The History of al-Andalus in 10 Points

Muslims ruled over parts of the Iberian Peninsula for around 700 years. (711-1492 CE). Here is a brief history of al-Andalus.

1. In the reign of King Walid I, Tariq Ibn Ziyad led an army from North Africa to victory in the Iberian Peninsula. This land became known to Muslims as Al-Andalus and became part of the Umayyad Empire.

2. Al-Andalus was mostly ignored during the early Umayyad Era, due to its distance from the capital. It was seen as insignificant. Only Caliph Umar II paid special attention to it and had its details researched and documented.

3. When the Abbasids took over the Muslim World, the last Umayyad prince Abdur Rahman Ibn Muawiyah went into exile. He eventually made his way to Al-Andalus, where he took over the country and established it as an independent Muslim state.

4. The Umayyads ruled Al-Andalus exclusively for 290+ years. Their full focus was on developing Al-Andalus into a model country. Under their leadership, Al-Andalus became a striving civilization and world leader of science and education.

5. Al-Andalus peaked with the reign of Abdur Rahman III, a descendant of Abdur Rahman Ibn Muawiyah. Abdur Rahman III ruled Al-Andalus for around 50 years, and turned it into a massive empire. He eventually declared himself a Caliph, rivaling the Abbasid Caliph.

6. After Abdur Rahman III, Umayyad rule slowly declined in Al-Andalus. The country fell into a state of civil war and each province became an independent nation, some Muslim and some Christian. This state of war lasted around a century.

7. Al-Andalus was reunified under Yusuf Ibn Tashfin, a military leader of the Muratib (Almovarid) Empire known for his courage and piety. It remained under Muslim rule for two more centuries.

8. After brief reigns of the Murabit and Muhawid empires over Al-Andalus, it fell into a state of civil war once again. This time the Christian kingdoms began to grow. They were inspired by the crusader movements in the East to reconquer the land.

9. With the Reconquista in full swing after the conquest of Córdoba in June 1236, Granada became the last independent Muslim state in Western Europe. Eventually Granada too fell, and Al-Andalus was no more.

10. Islam was eliminated from the land through a series of harsh policies, exiles, and forced conversions. Its influence over Europe can still be seen across various fields and sciences.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar

Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help and Izzah Academy, author of over a dozen books, and the operations manager of Yaqeen Institute.