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Role of Al-Andalus & Translation in Moving Ideas Between Islam & the West
* The Arabs entered Al-Andalus with a great army under the leadership of Tarik Bin Ziad during the Umayyad days. Using such military force, the Arab government controlled Spain for 9 centuries. * The Arabs called Spain “Al-Andalus” because they entered Europe from the west side through Andalusia. * The conquest (takeover) by the Arabs in Spain was not achieved due to using force only, but also due to the coming of a new civilization that invaded all walks of life (social classes). * Within few years, the civilization in Al-Andalus became the richest and most important civilization. It flourished between the 8th and 15th century. * Although the Arab-Islamic Spain seemed to be a strong & unified power, however, this was partly true. There were many fractures in the structure of the nation. * Some remarkable aspects in Al-Andalus: calm & beautiful nature; richness in natural resources. Such aspects helped the Arabs develop a new rich civilization. * The social life in Al-Andalus was very active in such a way that it had no parallel in history, except perhaps in USA where different races thrived & flourished side by side. * The Islamic culture was divided from various sources, but remained near in its essential maintaining. * A new culture was born in Al-Andalus. It was composed of many different elements: Arabs, Muslims, Greeks, Byzantium, Chinese, and Europeans. * Al-Andalus was a point of interaction between different ethnics and cultures. However, a quick and variant transportation of ideas between the east & west began to happen. * During the days of Al-Andalus, Europe was flooded with darkness and ignorance. * In Al-Andalus, we can’t be sure how Muslims, Christians, and Jews looked upon each other, but we can say that freedom flourished to some extent. You would notice Mosques, Churches, and other temples built near each other. * Al-Andalus was an independent political area. It began with the Umayyad government and ended with the Abbasid one. During this long period of time (900 years) the Arabs had established many educational centers, some of which were in Seville, Cordoba, Toledo, & Granada. Cordoba was the largest and most cultural city in all Europe. It was the jewel of the world. * Depending on the theory of interaction between civilizations & cultures: a huge process of transportation of intellectual elements and ideas took place from the rich Arab civilization to the poor Spain civilization. * The transfer of ideas from the Arab-Islamic culture to the European nation is considered the greatest transfer of ideas between two different nations. It is done by means of translation & learning. * Unfortunately, a slinky contraband (تهريب مخفي) took place from the Arab-Islamic civilization to the European nation. The European nation took the torch of science from the Arabs and used it to dispel (erase) their obscurity (unimportance). They made great achievements in modern sciences, rekindled (improved) the torch, and built up an amazing civilization. After this significant turnaround, the Arab-Islamic civilization became a poor one, importing everything from the west.
* The Arab-Islamic Spain seemed to have a system or regime of tribal authority. * There were many fracture lines in the structure of the Arab-Islamic Spain: 1) The Arabs in Spain lived with Jews, Christians, Europeans, Indians, Persians, & Chinese. Those different ethnics belonged to foreign ideological groups. Thus a community of different parties was established in Spain. These unarabian parties did not accept the Arab conquest at all, and started some kind of struggle & fight against the foreign Arabian people. This was the main fracture line in the state of Al-Andalus. 2) Another factor that weakened the state and caused it to fail is that Spain was far from the center of the Umayyad government, even after the rise of the Abbasid government. Spain was also far from Baghdad (the capital of the Abbasid government). So it was impossible to control any troubles in Spain. 3) Another fracture line was the Arab rulers (governors) themselves, who dallied (تلهّو) with their own desires and lived a very luxurious life, and forgot for what reason they came to Spain. So it was very easy for Christians & Jews to cause troubles & control the area again.

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