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On Muslim History and Civilization

Al-Hakam (796-822 A.D.) was a tolerant ruler who respected the counsel of his advisers and who loved learning. He not only extended the great mosque of Cordoba, but was also responsible for instituting the first university in Andalusia:

Thus when the first truly modern universities would grow up in the rest of Europe, even though they might not be aware of their intellectual heritage, it is none the less certain that they had their forerunners in the Nizamiyyah University and the Bayt al-Hikmah of Baghdad and the Academy of Cordoba and the Qarawiyan of Fes.

Cordoba thus became the greatest centre of learning in Europe at a time when the rest of the continent was plunged in ignorance, and in its flowering Cordoba was clearly one of the wonders of the world. Quoting an earlier writer Lane-Poole wrote:

To Cordoba belong all the beauty and ornaments that delight the eye or dazzle the sight. Her long line of Sultans form her crown of glory; her necklace is strung with the pearls which her poets have gathered from the ocean of language; her dress is of the banners of learning, well-knit together by her men of science; and the masters of every art and industry are the hem of her garments.

When Cordoba was at the height of its flowering (Ninth and Tenth Century) there were over 200,000 houses in the city along with six hundred mosques, nine hundred public baths, fifty hospitals and several large markets which catered for all branches of trade and commerce, including 15,000 weavers:

You could walk through her streets for ten miles in one direction at night, and always have the light of lamps to guide your way. Seven hundred years later this would still be an innovation in London or Paris, as would paved streets.



E-Books on Islam and Muslims

Copyright © 1996, 1997 Dr. A. Zahoor
All Rights Reserved

Excerpts from Ahmad Thomson's book on the subject of Islam in Spain, 1989.
"Islam in Andalus," Revised Edition by A. Thomson and M. Ata'ur-Rahim, Ta-Ha Publishers, London, 1996.

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