated groups ofsociety. This is certainly the case study carried out in the
Northeast ofAlgarve, a rural,self-containedregion,where changes are occurring
very slowly. A large dispersed settlementpattern since the Islamic times is found
there,with roots that take us back to much earlier periods.W e have noticed that
for every modern settlement site there was a corresponding Islamic ruin,a small
village,called Alcaria.Thesite distribution seems thus to present the same pattern,
for each ofthe modern hamlets,there is an abandoned Islamicone,suggestingthat
possibly with the Christians, already in the 14thbut mainly in the 15th/16th
century,the population was urged to change,to show they were all Christians.This
corresponds to the historical events that took place at the time,by the emergence
of intolerance and the beginning ofthe persecution to all non-Christianmembers
ofthe Portuguese and Spanish societies. The idea ofthe existence ofvast deserted
areas in the hinterland of Portugal in Alentejo and Algarve should also be noted,
for the archaeological record speaks of a great and remarkable continuity in the
distribution pattern of sites in the south and eastern regions of Alentejo, similar
to that found in the Sierra ofCaldeiriio, in the north and east ofthe Algarve. The
so-calledAlcarias are also a common toponym well spread in these regions.
The social structure of the small communities may have remained more or
less the same,only the names and the godshave changed. This is particularly
clear as far as the house planning and the different functions of each room and
area ofthe house are concerned.The excavation ofone ofthose alcarias,Aldeia
dos Mourospresented a great similarity concerning the house planning and the
function of their rooms and areas in relation to modern ones still present in the
Sierra as in Alcaria Quezimada (Judice Gamito, 1990). Such a close parallelism
in their material culture may suggest that these social groups also present a
similar structure in their way of living,in their knowledge of life and death,as

63
well as ofthe surrounding environment.This knowledgeled them to a balanced
exploitationofthe environment without exhaustion ofits scarce resources.
Traces of past Islamic agricultural practices and land exploitation are also
found everywhere.In these isolated self-sufficientsmall communitiesthere are
common tracers ofthe transmissionofknowledge and the persistence ofancient
behaviours.Ethnographic work uncovered the oral literature,the transmissionof
tales and stories of enchanted Moorish ladies of extreme beauty waiting to be
saved from their enchantment by a generous and handsome prince. This
persistence of habits can be found everywhere. Both in the old patterns of
handmade blankets and carpets, woven by the women of the Northeast of
Algarve (Judice Gamito,1988-91)or in the decoration ofpottery or the function
of each room insidetheir homes (12).The Islamic urbanization is found in both
the labyrinthic organizationofspace found in the souks ofthe old medinas or in
the old quarters ofhistorical towns like Lisbon,Coimbra,Evora,Mertola,Faro,
Silves. In the case of MCrtola,a strong effort is taking place to maintain old
habits involving aspectsconnected with arts and crafts,ethnography and history
as well as archaeology and architecture (Torres and Silva,1989). To stress the
fact that after the Christian conquest or re-conquestof old territories the Arab
and Jewish population of the towns had to move to specific areas outside the
walls,the so-calledMourarias and Judiarias,Moorish and Jewish quarters.
Other archaeological studies,such as that of S. Cucufate make reference to
the religious rites and agrarian exploitation that occurred after the late Roman
and the Visigoth times (Alarcgo and Etienne pp. 1991). This work presents an
interesting study ofthe persistenceofsocial and economic strategiesused by the
landowners in this area of Alentejo, and its different activities and places of
ritual. W e must also refer to the introduction of an agricultureofwater,ifwe
can say so,with the use of norias and their irrigation system,the base for the
orchard exploitation that prevailed until our time which w e see everywhere in
Algarve (Judice Gamito 2003). With it, the Muslims also introduced the
systematic use of irrigation and its subsystems and the cultivation of vegetable
delicatessenthen unknown in the West.
Regarding the architecturew e notice that further south,in the coast of the
Algarve,especially where stones are not so easily obtainablethe earthbuilding
system was very frequentlyin use,as the recentwork ofAlegriasuggests(Alegria
1984,2000). The builders applied the same sort of constructiontechniquesused
in the north ofAfrica that are still in use in Morocco,Algeria and Tunisia and all
over the Mediterranean basin. The earth-buildingsystem is indeed the most
appropriateand adapted to the region and its climate characteristics.

64
The Muslim Influence in Mud6iar Art
W e have to include here and to evoke the extraordinary manifestations ofthe
Muslim art in al-Andalusand in the entire South of the Iberian Peninsula. It is
certainly an immense task for which we unfortunately have no time nor space in
this collective work. Yet,to be able to approach further artistic developments in
the area we cannot but consider some ofits aspects,however brief and incomplete
these considerationsmight be.When approaching the muddjar art of the 15thand
16thcenturies in Portugal,we have to refer to such monuments as the Mosque of
Cordoba,the Alhambras of Seville and Granada,the tower of Giralda,in Seville,
to mention only a few of its most fascinating examples. In fact,in their time and
in later periods,they acted as models for the muddjar art which developed later,
and was copied and re-used in new different arrangements, as we can see its
revival in the late 19" and early 20thcenturies.
Those monuments became thus the key reference for art of al-Andalus.The
construction of the Cordoba mosque began in the gth century, soon after the
arrival of the Muslims in Spain, and continued to have more additions and
alterations during the following centuries,including under Alphonse the Xth and
Charles the Vth. It is a large mosque of eleven naves separated by intricate arc
ways of horseshoe or broken arcs which create a peculiar and beautiful
atmosphere. W e can notice there the large re-usethe Muslims did of previous
Visigoth and Byzantine elements,and probably of their artisans too.They used
the columns they removed from different previous monuments as for example
the Visigoth church of St. Vincent, which lay under the cathedral or ancient
mosque of Cordoba. W e must also stress the influence of Visigoth art in the
early Muslim art style,namely the use of the arc in horseshoe or broken arcs.
They benefited from the decorative effects of the Byzantine mosaics applying
them on the Mihrab,where they are really impressive,probably using Byzantine
artists still living in the vicinity.W e can say,in this respect,that it was also the
case of the mosque of Damascus,in Syria,largely decorated with mosaics in
Byzantine style.
The Palace of Granada was built in the 14thcentury by Sultan Yusuf I
(1333-1353)and continued under Muhammad Vth (1353-1391). In that period
it was not one Alhambra but two joined ones.From these,only the summer one
was preserved and lasted as an extraordinary example of architecture in private
buildings, and had numerous renewals with Moroccan artists, especially
imported in the 19thcentury,for the undertaking.Granada's Alhambra follows a
completely oriental plan and lay-outas if,by some miracle, it was transplanted
directly from Baghdad or Teheran into the Iberian Peninsula.The extraordinary

65
flexibility of its buildings and the kind of foam lightness of its decorative
elements make it an unique example of the Muslim art in Spain. In particular
the use ofArabic calligraphy throughout has a remarkablebeauty and represents
one ofthe original contributions ofthe Arabs to art form.
The Seville Palace was probably first built in the 12th century under the
Almohades,but underwent many changes in the following centuries,namely
immediately after the Christian conquest and early domain. Some of its areas
were constructed by the Spanish king,Peter,called theCruel,soon after the
conquest of Sevill. The work continued on the previously Muslim areas,
requiring the help of Nasrid artists from Granada. Therefore, the new areas
acquired a mixed character as noted,for example,in the Ambassadorsroom.It
conserves the Muslim art style but shows new introductions to impress the
visiting ambassadors. However, some of its rooms still keep their original
Muslim draft.The tower of Giralda in Seville,which was part ofthe mosque was
later destroyed and replaced by the Christian Cathedral,which was also built in
the 12thcentury,during the Almohade period.
From these monuments we only refer here to two, because of their most
impressive details, as examples of the extraordinary richness of Muslim art in
Spain:the renownedLionsCourtfrom the Palace ofGranada,ajewelofthe cultural
symbiosisfound in al-Andalus;and the richness ofdifferent decorativeelements at
the entrance to the sleepingrooms ofthe Muslim kings in the palace ofSeville.
Tn the 15thand 16thcenturies,Portugalknew,as any other kingdom in Europe,
the developmentof late Gothic style.Here it took slightly new characteristics and
was called Manuelino after name of the king himself,Manuel,the 1st of Portugal,
who is responsible for most of the monuments constructed in Portugal in the 16th
century.The late Gothic style acquired here special characteristics,including the
Muslim influences of al-Andalus.This was called the mudkjar version within the
Manuelino and it became one ofthe most importantaspectsofthe Muslim influences
in the Iberian Peninsula. W e can see it reflected in both urban and country
architecture and decorative details.This mudkjar art style was developed either by
Mozarabe artists,that is to say,those few Christians who remained Christiansunder
the Muslim domain in Portugal,but who became strongly touched by Tslam during
the Muslim occupation ofthe area,living,dressing and speaking Arabic,or actual
Muslims,then called Morisques,who stayed under the Christian domain after the
Reconguista.Their relationship with the dominant elites, was not always easy,as
mentioned, and that can be seen in the many historical reports of the time. It
depended on many political and social variables,sometimes more favourable for a
good and peacehl relationship and forthe developmentofart,others,less so.

66
The mudejar art consisted of the association of different architectural
elements such as the use of arcs in horseshoe or broken arcs,constituting the
frame ofboth doors and windows,as well as what was called ujimezes,that is to
say, windows with a central fine columnate ending in a double arch, or arc
lobule,at its top.The use of the alfiz,or the rectangular frame surrounding the
whole window, a typical Muslim feature used in the mudejar architecture,
became also very popular. The Palace ofthe town,the Palacio da Vila,in Sintra
one can see some good examples ofthese windows and mudejar art style.Other
decorative elements were certainly the alfarge ceilings,in which the wooden
work followed distinctive Islamic patterns of great geometric complexity as we
can see,for example,in the ceiling ofFunchal Cathedral (Madeira,Portugal) or
in the alfalges ofthe Sintra Castle (Sintra,Portugal). The same can be said about
the use of plaster,in decorative effects,following the same geometric complex
patterns we see in the Alhambras of Seville and Granada.The use ofglazed tiles,
the azulejos,in the decoration of both inside and outside walls of public and
private prestige buildings became also a trace of the mudejar art.
Therefore,some impressiveexamples ofthis fantastic richnessofornamental
motifs in the Portuguese and Spanish architecture of this time are to be found in
the various buildings ofthe 16thcentury ofboth countries.As mentioned before,
the late Gothic art developed by the time of King Manuel the 1st showed an
unusual richness in its buildings and decorative motifs, and its mudejar variant
was largely applied.This variant enjoyed great development in southern Portugal
with good representations in both private and state buildings. W e shall refer to
some examples of this art style and its general characteristics.One of the most
impressive monuments of the mudejar art in Portugal is certainly Palacio da
Vila,in Sintra,(Portugal). It was probably first built by the sthor gth century,
by a Muslim King or governor, later taken by the Christian king Afonso
Henriques in 1147,and what we see now is a good example ofthe mudejar art of
the 14th/15thcentury. Although restored several times, it has always kept its
particular character. The muddjar art can be strongly observed all over the
external architectonic features of the building, and in the decorative elements
found inside the palace. Good examples are the windows ofthe southern faqade,
closer to manuelino art style by keeping their lobule arch-ways,some with
alfizes,which are also present in the northern faqade.From this same time we can
also refer to the church of St.Bras (Evora), and the country residence Solar da
Sempre Noiva (Arraiolos) or the palace of D.Manuel (Evora).
By the end of the 19thcentury,beginning of the 20thcentury the examples
of the mudejar art in the Portuguese architecture are numerous, essentially in

67
private buildings,as the Palacio da Pena,outside Sintra (Portugal) and another
good example is certainly the Bussaco Hotel,among many others.
In the popular architecture w e find the earth-buildingtechniques largely
spread all over the country,but again especially in the south,as w e referred to
before and that Architect Jose Alegria (1990) emphasizes, adopting a large
number ofMuslim techniques in his drafts and buildings.
W e can say that the list of the many Muslim words occurring in all
circumstances of daily life, is countless, as we see in Jose Pedro Machado
(1 991). W e should also stress how impregnated the present population is in its
Muslim and Mediterranean origins shown in the daily gesturesand customs,the
way of facing life and the simple pleasures of nature,the deep mentality and
philosophy behind various forms ofbehaviour.
Al-Andaluswas certainly a remarkableperiod and region where Muslims,
Jews and Christians accepted and respected each other and it was a period of
general and great tolerance,which prevailed most ofthe time,in spite of other
facts. The general acceptance of different cultures, peoples and beliefs is a
dream trying to become a reality throughoutthe world.W e can say that curiosity
and understanding is starting a new period ofenlarged knowledgeand interest in
the other,for in the imagewe have and we give of ourselves.The past ofthe
different elements of the Portuguese society, either Christian or
Islamic/Mozarabeor Jewish,is coming to light and into history and Al-Andalus
might be still an example for many peoples today.Violence brings only more
violence.Tolerance,cooperation and cultural understanding may bring peace.

68
Discussion Questions:

7. How important was the previous cultural development in the Iberian


Peninsula (the Byzantine and Visigothic) and how did this influence
cultural development in al-Andalus?

2. Did Muslim influence and forms of decorative art and architecture


endure through later periods, namely the 76th, 79th and 20th
centuries?

3. Describe the influences of mudejar art in a/-Andalus.

Describe the evidence of good planning in the development of


agriculture and irrigation.

4. Were the earth building techniques introduced by the Muslims


adaptable to environmental conditions? In which countries today is
earth construction found?

69
meparties to any dispute,the continuance of
which is likely to endanger the maintenance of
internationalpeace and securitv,shall,first of all,
seekasolutionby negotiation,enquiq mediation,
conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement;
resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or
otherpeacefil means of their own choice
- Charter of the United Nations,Chapter VI
on PacificSettlement of Disputes -

70
-
6 Military Conflicts, Tension and Peace
in Al-Andalus

bY
Mike1 de Epalza

-
1 Introduction
The reality ofconflicts inside the society ofal-Andalusis an undeniable fact,
during the eight centuries of this Muslim societysregional political life. There
were both internal and external tensions,as is the case in every living society.
These tensions gave rise to conflicts as well as activities that brought about
conflicts,especially in the military field:wars against the Cordoban Governments
enemies inside al-Andalus,rivalries over political power, fights between local
powers,attacks of mountainous Christian kingdoms and the Maghrebine military
interventionin al-Andalus.
The study of cultural symbiosis and the dynamics of peace must not distort
the historical reality of tensions after conflicts, instead it must explain those
conflict-causingactivities precisely in the context ofthe dynamics ofpeace. The
dynamics ofpeace was also a reality ofthat epoch;it can be a point of reference
today to study other conflict situations and to discover other non-violent
dynamics in present-day conflicts.
The study of tensions and conflicts inside the society of al-Andalus is
absolutely necessary,because its elements and its dynamics of peace have been
important in the historical reality, but have not been generally dealt with by
historians of that epoch. The documents that have been preserved emphasize
aggressive activities of that society and do not attach the same importance,far
from it, to factors ofpeacehl symbiosis or to the dynamics ofpeace.
The first distorting factor of historiography is the simplification that has
been made of those eight centuries (8th to 15th) described as a permanent
conflict between two religions and two cultures: Muslim-Arab and Christian-
European. The history of those centuries has often been presented as an epic
fight of Islam against Christianity, from the Muslim conquest in the 8thcentury
fath al-Andalus)to the end ofthe Christian Reconquest in the 1 5*hcentury.The
epic elements, necessarily simplified in the literary vision of the events, have

71
influenced an absolute preponderance of bellicose factors, by both sides.
Peacehl and non-violent periods and elements of those times have been often
considered as secondary or irrelevant.
But sometimes historians have also given a perception of the history of al-
Andalus that was too pacific and irenic, eliminating the violence that actually
existed. These attitudes are also the result of reducing and simplifying visions,that
do not stand up to historical analysis and discredit researchers who work on the
dynamics ofpeace,by consideringtheir irenism as pure idealism,fruitofthe spirit.
Hence, the study of tensions,conflicts and peace in al-Andalusmust be
based on balanced analyses of the al-Andalussociety.
Three traditional conceptions that contain some truth, but that have been
supported with excessive exclusivism,must be particularly taken into account:
1 - The conception of a religious war between Islam and Christianity.
Although it is true that aspects of both religions exerted an influence on the
society or societies in the Iberian Peninsula and equally on their bellicose
conflicts,their importance varied a great deal,both in qualitative terms and in
reference to their specific weight,depending on the epoch and the place.
2 - The Muslim conquest and the subsequent defence of Muslim territories,
in both internal and external wars,were undertaken against injustice and in
defence ofthe culture and human values ofthe Muslim civilization in al-Andalus.
These factors were, indeed, relevant in the conflicts of al-Andalus society.In
addition,we find other aggressive,political,economic and military factors.
3 - Wars inthe peninsular society were due to the legitimizationofthe use offorce
by political powers,as an instrument of establishing order against opposing interests.
This factual acceptance ofhistorical conflictsdoes not sufficiently explain sometrends
utilizing peace as a governing element and as a peacefd solution ofconflicts.
The study of the al-Andalussociety,its tensions and its internal and external
conflicts must,primarily,avoid simplifications.Hence we are going to study some
ofthose conflicts according to the epochs,in order to analyze their complexity.
Secondly,it should be noted that the al-Andalussociety had specific ways
to solve those internal and external tensions,through the use of military and
political force by the politico-militarypowers.That tendency to resort to force,
present in every historical society,found,in al-Andalus,some balancing factors
of non-violent action, that should be studied, in order to have a better
understanding of that society and its peaceful trends.

72
2 - W a r and Peace in the Muslim Conauest of Visipothic Himania
The Muslim Conquest of the Iberian Peninsula or fath al-Andalus is a
fundamental historical event in the history of al-Andalus even as regards its
foundation. It is presented in an aggressive and military perspective,from the
point ofview of both Muslims and Christians.Furthermore,the conquest has an
epic character:for Muslims,the initial battle justifies the legitimate possession
of the Peninsula and for Christians,that lost battle underscores the illegitimacy
ofthat conquest and justifies,in turn,military action to recover,through another
bloody battle,what had been lost.The Muslim Conquest justifies the Christian
Reconquest. Eight centuries of military history are thus simplified: it is a
defence of Muslim legitimacy over al-Andalusor a defence of legitimacy ofthe
Christian recovery of Hispania.
The reality of what happened in the first years of the sthcentury can be
summarized in the following points:
- Some Maghrebine Muslim armies formed an alliance with some Visigoth
leaders (Julian,in Ceuta) and disembarked in the Peninsula;
- The Visigoth king,Rodrigo, is eliminated politically afier a battle and
Muslims inherit his power and make several pacts with followers of the
precedent king,Witiza,or with local leaders,like Teodomiro;
- O n behalf of the Muslim Caliph of Damascus and dependent on the
Muslim governor of Kairawan, Muslim power is established in former
Visigothic Hispania,as far as Narbonne.
Historians have used different concepts to describe these events and to give
them different explanations:religious,military,political,juridical.They enable
us to understand, with a modern analysis,the complexity and significance of
those historical events.
From the Muslim religious perspective,the Muslim arrival and settlement
in the Iberian Peninsula is a fath conquestof a country or openingof that
country to the religion of Islam and to its social and politico-religiousorder.The
.fath aLAnddus or conquestof al-Andalusis a part of the glorious futuhat
(conquests) ofthe beginning of Islam,a brilliant success in the expansion ofthe
Koransmessage,revealed to the Prophet Muhammad with the command that he
should impose it throughout the world,through preaching and convincing,or by
means of military force,if necessary,and with respect for religious freedom of
believers of other monotheistic religions.

73
Muslims consider that the expeditions that made possible the settlement of
Islam in the Iberian Peninsula,were justified and laid the foundations for actions
in the context of a dynamics of peace. They have as a model the Prophet
Muhammads action and expeditions with regard to Christians:population nuclei
in the Arab oasis,such as Nayran,or ByzantiumsChristian empire,or even the
distant Christian empire of Abyssinia, where some Muslims that had fled from
persecution in Mecca settled early.
This action of political change in the early expansion of Islam,with the
establishment of the Muslim governments superior power, is preceded by a
diplomatic invitation - by way of letter and emissary - to convert to Islam,or if
they prefer to stay in their Christian religion,to follow its political power,with
guarantees of keeping an honourable situation,both religious and social,under
that political power. Various and different actions of that kind have been
attributed to Muhammad. In this respect, sth century Christian texts mention
similar attitudes on the part ofMuslims,when they settled in Visigothic Hispania,
attributing those peace proposals to cunning (see text to this chapter,the so-called
Mozarab Chronicle).
Ifthe establishment ofthe Muslim government in the Iberian Peninsula was
made with certain peaceful preparations,the purpose ofthat political change was
also,according to Muslims,peaceful.It was just a question ofreplacing a socio-
political order by a fairer one. The quality of the Muslim message not only
represented an improvement for the Hispanic society,but brought also a better
and more peaceful social order,with a better distribution of rights and duties.
This change has also been presented,in modern times,as a social liberation of
oppressed Spaniards. The case of the Jews, oppressed in the Visigothic period,
and later having rights and enjoying for that epoch an enviable, prosperity,
would be the best example of that politico-religiousprocess or change that was
the raison dgtre of the establishment of Islam and its politico-socialregime in
Hispania.It is evident that the violent political conflicts in the Visigothic society
ofthe early Sth century - acknowledged by both Muslim and Christian sources -
permitted the Muslim political system that followed it, inside the immense
Muslim empire,to appear as a factor of social peace,although it was not free of
strong political conflicts between Muslims.
This irenic or pacifist presentation of that political and religious change
must be completed with the military dimension.
The establishment of Islam in the Iberian Peninsula was made possible by
military force,unlike other forms of Muslim expansion in the world throughout
the history of that religion.This military force usually accompanies a state and
a government,whatever it may be, as a part of the statescoercive power, that
acquires a special violence during changes of regime,as was the case in the
transition from Visigothic Hispaniato Muslim al-Andalus.Furthermore,military
action led to abuses and it cannot be denied that force was a factor in the context
of the establishment of the Muslim government in Hispania.
The epic and literary presentation ofthe conquestor lossofHispania,by
Christian historians,or thefath al-Andalus,by Muslim historians,has magnified
the military dimension that accompanied the political change at the beginning
of the 8thcentury in the Peninsula.
But on the other hand,sourcesfi-omboth sides mention that the establishmentof
Islam had several other aspects than those related to the military: religious
contributions,political alliances,security pacts with local chiefs that were subdued,
and guarantees ofrights for the Hispanic population.
Hence,a realistic and pacifist vision ofthe establishment of Islam and ofthe
Muslim government,should counterbalance the traditionalperception ofviolence
in the conquest, placing that undeniable although exaggerated violence in its
proper place, in the context of a more important process of political change or
change of a socio-politicalsystem.
The conquest orfath is an expression ofthe beginning,partially military,of
a more global and important process: a change of regime.That was the aim of
the Muslims that came to Hispania,and ofthe Muslim government,with its seat
in Damascus, that had sent them.
In this context,the military factor represents an instrument of a policy. Its
use is subordinated to that policy and has to be interpreted in terms of priority.
Military force seems to have been used only when there was local resistance,
which was quite limited in Visigothic Hispania.
Those who were nostalgic ofthe old regime emphasized violence to justifjthe
force through which they wanted to change the Muslim political state once again.
Political nostalgia and recourse to a new violence,that ofthe Reconquest,which is
justified by the initial violence in the expansion ofIslam,has to be seen as a similar
pretext in order to emphasize only factors of military force in the context of that
Muslim expansion.The same epic character that Arabs and Muslims give to their
initial expansion,followingthe tradition oftheAyyam al-Arab(glorious days ofthe
Arabs) of the pre-MuslimArabian Peninsula,has distorted the real vision of the
political process ofchange ofthe regime in Hispania;highlighting its bellicose and

75
military nature.This conception distorts all the factsthat accompanied the Muslim
conquest,which was,above all,a politicalprocess.

3 - Conflicts between the Cordoban Central Power and the Muslim and
Christian ReFional Powers in al-Andalus
Arab chronicles give considerable importance to accounts of military
expeditionsofthe al-AndalusCordoban central power against different regional
powers, Christian or Muslim, considered as rebels,throughout the three
centuries of the unified Muslim State in the Iberian Peninsula (71 1 -101OAD).
These narratives reveal a permanent tension between the central power and the
regional powers. They equally show that problems were often solved by
coercive military means.
TheArab chronicleswritten by Cordoban officialsmagnified the al-Andalus
central power in an heroic-militarystyle that praises aggressiveness and did not
sufficiently explain the political complexity ofthose expeditions.They pointed
out the rebellious character ofthe regionalpowers,especially the Christianones,
because their rebellionjustified the imposition of special taxes by the Muslim
power, in defence of religion (and for the relief of the Treasury, as the State
needed money and armies to maintain the Cordoban Empires administrative
apparatus,both in the Peninsula and in neighbouring Maghreb).
Also Christian chronicles gave a legendary and religious character to
expeditions of the Cordoban Muslim power. They presented them as attacks
against small mountain kingdoms in the north of the Peninsula,that bravely
defended their religious and political identity against Muslim power, generally
defeating the religious infidelsand even snatching territories from them little
by little,territoriesthat became Christian.
There was political tension between the Cordoban central power that
aspired to rule the whole ofthe al-AndalusPeninsula,and regional powers that
aspired in turn, to a degree of self-government.However, the relevant
presentation of conflicting facts and their military aspects (praise of force and
military victories), omits other aspects that would show that relations and
tensions between the central power and outlying regional powers were not
always solved through war and violence, and had a dynamic that was not
primarily centred on wars.In the case of conflicts with Christians,tension was
due to reasons other than religious,during that period.
The study of some non-military and non-religious elements of those
conflicts,described in part by historians of that epoch and by contemporary

76
historians, gives a better understanding of the complexity of those historical
events,regarding conflict and the military element.
The first factor that must be considered in the context of that tension
between the Cordoban power and regional powers, is that al-Andalus was
originally conceived as a political and administrative unity. The Visigothic
kingdom of Hispania was inherited by the province of al-Andalus,inside the
Muslim State ofthe Umayyad Dynasty of Damascus.Cordoba replaced Toledo
as capital of al-Andalus,the newly conquered province, which was initially
strongly dependent on Kairawan.Traditionally,ai-Andalushad a political unity.
As a result,the governors of the so-called dependentamirateof Cordoba
(in the first half of the 8th century), and the Umayyad amirs and caliphs
independent from Damascus (until the 11th century), considered that they had
power over the entire Visigothic Hispania that they had inherited,the Muslim al-
Andalus, that covered the whole Peninsula and some territories beyond the
Pyreneeb. With this centralizing political coiiceptioo,they wanted to overcome
the difficulties that the Visigoths had already experienced regarding relations
with local powers: those of peripheral mountains in the Pyrenees and the
CantabrianMountains,and those of local and regional powers of a very different
geographic territory. We find in these political origins the permanent basis for
the centre-periphery tension in al-Andalus politics, rather than in the
interpretations supported by historians that focus tension on the confrontation
between authority and rebels,and between Muslims and Christians.
The first military conflicts,following the conquest and the establishmentof
the Muslim rule in al-Andalus,were due to rivalriesbetween conquerors striving
after the superior political positions in al-Andalus,especially the position of
governor. Confrontations lasted until these positions were assigned by the
superior power in Kairawan and,above all,by the Caliphs supreme power in
Damascus. Economic tensions also arose in relation to the distribution of the
new settlement territories among the new Muslim settlers: conflicts between
Berbers and Arabs and between groups of Arabs. Historians draw attention to
tensions with Hispanias inhabitants, whose political and economic power
passed, at least in part,into the hands of the newly-arrivedMuslims. But these
tensions between Muslims and Christians are less relevant in the historians
accountsbecause they did not give rise to conflicts,as they were solved through
negotiation or by means of theforce of the Muslim State 3 political power.
These military conflicts during the first decade of the establishment of
Muslim power in al-Andalus must be studied as consequences and secondary

77
phenomena inside the fundamental politico-economicdynamics:the distribution
of political and economic power in the new Muslim administrative entity of al-
Andalus. Military factors were not the most decisive:the distribution was made,
above all,in accordance with Muslim legislationand practice,followingdecisions
from Damascus,Kairawan and Cordoba,and through numerous negotiations and
pacts or non-violentactions,although some ofthose tensions were also solved by
armed force.Those military actions were the expression of a politico-economic
oppositionthat it had not been possible to solve by other peaceful means.
Although one can speak about the Muslim states institutional force to
compel Christians and Jews in al-Andalus to adapt themselves to the new
regime, it must be noted that there is no mention of conflicts with Hispanic
believers of other religions during that period. The small conflicts in the
mountain nuclei in Asturias and other northern territories have to be examined
within the framework of the traditional difficulties that political powers in the
Peninsula had to exert political control on the inhabitants ofthose peripheral and
mountainous regions.
The Eastern geographer Ibn Hawqal, who visited al-Andalus in 949,
describes that Muslim State as prosperous, with cities in which urban life
appeared in all its splendour.H e saw the conflict ofthe Cordoban central power
with Christian local powers as the result of a rebellionofthe latter,which had
taken refuge in the mountainous periphery ofthe Iberian Peninsula,but we must
take into account that there were other rebelswho were Muslims and who
aimed at self-governmentwith autonomy from the Cordoban power.The centre-
periphery political tension,i.e.the politicaltension between the Cordobanpower
and al-Andalus regional powers, is especially evident in military expeditions,
which have a function whose complexity needs careful studying.
Expeditions not only have a military aspect, as Muslim and Christian
chronicles suggest through their biased presentation, they have a political
function.They are the expression ofthe Cordoban central power:they dismantle
military systems or military bodies that offer resistance to Cordoban armies
(military aspect);but also collect a variety of taxes fiscalaspect);punish local
chiefs that have not obeyed the Cordoban power, make appointments of
supporters of that power (administrative aspect); and finally, settle other
conflicts Gudicial aspect). Expeditions, despite their heroic-military
presentation,have political purposes which are more complex than a mere war.
They are the usual exercise of authority in al-Andalus,from the Cordoban
central power,leaving a relative degree of self-governmentto local powers.

78
Cordoban expeditions,as a result of confrontations between the legitimate
power and Muslim or Christian rebels,are an expression of the tension
existing between the rulers and those who are ruled but hold high positions
locally. They are not expeditions of territorial conquest, but of territorial
administration,as can be seen in countless examples.

4 - Tensions of the Fitna or Dissensionafter the fall of the Cordoban


Central Power and the Birth of Taifa
The Cordoban central power of Umayyad caliphs and their powerhl
ministers disappeared in military conflicts that lasted for two decades (1 009-
103.)I These military conflicts are presented as the consequence oftensions and
conflicts between the central government and peripheral powers in al-Andalus.
Here again,the evident military aspects laid special emphasis on fighting and
omitted a more positive dynamic. The negative character of the Jitna or
dissension is stressed by historians due to a nostalgia for the unity of the
Cordoban government of al-Andalus, and because they attribute to that
dismemberment ofthe central power the decadence ofthe Muslim society in the
Iberian Peninsula,the prelude to its total disappearance in the 13th century and
finally in the 15th century.
The historical reality is not so negative and we have to counterbalance the
appraisal of those historical judgements. Neither is a centralized power
necessarily better for the peoplesgovernment,with respect to regional powers,
nor was the ta fa the only or main cause of the disappearance of the Muslim
society in al-Andalus. It must be remembered that the decisive Muslim defeat
in the 7th -13thcenturies (loss of the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Murcia,
Gualdalquivir,al-Andalusand Portuguese Algarve) was preceded by one and a
halfcenturiesofgovernment oftwo strongly centralized and militarized Muslim
dynasties (Almoravidsand Almohads). The disappearance ofthe Muslim society
in al-Andalusis not,in itself,necessarily a disgrace:the la galib ila Allah, there
is no winner but God and all the rest is transitory, according to Islam: even
Muslim political power and its most positive aspect regarding civilization.
W e must analyze, in the first place, the origin of theJitna or dissension,
called by contemporary historians Berbersfitna. It is not, as it is normally
believed,a rebellion of regional powers against the Cordoban central power, as
had been the case so many times in the history of the first three centuries of
-
Muslim power in al-Andalus.It was - in the beginning an internal problem of
the Cordoban central governments:interference in the State government by a
part of the military and the reaction against them on the part of some other

79
Cordoban high officials,both in the politicaland military level.It was a fightover
central power in Cordoba.The violent conflict was brought about by the tension
provoked by different pressure groups around the central power ofal-Andalus.
The powerful minister al-Mansurhad reformed and strengthenedthe central
power's armies in al-Andalusthrough a policy of integration ofmilitary men of
foreign origin: Maghrebine Berbers,saqaliba or Muslims of European origin,
militia from Christian kingdoms in the north of the Peninsula.In so doing, he
could exercise his government's authority more strongly upon the whole of the
peninsula territories as well as the neighbouring Maghrebine lands,by means of
expeditions of a political nature (military, fiscal, administrative,judicial) as
mentioned.After his death (1 002), his two sons and successors continued with
the same policy.
The fitna started when the powerful Berber contingent established in
Cordoba and its surroundings demanded more power and expressed their wish
to take part in the appointment ofthe supreme power in al-Andalus,the caliph.
Their claims were opposed by the saqaliba, who were high oficials in the
central administration,and by other al-Andaluspower groups who did not want
to share their political power with the newly-arrivedMaghrebines.This tension
in Cordoba provoked a number ofmilitary conflicts which increased in violence
and spread throughout al-Andalus.The result was the dismemberment of the
Cordoban central power and the appearance of local power throughout the
Muslim territory.The ta '$a do not appear as a consequence of the rebellion of
regional powers against the central power, but from the disappearance of that
power due to conflicts between those who effectively held it (Berbers,saqaliba,
al-Andalusgroups,high officials and the military).
The complicated period of thhe establishment of the regional ta '$a powers
must be considered as a change of political regime in al-Andalus.The military
violencethataccompaniedthat changemust be seen inthe contextofthe dynamics
ofregional autonomy and self-government.Economic and culturalprosperity with
the centralized government in al-Andalus was followed by an even greater
economic and cultural prosperity with the regionalized government of ta 'fa, as
each of those kingdoms wanted to be an important political centre,by fostering
prosperity and creating new social,economic and local political structures.
From the point of view of conflicts,these multiplied, due to the tensions
between different kings:deprived of legitimacy,they based their authority on the
possession of cities and fortresses and of territories depending on them. These
possessionshad to be defended by military means against the neighbouring kings.

80
This situation,characterizedby political instability which increased the importance
of the military,consequently led to the development of economic structures that
produced exchanges of goods in order to obtain a monetary surplus,with which
military expenses could be financed.The military factor,in the continual warfare,
provoked an economic prosperity within the ffamework of the dynamics of
strengtheningof the civil society.These two elements are fundamental in order to
understand the entire social dynamics in al-Andalusduring the period of tu '$a. It
must be added that that general prosperity,which did not disappear with the usual
depredation of wars,encouraged a great social mobility towards cities and their
areas of influence and those dynamics were extended to all regions ofal-Andalus.
The mobility and dynamism of al-Andalussociety during the 11" century,
both in its military and economic aspects, had important repercussions in the
relations of Muslims-demographicallyand politically dominant in that society
with Jews and Christians, especially with those who came from foreign
territories,within the framework ofa process that had already been initiated in the
times of the caliphs. Many Jews and above all Christians immigrated into al-
Andalus and contributed to its prosperity,from which they obtained great profits.
Many Christians managed to give the territoriesthey came from,especially in the
north and east ofthe Peninsula,a share in the prosperity of al-Andalus.
The best known structure within the framework ofthat transference ofwealth
to territories belonging to Christian kingdoms is found precisely in the military
field.The military services that groups of Christians rendered to Muslim kings in
their conflicts were paid by the latter and contributed to the Christian kings'
gradual enrichment.But they provoked,logically,a specialization ofthe Christian
society in its military dimension, that was profitable, both economically and
politically,for its kings.In this manner the Muslim society engendered a Christian
military and political power that became increased in strength,due,precisely, to
economic prosperity in that society and its internal needs,from the period of the
caliphs and Amirs in the 1Othcentury to that of tu 'fa of the 11th century.
The institution of parias or military payments given by Muslim kings to
Christians during the second half of the llth century, is perhaps the clearest
expression of the complex structure of military relations between Muslim and
Christian powers and equally ofdifferent Muslim powers with each other.Military
conflictspresented by historians are expressions ofpolitical,economic and military
tensions,which enabled that institutionto develop and not always in a violent way.
The word purius can have a double etymology. In Latin it means, by
payment of debt one becomes equal; in Arabic it means, gifts, presents,

81
donations. Its origin has to be found in the payments that Muslims offered to
Christians who rendered them military services and to the Christian kings that
sent those armies personnel . These military services and these payments
replaced the military activity of the same al-Andalus Muslims, who were
occupied in other civil tasks,economically more profitable,which gave them a
money surplus useful for those payments.
This economic circuit rendered Muslim powers increasingly dependent on
Christian armies,that could demand monetary payments by force,even if the
Muslims did not need their services.This imposition was finally considered by
Christian Kings as a tribute,whereas for the Muslim kings the payments were
nothing but military payments and peace expenses to defend their population
from the attacks of other Muslims and also to avoid Christian predatory attacks
and even Christian occupation of their territories.
This procedure of transformation of the military force of the Muslim-
Christian tension into relatively peaceful economic balance is typical of the
system ofparias ofthe 1 1th century,but was also found in Muslim territories in
the 12thcentury (Ibn Mardanish of Valencia and Murcia) and the kingdom of
Granada ofthe 9th-15thcenturies (Banu Nasr).
This system to counterbalance military tensions by means of economic
payments was abandoned due to the wish ofAlfonso VI of Castile and Leon to
seize Toledo, the former capital of Hispania, and also as a result of the
appearance,in the IberianPeninsula,ofmilitary forcescharacterized by a strong
ideology in favour of military conflicts for eminently religious reasons.

-
5 IdeologicalWar: Crusaders versus Almoravids and Almohads
The last period in politico-militaryrelations between Muslims and Christians
in the Iberian Peninsula witnessed a religious polarization of political tensions.
Those tensions tended to be settled by military force,with the opponentsmilitary
elimination.This religious polarization corresponded to two parallel and foreign
movements which tended to simplify and polarize previous complex political
solutionsof tensions inside the al-Andalussociety from a religious aspect.
O n the Christian side,we must remember the origins of the Crusades,a
religious expression of strong demographic pressures of Western European
societies towards the Mediterranean. In the Iberian Peninsula,this trend was
initially reflected in the Normansexpedition against Barbastro (1 063), which
can be considered as a pre-Crusadewith all its religious,political and military
characteristics. The increasing participation of military men of ultrapyrenean

82
origin in the armies of Alfonso VI,especially in the capture of Toledo and the
occupation ofLisboa,are an expression ofthe same crusading European spirit,that
developed in a parallel way in Muslim landsin the Middle East.That European spirit
developed in peninsular kingdoms due to the intervention ofthe Roman Papacy,of
Clunys Benedictine monks, and of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela.Dynastic
alliances between Hispanic kings and ultrapyrenean families strengthened more
deeply anti-Muslim cultural,religious and military trends,which praised religious
conflict in order to eliminate Muslims and their political power by military means.
On the Muslim side,anti-Muslim military campaigns provoked an organized
movement of ribat or jihad against Christians, which crystallized in the
Almoravids political movement and empire. From their Maghrebine capital of
Marrakesh,Almoravidsoverthrew the kings ofal-Andalusand formed a single state
including peninsular and Maghrebine Muslim territories.They broke, politically
and in the military sense,bonds with Christian powers,bonds woven in the context
of the system of parias, and and were alternatively victorious and defeated by
Christians.They were unable to avoid,in the early 12thcentury,the loss ofthe Ebro
Valley territoriesconquered by Alfonso I with the decisive help of military orders,
a new European religious-military instrument with a Crusading spirit for the
confrontation between Muslims and Christians. The battle of Cutanda (1 120)
marked a more importantmilitary failureofAlmoravidsand oftheir military tactics.
The Almoravid Empire was succeeded by that ofthe Almohads,a powerhl
military and religiousmovement,also with its capital in Marrakesh. They ruled
Muslim territories in al-Andalusfrom Seville and stopped Christian attacks and
invasions with some military successes,especially in the central and western
plains of the Peninsula.The battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) also marked
the end of the Almohadsmilitary power.
W e can stress two things within the framework of military conflicts caused
by religious-politicaltensions during that period.
Firstly,the above-mentionedpolarization of those tensions on intransigent
religious military solutions. Secondly, the existence, during the entire period
until the occupation ofGranada in the 15* century,ofmany non-violentcontacts
between Muslims and Christians,which were not military or aggressive.After
the 15thcentury within a general framework ofconfrontationbetween Islam and
Christianity,personal and cultural exchanges and even exchanges of individuals
and military groups,which were very frequent between Muslims and Christians,
the Iberian Peninsula,became ideologically divided into two parts.

83
TEXT A: TEODOMIROS PACT

The translationof the textaccording to a1 Uthri(geographer of the 11th century):


In the name ofGod,the Clement,the Merciful.
This is what Abdal-Azizb. Musa b.Nusayr has left written for Teodemiro b.
Gandarish.
Everything that has been revealed by God about voluntary surrender will be
applied.
That he had Godspact and His alliance following what His prophets and His
messengers have ordered.
That he had the protection ofGod,may H e be glorified and praised.
And the protection of Muhammad, God bless him and save him.
That none of his Government partners will be before him nor will be preferred
before them to the prejudice oftheir interests.
That they will not be taken prisoners nor will they be separated from their wives
nor from their children.
That they will not be executed.
That their churcheswill not be burnt.
That they will not be coerced as regards their religion.
That their voluntary submission is extended to seven citadels:
Orihuela,La Mula,Lorca,Valencia,Alicante,Los Alcozares,Elche
Let him not fail to keep the pact,nor break what has been agreed.
Let him comply perfectly with what w e have imposed on him and the
obligationsto which we had compelled him,in everythingthat concernshim.
Let him not hide from us any information,which he has or which comes to his
knowledge.
Let them,he and his government partners,comply with the Christiansspecific
taxes,
among them:

84
for every free man,
a dinar,
four almuds ofwheat,
four almuds ofbarley,
four cysts ofvinegar,
a cyst ofhoney,
a cyst of oil,
and for every slave,
half of all that.

This was attested by:


Utmanb. Ubaydal-Qurayshi
Habib b.Abi Ubaydal-Qurayshi
Sulaiman b. Qais Al-Laji
Sadunb. Abd-Allahal-Rabih
Yiguix Ibn - Abdallah a1 - Azdi
Abu Asimal-Hathli
It was put in writing in the month of rajab in the year 94 ofthe Hegira
(April,713 AD.).

85
TEXT B: TEARS OF THE CONOUEST BY THE
CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE

This text from the so-calledMozarab Chronicle,from the middle of the Sth
century,recalls the history and glories of Hispania in nostalgic terms,regretting
the situation produced by the Muslim conquest.
Also in the west,Caliph al-Walid subdued the Gothic kingdom, firmly
established in Hispania for a long time....which was destroyed by the officer in
command of his army called Musa,and made tributary.
In addition to that,Hispania was devastated and convulsed in the extreme,
not only by enemies but also by internal confrontations.Then,Musa b. Nusayr
himself, crossing the sea at the region of C*diz, ... penetrated into Hispania-
already deeply desegregated and attacked mercilessly for a long time ...and
destroyed it.
Having burst in as far as the royal city ofToledo,he deceived neighbouring
regions with the lure of a false peace. Some noble and elderly eminent people,
who had survived after the flight from Toledo,were condemned to the gallows
and made them die through the sword,thanks to Opas,King Egicas son.
This way, while he terrified everybody with such horrors,some cities that
had survived proclaimed peace.They,somewhatcunningly,persuading amicably,
granted the conditions required.But when the inhabitants revolted against what
had been agreed,terrified by the fear,they had to flee to the mountains again and
die ofhunger and of different kinds of death.
W h o would dare to describe so much misfortune?
W h o would want to enumerate so many unforeseeable catastrophies?
Even ifall members ofthe body concentrated in the tongue (lingua), human
nature would never and in no way be able to express Hispanias destruction nor
the number and magnitude oftheir evils.

86
TEXT C: MUSLIM VISION OF THE CONFRONTATION BETWEEN
MUSLIM AUTHORITIES AND CHRISTIAN LOCAL POWERS

The Eastern traveller, geographer and advisor Ibn Hawqal came to al-
Andalus in the middle ofthe l Othcentury.He knew the problem ofthe Cordoban
power with Christian powers perfectly and considered it as a matter ofrebels.
Ibn Hawqalsglobal vision must be applied to all peninsular Christian kingdoms
and territories,to those of to Ibn Hafsuns in the zone of Malaga as well as
mountainous zones in the Pyrenean and Cantabrian Chains.
There are many agricultural properties in al-Andaluswith thousands of
people who do not live in the urban manner. They are Hispanic-Visigothswho
follow the Christian religion. Sometimes they revolt,and some of them take
refuge in castles. It is difficult to subdue them, because they are extremely
insolent and rebellious. When they break with submission, it is difficult to
subdue them,unless you exterminate them,which is a long and difficult matter.

TEXT D:VISION OF THE CONOUEST BY A CORDOBAN CHRISTIAN

The EmperorsGerman ambassador in Cordoba,John de Gortz,attended to


a Christian prelate in Cordoba,who explained to him the Christianssituation in
the Muslim society,which was not so negative as to make the ambassador spoil
it by making a scandal in the name of religion (middle of the lothcentury).
Consider our present situation.Our sins have reduced us to sufferthe pagans
yoke,and the apostles words forbid us to de@ the established powers. The only
consolation that is left for us,in the middle of so much misfortune,is that we are
allowed to govern ourselves following our own laws,and that they respect and
appreciatethose who show faithful observance ofChristianity,and have pleasure in
having relations with them...Under such circumstances,thus,we have as a rule of
conduct,provided there is no attack directed against religion,to be condescending
to them in all the rest, and to obey their orders as long as they do not go against
Christian faith.Hence,it is much more convenient for you to make mention of such
things,and to ignore that letter completely rather than provoke a scandal,to a great
extent disastrous for you and your people,with no urgent need.

87
TEXT E: EXPEDITION OF POLITICAL.ADMINISTRATIVE,FISCAL
AND MILITARY CONTROL OF THE CORDOBAN CENTRAL
POWER IN MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN TERRITORIES

The Umayyad caliph of Cordoba, Abd al-Rahman 111, travelled, in the


middle of the lothcentury,through the territories of sharq al-Andalus(East of
the Peninsula) with a retinue or army that carried out functions which were not
only military, but also administrative and fiscal,that is to say,political (text of
al-Uthri).
Muhammad al-Aslamirevolted in Callosa,in the province of Tudmir,but
was subdued again at the end ofthe reign ofthe amir ofCordoba AbdAllah,as
a resultofwhich he was renewed in his post and his prerogativesby his grandson
and successor,Caliph Abdal-Rahman111.
When the king set out on an expedition towards Pamplona in 3 12 (924), he
penetrated into Tudmir,as has been said.Muhammad refrained from taking part
in the expedition. He showed disobedience and made his insubordination
evident.Soldiers besieged him for some days and seized territories in the plain
that belonged to him, as well as some castles high up. Then,Caliph Abd al-
Rahman 111 went forward to territories bordering with non-Muslims,and had
him besieged by Said Ibn Munthir. When he came back from his expedition,
Muhammad asked him for submission guarantees and they were granted to him.
Later he broke his commitments again. Officer Said Ibn Munther besieged
him again. He once again asked for submissision guarantees and they were
granted to him, after having to give up some of his castles and retaining only
Alicante.

88
Discussion Questions

7. Elaborate the unique political policy in the early 8th- gthcentury during
-
the expansion of Islam the diplomatic invitation by letter and
emissary offering: a) conversion to Islam or,b) remaining in ones
own religion,but accepting the Muslim political power with social and
religious guarantees-anoffer of coexistence and tolerance.How was
this receivedby the Christians and Jews? Compare thispolicy with the
Visigoth rule.

2. Was this Muslim policy of offering a pacific agreement before


expansion unique in world history? Could this be considered an early
form of conflict prevention? Discuss the nature of the expansion of
other powerful nations in history prior to and after AI-Andalus,e.g.
colonialismin Africa, the Middle East,Asia and South America.

3. Analyze the various agreements made through negotiations, pacts


and non-aggressiveaction noting that De Epalza and Viguera-Molins
state that the acquisition of land was primarily by agreement and de
Epalza adds that expeditions were undertaken not for territorial
conquest but for territorialadministration.

4.Discuss the differing interpretations of military and political expansion


by various historians,noting their own bias,etc.

5. Comment on todaysinternational norms and institutions thatpromote


peaceful settlement of disputes,noting the UN Charter,especially
Chapter 6 on techniques of peaceful settlement: mediation,
negotiation,conciliation, arbitration, adjudication,et cetera. Did the
rulers of a1 -Andalusutilize any of these means in dealing with other
peoples? In which situations today have these pacific methods been
effectively utilized,and analyze why they have failed in other cases.

89
0Mankind! We have made you male and
female, and appointed you to be peoples and
tribes in order thatyou know one another
- The Koran -

90
SOCIOLOGICAL BACKGROUND

-
7 Unity and Variety in Medieval Muslim Society:
Ethnic Diversity and Social Classes
in Muslim Spain (711-1090)

bY
Roberto Marin-Guzman

-
1 Ethnic Diversity
Muslims brought significant changes to the society ofthe Iberian Peninsula
and started a new social,political and cultural system in al-Andalus(]).They
also brought to the Peninsula,the Middle Eastern traditions and institutions,and
with them, social,ethnic and religious divisions.This part is devoted to the
study of the establishment of this new social, political and cultural system,
emphasizing mainly the ethnic groups,their divisions and their relations (2).
As was the case in the East and in North Africa,the Muslim armies in Spain
rapidly conquered city after city. In a short period of time,mainly from 711 to
716,most of Spain fell under the new rulers (3). Rodrigo,the Visigothic king,
was defeated and he either died or disappeared,an issue about which the Arabic
sources provide contradictory evidence (4). Egilona, his widow,married Abd
al-Azizb. Musa Ibn Nusayr,one ofthe major Arab commanders of thefath al-
Andalus (5). In a few years,most ofthe Iberian Peninsula was conquered by the
Muslim armies. Even though the Muslim armies made evaded several times the
lands of the Franks (rfranji), they were not able to create permanent bases, and
finally,in 732, the famous battle of Tours and Poitiers, a decisive victory for
Charles Martel,stopped them (6).
After the fath al-Andalus,Muslims established,as they did in other areas of
the empire,a Muslim government and the development ofa new culture and law.
The conquerors brought to Spain at the beginning of the fath two new ethnic
groups,Arabs and Berbers as well as the new religion of Islam. At that time
Islam was not regarded only as a religion but as a culture and as a way of life.
Islam permeated all the aspects of society and became in al-Andalus,as it was
already in other provinces ofthe Muslim empire,the major element guiding the

91
relations between the conquerors (Muslims) and the conquered (non-Muslims).
The classification and to a certain extent the separation of the various groups,
was mainly due to religion.
In the period 711 to 1090A.D., we find a highly stratified society,but also very
pluralistic in which other groupswere permitted to coexistunder specificrulesdrawn
by their Muslim rulers.Christiansand Jewsbecame the ah1 al-dhimma,the protected
people.Muslims needed their knowledge and experience and as a result,several of
them were successful in various activities under the Muslim administration as
ambassadors, physicians, intellectuals, merchants and artisans. The examples of
Hasday b. Shaprut as the medical doctor of the court of Abdal-RahmanI11 and
Samuel and Jehuda b. Nagralla as viziers of the Zirid Berber dynasty of Granada,
during the period of the taifas,are well known (7). However,an opposite process
took place aftertheReconquista wars,when the Catholic rulers,Ferdinand and Isabel,
in the last part of the 15thcentury, discriminated against, persecuted and finally
expelled fi-om Spain,Muslims and Jews,having forthese actionsthe assistance ofthe
Spanish Inquisition(8). These expulsionswere detrimentalto Spanish agricultureand
industry,and also had a negative impact upon the existence and development of a
skilled labourforce (9). In 1619,Moriscos were expelled fi-omSpain.
The period of the Muslim presence in Spain was very dynamic. The new
ethnic groups that arrived in the Iberian Peninsula caused a tremendous
transformation of the old ethnic groups already living there.After the Muslim
fath conversion and Arabization took place. Some Hispano-Romansbecame
Muslims by conviction,while others found conversion convenient to improve
their social status,to be exempt from thejizya (the poll tax on non-Muslims).
H o w was the pluralistic society of al-Andalusorganized? What was the nature
of the convivencia (coexistence) between the major ethnic groups? which
elements guided their relations?
Muslims were the leaders ofthe society.However,were all Muslims equal?
Did they form a unitary leading group? Were there differencesamong Muslims?
During the rashidun and the Umayyad periods,the Muslim empire was an Arab
empire.Arabs were the first converts and Arab tribes conquered the territories
and spread Islam. They established an Arab empire and did not treat others
equally,even after conversion to Islam.
As a reactionto that Arab predominance,the shu ubiyyamovement,led by
the mawali,(non-Arabconverts,clientsofArab tribes) aspired to obtain equality
(musawa) for all Muslims. The Abbasid revolution had gained popular support
through appealing to musawa (10). However,it is importantto bear in mind that

92
this discriminationagainst the muwalladun ofal-Andalusnever matched that of
the Umayyad Muslim empire in the East.Many muwalladun in al-Andaluseven
rose to occupy important administrative positions, as shown by the Arabic
sources as al-KhushanisTu rikh Qudut bi-Qurtuba, which provides several
examples ofmuwalladun in the position ofqadi of Cordoba.
Muslims were also divided into various groups.In Muslim Spain they never
formed a homogeneous community.Divisions between Muslims in al-Andalus
were due to ethnicity: the Arabs were the rulers,and the other Muslims were
submitted to their leadership, mainly the Berbers and the muwalladun (the
Visigothic and the Hispano-Roman converts).
After the Muslim fath the ethnic divisions between Arabs and Berbers were
very clear.The land distributionwas part ofthe process:Arabs occupiedthe best
lands; Berbers were confined to the mountainous regions of Galicia, Leon,
Asturias,and the arid regions ofExtremadura and La Mancha.The supremacy
over other Muslim groups,especially in this case the Berbers, was a frequent
cause ofdisputes and friction between both groups throughout Spanish Muslim
history,even though the Berbers disliked to live in cities and preferred to live in
the mountains and desserts,according to Ibn Idhari(1 1).
Even thoughArabs and Berberswere Muslims,there were severalinstances of
cultural differences,mainly language,throughout the history of al-Andalus.Until
the tenth century,Arabs were afraid ofthe Berberizationoftheir culture due to the
large number ofBerbers in comparisonwith the smallArab ruling group.Therefore
they prohibited theArabs to dresslike Berbers.However,these fearswere overcome
after the tenth century,as explained by the al-Andalus historian Ibn Hayyan (d.
1075) in a less known manuscript about the tenth century Caliph al-HakamI1 and
the Berbers.IbnHayyan described how the anti-Berberfeelingstowards the Arabs
had changed during al-Hakam11s Caliphate,when the Caliph recognized them as
good soldiers and built a special m y of Berber mercenaries (12). The Hajib al-
Mansur army conscripted from Berber mercenaries illustratesthis point.The Berber
military strength later led them towards the foundation of a strong state under the
Berber Zirid dynasty,in Granada,during the period ofthe tu fu.
When one notices that in various periods ofthe history ofal-Andalussome
fashions of Berber dresses were adopted by the local Arab population, it
becomes clear that there was a change ofthe Arab attitude towards the Berbers.
The Berber turban,accepted in some parts of al-Andalus,did not become totally
popular until 1008,when the Caliph Abdal-RahmanSanchueloappeared in a
public meeting wearing it.

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Within the ethnic diversity is the added complexity of internal division
within the tribes, clans, families and political parties (1 3). The traditional
divisions and disputes between Northern Arab tribes (generally called Qays,
Maadd, Mudar, Qays Aylan,or Syrian) and Southern Arab tribes (Qahtan,
Kalbi,or Yemenites), described in the major Arabic sources,also took place in
al-Andalus(14).
This division of the traditional Arab tribes was increased in al-Andalus
when Arabs claimed privileges by priority of arrival. Arabs differentiated
between those who formed the first migration and those ofthe second migration.
The first group,that of thefath,were mainly Yemenites (Southern Arabs), who
were named al-baladiyun(Spanish Baladies,from the Arabic balad = country,
place of birth). The second Arab migration was formed basically of Syrians
(NorthernArabs), and called al-shamiyun (1 5). This second group reached the
Peninsula around 740 (16), led by Balj b. Bishr to help the wali Abdal-Malik
b. Qatan al-Fikhri(17)to suppress the Berber revolt (18). After the revolt was
suppressed, Balj took arms against Abd al-Malik and killed him (19). The
Syrians then became the rulers ofal-Andalusfor around 15 years until the arrival
ofthe Umayyad Abdal-RahmanI in 756.The Syrians also established in Spain
the Muslim practice of junds, armed land-owners,in the frontier zones -
equivalent to the ancient Roman limitanei - ready to defend their properties and
al-Andalus,from their tribal rivals,and their enemies.
The Berbers were not a unified ethnic group either. Their tribal, clan and
family disputes and rivalries also were transported to al-Andalus.Numerous rival
groups fought each other in Spain for their own benefit: Branes, Bot< Sinhaja,
Zanata and Miknasa (20). The Berbers also differentiated between oldBerbers,
those who arrived first in the Peninsula,at the time of the fath and those new
Berbers, who arrived later in time,mainly hired as mercenaries by the rulers
throughout the centuries,especially by the caliph Abdal-RahmanI11 (912-961)
and the Hajib ofHisham 11, al-Mansur(21). These Berber groups were different.
While the old Berbers were rural and lived in the mountains,the newformed
an urbanized army loyal to the ruler over any national or ethnic claims.
Yet despite these internal divisions,when facing different ethnic groups,the
pledge to tribal asabiyawas then a call for unity that worked in most cases.
Examples of this situation happened frequently in al-Andalus.
H o w did Muslims face and handle the Christian population of the
Peninsula? H o w did Muslims deal with the religious minorities in al-Andalus,
both Jews and Christians?

94
The Muslim Empire both in the East and in the West developed the dhimma
system ofprotected peoples,which was applied to Christiansand Jews.Muslims
allowed Jews and Christians autonomy in the administration of their own
communities. The minority religious groups had their own courts to practice
their own communal law forjustice and for issues such as marriages,inheritance
and economic litigation (22). If a case involved a Muslim, it was tried in the
Muslim court by the qadi.
In the dhimma system,Jews and Christians accepted their subordinate status
and their exclusion from participation in power. They were not allowed to carry
weapons or to ride horses.However,some Jews and Christiansin al-Andalus,with
some limitations,rose to occupy important administrative positions,which proves
that the elite was an open group, that social mobility was possible, and that
Muslims,Christiansand Jews had good and peaceful relations most ofthe time in
al-Andalus.Muslims did not put any pressure on the ah1 al-dhimmato convert to
Islam. Tolerance for Christians and Jews was a characteristic of the dar al-Islam.
In fact,extensive peaceful interrelations took place in al-Andalusbetween
Muslims and Christians. For example, Muslims and Christians on many
occasions shared the same activities, jobs and frequently Muslims hired
Christians in their business and shops.Very often Muslims participated in some
Christian traditional celebrations,such as New Year and the nativity of Saint
John the Baptist.In both festivitiesthey exchanged with Christians presents and
special foods (23). Muslim rulers very often had Christian or Jewish
ambassadors and physicians in their courts.Marriages between Christians and
Muslims were frequent,to the point that Pope Adrian I (772-795)sent a letter of
protest to the Spanish Bishops reminding them of the prohibition on marrying
non-Christians,Jews,pagans or any other non-baptizedperson (24).
In general,the interrelations between Muslims, Jews and Christians were
good and peacefiil. However,the reality that the ah1 al-dhimma could elevate
their social statusthrough conversion,and the promise ofbeing exempt from the
jizya tax, convinced many to adopt the new faith. It is in this respect that
conversion is related to taxation.At the same time Arabization took place,more
rapidly among Jews than among Christians,but conversion to Islam was more
popular among the latter than it was among Jews (25).
The majority of the Spanish population lived under Muslim rule (26).
However,for those Christian Spaniards who converted to Islam,either due to
religious convictions or for economic reasons to avoid paying thejizya (poll-tax)
by paying the zakat (alms,religious taxes) instead (27), acquired the status of

95
muwalladun which did not result in immediate social equality and justice;and
neither did this happen in the East. The new converts very soon assimilated
themselves into the new culture, and Arabization was then one of the major
issues.By the lothcentury,a large number of the native Spanish had converted
to Islam (29). The new converts complained ofvarious inequities,and not being
treated equally to the Arab Muslims.They were paid less than the Arab Muslims
for the same services, such as enrolment in the army.The Arab administration
provided them with less participation in the political positions of the empire.
These abuses characterized the relationship between Arabs and mawali in the
East.Even though these problems were not so drastic in al-Andalusas they were
in the East, they stirred the muladies to countless social protests and revolts
against the Arabs throughout the centuries,and sparked the development of the
shuubiyyamovement in the llth century with Ibn Garsiya (Garcia) (30).
Those Christians who migrated to the north, following Pelayo after the
battle of Covadonga (circa 718,although there is debate about its date) (31),
started the Christian Kingdoms which afterwards led the Reconguista (32).
Many other Visigoths and Hispano-Romansalso fled to Galicia and other areas
in the north after the Muslimfatah (33).
Those Spaniards who preserved Christianity and remained in Muslim
territories were very soon Arabized and called Mozarabs (34). Much discussion
has taken place about the true meaning of this word and its origin.However,
most authors agree that the term was used to mean a Christian who was not an
Arab but who was Arabized due to his contacts and mixture with Arab Muslims.
They learned and spoke Arabic. Latin sources also use the term to refer to the
same peoples both during the time ofthe Muslim domination of al-Andalusand
afterthe Christian Reconquista of several cities and territories in the 11th, 12th
and 13th centuries.The idea that the Mozarabs were the MixtiArabes,eo quod
mixti Arabibus convivebant , as expressed by Rodrigo JimCnez,archbishop of
Toledo,in his De Rebus Hispania (35), was very common among Muslims as
well as Christians during the times of the Muslim presence in Spain.Although
the Mozarabs preserved their Christian religion and culture,their knowledge of
the Arabic language,literature and culture was stronger than that of Latin and
Christian literature.
As part of the Arabization process,Christians in al-Andaluscopied several
of the Arab customs such as circumcision and Arab habits for food and drink.
The representative of the Emperor Otto of the Roman-Germanic Empire,
ambassador to the court ofthe caliph Abdal-RahmanI11 in Cordoba in the 1Oth
century, witnessed and commented on this phenomenon, asserting that the

96
Christians in Spain imitated many of the customs of the Muslims, and avoided
the same foods the Muslims did,contrary to the Christian belief that all foods,
created by God, are good (36). Alvaro, a Christian author, and one of the
spiritual leaders of the socio-religiousmovement of the martyrs,witnessed this
phenomenon of the Arabization process a century before the Emperor Ottos
ambassador,and he lamented the whole issue in his epistle in the 9* century.He
wrote in his Indiculus Luminosus:
Our Christianyoung men, with their elegant airs andfluentspeech,are
showy in their dress and carriage,and arefamedfor the learning of thegentiles;
intoxicated with Arab eloquence they greedily handle, eagerly devour and
zealously discuss the books of the Chaldeans (ie.Muslims), and make them
known by praising them with every flourishof rhetoric,knowing nothing of the
beauty of the Church5 literature, and looking down with contempt on the
streams of the Church thatflowforth from Paradise;alas! the Christians are so
ignorant of their own law, the Latins pay so little attention to their own
language,thatin the whole Christianjlockthere is hardly one man in a thousand
who can write a letter to inquire after afriendb health intelligibly,while you
may find a countless rabble of all kinds ofthem who can learnedly roll out the
grandiloquentperiods of the Chaldean tongue. They can even make poems,
every line ending with the same letter,which display high.flightsof beauty and
more skill in handling metre than the gentiles themselvespossess. (37)
These comments, although important as evidence of the process of
Arabization of the Mozarabs, are not the last words about it. There is evidence
in other sources of the opposite: such as the muladies keeping the Romance
language,in the case of the qadi of Cordoba Sulayman Ibn Aswad al-Ghafiqi,
explained by al-Khushaniin his Kitab al-Qudat bi-Qurtuba (38).Ifthat was the
case of a number of muladies,something similar could be said about a number
of Mozarabs, even though in both cases it is necessary to keep in mind the
existence of some limitations and exceptions in this kind of statement.
Generalizations on this point are always dangerous.Due to the evidence in some
of the Arabic sources that a number of Muladies and Mozarabs preserved the
Romance language,prestigious Spanish historians have rejected the idea of the
total Arabization of the Mozarabs, and have explained, instead, that they
preserved their culture and the Romance language over Arabic (39).
However, a careful reading of the various sources, geographical
descriptions,chronicles,general histories and literary works,clearly show that
despite the fact that a number of Mozarabs kept some cultural traditions and the
Romance language, the vast majority were Arabized and communicated in

97
Arabic. On many occasions it was necessary to translate into Arabic the ancient
canons and the Bible for the use of Christians in al-Andalus(40). This process
also generated client relationships forthe new converts,also practised in the East
ofthe empire.N e w non-Arabconverts were forced to adoptArabic tribal names
and to become clients (mawali,muwallad in al-Andalus) of an Arab tribe.The
learning of the conquerors language was therefore essential. The client
relationship and the Arabization process is illustrated in the several Banu names
of the Mozarab families and priests from al-Andalus who arrived in Leon,
Asturias and Navarre in the 9th and 10th centuries.As part ofthe same process
one can also add the incorporationofmany Arabic voices into Latin documents,
especially referring to offices and administrative positions such as sahib al-
madina (zafalmidina), al-wazir(aluazil), al-qadi(alcalde) and many others that
made their way into Spanish as well (41).
The Jews formed another religious group which was dispersed all over al-
Andalus and in Christian Spain.Several quarters in different Muslim cities bear
names or referencesto that community.In Toledo Jews lived on the outskirts of
the city in the so-calledmadinat al-Yahud.In Cordoba,they lived in the Juderia,
the quarter ofthe Jews where there was a bab al-Yahud.Granada was called the
Cityofthe Jews.
A number ofJews were active in commerce (later banking), medicine,and
they also worked as ambassadors from Christian rulers to al-Andalus,and vice
versa under the Muslims (42). The Jews formed one ofthe most important and
influential ethnic and religiousgroups in the intellectual and economic levels in
al-Andalus,although numerically there were not a large community.Ibn Gabirol
and the outstandingMaiinonides are two ofthe major Spanish Jewish authors of
universal dimension.Jews were strongly Arabized since the beginning of the
Muslim fath, which they supported and helped in the hope of stopping the
discrimination and persecution under the Visigoths.They helped in thefath of
several cities,especially Toledo, Seville and Granada (43). Arabic chronicles
mention that on several occasionsArabs asked and entrusted to Jews the control
and defence ofsome cities and garrisons,so that the Muslim armies could move
on and conquer other places. A clearer example in this respect is the fath of
Sevillewhich was entrustedto the Jews living there by the mawla Mughuith who
participated in the leadership ofthefath ofthe city (44).
The appearance ofNorman pirates in the ninth and tenth centuries,although
temporary, since they established very weak settlements,further complicated
this ethnic mosaic ofArabs, Berbers, Jews,the Arabized Visigothic Christians,
and the Visigothic Muslims,or new Muslims,i.e.the Muladies (45).

98
Of greater importance and impact on Spain than the Normans were the
saqaliba,brought as slavesto al-Andalusfrom various places ofEurope - mainly
from what today is Bulgaria and Hungary,as well as other places.The saqaliba
encompassed a variety of ethnic groups, languages and cultures from those
different areas of Europe (46). However,in al-Andalusand for the purposes of
the Muslim administration, they were categorized in the generic term of
saqaliba, without drawing any distinctions between them. The generic term
saqaliba included Germanic people, Scandinavians,Slavs and Spanish from the
North. Frequently,the term also refers to the Franks. Because ofthis variety of
ethnic communities,it is possible to see the saqaliba as a macro-ethnic group
which encompassed several micro-ethnicities.
The saqaliba had a relevant role in the court as eunuchs, in the caliphal
army,and later on in the control ofterritories,forming a ta '$a or party-kingdom
after the fall of the Caliphate in 1031, especially in the eastern regions of al-
Andalus:Almeria,Denia and the Balearic islands (47).
Along with these ethnic groups one must add the black Sudanese slaves,
although the sources do not mention them very often.It is very difficult to draw
ethnic separations between the various black groups brought as slaves to al-
Andalus during the Muslim rule. It is possible to infer that they were not a
homogeneous ethnic group,since Arab slavers brought them from the western
and eastern Sudan, a vast region south of the Sahara, in which there is a
multiplicity of ethnic groups,languages and cultures.Again,Arabic sources do
not provide information leading to a distinction between them. They are
comprised as one single ethnic group named Sudanese blacks. Since there is
little information in the Arabic sources about the Sudanese blacks in al-Andalus,
an estimate of their number in the period under study is difficult.They were a
small group mainly dedicated to the household activities of the court and some
rich families.A number of Sudanese blacks were good runners and formed the
major group of runners in the barid, (the postal system) as well as in the kind of
corporation of burud named raqqas.
It is not difficult to deduce the variety of languages from the ethnic
diversity:Arabic, Hebrew,Berber dialects, Latin, Romance, Slavic languages
and some African dialects. The variety of languages,also had different levels:
the official language; the spoken language (or several languages in various
regions); and the religious language (or languagesaccording to the ethnicity and
religions;Arabic, Latin, Hebrew, for Islam, Christianity and Judaism in al-
Andalus) (48).

99
It would be a serious mistake to think that profound ethnic divisions stood
in the way of the creation of a common Muslim culture and the consciousness
ofbeing Muslim and also different from the rest ofthe Muslim Empire.Despite
the ethnic divisions, Muslims of al-Andalus were culturally unified. For
Muslims, Islam became the unifying element and the basis for a common
culture. Berbers, Arabs and the muwalladun mixed with each other through
marriages,and had close dealings and relationships in the daily economic life.
They all shared the same faith,the samejudicialsystem (the Malikite madhhab
was generally the only one accepted), the same organization and ideology ofthe
State,the same government and the same Muslim traditions.They were able to
have their own identity as a Muslim society,specific,particular, with its own
characteristics, different from the rest of the Muslim Empire. To identify
themselves as different and separate from the Abbasidsof the East or the
Fatimids of North Africa, al-Andalus became with Abd al-Rahman 111 an
independent and distinct caliphate in the year 929 (49).

2 - Dynamics of a Medieval Societv: Social Classes and Social Mobility


in al-Andalus
Religion,ethnicity,lineage,wealth,patronage,connections,education,and
talent and abilities were the major elements of social stratification.The society
of al-Andaluswas divided mainly by religious and ethnic groups,and within
these groups,a structure for different status was developed.All Muslims were
not equal:some were ulama,rulers,military people,ashraf(descendants ofthe
ProphetMuhammad), wealthy merchants;some otherswere poor:artisans,some
shopkeepers,small merchants, peasants, slaves. There was a large difference
drawn between rich and leading groups and the commoners.
The society ofal-Andaluswas also highly stratified by sexualgender.Male and
female separationwas clearly drawn in this highly male-dominated society.Specific
roles,positions,jobs,attitudes,and behaviourwere expected and demanded formen
and for women in the society.Men monopolized the leadership positions, the
military occupations,the administrative,thejudicialand the intellectualoccupations,
while women were subordinateto men and took care ofthe household and helped
men in the feeding ofsoldiers in the expeditionary armies against the enemies.The
separation by sex in this society,which was very similar throughout the Muslim
empire,caused men to spend most oftheir time with other men in severalactivities
even after marriage: in religion, in festivities,in the intellectual spheres, in the
market,and in general in the daily life.Women also spent most oftheir time with
other women.Arabic literature clearly shows this phenomenon.

100
According to Arabic sources the society in Muslim Spain was loosely
divided into two major classes.The ruling class (khassa= elite) was mainly of
Arab origin and owned the best land for agriculture and had the most profitable
businesses, industry and trade. It also encompassed the different categories of
officials in the central administration (Tabaqat ah1 al-Khidma),both Arabs and
those muwalladun who made their way to those positions.Part ofthe elite were
both, Quraysh Arab nobility and buyutat, or important families in the
administration,whose sons inherited the positions and privileges.Among them
were: Banu Abi Abda,Banu Suhaid, Banu Abd al-Raufand Banu Futais,
descendants of Syrian Arabs or Marwanids (50). Among those positions were:
wali (governor) in the kuras (provinces), sahib al-shurta (chief of the police),
sahib al-madina (inspectorofthe city,who had other wide activities) (5 l), sahib
al-suq (inspector of the market, dealing with prices,weights and quality of the
products in the markets), sahib al-saqiyya (inspector of irrigation and water
supplies), sahib al-diya,and others (52).
The other major class was the amma or common people, comprising the
urban population,artisans,small traders and the rural people,peasants and those
employed in agriculture.There were three systems - muzaraa,musaqat and
muqharasa - as in the East, for the contracts between the landowner and the
peasant fallah) or rural worker (ami0 to exploit the qata i (parcel) through the
institution ofthe iqta(53). People in al-Andalusclassified themselves either as
ammaor as khassa.
However,it is important to underline the fact that the amma was in fact
composed of several different strata.The ammawas not a homogeneous group,
and those wealthier, like some successful merchants, shopkeepers,owners of
industries (manufactures), educated people and some ulama, could be
considered to form a middle class,despite the controversiesand methodological
problems concerning this term. There is no evidence in the Arabic sources that
they were conscious of belonging to a middle class,but rather being part of the
two major social groups.
Social mobility was possible in Muslim Spain as it was also common in
the rest of the Muslim Empire.To improve ones social status was possible
through education, through marriage to someone having a better social
position, which could bring connections, prestige and wealth. Success in
business, especially trade, improved ones status. This did not mean
exclusively to become richer, but also to acquire a certain level of prestige
which could lead to connections,position and finally to wealth and social
status. The sources show how some poor people acquired a better status

101
through education. Some mawali, like Abu Uthman Said b. Uthman b.
Sulayman al-Tujibi,acquired great prestige after becoming a renownedfaqih,
despite his condition as a new convert (54). Some other non-Arab converts
also occupied importantadministrativepositions like Garsiya IbnAhmad who
was appointed governor of Salamanca in the year 317H (929-930AD)during
the Caliphate of Abdal-Rahman111, or IsmailIbn Lope who was appointed
governor ofAtienza in the same year (55).
By becoming ulamasome people improved their status, since they
acquired a new position and prestige, but this did not guarantee becoming
wealthier. Some ulama remained poor, like Yahya Ibn Maamar al-Ilhani,
whose entire belongings in his house as qadi were described by al-Khushanias
being a mat,an earthen pot in which he had some flour,a jar for water,a glass
and his bed (56). Similarly,the qadi al-AswarIbn Uqbaal-Nasri,who did not
own an oven,had to take his bread to be baked in a public oven (57).
Some ulama, on the other hand,had considerable prestige,and because
they travelled and studied with renowned scholars, became famous in al-
Andalus,as in the case ofYahya Ibn Yahya,despite his Berber origin (58). He
travelled to Mecca and studied with Malik b. Anas, and apparently he was
responsible for the diffusion of the Malikite school (madhhab) as the major
and only one in al-Andalusat the time of the Amir Hisham I(788-796)(59).
Some others,like Muhammad Bashir,also went to Mecca to study with Malik
b.Anas (60).Some ulamaowned land and also worked in manufactures like
al-MusabIbn Imranal-Hamadani(61) Yahya Ibn Maamar al-Ilhani (62),
or SaidIbn Sulayman al-Ghafiqi(63), but land ownership did not make them
rich. Yahya Ibn Maamar al-Ilhani,despite his position as qadi of Cordoba
and the ownership of a farm,remained poor. The fame and prestige of those
who studied in al-Andalusand in the East contributed to their appointment to
important positions such as qadi of Cordoba. In al-Khushaniswork,there is
evidence that on some occasionsthis position was well paid. He mentions the
case of the qadi Muawiya b. Salih al-Hadrami,who asserted that from his
savings of one year as judge of Cordoba,he could afford to live another full
year after losing his position (64). This explanation contrasts with the poverty
that characterized some other qadi,as can be seen from the case ofYahya Ibn
Maamar al-Ilhanialready mentioned,and leads us to think that,even though
the Arabic sources do not provide the evidence,probably the salaries were not
clearly established and perhaps they remained an exclusive and arbitrary
attribute of the ruler.

102
Ability in a specific field also contributed to onesstatus in society and even
to influence. This point is exemplified by the case of the famous musician
Ziryab,originally from Baghdad,and apparently ofPersian origin,and client of
the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi.He also acquired leading and influential positions
besides prestige, connections and wealth in al-Andalus(65). Ziryab not only
rose to prominent social positions,because ofhis extraordinary talent for music,
but he also influenced the whole society in the time ofthe amir Abdal-Rahman
11. His fashion,hair style and dress were imitated by the people both in the elite
and by anybody else who could afford it (66). Al-Khushani also shows him
giving some advice to the amir Abd al-Rahman I1 in matters related to the
election of the qadi of Cordoba (67).
Poets and writers in various fields also rose to important and leading
positions.They improved their status and their prestige through their knowledge
and contribution to the sciences, jurisprudence, philosophy, theology and
literature. Their abilities and knowledge in various fields were highly
appreciated in al-Andalusthroughout the centuries.The same is also true for al-
Mashriq.However,status was not improved exclusively as a result ofoccupying
leading positions, but through the intellectual, scientific and judicial prestige
which eventually brought connections,favouritism,and finally leading positions
and wealth.
Connections and patronage were also important means to social mobility.
The cases of al-Mansurin the late lothcentury (68), and the poet,Ibn Ammar
in the court of al-MutamidofSeville in the 1lth century are good examples.The
two were Arabs,but ofhumble origin.However,this situation did not affect their
aspirations.Because oftheir personal talents and good connections,they rose to
the highest positions of leadership and administration.
For poor people,another way of social mobility was to join a turiqa,a su$
group.Ibn Arabiin his Risalat al-Quds provides biographies of fifty-fivesu$s
from al-Andalus,especially from the end of the twelfth and the thirteenth
centuries. Most of them were poor people, from the lowest positions and
occupations:haddad (blacksmith), jarrar (potter), kahhal (maker ofkuhl sticks),
khayyat (tailor), qattun (cotton worker), qarraq (sandal worker) (69).
Their piety and religious influence in society gave them prestige, i.e. a
better social status.There were also women who were able to raise their social
status and prestige in a society strongly dominated by men,through their piety
and religious experiences.The major examples were Shams Umm al-Fuqara
(Sun the Mother ofthe Poor) (70), and Nunna Fatima bint Ibn al-Mithanna(71).

103
All these factors contributed to raising a persons social status.However,the
opposite also occurred. Some people in administrative positions lost the favour
of their patrons,their positions,their prestige and privileges.Some even had a
tragic end,like Ibn Ammarin Seville in 1086.In this process of social mobility
one has to bear in mind the limitations. To ascend the social ladder,being a
Muslim was essential,with the exceptions already explained.To be an Arab was
also a basic requisite for occupying the main leading positions and for raising
onessocial status.Here again one has to keep in mind the numerous exceptions
to this practice in the administrative positions of provinces, cities and also as
qadi.Many muwalladun occupied important administrative positions.The same
is also true for some Christians and Jews,which shows the peaceful coexistence
of the various groups.
Within their own communities,Christians and Jews improved their status
through wealth, education, lineage and connections, but to improve it in the
same levels within the Muslim society was more difficult,since Muslim law
considered them protected peoples, meaning people of inferior social status.
Conversion to Islam was therefore necessary.
The society of al-Andaluswitnessed many political and socio-economic
tensions and rebellions in the various social, ethnic and religious groups,
throughout the centuries, because of the unequal distribution of power,
opportunities and wealth.Religion was frequently seen as a reason for social
upheavals,since it provided the basis for cultural unity. There are countless
examples of rebellions like the Berber revolt of 740,the muwallad rebellions
of Cordoba in 806 and the famous Jornada del Foso of Toledo in 807.As an
example, the rebellion of the Arrabal in Cordoba in 814,the Mdrtires de
Cdvdoba from 850 to 859, and the rebellion of Umar b. Hafsun and his
family in Bobastro from 880to 928,which really challenged the structure and
the ideology of the State because of Hafsuns conversion to Christianity.
These movements are good examples of the social dynamics of Medieval
Spanish history.

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3 Conclusion
Muslims,Christiansand Jews lived in peace most ofthe time in al-Andalus.
They had tied relations with each other in daily life,in the market,in businesses,
in the exchange of techniques and production, as well as in the countryside and
the cities. They even intermarried most often Muslim men married Jewish or
Christian women.These peaceful relations have served as a major example of
coexistence ofthese different culturesand religions.As in all societies,however,

104
there were also in al-Andalus,religious,ethnic and social differences with some
problems, and on occasions some abuses, as was explained in this chapter.
Although there is a tendency to over-emphasizethese peaceful relations,one is
obliged to note objectively the various forms of separation, segregation and
social differences that existed in those centuries.There were Muslims and ahl al-
dhimma;Arabs,Berbers,Hispano-Romans,Visigoths,Jews,sagaliba,Sudanese
blacks;rich and poor;rulers and ruled people, some in leading positions,while
others were subordinate; men and women, educated and illiterate;urban and
rural populations.All these dichotomies were explained in this essay,keeping in
mind that the analysis of the society of al-Andalusportrays a specific picture
within the major framework of the Muslim Empire.

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Discussion Questions

1. Elaborate the nature of the pluralistic society in al-Andalusregarding


coexistence. What were the different policies of the Umayyad,
Abbasid (theEast), Almohad and Almoravid dynasties?

2. Describe the common activities and socio-culturaltraditions shared


between the ah1a1 dhimma.What were the elements that helped to
create convivial coexistence,such as marriage,profession,business
and social mobility that forged tolerance and peaceful understanding
throughoutthe centuries?

3. What opportunitiesdid the Christians and Jews have to participate in


governance? Describe the two social classes: the khassa and the
amma,as well as the ulama,the educated middle class.

4. Give examples of the relations existing between the Arabs and


Berbers,both Muslims,but with culturaldifferences.

5. Note the similarities and differences in the basic texts of Islam,


Judaism and Christianity, regarding tolerance, respect for human
rights, peace and conflict situations. Compare also with Buddhism
and Hinduism.

6. Note the real meaning of jihad. Compare with the common views
today. The major jihad is the inner struggle to overcome selfishness,
pride and evil. The minor jihad is the outer struggle against
unbelieversor defense against those who attack Islam. Is there a lack
of understanding amongst some Muslims and the world about many
basic principles and values in the Koran and Hadith? Read the texts
and elaborate.

106
Ibn Rushd (Averroes)

107
The Koran invites man to observe nature and
to seek rational knowledge
- Ibn Rushd -

The search for knowledge is obligatory for


every Muslim
- The Hadith -

108
PHILOSOPHICAL AND SPIRITUAL
DEVELOPMENT

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8 Philosophical Development in Al-Andalus

by
Miguel Cruz-Hernandez

For almosteight centuries (711-1491) Muslims,Christiansand Jews co-existed


in the Iberian Peninsula;sometimesin a congenialatmosphere and at othertimes in
a stresshl situation.The calmest period in al-Andaluswas the that which ended
with the arrival of the Almoravids (1 086), and in spite of numerous problems,it
lasted until the conquest by the Almohads (1 148). In the Christian statesthe most
tranquil period lasted until the 14thcentury,afterwardsthe Jews were persecuted,
sometimesmassacred,and finallyexpelled in 1492.The Muslims who inhabitedthe
Christian Kingdoms (Mudejars,Moriscos) lived most comfortably up to the end of
the 15 century; they were then persecuted until they were expelled at the
beginning of the 17* century. The Christians who remained in al-Andalus
(Mozarabs) lived very comfortably until the arrival of the Almoravids,except for
some very limited problems such as the martyrs ofCordoba(Sthcentury).
On the other hand, social coexistence and cultural relationships were very
importantinthe higher socialclasses (nobility,khassa,and notables,Muslim ahan;
rabbis and scholars,and the great Jewish merchants; the higher echelons of the
clergy and Christian scholars); for the popular classes (the Muslim ammaand the
Christian people )remained less positive. However,as the thinkers of the Middle
Ages belonged to the elite class,the relationshipwas very importantand sometimes
hndamental as far as philosophy,theology and the scienceswere concerned.

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1 The Origins of Himano-Muslim Thoupht
a - The oriental sources of the thought of Al-Andalus. Islam was
established in the Iberian Peninsula between 711 and 756. The remarkable and
tenacious undertaking of the Umayyad Amir Abd al-RahmanI to restore the
dynasty and bring about the social integration of the different ethnic groups
(Arabs,Baladies,Berbers,Syrians,Mozarabs and Jews) establishedthe political

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foundationsofwhat is called al-Andalus.Mistrust and even hatred between the
Umayyads ofCordoba and the AbbassidsofBaghdad was such that the former
considered as questionable all that arrived from the Orient.But the fourth amir
of Cordoba, Abdal-RahmanI1 reformed the administration,on the model of
Baghdad (which was borrowed from the old Sassanide Empire). Commercial
relations and voyages for the pilgrimage @ajy) to Mecca and Madina provided
the occasion to bring to al-Andalus new Eastern trends, including oriental
thought. The latter was introduced in al-Andalusthrough five cultural vehicles.
First, Muslim jurisprudence (aljqh), the Awzai school and later the Maliki
school introduced at the beginning ofthe 9thcentury, which became the official
one ofthe Umayyad Dynasty.Second,ascetic or mystic spirituality (tassawwufl.
Third esoterism (batiniyya)found in al-Andalusaccording to examples in the
year 85 1. Fourth,the theology of the Mutazili which was already known at the
beginning of the 9thcentury by the doctor Abu Bakr Farij b. Salam.And fifth,
through scientific knowledge (astronomy, mathematics and medicine).
Philosophy in fahafa) in its strict sense arrived only a little later.
b - The school of Ibn Massara. The first systemization of thought in al-
Andalus was made by Ibn Massara. His father called AbdAllah, who died at
Mecca in the year 899, initiated his son in the batini, mutazila and mystical
doctrines that he had known in the Orient.Ibn Massara was born on the 19th
April 883 and died at Cordoba on the 20th October 93 1. O n his return fi-omthe
East he founded,at the hermitage,in the hills of Cordoba,a small cenacle with
his disciples, who led a common life of prayers and spiritual perfection. He
wrote two books there, the Kitub al-tabsira (the book of discerning
explanation) and the Kitub al-huruf(the book ofthe esoteric meaning of letters.)
One can say that Ibn Massaras thought is a synthesis of the Mutazilite
doctrines on divine oneness and justice and their relationship with free will,and
of the theory and practical methods of Sufi spirituality according to the
systematisation of Du-l-Nunal-Misri and al-Nahrajuri.But Ibn Masarra has
structured this synthesis in a very personal way and the moral and spiritual part
seems like a regula vitae for the disciples;which attracted the interest of many
scholars of al-Andalus.This success was looked upon with question by the
Umayyad dynasty after the time ofthe Amir AbdAllah,ancestor and grandfather
of the Caliph Abd al-Rahman111. The jurist al-Zajjali (who died in 914) was
instructed to draw up a decree condemning the dangerous and impious sect of
the Masarrites. This decree must have been renewed by the Caliph Abd al-
Rahman I11 who ordered its reading in all the mosques of their Kingdom during
the Friday prayers.Nevertheless,the Massarites succeeded in surviving and even

110
in developing themselves;they formed two principal groups:one at Cordoba,the
other at Pechina (Almeria). The most important figures of the first group were
three members ofthe distinguished family ofBanu Balluti;the most outstanding
person of the second group was Ibn Abi al-Majdal-Ruayniwho was the Imam
of the community of the valley of Pechina. He became famous because of the
socialistinterpretationhe had made ofthe Masarrite doctrines.He used to say:
It is illicit to possess anything [...I; the only thing a Muslim may possess is what
is necessary for his daily maintenance that he may acquire by all possible means.
c - The influence ofMasarrite ideology. Masarrite ideology became the first
and principal source of the theoretic thought of the Sufis of al-Andalus.At
Almeria which became the capital ofthe province after the decline ofPechina a
spiritual and esoteric school was formed:the School ofAlmeria whose principal
figure is Ibn al-Arif,born at Almeria in 1088 and died of a poisoned aubergine
at Marrakesh in 1141. He is the author of the Mahasin al-Majalis. Their
principal disciples are ibn al-Husaynof Majorca, Ibn Barrajan and the famous
Imam ofAlgarve,Abu-1-QasimAhmad b. Qasi. The Masarrite ideology played
an essential role in the formation ofthe Neoplatonic ideology of the Sufisof al-
Andalus. O n the contrary, other thinkers, like Ibn Hazm, Ibn Sid and the
philosopher Ibn Bajja,ibn Tufayl and Ibn Rushd have ignored or disdained the
esoteric ideology of the Masarrites.Asin Palacios had found some connections
between the thought of Ibn Masarra and that of Raymond Lulle, but they are
parallelisms that do not evolve directly from the ideas ofIbn Masarra,but rather
from some Sufipopular circles of the beginning of the 13thcentury.
O n the other hand, the Muslim scholars (Hukama),the religious experts
(ulama)and the legal experts Vuqaha)must know religious sciences (ulumal-
shari a),humanities (adab)and dialectics.That is why logic arrived in al-Andalus
before other branches ofphilosophy,and in a very imperfect form at the beginning,

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2 The OriPins of Philosophv in Al-Andalus
a - The arrival ofthe sciences ofthe Ancients.The first ofthe sciences ofthe
encyclopaedia of the Ancients that was received in al-Andaluswas medicine
introduced at the beginning ofthe 9thcentury.Afterwards references on geometry
and astronomy appeared. The first references to logic belong to the loth
century( .)1 Ibn Juljul and Ibn SaidofToledo did not know philosophy,they only
knew some data on the sciences of the ancients taken from oriental authors.
However, the great polymath of Cordoba, Ibn Hazm (994-1063),was well-
known because of his book Kitab Tmq al-hamama$-1-ulfawa-1-ullaf (The
Necklace ofthe Dove). His thoughtpresents an encyclopaedic form and character

111
a little similar to that of Ibn Maskuya in the Orient.He was the central figure of
the law school Zahiri in al-Andalus.He knew well the principal sources of the
sciences of the Ancients: The sciences of the Ancients are the following:First,
Philosophy and the laws of logic developed by Plato, his disciple Aristotle,
Alexander of Aphrodisias and their followers.This science is good and ranks
excellently,for in it one finds the intuitive knowledge of the cosmos and of all
that in it have found their kinds and species,substances and accidents..Moreover
it established the conditions that apodictic demonstration should have [..I.
Second,the science of numbers (it is good only for life on earth....to divide up
wealth). Third,the science of geometry which has been treated by the compiler
ofthe Book of Euclid and those who have followed on the same path [..I. Fourth,
astronomy on which Ptolemy worked and before him Hipparchus and afterwards
those who have followed in the footsteps ofthose other [astronomers] anterior to
them,Indians,Nabatines and Copts [...I. Fifth,Medicine that has been treated by
Hippocrates,Galen,Dioscorides and those who followed in their footsteps.
b - The First Citv ofal-Kindi.Ibn Hazm knew the logic of al-Kindion which
he wrote a summary;he also cites a text de motu animalium ofAristotle. But no
reference to al-Farabiand Ibn Sina is found in their works.Their thought is closer
to that of speculativetheologians (mutakallimun)than to philosophers cfaylasuj
especially in the questions on the nature of God,creation,divine knowledge and
justice in their connection with human liberty etc. Of the more original ideas one
finds those dealing with ethics and with the theory on beauty and on love. He
wrote a treaty on morals developed in an aphoristic form containingvery real and
moderate observations.O n beauty and love there are also points ofview,personal
observations an stories based on the experience lived by Ibn Hazm himself.The
old theories and the oriental model of the Kitab al-Zahra (Book of the Flower)
of SulaymanIbn Dawud are not obstacles to the personal ideas of Ibn Havn and
very often he transcends the Baghdadian model of love.
-
c The arrival of the logic of al-Farabiand al-Ghazali.Ibn Sid de Badajoi
(1052 - 1127) has an ideological position close to that of Ibn H m ,but the
principal source of his thought is the Rasail Ikhwan al-Safa(Treaties of the
Sincere Brothers). Perhapsthe newest point in his works is the knowledge ofthe
logic of al-Farabi.One of the questions of his Rasail deals with it, about
whether al-Farabi is mistaken or not in his exposition of the first three
Aristotelian categories. The most important of his writings is the Kitab al-
Hadaiq (Book of the Orchards) in which he shows a certain philosophical
formation in problems like divine knowledge,the procession of created beings
and degrees ofthe soul and ofthe intellect.He thinks that happiness is found by

112
means of acquired intellect,for man by his nature has only aptitudes and the
power for the acquisition of happiness; but if he manages to understand their
essence and the place he has in the cosmos,he obtains salvationand happiness.
One ofthe contemporaries of Ibn Sid,Abu Salt of Denia who lived between
1067 and 1134,is the author ofthe first al-Andaluslogic entitled Taqwin al-dhihn
(Rectification of Intelligence). This title discards the Arab name of logic,mantiq,
which Muslim theologiansdo not like;and he took the name taqwim fi-omthe book
Taqwim al-sihha (Rectification of Health) from the doctor Abu-1-Hasanb. Butlan.
Abu Saltexposed inthe prologuethe contentsofhis book:In the firstchapterI have
made a summary ofthe treatiseOn the Five UniversalIdeas;as a continuationin the
second chapter I have studied the contentsofthe treatise On the Ten Categories;in
the third chapter, the treatise On Interpretation; in the fourth, the treatise On
Syllogisms;and in the fifth,the treatise On Demonstration. I have used schematic
tables forthe modes ofthe three figuresofthe syllogism,pure and combined,in the
three quantitiesin orderto thusfacilitatetheir comprehensionto the students.These
twelve tables are the most original in the book oflogic ofAbu Salt.

3 - The Philosophv of Ibn Baiia (Avempace)


a - Point of departure.The first philosopher in the proper sense ofthe word
was Ibn Bajja known in the West as Avempace. H e was born at Saragossa
towards the year 1070 and he died at Fez in 1138. H e wrote many works,of
which 37 of have survived.Among these are found commentaries of several
works of Aristotle, Euclid, Galen and al-Farabi and their most important
writings.Risalat al-wada(The Epistle ofFarewell), the Risalatj ittisal a1 aql
bi 1-insan(Treatise on the Union of Intellect with Man) and the Tadbir al-
mutuwahhid (Rule ofthe Solitary).
b - Knowledge. Ibn Bajja was strongly influenced by al-Farabi,by his
metaphysical and psychological ideas,as well as in ethics and social theory. His
point of departure is the ideal ofthe scholar placed in a utopian society governed
by philosophers.This man has multiple powers and functions,but in himselfhe is
a formal unity governed by a rational soul that directs all natural,artificial and
spiritualmeans.The first one of these is the vegetative soul which man possesses
fi-omthe very moment of his generation and whose powers are the cause of the
foetusand its development.These activitiesexistalso in plants after the beginning
oftheir existence [..I. After the foetus has come out of its mothers womb and it
usesthe organs ofthe senses,it is similarto irrational animalsthat can changeplace
and also have appetiteor desire.:That is,at birth sensitivepowers are received,but
these are mastered by rationalpowers that lead to the process ofabstraction.

113
Abstraction is obtained by means of three essential ways. First, the
knowledgeofthe spiritual forms ofthe imagination. Second,the knowledge by
means of the latter,intelligible in the act. And third,the union with the active
intellect. To the first moment of knowledge are linked sensitive data; in the
second,one touchesagain materiality inherent in imaginativepower;and in the
third, the object and the subject both become one thing whose character is
completely intellectual;it is the highest degree ofhuman perfection.In this way,
the knowledge of almost all men would be similar to the idea of the reality
entertained by men placed in the darkness ofthe Platonic cave;the knowledge
ofexperts and able men would be like the one of those placed in the threshold
ofthe cave;only the scholarshave the wisdom ofthe latterwho can look directly
at the sun and are themselves converted into sunlight.
The actions of men in relation to the acquisition of intellectual forms can
lead to four modes of action. First, actions whose end is the acquisition of
corporal human form, (like drinking,eating,etc). Second,the action whose end
is the perfection of the body and can be based on common tastes (like elegance
in dress) or imagination (like games and honest pleasures) or cognition (like
study and apprenticeship). Third, actions directed towards the acquisition of
knowledge,these actions are strictly intellectual.Fourth,the actions which seek
pure spirituality,that is,the ultimate union with the active intellect.These are the
characteristic actions ofthe real scholar.
In the descriptionofthese modes of action IbnBajja has reduced the role of
the passive intellect, which he puts in the habitus intellect and that of the
intellect in action,which is almost submerged in the active intellect.However,
the intellectual operation seems reduced to the conjunction of the speculative
intellect with the active intellect;the first one is individual,corruptible and is
productive;the second one is universal,immaterial and eternal.All intellectual
human activity leads to the union of the two intellects, and it is the most
important act in the life ofman and its final aim.
c - Ethics as the wav to perfection. In order to achieve the highest aim of
human life,one must follow a just path,which is equidistantfrom two harmful
extremes. In accordance with the use of their natural powers, humankind is
grouped in three classes :
1 - the vicious who would make an immoderate use oftheir faculties.
-
2 the cowards and the irresolute who do not use or make very little use of
their natural powers.

114
3 -thewise who would make a precise use oftheir powers while not putting
in danger their health,reason or life except in case of extreme necessity.
In connection with the use of artificial means, humankind can also be
grouped in three classes :
First,the squandererswho waste everything that they have.
Second,the misers who keep everything in such a way that they do not take
advantage of anything.
Third, the moderates who use these goods at the appropriate time in the
appropriate way.
Moreover,human actions are always very complex and in order to establish
their true aim one has to know their intentions. One of the ways of determining
this is by studying their relationship to the idea of pleasure. If pleasure is
conceived as a sensuousjoy,human actions will have an egoistic intention and
they will lead to vice.Ifit is conceived as a way towards glory and honour,human
actions will not be egoistic, but one will not expect wisdom. Only if human
actions seek knowledge purely for the pleasure oftruth one can attain the highest
virtue and that is only found in the union of our intellectwith the active intellect.
d - The ideal society The realization of the supreme aim of the wise man
has an obstacle:the very character of the unjust society in which we live. Ibn
Bajja had studied this problem in the most important of his works:the Ruleof
the Solitary,Tadbir al-mutawahhid,in which he makes a profound analysis of
the social structure,of the social behaviour of man and of the means by which
humanity attains its aim and ultimate happiness.This analysis leads to a dismal
conclusion:today it is not possible to build a model society.So,wise men have
to live in the existing corrupt society,but isolating themselvesthere in as solitary
beings. Ibn Bajja made a considerable effort to study the formation of solitary
man and thought that his work would become a spiritual medicine as the
Arabic word tadbir is used by Arab doctors in the sense of medical diet. He
thought that these solitary wise men would be the light of the future and utopic
model society where there will not be the need of any of the three types of
doctors that there are in our corrupt society.There will not be any doctors ofthe
body,for there will be no vices that lead to illness;there will not be any doctors
ofthe social order (that is to say,judges) because social relationshipswill always
be just;and there will be no doctors ofthe mind because all men will only seek
the highest truth.

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4 The Philosophy of Ibn Tufavl
Ibn Tufayl was born at Guadix (Granada) circa 1 110.Towards the year 1163
he was appointed a doctor and Vizier of the Almohad Sultan Abu YaqubYusuf
and he introduced Ibn Rushd to the Almohade court.He knew the development of
Muslim thought at al-Andalus,and was the first one to have known the philosophy
ofIbn Sina in that country.The great work ofIbn Tufayl is called Hayy IbnYaqzan.
a - The point of deuarture of Ibn Tufa$. The knowledge of the philosophy of
Ibn Sina gave to Ibn Tufayl a very serious philosophical basis. He took advantage
of several works ofthe great oriental philosopher and especially of Kitab al-Shifa,
Prologue to Mantiq al-Mashriqiyyin and of some of the narrations of Hayy
b.Yaqzan,Salaman,Absal and al-Tayrwhose names are used forthe title ofthe book
of Ibn Tufayl as well as the names of its protagonists,and he acknowledged what
he had taken from Ibn Sina.YOU have asked me [..I to inform you on the mysteries
of the Hikmat al-Mashriqiyya (Oriental Wisdom) that might be published and as
they are exposed by the master and prince ofphilosophers Ibn Sina.
The information ofIbn Tufayl has contributed to making known the idea of
the existence of a work of Ibn Sina, and the Hikmat al-Mashriqiyya is more
complete than the Mantiq al-Mashriqiyyin and independent of the other works
that we can call oriental.Moreover, he has influenced a possible esoteric
interpretation of the thought of Ibn Sina, for Ibn Tufayl wrote that in
connection with the writings of Aristotle, master Ibn Sina has given us the
meaning of their contents, and he follows the method of the philosophy [of
Aristotle] in the Kitab al-Shifa.At the beginning (of the latter) he says that for
him [Absolute] Truth is different from what he exposes in this book,because it
is composed following the [common]doctrines of the peripatetics.However,all
those who want to know the Pure Truth have to read his Kitab al-Hikmat al-
Mashriqiyyin.All those who read the Kitab al-Shifaand some works ofAristotle
can see clearly that [the one and the others] coincide in the greater part of the
ideas,but there is in the Kitab al-Shfa some [doctrines]which have not reached
us by means of [the works of]Aristotle.
b - The reasons of the use of the symbolic narrations of Ibn Sina. Ibn
Tufayl had recourse to the symbolic narrations of Ibn Sina and this method
was suitable in relation to the Almohad religious policy,but also in order thus to
follow the tradition of philosophical esoterism. According to the Almohad
system,the people must not have any other thought but that of the traditional
religion;but scholars could act freely ifthey did not communicate their thought
to the masses and as long as scandal did not result.

116
It is for that reason that Ibn Tufayl wrote: The secretsthat we have exposed in
these few pages have been wrapped in a thin veil which the initiates may quickly
unveil,but it becomes completely opaque forthose who do not manage to unveil it.
The story narrated by Ibn Tufayl is as follows:Hayv IbnYaqzan appeared one
day in an uninhabited island when he was an infant,either because he was born by
spontaneous generation or because he was the love-childofa princess,who in order
to hide her mistake probably placed him in a chest and entrusted him to the sea,
where,pushed by the waves,he came to the beach of the island.The cries of the
infantattracted the attention ofa gazelle that had lost her son and it is in this way that
the gazelle adoptedthe child and nursed him.The child could not learn languagenor
acquire any other knowledge. But progressively and by himself he learned
everything and managed to obtain an idea ofthe cosmos,of the meaning of life,of
the soul and even of the need of a superiorBeing existing for himself,the origin of
all that there is,that is to say,the idea of God.One day there arrived on the island of
Hayy a person called Absal,the ruler of a neighbouring island.The inhabitmts of
this island professed a religion preached by a prophet sent by God. Absal had
strengthened their religious ideas in a spiritual sense.ARer Absal taught Hayy to
speak,both understood that their ideas were the same.Sometime later Hayy visited
another island, ruled by Salaman and whose inhabitants did not wish to accept
Absolute Knowledge.Hayy noticed two very strange things: one that the prophet
had made use ofallegories while speaking to men [..I and that he had not exposed
the truth in all clarity [.I the other being that [theProphet]had confined himselfonly
to a few things and commandmentsand he had allowed acquisition ofriches.
The answer of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan in the story represents the opinion of Ibn
Tufayl: absolute wisdom can only be known by wise men; the people must
follow in a rigorous way the traditional precepts and the external practices
without taking into account the things that do not belong to them. They must
accept the mysteries,reject dissentsand impiousdeeds,follow the habits oftheir
virtuous ancestors and finally,they must keep away from all sorts of novelties.
Always,the essential agreement will be between reason and the interior spirit of
revelation and not between reason and popular religion.
c - The way to knowledge.wisdom and intuitive union.The narration of the
autodidact allows Ibn Tufayl, a doctor, to expose his scientific knowledge and
especially that of biology:the possibility of a spontaneous generation and the way
of development of the human embryo starting from a very fine and homogeneous
matter that by its viscosity produces as it moves a very smallbubble divided in two
compartmentsby means of a very fine membrane,full of a tenuous matter,like air,
which is made in a precise way in accordance with the most adequate proportions

117
to the living body.When the vital impulse is received another bubble is formed.It
is divided in three compartments separated by a very fine membrane and they
communicate between them by means of openings.They are filled with a gaseous
matter similar to that of the first [bubble] but even more tenuous.Afterwards, a
third bubble appears.From these three parts and on discovering a curious mitosis,
IbnTufayl describesthe origin and differentiation ofthe organs in the embryo.Later
he uses also the evolutive explanation of speech,ofthe developmentofthe human
psyche,and ofthe progressive unfolding ofthe faculties of the spirit.
The first knowledge ofman is practical knowledge arising from experience,
then he obtains the physical or natural ones and lastly those which are strictly
metaphysical. In this way that he comes to the idea of the soul and its three
stages: vegetative, sentient and rational; the last is capable of arriving at the
ideas of being,of the cosmos and of God as the agent of everything,the prime
mover and the final cause and he finishes by analysing divine names.In this way
Hayy Ibn Yaqzan knew that the knowledge that he had ofhim was by means of
his own essence and that this knowledge of God was impressed in his soul.H e
also knew that the essence of oneself through which he had known him was
something incorporeal and that all that he perceived in himself was not the
reality of his essence because the latter was the one by means ofwhich he came
to the knowledge ofthe Being whose existence is necessary by itself. As from
that moment,Hayy IbnYaqzan dedicated himself to a solitary life and limited
himself to the vital actions necessary to what is indispensable for life.
Latin medieval scholasticism did not know the book of Ibn Tufayl. It was
translated into Hebrew by Moses ofNarbonne in the year 1349,and edited by E.
Pococke in 167I with a Latin translation with the title Philosophus autodidactus.
After this translation the book Ibn Tufayl enjoyed a great success in the western
world and was translated into Dutch,English,German,French,Spanish,Russian,
Urdu,Persian,etc. It has been said that there are parallelisms between the narration
of Ibn Tufayl,the novel of D.Defoe,The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures
of Robinson Crusoe of Yorkand the beginning ofthe Criticon ofBalthasar Gracian.

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5 Ibn Rushd (Averroes1
a - The life and works ofIbn Rushd. Philosophy in al-Andalusreached its
peak with Ibn Rushd (Averroes in Latin,a noun derived from the Arabic form
Ibn Rushd,because of the Hispano-Arabpronunciation Aben Rochd). The
family Banu Rushd was probably of Hispanic origin that had become Muslim,
for none of the Arab biographies quote the supposed tribal origin. W e have
information on five generations of this family. The first documented figure is

118
that of the grandfather of Ibn Rushd,Abu-1-WalidMuhammad b. Ahmad b.
Rushd,called al-jidd,the ancestor (1058-1126).He was well-knownas a jurist
and author of several works on Malikite law which have come down to us. He
was the chiefjudge of Cordoba (qadi al-jamaa),and highly respected by the
Almoravid court which followed their counsels in spite of the harshness of its
critics. His son whose name was Abu-1-QasimAhmad b. Rushd was also the
chief judge of Cordoba, a counsellor of the Almoravids and father of the
philosopher. The latters name was Abu-1-Walid Muhammad b. Ahmad b.
Rushd,named after his grandfather and it is for this reason that he was called al-
Hafiz,the grandson.
Ibn Rushd,the philosopher,was born in Cordoba in the year 1126 and died
in Marrakesh the 10th December 1198,probably because of a chronic arthritis
whose diagnosis was mentioned by him in his book Kitab al-Kulliyatji-1-tibb
(Generalities on Medicine). He had received a formidable formation,which
included Koranic sciences, Arabic humanities, Muslim law, theology,
philosophy and medicine. Ibn Tufayl introduced Ibn Rushd to the Almohads
court towards the year 1168, and at the same time he was appointed chiefjudge
of Cordoba; afterwards he acquired the esteem and the confidence of the
Almohad sultansuntil the year 1195 when Sultan Abu YusufYaqub al-Mansur,
under the pressure of the al-Andalus ulamaexiled Ibn Rushd to the city of
Cordoba.Some months before the death ofIbn Rushd,the Sultan lifted the exile
of the philosopher and took him to Marrakesh.Afterhis death,the body of Ibn
Rushd was brought to Cordoba to be buried.
Ibn Rushd had several sons,maybe five or more,who were alsojudges. W e
still have the names of two:Abu Muhammad AbdAllah b. Rushd known as a
jurist and as a doctor.Two ofhis works have been preserved;the other son,Abu-
1-Qasim Muhammad b.Rushd,was ajudge and died in the year 1126.The Arab
biographers give also the name of one of the grandsons of Ibn Rushd called
Yahya b. Muhammad b.Rushd,who was also a judge.
The written work ofIbn Rushd is as great as it is important.Ofthe 125 titles
of works attributed to him only 83 belong to him. W e have 54 complete works
and the fragments of 8. In spite of general opinion, it is not certain that he
commented on Aristotle three times. The writings called J m a m i (Minor
Commentaries that include four works with 21 books) are summaries of
philosophy which follow the titles ofthe works ofAristotle and are very original.
The works entitled Talkhisat (Average Commentaries that include ten works
with 17 books) are periphrastic expositions or very free commentaries;among
them those on Physics, D e Anima, Metaphysics, the Ethics to Nicomachus and

119
the Republic of Plato which are very important. The only strict literal
commentaries are those called Tafsirat (Great Commentaries) the Second
Analytics, Physics, De Coelo et Mundo, De Anima, and Metaphysics. These
works must be joined by the famous Tahafut al-Tahafut (the destruction of the
DestructionofPhilosophersofal-Ghazali), the De Substantia orbis (Maqalafi
Jawhar al-falak) and two theological works; the Fasl al-Maqal (Decisive
doctrine on the agreement between revelation and philosophy) and the Kashf an
manahij al-dalil (Exposition of the ways that lead to the demonstration of the
articles of faith). He also wrote a work on Muslim law,the Bidayat al-mujtahid
and thirteen medical works ofwhich the Kitab al-kulliyyatji1 -tibb (Book ofthe
General Principles of Medicine) is the most famous.
b - The fundamental Drinciples of the philosophy of Ibn Rushd. For Ibn
Rushd the sciences of the Ancients and especially the writings of Aristotle
constituted the point of departure of every possible philosophy. However one
had to know them and make their exposition and commentary.But this point of
departure does not mean a renunciation of personal ideas,nor of the empirical
observation of natural and social phenomena,and in agreement with that, Ibn
Rushd has made three important efforts.In the first place,he cut completely the
links ofthefalsafa with the Neoplatonic synthesis exposed in a marvellous way
by Ibn Sina.In the second place he gave an important value to their natural and
socio-empirical observations and on two occasions he made some small
experiments. Lastly,and in the third place,he broke away from philosophical-
theological reductionism: there are two different levels of wisdom,the religious
level and the philosophical and scientific level. The Neoplatonic synthesis is
completely deceptive,for it changes the true sense ofthe thought ofAristotle and
it is the offspring of an intention that is not philosophical:note the thought of
Aristotle according to the suppositions of modern theology. Philosophy is the
scientific knowledge that only wise men can know and develop.Revelation has
been given to all men to the white man and to the black man.Both arrived at
the same principle: the necessary natural and moral order.The two ways have to
be followed: he followed the theological way by means of the four works
Tahafut, Fad, KashJ;and Damima. The first one was necessary as he had to
refute the very dangerous dialectics of al-Ghazaliwhich led to scepticism.The
second is an exposition from the point of view of religion revealed on the
licitness ofphilosophical speculationand of logic,or ifthey have been defended
or recommended,whether in the sense of an invitation or as something of a
rigorous precept. The Kashf completes the way, and the Damima is a short
exposition of a disputed question.

120
The second level is that of the exposition of philosophy in itself and
following the order of the Corpus aristotelicum arabum.Ibn Rushd has made a
profound criticism ofthe errors of al-Ghazali(although he notes that he revived
theology) and of the other mutakallimun and he has defended the rights of
philosophers including Ibn Sina. He has rejected the Neoplatonic interpretation
made by Ibn Sina,for the lattermixed philosophicalthought with the theological
doctrines borrowed from Muslim theologians.If one were to look for a master,
he can be none other than Aristotle himself.
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c Knowledge and Being. The point of departure of knowledge is reality,
for knowledge is built on the principlesofbeing.The foundationsofthe sciences
have the same metaphysical structure as reality from which follows that the
formal reality of nature becomes formal reality of the intellect and the
fundamental relationship of consubstantiality which there is between the
ontological order and the Gnostic order: the being of man may always
comprehend the being of things.
All the concrete beings that exist are necessary.The Necessary Being by
himself, God, is always necessary; but also concrete, existing beings are
necessary after their creation.However,the physical precedes the metaphysical;
the hylemorphic compound and the relationship between potential and act must
be seen according to a physical point of departure.The philosophical proof of
the existence of God as the First Mover is a physical demonstration that has to
be completed by means of a second theological proof: the order ofthe cosmos.
The cosmos,including living beings and even man,is a structure ofcausality.
Living beings share with man animous movers; only, however, man has a
superiorpart:the intellect.This is not composed oftwo things,but it rests on two
- -
forms: one is produced it is our knowledge,the other one is eternal it is the
Active Intellect.Material intellect is one and unique for all men; the personal
intellect of each man is possible intellect. When this theory came to the
knowledge ofmedieval Latin thinkers,it became the theory ofthe unity ofhuman
intellect and of the negation of the individuality and eternity of the human soul.
Perhaps Ibn Rushd did not want to say that,but rather that it is necessary for the
the intellectthat all men work in the same way;however he said it in accordance
with the beliefs,problems and terminology ofthe Middle Ages.
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d The Unitv of Individual and Social Ethics. For Ibn Rushd the most
human and the most living part of man is knowledge. Man was made for
knowledge, he develops and makes progress by knowledge,and he arrives to
perfection by knowledge. Final happiness is only possible through wisdom.

121
Moral order follows the ontological and Gnostic orders and it must be built on
metaphysical categories.In the moral order man acts in liberty,but according to
Ibn Rushd liberty is not the autarchy of an absolute will,it is the liberty to act
within the necessary order,for human liberty is more or less an assistance before
the fact of a universal contingency and it is submitted to the logical and
metaphysical orders. The masses who are ignorant of the logical and
metaphysical orders can only arrive at the ethical order by means ofthe right use
of licit riches.Only the wise men can come to a formal exercise of liberty and it
is for that reason that they have the power oftrue moral authority.However,the
art of politics must be the offspring of wisdom.
In his Taljis Kitab al-SiyasaAflatun (Commentary to the Republic) Ibn
Rushd made a very real analysis of the Muslim societies of their time.The
Muslim umma is a model society which only existed at the time of the Prophet
Muhammad, and perhaps at the time of the first four caliphs.Afterwards,the
political Muslim societies often became timocracies,plutocracies,demagogies
and tyrannies; and Ibn Rushd does not hesitate to analyze Muslim societies
whose evolution is made up of three phases: the original timocracy, oligarchy
deriving from it and finally demagogy and tyranny.
Moreover he gives very relevant examples: the Umayyad and Almoravids
monarchies;and even the Almohad system which was the governmentat the time of
Ibn Rushd and whose servant he was, is not a true timocracy,for it was already
moving towards oligarchy and plutocracy.What was most unusual at thattime is that
Ibn Rushd made such a strong criticism of the condition of women in Muslim
societies that today would be rejected by traditional and fundamentalist groups.
Nevertheless,IbnRushd was not pessimistic likeal-Fmbiand IbnBaja.He believed
that political and social recovery is possible ifthe kings want to appoint wise people
as their counsellors.However,he commented that it is very difficultto achieve.

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6 The Crisis of Muslim Society in AI-Andalus
Ibn Rushd was the most important ofthe Andalusian philosophers and also
the summitofAristotelism ofthe Middle Ages. His glory as the commentator of
Aristotle by autonomasia has eclipsed some of the most positive elements of
thought. The Latin Averroists developed some of their ideas, like that of a
philosophy that is independent of theology or the analysis of political society;
but the debates on the unity of the intellect and on double truth have confused
the image ofIbn Rushd among the Latins.In this opinion,Ibn Rushd was present
at the Renaissance in a double manner: in the negative sense Ibn Rushd is an old
scholastic; in the positive sense,he is present, in his ideas on philosophy stricto

122
sensu and a political society. His ideas of a rational philosophy, and theology
based on scriptures were typical ideas ofthe Renaissance and the Reformation.
In the Muslim world,Ibn Rushd was almost unknown until the 1 9thcentury.
Afier his death,Muslim Sunnite thought followed the Neoplatonic synthesis,as
one can see in the works and ideas of Ibn Arabiof Murcia (1 165-1240)and of
Ibn Sabin of Murcia (1216-1270)whose thought belongs more to mysticism
than to philosophy.

7-Ibn Khaldun
Abd al-Rahmanb. Khaldun (Ibn Khaldun) was born in Tunis in 732/1332
and lived in the West in Seville,Fez,Granada,Bougie and Tiaret. H e emigrated
to Egypt where he lived until his death in 808/1406. In Egypt he wrote Shifa
al-sailli tahdhib al-masail,(The Cure for those who Seek to Resolve
Questions). His great work was the Kitab alIbar,a universal history,with a long
introduction called Muqaddima, for which he became well-known.Although
basically an historian, he also knew philosophy and he has been considered by
some historians to be the founder of sociology and the philosophy of history,
which were not developed in the West until the 19thcentury.
In his analysis ofhistorical facts Ibn Khaldun developed a series ofprinciples:
1) history should be founded on the analyses of concrete facts;2) the objective of
history is sociological and should include respectivecivilizations (customs,family
and tribal behaviour,differences in power, rank and occupations,professions and
so on;3) all historical events have a causalexplanation e.g.sociological,economic,
political,ethnological;4) historical cities,that is,political actions are based on the
origin and evolution of sovereignty; 5) all historical phenomena must have a
sociological reason; 6) historical facts can originate from current sociological
distinction or original distinction;7) there is a positive or negative link between
material and cultural progress and political power; 8) historical facts take into
consideration three phenomena: the psychological, economic and political
characteristicsofhuman groups;9)the historian should refer to ifpossible natural
causes to explain historical events; 10)homogeneous and social groups form the
historical unit of analysis not individuals and nations; 11) the social environment
and not inheritance conditionsthe individualand social groups.
Ibn Khaldun also states that the origin of sovereignty is in the force oftribal
power and its legitimacy rests in the force of social cohesion (asabiyya). He
criticized the Arab emphasis on birth and position in the urban centres as lacking
the basis of social cohesion,which is found in the rural societies. He disagreed

123
with Ibn Rushdon the nobility ofthe urban structure and society and considered
it lacking in virtue and out of touch with asabiyya.
Ibn Khaldunstheory was based on the Arabs and Berbers of the Magreb.
Although he lived in Granada, he did not moderate his views on the urban,
commercial civilization of al-Andalus,neither did he comment on Egyptian
development. Nevertheless, Ibn Khalduns work was an outstanding
achievement in the development of historiography and sociology and his work
is an invaluable reference today.

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8 Jewish Philosouhv in Al-Andalus
The Jewish community in al-Andaluswas very remarkable from the time of
the Umayyad monarch until the arrival of Almohad dynasty.N o other Jewish
community produced so many Jews who achieved high position and even power
in the medieval world, and no other Jewish community produced such an
extensive literary and philosophical culture in medieval time,as in al-Andalus.
Effectively, the Jewish physician Hasday b. Shaprut held at various times
important diplomatic responsibilities in the Caliphs court. Similarly,the Banu
Nagralla family was the most spectacular example of the high positions
occupied by the Jewish people in Granada.
But most amazing was its syncretic literary culture that brought together
Arabic and Hebrew ideas, thoughts, philosophical and theological forms.
Language was no problem because the Jews spoke and wrote the Arabic and
Romance language. Thus, no country seemed more like a second home than
Sefarad,the name the Jews gave to the Iberian Peninsula.
The Eastern Jewish thinkers took the method and the themes fiom the hZam
theology.TheRabbinatessuch as Dawud al-Muhammisand Saadiab.YusufofFayun
adopted the same form as theAsariyas.The Karaiteswere closerto the position taken
by the Mutazila.Finally the Neoplatonism in its popular form provided oRen the
intellectual structure for Jewish thinkers as developed by Isaac Israeli.
The Jewish thinkers ofal-Andalusintroduced Neoplatonism into philosophy
such as Salomon b. Gabirol (1021 -1058AD). In ascetic theology,the name of
Yahya b. Paquda is most known (second part of the 1 1th century) and in literary
forms,Moshe b.Ezra had constructed his vision ofthe world in accordance with
the Neoplatonic views. Ibn Gabirols philosophy was expounded in a lengthy
work written inArabic. TheFountain of Life,was written by Yahya b. Paquda and
he is also the author of one of the most celebrated books on ethics and pietism
titled:Kitab al-bidayaila faraidai-qulub.

124
In Jewish theology Aristotelism exacerbated the conflict between
philosophy and revelation.The first book that can be designated as Aristotelian
is the one composed by Abraham b. Dawud (1 1 10-1 180 AD). His philosophical
work Sefer ha-Kabbala was further obscured by the Guide of the Perplexed by
Mafmonides.Abraham B. Dawud was motivated to write his book due to his
profound conviction that religion and philosophy were in agreement. It is
possible that MaTmonides knew Ibn Dawuds work. It is obvious that in al-
Andalus the problem was of considerable significance,but Ibn Dawud did not
provide a response that contemporary Jews could accept as definitive. This was
reserved for Maymonides. (see Chapter by H.Zafrani).
The greatest exponent of Jewish philosophy in al-Andaluswas Moshe b.
-
Maymun (1 135 1204) According to the Jewish community,between Moses
and Moses,there is no one to choose but Moses: Mailnonides was the second
Moses of the Jewish people and his written works are very extensive.The most
universal and grandiose of his works is Dalalat al-Hairin(The Guide of the
Perplexed) written in Arabic, as were virtually all his books and letters except
for his masterpiece the Mishne Tora which was written in Hebrew.Maiinonides
was a great philosopher.In an attempt to summarize his philosophical ideals of
human intellectual life,I would present them in a scale of five values: (a) the
great capacity of human reason; (b) the full self-realizationof man; (c) the
society as the basis for development;(d) politics as the way ofthe Lord and (e)
the union of the soul with transcendence.
The introduction of astrology,both theoretical and practical into the Jewish
community of al-Andalusalso produced philosophical thought as was the case
with Abraham bar Hiyya (first half of the 12* century) and Abraham b. Ezra
(1089-1164 AD)who was also a remarkable poet,grammarian,Biblical exegete,
astronomer, physician and philosopher. The reaction facing the strict
philosophicalwisdom was developed by Yehuda ha-Levi(1075-1145AD) in the
same form as that of al-Ghazaliin Tahafut al-falasifa.In the Sefer ha-Kuzari.
Yehuda ha-Leviexposesdifferent doctrines:the philosophical,the Christian,the
Muslim and finally the Jewish. The discourses of Yehuda ha-Levisbook, after
a critique ofthe philosophical ideas concluded that every science,every religion
and every philosophy which does not have its direct source in the Word of
God is a mistake. Man cannot find a real comprehension, other than the
knowledge of the divine Word and the divine Will.
The Jewish thought of the Middle Ages is one of the fruits of social co-
existence and of the cultural neighbourhood in al-Andalus.After the diaspora
in the time of Hadrian many Jews, chased out of Palestine, found another

125
fatherland in the Iberian Peninsula which they call Sefarad. In al-Andalus,as
they did everywhere,the Jews adopted the language of the country and they
managed to speakArabic and even to write it with the perfection ofIbn Paquda,
Ibn Gabirol and Maymonides. The Rabbis and the scholars knew Hebrew and
some knew Aramaic,which were necessary as the languages ofthe synagogue;
but for daily life, social relationships and cultural work the use of the Arabic
language was indispensable.They adopted the thought of kalam to develop the
dialectics of speculative theology and they followed the Muslim philosophy up
to the philosophy of Maimonides,the greatest of Jewish thinkers and similarly
astronomy,mathematics and medicine.

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9 Conclusion
This account does not intend to be a proof of the values resulting from the
social coexistence of the three monotheistic religions and their social
communities,or from their respective cultural relationships.Coexistence has
always been limited, sometimes temporarily, as in the relationship with the
social classes.As to what affected philosophy the relationship ends with the
arrival of the Almohads (1 146). Philosophy has always been very important
among the Muslim and Jewish scholars.Additionally,their social efficacy and
interaction were extraordinary.Two establishedcultures,Arab-Muslimculture
and Latin-Christian culture both benefited from each other. A third social
community,the Jewish one, which did not have an independent policy, also
benefited from the cultural relationship with the two establishedcultures.In
spite of some mutual misunderstandings,reciprocal lack of knowledge that was
sometimes willed,and even persecutions,the Muslim and Jewish thought in al-
Andalus has played a decisive role in the culture of the Middle Ages and
influenced the Renaissance. In addtion,thanks to the works of the Schoolof
translators of Toledo (and also of the Sicilian School), medieval Christian
philosophy and theology reached a decisive development in the 13thcentury.

126
Discussion Questions

1. Discuss the impact of Ibn Rushds philosophy, the recognition of the


complementarity of rationality, (the human mind)and the place of faith,
(religion). What were the differences between Ibn Rushd and Ibn
Sina? AI-Ghazali? Read the basic works of each and defend the
position you agree with.

2. Compare the philosophy of the ideal society of Ibn Bajja and Ibn
Rushd with that ofPlato and Socrates.

3. What were the views of these philosophers on timocracy,oligarchy,


democracy, and tyranny? Throughout history which type of
governance has been most conducive for peace?

4. H o w did the visionaryor imaginative narrative writings of Ibn Tufayl


and Ibn Sina influence the development of literature in Western
Europe and the Orient?

5. Describe how Ibn Rushd and Averroism influenced European


thinking and the impact of Arab thinking on philosophy in general.

6. Ibn Rushd, Maimonides, Ibn Sina and others were universal men,
each multidisciplinary, knowledgeable in many fields-philosopher,
lawyer, judge, doctor and musician. Were they precursors of the
Renaissancem a n ?

127
Maimonides made the power of the mind
reign over Judaism

128
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9 The Philosophic Model -1bn
Gabirol and Maimonides

bY
HaYm Zafi-ani

Its indeed evident, the strides made by Jewish philosophy in Muslim


countries leads to the model called philosophic,a model which is not,
moreover, easy to dissociate from the other models, other achievements,other
ways of expressions of thought, its theological,mystic, ethic, poetic,juridical
and political components,all closely linked to diverse elements in accordance
with the dominant features ofthe work. To this effect,the characters and works
of Saadiab.Yusuf de Fayun,Ibn Gabirol,Ibn Paquda,MaYmonides,Yehuda ha-
Levi and their Muslim opposite numbers al-Kindi, al-Farabi,Ibn Sina, al-
Ghazali,Ibn Bajja,Ibn Tufayl and Ibn Rushd,are mentioned as examples.
One of the most remarkable phenomena of the Jewish-Arabicsymbiosis,
with particular reference to philosophy, was the irruption of science and the
methods ofGreek thinking in the Jewish universe,throughthe medium ofArabic
literature,the Hellenisation of Jewish thinking across Islam.The process ofthis
mediatisation has been correctly analysed.Surprisingly a number ofJews ofthe
Diaspora kept close and sometimes fertile relations with the Greco-Latinworld.
But the example of Philo did not leave an indelible mark on the Jewish culture,
and the numerous traces of Greek language and civilization that one traces in
Talmudic and Midrashic literature only reveal a superficial influence on Jewish
life and thinking. This attitude of refusal can be explained by the fundamental
repulsion felt by the Jews for the pagan world,the reaction of self-defencethat
their intransigent monotheism dictated to them to safeguard their religious
identity against the temptations of paganism represented by Greco-Latin
civilization.A more conciliatory behaviour in regard to Greek wisdom only
became possible after the conquests of the monotheist idea in the form of
Christianity and principals of Islam, less subject to caution than the unitary
doctrine of the Divinity.
Judaism withstood successfully the test of hellenisation. The Jewish
intellectual movement followed in the footsteps of the Muslim intellectual
movement,and the appearance of Jewish philosophical thinking was the result of

129
fertile contacts with Muslim philosophical thinking.But while following the same
intellectual itinerary and adopting the most advanced data of the new sciences,
Judaism kept,in regard to Islam,an attitude of independence on the findmental
issues of religion,which explains why the great works of Jewish theologians and
philosophers ofthe IOth,1lth and 12thcenturiesremained the classics oforthodox
Judaism,in spite of the polemics,controversies and profound reservations about
some ofthem,particularly,Dalalat al-Ha'irin (The Guide ofthe perplexed).
The exemplary characters of the Jewish-Arabmeeting on philosophy are,
amongst others,Ibn Gabirol and mainly Malmonides.

1 - Salomon Ibn Gabirol and the Source of Life


Regarding Salomon Ibn Gabirol, Salomon Munk is the discoverer of his
masterpiece Mego"r Hayim, (The Source of Life), and of the real identity of his
author to whom he devotes nearly half of his Melanges.
Ibn Gabirol acquired his immense popularity through his philosophical
work represented by Meq6r Hayim,through his Source of Lifewhich opens with
his Keter Malkut (Royal Crown), which continues with his liturgical and profane
compositions.In the field ofethics,his modest treatise Tiqqun middot ha-nefesh,
a minor work entitled in Arabic Kitab Islah al-ahlaq which S.Wise analysed and
translated in 1901 under the title of The Improvement of the Moral Qualities
restoring it in verse ofArabic origin,illustrates his views that were ignored by
the Hebrew translation of Jehuda b. Tibbon.
The Source of Life, draftedinArabic,kept intact in its Latin version and known
in Hebrew through the abridged version of Sem Tob Ibn Falaquera,is a work of
pure metaphysics,nearly devoid of all confessional reference and,contrary to the
traditions ofthe written language in Jewish literary circles,does not refer to Biblical
and post-Biblicalsources (not one Biblical verse, not one Talmudic maxim), This
identification was only effective in 1846 (eight centuries following the drafting of
the work) by Munk. Until then,the learned monks of the Middle Ages and their
successors did not know that their Avicembron belonged to Judaism.

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2 Maimonides (ca. 1135 1204) -
a - The written works of MaYmonides: totality and organic unity. It was at
Fustat, during the last three decades of the 12fhcentury, notwithstanding his
heavy and multiple responsibilities (professional commitments and communal
activities), that Malmonides completed, in 1168, the work of his youth and
vagabond life, the Mishne Tora or Kitab al-Siraj and that he drafted the two

130
monumental works which showered on him glory and immortalized his name,
his Code,prepared between 1170 and 11 80 which recapitulatesand systematizes
all the rabbinical legislation,and his Dalalat al-Hairin(Guide ofthe Perplexed)
completed after 11 90.He kept,moreover,with the rest of the Jewish world,the
Diaspora of the East and West, an abundant and regular correspondence which
constitutes the subject matter of his Responsa. His medical work, moreover,
deserves special mention.
MaYmonides was an Arabic-speakingJewish scientist.Of all his works only
the Code is written in Hebrew;all the other writings,ofwhatever nature they are,
were drafted in Arabic (but in Hebrew characters). The work itself belongs to
different fields of the ritual law and to the casuistics of Judaism;however, the
philosophical and speculative elements which make up the substance of the
Guide,are evident.
Totality and organic unity are,indeed,the assumptions that the whole work
puts forward,its fundamental objective being reason at the service ofthe law.It
is said that MaYmonides made the power of the mind reign over Judaism.He
professed the empire ofreason and preached the cult of intelligence;the totality
ofhis writings,notwithstanding the diversity ofthe genres,bears the seal;but he
accepts no compromise on the essence ofthe faith and rabbinical orthodoxy,on
the religious dogma contained in the Bible and the Talmud.Codifier,theorist on
Judaic law and practitioner ofthe halakhah,philosopher and theologian,medical
doctor, Maymonides was a doctor of law, lived according to law and for the
defence of the law.His primary task consisted in putting order in the religious
and lay sciences of his times,to reconcile afterwards legalism of the halakhah
with the imperatives of reason and the teachings of Greek philosophy
(particularly those ofAristotle) that the Muslims and Jews learned and integrated
in their intellectual heritage.
W e are somewhat informed by MaYmonides himself,on the motivations of
his literary genius.His two masterpieces amongst others,bear witness to it: the
Dalalat al-Hairinand the Mishne Tora.
As regards the Dalalat al-Hairin,this evidence is formal.The work is a
guide for those who have strayed, for those persons whose religious practice
and Biblical and Talmudic culture are at odds with their philosophical studies.
Yosef ben Aqnin,disciple of MaYmonides and to whom is addressed the
dedicatory letter of the Guide,is an example.
The Dalalat al-Hairinis reputed to have been written for him and for those
of his species who have strayed; it is about how to cure their disorder and to

131
enable them,in this way,to move forward on the road of intellectualperfection.
But once turned into philosophers,they must apply all their learning so as not to
break loose from their religious community.
In his introduction to Mishne Tora,Malmonides,himself, specifies that in
view of the time most prejudicial to the study and understanding of the Talmudic
texts,the commentariesand legal decisions which go with them,he undertook to
compose a code which would include all the commandments laid down in the
written and oral Law, all the precepts contained in the Talmud and rabbinical
jurisprudence and which made it possible to do without other works of
reference....But one can perceive another motivation behind the creation of a
work of such magnitude. By drafting his Code, Malmonides responds to the
stimulus ofan order,that could be called sublime;he comes forward like al-Farabi
and Greek philosophers,with the idea of fulfilling an act of legislation,an act of
government,compared to that of the original Legislator,but evidently located at a
lower level;to imitate God,mans supreme task,is not only to philosophise,but
also to legislate,to carry out political activity,a government operation.
The priority he attaches to reason,to intelligence and science led too often
MaYmonides to stand aside from the doctrine he professed,express original views
and opinions, unorthodox for that matter. His Kitab ul-Siruj (Analysis of the
Mishne) reveals already a non-conformism which seems to have escaped his
critics, the work having failed, in its time, to raise any open opposition.
Maimonides defines in it, indeed,a didactic and pedagogic phase which,evidently,
is ascribed to a certain independencewith regard to the traditional line pursued in
the Bible and inscribed in this formula: We shall make the word of God and we
shall hear it (Exodus XXIV,7)where,manifestly,the act precedes knowledge.To
subscribe to the opposite thesis,Malmonides refers to other texts,less peremptory,
which he submits to a compact exegesis (Leviticus XTX,37 and Deuteronomy V,
1). For him, precedence must be accorded to science;the itinerary,having been
granted this privilege,guarantees the acquisition of science (intellectual activity)
and the accomplishmentofthe precepts (the act driven by the Law). The opposite
way is not sure;the act does not necessarily lead to knowledge.
The MaYmonidian Mishne Tora raised a lively polemic for reasons which
relate to both the essence and the form.The eminent Talmudist Abraham ben
David de Posquieres (1 125-1198), submitted it, as soon as it was published,to a
tight criticism taking to task the juridico-ritual opinions as well as the
theological doctrines of its author.But the most serious accusation levelled at
him was that he did not quote at all the authorities on whom he based his
assumptions. It was feared that the work which impressed its readers by the

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flawlessarchitecture of his knowledge and the logical and perfect expose ofthe
halakhic substance,detracted from the study ofthe Talmud and its commentaries
which had to remain the unique source of Hebrew Law and its creative
dynamism. The genius of the Master was not questioned but one could not
accept the absolute of his juridical decisions.
As for the Dalalat al-Ha'irin,it is doubtless an apology of Judaism,but of
a Judaism as conceived by MaTmonides and which his co-religionistsdid not
share.The work obtained an immense success among the enthusiastic partisans
ofrationalism who were delighted with him;but he was first received with much
reservation, then with outright hostility by the zealous tenants of traditional
orthodoxy, mostly due to the dissident opinions professed about a certain
number oftaboos such as angelology,prophecy,miracles and,above all,due to
the ambivalent attitude of the Master regarding the sacrosanct doctrine of
adventicity (non eternity) of the Universe. The controversy raging around the
Dalalat al-Ha'irin which began when the author was still alive,lasted a century
after his death and broke up into hostile factions,in the Jewish communities of
the Diaspora.It is similarly known that the Muslim scientist Abd al-Latifal-
Bagdadi who,in 1191,met Maimonides in Cairo,passed a severejudgement on
the book, stating that its author preached heresy to his co-religionists.
-
b Philosophic Literature. In the impossibility of analysing here, however
cursive this analysis pretends to be, all the substance of the Dalalat al-Ha'irin,
we would be happy to provide a schematicplan,with a view to bringing out the
relations between MaTmonidian thinking and that ofthe former or contemporary
philosophers. May we point out that this delicate issue on the philosophical
sources of MaYmonides has been learnedly examined and brilliantly updated by
S. Pinks in the introduction which he drafted for his English edition to the
Dalalat al-Ha'irin.
The most outstanding ideas developed in the Dalalat al-Ha'irin could be
grouped around the following major fundamentalthemes:
-
1 God and the angels: exegetic expos6 and philosophical speculation;
divine attributes,existence,unity and incorporeity of God;the creation of
the world; defence of the creatio ex nihilo; rejection of the thesis of an
eternal universe.
2 - The prophecy: the prophetic creation,essence of prophecy,Moses and
the other prophets,the legalistic and ritual prophecy (of Moses), the levels
ofprophecy.

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3 - Ezekielsvision or Metaphysics
4 - Divine Providence:the statute of evil, matter as a source of evil; the
statute of the impossible and the meaning of divine omnipotence;the Book
of Job,the supreme authority in this field.
5 - The Law ofMoses: rational precepts and irrational precepts;the limit of
the need for rationality;the narrative texts of the Torah.
6 - The end oftime and the statute ofthe perfect man.Human perfection and
divine providence: the true knowledge ofGod is a necessary preliminary for
the manifestation of Providence;Providence watches over man due to the
degree of perfection which he has attained (Parable of the Palace,111, 51);
the love and fear of God,the union with God;supreme degree of ecstasy or
death in a kiss.
The problem regarding the way the Dalalat al-Hairinhas been planned has
been the subject of a long discussion but has never been resolved in a
satisfactory way. Munk gave, fiom the 178 chapters which make up the three
volumes of his edition, short summaries which provide a useful guide to the
reader and facilitate the understanding of an abstruse work entangled with
remarks made by the author, all meant to be enigmatic in nature. In the
introduction of the first part of his work,Malmonides states clearly and frankly
that his true opinions must remain secret (that is to say,kept hidden from the
common people). It is,therefore,with precaution and reservation that one must
draw conclusions about the intimate convictions of the Master.
The Dalalat al-Hairinis not, it is said,a philosophy book written by a
philosopher for philosophers,but a book of exegesis written by a Jew for the
attention of his upset co-religionists,rendered confusedby a terminology and
imagery of which the Biblical texts make use, strangely enough of the
Pentateuch which is a work of legislation.This terminology and imagery possess
an inner meaning, a hidden intention,the apparent significance,leads to grave
errors and perplexities. Malmonides assumes the delicate task of interpreting,
particularly, the ambiguous vocabulary of the Scriptures, and explains the
mysteries ofthe sacred texts,principally the work of the Beginning (creation of
the world) and the work of the Chariot (Ezekielsvision), identified by him from
the Physics and Metaphysics of Greco-ArabicAristotelianism.This distinction
between the significant (often anthropomorphic when it relates to God or
suggests its multiplicity by the statement of positive attributes) and hidden
intention (depth in meaning, enveloped in allegory,the image and metaphoric
figure) leads to dichotomy which covers the notion of amma (mass) and of

134
khassa (elite) cherished by the medieval thinkers and likewise the demarcation
between public teaching within reach of the commoner and the masses,and the
secret teaching accessible to a few men of science equipped with a sufficiently
elaborate knowledge to unravel the mysteries and become philosophers.
One must nonetheless remember, as Pinks judiciously stresses, that the
Dalalat al-Hakin is not obviously a systematic and complete expos6 of
philosophical science: it is only an elementary propaedeutics.When composing
his Dalalat al-Hairin,MaYmonides aimed at a double objective:
1 - to put his readers, at least those amongst them who possessed the
required qualities,in the main stream of philosophical learning,
2 - to prevent them from falling into indifference with regard to the specific
form ofJewish law and tradition,an attitude considered to be the distinctive
mark of the philosopher who, devoted to contemplative life,is reputed not
to feel concerned by the external forms oflegal and ritual observance or by
popular beliefs.
c - Philosophical Sources of the Guide of the Perplexed.The identification and
analysis ofthe sources ofthe Dalalat al-Hairingive a precise indication on the
extent of the knowledge and intellectual dimensions of its author, enabling us
thus to measure the magnitude ofhis debt in relation to his Greco-Arabicworks
known in his days and to acknowledge in the development of his thinking and
presentation of his doctrinesthe part of originality through which he contributed
to the progress of science in his times.
MaYmonidessphilosophy is based on Aristotelianism,an Aristotelianism as
was understood in his days, strongly influenced by the political philosophy of
Plato.In a letter addressed to his translator,Samuel Ibn Tibbon,the author of the
Dalalat al-Hairin points at privileged sources: the works of Aristotle and their
criticism by Alexander ofAphrodisias,Themistius and Ibn Rushd,though he had
come to know somewhat late the works ofthe latter,the writings ofal-Farabi,Ibn
Bajja,Ibn Sina,and,in addition,the Jewish philosophers ofwhom he cites a few
names,Isaac Israeli,Yosef b. Saddiq,etc. It is due to S. Pines that we owe the
erudite analysis ofthe Jewish and Arabic documents and texts and the remarkable
update ofMunkscontribution and his investigations regarding the question.
MaYmonides affirms the absolute superiority of Aristotle over all the other
representatives of Greek wisdom,and confers upon him the title of Prince of
Philosophers. Of his works, he studied all those known in Muslim Spain,
practically all the corpus aristotelicum,probably with the exception of Politics;

135
he owes them, obviously, a great part of his intellectual upbringing. In the
Dalalat al-Ha%-in,one finds many references to Physics,Ethics, etc.
MaYmonides used the writings of Alexander of Aphrodisias a critic of
Aristotle whose original Greek texts which disappeared have been preserved in
their Arabic translation : O n the Principles of The Whole ( Fimabadi 'al-Kull),
on the rule of Government (Magalafi-1-tadbir),a work also known under the
title O n Providence (Fi-1-inaya).One also comes across in the Dalalat al-
H a 'irin,references to Plato,the Pythagoreans (their doctrine on the harmony of
spheres is refuted by MaYmonides, following Aristotle), Epicwus, Galen
(MaYmonides questions some of these medical and philosophical treatises), and
Proclus.But the most important place is reserved for Arabic philosophers.The
influence of al-Farabi (whom MaYmonides held in very high esteem) on the
doctrines professed in the Dalalat al-Ha'irin and related to the prophecy and
political role ofthe prophet, is common knowledge.One finds,in the symbiotic
thinking of MaYmonides and Arabic philosophies which he practises,the echoes
of discussions on the problem of the Beyond and the survival of the individual
soul after death, and remarks on the divergence's between Platonians and
Aristotelians on the structure of the city and of society.
One acknowledges how much Maimonides was indebted to Ibn Sina on the
topic of metaphysics.In spite of the reservations he expresses on the doctrines of
this peripatetic considered as unorthodox,we note the links ofkinship which unite
their theses on liberty,the theory ofnegative attributeswhich date back to Aristotle
and which seem to have impressed Spinoza, and the general affinities of their
thinking in the field ofpolitical philosophy.
Ibn Bajja is the founderofthe Aristotelian school in Muslim Spain to which
belongs MaYmonides himself;his Kitab fi-1-Ittisalal-'aqlbi-1-insan (Epistle of
the Union) was known by the author of the Dalalat al-Ha'irin.The latter
borrowed from the Andalusian philosopher not only a number of his
philosophical conceptions,but also his imagery,especially the metaphor used in
the preface ofthe book where the levels of intelligence and luminous perception
ofthings are compared to repeated flashesoflightning which tear apart the pitch
darkness of ignorance;men are,according to their intellectualaptitudes,more or
less destined or inclined to perceive the light of wisdom.
The way the dominant theories on celestial physics and Ptolemaic
astronomy are presented at least by MaYmonides in the Dalalat al-Ha'irin,are
different from the proceedings of Ibn Rushd in this field. O n such topics as
philosophical theory,their theses are equally similarand it is worth noting that

136
in contrastwith other philosophers,both were doctorsoflaw,incontestableauthorities
on theJiqh.It seems that in this field,both had been subjected to the influence of
certainAlmohad practices.However,one must point out that Maimonides only came
to know late in life,the doctrines ofIbn Rushd,whose translator he praises,when the
Dalalat al-Hairinseems to have been completed or on the point ofbeing so,which
leadsone to thinkthatthey may have exercised someinfluence onthe part ofthe book
still not drafted (on the date when he addresseshis preface to YosefIbnAqnin and in
which he mentions Ibn Rushdsanalyses,recently received by him.
O n MaiQmonidesrelationswith the Mutakallimun,Mutazila and Asharites,
we single out,his systematic expose ofthe twelve proposals ofthe kalam and his
refLitation of the doctrines preached by the members of this sect. It is
acknowledged that Malmonides knew the works of al-Ghazali,and that he had
read his Tahafut al-Falasifa(Destruction of the Philosophers), that masterpiece
of theological literature which provoked Ibn Rushd retort in his Tahafut al-
Tahafut (Destruction of the Destruction).
The opinions ofMaiQmonidesand al-Ghazaliare at odds on the essential,but
it seems that the author of the Dalalat al-Hairinhad been influenced by some
of the aspects of the thinking of the great Muslim mystic and that he owes him
some of his theories.
Maimonides quotes,in the Dalalat al-Hairin,the name of Abu Bakr al-Razi,
thinker and medical doctorwhose opinionshe questions and whose doctrineshe refutes.
As for the Jewish authors,adept in kalam,or philosophers,the allusions he
makes to their writings are rare,compared with the more frequent references to
Biblical and Midrashic literature,the Aramaean paraphrase of the Pentateuch,
the one called canonic of Ongelos. Only two passages quote the geonims (the
masters of Iraqi Talmudic Academies).
Malmonidess originality was to inquire into three directions:
1 - his conception of the imitation of God;
2 - his hypothesis of the essential similitude of the knowledge of man and
the intellectual apprehension of God;
3 - his definition of the non-philosophicalstatesman and his explanation of
the wizards activities.
The last lines of the Dalalat al-Hairinand the end of the prefatory Epistle
which Malmonides addressed to his dedicatory disciple of the book, Yosef Ibn
Aqnin,will serve as a conclusion.

137
The perfection of which man can glorify himself is to have acquired,
according to his faculty,the knowledge of God and for having recognised his
Providencewatching over his creaturesand revealing himself in the way in which
he produces and governs them. Such a man, after having acquired this
knowledge,behaves always in a way as to aim at kindness,justice,while limiting
the actions of God...(The Guide,Munk,111, p.468).
Speaking about his book Malmonides said,it will be the key to enter places
whose doors are closed.And when these doors will have been opened and one
will have entered in these places,the souls will find their rest,the eyes will revel
and the bodies will take some rest from their affliction and fatigue.(The Guide,
Munk,I, 31-32).
W e shall conclude this eulogy,with a poetic work of four lines in Hebrew
that the Hispano-Jewishpoet,al-Harizi,addressed to Malmonides, in Fustat,in
the last years preceding the death ofthe Master:
- From you,prince,comes our glory;in you is our grandeur.
Your ways are sublime;in you,Moses,is our salvation and hope.
From the Eternal you are an angel;you were created in the likeness of the
Divinity.
And ifyou have a human form,its because ofyou,God said:Letus make
man to our likeness,to our resemblance

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3 Conclusion: This Judaism of the Arabic Language and Civilization
SecularisationofJewish society,laicization ofpoetry,spiritualisationofethics
and the mystic,irruption ofscience and ofGreek methods ofthiilking in the Jewish
universe by way ofArabic literature are the remarkable phenomena raised in the
subject which we will conclude by these words :
The mental structures of the two societies,the Muslim dominant majority
group and the tributary Jewish minority, are fashioned by a long and common
experience, a close cohabitation, a common cultural heritage built during a
Golden Age considered to be incomparable and which we wish to recall, a
remarkable economic and scientific co-operationand the awareness of having
contributed to shaping,according to onesdestiny,the face and the great forms
of civilization of the Mediterranean world.

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T h e Mystical Convergence
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1 Muslim Mvsticism and Jewish Mvsticism, Sufism and Kabbala
The issue of contacts between Muslim mysticism and Jewish mysticism,is
an issue that has been little studied except for the few pages,notes or annotations
dedicated to it in specialized monographs.The meeting of Islam and Judaism is
first perceived in the definition ofmysticism which already contains a notion of
syncretism.
One could call mystic the ways of approaching the Divine,outside of and in
addition to adhesion or simply submission to ideology and current external
observance in the religious group to which the mystic himselfbelongs.Originally,
the word mystic designated the man initiated to the mysteries of a group,a sect
or a closed,religious society,concerned with the quest for getting to know God
through the observance of a wayand the realization of a personal adventure
(experience). When one speaks of Muslim mysticism,one immediately thinks of
tusawwuJ;Sufism,a movement that could be defined as a systematic method of
intimate,experimental union with God.The aim ofSufism,as ofany other mystic
doctrine is to realize/achievea union with the supreme Reality of Divinity.
Jewish mysticism,probably less ambitious,rather than a union, envisages
an impetus, a marching towards an ever more intimate communion with the
Divinity,an adhesionto the truth ofits Sublime Reality,an itinerary ofthe soul
towards God who leads,by means of a ladder of virtues and spiritual attitudes,
towards the constant beingwith God,that which Jewish terminology terms
debequt, precisely, communion,adhesion and love,rather than union purely
and simply. Jewish mysticism, which will be called Kabbala attributes a
corollary to the debequt, the latter combining itself with the idea of restoring
Divine Unity shattered by original sin, of the realization of cosmic (and
universal) harmony,itselflinked with Messianic redemption,three fundamental
components of Jewish esoterism designated in Hebrew by the terms yikhud,
tiggun and ge ullah.Thus the union (and unification) w ill find the plenitude of
its achievement only in eschatology.Salvation has ever since been envisaged as
a return to primitive unity that had been lost and to universal harmony.
Let us note here that union with the Deity,a sublime level of being which
medieval philosophy calls the Intellect Agent, is the object of a philosophical
mysticism cherished in the bosom of Islam as well as of Judaism, constantly
interfering with the religious mysticism derived from faith and fiom the revealed
Scriptures.

139
The area ofJudeo-Muslimmystic convergencecovers incidentally different
areas: from the very conception of the exegeses of the Holy Scriptures to the
most varied intellectual and spiritual activities, as well as heterodox
manifestations,leaning towards practices which make use ofoccult sciencesfor
magic purposes, drawing their inspiration,deriving their legitimacy and their
power from these same Holy Scriptures interpreted,manipulated or distorted by
popular imaginationand its social representationswhich orthodoxy is sometimes
constrained to tolerate,even to retrieve.

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2 Sufism and Kabbala
One cannot understand, nor even conceive the existence of Jewish
spirituality and esoterism, such as those of Ibn Paquda,Abraham AbulafLa,
MaYmonides,his son Obadya,and many other mystic and kabbalistic authors of
the Jewish faith,without their Muslim esoteric environmentand a knowledge of
the mysticism of Sufism.
Judaism and Islam are,at least in certainrespects,very close to each other.
At the outset,and destined to remainthe basic reference,in the two religions,a
text admitted as revealedin a Semitic language,Torah and Koran.It isparticularly
remarkable,in both cases,that these sacred texts set down in writing,have each
found their legislative complement indispensablein an oral tradition: Tora she-be
aZpe for Judaism,Sunna and Hadith for Islam,Nigla and Nistar for Judaism.
Prophecy and mysticism are,to a certain extent,identified with each other
in Judeo-Arabphilosophy,and the concept ofprophet signified the mystic ideal,
in Judaism as well as in Islam.
Biblical exegetes and Koranic commentators all envisage the apparent and
the hidden sense ofthe scripturaltext,what the mystics ofthe two religionscall
the Zahir and the Batin.
When one thinks ofthe old mysticism ofthe divinechariot,ofthe practice
of dikr and of the discipline of the breath, one may conclude in favour of
possible contribution of mysticism or rather Jewish gnosis/gnosticism towards
the formation of Muslim esoterism. However, it is rather in the opposite
direction that great influence was exerted.After the Jewish agnostics of the 5th
and 6th centuries,came the fervour of the eloquence of Muslim mystics who,
besides the Arab language, possessed a first-rate instrument of expression.
Muslim pietism marks henceforth with its sealthe mysticism,the spiritualityand
the ethics ofJudaism in the Land ofIslam,prepared to receive its imprint.

140
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3 Sufi Literature and Jewish Mysticism. Ibn Arabiand al-Ghazali
It is in the school of Sufism that a good number of Jewish ascetics and
mystics served their apprentice ship in a certain form of spirituality which they
bequeathed to Jewish culture and its ethics,at firstin the original Arab language,
later in Hebrew translations and other Jewish vernaculars.They are those whose
names we mentioned at the beginning of this chapter: Ibn Paquda,Abraham
Abulafya,Abraham and Obadya, son and grandson of MaYmonides, of whose
main works we shall make a recension,whom we shall quote by name and the
literary production.
Ibn Arabislessons and the practices of al-AndalusSufism bring to light
meeting points and poles of similarity,and apprise us of the existence of areas
of convergence where Jewish and Muslim esoterism and spiritual encounter.
Al-Ghazalisteaching had a great repercussion and exerted considerable
influence on the history of thinking,in the East and in the West, among the elite
of Europe,especially among Jewish thinkers and authors. For them,his works
and his teachings were a lesson to learn,and his spiritual experience an example
to follow. This influence took place at two levels and affected two periods.
During the 12th and 13th centuries, it was exerted on Jewish authors who
thought and wrote in Arabic. This was the case of Yehuda ha-Leviwho was the
first recipient, and the most fervent disciple of the masters teachings who
adopted and utilized the reproach of incoherence which al-Ghazali makes to
philosophers in general and to Aristotelian philosophy in particular,perceiving,
like him, the great danger it constitutes for revealed religions. Faithhl to the
Masters thinking,he quotes texts directly fi-om it, starting with an early work
which al-Ghazaliincorporated in his Ihya and which summarizes the doctrinal
foundations on which the dogmas taught there lie. It is acknowledged that
Maimonides was acquainted with al-Ghazalisworks and that he read his
Tahafut al-Falasifa.
From the 13thcentury onwards, al-Ghazalisworks were translated into
Hebrew, read, studied and commented by the non Arabic-speaking Jews of
Provence and Spain,and enjoyed immense popularity there.There are some,it
seems,which have been preserved only in Hebrew,as is evident in certain works
by Ibn Rushd. Isaac Alballagh translated the Maqasid al-Falasifaand used it as
a prolegomena to his own works.MoiseofNarbonne commented greatly on it,
and the commentary received itself even more successive comments up to the
16thcentury. Abraham Avigdor ben Meshullam made from it a didactic
composition in verse in the second half ofthe 14thcentury.

141
The Tahafut al-Falasifa was translated into Hebrew, separately, and
together with Ibn Rushds Tahafut al-Tafaahut, the Mundgid min al-Dalal
(Deliverance from the Error) as well.It should be observed that these three
books have been reproduced inArabic with a transcription in Hebrew characters,
in order to make them more accessible to the numerous Jewish readers who
spoke Arabic but were insufficiently familiar with written Arabic. From the
works on Sufism by al-Ghazali,Judaism knows mainly his Mizan a1 Amal
(Criteria for Action) in the Hebrew version produced by Abraham ben Hasday
from Barcelona,who entitled it Moine Sedeq (Scales or Criteria for Justice). In
it, one perceives a Jewish ethnicalization,as it were, of the original text,by the
substitution ofBiblical and Talmudic referenceto quotations from the Koran and
the Hadith.On the whole,at least six ofal-Ghazalisgreat works have,since the
Middle Ages, been translated into Hebrew.It is interesting to point out that on
the fly-leafof an Arab manuscript containing one of his works,the recension of
the latter is made in Arabic and in Hebrew characters,and the authorsname is
followed by the formula reserved for pious deceased Jewish scholars: T.S.L.
(Zekker Saddaq li-brakhah)(May the memory of the just be blessed).
This illustrates well the general feeling and the opinion which the erudite
Jewish society of the Middle Ages shared about this man and his works.This is
a sign of a real intellectual symbiosis,the evidence ofthe existence ofthis socio-
cultural convergence attested to also by the example of MaYmonides and many
others. AI-Ghazalisinfluenceon Jewish thinkerswho,in this medieval period of
the Muslim-JudeoGolden Age,wrote in Arabic and in Hebrew,was considerable
up to the 15thcentury. It has continued to the present era in the whole of erudite
Judaism,in works on ethics and mysticism,through the works ofYehuda ha-Levi
and a literature which draws its inspiration from similar sources.

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4 Jewish Sniritualitv and Mvsticism: what they retained from Sufism
The first author who was important on his own merits and by the influence he
exerted on the later Jewish spiritualityin whose teaching the contribution ofMuslim
mysticism plays a capital role,is the al-AndalusianJewofthe second halfofthe 11th
century Yahya b.Paquda,whose famouswork,Kitab al-bidayaila Fara idal-qulub,
(Introduction to the Duties of Hearts), rapidly became a very popular book of
devotion within Judaism ofboth the West and East,in its Hebrew translation and in
the Jewish languagesofthe East and the West,includingMaghrebine Judeo-Arabic.
The literary fibre and the ascetic ideas which Ibn Paquda develops in this
work on pietism belong to Sufism, that is, to the very sources of Muslim
mysticism.

142
The spiritual theology which Ibn Paquda set up for his co-religionists,uses
preferably Muslim mysticism,the itinerary which leads the soul to pure Divine
Love and to the union with the supreme light of God, have an ideological
framework,a mystic fibre,a style conforming to the tastes ofhis Jewish readers
profoundly marked by Arab culture.
The analysis ofworks written by other authors,also from the Muslim West,
reveals a definite integration of Muslim mysticism of a mixed nature,religious
and philosophic at the same time: the commentary on LEcclLsiaste, on
asceticism, the Canticle of Canticles which its author, the Maghrebine Yosef
IbnAqnin, a contemporary of MaYmonides, entitled Inkishafal-Asrar wa-
Zuhur al-Anwar(Revelation of Mysteries or Apparition of Lights).
Several poems by Ibn Gabirol, a contemporary of Ibn Paquda, show the
same tendency and draw their inspiration from the same sources.
MaYmonidesway ofthinking,however rationalist it was,was not devoid
ofesoterism;there appear elements ofphilosophical mysticism especially in the
final pages of the Guide.The work of his son,Abraham b. Moshe b. Maymun
(13th century), collected in a long treatise on spirituality,entitled Kz$ayat al-
Abidin,deserves closer study.
Thus, in Egypt, at the other end of the Mediterranean,a kind of Jewish
Sufism findsits expression in MaTmonidesethics. The mysticism he teaches in
his book is entirely of Sufic inspiration.
MaYmonides has not only a bookish knowledge of Muslim mysticism, but a
certain concrete experience.The Suficonfraternitiesoccupied a conspicuous place
in the Egyptian society ofhis time;he knew them and watched them livewith great
sympathy,seeking,with a small number of co-religionistswho shared his views,to
bring about a modest reform in the religious life of his surroundings by taking
inspiration from their example.It is he who wrote,in his Kifavat al-Abidin,vade-
mecum, destined for the servants of God,that it was the ascetic Muslims of his
time who personified the religious ideal of the Banu al-anbirja (bene-ha-
nebiim) (disciples of the prophets) of Biblical times, affirming that Sufis, in
certain respects,followed more faithfully the prophetic path,even more than the
Jews themselves.
After Mailnonides,and for two centuries,all Judeo-Arabliteratureshows an
effort to bring about a synthesis of biblio-rabbinicalspirituality,and little by
little, Kabbalistic, together with Muslim mysticism, Sufism or philosophical
mysticism.The interest shown in these problems and their literary expression is

143
reflected also in Yemenite works and in those coming from the Genizah ofCairo
which gave us a few Muslim mystic texts transcribed in Hebrew characters (or
even originals in Arabic characters), therefore destined to be used by Jews.
With Abraham Abulafya, a visionary of Spanish origin,there appeared a
mysticism called prophetic which was very complex:one ofits elementswas the
provoking ofecstatic states by means ofprocedures of concentration(technique
of the breath,repetition of formulas,arithmetical operations and combinations
of letters,etc.) Its Kabbala owes its originality to an influence apparent in Sufic
circles which he came to know during his voyages in the East as a young man,
and to the prayer practices cultivated there.
The Tasawwuf did not only inspire Jewish esoteric literature. The
documentary depository ofthe Genizah ofCairo offers us examples ofattentive
Jewish readers of al-Hallaj, whose sentences/decisions they transcribed in
Hebrew;of al-Ghazaliand other Muslim mystic authors. One learns from this
that simple people in Jewish society were influenced by the religious
confraternities and were members of religiousorders like that ofthe denuish.
One might concludeby saying that the acclimatizationofthemes ofMuslim
spirituality was beneficial to Jewish piety; and theological thinking also
benefited from the meditations of Muslim philosophers on the relations of
human intelligence with transcendental reality. However, in spite of the non-
negligible dependence of Jewish religious thinking with regard to the theology
cultivated in Islam,and in spite ofthe debt contracted by Jewish mysticism with
regard to Sufism,a difference remains:Judaism seems constantly to have put
aside the idea ofthe identification ofthe Creator and the creature,considered as
a deification ofman and,in a way,a blasphemy.Rabbinical orthodoxy set limits
to mystic Judaism,forcing it to observe what Saadiaand IbnPaqudacalled the
equilibrium of revealed Law.

144
Discussion questions

I. Comment on the contents of Maimonides great works, the Mishne


Tora and Dalalat a/-Hairn
(the Guide of the Perplexed). Locate them
if possible and read.

2. How did Maimonides approach Judaism and comment on the


statement, Maimonides made the power of the mind reign over
Judaism.

3. How did his emphasis on reason, intelligence and science influence


the religious thinking of the period and how were his theoriesreceived
in Jewish communities?

4. Compare Maimonides philosophy regarding faith and reason, law,


medicine et cetera,with the concepts of Ibn Rushd and Aristotle.

5. Discuss the interrelationship of Muslim and Jewish mysticism,


including the influence of Ibn Arabi, a/-Ghazali,Ibn Paquda and Ibn
Gabirol.

145
-
Pyxide dal Mughira, Madinal Al-Zahril
Institut du Monde Arabe

146
SCIENTIFIC EXCHANGES

-
10 Scientific Activities
and Inter-Cultural Relations in AI-Andalus

by
Ahmed Djebbar

-
1 Introduction
Seen through the prism of inter-culturalrelations, the history of scientific
activities in Arab-Muslim civilization appears like a succession with an
occasional overlapping of three principal phases: an appropriation phase of the
pre-Muslim scientific heritage,an assimilation and creation phase,and a phase
of transmission beyond the frontiers ofDar al-Islam.
During these different phases, direct or indirect scientific exchanges took
place between various communities which distinguished themselves by their
cultures,by their religions or by their languages,but which were united,either
in a common civilizational project, or in the same quest for knowledge and,
more particularly,for scientific knowledge.
The first phase,started towards the end of the sthcentury and ended at the
beginning of the loth century, developed mainly in Syria, Mesopotamia and
Egypt. It does not,therefore,belong directly in the framework of our subject.
However, it is indirectly linked to it for, through the contact and relations it
entailed or favoured,and by the type of symbiosisthat resulted from it, ofwhich
certain evidence has reached us. It foreshadows the contacts and relations that
were established,later in al-Andalusabout which we do not have always reliable
information. Therefore it is useful to emphasize the elements ofthis first phase,
which are the most significant on the inter-cultural level and which are related
to the process of transferring Greek,Indian,Babylonian and Persian science to
the nascent scientific community ofthe Muslim city.
The second phase,which is the longest,extended from the beginning of the
gthcentury to the end ofthe 13thcentury and,for some scientific centres,up to the
middle of the 15thcentury.This period gave rise, perhaps in a less spectacular

147
manner,to numerous inter-culturalcontactsand exchangeswhich are observed by
the historian interested in individuals destinies. Since during this phase al-
Andalus was in constant contactwith the Maghreb and the Muslim East,especially
in the scientific field,different examples of inter-culturalrelations are presented
without limiting ourselves to al-Andalus,for the links that were established,from
the 9thto the 1 3thcentury,between the scientistofDar al-Islamwere not particular
to this region.Because of the diversity of its ethnic,cultural and denominational
componentsand on account oftheir social overlapping,as well as the nature ofthe
relations fostered with Christian neighbours in the North,al-Andalusdeveloped
perhaps more than elsewhere in the Muslim West and in Europe, relatively
harmonious individual or inter-communalrelations which was a characteristic of
al-Andalusfrom the 9thto the 13* century.
During the third phase,a certain number ofArab scientific works,or Greek
works available in Arabic versions were translated into Latin,Hebrew,Castilian
and other languages.Two distinct cultural worlds which had contacts through
commerce and conflicts have inaugurated and developed new relations based on
scientific activities.
The limited elements are insufficient for the writing of the history of inter-
cultural relations in the scientificmilieu ofal-Andalus,since the direct testimony
of the various protagonists of this history are often lacking. However, they
corroborate and complete the evidence concerning the inter-cultural relations
that have been noted in other intellectual milieux in al-Andalus.

-
2 Scientific Activities and Inter-CulturalRelations in the East
Among the decisive factors that contributed towards the emergence of an
Arab scientific tradition, one finds scientific centres which existed before the
advent of Muslim rule. Despite their limited number and the modest character
of their activities,these centres have played an important role in the launching
of the first scientific activities in Arabic by enabling non-Muslim communities
to participate wholly in the birth and the development of a strong scientific
tradition. The evidence which has been transmitted to us by the Arab scientists
themselves leaves no doubt on the subject.
The technical skills ofcertain categoriesofthe population,like land surveyors,
experts on heritage,craftsmen of wood or stone,and architects,through the daily
practice oftheir respectivejobs,was diffused and spreadto all the communitiesthat
came into contact with one another at the time. This wealth of knowledge was
found also at the basis ofthe first scientificactivities ofthe Muslim city.

148
This knowledge and know-how,which heretofore had been confined to the
members of communities,were diffused on a larger scale due to social mobility
and the increase in exchanges which the new power was to favour in the regions
it controlled.
-
a The role of the Pre-Muslim Scientific Centres. Among the scientific
centres which existed on the eve of the Muslim conquest,one finds that of
Alexandria in Egypt,ofAntioch and Edesse in Turkey,ofKenesrin and ofRas-
al-aynin Syria and,the prestigious Gundishabur centre in Persia.
In spite of what certain Arab historians affirm,the first Muslim armies did
not find the prestigious library ofAlexandria, and general Amrb. al-As,who
died in the year 664,did not therefore order its destruction since it had not
existed for a long time (1). O n the contrary,they have been able to confirm that
there still existed private libraries housing highly valuable scientific works.
Moreover,these libraries still existed in the 9thcentury since the great Christian
translator,Hunayn b. Ishaq (d. 873), found some Greek manuscripts there (2).
Through exchanges with these libraries, scientific activity was perpetuated,
particularly in medicine. As an example, Paul dEgine studied and practised
medicine in Alexandria until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640,and he
pursued his activities there after this date (3). Ibn al-Nadim wrote a medical
encyclopaedia in seven volumes,and a work entitled Kitab ilalan-nisa(book
on womens diseases) (4). In the same epoch,a priest called Ahrum published,
in Alexandria his medical work entitled the Kunnash (5).
In Gundishabur,medicine constituted the most important scientific activity.
This town had benefitedfiom the exodus of scholars who had been driven out by
the Byzantines in the 6th and the 7th centuries, because of their philosophic
convictions or because they professed a non-official form of Christianity. This
exodus ofscholarshad been particularly important in 529 when Emperor Justinian
(483-565) ordered the closing of the Athens Academy where philosophers and
scientists worked,like the famous Simplicius,who had commentated on works of
Aristotle and Euclid (6).
It is also within the Christian community which expressed itself in Syriac,
that one witnesses a certain vitality in the scientific and philosophic field,on the
eve ofthe Muslim conquest. One should moreover note,as experts have already
done,that not only did this conquest interfere with already existing activities but
it rendered them even more dynamic,in particular thanks to the demand that rose
from the gthcentury onwards and which was consolidated itselfas from the reign
of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur(754-775).

149
Among the scientists ofthe 6th and 7th centuries,who belong to this Syriac
tradition,one could quote Sergius from Ras al-ayn(d. 536) who,according to
the testimony ofHunayn b. Ishaq,translated from Greek into Syriac 25 medical
works by Galen and 12 works by Hipprocrates (7).
There was also Job from Edesse (Ayyub al-Ruhawi), who translated 36
treaties by Galen (8). In the field of astronomy and mathematics,the most
important scientist ofthis era is Severe Sebokht,who died in 667 and who was
acquainted with the Indian decimal system and was also familiar with certain
aspects of the Greek astronomic tradition since having written a treatise on the
astrolabe (9).SCvkre Sebokhttrained pupils among whom,Jacques ftom Edesse,
and especially Athanasius (d. 686) who continued with the activities of his
master by translating PorphyrusIsagoge and by writing an introduction for
AristotlesAnalitics (10).
The first efforts in translation and writing ofscientific works were,to a great
extent,the achievement of Christian scholars. In their early years,these scholars
were encouraged to work by princes, merchants and sometimes caliphs who
compensated them for their work; then, with the diffusion of learning and the
development of scientific activities,they were solicited by their colleagues from
different religious confessions, who ordered from them translations of works
related to their field of research.
Thus al-Jahiz,who died in 868, informs us in his Kitab al-Bayan wa-t-
tibyan,that the Abbasid Prince Khalid b.Yazid b. Ruman al-Nasrani (d.704)
initiated the translation of scientific works (11). The titles of the books
translated for Prince Khalid are not known but were mainly related to medicine,
astrology and especially chemistry or, more precisely, all that concerned
techniques that were supposed to be able to transmute minerals into gold. This
information is moreover confirmed by Ibn al-Nadim (who died in 997) who
states explicitly in his Fihrist that Khalid b. Yazid had brought over from Egypt
a group ofGreek philosopherswhom he had entrusted with translating chemistry
books from Greek and Coptic into Arabic. Among these translators, Ibn al-
Nadim quotes the name of Stephane the Elder (12). O n his part, Ibn Juljul (d.
995) notes that the 6th Umayyad Caliph,Umarb. Abdal-Aziz(717-720)also
had translators including Masarjawayh who translated for him into Arabic the
book on medicine by Ahrum,al-Kunnash,written in Syriac (13).
With the coming ofthe Abbasid Caliphate,the translation phenomenon was
followed up and diversified. In addition to the medical works which Caliph al-
Mansur had ordered Jurjus b. Jibril and al-Batriqto translate (14), he financed

150
the translation, entrusted to Ibn al-Muqaffa,of three of Aristotles books on
logic and of PorphyrusIsagoge,as well as an Indian work on astronomy,the
Sindhind,which was translated by Muhammad al-Fazari(1 5).
b - The Role of Bayt al-HikmaAll experts agree that Bayt al-Hikma in
Baghdad was the first state institution in a Muslim country,that brought together
scholars of different denominations or opinions, who worked in a variety of
fields like translation,philosophy,astronomy,mathematics and theology.
It was during the reign ofCaliph Harun al-Rashid(775-809)that a scientific
institution bearing the name Bayt al-Hikma or Khizanat al-Hikma was first
mentioned. In his Fihrist, al-Nadim gives us specific details concerning its
activities. For example, Allan al-Suubi used to copy works for Harun al-
Rashid and for certain members ofthe powerful Baramika family (16). W e also
know that al-Fad1Ibn an-Nawbakhttranslated for the caliph works in astronomy
and philosophy written in Persian (1 7).
The second role ofthe Bayt al-Hikma,and perhaps the most important,was
linked to translation works that were to witness a great momentum during the
reign of al-Mamun.The majority of the translated books were to be translated
outside this institution,either in Baghdad itselfor in other towns. For example,
Tahir b. al-Husayn,an important personality of the period, ordered from Abu
Qurra translations of commentaries on works by Aristotle,and the governor of
Egypt, Ishaq b. Sulayman requested Hunayn b. Ishaq to translate 4 medical
works by Galen (18). Alib. Yahya b. Abi Mansur, who was particularly
interested in medicine,geometry and music,allocated considerable sums for the
translation of Greek works. The most brilliant translators of his times, like
Hunayn b. Ishaq and Hubaysh,worked for him,but other less known translators
were equally solicited by him, as Ibn AbiUsaybia notes. In this book Uyun
al-anba, the latterrecorded 35 translators the majority ofwhom,as indicated by
their surnames and first name were Christians.He also gives us the list ofeleven
patrons who financed these translations.Most ofthem are Muslims;but there are
non-Muslimsas well,like Theodore the Bishop and Ibn Qutrub (19).
Apart from these affluent patrons who ordered translations to satisfy their
intellectual curiosity and to enrich their libraries,a category of researcherswho
were relatively wealthy, had texts translated for their personal needs. The
famous al-Kindi(d. 850) ordered Abdal-Masihb.Naima (20)to translate five
philosophy books,and the Banu Musa brothers commissioned Hunayn b.Ishaq,
Hilal b. AbiHilal al-Himsiand Thabit b. Qurra to have access to the contents
of certain mathematical works in Greek,such as the Conics by Apollonius (21).

151
This diversity of patronage indicates that there was an entire network of
human relations linking,beyond their respective communities,scientists and
intellectuals having in common a field of activity,a centre of interest or simply,
the same passion for books.
The third role of the Bayt al-Hikma was that of a venue for debate among
different scholars.The evidence is not abundant but quite explicit.These debates
took place at least once a week,sometimes in the presence ofCaliph al-Mamun.
The faqih Abd al-Azizal-Kinaniwho participated in some of these sessions
specifies that the assistance was composed of fuqaha , lexicographers and
Mutakallimun. The discussions concerned scientific, philosophical and
theological questions. This fact is confirmed by two specific pieces ofevidence:
the first comes from Ibn Tagribirdi who, in his book al-Nujurn al-Zuhira,
mentions the names of a mutazilite,Tumama b. ai-Ashras,and of a murjite,
Bishr al-Marisi,who participated in the discussions. The second evidence is that
of the theologian Abu al-Hudhaylwho also assisted at one of these debates,in
the presence of al-Mamun,a debate during which he had to refute the
arguments ofthe astrologers (22).
The fourth and final role of the Bayt al-Hikma was that of a relatively
specialised scientific centre.Historians often associate this institution with the
astronomical and mathematical activities of that epoch,without however giving
precise information on the nature ofthe work carried out there and on the identity
of all the researcherswho frequented it. Among the scientistswho seem to have
visited regularly Bayt al-Hikma,were Yahya b. AbiMansur and a1 Khwarizmi,
two important astrologers of the Sthcentury who played a significant role in the
emergence of a real Arab scientific tradition,both by their participation in the
activities ofBayt al-Hikma and by their scientific production (23).
However,nothing statesthat other researchers did not frequent,regularly or
occasionally, this institution in order to be trained with already established
scholars or to participate in the realization of a scientific project,such as that of
Caliph al-Mamunwhich aimed at establishing a new map of the world (24).
W e do not know to what extent the activities of the Bayt al-Hikmafavoured
the appearance of new spaces where inter-culturalrelations were constructed,
but these spaces have indeed existed and they have played a considerable role in
the perpetuation,within certain social strata,ofa code ofbehaviour impregnated
with tolerance,respect for the ideas ofthe other,and exchanges of opinions.
During that same time,throughout the Xth and XIth centuries,a type of salon
was established in Baghdad and in other large towns,by the Caliph or by individuals

1.52
who were equally cultured patrons. They were frequented by scientists,poets,men
ofletters and intellectualsgenerally.Some ofthese salonswere confinedto a specific
scientificcommunity. For example,a salonwas assembled,in the Sthcentury,in the
palace ofIsa b.Ali.According to Ibn AbiUsaybia,this salon was animated by a
lady belonging to the elite society of Baghdad, Umm Jafar bint Abu-1-Fadl,who
received only medical doctors and astrologers. Among the intellectuals who
frequented this salon regularly Ibn Abi Usaybia quotes the names of Hasan al-
Tamami,Umar b. al-Farrujan and al-Yahudi (25). The Sabian mathematician,
Thabit Ibn Qurra (d. 901) participated, during which were discussed theological
problems of interestto all religions (26). Similarly,meetings were organized by the
great astronomer of the IOth century, Abu-1-Wafa (d. 997) who convened
geometricians,architects and land-surveyors(27).

-
3 The Phase of Scientific Production and Innovation
The period dating from the 9thto the 11th century,corresponds to a period
rich in discoveries and new trends and also marked, in a less visible manner by
the cultural diversity of the different actors of this period. Apart from some
moments oftension or violence provoked by specific economic situations,or by
exceptional behaviour (according to Arab historians), of certain local powers or
authorities, this cultural or religious diversity was a factor of stability on the
political level and a source of inspiration in the intellectual sphere in general,
and in science in particular. This is at least what testimonies we dispose of
permit us to think and which may be classified in three very distinct categories.
There is first and foremost the influence of this cultural diversity on the
scientific output itself. One of the first examples is supplied to us by the great
algebrist al-Khwarizmi(d. 850), who was also an astronomer and who,by virtue
of this title,published a work entitled Istikhraj ta rikhal-Yahud.In this book,al-
Khwarizmi describes the Jewish calendar and sets down the rules calculating the
average longitudesofthe sun and the moon based on this calendar.The publication
of this book presupposes,in the large Muslim cities of the Orient,during the 9th
and the 10th centuries,the existence of an important Jewish community that was
relatively integrated and enjoying a high level of education (28).
This situation was not specific to the 9thcentury,as proven by the example
of the XIIth-XIII*h century scholar Kamal al-Dinb.Yunus (1156-1242)who, in
addition to his perfect mastery of Muslim theology, philosophy and
mathematics,was well acquainted with the contents ofthe Torah and the Gospel.
The great bio-bibliographer of the 13thcentury,Ibn Khillikan, who knew Ibn
Yunus personally and who reported this fact in his Wafayat ai-Ayan,added this

153
interesting detail about the relations ofthis scholar with the Jewish and Christian
intellectuals of Mosoul,his native town: The Dhimmis studied the Torah and
the Gospel under him and his comments on these two works were of such
excellencethat they admitted they could not find anyone capable of explaining
them better than he (29).
In the field of astronomical instruments,one may cite the example of Ali
al-Wadai who perfected an astrolabe that could determine solar longitude
corresponding to any date on the Syriac or the Coptic calendar. This instrument
was used in the 13thcentury in Aleppo and in Cairo (30).
A third example is provided by the zijs (plural: hyaj) which constitute an
essential part of Arab scientific output, both by their volume and by their
contents. Thesezijs were conceived by their authors both as tools for astronomers
and astrologers as well as a set of answers to the problems or the needs of the
different communities in the Muslim city. One finds theoretical chapters of
interest to specialists, such as spherical or trigonometric functions,as well as
planetary equations and tables of lunar and solar eclipses. But one finds also
chapters that concern the rite or the traditions of various communities,like the
one containing the tables of visibility of the lunar crescent, or that about the
direction ofMecca,which interested the Muslims,or the chapter on the calendars
used by the Jewish, Christian (Julian, Roman, Coptic), Persian (Seleucid,
Yaidigid, Zoroastrian), and sometimes even Chinese and Indian communities.
One finds all these calendars or some of them in the Zij al-Mumtahan,by Yahya
b. AbiMansw (around 8lo), as well as in the Zijs of al-Khwarizmi,Habash al-
Hasib (around SSO), al-Battani(858-929),and by Kushyar b.Labban (971-1029),
to quote only the most important ones. In other Zijs,as in that of al-Khazin(ca.
1 120), one finds the dates ofthe religious feasts ofthe different communities that
lived in the Muslim city (3 1).
Another aspect of the inter-cultural symbiosis during the innovation and
developmentphase concerned the philosophico-theologicaldebates provoked by
scientific activities or inspired by them, which ignited different feelings or
different attitudes that should be linked,directly or indirectly,with the cultural
and religious diversity that characterised the towns of Dar al-Islam in general
and,more particularly,the one in the centre of the empire of al-Andalus.
Here,accessibleproof is rare,although significant.The first piece ofevidence
is from the great mathematician of the 9thcentury,Thabit Ibn Qurra,of Sabaean
confession, who participated in an important debate on the notion of infinity,
through the theological question of the number of the souls. During this debate,

154
different arguments were confionted: those of philosophers, of Muslim
theologiansand even the supporters of metempsychosis (transmigrationof souls).
It is interesting to note,on this subject,that the arguments which seem to us today
to be the most relevant, because of the space they created for reflection and
innovation,were precisely those of Thabit Ibn Qurra,a non-Muslimscholar very
conversant with the dogmas of monotheistic religions and with those of
Aristotelian philosophy, who remained independent vis-a-visthese dogmas and
developed ideasthat were original,considering the ideas ofhis times (32).
One notes also,on reading the manuscript referring to these debates,that the
opinions of the debaters are summarized without criticaljudgement and without
allusion to their ethnic,cultural or ideologicaladherence (33).
Another example reaches us fiom the llth century scholar al-Biruni (d.
1048)who, in his Kitab tahdid nihayat al-amakim,recalls an episode from the
entirely pacific polemic that arose between the mutazilite AbuHisham and the
Nestorian AbuBishr Matta b. Yunus, on the subject of Aristotles D e Caelo.
However,it is interesting to note that on this occasion,al-Birunicriticised his co-
religionist AbuHisham and sided with Ibn Yunus (34).
There is another issue related both to the scientific activities of this second
phase of Arab-Muslim history and to their multi-cultural environment. It
concerned the debates provoked by the relatively rapid development ofthe exact
sciences and by the course followed by some ofthem. These debates took place.
W e have considerable evidence about different eras and different environment.
Unfortunately, this evidence is often limited because its authors, who have
already acquired a certain concept of science and who are hostile to philosophy
and sometimes even to certain branches of mathematics,report to us only the
opinions of some Muslim theologians. O n the other hand, this evidence is
isolated from its context and impedes the appreciation of the effects of a
multicultural environment on debates that concerned not only Muslims since
they concerned ethical problems and clearly raised the question of the relation
between faith and reason.
In an article published in 1916,the orientalist Ignaz Goldhziher who had
collected a certain number of statements written or pronounced by orthodox
theologians,confirmed the existence,at different moments of the Arab-Muslim
civilization,of a current opposed to secularsciences(35). However,the existence
of an important scientific body dating back to this epoch permit us to confirm
that, in spite of certain dogmatic positions, scientists from all denominations
contributed each day, their research, their teachings and their publications,

155
towards consolidating the rationalist current and perpetuating it. W e can not
affirm that they also had the occasion to participate directly in debates on the
utility of a given science,as we do not know whether the cultural diversity of
the populations of the medieval Muslim city counter-balanced the repeated
dogmatic currents of the different religious attitudes of the period which they
considered as a danger for monotheistic society.

-
4 Scientific Activities and Inter-CulturalSvmbiosis in Al-Andalus
Scientific activities in the Iberian Peninsula during the Muslim period
experienced two great phases which somewhat overlapped. The first, extended
fi-om the 9th to the 12thcentury and is characterised by the emergence,
development and spreading of a strong scientific tradition animated by scholars
who expressed themselves mainly in Arabic and belonged to communities that
distinguished themselves by ethnic origin,religion or culture,but which,beyond
social cleavages and differencesin status,were relatively united by the way oflife
prevailing in the Muslim city in general,and in the al-Andaluscity in particular.
The second phase,which cannot be dated precisely,was subsequentto the
reconquest of Toledo by the Castilians (1085) and corresponded to the
transmission of Greco-Arab sciences towards Christian Europe, through a vast
movement oftranslations which had its apogee in the 12thcentury,and extended
until the 15th century.
a - The production period. In the first phase, we have two bio-
bibliographical works which, while provided precious information on the
various components of the scientific community of al-Andalusand adopted a
tone and a style which are only conceivable in an environment where a relative
symbiosis existed.
The first work is the Kitab tabayat al-atibbawaI-hukamaby Ibn Juljul,a
great lothcentury doctor who contributed towards making known the rare works
in Latin which had been translated into Arabic in the loth century (36). He
participated,in the initiative of a priest called Nicholas, on the revision of the
Arabic translation ofthe Book on Plants by Dioscorides. After having dedicated
four chapters to Greek doctors, Ibn Juljul translated the Muslim doctors
identifLing them only by their native regions: the East, the Maghreb and al-
Andalus. Among the 37 biographies of this period, 10 are dedicated to non-
Muslim doctors (Christians and Jews). Ibn Juljuls criticism of their works are
those of an expert,and the style he adopts to refer to these doctors is identical to
that which he uses to present the other Greek or Muslim scholars (37).

156
As an example,Ibn Juljul evokes, in another of his books entitled Tafiir
asma al-adwiya al-mufiada min kitab Diusquridas (Simple Explanation of
Names ofMedicines in DioscoridesBook) the episode regarding the translation
ofthe lattersbook,from Greek to Arabic:When Abdal-RahmanI11 replied to
the Byzantine Emperor,Romanus,he asked him to send him a man who could
speak Greek and Latin to train translators.Romanus sent Abdal-Rahman111 a
monk called Nicholas. At that time,there was in Cordoba,among the doctors,
people who had undertaken research and inquiries while striving to translate into
Arabic the name of the medicines in Dioscoridesbook. The individual who
undertook the most extensive research,in order to become closer to Abd al-
Rahman 111,was Hasday Ibn Shaprut.Among the doctors who,at that time,were
seeking to correct the names of medicines in the book and determine their
nature, there was Muhammad al-Hajjar,a man known by the name of al-
Basbasi,as well as Abu AbdAllah al-Siqili from Sicily who spoke Greek and
who knew the nature of the medicines(38).
It seems, moreover,that this collaboration between al-Andalus scholars of
different denominations existed in other fields,as witnessed by IbnAbi Usaybia
who quotes,in his bio-bibliographicalbook,the example ofthe Christian Jawad
al-Nasraniwho lived in the days ofMuhammad b.Abdal-Rahman,and who had
formed together with four other Muslim doctors a group of experts to test a
medicine that had been invented by another doctor called al-Harrani(39).
The second al-Andalusbio-bibliographicalwork is the famous Kitab tabaqat
al-umamofIbn Saidal-Andalusi(d.1068). This intellectual fiom Toledo,who was
also an expert on astronomy,through the layout of his book,reveals a respectful
representationof scientific and cultural traditions other than his own. But,since
during this period the intellectual community of al-Andalus was relatively
important,and as it was to this community that he was addressing himself, one
could safely believe that certain social strata of al-Andalustowns shared Saids
concepts or,at least,adopted his behaviour vis-a-visthe other cultures.
Ibn Said divided humanity into seven great peoples. Then he became
interested in eight particular nations which he considered more scientific than the
others. These are the Indians, the Persians, the Chaldeans, the Greeks, the
Byzantines,the Egyptians,the Arabs and the Jews. He exposed the virtues ofeach
ofthese nations and that which constituted its particular genius,then he presented
the biographies of their scholars about whom he could collect information.When
mentioning the Jews,Ibn Said described their calendar in detail,gave a brief but
accurate historical account of the revival of Hebraic studies in al-Andalusand
presents eminent Jewish scholars who had distinguished themselves in medicine,

157
philosophy or theology. Some had personal relations with Said,like Ishaq b.
Qistat or Hasday b. Yusuf. It was, moreover,his friend Hasday b. Yusuf who
provided him with certain information about the mathematician and doctor al-
Karmani,who lived in Saragossa (40).
It is probably the multicultural environment of Ibn Said al-Andalusiwhich
explains the lattersinterest in the history of peoples and religions and which led
him to publish,besides his tabaqat,two other works which unfortunately never
reached us :Khawamiakhbar al-umam min al-Arabwa-1-Yjam (Collection of
the chroniclesofArab and non-Arabnations) and Maqalat ah1 an-nihalwa-1-milal
(On peop1e:Their sects and religions). It should moreover be noted that Ibn Said
is no innovator in this domain since he followed the footstepsof his professor Ibn
Hazm (994-1063)who had already written a book on the same subject (41).
At the same time,and in another large town of al-Andalus,Saragossa,
scientific and philosophical activities were developed rapidly, and benefited
simultaneously from a privileged setting and from unlimited support since the kings
who governed this town and its dependencies for a large part of the 1 lth century,
that is,Ahmad al-Muqtadir(1046-1081)and his son al-Mutamanb. Hud (1081-
1OSS), were themselves intellectuals who practised the sciences oftheir times and
who even wrote importantworks,in philosophy and mathematics respectively (42).
W e know from other sources that they fostered good relations with their Castilian
neighbours and that they engaged Christian troops in their service.
W e also know that,during their reign,severalJewish scholarsand intellectuals
were trained, and distinguished themselves in Saragossa. Among them Said
mentions Marwan Ibn.Janah,Ibn Gabirol and Abu-1-Fad1Hasday (43). On his
part,Ibn AbiUsaybiarecalls the Jewish doctor Ibn Baklarish,who dedicated to
al-Mutamansson,Abu JafarAhmad, his book entitled Kitab al-mujadwalafi1-
ahiya.al-mufrada(The Catalogue Book of Simple Medicines) (44).
Following the death of al-Mutamin,and during the last decades preceding the
recconquest of Saragossa by the armies of Castile,the town continued to be a very
active pole in science and philosophy and a leading centre for the inter-cultural
symbiosis that had characterized al-Andalus in the 10th and 11th centuries. To
illustrate this fact,we shall limit ourselves to the scientific field by mentioning Abu
Bakr Ibn Baja,one ofthe most brilliant intellectualsofthe XI-XI1centuries and one
of the most independent and open minded in al-Andalus(45). W e know very little
aboutthe life ofIbnBajja,particularly on his adolescentlife and training.But,IbnAbi
Usaybiamentions that IbnBajja during his training frequentedadolescentsofhis age
who belonged to the non-Muslimcommunities of Saragossa.Ibn Abi Usaybiatells

158
us while referring to the great Jewish doctor Yusufb.Hasday (who had emigrated to
Egypt): Friendship existed between him and Abu Bakr Muhammad b.Yahya,known
by the name of Ibn Baja,and he always wrote to him from Cairo(46).
Unfortunately,all this correspondence has been lost,except for one letter,
which confirms and clarifies the testimony of Ibn Abi Usaybia.One finds here,
in fact,the different stages of the philosophers training until the date of the
letter,and one discovers a polyvalent scholar who does not hesitate to criticize
the writings of eminent astronomers, like al-Zarqallu(1 lth century) and Ibn al-
Haytham (d.1039), and who discusses philosophical questions derived from
Aristotles Metaphysics (47).
W e cannot draw definite conclusions based on one letter, but we can
reasonably assume that a large part of the correspondence between these two
scholars was of the same standard and adopted the same concise and
occasionally allusive style which reveals a genuine intellectual complicity
probably acquired by Ibn Bajja and Ibn Hasday in Saragossa, due to an
enlightened education and a tolerant environment.
To conclude on this important question of inter-culturalrelations in the al-
Andalus scientific community from the 9th to the 12thcentury,and more generally
in the intellectualmilieux ofits towns,it seemsuseful to us to make several remarks.
W e should emphasize that the examples mentioned do not constitute an
exhaustive presentation of what might have existed as inter-cultural relations
during this first phase, and at least for two reasons. One, we did not wish to
present an entire list of names of non-Muslimscholars that have been preserved
for us by al-Andalus bio-bibliographers, like Ibn Juljul and Ibn Said al-
Andalusi, or Oriental ones like Ibn Abi Usaybia so as not to overload the
presentation. Instead, we have preferred to illustrate the different types of
relations existing between scholars from the various cultural or denominational
communities of al-Andalus:the relation between master and pupil and vice-
versa,friendship,artistic affinity,intellectual complicity,and so on (48).
The second reason is due to the nature of the evidence which the bio-
biographers already quoted:it can be noticed that these authors are interested only
in scholars and personalities of the first rank. The activities of the latter can
therefore only constitute, in spite, that is, of their qualitative importance,the
visible part of a vast sphere of activities which signifies the existence of a rich
network of personal relations which go beyond the narrow limits of such or such
a speciality.This fact is moreover well illustrated by two accounts hom Ibn Said
al-Magribisbook,al-MugribfiHula-l-Magrib:in the first,Ibn Saidwrote about

159
Ishaq Ibn Shamun al-Yahudial-Qurtubi, a marvel of time in the mastery of
singing. He enjoyed privileged relations with the great philosopher Ibn Bajja
(d.1138). Ibn Saideven states explicitly that he frequented IbnBajja assiduously
and that he perfected singing under the direction ofthe latter(49).
Another significant piece of evidence given by Ibn Said illustrates and
confirms the existence ofthese cultural spacesthat are both extra-scientificand
extra-political. It is the example ofthe Jewish doctor Abu Ishaq Ibrahim b. al-
Fajjar who played the role ofpolitical emissary ofKing Alfonso of Castile and
who,by virtue ofthis title,was sent on a mission to Marrakesh to the Almohad
Caliph ofthat time. It seemsthatthis doctor was a personal relation ofthe father
ofIbn Saidwho describes him as an expert in poetry,in ancient science and in
logic(50). This proves that even the widest political and ideological
divergences ofthe time were unable to destroy all the aspects ofthe al-Andalus
cultural symbiosisthat had prevailed before the great Muslim-Christianmilitary
confrontationsofthe 1 Ith century.
The last remark we have to make concerns the eventual effects ofthe climate
ofreciprocal tolerance and ofinter-culturalsymbiosison the scientificactivitiesin
their broader aspect,which were peculiar to each non-Muslim community and
which were expressed in the languagesofthese different communities.In addition
to the evidence of Ibn Juljul who cites in his Tafsir asmaal-adwiyatal-mufiada,
the existence of al-AndalusLatinists of his time,there is no evidence on the
developmentofscientificstudies in Latin in the heart ofthe Muslim city (51). The
situationwas totally differentwhen it cameto Hebrew. Qne witnesseshere the birth
ofreal scientifictraditionswhich subsisted on Eastern and Western Arab traditions,
which were both to prolong them and to ensure a partial transmissiontowardsother
cultural regions.This happened in mathematics and linguistics,two fieldswhich,
from a certain moment, benefited from publications in Hebrew, the standard of
which vied with that ofworks in thesetwo disciplineswritten in Arabic. One must
moreover note that the authors of these Hebrew writings not only had a double
culture but also published inArabic books related to their specialities.This was the
case with Hasday b. Ishaq who is considered as the pioneer ofHebrew studies. It
was also the case ofIshaq b.Qastar who specialized in theology (52).
b - The period of translation. W e conclude this brief introduction by
evoking the second al-Andalus period, which permited a vast intellectual
movement similarto the one that existed at the Vlllthcentury until the beginning
of the IX century, in the East, putting in contact dozens of translators from
different countries,from various religiousconfessions and cultural horizon who
were confronted with the same tasks which allowed them to meet,to discuss,to

160
know each other,and to assist one another.During the second period,translators
from different countries, denominations and cultural horizons were led into
contact in a vast intellectual movement, similar to the end of the Sthand the
beginning ofthe 9thcentury,in the East.Carrying out the same task,they talked
to one another,became acquainted and offered mutual help.
Currently,there exists a certain number of accurate specialized works based
on sound documentary evidence, about the phenomenon of translation which
occurred in Spain and which extended to other regions ofMediterraneanEurope.
Translated works, translators names, their country of origin, and the places
where the translations were carried out are available (53). However, sources
were insufficient to enable researchers to describe accurately the conditions in
which these translations were made. There is little information about the
biographies of translators, their respective training (and in particular, the
conditions oftheir initiation into Arabic), their manner of working and the links
they had with the intellectual milieux ofthe towns where they resided.
These matters concern mostly this subjectsince they deal directly or indirectly
with the relations that were established between persons or groups belonging to
communitieswhich not only had different cultures and possessed varying degrees
of sensibility, but were also geographically distant from one another and,
consequently,had no other occasions to communicate with one another except for
those relating to commerce or war.
Although we cannot provide a detailed analysis of the inter-cultural
relations that existed in the context of the translation phenomenon, we shall
however,present some detailed information and observations which will permit
us to confirm the existence during the XII-XI11 centuries of an experience
unique in its kind, which made possible the emergence of a cosmopolitan
scientific community that was the link between two cultural worlds which
confronted each other elsewhere, and in certain towns of al-Andalus with a
prevailing Arab cultureand governed henceforth by Christian rulers,perpetuated
the neighbourliness and sometimes even a real symbiosis.
The translation activity necessitated more contact and more collective work
than conceived before.Arabic was the mother tongue ofonly a few translators,as
in the case of the three Jewish scientific translators Petrus Alfonsi, Ibn Dawud
and Abraham b. Ezra,as well as of the Christian translators Jean de Seville and
Hugo de Santalla. The others could only have access to Arab scientific and
philosophic texts through an intermediary who mastered both Arabic and the
local vernacular language. Such was the case of Michel Scott who himself said

161
that he was helped by Abuteus Levita,forthe translation ofD e Motibus Caelorum
by al-Bitruji(circa 1190). The famous Roger Bacon (1214-1292)affirmed that
the majority of the great translators of the 12thcentury mastered neither Arabic
nor Latin and maintained that Michel Scott in fact only lent his name to
translations made by an al-Andalus Jew.O n his part, GCrard de CrCmone
employed the services of Galippus,a Mozarab,to translate Almageste (54).
There also existed real multidenominational teams of translators. It is thus
known that Pierre le VCnCrable had integrated in the group ofRobert de Ketton and
Hermann de Carinthe an Arabist named Muhammad;it was equally the case,in the
13thcentury,of the team financed by Alfonso X (55). Regarding the manner in
which translation work developed concretely,when it was carried out within the
framework of a team,Ibn Dawud informs us that he translated the Liber de Anima
by Ibn Sina, from Arabic into the vernacular language and that after him
Gundisalvo translated the vernacular version into Latin. Some of these double
translations might have been carried out during two distinctphases,each translator
working on his own on the version that concerned him. However,the comparative
analysis of the original texts and of their Latin or Hebrew version indicates that
team work was undertaken simultaneously,with one ofthe translators dictating in
the vernacular language while the other transposed into Latin or Hebrew (56).
Translation activity during the 12thcentury in the towns of al-Andalus,and
more particularly in Toledo, inaugurated a form of contact, dialogue and
exchange among the different cultures of the time which continued in the 13th
century,in al-Andalusdue to the patronage of Alfonso X,and in Sicily at the
instigation of Emperor Frederic I1 and his son Manfred (57).
This phenomenon affected only the North of the Mediterranean; but nothing
indicates that it did not influence in some manner,inter-culturalrelations,South of
the Mediterranean. The Italian mathematician of the 12thand 13th century,
Leonard0 Pisano, called Fibonacci (circa 1202) after having acquired his first
scientific education in Bougie, a town in the Maghreb, went to improve his
knowledge in the East,then settled in Sicily,at the Court ofFrederic 11,to write his
important mathematical treatises.
Two other examples equally concerned the Maghreb of the 12thand 13th
centuries confirmsthe persistence,even in a period ofcrisisand decline,ofa certain
type of behaviour which perpetuated the inter-cultural symbiosis we noted
previously in the scientific milieux of Muslim cities. These examples,which Ibn
Khaldun gives us in his Kitab al-ibar,concerned an astronomer and a
mathematician. The first, Ibn Ishaq al-Tunisi,worked in collaboration with a

162
Jewish astronomer from Sicily who sent him the results ofhis observations (58)on
a regular basis. As the known works of Ibn Ishaq are inscribed in the astronomical
tradition of al-Andalus,it is probable that these two scientists first became
acquainted in this region, in the course of their studies, and that they later
collaborated on the same project (59).
The second scholaris al-Abili,the mathematics professor ofIbn Khaldun. The
latter informs us that,having refused an importantpost which the King ofTlemcen,
Abu Hammu Musa (1 308-1318)wanted to entrust him with,and,fearing for his life
afterthis refusal,al-Abilifled fromhis native town and sought refuge for some time
in Fez,at the house of a scholar in the town,the Jewish mathematician Khalluf al-
Magili. This means, at least one infers so, that al-Abili must have enjoyed
privileged and close relation with al-Maghili.Moreover,he took advantage of this
to attend his lectures,before going to Marrakesh,to improve his knowledge with
another great mathematician of those days,Ibn al-Banna(1256-1321) (60).

-
5 Conclusion
There is no question ofgeneralising the phenomenonofinter-culturalsymbiosis
within the scientific community of the cities of Dur ul-Islam,from the sparse
examples we have gathered at random from our research and our reading.However,
the scientific texts of Arab tradition and of bio-bibliographicalworks evoking the
scholars and philosophers of this tradition,verify that the rarity of such pieces of
evidence does not indicate that these facts are exceptional. Indeed, a systematic
inquiry would have rendered possible the unearthing ofmore evidence perhaps even
more significantas regardsthe existenceofa long traditionofscientificcollaboration
beyond cultural, denominational and ideological differences, as well as a great
diversity in individual relations that were interwoven beyond the invisible but ever
present frontiers of medieval communities, relations that extended from
neighbourliness which one does not narrate, to the heart-felt,touching friendship
which one would like to be eternal,like that shared by the Jewish mathematician
Yusufb.Yahya al-Sabti,apupil ofthe famousMaYmonides (1 135-1204),and the bio-
bibliographerIbn al-QiRi (d.1248)(61).
Nevertheless,we are convinced that,whatever may be the new evidence which
the study of existing sources could reveal,it would be difficult to reconstitute the
richness and diversity ofthe relations that have been interwoven,in everyday life,
among individuals fiom the different communities of al-Andalus,for the simple
reason that the actors of this inter-cultural symbiosis, in particular those who
belonged to the scientific community,must have,most ofthe time,considered this
symbiosis as entirely normal and did not therefore feel the need to talk about it.

163
Discussion Questions

I. Describe the orientalinfluence in Arab science.(Sumer,Egypt,India,


China,Greece).

2. Elaborate the original contributions of Arab science in al-Andalusand


in the Eastern part of the Arab-Islamic empire. Comment on their
contributions to astrology, astronomy, mechanics,optics,cosmology,
geology,zoology etc.

3. Whatrole did translationsand publishing have in the spread of science?

4.Describe the multiple activitiesof Bayf a1Hikma,one of the early forms


of research and development institutionsin the development of
science and research.

5. Specify the influences of Arab science on the development of Europe


and modern science.

6. The international scientific community has developed numerous


recommendations and Conventions on science and ethics e.g.
bioethics, science and knowledge, the human gnome, etc. (As an
example the Chemical Weapons Convention came into force in 1997;
the Biological Weapons convention has not been implemented; the
International Bioethics Committee of Unesco is developing several
instruments on the privacy of genetic data and the UN voted to ban
reproductive cloning,(butnot therapeutic cloning). What moral role
and behaviour is expected of todaysscientists? Are codes of conduct
needed such as the Hippocratic Oath?

164
Medicine during Caliphates time

165
To diffusepositive knowledge, will render
increasingly richer dividends, but money will
be easily consumed
- a1 Zahrawi -

l3rough enlightening counseling,the instructor


can wisely guide the student towards the right
decision
- S.H a m a m e h on a1 Zahrawi -

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11 Exchanges in Medicine in Al-Andalus
(sthto 13thCenturies)
bY
Sami Hamarneh

This is an attempted perspective,on the history of medical professions and


sciences in al-Andalus,during its first Golden Age from the 8thto the 13
centuries.For purposes of brevity and interaction,there will be outlines and bio-
bibliographic annotations of leading physicians, with assessments of their
contributions locally,regionally and world-wide.There will also be a concise
introduction and up-datingofthe periodsgeneral socio-political,economic,and
techno-scientificaccomplishments.
After the Arabic conquest of al-Andalus,there were governors who ruled
(711-755)mainly from Damascus,the Caliphatescapital.When the seat of the
government moved fiom Damascus to Baghdad, separation from the Abbasid
reign took place,and the new Amirate arose in Cordoba (755-927). It was only
then, late in this period, that the medical professions began to develop and
progress slowly but surely (1).
An outstanding feature of this development came about, through the
transmission and conveying of information,and medico-scientific knowledge
that had been exchanged from the already advanced eastern domain under the
Abbasid, to al-Andalus.For this reason, therefore, we can see a number of
young,adventurous,and learned al-Andalusmen departing from their homeland
for Iraq,Egypt and elsewhere to further their education and experience. There
they received excellent training in hospitals and clinics advanced for that time,
under the supervision of eminent physician-tutors.O n returning home, they
laboriously shared their gained experiences and knowledge with their
countrymen and colleagues in order to advance education,skills and practical
ethics and learning in the healing arts (2).
The al-Andalusjudge of Toledo,Ibn Said al-Andalusi (1029-1070),the
poet laureateof Cordoba, Ibn Abd al-Rabi(860-940) and others presented
first-handaccounts of this trend of information exchange. For example, three
physician-astrologers,who also excelled in other disciplines,were:

167
1 - Abu UbaydaMuslim b.Ahmad b.Abi Ubaydaal-Layti(d. 908),
2 - Yahya b. al-Taymiyyaof Cordoba (d.927),
3 - Yahya b. Samina,also of Cordoba,who died in the same year.
These three men migrated from al-Andalusto Egypt,Iraq and Hijaz,where
they diligently sought academic medical knowledge and expertise under
competent teachers. O n their return, all three served the profession with
distinction (3).
During this period, the number of trained physicians in al-Andalusof the
Jewish faith were few in number and their influences were proportionately not
strong.They gained more momentum with the increase of their population soon
thereafter.
However,the number of the Christian minority in al-Andalusat the time
was not small,particularly in metropolitan areas such as Cordoba,where they
had their own quarter.There were several physicians who still adhered to the
Christian faith,yet embraced the Arabic language and culture.As healers,they
surpassed their peers in performances and the quality of their pursuits. From
examining their biographies and contributions, we found them, without
exception,in harmony with their Muslim and Jewish compatriots and colleagues
in the spirit of tolerance and friendship.
Indeed,within the medical field, there was no discrimination among the
team-mates from members of the three divinely-inspiredreligions (ai-Diyanat
al-Samawiyya) and ethnic groups. They worked together, exchanging
information and co-operating in serving the profession faithfully.They came
from many parts ofthe country and had varied backgrounds,but they worked for
their communities,and the welfare of their citizens regardless of their religious
affinities.This was also the case in the Abbasid cities during the same period -
when Baghdad was enjoying its cultural Golden Age (4).
Here are brief biographies of four outstanding Christian physicians:
1 -Jawad al-Nasrani (the Christian) flourished about 860-885,and was a
competent and highly reputed physician. He had good knowledge of several
remedial agents, and had compounded many medications in pharmaceutical
forms such as confections,syrups and powders. H e employed all these forms in
his practice among his patients, with remarkable success.At the same time,he
had excellent collegiate relationshipswith those of other faiths,such as Hamdin
b. Abban and his two sons,who were in the same profession.

168
2 - Ibn Muluka al-Nasraniflourished in the first quarter of the lothcentury,
and was a resourceful,outstanding clinician-surgeon.Next to his clinic at home
he had a large out-patienthall with seats for thirty people for his patients and
their families.
-
3 Ishaq al-Tabib(the physician), and his son Yahya b. Ishaq al-Wazir(the
Minister of State) in Cordoba.Both acquired good reputations in the practice of
medicine, and excelled in their professional and clinical skills. However,
although the father,Ishaq,continued to adhere to his Christian faith,the son was
converted to Islam under the influence and persuasion of Caliph Abd al-
Rahman 111.He was physician-in-orderat the palace and the Caliphscounsellor,
and later became his minister.Nonetheless, the Caliphs mother was herself of
the Christian faith,even though her son became one of the greatest rulers in the
annals of the entire Muslim medieval civilization (5).

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1 The Umavvad Caliphate
The first genuine climax ofthe al-AndalusGoldenAge was ushered in with the
rise ofthe Umayyad Caliphate (927-1031).During this same time,the stagewas set
for the development of medicine and the allied health sciences in al-Andalus.Let
us considerhere three trends that shaped and hastened theseprosperous cultural and
scientific developments: the exchanges ofknowledge through travel,patronage by
the Caliphs,and the remarkable revival ofcultural activities (6).
The first trend,exchange of knowledge through travel is illustrated by the
continuation of educational trips to the East, for the sake of gaining further
exchanges of training and experience. Another good example is the journey
taken by Ahmad and his brother Umar,the two sons of Yunus b. Ahmad al-
Harrani.In the year 942,they left al-Andalusin their youth,during the days of
Caliph Abdal-Rahman111. They travelled through North Africa and Egypt and
journeyed as far as Baghdad,the Abbasid capital.
There they enrolled under the tutorship of the highly reputed Thabit b.
Sinan, and other leading physicians. After almost two decades of thorough
training, they returned in 962. They were enlisted to serve in the military
campaign led by Caliph al-Hakam11. As a result of their excellence in medical
and surgical performances,they returned with the Caliph to the imperial and
magnificent capital,al-Zahra.They were both promoted as court physicians and
became doctors to the royal family.
Umardied shortly thereafter,but Ahmad continued as chiefofthe operations,

169
practising faithfully and proficiently at the palace, as well as in his own private
clinic. He hired twelve people to assist him in the preparation of the required
medications,for his patients: the elite and the rich,as well as the commoner and
the poor, with the full approval of the Caliph.His dedication and skill won both
for him and the profession he represented,a good reputationand high esteem,until
his death during the early reign of Caliph Hisham I1 (976-1009)(7).
A third traveller was Muhammad b. Abdunal-Jabalial-Adadi.He left al-
Andalus for the East,on 958.He entered al-Basrafor training and then resided
at the Egyptian capital,where he continued his education under the tutorship of
Muhammad b. Tahir.He soon became the chief of the Fustat Hospital (known
then as al-Atiq)(8). Al-Adadiexcelled in his performance and knowledge.
After thirteen years there,he returned to serve the two above-mentionedcaliphs,
al-Hakam I1 and his son, Hisham 11, at the al-Andalus capital. His good
reputation continued and he was praised as having no peer in the precision of
medical skills and care of the sick (9).
The second trend is demonstrated by the genuine philanthropic support and
generous patronage and backing of the two Caliphs: Abdal-RahmanI11 and his
son al-Hakam 11. They had already planned, established and completed the
construction of their royal city, al-Zahra,with all its magnificently designed
palaces, mosques, gardens, buildings and institutions. They continued to
encourage and sponsor the arts, the sciences, including the healing arts,
educational academies, and economic advances,crowned with a rich cultural
harvest. They also promoted learned literary men from all walks of life, who
helped in building a great civilization,and made the cities of al-Andalusthe
most celebrated and advanced in Europe (10).
In this connection,there was emphasis on translation activities,as well as
diffusion,dissemination and transmission ofknowledge throughout the country.
Two undertakings in this context will be briefly discussed:
1 - Colleges and libraries were established and patronized. One was the
Imperial Library with its 400,000volumes,fully indexed,in all areas of human
knowledge.Even the Caliph Hakam I1 himself cared for the library and made
use of it, and encouraged others to do likewise (1 1).
Here we confirm the interest of Caliph Hakam I1 who was a champion of
learning.He was a scholar and patronized the arts and sciences,establishing 27
schools in Cordoba.As a bibliophile,his agents searched in the book shops of
Alexandria, Cairo and Baghdad,with a view to buying or copying manuscripts.
The books collected and their titles filled 44 tracts of twenty pages each (1 la).

170
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2 The excitement generated by the Arabic version of the five volumes of
PedaniusDioscoridesMateria Medica (a manual on drugs and therapy), and its
popularity,is considered an historical event. The original author completed his
work circa 64in Greek.It was first translated in Baghdad in the mid-9thcentury,
under the supervision of Hunayn al-Ibadi(12).
About 949,at the peak of Caliph Abd al-Rahman 111s prestige, he
received emissaries from many countries and kingdoms.Among them was a
delegation from the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII,bearing generous
gifts. Included was the very precious Greek herbal of DioscoridesMateria
Medica containing illustrationswith many figures in colour,on drugs from the
three natural kingdoms. The Caliph received the book with appreciation and
asked if someone would translate this important herbal into Arabic. The
Emperor responded by dispatching a certain Byzantine monk of the Christian
Orthodox faith named Nicholas, to translate the work and identify its
terminology and nomenclature.He arrived in 952 and continued on the project
until his death about a decade later.
A leading figure from the al-Andalus translation team was the Jewish
physician-statesman,Hasday b. Shaprut,minister and court physician in Abd
al-Rahman I11 palace. Also included among the team of assistants were:
Muhammad al-Shajjar,Muhammad b. Said the physician,and Abu AbdAllah
al-Siqili,who had a thorough acquaintance with medical agents and therapy and
who knew Greek as well as Arabic. His ancestors were Christians from Sicily,
but he resided in al-Andalusand was converted to Islam (13).
About the time of the completion of this translation project,the physician-
therapist Ibn Juljul appeared (ca.943-997). His name suggeststhat his ancestors
were Spanish Christians by faith, but Ibn Juljul himself was born a Muslim.
Possibly his immediate forebears were converted to Islam,as so many Spanish
families were after the Arab conquest of al-Andalus.He entered school in
Cordoba at six years of age.At ten he began religious studies in jurisprudence
and Muslim traditions and enrolled under eminent tutors at age fourteen,to
receive instruction in medicine. He started practising the art, at twenty-four
years of age. By this time,he had become acquainted with Monk Nicholas
personally.He was familiar with the translation activities and those involved in
them,under the leadership of Hasday b. Shaprut - a good friend and supporter
of Nicholas.Because ofthe Dioscoridestranslation,Ibn Juljul developed great
interest for, and appreciation of, the techniques and knowledge of drugs and
therapeutics (14).

171
Consequently,as an author,Ibn Juljul wrote no less than five small works
related to drugs and therapeutics. He wrote a treatise in the form of an
exposition, on names of drugs derived from Dioscorides Materia Medica,
interpreting and identi@ing these remedies another on drugs not known to
Dioscorides but since entered into the Arabic pharmacopoeia,a copy of which
-
was examined;a third on antidotes and theriacs remediesto counteract poisons
and treacles (from the Greek cure-alls= tiryaq);and the fourth work was a
critical essay on errors of clinical cases committed by certain practitioners (1 5).
The fifth, his best-known work, was Kitab tabaqat al-atibbawa-1-Hukama
(Biographies ofPhysicians and Sages), completed in 987,which is considered to
this day a most useful reference in the history ofancient and Arabic medicine up
to Ibn Juljulstime (16).
The above discussions centred on physicians and sages who were
adherents of the three faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. There were
peaceful interactions, friendly communications, and exchanges of
information and ideas among them.In particular,from the early 10th to mid-
1 lth century,there was a spirit of co-operationand good will among people
engaged in the healing arts, in all their specialities. They generally worked
harmoniously together for the welfare and progress of their people. Also, it
was reported that there was sincere interest in sharing, and exchanging of
information among all these groups. This was accomplished by developing
collegiate relations,and by participating in team-workprocedures,in order to
advance health care,safety and environmental accord,unfolding this trend -
a fortuitous approach (1 7).
Here we see how, for example,a Jewish scholar and statesman,Hasday b.
Shaprut,led the efforts oftranslation,and transmission of an educational project
which dealt with one of the most basic and important texts on drugs and
therapeutics.The purpose oftranslating Materia Medica was to promote medical
practices and health care in the country,and help the sick and needy among the
people. He was assisted by colleagues of other religious affiliations, yet all
shared the same aims,aspirations and mutual interests.
Working as a team,they made good use of ancient legacies in order to up-
date,add to and augment useful data and to observe,discover and authenticate
new findings, educational theories, curricula and techno-scientifictruths for
communal advancement. This period can be compared with the gth century
Golden Age at the Abbasid capital, with flourishing activities in educational
institutions,diffusion of positive knowledge,and cultural revival (1 8).

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In many quarters, no doubt, privileged physicians of the Muslim faith
possessed political superiority above those from the AhZ aZ-Kitab (Jews and
Christians) who possess revealed Holy Scriptures, renounced violence, and
promoted a spirit of tolerance. Legally, they enjoyed Muslim protection,
although some supposed it otherwise.
Nonetheless,the facts remain,that learned physicians ofthe three faiths were
treated equally and amicably.Collegiate relationships at best continued to flourish.
This was seen in the above examples,and more documented concrete cases,and
evidence will follow.Respect,collaboration and understanding were the norm,as
members of these three communities lived peacehlly side-by-side. Such
contagious co-operationshould be attempted and implanted world-widein our own
time,so that prejudices and animositieswil be reduced or even eliminated (1 9).
l
Research has revealed that in al-Andalus and elsewhere throughout the
medieval period there were three categories prevalent concerning the training of
students in the medical fields:
- apprenticeship of students under the instruction,supervision and daily
guidance of a tutor or master physician for a number of years until
graduation, when they were often granted a certificate or permission to
practice the art;
- training in hospitals,known at that time as bimaristan (from the Persian
houseof healing). Lectures, books, seminars, etc. were conducted and
made use of in the teaching process;
- the rise ofmany medical colleges in Islam,generally private,managed by
leading physicians-authors-teachersas in the case of al-Zahrawiin the al-
Andalus capital.
Among the pharmacists there were three categories: the qualified,
academically trained pharmacist,the attarin or druggist and the drug peddlers
who were not educated and whose function was to sell and make a profit (19a).
The third trend is characterized by a remarkable cultural revival and growth
ofinstitutionsin all fieldsofhuman endeavour:civil and military administration,
commerce,industry,agriculture,crafts,literature,technology and the sciences,
including the health professions. Immediately,books by competent physicians
based on objectivity and original research began to appear with regularity,and
were widely distributed.Because oftheir importance,here is a brief description
of select contributions, and biographies of their authors, presented in a
chronological order.

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1) The first manual on pharmacy in al-Andalus,and possibly one of the
finest in its field in this medieval period, is Kitab al-dukkan,completed in
Cordoba in the 930s. It was authored by the pioneer physician-pharmacist-
therapist,Abu UthmanSaid b.AbdRabbih,nephew ofthe poet Ahmad b.Abd
al-Rabbih mentioned earlier. However, like many relatives, they had some
quarrels between them, due to misunderstandings, but both were men of
outstanding achievements,each in his own field (20).
Like the Kitab al-aqrabadhin (pharmaceutical compendium) of Sabur b.
Sahl (d. 869) of the Abbasid domain, al-dukkan portrays the excellence and
profundity of its authors proficiency and skill in the compounding of
medications, their natural and technical applications, as well as the
pharmacological effects of these drugs on health. Further, in introducing the
book, he never compromised ethical principals and professional dignity,
regarding loyalties and appeasement of princes and nobles for the sake of
monetary gain and prestige. Instead, he continued helping the sick,and paid
much attention to caring for the poor and the commoner among his patients (21).
As a good practitioner in the Hippocratic tradition, Ibn Abd Rabbih
devoted a substantial part of his time to daily reading ofmedical books,vigilant
observation,and attending to pathological cases and experimentations in order
to up-gradehis professional performance.He confessed his worshipful devotion
to Allah without the urge to seek monetary gains at all cost,but rather to live for
good deeds in life and the hereafter (22).
Of his dukkan,two known copies were examined by the writer; one at the
Algerian National Library in Algiers,and the second,by far the better and more
accurate copy is found at the National Library in Damascus.It can be considered
as a formulary or a dispensatory of compounded medical dosage forms,which
Arab practitioners improvised and then perfected.
This book was dedicated to a virtuous, learned,friend-philanthropist.He,
and the author,both sought positive knowledge,truth and wisdom. Meanwhile,
Ibn AMRabbih responded to his friendsrequests by writing this manual, on
all aspects and modus operandi regarding pharmaceutical preparations. The
book covered the various dosage forms,types and techniques, as well as the
storage or dispensing of recipes, syrups, conserves (including jams and
marmalades), juices of fruits (robs), preserves, confections, tablets, and
powders; lotions,liniments,aromatic waters,perfumed medications, as well as
healing potions,draughts,and highly spiced cosmetics (23).

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2) Second,a manual on embryology,paediatrics and mother and child care
entitled Kitab Khalq al-Janin wa-tadbir al-habala wa-1-mawludin, was
completed also in Cordoba in 964. It was dedicated to Caliph Hakam 11, in
whose time cultural activities were highly patronized and encouraged.Its author
was a an able paediatrician, Arib b. Said al-Qurtabi,of whom very little is
known.Like Ibn Juljul,he possibly came from Spanish Christian ancestry.This
manual is considered the first of its kind,not only in ai-Andalus,but in Arabic
medical history. It contains objective and authentic information on the topic and
was edited in 1956 (24).
This compendium shows genuine and authentic interest in health care of
both mother and child. It discusses:the mystery ofcreation,times and duration,
conception of the embryo,whether the child is a girl or a boy,labour and birth,
nursing, the welfare of the new-born in body and soul, growth of the child,
teething,weaning and the safety of the mother.
O n visiting El-EscorialLibrary near Madrid during the summer of 1964,
this writer carefully examined Aribs above-mentioned valuable work.
Historically interesting,a chart or inscription was found,showing the times from
-
conception,embryo and foetus,to parturition a depiction that is most probably
the first known in Arabic medical annals (25).
3) Thirdly,the first medical encyclopaedia in al-Andalus,and one of the
most momentous and authentic at the time,was Kitab al-Tasrifli-manAjizaan
al-Talifcompletedby the end of the 10 century. It appeared at the political
capital of al-Andalus,al-Zahra. Here al-Zahrawi was apparently born about
939,lived,and practised the art. It also appears that he died about the time ofthe
Berber insurrection that sacked and destroyed this glorious and once celebrated
city,the Versaillesofthe Umayyads (26).
The author was the physician-pharmacist-surgeonal-Zahrawi (c. 939-
1013). His Kitab al-Tasrifispossibly the only literary contribution left by him.
Nonetheless, in its reliability at the time as a useful text, and the observations
contained, significant documentation,and its praiseworthy contributions and
objectivity to contemporary learning,made its author one of the immortals.It
covered all areas of medical knowledge with acceptable style, commendable
methodology, and reasonable approaches. His work was a milestone of
excellence,diligent endeavour and brilliant achievement.(27).
Al-Zahrawiwas first admired and praised in a short biographical note from
al-Humaydi(d. 1095), based on a notation recorded by the earlier historian and
faqih, the Wazir,Ibn Hazm (994-1064).They knew each other personally: al-

175
Zahrawi was then reaching the end of his life,and Ibn Hazm was a teenager or
young lad.The latter was quoted as saying,adrakna wa-shahadna,meaning that
al-Zahrawiwas in his old age,when they were acquainted (28).
The Kitab al-Tasrifwith its thirty comprised treatises was held in the
highest esteem in the field, and rightly so. In the introduction, the author
dedicated his life-longencyclopaedia to his dear students,whom he called my
children, in the Hippocratic tradition. It was addressed to them, whether
enrolled anew or under training,and to those who would follow in the same
steps,and read it after his death.
Al-Zahrawi considered Kitab al-Tasriftobe like a thesaurus,or a treasure
house,that brings out new and old memoranda.Its readers would also consult it
and benefit from its contents which covered every aspect of the healing arts
known at the time.It offered positive knowledge,and useful skills,to be applied
in daily practice.He considered such data oflasting value,more so than making
money or temporal gains. For to diffuse positive knowledge, will render
increasingly richer dividends, but money will be easily consumed, (al-ilm
yazku alaal-infaq,wal-malyanfadh) he wrote. It took al-Zahrawiover forty
years of hard and formidable work to complete the collection of data and
research on al-TasriJ:
Highlights of its contents in various topics follow:The chapters of the first
treatise were: general medical identification ofterms and classifications;causes,
procedures,anatomy and physiology;remedial agents and pathology;prognoses
and diagnoses and how the physician ought to take the time to counsel the
patient with compassion;getting to know each patients ailment;as well as the
patients general condition and personal history. Such information will assist the
healer to find the patients real needs,and to reach out to treat his ills,even the
unknown ones.The ultimate aim is to seek,secure,and accomplish healing and
well-being in as much as possible,with the best outcome (30).
Within a section of the second treatise of Kitab al-TasriJ;the author
develops an illuminating educational programme for body and soul.It is based
on good learning,moral ethics, and natural inherent and/or acquired customs.
For habit on the one side and nature on the other,are the two sides of the coin.
They can work together to build up an individual when harmony reigns, and
destroy or tear him down when disharmony results.Both play an important role
in making a child what he will become,when he grows to adulthood.
In the Book of Proverbs, 22:6,Train a child in the way he should go,and
when he is old, he will not depart from it, is an expression of this principle.

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Therefore, saneeducation has its place in bringing up a child.If he acquires
wholesome manners,he will grow into a mature person with good behaviour and
morals. If not he turns to wickedness,evil, and dishonest ways which lead to
crime and bad conduct.
As to school curricula, al-Zahrawi suggests that the child begin his
schooling at six years of age. He should be brought to a virtuous tutor,religious
and a man of good reputation.The child first takes the basic courses: Arabic
language and syntax, religious training emphasizing worship, prayers and
reading the Holy Book. Then he continues with exposure to literature,
mathematics, algebra, music and astronomy. Next, he will turn either to
vocational training,or he may chose$@ and Muslim jurisprudence for religious
posts,or the sciences,including the medical professions.Training to enroll for a
medical career,the student begins at about 14 to 15 years of age and continues
for a decade. Consequently, the Greek and even more, the Arab educators
presented a fair and adequate system based on what seemed useful from
experimentation which took hundreds of years in medieval times.
Now, let us consider the educator himself. According to al-Zahrawis
recommendation,the educator should give ample opportunities for the child, or
young person, to choose the topics he is naturally inclined towards. However,
through enlightened counselling,the instructorcan wisely guide the studenttowards
the right decision. If this decision is based on what the student likes,he should be
encouraged further, since these fields or associated topics will be found easier to
grasp and follow.Again through continuing guidance,the student w ill master the
field of study and surpass his peers but if the student dislikes the topic,he must
discontinue it and refrain from going into it any further.Basically,this principle was
insisted upon by al-Zahrawiand his contemporary physicians in al-Andalus,as was
the case under the Abbasid rule in the East.After a millennium has passed,we can
see that what the Greek and Arab educators explored and adopted,should not be
disregarded in our time by planners and experts in public education (32).
Other areas of al-ZahrawisKitab al-TasriJ;should also be touched upon.
Among them is the importance of the ingenuity and useful information about
unadulterated drugs,pharmaceutical preparations,techniques,as well as dosage
forms,similar to those mentioned earlier by Ibn AbdRabbih,and the medicinal
recipes that the author composed personally or tried and found most applicable
in certain cases. He then emphasized the need for better cosmetic preparations
and treatments for skin; face,hair,and general physical appearance.Further,the
author recommended balanced diets,for the bodys nutritional needs for young
and old,and in sickness or in health (33).

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Treatise Twenty-eightofKitab al-Tasrifwasknown and greatly appreciated
in Europe under the Latin title,Liber Sewitoris.It deals with the preparation and
amelioration of products,as well as extracts and manufacturing processes from
the three natural kingdoms, used as agents in drug or diet forms, for curing
human ills.Methods employed were of natural physical or chemical properties,
as the extracting of parts of plants: roses, roots or fruits, or the chemical
reactions to produce salts and other chemical compounds.Also included are
pharmaceutical techniques such as moulds for making tablets, lozenges, or
filters to strain or clarifL extracts and syrups derived from expressed juices of
botanical products (34).
Of historical interest also is the 29thtreatise: on synonyms of drugs, in
several languages: Arabic, Greek, Syriac, Latin and Spanish, arranged in
alphabetical order: identification of medical tools and appliances,for teaching
purposes,or practical usages,substitutes ofdrugs,ifthe required substances are
sought at the time and cannot be found,either because domestic samples are
temporarily unavailable in certain seasons, or the sources and origins are of
foreign habitat, thus matching the right dosage or equivalence with the
substitutes. It also elaborated ages of simple and compounded remedial agents
still in use before the time expires and weights and measures (in liquid or solid
states) used and known in the literature, and market places in the various
localities. Comparisons are made, for example, between weights of olive oil,
syrup and honey,and the proportions in each case (35).
Finally,we conclude by discussing the 30th treatise of Kitab al-TasriJ;on
surgery,its applications,and manipulations.The text here is thoroughly illustrated
forteaching purposes,and with descriptionoffamiliar tools.Other instrumentsare
depicted possibly for the first time in the history of surgery,making this a unique
contribution,surpassing any in the Middle Ages,East or West (36).
Unfortunately,general surgery during al-Zahrawistime,and for that matter,
all other countries,and throughout the entire period ofthe Arab-MuslimGolden
Age,was rarely practised in academic circles. This was due to the difficulty of
the speciality,and because the skill and know-howof true surgeons were rare.
There was ignorance of human anatomy and physiology, and the means of
performing such operations were very limited.The artwas seldom taken into
consideration by physicians and therapists.It was thus open to charlatans,quack
osteopaths,bone-setters,bleeders or phlebotomists, and impostors.
The author,therefore,introduced the 30th treatise by explaining the hard
work he went through in preparing and completing the 29 earlier treatises.He

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now focused his attention in writing on surgery. He thought it was a field
completely neglected, almost to extinction by practitioners and hardly taken
seriously by medical students.What remained,in ancient and classical records,
were writings from the Greek legacy.Al-Zahrawisintention,therefore,was to
devote himselfto the task,considering himself under obligation to give thisart
a new life (37).
The author then remarked that, in his time there were no sincere efforts to
revive an art so difficult to handle. H e urged that any student who wishes to
enroll in it, must diligently study human anatomy and physiology.He has to be
able to dissect,and to know the functions of organs in the body: their shape,
usage, temperament,ligaments, tendons and the connections of blood vessels
(arteries and veins). It was quoted of Hippocrates that,Physicians by name are
numerous,but in fact they are very few.
Al-Zahrawilamented the fact that errors by the ignorant so-calledhealers,
do actually kill people by their ignorance in committing so many mistakes.He
reported experiences of what they had done, and he knew of them through his
practice. He reiterated that they claim acquaintance with the field,without really
knowing the subject.They are without vision,or appreciation of what they are
doing. They pretend and make believe,when they are counterfeiters,seeking
only monetary gains. The examples are numerous of such impostors, acting in
servile flattery,and in courts of princes,leaders and the nobility.
Although the author encouraged and upheld the study of surgery
academically, he warned against people whose behaviour and motives were
improper,erroneous and misleading.Therefore,he insisted that if one intends to
take up this profession,one has to act always in the right manner that leads to
safety.One should never lose sight of the fact as he enters this noble calling,to
uphold its ethical high standards,and in accordance with rational conduct and
rules aiming to help and heal the sick (38), and to present the field of surgery the
author divided the treatise into three sections:
1 - O n cauterization and the tools and techniques used in it, regarding
procedures,time of operations,pathological cases and treatment.All procedures
have to be done objectively and not at random.
2 - O n surgical manipulations,with profusely illustrated instruments,some
for teaching purposes, and others as improvised equipment for practical
applications.Many of these have been delineated,and vividly portrayed for the
first time in history. The manipulations and techniques include the following
processes and mechanisms: incision,lancing by ripping open of abscesses and

179
the like;blood-letting,wet and dry cupping;simple surgery,extracting of arrows
fiom injured bodily organs,and paying meticulous attention to professional rules
and regulations.
3 - On bone-setting, dislocation, bruises or contusions, disjoining,
rehabilitation,resuscitation and reinstating of injured or broken bones,and the
use of medical dressings and bandages (39).
Interspersed throughout this thirtieth treatise, as in other Tasriftreatises,
the author demonstrated several original contributions credited to operative
surgery,personal observations and case histories. Important among these are
the following: cleaning of teeth, and tying gold threads to bridge the gaps
between them, improvising a tonsil guillotine, and trocar (mibzal) for
paracentesis (bazl); newly invented scissors, and probe syringes; lithotrite
(mufattit al-hasa7, and vaginal speculum (minzar); specially designed
obstetric forceps; animal guts for thread suturing instead of silk or wool;
thrombophlebitis migrans (iltihab al-warid al-khuharial-hajir);reductions of
dislocations of limbs and displaced fracture ends; and plaster casts like the
ones called in modern times plasterof Paris(40).
In brief,we have seen a towering figure among others in al-Andalushistory.
This justifies a detailed narration of his outstanding contributions in medicine,
pharmacy and surgery.Although a Muslim by faith,yet he embraced in his
unprejudiced and unbiased attitude the good-will,unselfishness, harmony and
comradeship that characterized the era and the goodearthhe lived in,and the
neighbourly communities he sincerely served (41).

-
2 The Aftermath and the Petty Dpnasties
In the history of a great nation, there is always a small beginning, an
ascendance to power and glory,depending on its citizens and what and how they
plan and accomplish their goals,followed by a period of decline.In al-Andalus,
there is no doubt that its brightest epoch under the aegis of Islam was the lothto
12thcenturies.Yet despite the glorious days,there were dark spots as well (42).
One of those gloomy days was the dismembering and dismantling of the
Umayyad Caliphate and the uprooting ofits foundations - such as the destruction
ofal-Zahra.However,from the ashes rose the petty dynasties (Spanish, ta gas,
or the petty dynasty kings,muluk al-tawa13alive
, and strong occasionally,but
continually disunited and divided until the paradise (al-Firdaws al-Mafqud)
eventually was lost in 1492 (43).

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In the aftermath,however,cultural activities continued with a minimum of
interruption,until the last decade of the llth century. This writer examined a
number ofthese medical manuscripts,representingthe harvest ofthis period.In
reviewing some oftheir contentswith this in mind one can reflect objectively on
the kind of efforts made, and the services offered in health care to promote
global civilization.They and their authors,related to the three above-mentioned
religious communities are discussed briefly.
W e can first mention al-Karmaniof Cordoba. Like others before him who
travelled to the East,he settled in Haran (ancient Charran on the shore of one of
the branches of the Euphrates River,north-eastof Syria). He received excellent
training in the two fields of engineering and medicine (44).
O n his return,he brought with him to al-Andalus,the Rasa il Ikhwan al-
Safa , an encyclopaedia of religion,natural history and the occult. H e finally
settled down near the city of Saragossa,living in a house near the rivers shore.
In both his career as an engineer and in the practice of the healing arts, he
surpassed his peers. His medical treatment, in particular, earned him a good
reputation as a successful practitioner.He also carried out surgicalmanipulation
skilfully: cauterization, cutting and incisions, opening or lancing abscesses,
along with phlebotomy and tonsillectomy or osteotomy operations,until his
death at an old age in 458H/1066 AD. Commendable testimony of his
outstanding activities and erudition was reported by his acquaintance and Jewish
friend,Abu-l-Fad1Hasday b. Yusuf b. al-Israili- a grandson of the above-
mentioned Hasday b.Shaprut,minister to the Caliph Abdal-Rahman111 around
the middle of the loth century (45).
Another teacher in the health field was the physician (al-mutatabbib)Abu
Maslama Ibn al-Saffar(46).
Abu Marwan Abd al-MalikIbn Zuhr,a scion of the renowned family of
Banu Zuhr.He travelled to the East and then returned first to Denia,but finally
settled at Seville,where he became eminent in learning,wisdom,and in prestige
as well,and while his fame continued to spread,it is reported that his wealth also
increased until his death in 469W1077AD. Like the ancient sages and
philosophers, Ibn Zuhr paid much attention to morality, practical, ethical
conduct,manners and civility in daily living (47).
Another contemporary was the renowned physician-mathematician,Abu
JaafAhmad b. Manih of Toledo (d. 1063). His name is mentioned here also,
because ofthe fact that he was actually the associate and teacher of the brilliant
and witty historian-judge,Ibn Said al-Andalusi(1029-1070).Although he died

181
relatively young, Said was the author of eight books, among them his
autobiographical Classification of Nations, Tabaqat al-umam,considered an
important reference,repeatedly consulted in this survey (48).
Still another native ofToledo was Abu UthmanSaidb. al-Bagunish(ca.980-
1053), who travelled to Cordoba seeking better education and training.He studied
under the above-mentionedAbu-1-QasimMaslama b.Ahmad in mathematics, and
with Muhammad.b. Abdun,Ibn Juljul and others in medicine (49).
He thereafter returned to his home town of Toledo.Soon he was appointed
a court physician to Prince Ismailb. Abdal-Rahmanb.Abu al-Nun,from an
ancient Berber tribal family who ruled the city,despite wars and conflicts,from
1032 to 1085. At the same period, Said al-Andalusi held the office of qadi
(judge of Toledo), serving Ibn Dhu al-Nunsadministration, distinguishing
himself as an historian,mathematician and astronomical observer (50).
Ibn al-Bagunishwas highly respected by the victorious prince,Ismail,and
became for a while his counsellor for state affairs.He also had many students to
attend his lectures,among whom was the physician-philosopherAbu-1-HasanAbd
al-Rahmanb. Asakir.He then retired for good to devote himself to worship,
philanthropicdeeds and professionalachievement.From the name,one can assume
that his ancestors were Spanish Christians,who were converted to Islam (5 1).
Judge Said, an acquaintance or even a good friend of I. Bagunish,
commended him very highly: as an upright man who possessed dignity,wide
experience and profound understanding, unaffected by the evil, and the
wickedness in this world. He was generally dressed in clean apparel,and had a
sincere heart and honest motives in serving humanity in this noble calling.After
reading extensively of the classical writings of Galen (Jalinus, 130-201)and
others,he diligently attempted to classifl and revise them.Until his old age,he
corrected what needed amending to employ such data in medical practice, in
order to help and heal the sick (52).
Another physician, who is also considered one of the most illustrious
figures at this time,was Ibn Wafid (998-1068).His family was considered
among the nobility in Toledo,and he himself was a scion of highly regarded
ancestry.He paid special attention to the ancient Greek legacy in regard to the
healing arts, gaining proficiency,through acquaintance and precision in the
knowledge of drugs. He then spent twenty years in extensive research and
hard work in classifying,categorizing,and arranging these natural remedial
agents (53).

182
He further composed a monumental compendium on Materia Medica, that
surpassed all others of its kind in his time. He described properties,
nomenclatures,potency,degrees,and qualities,emphasizing first the importance
of diet for nutrition and health,then the simple drugs.H e did not recommend
many compounded medications,unless there were urgent needs for their usage.
In his work he quoted Dioscorides and Galen profusely, and reported many
anecdotes regarding healing cases of chronic and almost incurable diseases,
which he treated successfully (54).
He was also author ofthe following:Al-Dhakhirah,a thesaurus on medicine
and therapeutics;Al-Mujarrabat,essays ofpathological cases;Tadqiq al-Nazar,
on eye diseases and treatment;Kitab al-Ghawth,a book on familiar and tried
medical treatments and AZ-Wisad,a compendium on therapeutics and medical
recipes (55).
Despite the continuity of cultural activities, al-Andaluswas experiencing
times of wars and armed conflicts,strife and contention.Dynasties arose,while
others fell, and some in one generation or so, simultaneously,but generally
speaking,the Catholic religion united Spaniards and became stronger,while the
divided Muslims grew weaker and weaker.However,the atmosphere and social
conditions regarding the three communities were characterized with continuing
co-operationand harmony. Most ofthe teams of learned men and professionals
in the health and related fields worked together and lived in an orderly and a
friendly fashion.The majority from the beginning adhered to the Muslim faith,
and a minority were Muslims of Christian ancestry.
Of colleagues from the Jewish religion and belief,we already discussed the
contributions of Hasday b. Shapmt,a skillful physician,theologian,statesman,
minister and co-ordinatorunder Caliph Abdal-RahmanI11 (d.961). He led the
Jewish community in al-Andalus to revise their religious doctrines, worship
ordinances,as well as their ceremonial,chronological and judicial systems (56).
His son, Abu-1 Fad1 Yusuf, and grandson Abu al-Fad1 Hasday al-Israili,
who was a friend to Judge Said al-Andalusi,became renowned in medicine and
natural history and theology.
During the first half of the 1 lth century,Menahim b. al-Fawwal,who lived
in Saragossa,excelled in the knowledge oflogical proceedings,and in medicine.
His countryman and colleague,Marwan b.Janah,a physician-therapist,wrote a
book on Materia Medica: emphasizing dosages,weights and measures in the
dispensing of pharmaceutical prescriptions. He was also a linguist with
knowledge ofArabic and Hebrew syntaxes (57).

183
His contemporary,Ishaq b. Qastar, was actually a physician-logician and
administrator in Cordoba. He served in the city of Denia at the court of King
Mujahid b.Yusuf,and his son AliIqbal al-Dawla(reigned 1017 to 1075) (58).
However, the Jewish rabbi, statesman-administratorwas the vizier, Abu
Ibrahim b. Ismailb.Yusuf b. al-Gazal,known also as Ibn Nagzalah (1056).He
served in Granada under the victorious prince,Badis b. Hafsun b. Zawi of the
Ziri Berber tribe that ruled the city (1012-1090),but were overthrown by the
al-Murabitun (Almoravids). Through the authority given to him by Prince
Badis,he exercised virtually supreme power and authority in the province,and
allowed multinational freedom and equality for worship. He thus became a
leader of his people,in all matters related to their religious activities and legal
functions as no other did before him in the city during this period (59).

-
3 The Almoravids
This was a dynasty which originated by North African Muslim Berber
tribes.They constituted a religious military brotherhood,from the Sanhajasand
other nomadic tribes,many ofwhom are still present today in the Saharanregion
of Africa. In the llth century, these pious believers lived, worshipped and
practiced their activities within fortified monastic-type or claustra1 centres,
called ribat,hence known as al-Murabitun (Almoravids)(60).
The true founder of the dynasty was Yusuf b. Tashufin,who conquered all
of Morocco, and established Marrakesh as his capital. He then entered al-
Andalus,and was able to subjugate most ofthe cities in Southern Spain such as
Cordoba, Malaga, and Granada with Seville as the subsidiary capital. He also
took for himselfthe title ofAmir al-Muslimin,that is the Prince ofthe Muslims,
reserving for himself and his successors,all the dynastys(1 090-1147)temporal
powers until its fall (61).
The brotherhood followers, being fanatic zealots, persecuted minorities
including Christians and Jews, and even moderates and free thinkers among
those of the Muslim faith-who resented their bigotry and diverse prejudices.
Indiscriminately, they destroyed and burned books and manuscripts of
philosophy,history,logic and other cultural and scientific works,and oppressed
their authors.All men of good will and sages suffered,including physicians,
philosophers,astrologers and those in related professions (62).
Despite all these setbacks,the healing arts continued to function with little
hindrance. For example,the physician-therapist,Yunus b. Ishaq Buklarish al-
Israilinever gave up. He became acquainted with Prince al-MustainAhmad

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b.Hud,the ruler of Saragossa,(1085-1109),and soon became his court physician
and advisor. His only known medical manual, Kitab al-Mustahi, on therapy
and the effects of drugs,was completed in 1106,and was named af3er the patron
and dedicated to his library (63).
In its introduction,Buklarish gave credit to physicians who came before him,
and then he added his own data and observations. He also praised Prince al-
Mustain for his encouragement and support of learning.He attempted to gather
needed information on therapy,expounding and evaluating its contents in a table
form or diagram:the name ofthe drug in different languages;its temperamentand
quality;substitutions,usagesand dosages;treatment and potency;taste, smell and
colours;with a concise description of each important remedial agent (64).
At this time,the physician-musician-poet,Abdal-Azizb.Abi Salt who was
author ofmany works on medicine appeared.He was born in 460H/1068AD,in the
al-Andaluscity ofDenia.About 1096,he travelled by seato Egypt,arriving first in
Alexandria and much later in Cairo. In Alexandria, he had many trials and
disappointmentsas well as imprisonment.He finally recovered about 1 117,during
the reign of the Fatimid Caliph al-Amir(1101-1130) and his trusted minister, al-
Afdal b.Amir al-Juyush(whose ancestors were Armenian Christians) (65).
From Cairo,he decided to return to al-Andalus,but stayed at al-Mahdiya,
former capital of the Fatimids on the Tunisian coast, 16 miles south-eastof al-
Kairawan.He never returned home,for he died there in 529Wl134AD,and was
buried in al-Munistir,near an area where the physician,Ibn alJazzar lived and
practised his art,about 150 years earlier (66).
A younger contemporary and countryman was the physician philosopher-
astronomer,Ibn Bajja (Latin,Avempace), who was the author of many books
including works on medicine. Like many, he travelled from al-Andalus,but in
this case only to Morocco. Hoping for success, he met with much
disappointment and persecution,especially regarding his philosophical beliefs.
In this disillusionment,he joined his student,Ibn Rushd .Further,Ibn Bajja died
of poison in 1138 (67).
It should be noted here that events and circumstances changed dramatically
under the Almoravidsrule. The socio-politicalatmosphere had been poisoned
with hatred,bias and dissensions between the state officials and the military on
the one hand,and the academic circles on the other.Ibn Abial-Saktmtherefore,
was reluctant to return to al-Andalus,despite much hardship and finally never
returned.Likewise,Ibn Bajja and others met trials and adversities and eventually
faced violent death.

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4 The Almohad Dvnasty and the Aftermath
The Almoravids were overpowered and overthrown by the Almohads, a
similarpolitico-religiousmilitary party,ending their regime.The founderwas a
nomadic Berber leader,Ibn Tumart al-Mahdi(ca. 1078-1 130), who assumed the
title of al-Mahdi.His movement represented a protest against corruption and
deviations. The idea was basically to purify the religion from any error, and
interject a return to original orthodoxy in Islam preaching al-Tawhid,the unity
of God,hence called al-Muwahhidun (68).
Al-Mahdiwas succeeded by his friend and army general,Abdal-Mumin
b. Aliof the Zanata tribe. He led his army to the conquest of all North Africa,
from Morocco to Libya. By 1090,he had also conquered all of Muslim Spain,
with Seville as the al-Andaluscapital.The Almohads thus became an important
world power, and one of the greatest at the time. During the reign of the
grandson, Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur (1 184-1 199), whose mother was a
Christian,the dynasty reached its highest and climactic prestige. Nevertheless,
persecutions and mistreatment of learned men never subsided (69).
Only a few leading figures will be mentioned here, and then it will be
reiterated how Europe and the world in general benefited from al-Andalus
medicine, teaching curricula, therapy, astrology and their impact on the
international interdisciplinary process,co-operationand peace.
For example, in ophthalmology,the 12thcentury oculist, Muhammad b.
Qassum b. Aslam al-Ghafiqi,appeared, the author of al-Mushid Ji-1-kuhl,
dedicated to his students,in six treatises: a general identification of the healing
arts,anatomy and physiology,on public health,on eye anatomy,pathology and
the required treatments of medicinal forms. Here for instance, he defined
chemosis (wardinaj) as excessive oedema of the ocular conjunctiva (al-
multahima), that is a fleshy growth inside the eye-lid.Al-Ghafiqiseems to have
treated it surgically on many patients and often with excellent results (70).
His contemporary countryman was also called al-Ghafiqi,Abu Jafar
Ahmad b. M.b. al-Sayyidal-Ghafiqi(d. 560/1165),a physician-botanistand the
author of a manual Kitab al-jami on Materia Medica. It was considered one of
the most reliable of its kind in its data,and was quoted by later authors (71).
About eight decades later,we witnessed the importance ofGhafiqisMateria
Medica. This took place with the appearance of the al-Andalusbotanist, Ibn al-
Baytar,who quoted the former manual extensively.Ibn al-Baytar,who was born
and lived in Malaga,left al-Andalusto explore and discover.He desired to know

186
all that he could find out about medicinal plants, and the natural substances and
ingredients derived from them for cures.He took his trip from Morocco in North
Africa,to Egypt and Syria.In the areas he visited,he observed and studied natural
products throughout the seasons. With so much experience, he was appointed
chiefherbalist by the Ayyubid King al-Kamil(reigned 1218-1238)(72).
Ibn Abi Usaybia,who met him personally in Damascus (633/1235)tells of
his impression. He found Ibn al-Baytar an expert in his field, friendly,very
generous,of high noble character,and an honour to know.Listening to him as a
student, Ibn Abi Usaybia derived much benefit from his lectures, and from
accompanying him to examine plants in many gardens in and around Damascus,
describing the findings in detail (73).
All this information is found in Ibn al-BaytarsKitab al-Jarnion simple
drugs and diets - one ofthe most comprehensive and highly reputed manuals of
its kind from Dioscorides in the 1st century to the 16thcentury European
Renaissance.It is methodical,critical,and contains many personal observations.
Further,Ibn al-Baytarwas the author ofother works oftherapeuticsand he never
returned to al-Andalus,for he died suddenly and was buried in Damascus in
November 1248 (74).

-
5 Banu Familv and their Students
The name, Ibn Zuhr (Latin Avenzoar) is no longer a reference to one
physician,but rather the name applied to a family ofphysicians and learned men
and women (including the fields ofmedicine,public health,nursing,therapy and
medical astrology). Many historians and archivists chronicled their
achievements for almost three centuries,generation after generation.
The Banu Zuhr originated in the Arabian Peninsula and some of them
migrated with the Arab army to al-Andalus.W e know that the ancestors resided
during the lothcentury in Jativa,south ofValencia;the first to excel in medicine
was Abu Marwan.To obtain training in the field,he sejourned in Kairawan,Cairo
and other cities.On his return,he lived in Denia,and served at the court ofprince
Mujahid b. Yusuf (1017-1044).His fame spread as a competent physician, and
continued when he lived later in Seville,until his death in 1077 (75).
The second important physician was Abu-l-AlaZuhr b. Abi Marwan
-
Abdal-Malikb. Muhammad b. Marwan b. Zuhr an intelligent,diligent and
dedicated healer,who became highly reputed even after the Almoravids made
his home town, Seville,their al-Andaluscapital. He was the author of many
books,and died in 1131 (76).

187
The most illustrious among the Banu Zuhr was Abu Marwan I1 Abd al-
Malik known as Avenzoar,(1 091- l 162). He was first educated and academically
trained in the healing arts under the tutorship of his father and other physicians
at Seville.Despite his great learning,events ran contrary to his expectations.He
travelled to Morocco, expecting better opportunities. Instead, the Almoravid
King and officials persecuted him,and put him in jail because ofhis beliefs and
philosophical tendencies. He miraculously escaped, and returned to his home
town in al-Andalus(77).
Revolutionary movements occurred,with the rise,invasion and conquest of
the Almohads of all of North Africa, and the Muslim part of Andalus. The
Almohads replaced the rule of the Almoravids. Siding with the Almohads,Ibn
Zuhr was soon promoted to the rank ofa court physician,as well as minister and
advisor to the Caliph Abdal-Mumin(d. 1163). Also,his sister and niece were
both academically trained as nurse-midwives,and served the profession with
distinction,caring for the health and safety of both members ofthe royal family
and the citizenry (78).
The best-knownwork by Ibn Zuhr was his Kitab al-taysirJi-l-mudawa wa-
1-tadbir,in two parts with a compendium. The first part is on public health,
pathology,clinical medicine and the treatment of ailments from the head to the
chest.The second part is on the abdomen and the digestive system,skin diseases
and general diseases and fevers and epidemics.The third part,al-jami,contains
collections of diet and compounded remedial agents, pharmaceutical recipes,
various dosage forms and preparation and therapeutics. Ibn Zuhr in Kitab al-
taysir was praised by the authors confidant,student and associate,Ibn Rushd
(1 126-1198). Interestingly,they collaborated together: Ibn Zuhr in writing al-
Kitab al-taysir,on special pathology of the bodys organs, while Ibn Rushd
composed Kitab al-KulliyatJi-l-tibb, on medical generalities, categories and
definitions (79).
Many manuscripts had been copied and spread of Ibn Zuhrs Kitab al-
Taysir, after its publication, among healers throughout al-Andalus. Soon
thereafter, it was translated into Hebrew and Latin versions. Several copies
appeared during the European Renaissance period. Ibn Zuhrs literary
contributions were highly praised in the universal medical circles, East and
West, which considered him a distinguished, widely experienced therapist,
skilled in clinical medicine (80).

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6 Astrolow and Arabic Medicine
In Ibn Zuhrswriting,one traces his genuine interest in medical astrology -
a field that was significantly promoted by several eminent Arab physicians and
natural scientists. Ibn Zuhr followed rational approaches and methodical
procedures.To review,explain and evaluate such developments and procedures
in Islam,here is a brief historical introduction to this pseudo-science.
Astrology was among the very ancient,popular skills and careers.It soon
became considered thequeen of the sciences.Most probably, it flourished in
Mesopotamia as a royalscience,or occultand it soon spread in courts and
countries around the world: China,India,Persia,the Greco-Romanand Muslim
civilizations,Byzantium,Europe and the N e w World (81).
It was the dry climate,and the cloudless,starry skies in Mesopotamia that
favoured the development of astrology.It is mainly a discipline centred on the
relationshipbetween the seven planets,and the twelve signs ofthe Zodiac on the
one hand,and the human body, its characteristics,temperaments,environment,
and influences on health and sickness on the other. From the 2nd and 3rd
millennia B.C., numerous cuneiform clay tablets were unearthed and studied.
They were related to astrological predictions, interpretations and foretelling.
There were also many attempts to correlate astrology with the findings of
psychology (82).
O n certain levels, in addition, astrology was classified as follows: first,
natural astrology,related to the foretelling ofthe motion ofthe heavenly bodies;
or second,judicial,that interprets these motions as earthly,belonging to our
planet in terms of environment and life as a whole.
In methodology and teaching procedures, it tells of the numbers,
directions and appearances ofthe planetsmovements.Moreover, it traces and
measures the powers, and influences of any particular star. It explains the
earths natural elements and phenomena as a whole, including minerals,
vapours, plants, animals, as well as regarding human health and welfare.
However,with the advancement of modern techno-scientificrevolutions and
progress, starting with the Renaissance,astrology became sterile and doomed
to failure. It died hard, although it still had many followers and devotees,
especially of the horoscope (83).
The first rational approach to medical astrology in Islam,however, was
about 803,in the Haruniyah Epistle,dedicated to Caliph Harun al-Rashid(786-
809)by the physician Ibn al-Hakamal-Dimashqi(84).

I89
In 850,also at the Abassid capital,Abu-1-HasanAlial-Tabaricompleted his
medical encyclopaedia, Firdaws al-Hikma (Paradise of Wisdom). Several
chapters in it were devoted to medical astrology,and its interpretation (85).
Further, Abu-1-Hasanb. Butlan (d. 1068), in his book Taqwin al-Sihha
(Latin,Tacuini or Tabula Santitatis), devoted a chapter to astronomerssayings.
He also correlated therapeutic tables with astrological interpretations,regarding
times and places wherein medications or surgery must be applied (86).
One of the most original medico-surgical compendiums,that emphasized
the importanceof astrology for healing,was al-KaJJ-1-Ebb,by Abu Nasr b. al-
AynZarbi (d. 548-1153),divided into three parts:
First: on medical generalities,public health and care of the body regarding
food and drink; clothing and abode, slumber and wakefulness, physical
exercises,pollution and environmentalhealth,and epidemiology.
Second: partial and general surgery from head to foot,diseases,their causes,
symptoms,diagnostics and treatments.
Third: a treatise on how a physician could learn from astrology. These are
matters related to the incidenceofhuman ills,and how they can be cured.The author
informed the practitionersto exercise how to predict,to deal with medical prognosis,
warning signs,time and methods ofoperating and the curing process (87).
These are the things that a doctor-astronomerought to learn,observe and be
trained in:the time,and the seasons ofthe year;the rising or appearances ofthe
stars and their setting down,directions and powers ofthe blowing ofthe winds,
peoples abode and the conditions of their dwelling places, the availability of
running drinkable water in them, and the kinds of drinking utensils, types of
soils and the sustenance and levels of residentslivelihood (88).
The author refers to the advances in astrology that were made in ancient
Mesopotamia and Egypt, where sorcery,as well as astrology, were practised
separately,or together by the same person and at the same time.Then came the
Greeks,followed by the Romans.
When the Arab-Muslim civilization flourished,many ofthe practising doctors
believed in astrology,followed certain curricula,and applied it daily,while others
disregarded it, as being firtile,absurd and a folly.Nonetheless,Ibn AbiZarbi (then
in Cairo under the Fatimids), as well as his contemporary Ibn Zuhr in al-Andalus,
were in two very importantbranches ofthe healing arts, namely:medical astrology,
including surgical manipulations and clinical-therapeutic practice. In these

190
disciplines,the two above-mentionedphysicians were very distinguished in their
time,followed by some oftheir studentswho later became illustriousas well (89).

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7 Ibn Rushd. Maimonides and the Aftermath
W e conclude with brief discussions concerningthe cultural contributions of
Ibn Rushd,and MaYmonides,and the generation of students who followed them
during the 13 century.
Ibn Rushd (1126-1198)was born and reared in Cordoba,and studied under
praiseworthy tutors in medicine, philosophy-logic,jurisprudence and related
disciplines. In addition,he was a close friend to the aforementioned Ibn Zuhr.
The latter published his Kitab al-taysirJi-1-mudawawa-1-tadbiron pathology
and therapeutics with Ibn Rushds compliments and approval,as mentioned in
his Kitab al-KulliyatJi-1-Tibb(90).
Ibn Rushdsother senior colleague,Ibn Tufayl(1100-1185) helped to introduce
him to the Ahnoravid Caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf in Cordoba, 1182. On this
recommendation,the Caliph appointed Ibn Rushd as the Superior Judge of the city.
The Caliphs son, Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansurshortly promoted Ibn Rushd still
firther,but a rumoured intrigue by ajealousfoe turned the Caliph against Ibn Rushd.
Hetook away all the privilegesIbnRushd enjoyed,tortured him, and confined his stay
to a smalltown,Lucena,near Cordoba.The intrigues enlarged to include not only Ibn
Rushd but other learned scholars,who were charged with treasonous acts concerning
theirphilosophical,heretical and unorthodox writings and behaviour.IbnRushd was
released and pardoned only a shorttime before his death in the city ofMarrakesh(91).
Despite the heartache and disappointment,one can still see here and explain
the good relations and satisfactory interaction as well as the excellentco-operation
between Ibn Tufayl and Ibn Rushd,on the one hand,and the ruling monarch,on
the other. Ibn Tufayl, being the elder and more patient, first recommended Ibn
Rushd to the Caliph and insisted that he not only take his place at the palace but
receive promotion and greater prestige than ever before at the Imperial Court.
As a prolific author,he is considered the interpreterofAristotle, in writing
many commentaries on the First Master. He also commented on the writings
of Galen: the Elements, the Temperaments,Diseases and Symptoms, and The
Fevers. He interpreted Ibn Sinas Urjuzah (the Cantica),on medicine,and he is
the one who said that whoever studieshuman anatomy,will eventually increase
faith in Allah. Yes,indeed,he finds that God is Almighty,wise and so great in
creating man in His image,after His likeness(92).

191
A contemporary,and a fellow Cordoban,to Ibn Rushd was Malmonides,
(1 139-1204). In studying medicine, philosophy and jurisprudence, the latter
considers both Ibn Rushd and Ibn Tufayl as his teachers (93).
At that time,however, the Almohad Caliph Abd al-Mumin(d. 1163),
began to harass and persecute the Jews and Christians throughout his domain.
Fearing for his life,as many others of like faiths,he converted to Islam,but he
soon escaped from al-Andalus,and shortly arrived at al-Fustat,old Cairo in
Egypt,returning to the Jewish faith as he was before,
He there first joined a Talmudic school, to instruct his people in the
doctrines and teachings ofthe Hebrew religion.Becoming known shortly for his
great learning in medicine,he was welcomed with open arms at the Ayyubids
palace.H e became court physician to Salah al-Din(Saladin,reigned 1169-93),
his son, al-Afdad Aliand his brother, al-Aziz(1193-98)(94). In their
company,he travelled in Egypt,Syria and Palestine and was the author ofmany
books on medicine,therapeutics and Judaic theology,many ofwhich have been
edited,interpreted and evaluated in numerous languages (95).
His son,Abu-1-MunaIbrahim b. Maymun, lived in Cairo. He learned his
fathers profession, and practised medicine with distinction. He treated his
patients in his clinic, and at the Nasri hospital (al-Salahibimasistan) in the
Egyptian capital until his death shortly after 1237 (96).
Cultural activitiesin medicine,and related sciencesin 1 3thcenturyAndalus,did
not match previous centuriesin their lustre.Yet many practitioners diligently worked
to keep the torch oflearning shining.Among them were students to the 12 century
illustrious physicians mentioned above,such as Ibn Bajja, Ibn Tufayl,Banu Zuhr,
Ibn Rushd.Here is a list of a few ofthem:Abd Allah b.Abu-1-Walid,the son ofIbn
Rushd,who held the position ofa court physicianto theAlmohad Caliph al-Nasir(d.
1214);Abu-1-HajajYusufb. Muratir of Seville and his four contemporaries:Abu-l-
Hakam b. Ghalando,Abu Muhammad al-Shudhuni,Abu AbdAllah b. Sahnun al-
Nadnuni, and al-Rumiyah(most of them were probably of Christian ancestry and
flourished around the first quarter ofthe 13thcentury); Abd al-Aizizb.Maslama al-
Baji, a student to Abu-l-Husaynb. Ashdu called al-Masdum (d. 582/1191),who
became a leadingdistinguished al-Andalusphysician until his death before 1222 and
their contemporary Abu JafarAhmad. b. Sabiq,an apprenticeto Ibn Rushd (97).
This is a panoramic view of learned men in al-Andalusduring the Muslim
Golden Age, witnessing their interactions among the three communities of
Muslims, Christians and Jews in the medical professions. Documented
chronicles and concrete cases showed the progress fiom the Amirate to the

192
Caliphate period. These advances characterized the relationships among the
multicultural communities with team work and professionism offering a high
standard health care system in the al-Andalus society. It shows in addition,
uniform exchanges of information,collaboration side by side,for the welfare of
all denominations.The impact was strongly felt,in a climate of tolerance and
collegiate spirit.The factors that governed their co-operationwere varied: the
patronage ofthe ruling classes,the diligence and openness among professionals
and scholars, and the grassroots awakening throughout the land that made
advances in all walks of life very alluring and compelling (98).
Under the Almoravids and the Almohads however, things changed from
good to bad, and from bad to worse. The interdisciplinary interrelationships
were characterized by violence, disharmony and animosities. Bias, injustices
and prejudices poisoned the atmosphere among the communities, through
factors that contributed to their deterioration. Instead of trust among team
workers in the health fields, there was lack of trust: between doctors and
scientists,free thinkers and conformists and fanatic zealots and learned men with
unorthodox beliefs. Conflicts and persecutions became the norm (99).
Ibn Bassam al-Shantarini (d. 542/114;7), complimented the Jewish
minister-scribe (administrator) Abu-1-Fad1Hasday to Prince al-MustainI1 b.
Hud (1085-1109),as a physician of great learning in science, letters, and an
Arabic linguist as well.However,when young, although from a conservative
Jewish noble family,he fell in love with ajariyya (a maid). The choice was
limited.He was not able to marry her until he was converted to Islam,for her
sake.Nevertheless,he seems to have managed well,because no one among the
Muslim people recalled the incident and no bad feeling resulted (100).
Thereafter, things were not so positive. Great men were persecuted,
imprisoned,or exiled for what they stood for and believed in. Others, their
libraries and belongings were confiscated,burned or destroyed.What happened
to Banu Zuhr,Ibn Rushd and Ibn Qibla were good examples (101).Ibn Maymun
had to leave al-Andaluswhich he loved,not to western Europe as he could have
done,but to the East. Soon thereafter his star of fame shone brightly under the
Ayyubids,who bestowed on him prestige and recognition (102).
From biographies of illustrious and eminent doctors in al-Andalus,one can
appreciate their achievements internationally. These were beginnings that must
relate to present day conditions for universal law and prosperity.Past multicultural
communities in al-Andalus,can serve as a model for global civilized manners for
peace,co-existence,freedom and international co-operation.

193
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8 Contributions of Arabic Medical Sciences Internationallv
Cultural contributions to Arabic medical sciences did not occur in a
vacuum. In al-Andalus,these initiatives were never isolated cases, but since
ideas influence other regions,the above-mentionedtrends oftravelling scholars
from al-Andalus,helped the exchange of knowledge through visitors, students
and emissaries throughout the world.
There was also the example of the diffusion of knowledge among men,
through published works. Excellent individuals and teams of workers in all
fields of the health professions were diligently producing and assimulating data
for useful knowledge.Hundreds ofbooks were written and preserved in various
fields.They were translated into Hebrew,Latin and the vernacular, and their
publications were spread throughout Europe, from the 12thcentury on. The
impact was phenomenal,rewarding and wonderful.Arabic medicine and allied
scienceswere never as respected and appreciated as they were during this period
and justifiably so (103).
Al-Zahrawis Kitab al-Tawif is a good example. This encyclopaedia,
although only parts were rendered into Latin,was sufficient to stimulate much
attention and respect. It definitely influenced the history of surgery, medicine,
pharmaceutical technology and descriptive instrumentation, for teaching and
practical purposes.No single book influenced and revolutionized the art ofsurgery
fiom the llth century to the 14thas this work from the Arabic legacy (104).
Ibn ZuhrsKitab al-Taysiris another contribution,written at the request of
his friend and admirer Ibn Rushd,it was a counterpart to the Kitab al-Kulliyat
3-1-tibbIt. was translated into Hebrew more than once and several times in
Latin, and printed in about seven references.The author and his works were
greatly recognized and appreciated first in Europe,and then world-wide(1 05).
Ibn Rushd was banished to Lucena south ofCordoba,and most ofhis books
were burnt,but not his good reputation and influence on global civilization to
this date. He was and is still considered one of the greatest philosopher-
physicians, of the 12thcentury in al-Andalus.His philosophical commentaries,
and his medical writings had stirred the Muslim,Jewish and Christian worlds for
over three centuries,and a school ofthought or philosophicalsystem,Averroism,
was established after his name (1 06).
Unfortunately, in this century there is much indifference, and lack of
knowledge,concerning the great legacy of al-Andalusduring its Muslim Golden
Age. It is hoped that this survey will serve as an eye-opener.

194
Discussion Questions

I. Elaborate on the three trends that enabled medical and health


sciences to flourish. (voyages, patronage by the caliphs and
development of educationalinstitutions). Compare the role and status
of doctors and medicine in the medieval period in a/-Andaluswith
medical exchanges today.

2. Comment on the thirty treatises of a1 Zahrawis Kitab a1 Tasrif,


especially the relationship between the body and mind -the holistic
sciences and medicine and psychology and compare it to our times.
Note the word for doctor in Arabic, hakim, means doctor of the body
and mind.

3. Similarly, compare education today with a1 Zahrawis visionary


transdisciplinarymethodology on education of youth and the qualities
of a good teacher.Describe the relevancy of his concepts to todays
educationalpractices.

4.Locate some texts of the manuscripts of Dioscorides MateriaMedica


and comment on the pharmaceutical aspects at the time and today.

5. What influence did the writings of Ibn Rushd,philosopher,judge and


jurist have on general health and medical philosophical conditions ?
What impact did he have on the future of medicine?

6.How could the al-Andalusconcepts of a holistic approach to human


development and a1Zahrawiseducationalmethods be reflected today
in education in general,and in peace education and conflictresolution
skills?

195
It wasfrom the example of Toledo thatEurope
first learned to understand that learning has
no @ontiers )

- A.Tibi -

196
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12 The Influence of Al-Andalus on Western Culture

by
Amin Tibi

(Most of the other chapters have included the contributions of al-Andalus to


Western Culture,however this chapter is a brief overview of the subject)
The Muslim conquest ofthe Iberian Peninsula began in 71 1 AD and,in less
than five years,Muslims replaced the Visigoths in nearly the entire Peninsula
and crossed the Pyrenees into Gaul and established Narbonne as their base for
almost half a century.
Shortly after the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus at the hands of
the Abbasids in 750 AD,the young Umayyad Amir 'Abd al-Rahmanmanaged to
establish an independent amirate in Cordoba which lasted some three centuries.It
was succeeded by the tu '$a states in the eleventh century.In 1085 AD,Alfonso VI
of Castile and Leon took Toledo and,in response to appeals for help by the ta '$a
princes,the Almoravid Yusuf b. Tashufin of Morocco arrived in al-Andalusand
defeated Alfonso VI at the Battle of al-Zallaqa(Sacralias) in 1086. Fifty years
later,the Almoravids,who had annexed Spain to Morocco,were succeeded by the
Almohads who ruled North Africa and al-Andalusfor about a century.Following
the defeat of the Almohads at the hands of the Christian Kings of northern Spain
at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212,Muslim power in al-Andaluscollapsed and by the
middle of the 13th century only the small Kingdom of Granada remained in
Muslim hands until it was captured by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.
Islam thus lasted for some eight centuries in the Iberian Peninsula. Indeed,
it survived after the fall of Granada, represented by the Moriscos until 1610
when they were eventually expelled from the land.
I

Christiansunder Muslim rule in Spain were known as Mozarabs.They were


administered by their own comCs and had their own judge,qadi al-Ajam (judge
ofthe Christians) (1). The Mozarabs played a significant role in the transmission
of Muslim civilization to the Christian North. They served as a link between
Muslim and Christian Spain and often moved from Muslim territory to Christian
territory,thereby spreading Muslim culture in the North,especially through the
translation ofArabic books of learning.

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The Arab conquerors were welcomed by the Jews of Spain who had
suffered persecution at the hands of the Visigoths.They also regard their epoch
of history in Muslim Spain as a golden age. They enjoyed freedom of religion
and became wealthy through trade within al-Andalus and abroad. Like the
Mozarabs,the Jews served as intermediaries in transmitting aspects of Muslim
life and culture to the Christian North and played an active role in the translation
ofArabic works into Latin and Castilian,to the extent that the jurist faqih) Ibn
Abdun of Seville (early 12thcentury) called for a ban on buying books of
learning from Jews and Christiansunless these books dealt with their own faiths
since they translated books written by Muslims and attributed them to their own
people and clergymen(2).
Life in the Iberian Peninsula was enriched by the Arabs in the fields of
agriculture,industry,arts and architecture.In culture,too,the Arab heritage must
be regarded as ofgreat importance to Spain and indeed to all Western Europe(3).
Students in search of knowledge began to arrive in Spain from Western European
countries in order to learn Arabic and to translate Arabic works into Latin.It was
from the example of Toledo that Europe first learned to understand that learning
knows no frontiers.Arab influence can also be detected in the fields of science
and philosophy in Medieval Europe,as these scienceswere enriched by the Arabs
who preserved,and added to,the classical heritage (4).
In the following survey,an attempt will be made to give a general account
of the impact of al-Andalus on European civilization in the fields of
agriculture, industry, humanities, medicine, mathematics, astronomy and
nautical navigation.

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1 Amiculture
Following the Arab conquest, Syrian farming and irrigation techniques,as
well as Syrian plants and fruit trees were introduced into Spain.The two types
of norias in al-Andalus- those that were water powered and the norias that were
-
driven by animals originated in Syria.They were transmitted from al-Andalus
to Morocco and were acquired by the Christians of northern Spain through the
Mozarabs and after the Reconquista (5).
Crops introduced by the Arabs into Spain included rice, sugar-cane,cotton
and citrus trees. The Arabs probably introduced into Spain and Sicily a species
of hard wheat (triticum durum), the flour of which was known in al-Andalusas
darmak (adargama in Castilian). This type ofwheat withstood drought,was rich
in proteins and was suitable for storage.

j.

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In the llth century,Ibn Bassal compiled for the Prince of Toledo a treatise
on farming,based on his own experience,which was translated into Castilian in
the 15thcentury.Towards the end of the 12thcentury,Ibn al-Awwamof Seville
wrote his book on farming based on classical and Andalusian sources as well as
on his own experience in the district ofAljarafe near Seville.
Muslims who remained in territories conquered by the Christians of
northern Spain since the 12th century were known as Mudejars. The new
Christian rulers,at least initially,were often keen on these Mudejars staying in
order to benefit from their farming skills.In Navarre,most ofthe Mudejars were
cultivators of irrigated land. In the 14thcentury, a Muslim was appointed by
royal decree as fruiterer to the queen (6).
When James I of Aragon conquered Valencia in 1238, he ordered that
Muslim administrative skills be made use of in sorting out land entitled to
irrigation.
In the Ebro Valley, water was distributed by al-dawr (ador), under the
supervision of the sahib al-saqiya (cavacequier) and amin (alamis). Irrigation
documents often contain the statement that water distribution arrangements
should continue as they had been in the time of the Moors (7).

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2 Industrv
The manufacture of paper was one of the most beneficial contributions of
Islam to Europe. Jativa, in the Spanish Levante,was the center of the paper
industry in al-Andalusand was the first European town in which paper was
manufactured. In Christian hands, Jativa continued to be the main centre for
paper manufacture,and reams of paper continued to be exported from it as had
been the case during the Muslim period. James I encouraged Mudejar paper
manufacturers and was interested in their remaining in Jativa.
The technique of paper manufacturing had reached al-Andalus from the
East in the early 1 lth century,and from al-Andalusthe technique was transmitted
to Muslim Sicily.A deed bearing the signature of the Norman Count Roger I of
Sicily, dated 1102, has survived and is the oldest dated European paper
document yet discovered (8).
In Italy,paper manufacture began in the 13thcentury,first at Fabriano,about
1269,then at Bologna in 1293. In Germany and England,the first paper mills
were established towards the end ofthe 14thcentury.France owed its first paper
mills to Spain (9).

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A m i r Abd al-Rahman I1 of Cordoba (d.352 AD) established a silk
workshop (dar al-tiraz) near the royal palace for the manufacture of silk robes
for ceremonial occasions.The idea was adopted in Muslim Sicily - daughterof
-
al-Andalusin the words of the Andalusian traveller Ibn Jubayr (10) and was
inherited by the Normans.In Palermosdar al-tiraz,staffed by Muslim artisans,
Roger 11s famous mantle was manufactured.The Arabic inscription around the
border identifies it as a product of the tiraz of Palermo in the Hegira year 528
(1133 AD) (11).
Almeria was the main centre in al-Andalusfor the manufacture of textiles
which were in great demand by churches as well as the monarchs and nobility
of Europe. In the early 13 century, James I1 of Aragon brought in Muslim
-
cotton makers from Sicily then part of his dominions - and sent Muslim silk
masters from Spain to Sicily.
Two tanning techniques were developed in al-Andalus;the guadamici -
after the oasis of Ghadames in Libya - and the Cordoban.Both techniques were
transmitted from al-Andalusto the West (12).
Mudejar artisans and craftsmen were renowned for their skills in decorative
platwork,marquetry,wood carving,plasterwork and the construction of ornate
ceilings and doors and above all,in the manufacture of glazed tiles and ceramics
(azulejos) (1 3).
The export of azulejos was a major industry in the Muslim period and for
some centuries later. Exports were made in large quantities in the fourteenth
century to Mediterranean countries (including Tunisia) and to Western Europe.
In the 15thcentury,many of Spainschurches were built by Mudejars who
had inherited their skills from building,over generations,mosques and palaces
during the Muslim period.The Christianswho entrusted these Mudejars with the
task of construction found nothing amiss in doing this and in having Arabic
expressions inserted in the decorations. In a church in Maluenda in Aragon, a
builder even placed the invocation of Allah and the Prophet,in Arabic script
after a gospel text,If Spain ever had a style that can be called national,Mudejar
deserves that name (1 4).
Henri Terrasse has noted survivals ofMudejar themes and techniques in the
art of Mexico, Texas and Paraguay and remarked that of the arts of Western
Europe in the Middle Ages, only the Mudejar has reached out across space and
time to link America to Europe and Medieval Spain to al-Andalusofthe Golden
Age (1 6).

200
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3 Coinape
Silver dirham were the only currency in circulation in Muslim Spain until
al-Nasirassumed the title ofCaliph in 929AD and began to mint gold dinars in
Cordoba. By then, al-Nasir had extended his authority over Morocco and,
consequently controlled the sources of gold in West Africa (1 7).
An Andalusian dirham coined in Cordoba in AH 390 (999-1000AD)has
been found in the mines ofCerne Abbey (in Dorset,England). The dirham seems
to have been used as an amulet by the person with whom it was interred (1 8).
This dirham is evidence of the existence of commercial intercourse in the 10
century between England and al-Andalusacross the Bay of Biscay.
In the Western Mediterranean basin,the dinar led to the appearance of the
mancus (from Arabic manqush or engraved) which was the European name of
the Arabic dinar as well as of the local currencies minted by Christians in
northern Spain in imitation of the Arabic currencies of al-Andalusin the llth
century,while retaining their Arabic appearance including Koranic verses (1 9).
TheAndalusian dirham of Abdal-Rahman,the first Umayyad amir ofCordoba,
(r. 756-788),was probably the model imitated by his contemporary,the FrankishKing
Charlemagne,inthe silverdenier (pence)which he struck in 794and which circulated
inWestern Europe until the beginning ofthe 13thcentury.In internationalintercourse,
however,the Arabic dinar,(mancus), was the medium of exchange. The Tunisian
biographer al-Maliki(d. 1068AD) refers to a man who undertook to pay a manqush
in Egypt in repayment ofa dinar he had borrowed in Kairawan (20).
From the Sthto the 11thcentury,Europeanmerchants were happy to receiveArabic
dinars fortheirwares.TheArabic dinarhelped tobring aboutEuropeseconomicrevival
and was used in payment forByzantine lmury goods imported by Western Europe.
The dinars (mithqal)minted by the Almoravids (r. 1090-1147AD) were
noted for their fine quality since they were struck from Ghanas gold which was
renowned for its purity. Most of the Almoravid mithqal were minted in al-
Andalus and constitute,therefore, the first large quantity of gold stock in
Western Europe since Roman times.Coins minted in Western Europe after the
Almoravids were patterned on these Almoravid dinars (21).
After the advent of the Alrnoravids in al-Andalus(1090 AD), the mithqal
became the basis of the monetary systems in the Christian Kingdoms of northern
Spain.In imitation of Almoravid mithqal, King Alfonso VI11 of Castile struck in
Castile in 1 172the firstgold coins in Toledo,known as maravedi/maraboti,bearing
Arabic inscriptions which refer to the Pope as Imam ofthe Catholic church (22).

201
Radio-chemical analysis of surviving Almoravid dinars from the period
1050-1200have shown the important role played by the Almoravids in diffusing
the gold of West Africa throughout the Mediterranean countries and in Western
Europe (23).
The Almoravid dinar was also used as a currency unit within Europe itself.
In 1162, the Count of Provence undertook to pay the Emperor 12,000
Marabotins. A large quantity of maravedi dinars were discovered in Del Camp
Monastery,south of Toulouse,France (24).
The Almoravids were succeeded as rulers of al-Andalusand North Africa
by the Almohads (1 147-1269),who like the Almoravid also left their impact on
the coinage of northern Spain where the Almohad doble begun to replace the
Almoravid dinar. Castile continued to depend on Muslim models for its coins
until after the fall of Granada in 1492 (26).
In the Middle Ages,English monks presented gifts to churches in the form
of gold coins either stuck by them or imported from distant lands. English
records of the 13thcentury show King Henry I11 regularly buying foreign gold
coins for his alms to churches and monasteries. The register of July, 1251,
records the presentation of a number of these dinns to be attached to the shrine
of St.Thomas at Canterbury Cathedral.In 1295,from gold rings and one was
attached to the shrine of St.Lawrence in St.PaulsCathedral (27).
Since the Almoravid period (1090-1147),a number of Arabic terms of
financial and economic connotations passed into Spanish and Portuguese,
French,Italian and English.

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4 Medicine
As mentioned in the previous Chapter on Medicine,prominent among a host
of al-Andalusphysicians were al-Zahrawi,Ibn Zuhr,Ibn Rushd and Ibn al-Khatib.
Al-Zahrawi (d. 1012) is considered the pioneer of surgery in the Middle
Ages. His works on surgery had,until the 1gth century,a considerable impact on
Europe where he was known as Abulcasis. Al-ZahrawisKitab al-Tasrifa
medical encyclopaedia, was translated into Latin in Toledo by Gerard of
Cremona and had a substantial influence on Italian and French surgeons,and
was the text-bookon surgery at the medical schools of Salerno and Montpellier.
The Kitab al-Tasrifconsistsof thirty sections,the first of which deals with
surgery. The author was the first to treat surgery as a science based on
dissertation and independent medicine. The treaties on surgery contains

202
illustrations of instruments which helped to lay the foundation of surgery in
Europe. In it, al-Zahrawidraws on the writing of his predecessors and on his
own experience.He describes many operativeprocedures and instrumentswhich
do not appear in the classical writings and which may,therefore,be regarded as
his own or,at least,as being part ofArabic practice (28).
In his discussion of leprosy,al-Zahrawimade a significant contribution to
medicine by describing the neurological symptoms of the disease. His
descriptionof insensivity was cited in the medical literatureofthe West from the
1 2thcentury (29). Free from any racial prejudice,al-Zahrawidescribes,in detail,
how he successfully extracted arrows from injured victims,a Muslim,a Jew and
a Christian (30).
When the plague (the Black Death) swept over Europe and the
Mediterranean countries in 1348-1349,it was attributed in Europe to the
influence of heavenly bodies, to the Jews or to divine punishment. The
statesman, historian, physician, Ibn al-Khatib (d.1374), however; wrote a
treatise (On the Plague) in which he explicitly stated that the epidemic was
transmitted through infection and remarked,aptly,that people were more prone
to infection in cities than in deserts and open spaces.Ibn al-Khatib says: The
existence of contagion is established by experience, study and the evidence of
the senses...by the spread of it by persons from one house, by infection of a
healthy seaport by an arrival from an infected land...by the immunity of isolated
individualsand nomadic Bedouin tribes in Africa(3 1).
In 1382, a professor at the medical school of Montpellier, where Arab
influence,particularly in medicine, was immediate and significant (...) Ibn al-
Khatibsexplanation ofthe spread ofthe epidemic and refuted other factors cited
in popular accounts.Neither Greek nor medieval European authors had detected
or stressed the contagion factor (32).

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5 Mathematics and Astronomy
In the chapter on science in al-Andalusin Tabaqut al-umam,the qadi Ibn
Said al-Andalusi de Toledo (d.1070) cited the names of over thirty al-Andalus
mathematicians and astronomers up to this time.Foremost among them was
Maslama al-Majriti,of Madrid (d.1007) who , Ibn Said says,was the imam of
mathematicians in this time.One of Maslamas pupils, Abu-1-Qasim b.
Muhammad b.al-Samhal-Muhandis(d.934/1034)was an authority on arithmetic,
-
geometry and astronomy. His works included an introduction to geometry in
which he explained,and commented on,EuclidsElements of Geometry (33).

203
The use of the abacus was associated with Gerbert of Aurillac, who later
became Pope Silvester 11. Gerbert had studies at a Benedictine monastery in
Ripoll (near Barcellona) where,since the middle ofthe 9thcentury,Arabic books
were actively translated into Latin.In 967,Gerbert wrote a book on arithmetic.
The revival of scientific learning in Europe is sometimes dated from Gerberts
studies in Spain at the end of the lothcentury (34).
The science of algebra reached Europe through a Latin translation of al-
Khwarizmis Kitub ul-jabr wa-l-muqabalu.Translated into Latin by Gerard of
Cremona, it was used until the 16thcentury as the principal mathematical
textbook of European universities. Gerard also translated into Latin the
arithmetics of al-Khwarizmiinvolving the use ofthe Arabic numerals which he
introduced to the West. Through Gerard, al-Khwarizmi left his name in
algorithm;the old word for arithmetic (35).
Ibn al-Khatib cites the name of a prominent eleventh-century al-
Andalus mathematician,Ibn Sahl of Granada and says that Muslims,Jews
and Christians were unanimous that he was unequalled in this time.
Christians of Toledo used to come to attend his classes in Bueza where he
held,with their priest, debating sessions in which he [Ibn Sahl] carried the
day (36).
As in mathematics Maslama al-Majritiwas also (....) in astronomy.Hewas
particularly interested in observing stars and in the comprehension ofPtolemys
Almagest (37). Al-Samh,Maslamas pupil, wrote two books on the astrolabe:
one on its production and the other on its operation.
The leading al-Andalus astronomer, however, was al-Zarqali (d. 1 loo),
known to the Latins as Azarquiel, whose Toledo Tables had a great influence in
Western Europe until the close ofthe 15thcentury.Al-Zarqaliis credited with the
invention of a new astrolabe and his treatise on the astrolabe was translated into
Latin in Montpellier.Al-Zarqalisal-Andaluscontemporaries would not accept
his rejection of Ptolemysviews as expounded in Almagest.
Al-Bitruji of Seville, known to the Latins as Alpetrugins, was another
leading al-Andalusastronomer in the latter half of the 12thcentury.He wrote a
popular textbook of astronomy which sought to replace the Ptolemaic by a
strictly concentric planetary system and provided suggestions to Copernians.
The conflict between the two systems became general among European
scientists after Michael Scot had translated al-BitrujisKitub al-haya (Liber
Astronomine) at Toledo in 1217 (38).

204
The impact ofArabic studies on the West began with the names of stars and
with astronomical instruments.In 1092,Walcher,a prior of Malvern,observed,
with great interest and excitement, an eclipse of the moon which he had
predicted by using al-Zarqalis astrolabe. Walcher mentions three of the
instrumentspoints by theirArabic names :Almagrip,Almeria and Almucantarai
(39). Walcher,of Bath (d.1l50), was the pioneer ofArabic studies in England.
He probably visited Spain and translated into Latin an al-Andalusedition of al-
KhwarizmisKitab al-Hisab.
The latter half of the 12thcentury witnessed the climax ofthe transmission
of Arabic sciences,particularly astronomy,to England with the appearance of
scholars such as Robert of Ketton, Daniel of Morley, Roger of Hereford and
Michael Scot. Most of these scholars visited Toledo in search of treatises on
astronomy and mathematics.Having learned Arabic,they took an active part in
the systematic work oftranslation with the collaboration of native Mozarab and
Jewish scholars (40).
The most active and productive of European translators from Arabic in the
second half ofthe 12thcentury,however,was the Italian,Gerard ofCremona.He
was initially drawn to Toledo to study PtolemysAlmagest which he could not
locate among the Latin translations. In Toledo, Gerard learned Arabic and
started by translating Almagest from Arabic into Latin in 1175 and thus made
this main source of Greek astronomy available to Western Europe. Almagest
was first translated into Latin directly from Greek in Sicily in 1163,however,
This version from the Greek,gained no currency and only that from Arabic was
available until the 15thcentury (41).When he died in 1187,Gerard of Cremona
had already translated into Latin more than seventy Arabic works, many of
which dealt with astronomy.
Alfonso X (r. 1252-84) was known for his love of learning and
encouragement of the study of astronomy, as a result of which the tablas
alfonsinas,based on al-Zarqalistables, were compiled. Since the time of
Maslama al-Majriti (d.1004), Spain was the home of astronomical tables and
astronomical observation. The meridian of Toledo was long the standard of
computation for the West (42). The writings of the English poet Chaucer
(d.1400) contain many references to astronomy under the influence of Arab
astronomers,and thinkers,some of whom are cited by Chaucer, such as Ibn
Rushd.Arabic names of stars often occur in his Canterbury Tales, such as al-
jubbar/al-juwit;saifal-jubbar and rijl al-jabbar (43).
(see Chapter on Scientific and Intercultural Relations by Ahmed Djebarre)

205
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6 NaviFation
Europeans benefited from Arabic books on geography and travel. Sub-
SaharanAfrica was known to them only throughArabic writings and maps which,
until the 19thcentury,remained their only source ofinformationon the interiorof
the African continent. The sphericity of the earth was not taken for granted by
Europeans in the Middle Ages,while Arab geographers were unanimous on this
fact.Had not thisArab conceptionbeen diffused,ChristopherColumbusprobably
would not have believed that his voyage from Spain (...) would lead him to India
and would not,therefore,have discovered the N e w World.
On the basis ofMuslim maps,the Genovese developed their nautical charts
known as portolans which are of immense importance for navigation because
they show the routes between sea-ports. Dar al-sinaa (Arabic for ship-
building) passed into most European languages in the same sense:atarazana in
Spanish,arsenale in Italian and arsenal in English.
The lateen sail was the type with which the Arabs were familiar in the
Indian Ocean,while,in ancient times,the square sail was the one used in ships
of the Mediterranean Sea. The lateen sail was probably introduced into the
Mediterranean by the Arabs. An advantage of the lateen sail is that it enables
vassals to beat against the wind, whereas square-rigged vassals of the
Mediterranean could only sail before the wind. European ship-builders,
particularly Spanish and Portuguese,adopted and developed theArab lateen,and
combined the two types of sails,a fact which enabled them to cross the Atlantic
Ocean and embark upon their voyages of discovery (44). The introduction of
lateen sail into the Mediterranean by the Arabs may counted as one of their
major contribution to material culture. For without the Latin, the European
mizen,the three masters would have been impossible,and the ocean voyages of
the greatexplorers could never have taken place (45).
Portuguese discoverieswere achieved thanks also to the adoption oftheArab
techniques of ship construction in the ports on the western littoral ofal-Andalus,
such as Lisboa (Lisbon), Alcacer do Sal and Silves.Consequently,the Portuguese
were able to build fast-sailinglight vessels known as caravels,equipped with
lateen sails.Caravel-probably from the Arabic gurib was initially applied to a
fishingboat.These caravelswere among the shipsused by the Portuguesein their
early voyages to the West African coast in 15 century.The early caravel,
equipped with two lateen sails,was easily manoeuvrable and could return to
Portugal from West Africa despite contrary winds and currents(46).

206
The King of Portugal sought the advice of the Majorcan Jewish
cartographerAbraham Cresque (famous for his Majorcan Atlas of 1375) whom
he invited to Lisboa. Cresques maps show an extraordinary knowledge of
southern Asia, a fact which suggests that these maps were based on
contemporary Arabic maps with which Cresque had probably been familiar in
Muslim Spain and North Africa.Another Majorcan,James Ferrer,was called by
Prince Henry ofPortugalto the School of Sagres in Algarve.Ferrer is described
as a man very learned in the art of navigation, a maker of maps and
instruments,and he taught his science to the Portuguese artisans. A.Castro
believes that the Jews transmitted the geographical science of the Arabs to the
Portuguese(47).

207
Discussion Questions

I. It has been noted that in a/-Andalusthe manufacturine of paper


replaced papyrus.Discuss the origins of this industry and its spread to
Italy, Germany,France and England and the impact of paper on the
diffusion of knowledge in Europe.

2. Additionally, elaborate on the caliphate library in Cordoba which


contained an estimated 400,000references,in addition to the 70other
libraries in the city.

3. Compare the library in Cordoba to that in Baghdad and the earlier one
in Alexandria and note the events which destroyed these great
institutions of learning-whichwere landmarks in world history.

4. What types of agriculturalproducts found in an-Andalushave become


staple products in the West? What farming techniquesremain today,
e.g.planting,irrigation and water distribution? Were their techniques
similar to todaysconcern for sustainable development?

5. Describe how Muslim silk production influenced European dress and


decor; during that period and today. Study the paintings of the
Renaissance-inparticular; the Italian, Spanish and Dutch schools to
note the presence of Muslim art,calligraphy,architecture and fabric.

6. Similarly, also note the use of Arabic calligraphy in Western


architecture,art and dress .

7.Undertake research on the literature and poetry of the period and its
influence on Western literature.

208
Azulejo,Hispano - Arab fiom 15th century Zilling effect

209
None ofyou is a believer as long as he does
not prefer for his brother what he prefers for
himself
- The Hadith -

Dounto others whatsoever you wish others


do unto you
- Jesus Christ -

Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to


any other person
- Mosaic Law -

210
JUDICIAL AND POLITICAL COEXISTENCE
AND ECONOMIC PRODUCTION

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13 A Historical Model of Judicial Coexistence

by
Berrnudez Aznar

Muslim law in al-Andalus is an illustration of the will to coexist with


different peoples and cultures: Christian and Jewish communities,subjected to
the sovereignty of Islam.

1 - Ripiditv and Flexibilitv of the Muslim Judicial Order


The fact that the Muslim judicial order is impregnated with religious dogma
can lead to a rapid conclusion:it would be a rigid and closed judicial system for
those who do not profess the Muslim religion (1). Alhough,in generalterms,this
statement can be valid ad intram as regards the ordinance of the judicial
relations within this community,it is not ad extram,that is in relation with other
collectivities.To this effect,religion and Muslim law envisage the possibility to
practice a tolerant coexistence. The law of the Muslim community was
fundamentally a law with a personal character and far from territorial.
Thus, at the beginning of the gth century, following the annexation of the
Peninsulato Islam,a regime based on personal statuswas established,strengthened
by a judicial order.However,this particularity is not new to the judicial history of
the Peninsula. During the pre-Romanperiod,the demesne of the implementation
of peoplesrights was similar.In 217 BC,when the conquest of Iberia by Rome
started, it was in practice. It was only four centuries later and by general
arrangementthat one reached,in the year 212,the territoriality ofRoman Law.
In contrastwith Roman Law,the Law ofthe Muslim community in al-Andalus
did not evolve with time and attain this territorial character.Though this can seem
paradoxical,the sovereignpower ofthe Muslim victor did not admit the integration
of the vanquished communities within its rule,neither by way of concessions nor
through the authoritarian channel.The only way of becoming part of the exercise
ofMuslim Rule was conversion,the practice ofthe Muslim religion.

211
What precedes impliesthat the analysis and the comprehensionofthe demesne
of application of Muslim law in al-Andalusand the tolerant existence with other
judicial orders had to proceed fi-omfactors of a religious character with effect from
the year 711. It is fi-omthese parameters that this twofold condition, apparently
contradictory,ofal-AndalusMuslim rule,has a meaning:hermetism and rigidity,on
one hand,towards those who did not profess the Muslim religion;on the other
hand, flexibility and tolerance in regard to certain collectivities who, without
going to the extent of converting to Islam,lived nonetheless under Muslim rule.

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2 The Svstem of Judicial Coexistence in AI-Andalus
Coexistence and tolerance were not the sole compulsory norms of the
Muslim community established in a territory run according to Muslim law (dar
al-Zslam),compared with other non-Muslimcommunities(2). They supposed,on
the contrary,one ofthe attitudes to be adopted.But the application ofwhichever
option was not arbitrary,it was imposed on the Muslims by religious precepts.
These precepts established the criteria applicable to non-Muslimswho lived in
the neighbourhood or within the ranks ofthe Muslim community itself(3).
The circumstances taken into consideration by the Muslim law were oftwo
kinds:type of religion practised and attitude adopted by such communities face
to face with Islam.
-
a The conditions of coexistence.The religious situation of the indigenous
potmlation of the Peninsula.In principle,those who did not profess the Muslim
religion and who did not,consequently,form an integral part ofthis community,
fell within one heterogeneous group ofthe population called infidelswho denied
the religion of Allah (Kuffar)and whose territory (dar al-harb) had to be
subjected to preaching and to conversion to Islam by all means including legal
war (jihad)(4).
One frequently distinguished two categories: that of idolatrous and
polytheist communities (ahl al-awthan) and the one made up of monotheists
who were inspired from the Holy Book revealed by God, the ah1 al-kitab or
Peopleof the Book.For the first category,the Koranic admonitions are strict.
The second group was made up ofreligious communities,which,without having
embraced Islam,were regarded as believers and presented characteristics which
brought them closer to Muslims.In this typology ofthe Peopleofthe Bookone
finds Christians and Jews (5).
b - The need to submit oacifically to Islam.In any case,the definitejudicial
submission of these Peopleof the Book in Muslim Spain depended on the

212
attitude which they would adopt in regard to the Muslims. In the case of a
bellicose confrontation and war with the Muslims,nothing prevented the latter,
after defeat,from slaying them or reducing them to slavery which was probably
the fate of the members of the family even if they were not involved in the
fighting.Their personal estate was considered as war spoils (ghanima) and had
to be shared between the victors. The real estate was considered as being
acquired at war by the Muslim community (6).
The submissionto Muslim sovereignty found expression in an agreement or
pact (ahd):those who adhered to it were known under the name of ah1 al-ahd
or mu ahidun(7).
In al-Andalus,Christiansand Jews were known as ah1 al-dhimma,that is,the
protected people by virtue of a compromise (8). In line with the use of the
dhimma,the aman was used in the Iberian Peninsula as a judicial instrument of
pacification and submission. This implies the protection extended by a
representative of the Muslim community to a person called mustamin or to a
collectivity (ah1al-aman).It was then a kind of a pass which allowed the foreign
enemy @arb) living in enemy territory (dar al-Harb)to be legally protected in
his person and estate during the time ofhis stay in Muslim territory.Thisjuridical
guarantee facilitated the passage oftravellers,pilgrims,merchants and diplomats
(9). But the extensive use that was made of the aman in agreements reached
between the Muslim authority and the authorities of other towns turned it,
practically, into a judicial document whose contents became, in effect,equal in
value to those of the dhimma. This legal ambivalence led to the aman conceded
by Abdal-Azizb. Musa to Teodomiro is a striking example (10).
None ofthese pacts seems to have a contractual character which allows one to
assume a level of equality between the interested parties. Quite the contrary,there
was a Muslim superiority which imposed a set of obligations and guaranteed in
exchange,a series of rights.The Christian had to accept the situation to command
respectwithin the Muslim community.Ifnegotiation took place in a few cases,it was
doubtlessly on secondary points (1 1).
From the formal point of view, and quoting from rare examples of
Peninsular pacts which have been transmitted,quite a simple structure can be
distinguished. These pacts begin often with a divine invocation after which
appear the names of the Muslim grantor and Christian recipients.A variable
formula of compromise is used, of a religious nature, followed by an
enumeration of guarantees and the rights granted. Sometimes these rights are
part of a general formula (security and peace). But sometimes they are in detail

213
(life, liberty,exercise of the cult,etc.). The document continues with a list of
obligations,duties and is rounded up with the witnessesdeclaration and date.
W e do not know exactly the number of communities or the towns which
opposed the Muslim expansion using weapons. The opinion currently
acknowledged supposes that the urban population nuclei were few in number.
One may even assume that the majority opted for pacific submission which
could be the reason behind the rapidity ofthe process of Muslim expansion and
the survival under Muslim sovereignty of important nuclei of the Christian and
Jewish population (1 2).
c - The rules of coexistence.Obligations ofthe Hispanic contracting parties.
Starting from the hypothesis on the pacific acceptance ofthe Muslim community
by numerous population nuclei of the Iberian Peninsula, a large part of this
population would have acquired the condition of muahid according to the
Muslim ordinance and judicial practice.These obligations were of two kinds:
political and military on one hand,economic on the other.
The obligations in the politico-military field inferred essentially the
acceptance of Muslim sovereignty and its administrative structure.They could
comprisethe following clauses:donation offortifiedtowns,fulfilmentofoffensive
and defensive alliances reached by the Muslim community with third parties.
The obligations ofan economic nature illustrated the respect due to Muslim
sovereignty. The taxes to which the muahidun were subjected were of two
kinds: a contribution which mortgaged real property, kharaj and another of a
personal nature,the capitation orjizya (1 3).The latter tax was a burden on those
who were free,pubescent and healthy,but the amount was reduced for the serfs.
In the Peninsular pacts, tributary allowances were envisaged in numerous
-
clauses:it was enough to pay the tax annually or every five years the quota was
stated.Thus,it was frequently necessary to deposit,in this respect,quantities in
cash (gold or silver), agricultural products, heads of cattle, etc. Among the
agricultural products featured wheat,barley,oil,honey,and vinegar.
Among the livestock were included the references to horses and mules. In
the field of crafts provision had to be made for what related to bellicose activity:
armour,helmets,lances.All this was subject to the historical circumstances and
in accordance with the rural or urban condition of those who had to pay tax.
Other obligations which weighed on the muahidun were of a religious
nature: not to insult Islam (14), refrain from entering mosques, selling articles
prohibited by the Muslim religion, etc. Certain obligations were the result of a

214
social differentiation.One had to wear distinctive clothes,use pack-saddleanimals
(mules,donkeys), adopt a deferential attitude in regard to the Muslims;they had
to be allowed passage,be greeted,etc (15).
d - The rightsenjoyed by theprotectedin al-Andalus.The organization chart
of the rights to which the mu ahiduncan be somewhat outlined.
In regard to individual liberty,the individual rights were included in the
legal status which allowed the practice of the religious cult, even when it
concerned a Christian woman married to a Muslim. However,it was advisable
to avoid public demonstrationsofthe Catholic faith:ringing ofbells,processions
in which the cross was carried,public funerals.The Muslim faith enjoyed here
a pre-eminence.However,repairs could be carried out to religious edifices and
new ones could also be constructed (16).
Within those communities which enjoyed protection there was a certain
internal autonomy.Muslim authority controlled the posts ofresponsibility.In the
ecclesiastic jurisdiction there existed a certain mediation from the Muslim
authority in the appointment of bishops,if one were to rely on the references of
which we dispose.W e know of a case of successful intercession on the part of
the Muslim authority to press the appointment of certain persons (17). In the
civic field,this was repeated in regard to dignitaries such as the comes(qumis)
of the Mozarab community of Cordoba and the judge of the Mozarabs of that
town (qadi al-nasara).Among the first it is worth mentioning Rabib. Teodulf
at the start of the 9th century,Abu Said and MuAwiya b. Lope in the loth
century (18). W e know their successors:Hafs b.Alvaro and Asbag b.Allah Ibn
Nabil (beginning ofthe 1 1th century) (1 9).
As for civil rights,the dhirnrnis followed their own judicial warrant; thus
their properties were inviolable,the holder enjoying full freedom to dispose of
them by law deeds inter vivos or mortis causa by envisaging the possibility of
the setting up of foundations (20). As for the jurisdictional institutions, the
dhimmis could use their own tribunals to annul trials.The sentences passed by
the judges were effective,although from the Muslim point ofview they had only
an arbitrational value.
In this same field ofjurisdiction,the dhimmis were allowed the faculty to
have recourse for their trials to a Muslim judge instead of applying to their own
judges.In this case,the Muslim judge could,as he pleased,accept or refuse the
examination ofthe legal action;when he accepted,he did not act as a judge but
rather as an arbitrator or mediator out of court since his power ofjurisdiction
could only be exercised over the Muslims in cases prescribed by the law. The

215
judicial warrant on the strength to which the judge had to settle the dispute
presented by the dhimmfs could vary according to the type ofcase.In general,it
was licit for them to apply the law of the parties unless it went against the
precepts ofthe Muslim law or if it had public consequences.
Thisprinciple governed,forexample,the clauses relating to the personal status
in regard to marriage,paternity,emancipation or divorce.The same applied to the
law connected with estate duties which was based on the law of the deceased
regardingthe will as well as the division ofthe inheritanceamong the heirs.In the
field ofobligations,the Muslim judge applied the law ofthe parties except in cases
prohibited by Muslim law.There was thenjudicialprohibition or the application of
Muslim legislation (20).
e - The encounter ofthe mu ahidunand Muslims within the frameworkoflegal
institutions.The rights to which the dhimmis were entitled varied when, in the
exercise oftheir duties,therewere relationswith members ofthe Muslim community.
There was a tendency to safeguardthe interestsofthe Muslim community or one of
its members and to keep an eye on the subjectionofthe dhimmis.
Thus in the field of Muslim administrative institutions,the dhimmis were
not allowed to occupy a public post which implied the exercise of the
jurisdiction over the Muslims. It was prohibited, in a specific way, to act as
judge,even in the capacity ofan arbiter chosen by the Muslims.
There was nothing irregular about using the services of the dhimmis for a
technicalpost under the authority ofa Muslim.Such was the case as regards the
functionofthe commanderofal-HakamI Palatine guard,Rabib. Teodulf.It was
similarly the case ofthe diplomatic servicesthat the Mozarab ecclesiastic Rabi
b. Zayd gave to al-Hakam TI in the middle of the lothcentury at the Court of
Othon I of Germania. Gomei ben Antonian assumed the functions of secretary
next to the Amir AbdAllah (22).
In the field ofcivil rights,Muslim law establisheda permissivity within the
union of male members of the Muslim community and Christian women. One
had to stress openly the preponderant condition ofmen within the whole ofthe
Muslim judicial order.
On matrimonial relations w e dispose of a few examples dating to the gth
century,at the dawn ofMuslim presence.Abdal-Azizmarried Egilona,widow
of King Don Rodrigo (23). In the beginning of the gth century,a client of the
Umayyads at the command of Baljs army, Abd al-Jabbar b. Nadir, married
Teodomiro Gandarezsdaughter (24). Munusa,Tariqsfriend,and the governor

216
ofAustria,married, it seems,Don Pelayosdaughter(25). A similar case is that
of a Muslim leader from Septimaniawho married Lampegia,daughter of Count
Eudes ofAquitaine (26). As for Witizas grand-daughter,Sarah,it is known that
she was married by the Caliph Hisham to Isab.Muzahim and when she became
a widow, Abdal-RahmanI married her to UmayrSaid (27).
There is little trace of much evidence of mixed matrimonial unions as
noteworthy as the above in the centuries that followed. In the 9th century one
notes the marriage of Amir Abd Allah with a Vascone princess, Enneca,
daughter of Fortun Gar& from whom he had a son,prince Muhammad (28). In
the lothcentury,one traces two famous unions with a al-Mansur:the first with
a daughter of the king of Pampeluna,Sancho Gar& I1 Abarca,who bore him a
son,prince Abdal-Rahman :the second with Teresa,daughter of the King of
Leon,Bermudo I1 (29).
It would be presumptuous to spell out the causes ofthese unions although it
is easy to imagine them.In a few of these marriages political reasons may have
been the main reason such as was the case for Lampregia,Enneca and the two
Christian wives of al-Mansur.
It is possible that there might have been in other cases economic motives:
the marriage of Teodomirosdaughter and the two marriages of Sarah,in view
of the important estate of these two women. One can also invoke the social
prestige that the noble lineage ofthe spouse brought to the Muslim husband (30).
It is also hypothetical to measure the importance of these examples: were
they exceptional cases or rather representativecases ofwidespread practices?
These marriages between Muslims and Christians did not have a parallel in the
inverseorder.Here,thejuridicalposition favourableto man could lead to a situation
of submission of a female member of the Muslim community to a member of
another religion and,consequently,Muslim law prohibited such unions (3 1).
In other institutions of Muslim civil law,the exercise of authority by the
dhimmis was not allowed either: for example,the interdiction for him to exercise
tutelage or trusteeship,even matrimonial trusteeship.
In matters pertaining to estate duties, there existed a mutual interdiction
regarding inheritance (32). However a Muslims legacy or charity bequests in
favour of a mu ahidwere authorised.
Numerous constraintswere similarly imposed on the mu ahidunas regards
right of ownership. Implications of a religious nature came into play. The

217
mu ahidunwas prohibited from dealing in copies of the Koran or from having
Muslim slaves in view of the fact that, in the latter case,the Christian master
could harass a member of the Muslim community. Similarly, in so far as
contracts were concerned,the law prohibited anything that could prove to be for
the Muslim party a violation of his rights (33).
Regarding the right oftrial,in mixed marriages,that is, those in which were
involved a muahidun and a Muslim, the general rule was that every time an
attempt was made on the security ofthe Muslim community or when public order
was breached,or ifthere was scandal,Muslim judgeswere called to intervene and
these applied Muslim law.This rule was likewiseapplicable in the field ofcriminal
cases. The crime committed by a muahid against a Muslim was judged by a
Muslim judge and Muslim law applied.In the opposite case,it had to be the same.
However,Malekite law tended to decrease the penalty applicable to the Muslim or
to reduce it in the case of a blood crime,to loss of freedom or to a fine (34).
The participation of the muahidun was banned at some stages in the trial.
This took place in the case of testimony during a trial between Muslims and
mu ahidun,for it was possible that in such circumstances people gave evidence
with partiality due to religious considerations.
f - The cessation of judicial coexistence. The condition of the mu ahidun
ceased when there was grave violation of the fundamental obligations and
situations which posed a seriousthreat to the Muslim community (35).
A number of these actions could be of a religious nature: offence against
God,the Koran or the Prophet or religious proselytism in regard to a Muslim.
O n other occasions, it was due to attempts on the political and military
security of the Muslim community,for example,if the mu ahiduntook up arms
against Islam,supplied information to the enemy or disobeyed the precepts of
the authorities.
Similarly,the repeated refusal to pay taxes could be considered as an end to
the Muslim juridical protection extended to the mu ahidun.In a similar case,the
muahidun became harbi, enemy of Islam which, except for an immediate
conversion to this religion,could lead him to death or,at best,to slavery.
There existed sometimes on the part of the Christian contracting parties a
minor violation of these obligations,for example, in the case of economic or
tributary obligations.There was no direct breach of the agreement but one had
to compensate materially the prejudice brought about by the delay.

218
3 - The Passape from Coexistence to Judicial Intepration:
the Relig.iousConversion
The religious conversion was either sincere or sprang from ulterior
motives so that a great part of the Hispanic population acceded,especially in
the first centuries of Muslim presence,to the full enjoyment ofMuslim rights.
They were the musalima or muwalladun: the first term applies to the
converted,the second refers to their descendants.
Formally,the act which made conversion explicit took place in front ofthe
qadi and in the presence of witnesses, a specific formula was used; it was
acknowledged that Islam was embraced in a free and spontaneous way. The
neophyte undertook to accomplish his new religious obligations:prayer,charity,
fasting and pilgrimage.The incorporationofthe new member within the Muslim
community was recorded in a register that the qadi brought for this purpose.
Historians have engaged in a controversy as regards the rate ofIslamization
of the indigenous population ofthe Iberian Peninsula (37). Faced with the thesis
of those who believe in a slow process of Islamization which spread over three
centuries, others are of the opinion that there was a further and more rapid
process which declined in the space of a few generations (38).
The intention which presided over these conversions was not clear. It is
possible that they took place in good faith,leaving no doubt whatsoever in a few
cases. Too often the motive was due to a utilitarian criterion or a desire for
personal or family promotion. A frequently quoted example is the one of the
conversion to Islam ofthe powerful Aragonese family ofthe Banu Qasi who, as
of the sthcentury was placed under the patronage of Caliph al-Walid and
managed to retain and even raise its important social level,its political power for
more than two centuries.This family also made use of an active matrimonial
policy,forging alliances with lineages of Christian and Muslim neighbours (39).
Similarly,it is worth recalling that several of these marriages,in which the
women came from the Christian political and social ruling class with Muslims,
were preceded by the conversion ofthese women to Islam.This was the case for
Egilona and for Sancho Gar& 11s daughter (40).
Conversion brought about important consequences for the person himself,
not only for hisjudicial future,since he was offered full access to the institutions
run by Muslim law and also to his formerjuridical situation which had to adapt
itselfautomatically to the imperative ofMuslim Law.

219
Thus when a Christian muwallad was married and his wife did not opt like
him for conversion,the marriage was recognised by the new law since Muslim
law allowed the union between a Christian and a Muslim. But in the case where
only the conversion ofthe Christian wife came about,the situation was different
in view of the fact that a female Muslim could not be wedded to a non-Muslim
husband. Consequently, the matrimonial union was automatically dissolved.
There were less problems for the simultaneous conversion of the husband and
wife. It was enough to renew the union, since according to the Malekite rite,
marriages celebrated in accordance with the non-Muslim law were not
considered valid. In the law on inheritance,conversion did not grant any new
right to the convert on the opening of the will of a Muslim relation who died
when he was still a mu 'ahid.In view of the prohibition to establish succession
links between Muslim and non-Muslim,the Muslim profession of faith
pronounced a posteriori did not bring about a retroactive effect as regards
succession duties.
In all the laws governing estate duties,the innovations brought about by
conversion were very few in view of the equivalence existing between the
mu 'ahidun and the Muslims. The obligations contracted prior to the conversion
and at variance with Muslim Law could be rescinded.
As for the penalties imposed by the Commission set up to examine
violationsofthe law before the conversion,the latterdid not invalidatethem,the
application ofpenalties was still pursued.
Ifwhat precedes was valid for the mu 'ahidunwho enjoyed a legal status of
freedom, the Christian slave who turned convert to Islam could also see his
former situation change.Everything depended on the master for his conversion.
If this was the case,the legal situation of the slave did not change due to his
newly professed faith.However,ifthe master did not convert,the slave obtained
directly the status of freedom,for it was prohibited for a non-Muslimto have a
Muslim slave (41).

220
Discussion Questions

I. Enumerate the principle political and economic obligations of the


dhimmies under the authority of the Andalusian Muslims.

2. Elaborate the recognized rights of the dhimmies by the al-Andalus


authorities.

3. Comment on the judicial relations between the dhimmies and the


Muslims.

4.How does Islamic jurisprudence today deal with the human rights of
Muslim citizens and foreignersin various countries,and is if related to
the basic principles of Islamicjurisprudence ?

5. The policy of tolerance and coexistence towards ah1a1 dhimmawas


unprecedented at this time and rarely found in other nations. Discuss
contemporary international norms regarding occupation of other
countries,in particular the UN Charter on self-determination,the UN
trusteeship system utilized to tutor former colonies toward
independence and the 4th Geneva Conventions of 1949 regarding the
protection of the civilian population.How do these principles relate to
occupation policies in Palestine and Iraq? Discuss also the
international support mechanisms for the reconstruction in Bosnia,
Kosovo and Afghanistan.

References: The Charter of the United Nations; The International


Committee of the Red Cross,TheGeneva Conventions of 12 August
1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
Section 111, Articles 47-78on Occupied Territories.Geneva,1949.See
also the protocols.

22 1
222
14-Political and Administrative Exchanges
by
Maria-JesusViguera

1 - Antecedents:
W e can understand the political and administrative situation ofal-Andalusby
looking into the historical antecedents which were produced in the region that
extended from Persia to the Atlantic,governed by a Muslim state before the year
711. In all these regionsofthe Muslim state,which were ruled under the Umayyad
Caliphate with its capital Damascus, the indigenous population was able to
maintain their religion,iftheir religionhad a sacredbook,suchasthe Bible.As such
Christiansand Jews were able to keep their faith ifthey so desired.Similarly,they
could keep their administrative structures,while being at the same time subjugated
to the Muslim state under conditionswhich are explained further in the article (1).
In all the territories governed by a Muslim state,with the exception ofthe
Holy Places in Islam,the survivalofthe Christian and Jewish communitiessince
the Middle Ages is a facttheoretically and historically established.Indeed,it has
been possible from a political,judicial and administrativepoint of view and is
historically certified in a number of cases.It depended on a number of factors
which permitted these casesto exist.The factthat Christians and Jews coexisted
in al-Andalusas they did in the Orient and in Baghdad,during the period studied
from the gth to the 13" century, is well established in a magnificent book
published recently (2). Concerning the coexistence of Christians, Jews and
Muslims in a specific territory governed by a Muslim state, it is important to
establish the percentage ofthe population and their evolution.However,this is
very difficult as are all demographic studies during the medieval period.
W e shall look briefly into the case of North Africa where the number of
Christians diminished more rapidly than in al-Andalus.In the Maghreb,Christian
communities seem to have completely diminished inside Islam between the loth
and the I lth centuries,as observed by C.J.Speel.H e explainsthis phenomena (3)
that while their presence seemed previously almost unreal(4), nevertheless,some
Christians were reintroducedfrom outside starting from the beginning ofthe 12th
century,when the Almoravids deported on one hand,from the Maghreb a portion
ofal-AndalusChristians and on the other hand,used Christian militias (5). I refer

223
to this fact because it seems important to emphasize that Christianity and Judaism
in al-Andaluswere subject to a gradual diminishing of population.Although,it
seems that their conditions and organization of their life gave them a resistance
capacity far superior to other communities in the Maghreb and less than the other
Muslim regions.This is an evaluation of the Islamizationprocess in al-Andalus,
whereby the numerical increase of Muslims corresponded to the decrease in the
number of Christians and Jews,as proposed by Richard W.Bulliet in his book
Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period:An Essay in Quantitative History (6).
He noted the following percentages: the Muslims constituted 10% of the
population of al-Andalusin the middle of the gth century.They became 20% a
century later,50% in the middle of the 10" century,and 80% in the beginning of
the 1lth century,and finally more than 90% as ofthe end of the 12thcentury.
It is true that the calculations of Bulliet have been criticized by Mikel de
Epalza who notes that "the extrapolation infers that a largely Christian
population existed during the first three centuries of the history of Muslim al-
Andalus (8th-10" centuries), with a huge conversion process practically
unknown.W e can strongly assume,that since there are practically no Christians
during the period of the Almohads (12th-13thcenturies), Bulliet has tried to
quanti@ the Islamizationprocess,or conversion to Islam based on a very fragile
source of information (using the name of Christian families in the biographical
collections) and religious principles (particular individual or personal
conversion) which did not take into account the religious legislation ofIslam and
medieval Christianity. Our extrapolation is radically restrictive:the majority of
the population in al-Andalushad already lost its Christian status starting from
the 8" century for judicial reasons.The existence and the origin of Christians
which may appear in the historical sources have to be proven and not assumed".
It is a different question to envisage the issue of exchanges between Muslims,
Jews and Christians in al-Andalusfrom a perspective of absolute majority for Islam
since its origins, from the beginning of the 8th century as proposed by Mikel de
Epalza,or from the perspective where the majority of the population remain non-
Muslim until the middle ofthe 10th century.I am more inclined to follow the second
argument and position,given the fact ofwhat the sources inform us about Christians
and Jews in al-Andalus.However,the observationsmade by Mikel de Epalza have
the merit of reminding us to critically judge excessive traditional opinions. W e
should elaborate theoretically the fact that a Muslim majority as ofthe VI11 century
could have led to a cultural symbiosiswithout a religious label,particularly between
the Latin and Arab culture. While, the existence of a Muslim minority until the
second half of the tenth century signifies that the cultural symbiosis, the "

224
exchangeswere produced with a religious label.I am inclined to take the second
position simply because something existed in one of the three spheres of contact
which interested the others.The what,thehow,the whenand the why.I shall
attempt to define the exchanges in the political and administrative domains.
Another fact should be mentioned.Neither in number,nor in status, was there
equality between Christians and Jews in Visigothic Spain before the advent of a
Muslim State in the Iberian Peninsula. On one hand, Christian Catholicism
constituted the official religion adopted by the monarch and followed by the
Visigoths (8). The minority population was estimated to be 300.000persons at the
beginning ofthe 8thcentury,while the Catholics formed the rest ofthe population
ofthe lberian Peninsula.Their total number is estimated to be around 3.000.000(9).
On the otherhand we can count tens ofthousands Jews that lived a difficult social,
judicial, economic and cultural situation (10). They were persecuted by the
Visigothic legislationwhich aimed at eliminating them either by forcing them into
exile or by conversion (1 1). Consequently,the Jews of Spain received the Muslims
as saviours and collaborated with them in the setting up of their state.Arabic
chronicles have kept examples of the assistance given by Jews to Muslim
occupation in diverse localities,where they constituted,fiom the beginning,joint
garrisons (12). Therefore,the Jews were favourably considered by the Muslim
amirs, despite interference in the economic field as indicated in the Mozamb
Chronicle of 754 (13). Moreover, under the Umayyads and even under certain
taifakings until the eruption of the first conflicts,the al-AndalusJews,benefited
fiom this favourable situation between the 8th and the llth century.They enjoyed
a long period ofpeace extraordinary in the annals ofthe Diaspora (1 4). They were
able to reorganizetheir religious,judicial and cultural life.As the Jews did not have
under pre-Muslim Spain a political-administrativeorganization at the state level,
and despite their initial collaboration with the Muslim state of al-Andalus,they did
not directly contribute to the political and administrativedomains.
The case of Spanish Christians was different.There were among them those
who opposed and others who collaborated with the Muslim conquerors and in the
establishment of al-Andalus state. However, as they already had a political-
administrative operational activity,we may consider that this was a precedentin
this field (15). W e shall see in the case of qumis Artobas, son of Witiza some
administrativeparallels,to that ofpraetor urbanus and sahib al-madina,as well as
the remaining geographic-administrativedivision of Constantine in al-Andalus.
The predominant political-administrativesystem in al-Andaluswas the Arab-
Muslim system at the state level.However,there was a period of transitionsince
the sth century, where the Mozarab presence and the muwallad influence is

225
noticeable and during which the pre-Muslimpast ofal-Andalusis manifested in a
certain way, difficult to determine with exactitude. Similarly,this influence is
manifested in the transitioncurrency,with legends in Latin,although one should
observe that it lasted only severalyears and that their numismatic system was not
thatofthe Visigothic.But,it contained inscriptionssuchas Non Deo similis alius
(Nothing else is similarto God), or FeritosSolidus in Spania Anno XCVII(717
B.C.)(16). During their short duration, between 710 and 720, this bilingual
currency is proofofthe existence ofa political-administrativecontact.

-
2 The Muslim Conauest of Al-Andalus: Political-AdministrativeFeatures
and Relations between the Population:
Muslims spread rapidly in the Iberian Peninsula. They by-passed the
Pyrenees,perhaps as of 715,since Charles Pellat accepts this date as the first
arrival ofMuslims in Narbonne (1 7). Muslims offered the native population the
alternative between converting to Islam,and in so doing becoming members
with full rights in the Muslim state,or paying a capitulationtax calledjizya (IS),
and keeping their religion, their authority and their property and becoming
protectedsubjects (ahl-al-dhimma)in the Muslim state.As such they had
special judicial conditions, which constituted and represented a special legal
status different from others,which is not the task ofthis paper (19).
The Muslim state applied its administrationinthe IberianPeninsulain two ways.
They placed in certain areasArabs and Berbers,where the great majority ofthe native
population remained.In other areas,the Muslim state exercised its power in an indirect
manner,suchasthecase inthemountainsand farawaynorthernregions,until itbecame
hlly independentin the middle ofthe 8 centmy.The Muslim state succeeded due to
its garrisons on which we possess little information,and maintained control from a
distance, which was materialized by the payments of tributes,without setting up a
political-administrationofthe al-Andalusstate.A passage by Ibn Muzayn commented,
we shall leave the rest ofthe Christiansofthe North in peace,who are living in these
strongcastlesand high mountains in exchangefortheirpayments oftributes(20).
But the Muslim state occupied the greatestpart ofthe territory ofthe Peninsula
and settled directly following a military action or a treaty by force or by a peace
agreement (sulha). There were battles and resistance but the majority of the
territory of the Peninsula capitulated or surrendered. The case of Huesca is
mentioned by the chronicler and geographer ofthe 11th century,al-Udri: when
the Muslims entered al-Andalusand advanced towards the northern frontiers,a
party ofArabs stopped at Huesca and camped before its walls. From there,they
went to a place known today under the name of al-Askar,Angascara, the

226
encampment.It was so named because they were established in this place.They
besieged Huesca whose inhabitants were Christians and built houses around the
city. They planted vegetables and grain in order to ensure their subsistence and
continued living as such for sevenyears,while the inhabitants ofHuesca remained
besieged in the old Alcazba.When the situationofthe besieged became intolerable
they went to encounter the Arabs, requesting the aman for themselves, their
children and their property.Those who convertedto Islam remained masters oftheir
property, their privileges and their freedom. But those who persisted in their
Christian faith had to pay the poll tax (21). The compiler,al-Maqqariconfirmed in
a global assessmentand said,God has inspired fear in the hearts ofinfidelsand no
one went to encounter the Muslims, unless it was to demand peace (22). This
concord with the Christiansknown as Cronica Mozarabe of754 statesthat in this
manner panic being planted everywhere, the number of cities that remained,
solicited peace immediately and obliging and smiling, not without guile, the
Christianswere granted the solicited conditions(23).
In this type of capitulation,the natives kept their property in exchange for
accomplishingthese solicited conditions,as they did with the Teodemirospact that
we shall come back to.If,on the contrary,the Muslimswon by force ofarms,Muslim
jurisprudence distinguished between a furnished or unhished housing property.
The first type was distributed as spoils ofwar between the members of the army,a
fifth ofthis looting was reserved to the State,while the unhished houses became
an indivisibleand inalienableproperty ofthe Muslim community.It seemed that the
law was not always respected. During the 11 century, the legalist Ibn Hazm
complained of illegalities taking place never in al-Andaluswe have reserved the
fifth part (land conquered by the state) nor divided the war spoils(in conformity with
the legal norms of the Koran). On the contrary,the practiced norm was that each
person appropriated what fell in his hands(24).This sentenceindicatedhow difficult
it isto know the modalitiesby which the land in al-Andaluswas divided between the
nativesand the immigrants,theArabs and the Berbers.Apparently landsinthe Iberian
Peninsula which became property of the Muslim community,meaning the Muslim
state,the state retained the natives so that they could develop a farming culture and
pay land revenue.These farmerswere called al-ajmasand their descendants Banu
al- ajmas (24bis). The land which was conquered by the arms must have been less
extensive than the one taken by capitulationand consequently non appropriated.

3 - The Maior Pacts


The known pacts inform us about the relationship ofthe Muslim state to its
subjects in al-Andalus.There are two different types. One pact was concluded

227
between important Christian personalities and the Muslims, proposed and
accepted by both parties voluntarily.The other type of pact followed military
confrontationswhich resulted with an agreement.
W e have knowledge about two pacts of the first type. The first is the one
signed by the lord of Ceuta,Julian and the Muslims that several sourcesmention,
and one source indicates that it was signed before November 709,while Ibn
Khaldun said that Julian had capitulatedwhen Musa b.Nusayr approched Cueta,
Julian offered him presents and paid him tribute. In exchange Musa b. Nusayr
confirmed him as governor of Ceuta after taking hostages (25). The second pact
was established between the sons ofthe old Visigothic king,Witiza,and Tariq b.
Ziyad.IbnQutiya,descendant ofWitiza, who lived in Cordoba in the lothcentury,
compiled historical biographies (26), which indicated that the treaty was
concluded in July 711, on the eve of a decisive battle between the Visigothic King
Rodrigo and the Muslim army,which was aided in this encounter and in ulterior
campaignsby Witizaspartisans.The importance ofthistype ofpact is that thanks
to them, Christian lords who concluded such pacts were able to maintain a
fragment of their political and administrativepower, as well as their social and
economic role in the state ofal-Andalus.
W e have references ofmany agreementsheld from the second type,subsequent
to military confrontation,as well as the case ofHuesca,mentioned earlier. But we
know more or less,the content ofthree pacts.The first is the one established in
April-May 713 between Teodemiro,an important lord from the Levant Peninsula
and Abdal-Aziz,son ofthe conquering Musa b.Nusayr.This treaty constitutes a
very importanthistorical document (27)because it provides an understanding ofthe
political-administrativesituationofthe nativeswho were living underthe protected
status or (ah1al-dhimma),more or less identical to the situation applied in other
Muslim territories. (Notethe chapter by de Epalza for the text.)
As JuanVernet observesin commenting aboutTeodomirospact,the superior
authority remained in the hands ofthe Visigothic,although made in a contractual
manner, the authority depended in fact on the Muslims. This might have
humiliatedthe Visigoths as it entailed their fulfilmentofspecificobligations(28).
The information w e have on the content ofthe capitulation ofMerida (June
713) and Caracassonne (725) is much briefer. The people of Merida sought
peace after being subjected to a siege that lasted several months.They obtained
the permission to keep their property,but had to give to Muslims the churches
property,the possessions of fugitives who fled Galicia,and all the goods and
treasures of those who fell dead in an ambush during the siege. Carcassonne

228
concluded with the Muslims that they will submit to the protected status (ah2 al-
dhimma) and keep their religion in exchange for delivering halfoftheir territory,
and paying the tribute as well other typical conditions (29).

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4 Orvanization of Christian Communities in AI-Andalus
As had been agreed in the treaty signed between the Muslim state and the
natives,the latter kept in different cases,their religion and their administrative
organizations (30) and inside their community,they continued to observe the
Fuero Juzco (Lex Gothorum, or Forum Judicum). The direction of these
communities, at least in the most important and better known cases, was
confided to a qumis, (Arabization ofcomes), a title that was held at the time of
the Visigoths, for all the civil servants of the state,as noted by Francesco
Simonet who adds that, counts were, undoubtedly,assisted by lower ranking
magistrates who exercised their profession in towns,under their leadership and
authority. In villages, counts maintained their authority through their delegates
in all the various civil functions,administrative,economic and judicial.These
civil servants,were largely disguised in history under Arabic names,such as the
vicario,or the Pasteur,the judge,called in Latinjudex and in Arabic alcaldi (al-
qadi),or in Castillian language alcade. The chief of police was called in Latin
praetor urbanus and in Arabic sahib-al-madina,or the prefect of the town,in
old Castillian language known as the zavalmedina,the accountant,or the finance
manager (praefectusaerariz), known in Arabic as alm6xarif(al-mushriJl, and in
Castillian language as almoxarife.The weight and measurements controller was
called in Arabic almohtasib (al-muhtasib), and in old Castillian language
almotaceb. It is called today almotackn or alamin (al-amin). These names
passed to the Romance language without any alteration. The expert,meaning
alarif(al-arq),or the controller,the inspector,the construction expert, the
architect,alarife,as we still call them today.
The comes,or the governor ofa city,was known in certain places under the
name of praepositus, but both names were eclipsed by the Arabic names of
alcadi,or alcalde,aluazir,or alguacit (3 1).
In Cordoba,capital ofal-Andalus,the three major prosecutorsofthe Christians
were the comes, the censor and the exceptor, designated by the Muslim state
following names given by the Christians,or by a proper initiativeof the state.
The role of the comes (qumis) consisted of directing the civil affairs of the
community.The first ofthese comes was Artobas from Cordoba,son ofWitiza.W e
have earlier mentioned his collaboration in the settlementofMuslims in al-Andalus.

229
ThiscollaborationprofitedArtobhs,his brothers and other followersofWitiza.They
were able to own property and enjoy a high position in the state of al-Andalus.
Certainpolitical and administrativeexchanges resulted from their activities.This is
how Artobas was able to advise the Amir Abu-1-Jattar(743-745)concerning the
settlement ofArab tribes who came with Baljto the IberianPeninsula,as related in
a passage by Ibn Hayyan and conserved by Ibn al-Khatib.He was designated as
comes of al-Andalusand chief of the protected Christians(32). Other comes from
Cordoba had a great importance in the administrative state of al-Andalussuch as
Romano Rabi,son ofTheodulfand others (33).
The censor (34) was charged to deal with internal legislative affairs of the
Christian community.As for local government control,it was supervised by the
Fuero Juzgo. All external affairs were administered in accordance with Muslim
legislationand the qadi. This is evident from the fatawasas shown in the contentof
Kitab al-Miyar al-mugribwa-l-jamial-murib anfatawi ah1 IJFiqiyawa-1-Andalus
wa-1-Mugribof al-Wansarisi.He mentions one case that took place in al-Andalus
which we can date back to the 9* centuryabout a Christian girl whose father had
converted to Islam and whose mother was a Christian. The mother reared her
daughter after the death ofher converted father,but meanwhile she had married a
Christian from whom shehad a child,twenty yearsago.The Christian girlwas taken
to the qadi and explained that her father,a Christian mercenary,had converted to
Islam in a differentplace from where she was currently living.After the death ofher
father,she lived with her mother and followed the Christian religion.According to
the testimony of her neighbours, the converted Christian was dead before his
daughter reached the age of nubility. The judgement was that she should be
considered as a Muslim,being a daughter of a Muslim, unless she could bring
forward a testimony which proves the contrary(35). Another case which we can
date to the loth century, ais that of the Cordoban jurists fuqaha? who were
consulted about a Christian who had poor morals and who frequented a Muslim
woman. The Christian disappeared afterwards,and the womans brother declared
that al-ajami(the Christian) called Said, had kidnapped his sister. Certain
witnesses declared that the suspected man was a man who enjoyed a good life and
had good morals,and that he maintained good relationswith the Muslims.The qadi
put him in prison for 510 days)) (36).
The censor,orjudex,is mentioned in Arabic sources of al-Andalusas the
qadi al-nasara,or the Christianjudge (37). The Tarijiftitah al-Andulus of Ibn
Qutiyya mentions a descendant of Witiza who exercised this profession in the
10th century (38). H e was known in Cordoba to be a very distinguished
personality because al-Maqqariwrote that under the Calife al-Hakam11, at the

230
end of the loth century, he was one of the greatest Christian personalities
protected in al-Andalus(39).
The collection of taxes owed by the Christians of al-Andaluswas the task of
the exceptor who would immediately give them to the Muslim State. Simonet
wrote:this was extended to property ownership taxes,or the haraj,and collecting
other forms of poll tax or jizya, which was directly and personally paid to the
Muslim treasury (40). Simonet cites also the name of Alvaro de Cordoba in his
Indiculo luminosus of this charge,with the designation of the one who exercised
this profession as publican0 (synonym of almoxrz>. However,Arabic texts gave
the name of mustahrig al-harag,and indicated that the task was given to Artobas,
one ofthe sons ofWitiza (41),who occupied also the post of a comes.
Apart fiom these three civil magistrates,the Christians of al-Andaluspossessed
an ecclesiastical organization with archbishops(mapads),such as the one in Toledo,
whose metropolitan headquarterswas governed by apartisan ofWitiza,called Oppas.
Bishops and clerics carried out the ecclesiastic organization following the escape of
prelate Sinderedo to Rome a little after the Muslim conquest,according to sporadic
Arab sources(42). Simonetpoints outthat the survivalofdioceses situated in Muslim
territories was more or less assured and particularly those whose headquarters were
located in metropolitan cities such as Toledo,Emerita (Merida), Hispalis (Seville),
and those diocese whose Episcopal headquarters were in Acci (Guadix), Aracavica
(which is today the current province of Cuenta), Asidonia (Madina Sidonia), Astigi
(Ecija), Barcimona (Barcelona), Basti (Baza),Beacia (Baeza), Bigastro (transferred
later to Carthagena), Calahorra, Cauria (Coria), Cesarea Augusta (Saragossa),
Cumpluto (Alcala de Henares), Conimbrica (CoYmbra), Cordoba,Egabro (Cabra),
Elepla (Niebla), Elberri (Granada), Gerunda(GBrone), Ilici (Elche), Malaga,Urgello
(Urgel), Oxoma (Osma), Segia (Exea), Seguncia (Siguenza), Tucci (Martos),Urci
(near Almeria), and perhaps also Italica and Valencia (43). It is obvious that if we
present things as such,it would pose the problem ofthe duration of all the different
sieges and how long each city remained an integral part ofal-Andalus.W e know for
examplethat GBronebecame independentofthe Muslim State as of785,and we have
no data on the continuity ofother sieges and whether they remained occupied or not
until the Christian conquest (44).
Although we do not have much informationon the Christian organizationsin al-
Andalus,sourcestestify to the collaboration ofbishops with the Muslim State.Abd
al-Rahman11, sent in 941,the bishops of Seville,Pechina and Elvira to obtain fiom
Ramiro 11, King of Leon,the liberation of Muhammad al-Tugihi,lord of Saragossa,
after the battle of Simancas,an objective that the bishops were able to accomplish

23 1
with success (45). In 955,the Bishop Recemundo,a native ofCordoba,who was in
charge ofthe Episcopal headquarters ofElvira,acted as ambassadorseveral times on
behalf of the caliphate court and in different cultural enterprises organized together
with the Muslims (46).Arabic sourcesmention him as Rabib. Zayd,and among the
many works he has published is the Latin part ofthe Cordoba calendar in 961 which
offers a precious witness to Muslim-Christiancoexistence (47).
It seems normal in this situation of conviviality (convivencia) between
Christians and Muslims in al-Andalusthat cultural encounters took place and at
the same time the phenomenon of collaboration in the political field as well as
in the administrative domain occurred. Simonet affirms that , W e believe,
without our ability to show in details, due to lack of documents, that the
Visigothic municipal organization, borrowed or imitated from Rome, was
conserved in all the towns and localities that fell under Muslim domination in al-
Andalus, even its municipal assemblies (ayuntamientos) and its various
magistrates,civil as well asjudicial order.He adds that the Mozarabs kept their
Roman-Gothicmunicipality and translated into Arabic the Latin names of their
magistrates (48). J. Vallvt5 has emphasized the coincidence in some cases of the
administrative charges in al-Andalusand its Latin origin (49).
Another aspect where the Roman and the Visigothic past ofthe Peninsula is
present in a certain manner in al-Andalusis referred to in references made by al-
Andalus geographers, such as al-Udriand al-Bakri,in the llth century and
afterwards based on the alleged
geographic division of Constantine (50). Although we cannot be more
precise today about its utilization,these geographers continued to look at the
organization of the Iberian Peninsula in accordance with its political,
geographical and administrative division.

5 - The Owanization of the Jewish Communities in AI-Andalus


W e possess fewer facts on the Jewish communities in al-Andaluscompared
with available information on the Christians (51). The Jews loyal to their faith
found themselves in the same situation as the protected people (ahl al-
dhimma). Each group designated his authority which he represented before the
al-Andalusstate,in a manner analogousto the Mozarabs comes.The synagogue,
constituted the most visible and symbolic element of each community (52).
W e have sporadic references to administrative responsibilities held by the
Jews in al-Andalus.One ofthese is nagid which according to Ibrahim b.Dawud
was given to the powerful Vizier of the taifaof Granada,Samuel b.Nagralla in

232
1027 (53). Yet,A.Sanei-Badillosand J. Tarragona note that these dates are not
very reliable and add that the title was used in a non-systematicway by the
Jewish communities in various regions,starting with,it seems,in Kairawan in
the first quarter of the lothcentury.In all probability,it seems that Hai Gaon,
had accorded Samuel b.Nagralla this title. However,it does not seem that this
title was maintained in al-Andalusafter the death of Jehuda b. Nagralla, who
held equally this title. The title was also used in Egypt as of the middle of the
lothcentury and was kept for hundreds ofyears.It meant in Egypt however the
representation of communities before the civil power and seems to have had a
sociological,economic and religious significance at the time,although the one
who had such a title had lesser weight than the rabbinate academic chiefs(54).
The Rabbis constituted the axe of lifeof the Jewish communities,while a
judge (55) focused on internal legal questions,judging community affairs between
Jews.However,the Muslim qadi intervened in all issues that bypassed the affairs
of the Jewish community.And so it appears in the Kitab al-Miyar by al-Wansarisi
that the counselofjuristsin Cordobawere consulted and approved the destruction
of a synagogue built in Cordoba in application of the tributary principle that
governed Christians or Jews and which stipulated that they cannot construct their
temples in Muslim cities,and amidst Muslims.This took place between the gthand
the 1 Ofh centuries. The Muslim fuqaha in al-Andalus,put forward in the loth
century,a legal opinion in favour of a Jew accused by a Muslim ofnot paying him
the price of a cloth that he bought from him. The Jew confirmed that he was a
commissioner (simsar),and had received the order to sell the piece of cloth.After
having sold it, he gave the price to the Muslim, who received his retribution.In
accordance with the Malikite rite,the judge gave reason to the Jew who made an
oath.At times,when Jews quarrelled with each other,they took their case before
the Muslim judge instead of appealing to their religious authorities (56).

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6 Distinpuished Jewish Personalities in the Political and Administrative
Life of Al-Andalus
Although the exercise of public responsibilities in a Muslim State was
contrary to the letter and to the spirit ofthe protected status (ah1al-dhimma)which
regulated the lives of Jews and Christians in al-Andalus,members of both
communities did in fact exercise public functions and at times of great
importance(57). Similarly,they exercised such functions in the rest ofthe Muslim
World,which provoked at times reactions on the part ofMuslim subjects (58).
The first ofthe al-AndalusJews who collected the fruits ofthis long period
of peace and positive situation for the past two centuries and who distinguished

233
himselfin the Umayyad court,during the time ofthe Caliph 'Abd al-Rahman111,
was Hasday b. Shaprut, a medical doctor, a secretary,an ambassador to the
Caliph in 940 to Barcelona and other Catalan earldoms,and then in Leon and
finally in Navarra.H e also occupied the position of customs'director (59).
At the time of al-Mansur, Jacob and Joseph Ibn Jaw distinguished
themselves by holding the position of levying taxes from their community.(60).
The civilwar and the fragmentationofal-Andalusin the ta 'fakingdomsbrought
to the forefrontofpublic lifea certainnumber ofJewswho becameviziers.InAlmeria,
it was the case of a Jew whose name was not recorded (61). In Saragossathe vizier
was Hasday b.Yusufb.Hasday (62).Yequtiel is another Jewish personality cited as
being a courtier(a person attached to the court). In addition,the ta 'fa ofSeville had
Abraham b.Meir b. Ezra working as an important civil servant in the service of the
smallkingdom of King al-Mu'tamid (64).Albarracinis perhaps anotherJewishvizier
duringthe ta'faperiod (65).Nevertheless,thetwo most importantJewishpersonalities
were Samuel b. Nagralla and his son Jehuda, who both became Viziers during the
ta'$a ofGranada.Furthermore,they both had thetitle ofnagid,as was indicated earlier
(66)and thus became the agentsof all Granadine politics with the compliance ofthe
small Berber kingdom of King Badis,as ofthe loth century.However,the Muslim
subjectsofthe ta'fakingdomrebelled in 1066 againstJehuda,the sonofSamuel,who
died in 1056.As a result,thousandsofJewsdied and theirexact number is impossible
to define.The riots were aroused by the hostility ofthe&qaha 'and particularly by the
poetAbu IshaqdeElvira,who in a lengthy poem,developedpointby pointthemotives
for his enmity towards the Jewish minister and his people, and the preferential
treatment manifested towards them by the small sovereignofGranada.Nevertheless,
the Jews continued to obtain from time to the, high positions in certain Muslim
courts,thatwere generally due to their medical knowledge(67).

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7 Distinmished Christians in the Political and Administrative Life ofAl-Andalus
W e have already mentioned certain comes and bishops in al-Andaluswho had
played a role in the politicaland administrative domain intheMuslim State.During
the 1 lth century,the ta 'fa Kings followed an exceptionalpolicy and employed in
the court of Saragossa,at the time ofthe sovereign King al-Muqtadir,a Christian
vizier called Abu 'Umar b. Gundisalvus,of whom we know little (68). W e even
know lessabout the Christianwho was chosenas the new vizier forthe King Badis
ofGranada,followingthe death ofJehudab.Nagrallain 1066.Thispersonality was
attacked in poetic verses by Halaf b. Farj al-Ilbiri (69). With the increase of
Christian power in the northernstatesofthe Peninsula,the Christiansofal-Andalus
disappeared in al-Andalusby the end ofthe 1 lth century (70).

234
Discussion Questions

I. Whatsocio-politicalfactors encouraged the widespread acceptance of


the Muslim alternative offer? (eitherconverting to Islam and having full
rights,or paying the capitulation tax (jizia)and keeping their religion
and becoming 'protectedpeoples' ah1 a1 dhimma.)

2. Do research on the acquisition of land, which the author and de


Epalza note was generally acquired through agreement.

3. Describe the role of the governor (comes),the censor (nasara),the


exceptor (tax collector).

4.Elaborate the work of Yusuf Ibn Hasday and Samuel b. Nagralla.

5. In contemporary timesmediators are present in internationalinstitutions,


enterprises, public services, educationalinstitutions,labour unions and
so on. You may wish to study the qualities of a mediator or negotiator
and establish the office of mediator in your community and/or
educationalinstitution or place of work.

235
236
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15 Economic Production and Commercial Exchange
in Al-Andalus during the Ta'ifa Period (11th century)

by
Muhammad Benaboud

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1 Introduction
The cultural symbiosis in al-Andalus reflects the contribution of the
Muslims,Christians and Jews to global civilization.The cultural contribution of
the Muslims was obviously most important in terms of its quantity, quality,
range, depth and originality. However,the contribution of the Christians and
Jews in al-Andaluswas also significant.This contribution of the three religions
in al-Andalus was impressive if we compare it with that of other medieval
societies.W e can also be impressed by this contribution if we rely on modern
criteria and examine its tremendous impact over so many centuries in such a
wide geographicalrange.
It is significant that the Christian and Jewish communities flourished in al-
Andalus under different Muslim political regimes.During the ta '$a period they
flourished under a multiplicity of political regimes. Christian or Jewish
administrators, ambassadors and ministers occupied prominent places in the
courts of such ta'ifa states as Seville and Granada.
The cultural symbiosis in al-Andalusreflects the plurality of society in al-
Andalus in a manner that stands out in the medieval historical context. The
generally tolerant and just attitude ofthe ruling Muslims towards their Christian
and Jewish subjects in al-Andalusis clear in various sources including literary,
legal,political and historical references. The interaction of the three religions
flourished in a culture where the Arabic language served as the predominant
vehicle of expression in a variety of fieldsranging from the religious sciencesto
literature and medicine.This symbiosis is expressed most clearly in such fields
as literature in the context of which it is easier to reconstruct its artistic and
ideological expression.
It is significant that this symbiosis was also felt in all spheres of life
includingthe economic sector.Rather than an expression of this symbiosis,the
economic dimension should be considered as part of the social background in

237
which it developed and flourished.The nature ofthe economy in al-Andaluswas
urban. This was not the case throughout the history of al-Andalus,but it stood
out during the eleventh century.By examining different aspects ofthis economy,
ill be possible to produce a clearer picture of it. It is also important to
it w
reconstruct economic aspects that reflect historical reality to the greatest extent.
At times this may lead to a deviation from the theoretical notion of cultural
symbiosis.Yet reality,particularly in its economic context,was sometimesharsh
and inhuman to the members of all three religions.What is fascinating about the
cultural symbiosis in al-Andalus is that it continued to exist in spite of the
gigantic obstacles it faced.
During the period of the ta fa states,economic production and commercial
exchange in al-Andalusconstituted the backbone of the al-Andaluseconomy.
The examination of these two themes illustrates an extremely complex and
diverse economy. Yet most people overlook the fact that its complexity and
diversity reflect the unique character of al-Andalussociety.The human element
is often overlooked.
The ta fa period was not a period of stability,prosperity or confidence in
the sense of the period of the Banu Umayyad Caliphate. However,it is hardly
possible to study any ofthe numerous aspects ofthe al-Andaluseconomy during
the eleventh century without encountering the peaceful coexistence and
economic collaborationofits different ethnic and religious elements and conflict
and violence at other times.Economic motives,among others,were often behind
this relationship.
The mutual confidence of the three heavenlyreligions (ad-dijyanatas-
sarnawijya) is omnipresent in almost every aspect of economic production and
commercial exchange and in economic life in general. The extreme wealth of
certain al-AndalusMuslims ofthe 1 lth century was also shared by some Christians
and Jews.For example,Ibn Bassam depicts the extravagant life style in the house
of a wealthy Jew in Barbastro following its devastation in 1064 (1). However,he
does not give us the details ofhow the new Jewish owner occupied this house with
all its belongings.The Jewsluxuriousway of life is comparableto that ofmany of
his Muslim al-Andaluscontemporary figures. The previous al-AndalusMuslim
master ofthe house was replaced by its new Jewish owner who also possessed the
previous owners slave girls whom he ordered to entertain his guests while they
enjoyed their meal (2). The great wealth ofthe Jewish ministers Samuel b.Nagralla
and his son Jehuda b. Nagralla, their extravagant life styles, their political and
economic power in the tu@ state of Granada, and their refined Arabic culture
illustrate an unprecedented level ofreligious tolerance and coexistence (3).

238
Yet this religious coexistence does not exclude the level of violence and
social unrest that characteriiedthis period.In the market place of Seville where
al-AndalusMuslims, Jews and Christians coexisted peacefully as a rule,some
clashes did exist between al-AndalusMuslims and Jews.An al-AndalusMuslim
was imprisoned when he assaulted a Jew whom he accused of insulting the
Prophet,in spite of the protest of the populace known as the amma (4). The
powers of the sahib al-madina in cities like Seville or Cordoba were extensive
(5). This important post was sometimes occupied by Christians during the Banu
Umayyad period (6).During the ta ifaperiod,some ofthe functions which were
occupied by the sahib al-madina,like financial administration or tax extraction,
were performed by Christians or Jews. In some cases,the latter performed their
functions more efficiently than their Muslim counterparts (7).
Certain taifarulers like al-Mutamid billah of Seville, Abd Allah b.
Buluggin of Granada or Yahya Ibn al-Aftasof Badajoz,and powerful ministers
like Ibn Ammar,did not hesitate to bargain with Christian kings likeAlfonso VI
over the amounts of tribute money that was imposed on them. They did not
hesitate to rely on mercenaries against other ta ifarulers (8).
However, economic relations between the members of the three religions
were not always peaceful and this inevitably affected both economic production
and commercial exchange. Like their Muslim counterparts,the Jews suffered
from the excessive fiscal policy of the taifarulers. For example,this was the
main cause of the rebellion of the Jewish town of Lucena against AbdAllah b.
Buluggin of Granada (9).
In other ta fa states like Valencia,the same violence that was used to extract
taxes from the al-AndalusMuslim inhabitants was also employed to extract taxes
from Christians and Jews (10).The Jewish minister ofGranada,Jehuda b.Nagralla,
was lynched by an angry mob mainly because ofhis political and economic abuses.
His father,Samuel b.Nagrallashatred for many of the tu fab rulers and military
commanders is clearly expressed in his war poems,and it is significant that he
participated in several battles against such ta ifastates as Seville (1039)(1 l), Lorca
(1042)(12),Ronda (1047(13), or Malaga (1056)(14).Despite the military tone of
these poems, Samuel b.Nagralla fought for the tu faruler of Granada.
It is perhaps equally important to observe that relations between the
Muslims and Christians were not always peacefid at the official level.Alfonso
VISeconomic policy towards the taifarulers consisted in extracting annual
tribute money from them with the final object of conquering them (15). The
implementationofthis policy often resulted in great destructionand devastation

239
(16). However,it is worth emphasizing that there were no ethnic or religious
boundaries in both the circumstances of coexistence nor conflict in the
contradictory period of the ta fa states.It is important to observe that religious
coexistence continued despite the general economic decline of the period.
It is not possible to reconstruct a model ofeconomic activities in 11 century
al-Andalusor of the different religious elements of society without exploiting
new historical material. The recent exploitation of new types of sources by
modern historians has shed a new light on several aspects of the economy in al-
Andalus (1 7),but there still exist large numbers ofhitherto unexploited published
and unpublished sources which stand out for their variety and rich information.
The evaluation of the primary historical sources is fundamental for the
appreciation ofthe real nature of the economy in al-Andalus.
It is not an exaggerationto statethatnone ofthe existing sourceshas been fully
exploited for economic history.Much of the economic material which is used in
this chapter has never been exploited by modern historians of al-Andalus.It is
equally significant to stress that these sources are extremely rich,and that they are
in some cases unique. They include histories like Ibn Hajjans Kitab al-Matin,
geographicalworks such as al-BakrisKitab al-Masalikwa-1-Mamalik, biographies
like AbdAllah b.BulugginsKitab al-Tibyan andjuridical works like Ibn al-Hajjs
Nawazil (compilation ofjuridical decrees of a social and economic character).
This last work deserves a particular commentary,not only because it is still
in the form of a manuscript, but also because of its unique features from the
social historians point of view,such as its rich economic material for studying
the period.It contains decrees of a social and economic nature by many of the
most distinguished contemporaryfuqaha such as Abu-1-WalidSulaymanal-Baji
and Abu Umarb. Abd al-Barr.These decrees further stand out in that they
contain economic information of great precision on fundamental aspects of
economic production and commercial exchange in al-Andalus.
However, the abundance and great value of the economic sources is
illustrated by the fact that a faqih like Ibn Hazm, who would normally not be
considered as an economic source,has written some of the sharpest and most
profound criticism of the economic conditions and developments of the ta fa
period (1 8). Severalproblems confi-ontthe historian when relying on his sources
for economic history.Perhapsthe most common obstacle is that he assumes that
these sources do not exist before actually looking for them and does not make
the effort to veri@ his assumption.He also judges and categorizes them without
having studied them attentively. The object of evaluating economic sources

240
resides in an attempt to determine their historicity. In our case this simply
implies the necessity to relate them to 1 Ith century al-Andalusand to determine
their value for studying its economy.
The problems vary greatly from one source to another.For example,while
the economic informationwhich is found in Ibn HayyansKitab al-Matin,or Ibn
Bassams work, is easy to relate to the period, different techniques have to be
used when dating the decrees (nawazilj.These include identifling the dates of
the faqih who issued the decree or the individuals who were mentioned, or the
references to known events.It is also necessary to relate the decree to a specific
place in al-Andalusbefore relying on it ifthe latter is not mentioned.
The problems related to the evaluation ofsourcesfor economic history are part
ofthose related to the evaluation ofhistorical sources for the period generally.The
special interest in the economic history of the taifaperiod is part of the recent
attention which historians have shown for both the history ofthe period and that of
al-Andalusgenerally.It is consequently necessary to study the themes of economic
production and economic developmentin al-Andalusduring the period ofthe ta ifa
states more profoundly as a means of increasing our understanding of al-Andalus.

2 - Economic Production
The rich and abundant resources in al-Andalusconstituted one of the most
important causes of the high level of its economic production and dynamic
commercial activities. These resources were further characterised by their
variety.Agricultural resources were particularly significant and the development
of irrigation and other techniques increased their production. Some of the most
fertile areas, like those in the Algawe in the taifastate of Seville or those in
sharq al-Andalus in the taifastate of Valencia were highly productive, but
agricultural activities did not exclude less attractive mountainous regions. The
agricultural resources in al-Andalus were unequalled by those in the
mountainous region of Northern Iberia and Morocco.
a - Atz-iculture.The significance of agricultural activities in ai-Andalusis
clearly expressed in the historical sources that have reached us from the period
itself. The geographical sources such as al-Bakris Kitab al-Masalik wa-1-
Mamalik and later sources like al-Maqqaridescribe the agricultural production
ofal-Andalusin detail.Al-Andaluswas a major producer ofnumerous fruits and
vegetables such as olives,almonds,pomegranates,plums and figs (19).
The agricultural treaties of the period such as Ibn BassalsKitab al-Filaha
also furnish us with information on the different plants, trees, and fruits which

241
were produced in al-Andalus (20). Geographical works furnish us with
information concerning the abundance of cereals in al-Andalusas an important
alimentary source.One geographer described al-Andalusas the land of cereals
(balad al-hubzib) (21). Other types of sources such as Al-Tighnari and Ibn
Abdunal-Tujibiagree that cereals constituted the basic alimentary source in al-
Andalus (22). Products were derived from plants such as scents and spices like
saffron (23). Certain regions like Tudmir or Algeciras were known as being
particularly productive in cereals (24). Transportationwas fastand efficient(25).
AI-Andaluswas also well known for its trees,and the numerous fruits that
it produced are a convincing example of their productivity. Some regions were
known for particular types of trees. For example, Malaga was known for its
almond and fig trees (26), Valencia for its figs and olive trees,while Cordoba
was renown for several kinds of trees.The references to trees in the nawazil in
different parts of al-Andalusillustrate the importance of trees.It was thanks to
the botanic gardens that the unique agricultural treaties ofthe 1 1th century were
produced. Tafakings in Seville,Cordoba,and Granada cultivated their gardens
with special care.The chapters reserved for trees in agricultural treaties of the
period like those of al-Tighnariand Ibn Bassal reflect their importance in al-
Andalus. Other products like cotton which was grown in Seville (27) and silk in
Saragossa were used for industrial purposes.
The information that we have on agriculture in 1 lth century al-Andalus is
very important,but a great part of it has not yet been studied.For example,the
edition and analysis of a number of llth century agricultural treaties will
contribute positively to our knowledgeofthe subject.However,what we already
know is quite impressive.The question of why agricultural production was so
important could be explained by the following factors :
1 - The agricultural heritage ofthe eleventh century was an importantfactor
in its promotion.Agricultural production was already highly developed during
the previous century in al-Andalus.
2 - Knowledge in the field of agriculture was highly developed during the
1lth century as is reflected in the agricultural treaties ofIbn Bassal,al-Tighnari,
Ibn Wafid and Ibn Hajjan (28). It was probably unequalled not only in the
equally productive Maghreb, where practice rather than theory or written
knowledge prevailed, but even in other parts of the Muslim world. The
neighbouring Christian kingdoms were not of a technologicallevel comparable
with al-Andalus.They had not yet developed a language with which to write an
agricultural treaty.

242
3 -Irrigation and other techniques were highly developed. The historical
sources describe vast cultivated areas which were not only exploited efficiently,
but inhabited as well. However,the legal sources like the nawazil refer to the
urban owners ofmany farms in the rural areas.Many ofthe ta'ifarulers owned
large estates such as the ta'ifarulers of Seville,Granada or Valencia.
4 - The interest of many of the ta'ifarulers in agricultural activities is
reflected in their particular interest in the cultivation ofgardens,some ofwhich
inspired the most refined poetry of the period and stimulated the production of
important agricultural treaties.
5 - The agricultural production ofthe 11th century was made possible by the
existence of important urban centres in al-Andaluslike Valencia, Cordoba and
Seville, which furnished the necessary markets for commercializing the
agricultural products, as well as an important transportation network which
included maritime transportation by sea and rivers.
b - Industw.It is not possible to study economic production in al-Andalus
outside of the urban context. The cities formed the nucleus of the al-Andalus
economy in spite ofthe fundamental complementarycontribution ofthe rural areas.
The latterplayed anessentialroleinfurnishingthe citieswith the primary agricultural
and mineral materials.The contemporary agricultural treatises of the 1lth century
such as IbnBassal's treatise,illustratethe high developmentofirrigationtechniques,
fertilisers,etc.,which were developed in al-Andalusduring this period.However,it
was in the cities thatthe economy was essentially organised.The administration (e.g.
political and juridical) was organised in the cities.Craftsmanship,which was highly
developed,and other industries,were based in the cities,and even the mines in the
rural areas were controlledby inhabitantsofthe cities (29).
Industrialproduction in al-Andaluswas more importantthan in the Maghreb,or
in the ChristiankingdomsofNorthern Iberiabecause itseconomy was more complex,
its raw materials more abundant and eficiently exploited and its human and
technological resources more highly developed. Like agricultural production,
industrialproductionhad been well developed duringthe previousperiod ofthe Banu
Umayyad Caliphate.This industrial production was essentially,but not exclusively,
based on craftsmanship.It was important in the medieval context,but it would not be
an exaggerationto add thatin somecases its developmentis comparabletothatoflater
more advanced historical phases in the Mediterranean world (30). It is equally
important to remember that the industrial heritage of llth century in al-Andalus
constituted the basis of an activity which continued to flourish during the following
centuries.Its impactwas not limitedto al-Andalusbut included the Maghreb as well.

243
It is relevant to ask how industrial production developed in spite of the
political instability and military activity that characterised the ta 'fa period.
Indeed,one could even wonder why it did not stop altogether.While it is true
that al-Andalusas a whole experienced one of the most unstable periods in its
history,it is possible to speak ofa micro-stability at the level ofindividual ta 'fa
states.It would be inconceivableto think ofany important industrialproduction
in Valencia during the reign of al-Muzaffar and al-Mubarak.The stability of
Cordoba received a deadly blow during thejitna of Cordoba,which could only
have affected industrial production very negatively.
However,other ta'ifastates like Seville enjoyed a certain internal stability,
and the Cordoban craftsmen continued their activities throughout the ta 'fa
period.The destruction in many ta 'fa states,which historical sourcesreproduce
in the greatest detail,illustrates the importance of the industrial products. For
example,the products that were used in the palaces of the ta'ifa kings and in
private houses throughout al-Andalusas well as the materials from which they
were made are impressive by any standard ofjudgement. Other products that
were used on a wider scale include boats, ships,as well as other means of
transportation,mills and irrigation systems (3 1).
Industrial production was mainly due to the fact that al-Andaluswas rich in
primary sources,both agricultural and mineral. Contemporary and later sources
like al-Bakri,al-Maqqari,Ibn al-Hajj,Ibn'Idhari and Ibn Bassam, furnish us
with interesting information on the great mineral wealth of al-Andalus.
Certain industries like the chemical industry prospered in al-Andalus.
Without this development, the widespread mixing of coins with less precious
metals would not have been possible. Industry was already important during the
previous period of the Banu Umayyad caliphate. Different types of sources
contain an abundant information on the materials such as metals as well as the
products which were used in al-Andalusin different sectorsofthe economy.Long
lists of the metals which were common in al-Andalushave been drawn not only
in single primary sources like al-Maqqari'sNaJh al-tib,but also in recent studies
on different aspects of the economy in al-Andalus;these lists derived fi-oma
variety of al-Andalussources (32). Joaquin Vallve discusses the al-Andalusship
industry,which relied heavily on wood (3), textile industries,the shoe industry,
which relied almost exclusively on leather, and the construction of mills and
houses,which demanded a variety ofprimary materials and products.The nazil of
Ibn Sahl and Ibn al-Hajjalso contain interesting information on the industrial
products in al-Andalusduring the ta 'ifaperiod. One legal document is related to
a case involving the weak performance ofthe Cordoban craftsmen working with

244
leather (34). It is perhaps equally important to observe that relations between the
Muslims and Christians were not always peaceful at the official level.Alfonso
VI'S economic policy towards the ta'ifa rulers consisted in extracting annual
tribute money from them with the final object of conquering them. The
implementation of this policy often resulted in great destruction and devastation.

-
3 Urbanisation and Commercial ExchanPe
Urban Markets. The development of agriculture and industry was greatly
stimulated by that of commerce.While economic exchange flourished essentially
in al-Andalus,it also included other regions, particularly the Maghreb. This
developmentwas behind the expansion ofcommercial activities where the middle
class played a fimdamental role in the free exchange of products in the cities.Yet
the state also had an important role in regulating commercial activities.This trend
existed during the period of the Umayyad caliphate and it continued on a smaller
scale during the period of the ta 'ifastates.The state was responsible for peace, a
necessary condition for normal commercial activities. Such offices as sahib al-
shurta,sahib al-madina,or sahib aljayl had a number offunctionswhich included
the maintenance ofpeace and stability in the al-Andaluscities (35). Other official
posts like al-muhtasib contributed more directly to the regulation of commerce in
the cities. The state had a stronger and more direct impact on commerce by
imposing taxes on the products which were exchanged in the markets.
During the ta 'ifaperiod,however,the state alone could not be considered to
have been responsible for the successful development of commerce in al-
Andalus. The al-Andaluswere gifted tradesmen.This was recognised in the
primary sources and the importance of commerce in al-Andalusillustrates this
fact. Further, their commercial behaviour is even reflected in their political
attitudes.The ta'ifaleaders were ready to exchange anything.They exchanged
tribute money with Alfonso VI and other Christiankings,counts and adventurers
in Northern Spain for peace. They tried to bargain with Yusuf for peace.They
could not understand that Alfonso VI should refuse their offer.
Commercial exchange was highly developed in the urban centres during the
ta 'fa period.The market contributed to the economic prosperity ofthe cities the
cities contributed to the evolution ofthe urban market as the nucleus and channel
of commercial exchange in al-Andalus.The urban market was a vital institution
in the more important cities like Cordoba, Seville,Valencia or Toledo.Several
types of sources reflect this phenomenon.These include a variety of historical
sources ranging from annals to geographical works.

245
One of the most important and least exploited sources for studying the
process of urbanisation and commercial exchange in al-Andalus is Jiqh an-
nawazil. Ibn Sahlsnawazil are hndamental for covering the early part of the
llth century, but the nawazil of Abu Abd-AllahMuhammad b. al-Hajj(who
died in 35), is the closest work to the period of the taifastates that covers the
entire period and cites the largest number of contemporary fuqaha. This
significant work which contains precise information on urban markets,not only
in Cordoba but in other al-Andaluscities, is extraordinary.
Although we lack much informationabout most ofthe decreesmentioned in this
source because its basic purpose was juridical,it is possible to relate many ofthem to
specific places, periods of time and persons. A close examination of the nawazil
related to the ta $a period presents an excellent picture of the highly organised and
complex commercial exchange in the al-Andalus urban centres. Urban markets
ranged from shops aligned along a number ofstreetsto open squareswhere the more
transient activities took place or covered markets like the Qaysariyyat al-shaqqaqin
in Cordoba.Unlike the rural markets,urban markets were permanent.
Commercial exchange was highly developed prior to the period of the taifa
states,and some legalcasesoftheAmirid period reflectan extremely complex system
ofurban commercialexchange.One ofIbnal-Hajjsnawazil occurred in Jativaduring
the period of al-Mansur,who was personally involved.It is interesting because it
reflectsthe sound economy of a state which was involved in commercial operations
that contributed to promoting its interests and those of its weaker inhabitants.al-
Mansur and Wasil al-Amirihad built a group ofshopsthat were aimed at creating an
income to be used for a variety of objectives.This income was reserved to cover the
needs of the Muslims (nawusib al-muslimin), and the salaries of the soldiers .This
money was considered as part ofthe public treasury @ayt al-malal-muslimin)(36).
This case was cited by Ibn al-Hajjin order to determine whether it was legally
possible to use this source of income to pay a qadi .Yet,it is interesting to observe
that this case illustrateshow rent was used as a source ofincome for the state,which
was then used for various objectives ranging from the promotion ofpublic welfare to
covering defence expenses. Unlike other cases from the taifaperiod,this nazila
reflects an economically healthy statethat participated in economic growth.
However,the economic situation changed during the period ofthe taifastates.
The extension of the devaluation of money illustrates this phenomenon. This is
reflected in many legal cases. Commercial exchange suffered greatly from this
phenomenon which plagued commercialactivities in the al-Andalusurban markets
ofthe 1lth century.In a nazila,which was decided by the famousfaqih Abu Umar
b. Abdal-Barr(978-1070) the case,which occurred in CordobasQaysariyyat al-

246
shaqqaqin,was the result ofthe circulationof forged coins.Many buyers added one
copper dirham to each eight dirhams and forced the merchants to accept them.Abd
al-Barrsdecree reflects the fact that the circulation of forged coins had become
widespread because he did not forbid their circulation unconditionally.Instead,he
decreed that the merchant is not obliged to accept the forged coin unless this
condition had been laid down and agreed upon by both parties prior to the sale (37).
Several nawazil reflect the alarming proportions that the devaluation of
money attained in Cordoba,as well as in otherparts ofal-Andalusduring the taifa
period. One of the nawazil is related to two cases which occurred in Cordoba in
1060.The first case involved the use of a forged dinar and the second refers to the
unique profession of an expert in detecting the authenticity of gold coins.This
function was mentioned accidentally, because the purpose of this case was to
determine whether the buyer or the seller was obliged to pay the fees ofthe expert
for his services.The decree was in favour ofthe seller,because the services were
in the interest ofthe buyer,so he had to pay the fees (38). However,the interest of
this case forus is that it proves that by the mid-1 Ith century,forgingcoins was such
a common practice that a professional function was created to deal with such
matters.It is also interesting to note that the practice of forging coins had become
so widespread that the issue in this case was who paid the fees of the expert,but
no mention was made ofpunishing those who forged coins or circulated them (39).
Conflictsresulting fiom commercial operations continued to exist to the end
ofthe 1lth century,but the reasons behind them changed to a great extent.Some
ofthe cases discussed above occurred during the early part or middle of the 11th
century.By the end of the century and the early part of the 12th,conflicts over
the value of money as a result of commercial operations were still common,
although the nature ofthese conflicts was no longer related to the devaluation of
money. Ibn al-Hajjdiscusses a nazila related to a case which occurred between
1101 and 1134 between Jaen and Granada. The case involved 100 Murabiti
dinars which were paid in Granada in return for a certain amount of food,half
of which was given at Granada and the remaining half of which was to be
delivered in Jaen.The conflict was over the second half (40).
-
b Rural Markets.By the 1 lth century,commercial exchange was also highly
developed in the rural areas ofal-Andalus.Some ofthe caseswhich were related to
the rural areas were not less complex than those which were related to the urban
centres.The close economic inter-dependencebetween the rural and urban zones is
clearly reflected in some ofthe commercialoperationsin the rural areas.One ofIbn
al-Hajjs interesting nawazil involved a commercialoperation in Valencia involving
the sale of a farm in Alcira,a city in Sharq al-Andalus.The buyer, a taifa ruler,

247
(1075) bought it from a state official known as sahib al-mawarith (41). The
question was whether the sale was legal,because it involved a ta'ifa ruler who
bought a f m that was under the jurisdiction of another ruler. Thefaqih Abu-1-
Qasim Asbagh Ibn Muhammad decided that the sale was legal and so did Ibn
Rushd,provided that other reasons did not exist to make it illegal.The interesting
point about this nazila is that it concerned a commercial operation which involved
a ta 'fa ruler. It also reflects that in the eyes of the judges as representatives of the
law,the ruler was equal to any other citizen. The decree was favourable to him
because he had operated within the law.In practice,there are,ofcourse,many cases
of ta '$a rulers who were engaged in commercial operations in the rural and urban
areas that held little regard forthe law.Yet,in the eyes ofthejudges,the rulers were
not above the law,even ifthey did act outside of the law.Further,when the ta '$a
rulers acted outside ofthe law,they did not forge the law to suit their interests.

4 - Commerce with the Mediterranean World


a - Commerce within aldndalus. Commercial activities in the al-Andalus
cities included exchange between different parts of al-Andalus.This was made
possible by the highly developed transportation system in al-Andalus.The roads
which dated from the Roman period were maintained and fully exploited.,but
the Roman roads were not as Ldvi-Provengalclaimed,the only means of land
transportation.N e w roads were also built.
This is clear for example from the continuous expansion of the largest
cities like Cordoba which reached the peak of its development during the IOth
century and Seville which expanded during the 1 1th century as the capital of
the most powerful ta 'ifastate in al-Andalus.Seville never stopped growing.It
became politically and economically more powerful and was adopted as the
political and economic capital of al-Andalusby the rnurabitzin,the muwahidun
and the Christian kings following its conquest in 1236. It is significant that
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel resided in Seville when Columbus set out on
his famous expedition which led him to America. His intentions were, of
course, to discover a new route to the Indies. During the llth century,
commercial exchange in Seville grew consistently,due largely to its land and
maritime means oftransportation.The historical texts reflect the dynamism of
the market in Seville, as well as Seville's contact with other parts of al-
Andalus. Although Cordoba was less dynamic than Seville during the 11"
century mainly because of its instability and loss of political power. Cities in
other parts of al-Andaluslike Valencia were also extremely active, and their
commercial contact with the remotest regions were strong.

248
Transportation was also made easier by the development ofthe rural areas in
al-Andalus.Al-Maqqari describes the numerous villages that the travellers
encountered as they travelled form one al-Andaluscity to another.The works on
the nawazil which have reached us also contain a large number of cases involving
fields in the rural areas,some of which were owned by city dwellers. It is also
worth observing that many of these cases involve commercial exchange,
sometimes exclusively between the inhabitantsofthe cities and at others between
al-Andalusand the state.However,the rural inhabitants were also active and they
were excluded from the military service of al-Mansurin return for a special tax.
The highly developed transportation system is not only clear from the
geography and other sources which describe them, but also from the continuous
contactbetween the inhabitants ofal-Andalus.This contactwas cultural,because the
uZamawere constantly travelling to Cordoba from all parts of al-Andalus.It was
also a political contact,particularly during the 1 lth century,when relations between
the ta fastateswere highly developed either in the contextofpoliticalcollaboration
or that of military conflict. Commercial relations between different parts of al-
Andalus were also developed thanks to the efficient transportation system.
The transportation system also contributed to the further development of
communications and contact between al-Andalusand the Christian kingdoms of
Northern Iberia on the one hand and the Maghreb on the other.The speed and
ease with which the Christian,al-Andalusand Maghrebine armies moved across
al-Andalus illustrate their great mobility. For example, Alfonso VI had no
difficulty in sending his army to attack the ta $a state of Granada or Seville and
Yusuf b. Tashufins army crossed the strait with great speed and found no
difficulty in continuing from Algeciras to Seville and from Seville to Badajoz,
near which the Battle of al-Zallaqatook place in 1086.
Maritime transportation was also highly developed in al-Andalus.The rivers
crossed the big cities inland like Cordoba and Seville. Other taifastates like
Almeria used the Mediterranean Sea very efficiently to promote their commerce.
The development of the transportation system in al-Andalus was necessary
because of the complementary contribution of each region to the al-Andalus
economy. Commercial exchange included agricultural, mineral and industrial
products which were produced from different parts of al-Andalusand also from
abroad. Examples will illustrate the scale of commerce between the different
parts of al-Andalus.Ibn al-Hajjcites cases,which was discussed earlier,related
to deals which were struck in one al-Andaluscity and executed in another.There
are also cases related to conflicts which occurred in al-Andaluscities and which

249
were solved by thefuqaha in other cities,or cases offuqahafrom Cordoba who
were asked to issue decrees in other cities which they visited.
Of the non-economicfactors,political decisions had a stronger impact on
commercial exchange in 11th century al-Andalusthan any other. One nazila,
which was reproduced by Ibn al-Hajj,reflects how a taifaruler disrupted the
entire financial system of his taifastate in order to promote his personal
financial interests.It also reflects how his actions were criticized by thefuqaha ,
who analysed the negative effects of these action and forced their circulation in
Cordoba thanks to a political decision (42). Because of the inferiority of their
metal, these coins did not circulate beyond Cordoba to areas where the
sovereignty of Ibn Jahwar did not extend. Ibn al-Hajj also recorded that the
circulation ofthese coins had the double effect of impoverishing the inhabitants
of Cordoba and enriching its ruler.This constituted an implicit criticism of the
economic fragility ofthe ta ifa state of Cordoba during the reign of Ibn Jahwar
and the terrible effects ofthis decision on the commercial activities in Cordoba.
The political and military developments of the ta ifaperiod generally also
had the most terrible economic effects on economic production and commercial
exchange. These effects were equally drastic on the harmonious relations
between the three religions in al-Andalus.The policy ofextractingtribute money
from the taifakings, which was adopted by Alfonso VI and other Christian
kings, was often accompanied by destructive military campaigns, which are
described and analysed in such contemporary sources as Prince AbdAllah b.
Buluggin of Granadas memoirs (43). This expansionist policy led to the
economic ruin of the taifastates because the money that they paid Alfonso VI
and the other Christian rulers as tribute for their protection led to the
strengthening of their enemies. In the end, Alfonso VI rejected their tribute
money and was only satisfied with their conquest. This led to Alfonso VIS
conquest of Toledo in 1085 and to the battle of al-Zallaqathe following year.It
also led to the conquest ofthe tafastates by Yusuf b. Tashufin.
However,conflict and destruction did not end the economic activitiesofthe
members ofthe three religions altogether.Many ofthe Christians and Jews ofal-
Andalus changed sides when they immigrated to the Christian kingdoms in the
Iberian Peninsula.Like their Muslim al-Andaluscounterparts,they continued to
produce and to exchange, but they did so in a new, different context in the
powerful kingdom of Leon and Castile. The Mozarabs were considered as
heretics by the Catholic Church and the old religious coexistence took on a new
orientation.The political changes were radical and their economic and human
consequences were no less drastic.

250
In spite of these terrible perturbations,al-Andalussurvived as an economic
unity even after it was ruled by the Almoravids.Economic production continued
to prosper and commercial exchange also continued to flourish not only in al-
Andalus but even in the Maghreb and other parts of the Mediterranean world
(44).One ofthe most interesting nawazil furnishes us with information on trade
between al-Andalus,Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia (45). Yet the religious
tolerance and coexistence that flourished during the period of the Umayyad
caliphate continued to mark the relations of the three professions in al-Andalus
despite the predominance of the new trends.
b) Commerce with the Mediterranean Area. Commercial exchange between al-
Andalus and different parts of the Mediterranean area were highly developed and
continued to prosper during the 1 1thcentury.This was made possible not only by the
economic potential ofal-Andalus,but also because ofthe mercantile temperamentof
the al-Andalus.Almeria's commercial relations with the Mediterranean area were
exemplary thanks to its highly developed ship industry.Commercial relations were
also important with the Maghreb. This was organized through Ceuta, which was
closely linked to al-Andalus not only commercially, but culturally as well.
Strategically,Ceuta was important for several reasons.It is significant that Yusuf
b.Tashufin conquered Ceuta before proceeding to cross the strait on his way to the
Battle of al-Zallaqa.It was also through Ceuta that commercial relations were
developed not only with Morocco,but also with other parts ofthe Maghreb and with
the Mashreq.For example,Ibn al-Hajicites an interesting legal case which involved
commercebetweenAlmeria and Tunisiavia Ceuta and Algeria (46).According to this
case,oil was sent fiom Almeria to Algeria in exchange for slaves.Although there is
no mention of Jewish merchants in this specific case,it is known that they were
involved in the slave trade generally. Ceuta is mentioned as a transit port and
Mahdiyya in Tunisia as the place to which the net profit of the operations was sent.
This interesting case is unfortunately undated,but because we know when IbnAl-Hajj
lived,it must have existed either during or prior to the 12thcentury.
The commercial activities between al-Andalus and other parts of the
Mediterranean world should be considered in the contextofal-Andalusas part ofthe
Muslim economic system.When Yusuf b. Tashufin conquered the ta '$a states,al-
Andalus was integrated into the Maghreb politically and economically.It continued
as such during the period of the Mmahidun. However,al-Andalushad always had
strong commercial relations with the Maghreb. The crisis which struck the Muslim
world beginning from the llth century also affected economic production and
commercialexchange in al-Andalusbecause the latter was part ofthe global system.
The lack ofraw materials were partly behind the economic crisis in the Maghreb and

25 1
the Mashreq beginning from the second half of the 11th century.The important
commercialcentres in the Muslim world collapsed;these included Baghdad,Cairo,
Kairawan,Fes and Cordoba (47).However, although commercial exchange in the
Mediterraneanworld was perturbed during the 1lth century,it did not stop altogether.
For example,trans-Saharancommerce declined,but did not disappear completely.
N e w trade routes appeared on the scene during the eleventhcentury in the context of
a changing situation as has been shown by Naimi (48). Although commercial
exchange within al-Andalusand with the Mediterranean world continued to flourish
during the llth century,there were numerous obstacles that hindered its greater
expansion.The following are among the main causesthat blocked its development:
1 -Thefragmentationofal-Andalusinto numerous independent and conflicting
ta 'fa states,which had seriouseconomicrepercussions suchas a seriesofconflicting
economicpolicies,and instability as a resultofthe continuous internalwars.
2 -The political and economic unity of the Kingdom of Leon and Castile
which adopted an aggressivepolitical and economic policy aimed at weakening
the ta 'fa states with the final long term objective ofconquering the ta 'fa states.
3 -The devaluation of money plagued al-Andalusas a result of the tribute
money thatthe ta 'farulerspaid the Christiankings and rulersofNorthern Iberia
and the harsh fiscal policies hurt the middle class elements very badly,
particularly those involved in economic production and commerce.
4 - Overspending and mismanagement by the ta'ifa rulers; the palace
expendituresofsomeoftheta 'frulerswere exorbitantby any standard ofjudgement.
5 -Theadoption by the ta 'fa rulers ofa number of economic measures that
affected economic production and commercial exchange in al-Andalus
drastically;one ofthese measures was the introduction ofnumerous currencies
and harsh fiscal policies that paralyzed economic activities.
6 -The absence of a united economic policy at the level of al-Andalus,
which led to its collapse as a system and to its replacement by another.
Despite its characteristic features,the al-Andaluseconomy should be placed in
the contextofa widerperspective.It isimportantto rememberthatal-Andalusformed
an integralpart ofthe broad commercial network in the Mediterranean area,because
part ofthe economic decline in al-Andalusduring the 1 1th centurywas due to a more
general crisis that plagued the area. However, other internal causes were equally
responsible for this decline. Although closely linked to the Mediterranean area
geographicallyand economically,the particular characteristicsofal-Andalusalways
stood out.This was true economically,but also politically,socially and culturally.

252
Discussion Questions

I. Explore the factors contributing to the advancement of economic


production and commercialexchange in al-Andalusand why it was more
successfulthan in neighbouring countries. Whatelements remain today?

2. Similarlv, describe the conditions which affected the rich agricultural


production in al-Andalus. What produce has remained in Spain and
Portugal today.Are they competitive in the European Union? Was
there any indication in al-Andalusof an awareness of environmental
preservation? Discuss international issues regarding sustainable
development.

3. The author states that Inthe eyes of thejudges,rulers were not above
the law.Cite examples from the period and compare this legal
accountability of officials to existing practices today in your countryand
region.What is thejurisdiction of the new United Nations mechanisms
for accountability in governance,such as the International Criminal
Court and the tribunals which preceded it.

4.Describe how the Taifarulers implemented their policies regarding


economic persuasion to achieve political objectives and peace.

5. The application of economic persuasion is a legitimate conflictprevention


measure as cited in Chapter 7,Article 41,of the UN Charterand has been
invoked in conflictualsituationsby internationaland regional organizations.
e.g.sanctions against the Union of South Africa over apartheid, Iraq,et
cetera.It is also a peaceful mechanism utilized by regionalorgans such as
the European Union.Discuss in which present conflicts economicdrade
pressures could be effective in peaceful settlement.Also discuss what
typesof economic activitiesshould be controlledand how to ameliorate the
negative consequencesof sanctions on the affected population.

6.A major source of nationaltrade and income is conventionalarms,utilized


in todaysinternal wars. Discuss ways and means of developing an
effective mechanism for conventionalarms control and obstacles to the
achievementof thisgoal. Note the UN Report on the Conference on Illicit
trade of SmallArms and Light Weapons and all its Aspects NCon17192
July 9,2001,andthe Plan ofActionon thissubject DP1/224WAugust2002.
Note the results of the UN GeneralAssembly of 2003 on this subject.

253
254
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16 Muslim Education in Al-Andalus

bY
Dr.Muhammad Abdul Hamid Issa

Introduction
A direct relationship exists between the overall educational system and the
economic,intellectual and political system of countries in the world. Therefore,
it is only natural that while we research for the reasons behind scientificprogress
and economic wealth of any nation,we find that it is an obligation to look into
its educational system and its methodology in forming the new generation.
Al-Andalusachieved a high level ofintellectualand civilizationaldevelopment.
Effectively,it contributed to human civilization great models of thinkers,writers,
philosophers,scientists,jurists,artists and specialists in other fields.Its educational
and pedagogical system played a major role in contributing to the high social level
ofits inhabitants,its economic development and scientific success.

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1 Historical Background
Muslims settled in al-Andalus in the year 71I after their entry. They
remained until Granada, the last Muslim kingdom,was occupied in January
1492.The Caliphate Period was the GoldenAge of Muslims in al-Andalus.
This age covered the entire lothcentury.
The governors of al-Andalusduring this period unified the al-Andalusstate
and fortified its central government in Cordoba.They succeeded not only in the
political field,but their greatest accomplishment was in the economic domain
and the statesnational income increased tremendously.Indeed,only a third of
the national income was used to cover general expenditures;one third was kept
to meet future requirements and needs,and another third ofthe national income
was consecrated to building edificessuch as mosques,particularly the Cordoba
mosque and the city al-Zahra and palaces. In so doing, the city of Cordoba
became known as the mother of cities, the worthiest in grace and piety, the
home of science and absolute authority( 1).
The al-Andaluscivilization reached its height during the Caliphate period in
both the intellectual and literary fields. Al-Mansur,charged his son al-H&am 11,

255
with the responsibility of encouraging science and scientists in his Kingdom (2).
Consequently, al-Hakam I1 carried out many great innovations until the city of
Cordobabecame known asthe brideofthe West,while Baghdad was known to be
the brideofthe East.According to the poet Ibn Shakis,Cordoba surpassed all the
worldscapitalswith its mosque and accumulated riches ofits valley.These are two
riches; al-Zahraisthe third,and learningisthe fourth and the best it hasto offer@).
Undoubtedly,the political stability,and economic and intellectualprosperity,
generated in itselfintellectualand religious toleranceamong the various religious
communitiesin the society,and minimized any spiritofantagonism.It encouraged
everyone to cooperate and work for human developmentand advancement.As a
result,a number ofgreat Muslim,
Christian and Jewish thinkers appeared in this period; intellectual leaders,
who played a leading role in the advancement of the al-Andaluscivilization
which in turn,also contributed to the future ofhumanity (4).
The historic periods that followed included the period when al-Andaluswas
ruled by the ta fa kings, the Almoravids and the Almohads,who were present
until the last Muslim rule in al-Andalus,in the Kingdom ofGranada.

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2 First Educational State
The years following the Muslim fath (opening) of al-Andalusgave rise to
an interest in the education of children. Historical documents confirm the
establishment of educational institutions (makatib) for children in al-Andalus
around 738 (5). These institutionsgrew steadily in number during the Umayyad
rule in al-Andalus.Al-Hakam I1 built 27 schools in the city of Cordoba to teach
without chargepoor children.Income from the workshops were allocated to pay
teachers salaries (6). These educational institutions flourished in cities and
villages of al-Andalus as is evident from the numerous names of teachers
mentioned in various biographies and translated books.
Mosques were frequently used as a place to teach children and the
educational schools were built near or in its exterior courtyard. Despite the
opposition of Muslim jurists, the Andalusians continued this practice. One
possible reason was that many ofthe mosquesattendants,became also teachers.
In so doing,they were able to practice both professions at the same time (7).
There were also schoolsin homes,shops,or any other place that were suited
to teaching children.Children attended school from the age of 6 or 7 until they
were 12 or 13 years old .

256
The main concern of these educational institutions was to teach students
reading and writing as well as to help them memorize the Holy Koran.Such was
the practice in the majority ofMuslim countriesat the time.Ibn Khaldun's view on
this issue was that teaching childrenthe Koran is one ofthe tenantsofreligion and
it was emulated in all the countries (8). What distinguished al-Andaluseducation
from the rest of the Muslim world was the inclusion in the curriculum of other
subjects such as poetry and Arabic. Particular attention was given to perfecting
handwriting,a skill for which they were renowned.According to Ibn Khaldun,they
also distinguishedthemselves in the Arabic language and in literature (9).
Children would start school very early in the morning and would remain
until mid-day and return home for lunch and rest. Another shift began early
afternoon until 4 or 5 p.m. The school week was five days: Saturday, Sunday,
Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday and only the morning of Thursday.Children had
a day and a halfto rest on Thursday afternoon and all ofFriday. In addition,they
had holidays during the Eid El Fitr feast and four days for the Feast of Sacrifice
as well as on miscellaneous official holidays (10).
When instructing students in the Koran, the teacher would read a Sura (a
verse) then make the students repeat it until it was memorized. Once the student
had done so,the teachers would move on to another verse. At the same time,
they were learning reading and writing.Each student had his own writing tablet
and ink pot. The tablet was either made of stone or wood. Writing could easily
be erased from the tablet with either water or a piece of cloth (1 1).
Contrary to what has been written in traditional Muslim books regarding the
poor condition ofKoranic teachers in certain Muslim countries,teachers enjoyed a
high social status,including elementary teachers.One ofthe features that reflected
appreciation oftheir rank was their title "teacher ofthe book" .Indeed,translations
of their books and accounts oftheir pious characterappear in al-Andalusliterature
(12).Furthermore,the cultural level ofal-Andalusteacherswas relatively high (1 3).
It was agreed from the outset in al-Andalus to pay teachers a salary.
Documents confirm that teachers were remunerated for their teaching since the
wilayat period (756-7 14) while other references noted that some teachers were
not gaining any salary from their teaching profession (14).
Girls did not go to school.They were educated at home either by her family or
by female teachersemployed forthispurpose.Several referencesmention a number
of al-Andaluswomen who exercised the teaching profession such as the daughter
ofteacher IbnHavn who taught with her fatherand brother at the same school (1 5).

257
By the time the children of al-Andalus completed their elementary
education,they had the dual advantage of a sound knowledge of both religion
and language,which formed the basis ofthe al-Andaluseducational system.

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3 Second Educational Staye
This stage started after the elementary education terminated. The mosque
was its basic learning place. It was indeed in the mosque where scientists and
educators taught and it became the most important educational institution in al-
Andalus as was the case in the rest of the Muslim world.
Mosques spreadwidely in al-Andalus.Caliphs,princes,scientistsand wealthy
dignitariesvied in building mosques. It was said that the number ofmosques built
in Cordobaalonereached over 10,000(1 6). In additionto mosques,houses,palaces
and librariescontributed in spreading education in al-Andalus.

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4 Educational Curricula in Second Staye
The educational curricula for students in al-Andaluswas characterized by
flexibility and a broad range ofsubjects.Indeed,while religious studieswere the
basic studies offered, Andalusians were able to benefit from learning other
subjects.Numerous biographies confirm that students had to study all forms of
available knowledge. Consequently while the child undertook,in the preparatory
stages ofhis education,the memorization ofthe Koran as well asArab poetry,he
could select in the second stage the knowledge and subjects that corresponded
with his mental capacity and his interests.Moreover,while the student followed
a strict attendanceschedulein the preparatory stageofeducation,he was liberated
from these restrictions in the second stage.Indeed,a student had the liberty to
choose the time, hour,subjectand teacher ofhis choice in the second stage.The
sciencesthat attracted most students can be divided as follows:
a - Religious Sciences:It consisted ofcontinuingthe study ofthe Koran and
the Hadith (sayings ofthe Prophet) and its subsidiary sciences such as exegesis
(tafsir),jurisprudenceand traditions(1 7). Al-Andalusreligiousscholarsexcelled
in these subjects and their fame spread as far as Cairo and Baghdad. Several
scholars also taught in these capitals (1 8).
-
b Philolonv Sciences: Philology sciences received great attention in al-
Andalus particularly from governors and princes, who preferred, in their
selection for ministerial positions, those who were most prominent in these
sciences.Perhaps one of the reasons for giving such importance to the Arabic
language and its sciences was due to the need and duty to Arabize all the

258
inhabitants ofthe Iberian Peninsula.While it was natural that religious sciences
was important for the Muslim population in their effort to maintain the religion
and propagate it, philology sciences also interested greatly non-Muslims.
Christians and Jews were eager to learn and perfect these sciences,and those
Mozarab Jews and Christians who kept their own religion, learned to speak
Arabic fluently and published and wrote poetry in Arabic. Therefore,it became
the language ofthe community and as such helped to Arabize all the commercial
affairs,correspondence and account books of the treasury (in the older Muslim
administration). Consequently,this step obliged all inhabitants,irrespective of
their religious affiliation,to learn the Arabic language.
The study ofphilology sciences started early when students traveled during
the administrative period under the Amirate to the East and returned to al-
Andalus. Indeed this field developed largely when scientists from the East
settled in al-Andalus.This travelling back and forth to the East and back to al-
Andalus contributed to the development of philology and resulted in a great
number of scientists and students specializing in this field, as noted by the
famous al-Andalus scientist Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Zubaydi in his book
Levels of Linguistic Grammar (1 9).
c - Intellectual Sciences: Intellectual sciences refers to all the non-
religious or philological sciences that were solicited by the Andalusian
population. The Andalusians had a great impact in transferring these sciences
to Europe,which in turn contributed to the Renaissance period. One can cite
general testimonies about this impact by Juan Vernet, Gonzalez Palencia,
Sanchez Perez and George Sarton.These sciences are divided into a number
of disciplines notably medical sciences,pure sciences,philosophy and social
sciences. Many al-Andalus scientists emerged in medicine, mathematics,
astronomy, engineering and philosophy. Some of these scientists were
Christian or Jewish,such as Hasday b.Shaprut,advisor to the Caliph Abdal-
Rahman 111 and his son al-Hakam11,Abu-l-Fadl,and Ibn Gabirol (died 1052),
Jose b. Nagralla (died 1055) and others.
-
d Teachinn Hours:There was not a specific time for teaching.Teaching was
linked to the teacherstime.Some taught in the morning and others following the
afternoon prayers. But,as the student was studying more than one subject,and
with more than one teacher,the teaching would consume a whole day.
-
e Teachinn Sessions(circ1es): A teacher would position his seating in the
circle of the students. A session might carry the name of the teacher, and
when he died, either his son or one of his eminent students would take his

259
place. It was customary to have in the circle a reader who would explain any
ambiguities said or read by the teacher (20) as well to keep the order of the
session. The number of students in a scientific circle was never fixed.It
differed from one sessionto another,depending on the teacher and the subject
taught.A number of ethical principles and rules governed these sessions and
they appear concretely in Ibn Hazms book known as al-Ajlaq wa-I-Shiay
(Ethics and Conduct) (21).
f -Teachers:It was absolutely essential for a teacher to be proficient in
his subject and base his instructions on sound texts and recitations.
Otherwise, he was criticized and abandoned by the students. Many
biographies indicate that teachers were highly educated and possessed an
encyclopaedic range of knowledge. They were given such titles as the
highest educated among the peopleor he who guards Gods words.On the
social level teachers,enjoyed a good standard of living whether among the
general public or at court.Their education helped them to constitute a special
social class that had influence and position and from w h o m leaders in public
affairs were selected.
Teachers salaries could be divided into three categories:
1) - from state rations carried out by the state.
2) - from their studentspayment based on a contract signed between the
father or the guardian ofthe student.
3) -fromthe tasks given to it particularly at the mosques. There were also
teachers who gave free lessons as a benevolent act (22) .
The teachers relationship with his students was based on respect. The
teacher had to cater to students interests, treat them as his children with
understanding, sympathy and amicability (23). The relationship was so close
that the teacher would allow his studentsto accompany him in his walks during
the holidays, giving them the freedom that they do not exercise during the
lessons (24).In addition students had so much affection for their teachers that
when one ofthem died,they would attend his funeral and read Koranic verses
at his tomb (25).
g - Womens Education:Sources do not mention sufficiently the manner in
which women were educated in al-Andalus.However,some references clearly
indicate that al-Andaluswomen had an opportunity to learn and reach a high
level ofknowledge.Among them were women renowned as philology scientists,
literary writers and medical doctors (26).

260
Sources also indicate that women received their elementary education at
home from an educated member ofthe family.In addition,there were specialized
teachers in al-Andalussuch as Hafsa al-Terkuniyya(died 11 85) who had a good
reputation and taught many women in the House of al-Mansur (27),
Women in al-Andalusalso taught men, such as Ummat al-Rahman Bint
Ahmad (died 1047) (28), and Radiyah, slave of al-ImamAbdul Rahman Al-
Nasser (29) and Ishrak al-Swidia (the Swedish) who taught the Kitab a1
Nmvader (the book ofjokes) to AbiAli al-Kaliand al-Kame1 by El-Moubred
who knew these works by heart and often quoted from them (30).
Women were also taught by male teachers at the mosques circle sessions,
according to the biography of Muhammad Ibn A1 El Fakhar (died 1323) who
resided in Malka and taught women in mosques in the afternoon. One should
also mention the significant role played by blind teachers in the education ofal-
Andalus women,noted in numerous references.
There were female slaves also who were taught and educated by their
masters or they would be given to someone to be educated. As a result some
possessed a comprehensive and diverse education. Their education was so
developed that their masters often sent them to train teachers (31).

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5 Third Educational Stape
It is difficult to differentiate between the second and the third educational
stage except that the third stagewas marked by greater specializationto meet the
growing maturity of the student.It should be considered as a termination stage
whereby the student attemptsto complete his studies.This period does not have
a specific age or place.
a - PlaceofLearning:Therewere many varied places to study.Themost common
place was the mosque where learning sessionswere held by notable sheiks,especially
the Cordoba mosque,consideredthe first University in both the Arab-MuslimWorld
and the first university in Europe -a true beacon ofknowledgeduring this era. The
school,especially in al-Andalushad among its teaching corpsthe greatestscientists of
the period. Students sought these learning places to obtain a high level of scientific
knowledge.Many other places contributed tremendously to the development ofthe
scientificmovement in al-Andalusand had a great impacton it such as:
1) - Scient@ Majalis (sessions) - held by the Amirs (princes) since the
Ummayads until the fall of Granada, and those held by leading scientists at
which deep and specializeddiscussions took place among the scientists.

26 1
2) - Libraries - many libraries were built in Muslim Spain. The most
famous is that of al-HakamI1 and the library ofthe Almohads princes. The
great library in Cordoba contained 400,000 references, as did the one in
Baghdad. Moreover, both common people and dignitaries cared to have
books, develop their private libraries and as a result of this, an active
movement of book lending occurred between teachers and students. Thus,
libraries contributed to the deepening ofknowledge and were also a place for
dialogue and debate.
Other places played a similar role such as papermakersand bindersshops
as well as paper factories. No comparable factories existed like those in al-
Andalus in the entire East and the West,as cited by al-Idrisi (33).
b - Schools in al-Andalus:The exact date when schools appeared in al-
Andalus remains a controversial issue. Many historians claim that schools
emerged simultaneously in the countries of the Maghreb and in the Muslim
East,with a slight difference in form and in goal (34). Things became clearer
with regard to al-Andalusschools such as the school ofMurcia established by
the Christian King Alfonso X after he conquered the city in the year 1243.
King Alfonso had asked the famousMuslim scientistMuhammad b.Ahmad al-
Rakuti al-Murcito teach the inhabitants the three monotheistic religions (35).
c - The First School in Granada: This was established by Prince Abd Allah
Muhammed Ibn Muhammed Ibn Youssefknown as al-Fakih in 671-701H.H e
duly invited the scholar Muhammad Ibn Ahmed El Rakuti to resign from his
post at the Murcia school and take up teaching there. El-Rakutiaccepted the
offer and lived in a luxurioushouse.H e was a great teacher and excelled in the
art of rhetoric. Students flocked to his house to receive both education in
medicine and other forms of knowledge.None was his equal in brilliance and
rhetoric.The Sultan used to arrange meetings with self professed learned men
and it was said that El Rakuti far surpassed them (36).
d - The SchoolofMalaga: It ispossiblethat Malaga witnessed the existence
of more than one school . However,documents reveal the existence of a Sufi
school in Malaga established by the jurist Muhammad Ibn Abdel Rahman al-
Ansary,known as Abi Aballah El Sahly (1279-1353). H e was able to found this
school from grants given to him by wealthy ministers ofMaghrebine states and
established it along the western side ofthe great mosque. Dr.Maria Jesus Ribera
believes that this school was the first place in al-Andalusin which the learning
took place outside the mosque (37).

262
-
e The Nassriyah School in Granada :This school is one ofthe most famous
in al-Andalus and the Maghreb. It was established by the Granadine Sultan
Yusuf I in the year 1349.Historians agreed that its place and importance
surpassed all schoolsbuilt before it. Remnants ofparts ofthe school remain until
today in the city of Granada with its exquisite Muslim etchings adjacent to the
Cathedral (38).
f- Students ofthis Stape:Students were relatively advanced in age for they
continued their education by listening to sheikhs and scientists as a reflection of
their interest in learning and in the hope that they could become one day great
scholars. However,they essentially loved knowledge for its own sake. They
were learned students and attended teaching circles in the mosques or schools or
any other available teaching place.
-
g Muslim Scholars of this Stage: Muslim scholars during this period
were renowned for their purity of morals and advanced knowledge. Both
governors and the public were keen that no one would occupy the teaching
post in mosques, at universities and in schools except reknown for their
teaching skills in science and religion . This was a post that people hoped to
reach, and therefore, many sought to increase their knowledge and their
scientific capacity.
h - Teaching Methodolom: As mentioned earlier,the common practice at
the time was the circle sessions at school or in the mosque,with the number of
students varying according to the teachers eminence. Different teaching
methods were employed according to the subject taught. However, a lesson
would commence with greetings and prayers to the Messenger of God. The
teacher would start the debate according to the subjectand therefore the teaching
methodology of these sessions differed.
i - The Teaching Vovage:The most prominent and distinguishedfeature ofthis
educationalstage was the travelofteachers from one place to another to achieve the
maximum possible knowledge.The longer a trip lasted,the more the teacher would
meet scholars from various places and his position would be enhanced.
The voyage was divided into two main parts. There were the internal trips
inside al-Andaluswhich was as important as travelling abroad. It is said that
the great scholar Youssef Bin Abdel Bar El Nemri (died 1017) never traveled
outside al-Andalus.He was highly read, and a jurisprudence expert, and
knowledgeable about many issues and heard about the Cordoba and other
cities from travelling strangers (39). Another was Ahmed Bin Abd Allah Bin

263
Muhammed, known as Bin El Bagi, about whom a1 Dhabbi wrote I have
never seen in Cordoba nor elsewhere in al-Andalusa man that equals him in
the knowledge on the fundamentals of religion and its subsidiaries.His father
had gathered for him all the scientific references of the world and he never
needed anyone,but he traveled late to do the pilgrimage (40).Needlessto say,
internal journeys were relatively brief. The judge Abu-1-KassemBin Abdul
Rahman Bin Muhammad said when I traveled to Cordoba,I read Abu Bakr
b. al-Arabiand remained with him. When he heard one day that I may be
returning to m y home,he asked m e why are you worried? stay here until your
voyage lasts 10 years as I did (41). As for voyages outside al-Andalus,
voyagers traveled all over the Muslim world. Pilgrimage was one incentive
along with completing ones higher education. Examples of Andalusians
voyages are numerous (42).
Many students managed to accomplish both the internal and external
voyage.The student would not normally travel to learn under only one teacher,
even ifa famous teacher attracted studentsto travel to his city. Indeed,students
would use the opportunity in a given city to listen and meet the largest number
of its teachers,scholarsand sheikhs.
j - Academic Degrees: The teaching certificate represented a guarantee of
the students education and his capacity to transmit the knowledge in a specific
field. Degrees were awarded either in oral or written form.With the passage of
time, however, academic degrees lost their value in so far as reflecting the
guarantee that the student is able to convey what he has learned.It became a
merely a certificate given to any student attending classes without any
verification about the depth ofhis knowledge (43).
k - Women During this Stage: Al-Andalus women plzyed an important
role in the development of the scientific movement as attested by al-Maqqari
when he mentioned the wit and cleverness of the Andalusians including their
women and their children (44).There are many examples such as Wallada bint
Mustakfi (died 1082), a poet and remarkable literary woman. Her sessions in
Cordoba were famous as a forum for all free thinkers. (45). Mariam bin
Yacoub El Ansari, poet and teacher of poetry and ethics and was devoted to
religion (46). Umm al-Hanabint El Kadi was a judge (47)and Hafsa bint al-
Hajj al-Rakuniyawas a poetess. Ibn al-Khatibspoke of her and noted she was
an excellent teacher (48).
The mu ahidunaccorded their educated women great importance.Among
the Caliphs educated daughters was Zainab bint Yusuf Bin Abdel Moumin.

264
She was a scholar,a wise ethical woman known to have excelled over all other
women of her time (49). Not only were these women educationally active,but
also undertook travels abroad in search of further knowledge,as did their male
counterparts (50).
I -TheEducation ofNon Muslims in al-Andalus:Many al-Andalustexts and
documents testifj to the existence of Jewish and Christian scientists,men of
letters and poets who excelled in their field of specialization. Indeed,
biographies have indicated that they were extremely proficient in classical
Arabic and wrote Arabic in a distinguished style and form .
Arabic was the acknowledged language of knowledge and culture and if
Muslims fi-equentedthe mosques as the source of learning,Christians went to
the church and the Jews to the synagogue to learn.
Some Jewish poets outdid native Arabic speakers in their mastery of the
language. Effectively, al-Maqqari praised the texts written by Abu-1-Fad1
Hasday Bin Youssef Ibn Hasday (died 1006) who knew various sciences such
as mathematics, astronomy,medicine, logic and mastered Arabic poetry and
prose (51). Similarly Ibrahim Bin Sahl (died 1251)) who was known to be
Cordobasmost famous poet and expert in muwashshah poetry (52).Moreover,
Maqqari confirms that he surpassed Abi Ali Al-Shalaweenand Ibn al-Rabahand
other Muslim scientists (53). Al-Maqqari also asserts that Ibn Sahl used to
frequent Muslim teachers (54). In addition,al-Maqqarigives many examples of
al-AndalusJews who worked in the science ofthe Arabic language and some of
them wrote beautiful poems,such as Ibrahim b. al-Fakkar,a distinguished poet
who stands on equal footing to Muslim poets.Likewise Elias Bin Al-Moudawar
and the poetess, Kassmoutak Bint Ismail (both Jews) were also poets. Al-
Maqqari mentions how they both competed in reciting poetry in Arabic (55).
As to the Christians,it should be emphasized that their Arabization was
clearly maintained. Arabic became their daily language and their literary
expression. Evidence of this is found in the complaintby ofthe priest el Faro
that Christians had abandoned Latin altogether in favour ofArabic.
There is ample evidence that Christians were taught alongside Muslims and
absorbed much of their culture (56). Dr.Sayed Abdul Aziz Salem says that
there is no doubt that much ofal-Andalusbecame well versed in Arabic sciences
and they were obliged to merge with Muslims in order to win high ranking
positions.A substantial number of Christians came from outside al-Andalusto
receive their education there.They returned home armed with new knowledge
which would be instrumental in bringing about the Renaissance.

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Discussion Questions

I. What types of locations were used as schools in al-Andalusand what


subjects were taught? The author notes that the subjects included
both poetry and Arabic, which differed from the rest of the Muslim
world.

2. What subjects were taught at the secondary stages of education and


afterwards ?

3. Describe the access of girls and women to education. Examine the


obligations regarding womens rights found in the International
Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against
Women. What is the implementation status of this important
convention in your nation and region? What specific legislation has
been passed in your country on womens rights and what actions
could be undertaken to improve the situation?

4. Analyze the preparation for teachers and teaching methodology,


including the knowledge acquired by travel for both teacher and
student.(notechapter by Hamarneh on al-Zahrawi).

5. Bearing in mind the tolerance and co-existence in al-Andalus,how


could education for peace and human rights be integrated in your
educational system, community and nation? Note UNESCOs
Declarationand Integrated Framework of Action for Education for
Peace,Human Rights and Democracy (1994),and the Hague Appeal
regarding policies for education in your country and region.

6. Locate and expand training manuals to include concrete aspects of


education for peace and conflictprevention/resolution and mediation
skills. Utilize these training manuals in your educational institution,
civil society,and in your place of work.

266
261
268
17 - Exchanges in Daily Life

by
Ahmed Chahlane

The exploration ofthe daily aspects of life in al-Andalusis an arduous task,


because history books generally covered only major military events and the
history of kings and states.Even the books offatawi and nawazil,which could
have informed us about the daily life in al-Andalus,are frequently affected by
the subjectivity oftheir writers,due to the political circumstances or to their own
personal preferences.Some ofthesefuqaha were biased towards the tributaries
(ah1 al-dhimma) in theirfatawi,but the actual relations between people showed
that thesefatawi had little effect and did not affect the individualsinteractions.
In spite of all the concomitants,interactions took place regardless of ethnic
affiliation,conflicts,border wars and uprisings.The desire for coexistence was
the predominant factor,because the preoccupation of people from the different
religious communities were shared and included self-preservationand good
neighbourliness,which helped to overcome any family or natural misfortune and
fosteredjoint participation in celebrationsbringing joy to the society at large.
Therefore, everybody shared in the medical care and welfare services.In
order not to go into details in this respect,we refer to the following books: Ibn
Abi UsaybiasKitab uyun al-anba jitabaqat al-atibba, Ibn Juljuls Kitab
tabaqat al-atibba wa-1-hukama and Saith al-Andalusistabaqat al-umam.
They mention numerous Jewish and Christian doctors who treated Muslims,
whether princes or common people,who worked with their Muslim colleagues
in hospitals. They also helped in uncovering the causes of diseases or in
discovering medicines.
All the communities merged as evidenced by the bearing ofArabic names by
non-Muslims;indeed one could not distinguish a Muslim from a non-Muslim
from the name and surname.At the same time,some princes bore foreign names
with a great deal ofpride.In times of crisis,members ofthe various communities
would feel concerned for the societyswelfare.A case in point is the intercession
with Rodrigo by Muslims and Christians alike for the purpose of sparing Muslim
children and families the ordeal ofwar (1). Another example is the endurance of
all the communities during the conflict between the Banhaja and their prince (2).

269
Men and women,regardless of their religious affiliation,were participating
in the daily activities of the market. The only distinguishing features were
competitiveness and capacity (3). Due to the interdependence of interests and to
the integration of all the al-Andaluscommunities,the muhtasib insisted that
Christians working in the market have some notions about religious matters (4).
He did not include in this regard the Jews,because their religious prescriptions
concerning food did not contradict the Muslim law.In fact,somefuqaha made
it permissible for Muslims to buy the at-tarifameat,although the Jews forbade
it to themselves. The work tarifa meaning forbidden in Hebrew, became
widespread,which provides an evidence for the spread ofthis kind oftrade (5).
The commercial transactions were characterized by trust between the
communities.People used simple written documents,the enforcement ofwhich
can be over a flexible period oftime (6).
At the end of the day,traders would go to the same hammam and help each
other without any distinction (7).The Jew or the Christian had also the
possibility of buying a servant for himself and for his household (8). Usually,a
Muslim girl could meet with a non-Muslim and unless the man was ill-
mannered, her family would not object, as stated in afatwa mentioned by al-
Wansarisi (9). Muslim women often visited churches (lo), and it was common
to find Muslims and Jews sitting together in front ofhouses.This practice would
be forbidden only ifthe house ofthe Jew was known to sell spiritous beverages,
since this could harm the reputation of the Muslim( 11). These social and human
relations went even further since some Jews made provisions for some of their
properties for poor Muslims( 12). Indeed, the Muslim authorities decided to
provide for poor tributaries (ah1 al-dhimma) from the treasury (1 3).

1 - The Independence of the Tributaries (ah1ad-dhimma)


The relationship between the tributaries and the Muslims is cited in a
document dating to the time of the Caliph Umar b. al-Khattab. It is the
document sent by the commander Abd al-Rahman to Caliph Umar b. al-
Khattab when he signed a peace accord with the Christians of al-Sham,i.e.
present-day Syria,Lebanon and Palestine (14). In the treaty signed by Abdal-
Azizb.Nusayr and Teodemiro,the former promised to guarantee the latter and
his people peace and security as well as the freedom of worship without any
constraints(15). This treaty remained in force until the advent ofthe Almoravids
and the Almohads. The Muslims never imposed Islam upon the inhabitantsof al-
Andalus; on the contrary,they enjoyed a particular treatment which left them
with religious freedom (16).

270
LCvi-Provenqalattributes the voluntary conversion of many inhabitants to
the desire to avoid paying heavy taxes.He stated that the authorities preferred
that the non-Muslimskeep their religion as this enabled them to collect more
taxes (17).For this reason,the uprising ofthe Christians in Cordoba at the time
of Abd al-Rahman I1 should not be viewed as a reaction against religious
persecutions;rather it should be interpreted as a revolt of some Christians who
contested the validity of Islam and its prophecy.Thus the martyrdom of some
fundamentalist Christians came as a result oftheir repeated attacks on Islam and
the Prophet.It was not due to any persecution against them.
Indeed,the majority of people who were brought to trial were tried for
blasphemy and not for their religious beliefs and practices (1 8). Furthermore,the
issue raised by LCvi-Provenqalunderscores three things: (a) the existence of
freedom to engage in controversy;(b) the precaution taken by judges rendering
a verdict;(c) the hesitation of governors to approve those verdicts which forced
them at times to consult muftis.The letter sent by Louis Ier le Pious to the
Christians of Merida in 828,in which he complained about the Caliph Abdal-
Rahman I1 and his son al-Hakam,did not mention any form of religious
persecution. It contained mainly complaints about the burden of taxes (19).
Christians in the main cities such as Cordoba,Seville and Toledo,continued to
enjoy a local autonomy enabling them to use their old Gothic laws under the
responsibility of their magistrates and counts (20). Ibn Qutiya reports that Abd
al-RahmanI appointed the first count in al-Andalus(21).
The count presided over an administrative system which was based in
Cordoba and had branches in all villages. During the lothcentury,the affairs of
the Christian community were handled by officers who were chosen by common
accord with the Muslim authorities.The head of the administration,defender
or protectorin Latin,was referred to in history books as the comes or conde.
The taxes paid by this community were collected by an exceptor.A judge,
called the Christiansjudge or censor,settled differences between Christians
according to Gothic laws.When the disputes involved Christians and Muslims,
the Muslim law would prevail.Among the famous Christianjudges of Cordoba,
are Usbug b. Nabil Walid b. Jayzuran and Hafs b. al-Barr (22). There were
bishops in almost all the al-Andaluscities.In 978,Abdal-RahmanI11 assigned
to Abbasb. al-Munthir (the bishop of Seville) and Yaqub ibn Mahran (the
bishop of Beha) and Abdal-Malikb. Hassan (the bishop of Elvira) the task of
settling the ransom ofMuhammad I1 (23). The comes showed their obedience to
the ruler of the moment. When al-Mansurarrived in the city of Ullayza,many
bishops and followers stood before him to show their obedience;they became,

271
thus,citizensofthe Land ofIslam.Al-Mansurshowed a profound respect for the
bishops and showered them generously with gifts (24).
Religious freedom could be observed in the great number ofchurchesfound
in the al-Andaluscities and villages between the Sthand 12thcenturies(25). The
great Church ofSaintAciscle in Cordoba was the most famouschurchduring the
era of the Caliphate,while the Guadimellato monastery was among the most
renowned monastery located at the edge of cities.The amirs attended,at times,
the services in churches.(26).
Because ofthe role played by the church as a refuge for the Christians as
well as for the Muslims and strangers,many fatawi were issued throughout the
period of Muslim rule in al-Andalus.The major part of thesefatawi are to be
found in reference books in particular Kitab al-Miyaral-mugrib wa-l-jamial-
mu rib anfatawi ah1 rfriqiya wa-l-Andaluswa-l-Magribby al-Wansarisi(27)
and Ahkam ah1 al-dhimmawhich confirms the importance ofthe church in that
period. Hence,ifthe chronicles mentioned the destruction of some churches in
al-Andalus,it is because of some specific circumstances. The destroyed
churches were becoming a basis forrevoltagainstthe Muslim authorities,as was
clearly reported in history books, such as al-Ihata,al-Bayan and Ibn Bulqins
Muthakkirat,which linked the destruction ofsome churches and the uprising of
Ibn Hafsun (28). These revolts would often end by a reconciliation and the
holiness of the churches was always respected, as was the case during the
conquest of Merida (29). If the destruction of the churches was a common
practice,there would not have been anyfatwa forbiddingtotally or partially the
ringing of bells (30). Similarly, al-Wansarisi would not have spoken in his
Mi yar about the tolerance concerning the building of churches and their
protection from destruction (3 1).
The preservation ofthe churches became a tradition when Abdal-Rahman
I came to power and found Muslims sharing with Christians their great church.
H e showered the latter generously with presents and gave them permission to
rebuild the church which was demolished during the conquest and to build their
great church outside Cordoba (32). The gospel was readily available and was
read by both Christians and non-Christians.Ibn Hazm consulted it when writing
his al-Fisal.H e had many acquaintances among the clergy and used to have
discussionswith them (33).
The Jews never ceased to exercise their own power and to handle their
religious affairs.As was the custom,the Muslim authorities would appoint the
nasi (prince) for the purpose of settling disputes between them, according to

212
their own law.He was the mediator between his own community and the civilian
authority (34). The freedom enjoyed by the Jews enabled them to build
synagogues in their quarters and even in areas inhabited by Moslems. The
evidence for the expansion ofsynagogue constructionis to be found in the many
fatawi which were issued concerning this matter and which occurred in Ibn
Sahlsnawazil offatawi (35) and in thefatawi of al-Wansarisi(36) and others.
Similarly,there had been manyfatawi dealing with the Old Testament and the
Jewish holy books.One ofthesefatawi warned against the buying ofbooks from
Jews with the exception of their religious books. Ibn Abdal-Raufforbade the
spreading of untrue stories except the stories dealing with the kings of Israel
(37). Ibn Hazm used these books as reference in his al-Fisal.He reported that
many Jewish sects were represented in al-Andalus and touched upon the
Irzaniyyasect saying:This sect,which exists in Iraq,Egypt and Syria,is found
also in al-Andalus in Toledo and Talavera. He also said concerning the
Isawiyyadoctrine:I met many Jews following this doctrine(38).

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2 Interactions in the Fields of Science and Learninp,
Among the many instances of interaction within society,there were the
meetings of people from different religions in seminars in order to learn and
exchange views. Ibn Hazm,who was an active participant in these meetings,left
accounts of them in almost all of his books. He used to sit with the Jewish
physician,Ismailb.Yunus al-Isra7iliin his shop in Almeria (39). He also used
to have arguments about the Old Testament with Ibn Nagralla (40)and engaged
in controversies with Jewish scholars on religious matters (41). Ibn Hazm
learned much from them (42) and met their prominent scholars belonging to
different sects (43), with whom he discussed problems related to the Old
Testament (44).
Ibn Hazm showed in his Al--salhis deep knowledge of the famous
Christian books of his time.However,we think that Ibn Hazm was skeptical
about the tributaries during the discussions and religious seminars. H e even
warned Muslims of falsifications he discovered in their books. He accused the
priests of corruption,adultery and excessive greed for money (45). He had the
same idea about the Jews, all of whom he called untruthful,except for two
persons whom he did not name (46).
The proof that Ibn Hazms judgement concerned only ruhban and Ahbar
can be found in this quotation in which he says: The Muslim can become
friendswith a Jew or a Christian because ofprevious acquaintance(47).

273
In fact, we understand from this quotation that Ibn Ham differentiated
between Judaism and esotericism (48). Yet,we do not exclude the fact that Ibn
Hazmsjudgements concerning the Christiansand the Jews were very subjective
due to his personal life and to the political circumstances, especially that he
criticized only the religious,the notables and the tax collectors and not the
common people. This attitude is different from that of his contemporary Said
al-Andalusi,who used an entirely different language. This latter classified the
Jews in his tabaqat in the 8th rank of creation and recalled the reputation gained
by their forefathers in legislating and the prophetsbiographies.He said in this
regard, the following: This nation is the cradle of prophethood and all the
prophesies delivered by the descendants ofAdam, since most ofthe messengers
- -
of God may Godsblessing be upon them are from it.
Abu l-Fad1b. Hasday b.Yusuf Ibn Hasday al-Israiliwas a friend of Said,
with whom he used to discuss matters related to sciences in general and scholars.
Said considered that Hasday was unique in his time saying: In the field of
theoretical sciences, he did not have his peer in all al-Andalus.Said and
Hasday remained friends until 458 (1065) ...when each of them went his own
way. However, Hasday was not Saids only friend. He spoke of Ishaq Ibn
Qastar,the servant of al-MuwaffaqMujahid al-Emiri,saying:Hewas versed in
the principles of medicine, knowledgeable in logic and familiar with
philosophersopinions.I mixed a lot with him and did not meet any other Jew
with his forbearance,honesty and chivalry (49). There is no doubt that Said
knew many other Jews and Christians be they scholars or common people.This
type of human and scientific interaction also took place in the Caliphspalaces
as was reported by al-Maqqari(50).
These scientific relationships were undoubtedly very common in the
general daily life in al-Andalus.Indeed, Ibn Baqi used to argue with the
Christians about the Old Testament, as mentioned his friend Ibn Hazm (51).
Debates with priests and with Jews about the understanding of the Koran and
their religious books were often held (52). Priests used to come to al-Andalusto
worship in its churches and to study and translate the Muslim sciences (53).
This scientific intercourse developed in places of study with no distinction
between the various communities in the field of sciences (54). The interaction
was not limited to scientific seminars,but the tributaries used also to consult the
fuqaha about complicated religious matters (55).
Human literary intercourse continued to take place in al-Andalus,which led
al-Maqqarito devote an important part of Nafh al-tib to Jewish and Christian

274
poetry. The literary texts reported by al-Maqqari illustrate the strength of the
human and literary relationships between Jewish,Christian and Muslim men of
letters (56).The literary information illustrated the close and deep relationships
between some Muslim men of letters and their colleagues from other religions,
which made them good mediators in conflicts arising between men of letters(57).
Ifthis scientific interaction took place at a higher level as already described,
how did it take place at the primary level? The child started his contact with life
within the family where he would learn the rules of conduct and good manners,
through guidance and providing a good model. Religious manners played also
a role in shaping the childs behaviour through rules and prohibitions. These
were put into practice on different occasions (e.g.visits during holidays, visits
to ailing people). It was also the ideal way for understanding and acquiring good
manners.The role ofthe teacher was only complementary to societal education.
As noted in the next chapter on education by Issa,considerable attention
was given to education in al-Andalus.In al-Bqan of Ibn Idhari,we can read
the following:The Caliph al-Hakamappointed teachers to teach poor peoples
children in Koranic schools affiliated to mosques and in all districts of Cordoba
and gave them wages.The number of these Koran schools reached 27. All the
mosques of al-Andaluswere serving as schools (58).

3 - Housing
The cities and villages of al-Andaluswere inhabited by many ethnic groups.
There were three types ofcommunities in al-Andalus:the town,the village and the
Hisn (fortress), excluding their dependencies (59).Most houses,it seems, were
small in size and in Granada,as described by the llth and 14thcentury explorers,
houses did not exceed 50 square meters. They were surrounded by a wall with a
wooden double door.The houses ofthe rich had verandas (al-shammasijya)with
a wooden lattice frame which hid anyone looking through it. Houses were usually
composed ofa threshold,a corridorand a patio. (60)Sometimes,the small houses
were inhabited by more than one family;one would live downstairs while the
other would live in the upper floor,called al-masrijya(61).
These houses were situated in quarters with narrow,closed streets, in the
middle ofwhich there were sometimes small courtyards.The streets were named
after their dwellers and did not usually contain shops.Shops were located in the
Swiqa (small market), located in a relatively large road. The bulk of the
commercial activity took place in public markets. Handicrafts and shops,such
as druggists,cloth merchants,money changers,shoe-makersand tanners were

275
mostly concentrated in the centre ofthe town,whereas the markets were located
near the great mosque as in Toledo. The market al-Qanat in Toledo was full of
shops belonging to Jewish traders (62).
Some Jews lived close to Muslims but,in most cases,they had quarters of
their own near the city walls which differed only slightly from those of
Muslims(63). They had narrow streets,where vegetables and food were sold.In
the Jewish quarter ofToledo,there were also shops selling silk and jewelry.
Most houses were single storey buildings,although they sometimeshad an
upper floor such as ToledosJewish quarter.Each quarter had its own hammam
(public bath). The Jewish quarters had one gate which was closed at night (64).
The synagogues were usually located far from Muslim houses. The Jewish
quarter was either called Rabad and Granada was called the town ofJews (65).
The Andalusians placed a great importance on the architectural aspect ofthe
city and appointed for that purpose a senior official.They also created police
guards responsible for security at night.
W e cannot speak of houses without mentioning furniture. Palaces and
Muslim houses had little furniture and what enriched them was the good quality
ofthe furniture,its scarcity and the skill of artisans. Dkor sometimes included
a fine wool or silk ornamented fabric used for the decoration ofthe walls ofthe
sitting room.The floors ofthe rooms were usually covered with carpets.
Al-Andaluswas renowned for carpet weaving,namely the busut which was
named after the town of Basta in Granada province,which were made of rare
pure silk thread. Carpets were also made in Murcia,and were mostly red and
characterized by geometric figures and by the disproportion in their length and
width. The middle class people used al-tallis,a thick multi-coloured carpet,
while poor people used mats. The sofa leaning against the wall served 8s chairs
and surrounded the al-taytur(the table) on which food was placed.
If rich women spent their time chatting,composing poetry,making themselves
gracefbl or embroidering on costly velvet,poor women,on the other hand,occupied
themselveswith knitting and spinning.The tools poor women used frequently were
the spindle and the loom. Rich familieskitchens were full of golden,silver and
glass cups,metal marvels adorned through scratching,engraving,inlaying,ceramics
decorated with geometricalfigures,drawings and poetry verses and marble utensils
for spices while poor familieskitchens,on the other hand,had bottles forwater and
oil as well as pottery utensils (66). In cold winters,houses were heated by marble,
metal or clay braziers,depending on the ownerssocial staim.

276
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4 Trade and Crafts
From the time ofthe conquest cfath) until its decline,al-Andaluswitnessed
a continuous commercial and industrial expansion despite intermittent crises.
Ibn Khaldun devoted the entire chapter 18 ofhis al-Muqaddima (67)to crafts in
al-Andalus.
Many activities flourished, such as the industries of leather, wood,
armament, money minting, wine, oil, soap and sugar refining. The metal
industry consisted of works in gold, silver, iron,lead, glass,mercury, marble,
galena and red sulphur. Leather products, ceramics, glass, wooden utensils,
musical instruments (68), metallic articles, rags, paper, tissue, silk and dyes,
such as saffron,and many other products were exported.
Among the factors which encouraged this industrial and commercial
activity were the security of coasts ensured by a strong naval fleet; the
suppression of taxes which were imposed during the time ofpetty kings and the
governmentsnon-involvementin commercial activities;the compensation of
traderslosses;the granting of credits; the construction of markets, inns and
bridges; water supply and trade regulations.
Often,foreign merchants and craftsmen would come to al-Andalusto sell
their goods and offer their services. Ibn Hayyan mentioned the coming to
Cordoba in 941 oftradesmen whose travel to the city became a habit afterwards
(69). The author of al-Bayan reported that in 965, al-Hakam I1 al-Mustansir
resorted to craftsmen from Rome to pave and decorate the great mosque with
mosaics (70). Hence the activity of non-MuslimAndalusians grew larger and
larger to the extent that Arabs and Berbers, as Lkvi-Provengalnoted,were no
longer the only craftsmen in al-Andalus markets, but there were Jews and
Christians as well.Similarly,Arabic was no longer the only language to be heard
in the market (71).
Jews played an important role in this commercial activity;not only did they
participate in the production of goods(72), but their activity covered all the al-
Andalus provinces and went beyond the countrysnorthern and southern borders.
They had shops in public markets and in their own quarters. In this respect,
industrial and commercialtransactionsbetween the different communitieswere a
common practice according to Jewish (73) and Muslim fatawi (74).
The author of The Notables of Fez talked about the jobs performed by al-
Andalus, mainly those converted to Islam. H e noted that villagers bred cattle,
ploughed the earth and produced honey, while mountain dwellers owned

277
orchards and grew vegetables,cut wood in the forest and made charcoal.Those
living in coastal areas practised fishing and built ships and fishery engines.
The mawalis of towns worked in tannery,needlework,shoemaking,selling
of leather products, fabric and jellabas weaving and selling, metal cup work,
hairdressing,banking, injury and illness healing, milling trade,wood milling,
mosque maintenance,carpentry,arms manufacturing,ceramicsand others.They
were also involved in the field of iron casting,metal work, blacksmithing and
transporting of goods from one country to another. Jews converted to Islam
often undertook the jobs of clothes making, thread braiding, weaving and
dyeing. They also worked as hairdressers, auctioneers in souks, sellers of
curdled milk,vegetables and spices,and as shoe-makers.(75j
Although the manuscript mentioned Those converted to Islam,the author
was in fact alluding to tributariesjobs,because there was actually no reason for
them to change their activities.The crafts were the same as those mentioned by
Ashtor and others who talked about tributariesactivities(76). In fact,these crafts
were not performed by Jews only,but by all the inhabitantsof al-Andalus(77).
Women also contributed in industries,notes Ibn Havn who mentioned that
they were doctors, lawyers, auctioneers, hair-dressers,singers, teachers and
employees in textile.
The inhabitants of al-Andalusalso gave attention to controlling markets,
organizing the handicrafts and strove for the specialization of workers and
traders,the control oftrade traffic,the good quality of merchandise,the fairness
of balances and the control of food in order to protect the health of inhabitants.
Hence, the positions of sahib al-suq,sahib al-shurta were among the senior
positions in the state.Many books dealing with these positions were written in
al-Andalus.Thus, it is natural that these industrial and handicraft activities
would be reflected in the peoplesway of life,their diet and in their exploitation
of the riches of the al-Andalusland such as plants,animals,birds and fish.

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5 Food
In al-Andalusland was very fertile,although it was frequently ravaged by
famine, seasonal drought and border wars between Muslims and Christians
which would often lead to the burning of crops and prairies, however the rains
which often turned to great floods compensated for the dry periods. The soil
fertility enabled al-Andalusto export great quantities of its agricultural products
and also enabled it to produce sugar,honey,alcohol,oil and dairy products.

278
As a peninsula,al-Andaluswas able to exploitthe sea-wealthin an effective
manner. The good quality of its grazing-land and the abundance of its animals
and birds, encouraged the inhabitants of al-Andalusto place importance on
breeding animals and birds for food and ornament. They wrote books on
veterinary science and agriculture.They also cared for culinary arts in which
they were very skilled and wrote many interesting cook-books.
The most important of these books was Fadalat al-hiwan Ji tayyibat
al-taamwa-l-alwanwhich was written by Ibn Rain al-Tujibi.The importance
ofthis book lies in the fact that it was written in the 13thcentury and the author
drew parallels between health and food and relied on the most common products
for his subject-matter.Thebook consists of420recipes to prepare different types
of meals.It included couscous which is prepared in a variety ofways and meals
prepared with beef, mutton, lamb and poultry. There are recipes for meals
prepared with fish which are fried,boiled or grilled,egg dishes and many recipes
for bread stuffed with poultry,meats and vegetables.
The meal was often named afier the vegetables used to prepare it. Among these
vegetables we find:fennel,turnips,courgettes,onions,garlic,mint,quince,cabbage,
eggplant,carrots,olives,artichoke,spinach, mushrooms,rice,string beans. Cheese,
either fiesh or dried,is used in many sorts ofmeals together with oil or butter. Nuts
such as almonds,pistachiosand dried fruits are frequently used,as well as fresh hits.
The spices and aromatic herbs include: pepper, chervil, clove, ginger,
sesame,saffron,garlic,cumin,thyme,fennel,lemon rind,camphor,cardamon,
dried mint and mint water,pepper water,spinach,celery,lemon,etc Vinegars:
orange vinegar, pomegranate water. The bitters with their varieties: cooked,
soaked or pressed.The pastry was varied and sweet.
The manner of serving these meals was described by Ibn Razin as follows:
During the meals all stringy food is eaten first in order to be at the bottom on the
stomach which is stronger in digestion. Milk products,cheese,spicy sauce,beef,
mutton,salty meat,fish,nuts and the like are to be eaten first in order to be easily
digested.Green vegetables should also be served first so as to smooth the stomach.
All salty food should be eaten in the middle ofthe course.The hits, cakes and soft
drinks should be saved for last.Everything prepared with eggs,such as cakes,is to
be eaten first.Every food prepared with sesame or pepper should be eaten last.(78).
W e should note here that the variety of food does not mean that all the
population were having meat continuously;most ofthe population ate vegetables,
starchy food and porridges which relied on bread, cheese and semolina. These
varieties of food were known to all communities,who brought many of them to

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Morocco. What made them common to all is Gods saying: The food of the
people ofthe book is allowed to you as well as yours is allowed to them.Ashtor
mentioned many varieties offood prepared in Jewish festivitiesand described their
rituals which are on the whole similar to what was known to Muslims(79).

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6 Participation in feasts and occasions
It was customary that Muslims of al-Andaluswould celebrate the Id al-Fitr
and the Id al-Adha,which were originally considered the only official holidays,
During these two days,the Id (feast) prayer would be held and people would put
on their best clothes.The celebrationwould begin with breakfast,which generally
consisted of batter and milk and continue late into the evening.All the streets of
the al-Andaluscities would become crowded.People would spray each other with
perhme and drink orange juice flavoured with flower water (80). These feasts
were the only two feasts which were actually recognized by fuqaha(8 1).
The eve of the 27th ofRamdan was also a night of celebration in mosques,
city quarters as well as in rich and poor houses,where the Koran was recited. O n
this night,people would buy candies,which somefuqaha considered heretical
(82). Ashurawas celebrated on the 10th of muharram with fasting.
The celebration of the Prophetsbirthday was introduced in al-Andalusby
Abu Muhammad a1 Azafi,the prince of Ceuta in the 14thcentury and then
spread all over al-Andalusand the Maghreb. People would prepare copious
meals,dress nicely,go out,and ride horses,while the children would gather in
Koranic schools.It was common in al-Andalusthat men and women would go
out together for walks. O n the eve of the feast,concerts would be organized.
Somefuqaha disapproved ofthe celebration ofthis feast (83). AI Azaficalled
for the celebration of this feast when he saw that Andalusians began
participating with their Castilian neighbours in the celebration of the New Year.
They would exert themselves preparing for the feast and exchange presents.
New Yearsday became a highly regarded feast in which people ceased to work
(84). The Andalusians also used to celebrate the Nayruz day which corresponds
to spring equinox.They would probably put on fancy dresses and sprinkle each
other with water in the streets and markets (85).
They would also celebrate the 5th ofApril on which they would buy cheese
and doughnuts.Men and women together would go out for walks in al-musalla
to relax in the open.They would go to the hamrnam regardless oftheir religious
affiliations .It was customary to stop work in al-Andalus on Saturdays and
Sundays,as it occurred in somefatawi. Nobody cared that these were Jewish and

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Christian holidays during which religious rituals were held, bells rang in
churches,and Old Testament scripture was recited loudly in synagogues.
Among the other Jewish religious feasts,there is the al-fishwhich takes place
between 14th and 22nd April. Its first night,sidir,is the most important of all as it
celebratesthe Jewsexodus fiom Egypt.During this night,the hugada,the story ofthe
exodus,is recited and 14rituals related to aZ-fishnight are held.The major ceremonies
would take place in synagogues,while the sidir would be celebrated in houses.
The Sukut or the feasts of the tents reminds one of the period spent by the
Hebrews under tents,from their exodus until their arrival in Palestine. The tents
would be put up after the aZ-gu)an day of fasting.It was customary in al-Andalus
to put up tents outside the synagogues and not in houses,which did not conform
with the commandmentsand provoked the priestsdiscontent(86). The feast would
end with sinhat turah (the Old Testament Joy), which corresponds to the 9th day of
the celebration.The temples would be decorated with lights and the worshipers
would revolve around the box in the middle of the synagogue, al-miqra.They
would dance with scrolls of the Old Testament (al-sifarirn)in the presence of
children.Women would dance with men,which very often annoyed some religious
men (1 1 century) .After this ritual,cookies and fruitswould then be distributed.
Among the other ceremonies,there was also Hanuka which celebrated the
victory of the Maccabis over the Greeks and the deliverance of the temple of
Jerusalem.The feast would last 8 days during which the lamps would remain lit
without interruptionand gifts were given to children.
Rosh Hoshshana (NewYear) was characterized by the total abstinence from
alcohol,the settlement of feuds,the purification of sins,the sacrifice of animals
and the Kippour prayer.O n this occasion,Old Testament verses and poems of
Ibn Gabirol,Yehuda ha-Leviand Moshe b.Ezra were recited (87).
In view of the strong relationship which brought together the different
communities in such aspects as housing,commerce,neighbourhood,sorrow and
rejoicing,there is no doubt that Jews,Christians and Muslims would participate
in these celebrations and exchange foods and gifts.This could be seen from the
numerousfatmi issued in al-Andalus.
These events brought about the opportunity to organize concerts and song
recitals in houses and palaces.It also used to bring men together to play cards or
chess.Several al-Andaluspoets wrote about this aspect of life.
Additionally, the streets were full of entertaining shows - magicians
performing tricks to peoples astonishment, jugglers performing skillfully,

28 1
fortune-tellers,amulet and herb sellers, trying to sell their products.Story tellers
would take their listeners on trips back into time.The reciters of improvised
verse would fascinate their audience with their poems in which they would mix
Arabic,vernacular and Castilian.The horse shows and races which used to take
place in Bab al-Ramlaor Bab al-Tawwabinin Granada were no less entertaining
than the dog and bull fights or the sticks game /@ego de cafiias) (88). The streets
were often full of children playing noisily with their clay or tin dolls.
Ibn Khaldun, al-Maqqari and other historians mentioned these shows on
several occasions,which appeared as well in the Hisba books.The participation
ofthe communities could also clearly be seen in thejoys and sorrows ofthe daily
life of a society merged by the interaction in the market,housing and common
destiny,whose very foundations were women and men.

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7 Marriape and Womens Status
There was no other society that matched the al-Andalusone in which women
enjoyed similarfreedoms.Women were princesses,servants,doctorsand workers.In
markets,they used to sell thread and fabric in places which became specificto them,
such as Bab al-attarinin Cordoba.They also had their own promenade in every al-
Andalus city.O n the whole,they participated in all festivals and celebrations and in
all aspects of life as stated in the Kitab Tmq al-Hamamaor NaJh al-Hib.
Marriage to Christian or Jewish women was a common practice among
princes and notables, as well as the rest of al-Andalus.Polygamy and taking
concubines were widespread among the rich and middle classes.Some fathers
used to arrange the future marriage of their sons at an early age. The father
would give the dowry after agreeing with the girls family on its nature and
quantity.It might be in cash,land and buildings,jewellery or furniture.At times,
the girlsfather might donate his daughtersdowry to his son-in-lawor ask for a
symbolic one. Very often, the value of the dowry could be assessed from the
girls furniture (89), which would include cushions, pillows, mats, carpets,
clothes and jewellery,according to what was agreed upon and put down on a
notarial deed. The marriage celebrations would normally last for a week. It
would start at the brideshouse with the bath ceremony and then she would be
taken to her husbands house where she would be presented to the guests.
Banquets would then be organized and music played. The festivities were
attended by both men and women without any distinction.
After the marriage,the wife would become responsiblefor the house and its
management.If a wife was from a wealthy family,she would rarely leave the

282
house. For this reason, visits paid to friends and relatives served to relieve
boredom and the visit once or twice a month to the hammam would give women
the chance to meet and speak with their friends. Similarly, the visit to the
cemetery on Fridays were another occasion to see the city. In addition,they
would go out on religious feasts to walk along riversidesand in the country (90).
In contrastto the leisurely life ofthe rich women,there was the life oftoil of the
poor,working in markets or employed in Muslim and non-Muslimhouses.
The celebration of these events was quite similar regarding Jewish ceremonies.
Marriage wasto be confirmed by the presentation ofa gift and the blessing ofthe wine.
The marriage became official with the paying ofthe dowry fixed in the contract and
the actual consummation.Jewscould marry a second wife ifthere were any acceptable
reasonsto do so.Thewedding was celebrated inthe presence of 10people or more and
a rabbi,a judge as well as a member of the community officials.After washing,the
husband would put on the wedding dress,whilethe spouse,wearing a wonderfd dress
called al-kiswaal-kabira would sit on the wedding seat.The celebrations would last
for some days and end with the bridesreturn fi-omher first visit to the hammam.
The birth of a male was another important event,during which many rituals
and practices meant to protect the new-bornwere performed exactly as was done
by Muslim neighbours. The circumcision,which would occur 8 days after the
birth,was also a great occasion on which the baby was named. There were no
other occasions as important as this event.The only exception to this was Bar
Mitzvah,the religious maturity.It was the beginning ofmenslegal capacity and
the end of the first stage of education. The learning of Old Testament texts by
the sons or their giving of the first sermon in front of an audience in the
synagogue constituted the fathersextreme form of pride and happiness.

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8 Clothiny
Social homogeneity, favoured by political and economic activity and
reinforced by the factors of language and feasts,also was demonstrated in the
aspects of clothing,which presented advantages and drawbacks.
Al-Maqqari,who dedicated an entire paragraph to the clothes ofal-Andalus,
did not notice any distinction between the tributaries way of dressing and the
others, except for the yellow turbans worn only by Jews (91). It seems that
clothes were common to the three communities.
Colourful thick velvet was used as raw material in the manufacturing of
clothes. The use of black, red, green and blue as well as golden thread
embroidery was widespread in al-Andalus.

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Among the common peoples clothes were woollen or cotton robes the
jubba,the burnus (hooded cloak ,) light flat shoeswith a hooked tip and womens
clothes were a loose garment of double cloth,woolen or silk tunic,embroidered
shoes. They are worn until today in North Africa. During festivities,clothes
were colorful and made of silk and embroidered materials (92).
Jewellery and make-upwas associated with clothing in al-Andalus.Muslims
were very much attracted by precious stones such as hyacinth, chrysolite and
emerald.These were reserved for authorities and rich families.Many other jewels
were known among al-Andaluswomen,such as necklaces,bracelets, anklets and
earrings.They were made ofgold forrich families and silver forthe poor ones (93).
Andalusians were also fond of perhe which was derived mostly from lemon,
roses and violets. Women used kuhl (antimony) for their eyelids and eyebrows.
They also used henna.Pehmes usually had their own expensive containers (94).
The passion for jewelry was also accompanied by an ardent love for
cleanliness,which Al-Maqqaricommented on. Ibn Idharicounted at least 300
baths in Cordoba for women (95). Baths were of extreme importance both for
towns people and villagers.Women fi-equentedbaths more than men. It was a
good place for meeting and dressing up.
Baths were also a religious necessity for both men and women and became
as much a necessity for all the society (96). Baths were public institutions,but
there were also private baths. The Christian society was influenced by its Arab
neighbours and as a result,they built public baths similarto the al-Andalusones.
Baths in Barcelona in the mid-13thcentury and in Gerona at the end of the same
I century,were similar to the Muslim ones.
In Cordoba,Muslim baths were often built near mosques, and Jewish ones
near the synagogue (97). The Jews preferred to have their own private bath,
although the public baths were frequented by Muslims,Christians and Jews.The
Muslim bath attendants would serve all of them without any discrimination.
There is no doubt that all these common manifestations could not cancel out
the feeling of difference which was only normal in a society made up of many
interacting elements and which knew many conflicts,either to defend an enclave
or to retrieve a city, in addition to permanent work and trade activity. A
nationalist feeling also developed that was interpreted by all parties according to
their own interest.However,it was this nationalist feeling which brought forth a
unique conviviality,and sharing and productivity in the spirit in al-Andalus.

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Discussion Questions

1. Describe the medical care and welfare relief that was open to al-
dhimma and how the doctors cooperated with each other in their
profession,

2. Elaborate how the Muslims, Christians and Jews respected and


participated in the major celebrations of the other religions.

3. Compare the advanced position of women in al-Andalusto the legal


and traditional status of women in other countries during the period
and also with the status of women in the Arab world, Asia, Africa,
Latin America and the Occident. How could legislation protect and
lead to gendre equality? Discuss womensaccess to education,work,
health care, participation in civic life and decision making,legal rights
and marriage laws.

4. Decribe the legal entitlements regarding inter-religiousmarriage in al-


Andalus.Are these practices still prevalent today?

5. Describe the types of housing and interior decor.Which styles remain


today?

6. What role did the hammam play in the social life of the people and
how did the general attention to hygiene and cleanliness influence
future development?

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Interior Court,Alhambra - Granada
Riad Al-Chorbachi

286
F O R M S OF ARTISTIC CREATIVITY

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18 Al-Andalus: the Language of Forms.
Continuity and Innovation

by
Claudio Torres

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1 The Origins
Islam, as the last great civilization of the Mediterranean and heir of its
millenary cultures,has not only been the depository and the link between the
classical world and the modern world,but also the active agent of an innovative
aesthetic synthesis which, for centuries, influenced the imagination and the
artistic production of the West and especially of the Iberian Peninsula. If one
bears in mind this profoundly Mediterranean and urban character of Islam,one
will not need to have recourse to mythical origins and the Bedouins ofthe desert
- as is so often repeated - in order to explain some features of Muslim art.
Because of its special art forms,the Muslim place of worship is usually
considered in the history of art as something foreign to the classical world. A
widespread theory is that which seeks the origins ofthe mosque in the house ofthe
Prophet himself.If one admits fi-omthe start that the Muslim religion is solidly
anchored in the religious past of the Mediterranean,having adopted many of the
human and sacred values of the great mystic movements which were directly
engaged in the renovation of monotheism,it can be assumed that the shape of its
mosques hardly differs from that of surrounding models. These models are not
limited,moreover,to the Jewish synagogue or to the Christian basilica. .
The two major religions for salvation dominant until then, Judaism and
Christianity,had in the former,a strongly selective character and in the latter,an
initiatory nature par excellence. Consequently,the respective places for prayer
had the tendency to withdraw,to present themselves as the habitation of the
Lord, as paradisiac spaces where divinity becomes tangible. In the paleo-
Christian church,while the facade is austere,the inside,plunged in a mysterious,
polychrome intimacy, is divided in a succession of spaces arranged
hierarchically according to the degree of initiationofthe neophytes. At the time

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of the height of Byzantium,towards the gth and 9 centuries,this segmented
space added a new dimension in its central plan, the metaphoric image of the
Pantocratorwas represented in the celestial cupola ofthe Pantocrator.
Much ofthe resounding success ofthe Muslim religion is certainly due to the
facility and transparency of its language,open to everyday urban life and for the
firsttime,the simple gestures ofbuying and selling are clearly permitted in the area
proximity ofthe sacred.The direct appeal ofthe muezzin, and especially with its
numerous wide open doors, the mosque shows in its architectural logic this
democratization ofthe house ofGod.Ifat some time during its history,imperial
conquests led to the construction of some mosques with a central plan,the early
model was retained throughout the centuries: a huge square space planted in the
middle of the town,having almost half of its area covered. Turned towards the
Mecca,the wall at the back ofthis sheltered space,where the mirhab stands out,
servesas a referenceforthe faithfulin their silent dialogue with the Divinity.At the
entrance to the large yard,next to the door on the Northern side,and emphasizing
the horizontality ofthe dominant lives ofthe whole place,there rises,the alminar.
One must not therefore seek an architectural affiliation which links the
mosque to the early church. Although it came in the wake of Judaism and
Christianity,Islam did not follow them in the intimacy ofits temples,in order to
rediscover,the functions of great openness of space of the classic afora and
forum.It is conceived that there is a relation between the mosque and the great
solar temples of ancient Egypt whose mysticism has indeed influenced all
Mediterranean religion :the vast spaces,open or hypostyle,whose ruins dotted
the towns washed by the Nile,where the new Muslim religion affirmed itself.
One ofthe elements most often invoked to classify Muslim art as foreignto
the classicalworld is arabesque,geometric and abstract decoration,characterizes
this art form.
Without appealing to the romantic comments regarding the swing of the
pendulum between equilibrium and excess, one notes, on observing the
evolution ofRoman art,that from the end ofthe 3rdcentury onwards there is a
progressive decorative geometrization. This evolution in Mediterranean
ornamental vocabulary continues during the Islamization process and even
reached the workshops of Byzantium where the conflict over icons threatened
the foundations of the Empire. The aesthetic course of Islam, increasingly
calligraphic,having assimilated the metaphysical and iconoclastic currents of
the Alexandrine followers of Plotinus,deployed itself in new vocabulary and
ornamentalrhythms which are as familiar in India as in Cordoba.A superficial

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contact with the language offorms revealsthat,generally,the social groups most
eager for innovation,like the mercantile societies,had a tendency to draw closer
to the abstract sign.

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2 Muslim Art in Western Andalus
The great mosque of Cordoba was constructed in the first stages of the
Islamizationof al-Andalus,when towns started forming their fragile network of
local institutions with an indirect dependence of a distant political power, at a
time when Muslims did not exceed 10per cent ofa heterogeneousand rebellious
population.At the end of the 8thcentury,it was an exceptional,unique work in
the West,through which the dethroned Umayyad dynasty affirmed to Damascus
their new power in the country of exile.
In its conception,planning and extraordinary decoration,the first mosque of
Cordoba is a work imported from the East,of which Damascus was their great
capital. In the layout of its eleven naves perp