The Invasion of Spain

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The Hijra and the Invasion of spain were both pivotal points for the expansion of two types of people. Both of these events mark the development of both the Moors and the Muslims. The Invasion of Spain marked the strength of the invading Moors and the Hijra marked the beginning of a new successful Islamic religion.

Although this two events had many different motives behind them and had two very different tactics that were executed, they had one thing in common. They both represent the desire for people to grow, and for peoples ideas to grow even if few people believe them. The Moors were not threatened to expand their empire, but they still did. This is unlike the Muslims who were threatened and they migrated and expanded their “empire” as well. Both of these decisions led to huge expansions.

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The first event that I studied was the Hijra of 622. Muhammad is the person who organized the Hijra. He was born to the Quraysh tribe in his hometown of Mecca (Britannica). His family belongs to the clan of the Banu Hashim, a branch of the powerful Quraysh tribe that dominated the city in the late sixth century. Both of Muhammad’s parents died when he was very young. This did change his perspective on life quite a bit.

Muhammad’s father died before his birth, and his mother died when he was six years old. After both his parents died, his uncle began to look over him. Muhammad became involved in Mecca’s caravan trade, which brought him into contact with peoples living in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula and Syria. Since he had gotten involved in the caravan trade he began to expand his contacts with other people. Muhammad’s career as a prophet did not begin until later in life, around the year 610, when he was about 40 years old.

His career as a prophet started when he had a vision of the angel Gabriel when he was on a retreat in a mountain. The angel said: ‘Recite in the name of your lord who created, created humans from a clot of congealed blood. Recite, and your lord is most generous, who taught by the pen, taught humans what they did not know’ This is when he began to profess his new faith (Campo). Muhammad was soon thought of as God’s messenger, and people began to listen to what he said.

They also believed he was threatening their lucrative pilgrimage businesses (Campo). One of the tales people believed about Muhammad was that he went on a miraculous journey from Mecca into heaven one night, mounted on a winged animal and guided by Gabriel. This event is known as the Night Journey and Ascent. This is mentioned in the Quran. It is said that Muhammad visited the different levels of heaven and met holy figures.

Although many people appreciated his work, few did not. These few were the people who felt that he was attacking their tribal and religious values. Soon Muhammad was receiving death threats and was almost killed in an attack. To protect his people he sent them to the city of Yathrib. Muhammad knew that they would be safe there. In Mecca the people who followed Muhammad were often punished. Groups were being sent to the city. He stayed with two other people while the others left. Muhammad finally left because he knew someone was going to murder him.

He left with one of his other friends and stayed in a cave for three days before reaching the city. When the assassin came during the night he was surprised to see that Muhammad wasn’t there anymore. Muhammad recruited his followers to help him build his house, which became the main mosque for the early Muslim community, and Islam’s second most sacred mosque after that of Mecca (Campo) Yathrib became known as the City of the Prophet. Muhammad created a set of laws after he got to the City of the Prophet called the Constitution of Medina. It stated the things Muhammad agreed with and established alliances with Arabian tribes.

The next event that I studied was the Invasion of Spain led by Tariq ibn Ziyad in 711-18. He controlled the Arab army during the conquest of Spain. There is not a lot written down about Tariq, his tactics is what is remembered. Tariq bin Ziyad was a new convert to Islam from the Berber tribe of Algeria. He was said to be a freed slave. Tariq bin Ziyad is considered to be one of the most important military commanders in the Iberian history.

Burn your boats, said Tariq bin Ziyad while addressing his small army after entering Spain (Hijazi). Tariq told his army this so that they knew they could not escape. He wanted them to be completely focused on battling the opponent, and not trying to flee. The order was instantly followed by his forces despite a huge army of opponents ready to attack them. This technique was effective because his army put up a big fight.

The army of Tariq, comprising 300 Arabs and 10,000 Berber, landed at Gibraltar. They all converted to Islam. King Roderic of Spain amassed a force of 100,000 fighters against the Muslims. Tariq called for reinforcements and received an additional contingent of 7,000 cavalrymen under the command of Tarif ibn Malik Naqi. (O’Brien) Tariq’s army was very small and it seemed as if they had no chance of winning.

After a long battle they won the battle against Spain. The defeated Spanish army retreated toward Toledo. Tariq bin Ziyad divided his troops into four regiments for a hot pursuit. One regiment advanced toward Cordoba and subdued it (Hijazi). The second captured Murcia and the third advanced toward Saragossa. Tariq himself moved swiftly toward Toledo. The city surrendered without resistance, and King Roderic’s rule came to an end in Spain. When the Muslims came into Spain it was not tragic. The people were not treated poorly, but got a new system of taxation.

As result of Muslim rule, Spain became a beacon of art, science and culture for Europe. Canals were repaired and new ones were dug. New crops were introduced from other parts of the Muslim empire and agricultural production increased. Andalus, as Spain was called by Muslims, became the granary of the West. Manufacturing was encouraged and the silk and brocade work of the peninsula became well known in the trading centers of the world. Cities increased in size and prospered.

After studying these two events their similarities became clear. After both these events occurred, the places that were settled with new people began to thrive. Yathrib began to change after Muhammad went there. A mosque was built and it is still very important today. The City of the Prophet had a new set of laws and alliances that made life much easier for everyone living there and around that area. Once Tariq and his army invaded Spain, it began to thrive.

Tariq was not rude, but instead was very kind and rebuilt Spain. All communities had equal opportunities for entry into the public services. The Jews and the peasants in Spain received the Muslim armies with open arms. The serfdoms that prevailed were abolished and fair wages were instituted. Taxes were reduced to a fifth of the produce. Anyone who accepted Islam was relieved of his slavery. These are just a few changes that happened after Tariq invaded.

Overall, these two events demonstrate how people migrating and expanding is beneficial for many people. With new ideas presented to a variety of people, they will have a new view on their ways of life. Invading is often thought of awful, but when the invader have good morals everyone will began to thrive. Muhammad change Yathrib into a blooming city, and Tariq changed Spain into a culture rich country.

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The Invasion of Spain. (2021, Sep 29). Retrieved from

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