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Islamic Spain Essay

2201 words - 9 pages

Islamic Spain can be seen as one of the only societies that has grasped the importance of synergy and placed this notion above the typical need for absolute control. It is here where adherents of three religions coexisted and thrived culturally, economically, and intellectually. Two works explain the history of Islamic Spain, one being a documentary by Gardner Films, Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain, and the other a book by Tamim Ansary called Destiny Disrupted: A History of The World Through Islamic Eyes. While both Ansary and Gardner Films explore the themes of Spain under Islamic rule, Gardner Films provides the viewer with a more thorough history of the region whereas ...view middle of the document...

This is where the foundation of Islam in Spain began. Muslims supplied Jews and Christians with weapons incase they had to defend the area; it was actions like this that brought the three religions together. Within little time, threats from other Muslims create slight political conflict, Abdul Rahman, an escapee from Damascus that restructured Spain, resolved this. Muslims now had a solid foundation in Spain and were unified. Later on we see that Abdul Rahman III, a successor of Abdul Rahman, will bring to Spain the greatest success it will ever see. He claimed independence from all other Muslims caliphates and called himself the caliph. With wealth and beauty expanding in Islamic Spain, a sense of unity filled the area.
Poetry served as a cross-cultural form of communication within different people. Libraries were filled with a range of subjects of intellectual works. Advances in innovation led to an agricultural boom, Andalusians used existing Roman aqueducts, as water was a key feature to the success of Spain. All seemed to be going well at this time, until the death of Abdul Rahman III. His death brought strife and hostility amongst the area and civil wars began to break out. These civil wars led to the separation of Andalusia. People began to break out into smaller kingdoms. This set Muslims against each other. It is important to note that at this time Muslims went to leaders of other religions to help them defend against people of their own religion, particularly Christian kings. This idea of coexistence irritated followers of Islam and Christianity. Pope Alexander wanted to purify Spain of all Muslims because he believed followers of Christianity should not maintain such close relations with Muslims. North African Muslims known as the Umayyads had the same ideology as Pope Alexander and felt that Muslims were losing focus on their ultimate goal. This sparked back and forth controversy between Christians and Muslims and it seemed that Christians were ahead of the game at this point. The Christian army was defeating the Muslims throughout Spain and eventually took over Cordoba, the heart of Islamic Spain; the great Mosque that Abdul Rahman built in this city was now a Catholic Church.
Through all this conflict, many thinkers and philosophers such as Ibn Naghrillah, Ibn Hazm, and Maimonides kept the culture and ideology of Spain strong. Around the thirteenth century Muslims had lost nearly all of Spain except for a small area in the south known as Granada. This independent Muslim state was organized my Mohammed Ibn Nasr and provided a safe refuge to Muslims fleeing Christian Kingdoms. Christians however did admire Muslims craftsmanship and kept Muslims who had these skills to build back up what was wrecked by the civil wars. Then a Christian leader known as Alfonso the 10th brought severe punishment to Jews and Muslims living in Christian ruled sections of Spain. He respected them on their holy days but was overall cruel to people other...

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