In 711AD, Muslim forces entered Spain, Portugal and Southern France, creating a society so rich and so powerful that it became the envy of the whole world. This wasn’t the “rigid” and “ferocious” Islam the Orientalist skewed narrative would have you believe, but, a progressive, sensual and intellectually curious culture that for a number of centuries looked set to sweep through all of Europe.
Historian Bettany Hughes traces the story of the Islamic society that ruled in Spain for 700 years, but whose legacy has become virtually erased from the West’s history books.
The documentary is essential viewing, and is available to view on Channel 4’s youtube page.
Ours is a faith that is committed to learning and amongst one of the early instructions that were sent down to the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) was to seek knowledge. From the earliest days of Islam, literacy and religious learning went hand in hand, whereas other religions of the time preferred to keep literacy within the hands of a clerical elite, Islam actively encouraged it.
History will always be written by those who have conquered, the story of the vanquished is one which is banished from the annals of time. Consider the Orientalist revisionist view of history and how it manifests itself today. The subterfuge against Muslim’s is to effectively demonstrate that you are the worst of the worst, a people that have done nothing to contribute to society, no findings in Science, Mathematics or Fine Arts, you are all limb amputating, women oppressing terrorists.
The truth couldn’t be more further removed from this quasi racist thinking.
The Akh laments the fact that today’s Muslims just do not read, to the extreme that books now represent some kind of kryptonite. Rather sad considering the first revelations from the Qu’ran were “Iqra, Iqra, Iqra”…Read, Read, Read!
If you wish to make a start on discovering the impact Islam had in Europe, then view the documentary.
If you wish to read on a deeper level, then there is an excellent website, History of Andalus, that explains in scholarly detail about the Muslims of Spain Post 1492 in a Global Context and its Relevance to Muslims Today.
If you need a more interactive experience, Exhibition Islam and The London Central Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre are running an exhibition between 19th and 24th June 2010.
This modern exhibition will seek to draw on textual references and historical milestones to establish how the fundamental teachings of the Islamic faith promote religious freedom, justice, tolerance and mercy amongst all societies.
The 6 day exhibition will witness the introduction of brand new exhibits and displays that are currently in production from the Exhibition Islam team. The exhibition will also showcase a number of manuscripts, coins, and other artefact’s that show how the Islamic faith gives immense importance to the freedom of religion and recognises people of different faith backgrounds.
The Akh will be in attendance, and urges Muslims and the wider community in general to increase their knowledge, what a great opportunity you have to do so!