by Thaqib Moosa
The USIC trip to Andalusia was genuinely epic. It is quite an interesting part of the world. A place where Muslims ruled for 800 years, survived successive attempts to unseat them, requiring North African back up to help them expel the Christian armies from the North, and then 200 odd years later, they were expelled anyways.
The Andalusian example is one of those examples where we had more soldiers than the enemy, but our divided armies and little kingdoms and bits of treachery couldn’t stand up to a united enemy. Simply put: Divided, we fell. It was quite painful to pray in the fairly small mosque in Granada, the first mosque to give adhaan from a minaret after 511 Gregorian years (in 2003, after the fall of Gharnata in 1492). Thinking about how the weakness and disunity had resulted in the gradual collapse of a bastion of Islam.
These were not people who gave up on the religion. Even in the Alhambra, which was built right after a major defeat as a show of power, closer to the end of Muslim rule in Spain. Even at this time their relationship with the Qur’an was clearly apparent.
The symbolism from the Qur’an is everywhere. 8 pillars supporting a roof with a jewel representing the throne of Allah in the centre. Eight because the Qur’an says wa ya7milu 3arsha rabbula fauqahum yauma2idhin thamaaniya. The most notable example of their understanding of the Qur’an was writing laa ilaaha illallah and muhammadurrasoolallah on pillars at the entrance to a particularly spectacular garden. The symbolism being that belief in Allah and the last messenger will get you into paradise. It is the key. The gardens themselves were gardens with rivers flowing through them and underneath them, the inspiration from the Qur’an was clearly there. Yet despite all of this, when it came to action, when it came time to defend tenets of faith and give up these luxuries, they seem to have flopped.
They built buildings, not people. We remember sa7aaba and every aspect of their lives and their students, we remember the buildings and only remember the leaders through the buildings they built. If they had focused on the people perhaps they would have fought more bravely. One of the attendees was mentioning how scared they felt if all the masaajid in the UK were left and we were forced to leave. One of the things Rasulallah warned us against was Wahn, when the companions asked what Wahn is, He (SAW) replied: Love of the Dunya and fear of death.
May Allah protect us from Wahn and save us from the “death, exile, or conversion” choice which our brothers and sisters faced years ago. Perhaps the ruins of their buildings have only been preserved by Allah (SWT) for us to take lessons from.