ISLAMIC RENEWAL IN IBERIA AND LATIN AMERICA

Author(s): T.B. IRVING
Source: Islamic Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1/2, Special Issue on Muslim Heritage in Spain (SpringSummer 1991), pp. 103-111
Published by: Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad
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132. the original countries which are now called Spain enjoyed nine centuries of Islamic rule. Portugaland Latin is quite defferent from that in English-speaking countries. themountain thatstillbears his name (Jabalal-T?riq inArabic). from the year 91/711 In the first place. is a vast area. so that This we can consider what needs of Islam in those countries. Those nine Islamic centuries (711-1610) were glori ous. to be done in order to improve the treatment HISPANIC ISLAM The Iberian peninsula flourished. IRVING FOREWORD The statusof Islam in the Iberianworld (Spain.ISLAMICRENEWAL IN IBERIAAND LATIN AMERICA1 T. and theymade the rest of Europe look pale and barbarous by compari son.173. For this reason. Muslims have long faced serious persecution in all the Spanish-speaking countries or former colonies as far East as the Philippines and as far south as Argentina. 23 Mar 2014 01:13:19 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . or in America) the former French colonies inNorth Africa. that time Islam has not been tolerated there. The present survey ismore of an overview of the situation. and Portugal when Tariq ibn-Ziy?d firstlandedatGibraltar. Black Africa and even inFrance itself. in size it challenges the Arab or Islamic worlds.B. the Islamic message needs to be presented to Latin America and the Iberian peninsula in a different fashion than to the English speaking areas or to the French world. under Islam. This content downloaded from 130. culturally (Jawtat al-Andalus) speaking. until 1610whenKing Philip III finally expelled the last of the Spanish Muslims Since from the Iberian peninsula.103 on Sun. especially so far as the difficulty of gathering information about it is con cerned.

were likewisecruelly C?rdoba (Qurtubah)and Seville (Ishbfliyyah) and plundered when depopulated 1236 and 1248 respectively. and his brilliantstudentIbn-Rushdor "Averroes". Ask any contemporary person who speaks Portuguese or Spanish about what the Islamic past means in his culture. They gave up their wealth as ransom. the Muwahhid physician and minister of state who originated the tale of Robinson Crusoe inMorocco and Spain seven centuries beforeDafoe did so inEngland.and he will give you only vague and prejudicedclich?sabout the "Moors". the northern Spaniards seized them in Islamic Spain and Portugal had great thinkers too like Ibn-Hazm. The Spanish-Tunisian philosopher Ibn-Khald?n founded the science of Sociologyand thephilosophyof historylongbeforethe West picked them up through Vico and Saint-Simon. letters and music. al-adab al-andalusi world. and yet were sold as slaves. even modern liberal Spaniards or Portuguese know surprisingly little about this heritage if they have read only their own history books. because the Tunisian watched the social and political unrest around the This content downloaded from 130. who revived the study of Aristotle in the late XII century only a few decades before the rise of universities like Paris and Oxford inWestern Europe. The southernportionof Spain thatis stillcalledAndalusia remains as al-Firdaws al-Mafq?d or 'Paradise Lost' in theNorth African imagination. the first student of comparative religion inEurope. as this is still known and admired throughout the Arab At the same time. or the captive Mud? jar orMudajjan workmen who lived after them. mind thoughthemonumentsbuilt by theAndalusianMuslims.132. exist all around them.Ferdinandand Isabella.104 Islamic 30:1-2 (1991) Studies. as modern Spanish and European textbooks still call the Spanish Of course. or now with Spengler and Toynbee. or Ibn-Tufayl.events like theseizureofM?laga by theCastilians in the and theperfidyof theCatholicmonarchs. 23 Mar 2014 01:13:19 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . do not make pleasant reading when contemporary civil rights are mentioned.173. present-day Spaniards and Latin Americans have an uneasy conscience about the genocide and devastation that the Catholic Inquisitionbroughtupon SpanishMuslims and indeedupon theHispanic itself. This lack of knowledge is a fact not only in Spain and Portugal but also inLatin America fromMexico to Chile. 1487 year towards its disarmed Muslim citizens who had surrendered to theirmercy. Muslims. who wrote perceptively on love. forArab Spain was the source of their finest forms in art.103 on Sun.

Efforts should be made in Ibero-America with the object of recovering this neglected heritage. but they sources without taking into have been carried out using usual European account the native Iberian Muslim sources. buildings. This Islamicheritageshould thusbe made real to thecitizensof the Hispanic and Lusitanian countries today. Yet several Aljamiado Qur'?ns are waiting to be published in theEscorial Library in themountains northwest and in the National Library in the Spanish capital. the information gatheredmust be publicisedwidely inArabic. Itmust be remembered that there are twenty-odd countries that need to be studied.103 on Sun. and awakening interest in it. A few translations exist today. and on the history and culture of the vast Islamic world from Spain and Portugal themselves as farWest as Mexico and the Philippines. 23 Mar 2014 01:13:19 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . which is too often its spiritual death in academic circles. Moreover.132. This content downloaded from 130. The first place to start must be with reliable Portuguese and Spanish versions of the Qur'?n.Islamic Studios. dyingreflection from one small southern kingdom that for two and a half centuries valiantly resisted the northern mountaineers from Castile and Aragon. one by one.The Alhambrawas amagnificent complexofpublic was was a not of it the but whole it Andalusia. Portuguese universities and archives likewise are rich in these documents. and that each has its own set of laws. Spanish.English and French. of Madrid There is a need to prepare and publish adequate texts on Spain. which shouldbe revivedwith Spanish andAragonese a'jamiyyahliterature increase in discussion and commentary on it. how their own ignorance leads them back to the same circumstances expulsion of Islam and the Spanish Muslims based on the cruel from the Iberian peninsula. but at the same time.Portuguese. Contemporary consequent Western scholars dismiss it as having "only linguistic interest". 105 30:1-2 (1991) at first hand. on the religion of Islam itself. and as far south as Chile and Argentina.173. and he knew Peter Mediterranean the Cruel of Castile in Seville (wherehis familyhouses stillstooda mere centuryaftertheirexpul sion) as well as Tamerlane inDamascus. The approach should be based on genuine research and knowledge and not on platitudes reflecting prejudiceand fairytales. Poets likeIbn-Zayd?nofC?rdoba andKingMu'tamid of Silves and Seville sung as beautifully about love and misfortune as any poet during the romantic movement. All these men of letters were Andalusian European Muslims whose contribution to world culture needs study and revival. There is a greatpotentialwealth too inAljamiado or Portuguese.

Morisco were not allowed tobringtheirwives alongwith Generally the immigrants nonetheless them. theAztecs inMexico.106 Islamic Studies. as was the Moroccan's knowledge of even the far Indian Ocean where Sindbad sailed. theMayas inCentral the American Aragonese theymade America. also crossed the Atlantic. were eventually into that society. and this fact is impressive. formuch of this travel was clandestine and done under assumed and non-Islamic names. the so-called "Mud?jars". here iswhere the new universities in the Near East and Ibero-America can do some of their research. Then came theIberiancolonialperiodoverseas. Bananas and peanuts are said to have travelled in thisway At the same time there are frescos the Yucat?n to and from America even before Columbus. by establishing what they called encomiendas or 'stewardships' over them for the benefit of the conquerers. especially the artisanclasses in theCaribbean and Andean countries. all research sailors from Lisbon Muslim thathe had carriedon fromhis studyin theMediterranean islandof Sicily where he worked. for instance.103 on Sun. Maybe geographer Moroccan harbours have never been known for their adventurous seamen. Some of theseMuslim workmen. 23 Mar 2014 01:13:19 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Arab seafaring journals and archives should be investigated carefully. theChibchas inColombia. plus their brothers who were unwilling converts to Christianity. WallofsfromSenegalwere shippedas soldierstoChile.whichmightbe called "middle ages". and the Incas inPeru. although al-Idrisi. Estavanico Dorantes was a Moroccan soldier who became an officer in the Spanish army and led an expedition intowhat All Muslims absorbed This content downloaded from 130. The methods which the Castilians and used in conquering Andalusia were put to use inAmerica where serfs of the Indians. in a temple in Chich?n-Itz? on eastern Mexico off dating from before the year 1002 peninsula which show non-Mayan sailors and warriors who have been taken prisoner in a sea battle. where theymixed with native Indians rather than with Spaniards or Creoles.132. We do not know who these workmen were. just as the vanquished Muslim artisans had been enserfed inCatholic Spain. who arrived inMexico.Mandingos from Mah and Fulani from the great savannas ofWest Africa also came to other countries.yet theyformedthebasic populationofMuslims in the New World. 30:1-2 (1991) HISTORICAL CONSIDERATIONS The firstMuslims who arrived in theNew World may have been inmodern Portugal according to theMoroccan some North Africans followed them. " The name of Antillia" appears for a distant island on Idrisi's 12th-century map of the Atlantic.173.

The Mexico blacksmiths.Today thedanger is thatanynew latticework is said to have as many as 30. How can they be awakened to a consciousness of this spiritual need? must They help themselves first before any governmental or educational can assist them. and they eventuallydisappeared. colonies. Cardinal Xim?nez de Cisneros once said: "They lack our faith.173.103 on Sun. for as that great practioner of genocide. and so they intermarried into local proletarian families. inVenezuela and theAndean countries ofEcuador. 23 Mar 2014 01:13:19 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . not only in the colonialbuildingsthere. especially in tiles on the floors and walls. their buildings in the Portuguese and These workmen came without their wives. all designed to catch a breeze through their lattices. agency This content downloaded from 130. Their workmanship in the early 17th century to deny can be seen today inGuatemala.but theirhandicraftliveson inthemetal grills.but since the cities large. Church ceilingswere built inColombia and Mexico byMud?jar workmenwho toprotectthesebuildingsagainstthedanger adapted theircarefulcarpentry from earthquakes. Thus Islamicart andMuslim workmenwere busy even duringthe time of the cruel Spanish colony. Ornamental doors made inMud?jar styleare to be foundin themining townsofBolivia.Islamic is now New Mexico 107 30:1-2 (1991) Studies. theirMuslim identity was evantuallylost. these forced immigrants had to settle down there. masons. and Arizona in 1579. passed ordinances themguildprivileges.000 immigrants to these countries. Peruvian cities have wooden balconies in front of the windows like thoseseen along theRed Sea coast and thePersianGulf. and in fine cabinetmaking. founding were Colonial societywas fluid. both wrought-iron brass and copper.The same thinghappened inCuba. may become nominal Muslims. aftermany SpanishMuslims andMoriscos were enslaved and shipped to the colonies abroad. as is their fate inNorth America too. Peru andBolivia (orUpper Peru)where there were silver mines and a concentration of urban wealth These skilled workmen that demanded were tileworkers in the Spanish and Portuguese fine craftsmanship.tilesand of colonialand laterbuildings. in metal grillwork.but also inmodern structures whichhave adopted their style. Belelc?zar did the same inEcuador and southern thecityofPopay?n inthelattercountry.132. inColombia (or New Granada as itwas then called). carpenters. but we lack theirworks. Colombia. City council." For this reason even the intolerant Catholic church transported many of these artisans to decorate Spanish overseas colonies. as has been said earlier. Caracas Muslims. thoughoppressive.

where none of this vast heritage. The Muslims living on the Dutch island of Cura?ao off the coast are largely of East Indian and Arab origin.where itfacessouth as they do inmany mosques inNorth Africa. in order to rewrite theMuslim history since the discovery of America by Columbus. and from even before that date. so the new universities springing up through Ibero-America and theMiddle East have a duty to promote such research. This remindsone of theGreatMosque inC?rdoba inSpain. all twenty of them. Venezuelan Demerara live in Yet inSurinam theqiblahs in themosques facewest as theydo in Indonesia from which these Muslims came.173.132. a Black who is also a Muslim is called a showing that his ancestors came originally fromMali or Gambia Mandingo. The population of Latin America thus comprises the descendants of people from West Africa. these forced migrants from Africa to the Caribbean area and Brazil were not all slaves or serfs.108 Islamic Studies. Others inGuyana and in Barbados. The visiting Orientalists likewise ignored it. This content downloaded from 130. 30:1-2 (1991) The Black people livingaroundBaia inNortheasternBrazil and in theWest Indiesneed to recognisethe trulyIslamicfeaturestobe foundin their present society. Like the new Nation of Islam in theUnited States. enforcedthesedisabilities in any Spanish country. In Trinidad. They should study how their Islamic conscience and personality can be revivedpsychologicallyso thatCentral and SouthAmerica can rebuild with the Islamicworld inAfrica theirheritageand linesof communication and theMiddle East. not East towards Makkah. In Trinidad and the Guyanas Indian groups from the Indian subcontinent and culture and religion have been neglected and muffled by there further exist East Indonesia whose With independencetoday they theDutch and Britishcolonial authorities. any study of this sortmust be sociological and historical. Portugal and theMiddle East who were already Muslims in their original homelands. the prevailing official attitude was actively hostile. as could be seen in theXXX OrientalistCongress thatwas held inMexico City inAugust itself. but Hispano American laws have been construed against them. to make them conform and disappear into Christian society. Contacts with both ends are difficult. 23 Mar 2014 01:13:19 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . inWest Africa. rich though it is inMexico was brought to the fore and explained to theirMiddle Eastern visitors by any Mexican.103 on Sun. 1976. can win back that heritage and regain their pride in it again. Scholars need to study Latin America country by country. Since these immigrants are assimilated into society. The Portuguese and Hispanic colonies bred legislation and engendered police mathods that Muslims couldnotprayfreely withinsocietyitself. Spain.

Passports which is only givenby theirCatholic parish.Burial used to be certificate.while as lateas 1905at thebeginning of the present century. a Quaker historianfromPhiladel phia. non-Christian The entireschoolsystemhas beenworkingon these linesforcenturies:the republic of Colombia has a concordat or treaty with the Vatican that supervises all textbooks used not only in the Church schools but in all the public schools also. Mali. 23 Mar 2014 01:13:19 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Brazilian monuments and social customs of this sort need to be catalogued and classified for their Islamic content. a legacyfrom the Inquisition. many of these attitudes still prevail.132. subject to a similar problems inmany Spanish-speaking and Hispanic laws are encrusted with such disabilities.onlyHenryLee.and fewpersons now read hiswritingsabout thisheartlessperiod. as a disguised form of Islam. modern This practice exists still in Spain itself. for instance.thoughthey have almost disappeared so that some effortmust be made to retrieve their heritage. This content downloaded from 130.103 on Sun. because Braziliansare said tobeMuslims today. a quarter of a million The huge country of Brazil its language is Portuguese. were stillpractising Muslims. whose history has never been properlyrecorded.Islamic Studios.where the terms"Moors" (moros) and "Mohammedan" (mahometano) are used loosely and with pre are to persons who cannot produce a birth not issued judice. at least half of those of African ancestry in the Baia region in the northeast of Brazil that lies closest toAfrica. An underground of Islamic culture functioned there: theMal? cult is still practised in Brazil. Unfortunately. Islamic and names are forbiddenby law. In Argent?na. yet so pregnant with impor tance for the Islamic world! These Mal? once formeda powerfulBlack minority. They have secret mosques with "Oriental" customs such as taking off their shoes before entering them. so distant in both time and space. 109 30:1-2 (1991) and thismood was reinforced publiclysince itwas writtenintotheSpanish laws themselves. only Omar can be legally used today as a male name. At least. another name that has only recently reappeared for a newly independent nation. triedtowrite itup at thebeginningof thiscentury. Spanish BRAZIL AND THE PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE stands out as a special case in this study and since its linkswith West Africa have been closer than most of Latin America. countries.173. The Mal? movement as a concealed form of Islam must have come (like theMandingos inTrinidad) fromtheWest African countryofMali. It was a harsh and cruel life for the victims.

110 Islamic Studies. CONCLUSION thus need to be brought The Iberian peninsula and Latin America into full fellowship with the Islamic conscience. especially since the method must be different from This content downloaded from 130. especially if they hap pened to be Muslims. they speak Portuguese now. so that the genocide and vandalism of recent centuries are remembered and yet forgotten.103 on Sun. the Brazilian archives on that subject were burned under the new republic (Brazil had been an empire until then). with the help of either the Brazilian educational foundation. However. but also that of Guinea-Bissau. as were theMalay aristocrats whom theDutch captured and shippedtoSouthAfrica at thesameperiod inorder tobreak thepower of Islam inIndonesia.thevaliantPalmaresrepublic states of PernambucoandAlagoas byWest AfricanMuslims in thepresent duringthe 17thcenturyalong the linesof theinlandempiresofWest Africa like ancient Ghana and Songhay. This movement almost liberated Brazil from colonial and Catholic rule two centuries before this event actually took place. once the slavery was abolished. Forcados. perhaps these immigrant groups which are now active. 23 Mar 2014 01:13:19 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . often Fulani and Mandingo lurked in their from the Hausa. might be encouraged to accomplish such research.173. were thus generally Muslims. and Syrians have arrived in Brazil during the past Many Lebanese and all century. Such uprisingswere witnessed inBrazil not only during the 17th century^ but during the 19th also. elite. Escravos and back to Benin (or Dahomey) Porto Novo are clearly Portuguese names they gave to the new cities which they founded at that time. Many of these enslaved Africans were literate. Lagos. Angola and Mozambique. Macaco was the capital of Palmares. Itwill take a different and specialized corps of teachers and research workers to back accomplish this task. background freedmen went Eventually some determined Portuguese-speaking and Nigeria.132. in 1889.Educated slaves inbothSouthAfrica andBrazil (and even in the United States and Cuba). universities or some Near Eastern It should also be rembembered that Portuguese is not only the lan guage of Brazil and Portugal today. Arabic as their prestige tongue. for Brazil was one of the last countries on earth to retain slavery as an institution (till as l?te as 1883). 30:1-2 (1991) was established Going back intohistory. which held out as an independent state for almost half a century. Thus both Spanish and Portugu?s languages are equally necessary forwork in Latin America.

A broad study of the suppression of Islam and Protestantism in the Spanish colonies. 2. Historia de la Inquisici?n en Cartaqena de las Indias (Santiago de Elze vira. Unfortunately. Pascual. Spanish Arabic and English. also perhaps a translation into English especially in colour.103 on Sun. S?nchez Albornoz.2 NOTES AND REFERENCES A presentation for the Seminar on Islamic Civilisation held at theUniversity of Brasilia. 1981. Itmust be based on two languages. North Carolina Press 1934). Laa. 1945). A study of Spanish Arab art inHispanic America. Fresher illustrations might be made.: Univ. above.173..132. A detailed study of repressive inquisition in one Hispanic country of Central America. Un hereje yun musulm?n (Mexico City: Editorial Ist ed. (Madrid: Aguilar. this is still the best study of the subject inEnglish today. tr. Porr?a 1972. and Arabic. 1899). La Espolia musulmana.?reprint). : Toro. Ernesto. though incomplete. Chile: history in Spanish of the Islamic period in Spain. La iglesia y el estado en M?xico [('Church and State inMexico]'?M?xico Archivos Generales de la Naci?n. 1953). Alfonso. Lloyd. J. but never Islamic ones. 1964). this alone will require special training of new workers or investigators. The Inquisition in the Spanish Depencedcies (New York: Macmillan. (Buenos Aires: Ateneo. Good documentation with maps and excellent illustrations. 3rd ed.F: Edit. As with Laa. 1968. La Inquisici?n en Guatemala (Guatemala: Editorial del Minis tario de Educaci?n P?blica. Needs updating and a better explanation for Islam church and theMexican itself. Claudio. A 19th century novel portraying the usual Mexican towards Islamic life in Spain and Mexico. Medina has studias like this on most South American countries. as well as on which and Portuguese. 1922). D. Porr?a.. the best Medina. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. A . Rafael Cassinos Assens. little of such research has been done in those used inNorth America or North America. 1951. Almaz?n. This is full of notes using European sources and criteria. where attempted control of ecclesiastical arrogance by the federal government has led to several civil wars. 1927). 1870). 2nd printing 1973). Thus a new version in Spanish and Portuguese is a prime need. Islamic Spain Watt. are new for theMiddle East. and Spanish attitudes Chinchilla Aguilar. A detailed study of relations between the Catholic Republic. Arte mud?jar en Am?rica (M?xico.. in Spain during the 16th and 17th and persecution suffered by the Muslims The Moriscos -. 111 30:1-2 (1991) or Europe. 23 Mar 2014 01:13:19 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 1965). Montgomery. T?ni?"?r This content downloaded from 130. Toussaint. disabilities centuries. 2 vols.Islamic Studies. either Europe let alone in Latin America or the Arab world. Manuel. Henry Charles. A study of the suppression of non-Catholics in Colombia. Jos? Toribio. Car. Partial bibliography : 1. N. The continuing of Spain (New York: Greenwood. Spanish edition also exists. El Koran. W. Church and State in Latin America (Chapel Hill. Mecham.