Appendix P

A ‘qaseedah’ composed by Abu Al Baqa’ Salih Bin Sharif, (An Andalusi Muslim), to Bayazid, the then Khalifa of the Uthmani Khilafa. The letter is written in 1502 to solicit aid to save Andalus from the Christians and to elucidate the state of Muslim affairs in Andalus: (From Medieval Iberia Reader, p. 364-370)

  1. A noble, enduring, ever-renewed peace do I attribute exclusively to his higness, the best of Khulafa.
  2. Peace be upon his highness, the possessor of glory and loft stature, who has clothed the kuffaar in a robe of humility;
  3. Peace be upon him whose kingship Allāh has expanded, supporting him with victory in every region;
  4. Peace be upon his majesty, the capital of whose realm is Constantinople. What a noble city it is!
  5. Peace be upon him whose kingdom Allāh adorned with armies and subject population of Turks;
  6. Peace be upon you. May Allāh exalt your rank and may He also make you a king over every other nation
  7. Peace be upon the judge and upon whomsoever of the noble, exalted men of learning resemble him;
  8. Peace be upon the men of the Deen and piety and upon whomsoever among the counselors is gifted with sound judgement.
  9. Peace be upon you on behalf of some slaves who have remained in a land of exile, in Andalus in the west,

10.  Whom the swelling sea of Rūm as well as deep, gloomy, and fathomless ocean encompasses

11.   Peace be upon you on behalf of some slaves smitten by a dire misfortune. What a misfortune it was!

12.  Peace be upon you on behalf of some old men whose white hair has come to be torn  from [much] plucking, after [they have enjoyed a life of] glory;

13.  Peace be upon you on behalf of some faces that have been bared to the company of non-arabs after having being veiled;

14.  Peace be upon you on behalf of some young girls whom the priest drives by force to a bed of shame;

15.  Peace be upon you on behalf of some old women who have been compelled to eat pork and flesh not killed according to ritual presecriptions.

16.  We all kiss the ground of your royal court and we call down blessings upon you at all moments.

17.  May the Rabb [Allāh] cause your royal power and life to endure, and may He preserve you from every trial and misfortune.

18.  May He strengthen you with support and victory over the enemy, and lodge you in the abode of [His] pleasure and regard [for you].

19.  We have complained to you, your majesty, of the harm, the misfortune and the enormous calamity that has afflicted us.

20.  We have been betrayed and converted to Christianity; our religion has been exchanged for another; we have been oppressed and treated in every shameful way.

21.  Yet under the Prophet Muhammad’s (صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم) religion we used to oppose the agents of the Cross with our inner intentions.

22.  Facing grave dangers in Jihad because of killing and capturing, hunger and dearth.

23.  But the Christians attacked us from all sides in a vast torrent, company after company

24.  Smiting us with zeal and resolution like locusts and multitude of their cavalry and weapons.

25.  Nevertheless, for a long time we withstood their armies and killed group after group of them,

26.  Although their horsemen increased every moment, whereas ours were in a state of diminuation and scarcity,

27.  Hence, when we became weak, the camped in our territoty and smote us, town after town,

28.  Bringing many large cannons that demolished the impregnable walls of the towns,

29.  Attacking them energetically during the siege for many months and days; with zeal and determination.

30.  So when our cavalry and foot soldiers had perished and we observed that no rescue was forthcoming from our brethren,

31.  And when our victuals had diminished and our lot had become hard indeed, we complied, against our will, with their demands, out of fear of disgrace,

32.  And fearing our sons and daughters, lest they be taken captive or cruelly slaughtered,

33.  On the condition that were to remain like the Mudajan before us, namely the inhabitants of the old territory[1],

34.  And that we were to be allowed to remain in enjoyment [of the right] to call to prayer and our Salaat, while we were not [to be required] to abandon any of the prescriptions of the Shari’a;

35.  And that whosoever among us desired [to cross] the sea was to [be allowed to] do so in safety, to the land on the [African] coast with all the property he wished [to take],

36.  As well as many other stipulations, surpassing fifty by the number of five.

37.  Then their Sultan[2] and grandee said to us: “ what you have stipulated is granted to you in more than its entireity,”

38.  Showing us documents containing a pact and a treaty, saying to us: “This is my amnesty and my protection [over you].

39.  So remain in enojoyment of your possessions and homes as you were before, unharmed.”

40.  Yet when we came under their treaty of protection, their treachery toward us became apparent for [he] broke the agreement.

41.  He broke the compacts he had deceived us with and converted us to Christianity by force, with harshness and severity,[3]

42.  Burning the books we had and mixing them with dung of with filth,[4]

43.  Through each book was on the subject of our religion. Yet they were cast into the fire with scorn and derision,

44.  Nor did they spare a single volume belonging to any Muslim, or any tome which one could read in solitude

45.  Whosoever fasted or prayed and his state came to be known, was in every instance cast into the fire,

46.  And whosoever of us failed to go to their place of unbelief, him did the priest severly punish,

47.  Slapping him on both cheeks, confiscating his property, and improsining him in a wretched state.

48.  Moreover, during Ramadan, they spoiled our sawm [fast], time after time with food and drink.

49.  And they ordered us to curse our Prophet (صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم), and to refrain from invoking him in times of ease and hardship.

50.  They even overheard a group chanting his name, and the latter suffered a grievous injury at their hands,

51.  For their judges and governors punished them with beatings, fines, imprisonment, and humiliation.

52.  Whosoever lay dyeing, and did not have in attendance one who could preach [their religion to him], in their deceit, they would refuse to bury him,

53.  Instead, he was left lying prostrate on a dung heap like a dead donkey or [some other] animal.

54.  [They committed] many other similar, shameful deed, as well as numerous wicked acts.

55.  Our names were changed and given a new form with neither our consent nor our desire.

56.  Therefore, alas for the exchanging of Muhammad’s (صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم), Deen for that of the Christian dogs, the worst of creatures!

57.  Alas for our names when they were exchanged for those ignorant non-arabs[5]!

58.  Alas for our sons and daughters who go off every morning to a priest

59.  Who teaches them kufr, idolatry, and falsehood while they are entirely unable to circumvent [the Christians] by any trick!

60.  Alas for those Masajid that have been walled up to become dung heaps for the infidel after having enjoyed ritual purity![6]

61.  Also for those minerets in which the bells [of the Christians] have been hung in the place of the Shahada[7] [being announced from them]!

62.  Alas for those towns and their beauty! Through unbelief they have grown very dark!

63.  They have become strongholds for the worshipers of the Cross, and in them the latter safe against the occurring of raids.

64.  We have become slaves; not captives who may be ransomed, nor even Muslims who pronounce the Shahada!

65.  Hence, were your eyes to see what has become of our lot, they would overflow with abundant tears.

66.  So alas! Alas for us! Alas for the misfortune that struck us, namely harm, sorrow, and the robe of oppression!

67.  We besought you, our majesty, by the Lord our Allāh, and by the chosen, the elect, the best of Creatures

68.  And by those goodly lords, the family of Muhammad (صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم), and his Ashaab [companions]- What noble Ashaab they are!-

69.  And the Sayyed Al-Abbas, our Prophet’s (صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم), paternal uncle, by his white hair, the most excellent white hair,

70.  By those upright ones who grant reconition to their Rabb, and by every excellent Wali [Saint/pious man] endowed with nobility.

71.  Perchance you will look upon us and what has smitten us; The Rabb Al Arsh, [Lord of the Throne], will bring mercy,

72.  For your speech is hearkened to and your order is effective, while everything you command is swiftly executed.

73.  As for the Christian faith, its [place of] origin is ruled by your authority, and it was from there that it spread to them in every region.[8]

74.  So, by Allāh, your higness, be pleased to favor us with some advice or some words or protest,

75.  For you possess excellence, glory, rank, and [the power] to rescue Ibad Allāh [Allāh’s worshippers], from all evil

76.  Therefore ask their Pope, that is to say, the ruler of Rome, why they permitted treason after having [granted] amnesty,[9]

77.  And why they harmed us with their betrayal with no wrong or crime on our part?

78.  When their people who had been conquered [by us] were under the safeguard or our religion and the protection of [our] glorious kings who fulfilled their promises,

79.  Neither were they converted from their faith, nor expelled from their homes, nor did they suffer betrayal or dishonor.

80.  As for him who grants a treaty and then betrays it, that is a deed forbidden by every faith,

81.  Especially on the part of kings, for it is a disgraceful, infamous deed; unlawful everywhere.

82.  Your letter to them arrived, yet they did not heed one single word of it all;

83.  It only increased their enemity and boldness against us as well as their perseverance in all kinds of wicked deeds.

84.  The envoys of Egypt reached them and they were not treated with treachery or dishonor[10]

85.  Yet [the Christians] informed those envoys on our behalf, that we had voluntarily accepted the deen of kufr.

86.   And they brought out some [token] conversations to idolatry, of those who had submitted to them; yet, by Allāh, we wil never accept that declaration of faith!

87.  They have lied about us with the greatest of falsehood in their words and arguments in saying that.

88.  Rather, it was the fear of death and of burning that caused us to convert. We speak just as they spoke [to us]. It happened contrary to our intention,

89.  While the faith of Allāh’s Prophet (صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم), has not been extinguished among us, since in every glance our recognition of Tawheed Allāh [Allāh’s monotheism].

90.  Moreover, by Allāh, we accept neither our change of deen nor what they say on the subject of Trinity.

91.  And if they claim that we have accepted their deen unharmed by them,

92.  Then ask Wahraa [Huejar][11] about its inhabitants: how they became captives and slaughtering under [the burden] of humiliation and misforture,

93.  And ask Billifiqa [Belfique][12] what was the outcome of their affair: they were cut to pieces by the sword after undergoing anxiety.

94.  As for Munyafa[13], its inhabitants were sundered by the sword. The same was done to the people of Al Bushra [Alpujarra’s].

95.  As for Andarash [Andarax][14], its people were consumed by fire. It was in their masjid that they all became like charcoal.

96.  Lo, your majesty, we complain to you, what we have encountered is the worst form of estrangement.

97.  Could our Deen not be left to us as well as our Salaat, as they swore to do before the agreement was broken?

98.  If not let them allow us to emigrate from their land to North Africa, the homeland of our dear ones, with our belongings.

99.  For expulsion is better for us than remaining in unbelief, enjoying power but having no deen.

100. This is what we hope for from the glory of your rank. May every need of ours be satisfied with you!

101. From you do we hope for and end to your anxieties and to the evil low and humiliation that have overcome us,

102. For you, praise, Al-Hamdu Lillah [praise be to Allāh], are the best of our kings while our glory rises above all other glories.

103. Therefore we ask our Rabb to prolong your life in kingship and glory, in joy and prosperity;

104. And [to grant you] peace in your realms, victory over your enemies, abundant troops, wealth, and magnificence,

105. Finally, may Allāh’s Peace, followed by His Mercy, be ever upon you for the duration of time!


[1] He refers to the territories of Arghun and others which the Christians had already taken over prior to the capture of Garnata, where the Muslims were under the dhimma, (protection), of the Christians, and thus were known was mudejars, or mudajjan

[2] King Ferdinand of Aragon

[3] After the revolt in Al Bayyazin and the first revolt of Al Bushra, the Spanish sovereigns decreed as a punitive measure that the Muslims should either convert to Christianity or abandon Spain, leaving behind their possessions (Cf. M. Lafuente Alcantara, Historia de Granada. [Paris, 1852], II, 350)

[4] In 1499 Cardinal Ximenez de Cisneros made a public auto-de-fe in Granada, burning 1,025,000 Arabic volumes according to Marmol y Carajval

[5] Disparaging reference to non-arab does not imply Arab Asabiyyah but rather non-arab here is synonymous with Kafir, (as matters were not as bad as today, where Muslims in droves choose willingly to live under their Kuffaar and their laws). If the contrary was the case, then why wouldn’t Abu Yazid, (a Turk), take insult at this letters wording and disparing remarks about ‘non-arabs’? It would certainly defeat Abu’al Baqa’s purpose of writing the Qaseedah by insulting the very person hes asking help from!

[6] Between 1492 and 1499 Archbishop Talavera turned the main masjid of Garnata into the Sagrario; that of Al Bayyazin into the church of El Salvador

[7] Muslim declaration of belief in The Prophet (صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم), and Allah

[8] At first, this comment might not seem in line with history but it is, since it was Emperor Constantine that virtually made Christianity the state religion of Rome (both eastern and western empire), by issuing the edit of Milan in 313  where he announced toleration of Christianity and removed penalties for professing Christianity and returned confiscated Church property. He was also the first Christian emperor of Rome, who catapulted Christianty from a little known and little followed sect/cult to a global religion thanks to the wide expanse of the Roman Empire at the time. The capital of Rome was Constantinople at that time.

[9] This perhaps is based of an erroneous understanding of the Treaty of Garnata as the Pope of Rome never raitified the treaty and neither did he ever receive it. The assumption on the Muslim side was, (as evidenced from Imam Maqri’s recollection of the Treaty), that the Pope had ratified it.

[10] Some emissaries from Mamluk Egypt were sent to Spain in 1501 after the Egyptian Sultan had been urged to interfere on behalf of the Morisco’s. They informed the Spanish monarchs that if the Moriscos were forced to convert to Christianity, the Mamluk Sultan would retaliate by persecuting the Christian populations of his realm.

[11] Wahra was a town where rebellion was suppressed by Christians in 1501. All inhabitants massacred

[12] Billifiqa was another center of Al Bushra. The count of Cifuentes had its men massacred and its women sold as slaves.

[13] Unknown location

[14] In 1500 the Count of Lerin laid seige to the fortress of Laujar in Andarax. He used gunpowder to blow up a masjid where the Muslim women and children sought refuge.

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