Fact: The Muslim population in Spain is presently about thirty thousand as well as a 95 percent Roman Catholic and also 15,000 Jews. ( Worldbook 2000 Encyclopaedia ).
The Word Andalus in Arabic is the name for the liberian peninsula which is commonly known as Spain and Portugal. The first Muslims to actually land in; Andalus, did so sixty years before the caliphate of Uthman ( may Allah's blessing and peace be upon him ). On two separate occasions approximately 648 AD ( 27 After Hijri ), in the south east of the peninsula. However both of these incursions were more in the nature of exploratory forays and prompted the need to take fresh provisions on board. It was the landing of the Muslim army in the year 711 AD which was the event that the Greeks had foretold and feared, the high point of an era which was to last for 800 years.
The Battle of Spain
Tariq ibn Ziyad was sent by Musa ibn Nusayr in the year 711 AD as a chief commander to conquer Andalus. His men numbered 12000-17000. On his journey he decided to take some rest and sleep. It is said whilst sailing across the sea, which separates Africa from Andalus, he saw in his dream the prophet surrounded by arabs of the Muhajiruun and Ansaars, who with unsheathed swords and bended bows stood by him. They also heard the prophet Peace and Salutations be upon him say " take courage, O Tariq! and accomplish what you are destined to perform. " On hearing this, he looked around him and saw the messenger Peace and Salutations be upon him of Allah and his companions entering Andalus. Tariq immediately awoke from his sleep with a smile, and from that moment on he never doubted victory. Tariq advanced towards a small mountain in the sea which later became known as Jabal Tariq (Mount Tariq) derived from which is the modern name: Gibraltar. Here Tariq and his army disembarked into the darkness of the night. He then set fire to his fleet and in his determination to conquer Andalus he told his army " I have now burnt the ships, and now there is no return for us and here we will conquer or die fighting."
The king of the time, King Roderick, heard about the seizure and immediately prepared his army which numbered 100,000. King Roderick set off with confidence that they will make each and every Arab his prisoner. Roderick took his army to Cordova to attack Tariq and his armies. King Roderick ordered one of his bravest soldier to spy on the muslims. Tariq was informed of this and made such a cunning plan which on the other hand deluded the enemies. The plan was based on cutting up corpses and pretending to eat them. The spy returned after witnessing this in shock and confusion and related the matter to the king which filled him with utter delusion. Before the battle, Tariq gave a speech which portrayed his valiance, determination and ideology regarding the life after death.
In this speech he also mentioned his desire to kill King Roderick with his own hands. After his influential speech, Tariq and his army with their white turbans and spears in their hands proceeded towards the battlefield. When Tariq reached the battlefield he saw his ambition and aimed his arrow towards him and killed him. He had now fulfilled his long felt desire and gained victory for the Muslims. It is said in the confusion that followed the defeated Christian soldiers fled for their lives, the body of King Roderick had also disappeared. The Muslims had a zeal for knowledge, they were advanced in architecure and were masters in science. They took control of spain and transformed it in to a thriving community with interlectuals such as Allama Qurtubi. European noblemen came to Spain to learn from these Muslims who had built magnificent libraries, public baths and hospitals for all communities. Religious freedom was granted to the Catholic community. The Muslims gave their due to the state as religious Alms to the poor (Zakat), the Christians were also required to contribute a small amount (Jizya) towards the well being of fellow countrymen in lieu of the religious alms the Muslims gave. The Muslims protected the rights of the Christians who were surprised to see such good humanity in the Muslim conquerers. Previous empires plundered and ill gained. The Muslims, however, treated people fairly and just. The Cathedral at Cordova (Cordoba) was not siezed as conquerers would, but bought for a reasonable sum from the Catholic clergy. Their just society was because they governed, at the time, by the Book of Allah: The Holy Quran and practiced the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad Peace and blessings be upon him.
Muslim control and the fall of Spain
When Tariq and his army conquered a large portion of Spain in 711-718 AD, which mainly consisted of the Moors who were a Muslim tribe from North Africa, they immediately implemented Islamic law ( Shariah ) with Caliphates. The muslim ruled with islamic law for over 800 years.
However when the Muslim government of Spain collapsed during the early 1000s due to the fighting amongst the groups of Moors, the country split into many small Moorish states and independent cities. This was not the only reason for the downfall of a nation which ruled for many centuries. This was due to the fact that the leaders did not rule according to the Islamic law and chose an un-islamic life.
Below is an extract from the hadith ( saying of the Prophet Peace and Salutations be upon him ).
Abdullah ibn Umar narrates ; " the Prophet Peace and Salutations be upon him came to us and said O muhajiruun, you may be afflicted by five things, may Allah forbid you live to see them, if leaders do not govern according to the book of Allah, you should realize this will not happen without Allah making them into groups and making them fight another. " ( Ibn Majah, Kitab al Fitan, 4019,2/1332 ) you can see from this small extract how the Prophet Muhammad Peace and Salutations be upon him had advanced knowledge of the future and how true his prophecies would prove to be.
The Spanish Inquisition and the oppressing of the Muslims
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella wanted to create an astray united Spain. They considered Jews and Muslims to be a threat to their ambition. In 1480, they established the Spanish Inquisition, a court that imprisoned anybody who was suspected of not following the Roman Catholic teachings and preaching. The king set up an army which would capture anybody who did not follow and adhere to the Roman Catholic religion. How was this religious persecution achieved?, is the question which arises. The answer is a simple but a despicable one. The army would go as far as checking the men genitals to see if they were circumcised. If they were then they would be killed as well as their families. They would be spied upon and if they were seen bathing on Friday, or seen wearing beautiful clothes on Eid or any such days they would be killed, even if they were not Muslims. Some frail and weak muslims found no way out of this, and denounced Islam, and embraced Christianity assuming they would be safe, they were also killed. Many masjids were converted into churches. This brutal torture continued for more than 300 years, and in 1492 Spanish forces conquered Granada, the last centre of Moorish control in Spain. These are some of the reasons why sadly there are few signs of practiced Islam in Spain today.
After the Spanish Inquisition the Christian armies wanted to get rid of the Muslims somehow. They told the Muslims that they could take with them necessary possessions from their homes. They were told they could sail away in the ships anchored on the quay side. The Christians looted their homes and set fire to them. Before they reached the ships they set fire to the ships. The Christians then attacked the innocent Muslims and killed them.
Pray for all who have passed away and those that are persecuted around the globe. We must pray to Allah, asking Him for peace & harmony and an end to religious persecution in all it's disguises, ameen.