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The Spread of Islam in Spain During the Umayyad Period

The history of the triumph of Islam which was very broad during the Umayyad caliphate was no longer a strange science. The Umayyads, who ruled the Iberian peninsula from 756 to 1031, became an unforgettable history of Islamic glory. Before controlling Spain, the Umayyads had first controlled the North African region and made it a province of the Umayyads. 

After North Africa was completely controlled, the Umayyads expanded to other areas, and it was in Andalusia (or what is currently called Spain) that the heroes of the Islamic Ummah and the Umayyad caliphs first set foot to expand their territory.

The beginning of the spread of Islam in Spain could not be separated from the three heroes of Islam at that time, namely Tharif Ibnu Malik, Tariq Ibnu Ziyad and Musa Inbu Nushair and also Caliph Al-Walid, the Umayyad caliph who was in power at that time. The victory achieved by Tariq and other Muslim heroes paved the way for the Umayyads to continue to expand in Spain. The expansion of territory in Spain is also a form of the spread of Islam. Where at that time Spain was still controlled by the Roman government. With the wider area controlled by the Umayyads, the spread of Islam was also widespread at that time.

The Umayyad caliphs took turns, the spread of Islam continued until the leadership of Caliph Abdur Rahman III. Abdur Rahman III succeeded his father at the age of 21. Under his leadership, Seville and the major cities of Northern Spain fell. Entire cities can be conquered easily, including the Barber Tribe and also Christians who have been considered as obstacles. Even so, during his leadership, Abdur Rahman was also not free from attacks that wanted to get rid of the Muslim Ummah, one of which was the attack carried out by Ordano II, the head of the Leon tribe who came to invade Islamic territory. However, this attack was paralyzed by Abdur Rahman III.

illustration of caliph abdur rahman iii


The next leadership was held by Hakam II, son of Abdur Rahman III. During his leadership there was also a rebellion from the Navarre tribe which had previously recognized the authority of the Islamic government during the time of Abdur Rahman III. But all of them were overcome, even Hakam was able to conquer Sancho, the Christian leader of the Leo tribe, and other Christian leaders when they launched a rebellion. 

Hakam also showed his expertise in developing science at that time. He sent several envoys to the East to buy books, manuscripts, or even copies to be brought back to Cordoba. That way, there are about 100,000 books that he managed to collect in the state library in Cordoba. 

Scientists, philosophers and scientists are free to enter the library. Not only that, Hakam II also founded a number of schools in the capital city, thanks to his efforts, almost all Spanish people were able to know how to read and write. Meanwhile, Christians are still in ignorance, even though the upper society. Hakam II died in 976 AD.

After the death of Hakam II, the leadership was replaced by his son Hisham II. But at that time, his son was only 11 years old, because he was still too young, finally power was taken over by his mother named Sulthana Subh and a man named Muhammad bin Abi Amir. Muhammad bin Amir was a very ambitious person, he called his name Hajib Al-Mansur. 

Hajib is like a prime minister who has full authority, while the caliph is only silent as a symbol. Official letters and state announcements are issued on his behalf. During his leadership, he recruited the military from the Barber tribe to replace the military from the Arab tribes. That way, he succeeded in subduing the Christian power in Northern Spain and succeeded in expanding the influence of the Umayyads and the spread of Islam in Northwest Africa.


Hajib Al-Mansur, in Spain known as Almanzor


Hajib Al-Mansur died in 1002 AD, then his position was replaced by his son named Al-Muzaffar. Hajib Al-Mansur is known as the most influential person in Spain. He was the greatest Arab statesman and general in Spain and the most meritorious ever in Spain. The Spanish people lived in prosperity during his leadership, and conditions like that could be maintained for six years by his son Al-Muzaffar.

After Al-Muzaffar died, he bequeathed his leadership to his brother, Abdur Rahman, who had the nickname " Sanchol ." At this time began a lot of riots that occurred in Spain. He was more ambitious than the previous leader, because he wanted to become caliph of Cordoba. There was a power struggle between Muslims. Rebellion from among themselves began to bloom at this time. At that time there was a rebellion in Cordoba led by Muhammad, he succeeded in destroying the defense of the Spanish caliph and seized the caliph position from Hisham II, then occupied this position with the title al-Mahdi. Snachol himself was arrested and imprisoned, but not long after that, Muhammad Al-Mahdi died and was replaced by another Umayyad figure named Sulaiman.

At the time of Sulaiman's leadership, Islamic power in Spain experienced a drastic decline and fall. Hisham II regained the position of caliph. Cordoba, which became the center of the Spanish caliphate, was hit by political chaos and finally the office of caliphate was abolished by the council of ministers that ruled Cordoba in 1013 AD.

Islamic power at this time began to split. Many small countries were under the kings or Thawaif grandiose. Christian strength began to rise. The chaos that occurred in the central government was best utilized to take over power. three Christian power bases: Castile, Leon, and Navarre, Successfully united by Alfonso VI, ruler of Castille who served since 486 H/1065 AD and became a formidable military force to invade Toledo.

The glory of Islam began to fade at this time. Conflicts with Christians started a lot and the system of power transfer was unclear. In fact, the spread of Islam in Spain was possible because of the persistence and strong will of the Islamic rulers in ancient times to develop and liberate Andalusia to become an Islamic territory. Cooperation and mutual assistance among Islamic heroes at the beginning of Islam entering Spanish territory made Islam an invincible force. At the beginning when Islam entered Spain , Spain was in a state of chaos. The social, political and economic conditions of this country are in a deplorable state. This is also a motivating factor for Muslims to dominate Spain.

Although at this time the story above is only an important history, but it is important for us to know. We need to know the struggle of the heroes of Islam to spread Islam in Spain , and learn a lot about how such a great power can collapse because of the greed and division of its own leaders.

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