March 10, 2009

Appendix J-2

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:06 pm by History of Al Andalus

Excerpts from Imam Ghazali’s letter to Yusuf Bin Tashfin (the beginning of the fatwa and the end of the fatwa containing formal niceties have been removed) (Source: Maria Vigueras Spanish translation in ‘Las Cartas De Al-Gazali y Al-Turtosi Al Soberano Almoravid Yosuf B. Tasufin’)[1]:

…When the eminent Alim and faqih, Abu Muhammad Abd Allah Bin Al Arabi Al Andalusi Al Ishbili, May Allah save him, arrived, he told [us] so many of his explanations and details, which filled all of Iraq with fragrance, therefore, he went as far as Baghdad, the seat of the khilafa, [and] constantly to issue accounts of the shame and humiliation of Muslims in Andalus, and the wars and their impediments [on the path] to reduce the dominance of Christians [mushrikun], that the people of Islam are increasingly afflicted with imprisonment, killings and depredations, getting treated badly, given their [the peoples] dissension and divergence of those [King] rebels [tuwwar], who were trying to get all the power and fighting for it.

Thus, between themselves, [they] depleted their armies, such were their struggles, disputes and rivalries. And they [Muluk Al Tawaif] took things as far as to turn to the Christians [Al Nasara], in their eagerness to attack [each other], while they established themselves in the very heart of Islam. They [the Christians] discovered all the secrets, so that all places, open or hidden [Al tahayim wa al-l-agwar], arrived in [Christian] control, they underwent tribute [jizya], paying for it in the worst way. When they exhausted their treasuries, they [the Christians] devoted [themselves] to plundering their wells [manabil] and take their fortresses [ma’aqil]. Then the Muslims requested help from The Emir [Yusuf b. Tashfin], ‘Defender of the Deen[2],’ who has combined [his voice with] the voice of the faithful [the Muslims], supporting the Emir Al Mu’mineen [the Abbasid khalifa], a descendant of [Al Abbas] The uncle of the Prophet, May Allah bless you, him and all.

At the same time as they asked him for some relief from those of [the muluk al tawaif] the rebels as already mentioned…[3]by double game with the Christians. [Yusuf b. Tashfin] agreed to the call, ran to help, crossed the sea in person, with his men and with their wealth, and fought fee sabeelillah as He deserves. Al Hamdulillah, [He] rewarded him the eradication of the Christians, retreating from the Muslim lands. And Allah bestows victory and establishment[4]!

He mentioned [Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi] how [Yusuf b.Tashfin] continued the fighting elsewhere [in Al Andalus], three years after his [first] famous campaign [of al-Zallaqa], dealing death to all Christians who came out to meet him in the Peninsula, [with] those [Christians] that were beyond their borders providing resources to their kings [min al-li-imdad jariYin Muluki-ha][5]…They [Christians] were armed detachments [Saraya] who intended to invade any part Muslim territory. Like that, Allah planted fear in the hearts of Christians, and so came to have no necessity for making camps of troops and soldiers [jarra al-Asakar ‘Wa-l-junüd] and arm shipments [Aqd al-alwiya’ Wa – l-bunüd].

He [Ibn al-Arabi] recounted how those [King] rebelled, and likewise, we were informed of the power of the Emir [Yusuf b. Tashfin], the defender of deen, and how he defeated the Christian party, they [Muluk Al Tawaif] asked to be rid of taxes on the Muslims, [meaning] those taxes that [Christians] had imposed them, forcing them to pay a poll tax [jizya] which was to be delivered to them, pretending to maintain his [Yusuf b. Tashfin’s] authority, and turned to favor the Christians, bringing warnings [intelligence] of the state of the Emir [Yusuf b. Tasufin] and encouraging them [Christians] to attack [Yusuf B. Tashfin]. When those [who were] sure of what they knew, many of them along with [good] Muslims, asked them to expel those [King] rebels there, restoring the country to the Muslims who had it before the spreading corruption. He did so, and when he took over, removed the unfair tax [mazalim], made apparent the signs of the religion, dispersed the corrupt, bringing in their place, righteous people, ordered jihad and cut off the aspirations of the depraved.

In addition, [Ibn al-Arabi] recounted the signs of nobility that have been clearly show [by Ibn Tashfin], to honor the people involved in uloom [ahl al-ilm], being generous with them and always talking with them, as well as his abiding by what was prescribed (yuftüna) in the rules of Allah, be He exalted, both in mandated prohibitions and recommendations to their mayors [‘ummal] to listen and obey the wise.

He adorned their minbars in their territories, new and old, with khutbas on behalf of the Emir of the Mu’mineen, Allah favoured their supporters, and Muslims had given the khalifa Bay’a [pledge of allegiance], whereas previously they refused to do so, and to proclaim [nida’] the motto of the khalifa, plus other things that highlight his unique approach, the goodness of his actions and the nobility of his character. [Ibn al-Arabi] occupies an important rank in the field of knowledge and has strong intelligence and strong faith, which requires giving credit to all his references and to take his account as true, So all these virtues, which have raced to the khalifa’s court, (May Allah bestow His favour upon his [Ibn Arabi’s] supporters), have led to praise.

In addition, [Ibn al-Arabi] told us how a taifa [group] of rebels is left in the Al Sharqiya region[6] of Al Andalus, persisting in neither coming in his support nor following him, but [instead] are sworn[7] to the Christians [Al Nasaara], imploring their help. Meanwhile, Muslims clamour against them, and [ask] that they [the rebellious Muslims] be eliminated, and may Allah forgive them or destroy them.

This A’lim [Ibn Al Arabi] drafted a consultation when requested for a fatwa [istifta], which I have fulfilled according to the demand for the truth and [that which is] required by the deen. I had, with urgency, put myself on the way towards the Hijaz, and I left him [Ibn Arabi] to work in his endeavours to spread the noble manifesto emanating from the khalifa’s court, containing words of gratitude for the actions of the Emir, the defender of the deen, [Yusuf b. Tashfin], his help at the Muslim border lands [Andalus], and expressed that all the territories of the Maghrib be delivered [Taslim] to his [person], so that he becomes his governor [ra’is] [governing] his subjects and [that] they submit to him, so those who go against his [Ibn Tashfin’s] orders, go against the Emir Al Mu’mineen, a descendant of [Al Abbas] [who was] the uncle of the Prophet, and so, it is obvious that all Muslims should fight him…The Aalim, The Faqih Abu Muhammad [Ibn Al Arabi] with respect to the Emir [Yusuf b. Tashfin] and his Murabitun people, spread the message of the distinguished emir and of all the Murabitun to the holy sites of Makka, May Allah protect them, and was not content with this [just spreading the news of the Murabiteen and Yusuf Bin Tashfin], [so he] ordered all those present [in Makka], and the blessings of those prayers are expected, which they invoke in these sacred places and important sites of devotion. And he carried prayers for the Emir of his land, the glorious Emir Abu Sir Muhammad b. Abi Bakr, May Allah, (سبحانه), assist him. In the meanwhile he had recounted his virtue, good behaviour, and his help [provided] to the Muslims, which has provided relief to their [Muslims of Andalus] misery. We were all moved.

This Alim and the Faqih [Ibn al-Arabi] was summoned to the Court of Baghdad, for his piety and nobility, with the intention that he [Ibn Arabi] join [it], to honor the Court of khilaafa. But refused everything that would prevent him returning to that confine [of Al Andalus], where the fard[8] applies to fighting alongside the Emirs, May Allah, (سبحانه), aid them…


[1] The original in Arabic can be found in “Al Wathaiq Majmuat dawriyya tusdiruha Mudiriyyat al-wathaiq al·Malikiyya,Vol. l. by Abd Al Wahaab Al Mansur, published in Rabat, 1976. It can also be found in Dr. Muhammad Abdullah Inan’s book “Al Mawsuah Al Aama Litaareekh Al Maghrib Wa Al Andalus.” I apologize in advance for translation errors from the Spanish to English translation.

[2] Nasir Al Deen

[3] The Spanish copy skips this part, since the translator could not read the text nor were notes as to its content appended to the manuscript he was using. On the bright side it is only one word that is missing.

[4] Nasr wa Tamkeen

[5] Owe duty to refer to the Christian troops which helped the muluk al tawaif

[6] Eastern half of Andalus

[7] Allies

[8] The Spanish word used is Debia which I translated as obligation or duty. This would be the equivalent of fard. Nevertheless that is not conclusive.

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