What took place in the Iberian peninsula between 711 and 1609 is fascinating. It witnessed great illumination and tremendous darkness. It was characterised by immense wisdom and profound ignorance. One of the meanings of ‘Andalus’ in Arabic is ‘to become so smooth and shiny with age that it slips through your fingers’ – and this is the story of what has happened there, not once, but many times.
The Presence of Islam in Andalus explores the history, not only of that extraordinary period, but also of how the teachings of Christianity developed in Europe. It is only within this context that the reader can fully understand how it was that the inhabitants of the Iberian peninsula embraced Islam so readily and rapidly in the eighth century CE – and how it was that the Jews and the Muslims of Spain and Portugal in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries CE were either exterminated by the Spanish Inquisition or forced to flee for their lives.
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