The Relocation and Expulsion: The Endgame Unfolds

As early as March 1570, gradual relocation of Muslims had begun all over Garnata. It was thought that if the Muslims of Garnata were relocated and scattered about the Kingdom of Castile in Christian majority areas, they would assimilate faster, (i.e. lose their Islam and become better Christians), lose their language, (i.e. Arabic), and would no longer be a threat to the internal security of Spain. The numbers relocated are staggering, (perhaps nothing like Stalin’s relocation campaign against the Chechens, but nevertheless substantial), as “…5,500 reached Seville; 6,000, Toledo; 12,000 Cordoba; 21000, Albacete [Al Baasit], (Harvey, Muslims in Spain 1500-1614, 234).” However, the Spanish still had not managed to scatter the Muslims within their new cities into Christian majority areas. According to research by Spanish researchers, the Muslims marched upto 27 km a day every day to reach their destinations which is an enormous amount for the elderly, women and children to walk, (i.e. if Muslims from Runda went to Al Baasit, the total trip is approximately 384 km, meaning at the pace prescribed they would have to walk for two weeks at that sustained pace!). It must also be kept in mind that the relocations were done during winter and as a result many suffered from exhaustion and contracted Typhus, (ibid, 236). A Spanish report from the time reports, “…there are many sick people, and many are dying of so much snow and cold, which have been excessive, (ibid).” However the Muslims of Castile did take care of their Muslims brothers and sisters as is the case of “…one man who took four or five sick people into his home, (ibid).” However the Catholic Church saw this charity on the part of Muslims in Castile not as charity but, as they declared:

“We understand they have welcomed them so as to learn Arabic better from them, (ibid).”

SubhanAllāh! Look at these vicious Christian monsters! Even after relocating these Muslims, taking their houses, killing their families and stealing their honor they are not satisfied! The Muslims now had doubts cast upon them for being teachers of Arabic to their Castilian brothers! It is like those western Muslims who come to study Islam in Egypt or Pakistan nowadays and when they return back to the West, only to have doubts and suspicion cast upon them due to the fact they were learning Islam and Arabic, (it really doesn’t matter if you went to a Sufi madrassa or a ‘Wahaabi’ one. To the Christians it is all the same)! As these Muslims arrived, they found their Castilian brothers paying the situado, a heavy tax paid to the Inquisition authorities by the Muslims so the Inquisition would not prosecute their community, nor seize their properties. However, this wouldn’t stop the inquisition’s seizure of people for questioning. What happened to those Muslim that collaborated with the Spanish during the campaign you ask? They were given safe passage and were not ordered to leave Garnata. One such traitor was Alonso Del Castillo who, as described earlier, was employed by the Spanish as a translator for the armed forces to translate intercepted messages in Arabic and Aljamiado, (Al Ajamiyya), between the Muslims. As a translator during the Al Bushra jihad, he translated all the letters caught between the Muslims of Al Bushra and Algiers. He was also “…forging false documents and false prophecies to serve as black propaganda and sow confusion on the Muslim side, (ibid, 276).” In other words, he was a specialist at propaganda and ‘Psyops,’ (psychological operations).

As for hope of any forthcoming help from the Uthmanis, it was annihilated when the Uthmani fleet, having captured Cyprus on August 1st 1571 after an arduous year long siege, lost the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571to the Holy League. The coalition of ships from the Holy league[1] were led by the Spanish fleet contingent, bearing the brunt of the ships and assuming command of all other ships. The Spanish commander was none other than Don John of Austria. Although, the Uthmani forces lost, it was not a crushing victory, as western historians contend. In addition, the Spaniards after 1571 were constantly engaged in fighting their fellow European powers, and thus any momentum or advantage gained from this victory was nullified by the extreme expenditure in lives and treasure during these inter-European wars from 1571-1648, (up to the Peace of Westphalia). However, it was a moral victory for the Spanish and Christendom, tasting their first major victory over the Uthmanis. Mentally, it affected the Uthmanis as well, as they did not venture further out west with their main navy, but instead relying on their governor in Algiers to send contingents of ghazis to mount hit and run raids of ships and onshore. They took hostages and ghaneema and harassed Christian shipping continuously, with sightings of the fleet at times in Ireland, Iceland and even North America! As for Venice, which had lost Cyprus to the Uthmanis and understood it stood no chance of regaining it, agreed on a peace treaty between themselves and the Uthmanis on March 7th 1573, agreeing to recognize Uthmani rule over Cyprus and paying an indemnity of 300,000 Ducats to the Uthmanis for the cost of the war.

In the Philipines the Spanish, having subdued the north, now started moving southwards to finally take on the Muslim strongholds of the Sultanate of Sulu, the Sultanate of Maguindanao and Sultanate of Brunei. Fortuitously for the Spanish, there was a battle for succession that was raging in the Sultanate of Brunei. Sultan Sirela had been removed from power in Brunei and came to the Spanish, the local and defacto regional power at the time, to reinstate him. The Spanish obliged, as it gave them an excuse to intervene, weaken Brunei and perhaps even conquer it.

In 1578, the new governor general of the Philippines, Francisco de Sande, commissioned, a fleet of forty ships, with several hundred Spanish soldiers and 1,500 Visayan/Philippino auxiliaries. De Sande set out for Borneo [Sultanate of Brunei]. The expedition was a success in that the Spaniards defeated the forces which came against them. The city of Brunei was captured by the Spanish and burned. However, the Muslims of the Sultanate of Brunei retaliated by placing a naval blockade around Spanish vessels, blockading them from supplies and leading to their starvation and sickness. Eventually the Spanish had to withdraw and admit their defeat in this engagement. However, “…no conversion of the Mohammedans [Muslims] resulted, and the Moro [Muslim] as a payer of tribute [jizya to the Spanish] still remained a vague and pleasant possibility, (Hurley 1936).”

Drunk from this victory, De Sande sent troops under Captain Adelantado Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa to Jolo, the capital of the Sultanate of Sulu, to capture and/or destroy it. Captain Figueroa was successful as many of the men had been away from the town at the time. In retaliation, the Muslims mounted intense retaliatory raids and sent men to the coasts of Luzon and the Visayas, (where the Spanish were near Manila). It would seem that the Spanish soldiers, most of them veterans of the fighting against the Aztecs and Incans, thought the Muslims of the Philipines would be like the rest of their conquests. Many of them would have heard stories from their parents about the fall of Garnata and the ease with which they destroyed the Muslim armies, and supposed that these Muslims would also be defeated. As Victor Hurley said in ‘Swish of the Kris:’

“The Moros [Muslims] of Mindanao, singularly unappreciative of Spanish valor, proved to be of sterner breed than the Aztecs, (ibid).”

From 1579 to 1595, during the reign of the Sultan of Sulu, Muhammad Al Haleem Pangiram, Captain Figuero was given commands to impose the following upon the Muslims of that area by Governor De Sande:

Figueroa fought the Muslims both in Mindanao and Sulu, killing many and destroying many Masaajid as well. The Muslims rebuilt these masaajid and both the Sultantes of Sulu and Maguindanao allied to fight the Spanish kuffaar. The Muslims first retaliated with naval ghazawaat, like that of Khayr Al Deen and the Uthmanis, against the Spanish fleet and other trading vessels in Spanish ports. The Muslim obtained much ghaneema and killed many of those living in the Spanish cities. In 1579, Captain De Ribera lead an incursion into Mindanao and was ambushed during the incursion. During the operations, Captain De Ribera is reported to have said:

“What manner of men are these Moslems?” cries De Ribera, “who fear not the hail of the arquebus?(ibid).”

In a funny way this is what the US Central Command is wondering when Muslims from Algeria to the Philippines don’t fear their satellites, drones and sophisticated weaponry and are more than willing to fight and die, than to cower in fear for the remainder of their lives.

However, the question is usually asked: “who were these mujahideen? Were they really mujahideen?” To answer this question, one need only look to the word the Spanish had for what these men used to carry out: ‘Juramentado,’ which in Spanish means ‘oath.’ Actually if we were to look at it in the Islamic context, they would be the equivalent of Istishhadee/Fidayee raids that have been perfected by the mujahideen today in Kashmir, Afghanistan and elsewhere. As one author describes it:

“Originally, the practice was conducted by a band of men determined to sacrifice their lives in accomplishing the death of Christians. In the later years of the Spanish conquest, single individuals howled through the streets of Jolo, leaving death in their wake, (Hurley).”

In fact the same author continues and describes what is said about ‘suicide’ bombing today:

“Waging a holy war [jihad] became an individual matter in Sulu and Mindanao. A Moro who had become overzealous in religious matters decided to commit, not suicide, which was forbidden, but rather an act of constructive self-destruction, to terminate his unwillingness to live. To accomplish this act and to slay as many Christians as possible, paved the way for great renown in the other world, (ibid).”

On the day of their mission the mujahideen would be given exhorting speeches by the Imam of the area. As a custom, the mujahid youth then met with their parents for the last time, where the parents would allow them to sacrifice themselves fee sabilAllāh. Finally the Sultan would then group the squads that would be sent out for their mission. Before they left they swore solemly over the Quran

“Jumanji kami hatunan ing kami ini magsabil karna sing tuhan.”

In the dialect of Mindanao, these mujahid were known as mag-sabils, (mujahideen fee sabilAllāh), and the word used for jihad was Parang Sabeel, (‘Parang’ means war and ‘Sabeel’ ofcourse here refers to ‘fee sabillAllāh,’ and therefore it translates as Jihad fee SabilAllāh). The method of their attack is described as follows:

“The method of attack of the juramentado was to approach the largest group of Christians possible and shout to them from a distance the Arabic phrase, “La ilaha il-la’l-lahu” – There is no God but Allāh. The kris or barong was then unsheathed and a rush was made, each juramentado hoping to kill at least one Christian before he found a martyr’s death, (ibid).”

In fact, these Istishhadiyoon, were “…practically non-stoppable. Even when riddled with bullets he remained on his feet to kill the enemy, (ibid).” In fact this is the reason why the US army, when dealing with these Seekers of Death, (during their occupation of the Philipines), had to create the Colt 45 to stop them, as the smaller caliber .38 was not managing to stop the mujahideen. A French doctor described one of their attacks during the Spanish occupation, where eleven Istishhadiyoon infiltrated into a city:

“Divided into three bands, they crept into town, pursuing a frenzied course. Hearing the cry of “Los Juramentados”, the soldiers seized arms. The juramentados [Istishhadiyoon] rushed upon them fearlessly with krises. One of them struck in the breast by a bullet, rose and flung himself upon the troops. Transfixed by a bayonet, he remained erect, trying to reach his enemy who held him impaled. Another soldier ran up and blew out his brains before he dropped. When the last juramentado had fallen and the corpses were picked up from the street, it was found that fifteen Spaniards had been hacked to pieces and many wounded. And what wounds! The head of one Spaniard was cut off as clean as if with a razor and another was cut almost in two, (ibid).”

May Allāh once again revive the honorable mujahideen of the Philipines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and aid them in fighting the kuffaar and their servants.

Uthmani naval operations continued till 1589 against the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean along the crucial East African coast and its ports, (i.e. off the coast of modern day Kenya and Somalia). The death knell came in 1580 when, after secret negotiations between the Spanish and the Uthmanis, a truce was enacted between the two powers. The Spanish interest in the truce was manifold, in that they did not desire to continue the costly and destructive battle against the Uthmanis while they were unifying Spain with Portugal. In addition, they, (and the Uthmanis), realized that the Safavids were again menacing the borders of the Uthmani empire, while internal unrest in Anatolia, (the heart of the khilafa), was rising as well.

During April 1581, King Phillip II was in Lisbon, (Portugal had by now become a part of Spain), to consider the options at hand to deal with the Muslims, (by this I mean Moriscos, or those forced to convert to Christianity, ofcourse as overt Muslims no longer existed in the kingdom), in his kingdom, and many proposals were mulled over. One of them was by “…a junta of his chief counselors…concluded to send the Moriscoes [Muslims] to sea and to scuttle the vessels, reserving only those who could be catechized[2] and those who desired to stay, for it was not deemed wise to add to the numerous population of Africa, (Lea, The Moriscoes of Spain. 296).” On July 30, 1587, another alternative proposal to the king was being mulled over. The Bishop of Segorbe wrote to the king as follows:

“It is no valid objection to say that if [the Moriscos] go to Barbary they will join up with the Muslims there, and descend on Spain, because in any case there are more than enough people [to do that] in North Africa already. They do not refrain from attacking for lack of numbers, but because, as is well known, they are in fear of Your Majesty’s forces…”

So therefore he proposes an alternative to the King:

“These people might be transported to the Coast of the Cod and Newfoundland. These are very broad lands and are quite uninhabited. They will die out there completely, especially if the adult and young males are castrated and the women [are sterilized]. One year the Valencians could be transported to one destination, the next the Aragonese to another, the next the Castilians to another, (Harvey, Muslims in Spain: 1500-1614, 296).”

The Bishop envisioned placing Muslims in the new Spanish territories in the Americas. This makes one wonder, even though this proposal was not taken up as policy, that perhaps some governors of certain districts went through with this idea, leading credence to the idea of Muslim inhabitation of America at least by the 17th century, (if not earlier). Philip II mulled these ideas over, but never reached a final decision as he died in 1598. The one thing that made Philip II and his son and successor, Philip III hesitate from taking immediate action against the Muslims of Spain, (and specifically those of Garnata), was that the Muslims were seen as both the agricultural backbone of Spain, (as their productivity was much higher than the Christians usually because of better skill sets they possessed), and because they contributed enormous sums of money to state in taxes and bribe money to the inquisitional authorities. If Spain expelled them, they would lose a large amount of wealth and agricultural productivity, (which in turn would result in lower profits for the lords of the areas where Muslims worked). Toward the end of the 16th Century CE, Valencia remained as the last outpost of significant Muslim populations and resistance. The irony is that the kingdom of Valencia had been the home of the Mudajaneen for the last few centuries. These were the sons of the same lowly people, (not all ofcourse, I only speak of those that willingly chose to stay when they had the ability and/or means to leave), whom were loyal servants to the Spanish kingdom and throughout the 1590’s were resisting the Spanish. They resisted by arms and by trying to exploit Spain’s Foreign policy vulnerabilities by trying to bring in Spain’s enemies, (France and England), to fight against the Spanish so that they could be freed from Spanish control. However, even this resistance fizzled with the execution of their leader Alami and his men in 1605.

Elsewhere in Europe, seeing the success obtained by the Spanish and Portuguese armies and those merchants that were under their aegis in the New World, (The Americas), and the East Indies, (South East Asia), merchants from England decided to pool together their efforts and capital and obtained a Royal Charter from the Queen of England to form the East India company in 1600. They spent time operating in the Indian Ocean near the Philipines, Molukas islands and India, turning increasingly towards India by the end of the 17th century. The company would evolve from simply a trading company, to a private military force that was operating as a mercenary force to attain British foreign policy objectives, while cutting a healthy profit for themselves simultaneously. Other countries would follow suit in this regard, such as the infamous Dutch East India Company[3] in 1602. Denmark and Sweden both created their East India companies in 1616 and France created theirs in 1664. The 1600’s should be seen as the beginning of the transition from countries deploying their armies to conquer a land, to allowing militarized merchants to go to the countries of their interest and give them power to negotiate on the states behalf and even wage war on their behalf. I would term this ‘militant capitalism’ and their practitioners, ‘militant capitalist mercenaries.’ This concept is the ‘younger brother’ of what, has and, is occurring in the Muslim world today with Multi National Corporations coming into Muslims lands, using their wealth to achieve not only healthy profit margins, but also the foreign policy objectives of their governments in the Muslim world, all under the guise of ‘globalization,’ and economic ‘liberalization.’

European Trading Posts in India

European Trading Posts in India

Back in the Philipines, seeing the powerful Muslim response, Captain Figueroa decided to end Spanish humiliation by leading a new campaign right into the heart of Mindanao. You can tell the Spanish were delusional to think they could subdue, with a few hundred men, almost 38,000 square miles of jungle against an opponent that knows the land better than the Spanish. It almost sounds like America’s war in Afghanistan, or more generally, it’s ‘War on Terror.’ In May of 1596, Figueroa arrived in Cotabato in dense jungle into the area of the local Muslim tribal leader, Silongan. Prior to beginning his reconnaissance for the ambush, Figueroa tells his men:

“Soldiers of Felipe [King Philip II], we stand upon the newest soil of Spain. To subdue this dark forest and rid the soil of the infidel Moslem is our aim. They shall submit as vassals and converts or fall before the Spanish blades. Forward to our duty for King and country, (Hurley 1936).”

Before any major preparations, the hunter became the hunted and Figueroa was ambushed through the jungles and almost cut in half by the younger brother of Silongan. He died on the beaches of Mindanao, perhaps coming to the realization that not all Muslims can be beaten all of the time. Spanish forces cut a hasty retreat and rethought their strategy upon Mindanao and the Muslims. The attacks of the Philippino mujahideen continued on sea and land against the Spanish and their supporters, leaving pools of Spanish blood in their wake. These attacks kept the Spanish at bay for the most part of almost fifty years, and out of the Muslim stronghold of Mindanao.

On January 2nd 1602, a council was called by Philip III to discuss the mainland ‘Muslim problem,’ and once again various recommendations were floated about, ranging from the barbaric, (killing all the Muslims in Hitleresque fashion), to the sensible, (sending the Muslims to the Maghrib). Phillip III finally decide upon carrying out the expulsion in the summer of 1602 as he said, “lets this be done and with all possible haste, (ibid, 304).” Apparently, the ‘with all possible haste’ part of the statement was not understood by the King’s advisors as the summer of 1602 came and went. At around the same time, a Muslim living an Arghun, Abdul Karim Juan Del Rincon, wrote a book in Spanish called “Guia de la Salvacion,” (‘guide to salvation/heaven’). Naturally by this time the knowledge and understanding of Arabic remained with a select few while most people had either completely forgotten it and were using Spanish or were writing Spanish in Arabic script, (Al A’jamiyya). He wrote to his fellow Muslims of Andalus about the state of affairs of the Muslims:

“Allāh having been pleased to permit that the Muslims of this country should be afflicted and oppressed with so many persecutions, allowed in his infinite wisdom that the affairs of our religion should be bought  to such extremity, that it is not practiced either in public nor in private. Prayer is laid aside and forgotten, and the few who still perform it do it secretly, and consequently with fear, and without the necessary devotion: the fast is not observed, or if so, far from the manner in which it ought to be; the accustomary alms abolished; the annual festivals and their tithes sunk in oblivion; the invocation of Allāh and His beloved Messenger never heard; or, if they invoke them, they do not call them by their proper names in our language. All this is owing, first of all, to the circumstances which places the Muslims for so many years far from any spiritual advice; and secondly, to the tyranny of the Christians, who have caused them to be all forcefully baptized through fear and terror. Their books are all lost, and scarcely any remembrance remains of them; doctors of the law are no more, some are dead, others lie in prison; the inquisition displays against us its utmost fury and oppression…; the newly baptized Muslims are everywhere seized and punished with gallies, rack and fire, and other chastisements best known to Allāh, the master of all secrets. These intolerable torments and other calamities we have endured till the present day, for a space of seventy six years, with greater fury and vigour than at the first beginning. Now, I ask you what knowledge can we have of the deen and its dogmas, how can we serve Allāh, if we are continually disturbed and perplexed? And therefore how can it be wondered that some of the holy mysteries of our deen and its Dogmas have become strange and inhabitual to us, especially when we consider that we are surrounded by many inveterate and implacable enemies, among which is the world, that, with its temptations and snares, is continually inciting us to forget our supreme welfare, and barring the way to salvation [jannah/heaven]? Some people among us do not know what prayer is, nor by whom it was instituted; if you ask them when out lord [mawlana] and Prophet, Muhammad [SAWS], was born, they will not answer you; and if you happen to mention in their presence Makka, that mother of cities [Umm Al Qura] and cradle of our deen, they will stare in your face, and shrug up their shoulders. Therefore I, who profess to be a good Muslim, although the number and depth of my sins Allāh knows, have undertaken the meritorious task of writing this Guide to Salvation, and have composed it in Spanish; May Allāh forgive me for using any other language than that in which the sublime Quran was revealed, (Wiegers, 210-211).”

This is clear proof that the extended time under Christian rule and oppression led to the almost complete eradication of Islam from Andalus, so much so, that this author had to write in Spanish rather than Arabic. Imagine that! An Arab that can not speak, write or understand Arabic! It’s the equivalent of us today who are born in the west or live awkward lives as westernized citizens living in the Muslim world. We are neither here, nor there. We neither understand Arabic, the language of the Quran and of Islam and sometimes we do not even understand the language of the places we live in, (such as the phenomenon of Anglicized/Americanized Pakistanis in Pakistan who cant speak Urdu)! Thus neither do we comprehend our deen and neither can we give dawah in our lands. All we know is the language of the kuffaar, which we had to learn, (nowadays we want to learn it over learning Arabic), in the English based education systems of the world, (or French based systems in Algeria and Morocco). Wallaahi! There are people who are students of Islamic sciences in certain places of the world that are studying to aid this deen who do not understand the importance of knowing the Arabic language and run after learning English under contrived pretenses. However, this is not to say one should not learn English or European languages in general, and neither am I saying that speaking English or European, (or non Muslim), languages makes you a kaafir, but rather it should not be done at the expense of learning Arabic. Learning the Arabic language is to be pursued with the utmost zeal in comparison to any other language as it sets the foundation of your deen. Without it, you are helpless and wander in the dark with translations that might or might not be reliable. Another thing that is striking about the above passage is when Abdul Karim says:

“And therefore how can it be wondered that some of the holy mysteries of our deen and its Dogmas have become strange and inhabitual to us, especially when we consider that we are surrounder by many invenerate and implacable enemies, among which is the world, that, with its temptations and snares, is continually inciting us to forget our supreme welfare, and barring the way to salvation [jannah/heaven]? Some people among us do not know what prayer is, nor by whom it was instituted; if you ask them when out lord [mawlana] and Prophet, Muhammad [SAWS], was born, they will not answer you; and if you happen to mention in their presence Makka, that mother of cities [Umm Al Qura] and cradle of our deen, they will stare in your face, and shrug up their shoulders.”

This is nothing less than a photocopy of our times. If you asked the same of our youth and elders, they wouldn’t know either! Abdul Karim was correct in saying that in the presence of the hateful Christians, (i.e. the kuffaar) and their society provides not only temptations but also incitement to forget Islam. This is a warning to all Muslim communities living in Dar al Kufr, as you may cite a litany of criticisms of Dar al Islam, (with some of them even being true), but the adhaan is still heard, the salaat is established in jama’a, the Qura’n is not deemed a ‘terrorist’ text that needs to be changed and one can arguably practice and preserve their deen better in Dar al Islam.[4] To rectify these doubtful situations, for one that has the means, leaving the home for jihad fee sabeelAllāh is an obligation, as it is fard ayn (individual obligation) today. This is the only way we will achieve freedom to not just practice Islam but to spread the Message far and wide across Allāh’s lands.

In Spain, a plot was uncovered in 1608 by the Spanish where the Valencian Muslims had sent envoys to Muley Zaydan[5] in Morocco to ask for men and arms to fight the Spanish. In turn, this conspiracy not only involved Muslims, but also Spain’s other enemy, the Dutch. A memorandum was drafted by one of King Philip III’s advisors on the matter:

“His majesty has received reports that the 50 Moriscos [Muslims] who crossed over to Barbary [Maghrib] went to Marrakesh and asked Muley Zaydan forcefully why he was expending his strength making war on his brothers when he had the chance to regain Spain, which had been conquered in former times with the ease that is well known…As for arms, they are in the hands of the Moriscos [Muslims], who have managed to procure them in secret. They will find him 200,000 men just as formidable as he is ready to lay down their lives and their property…merely by landing 20,000 men, any port could be seized. Inland there would be no resistance, especially if use were made of the Rebels [the Dutch] and other peoples of the north who are the king’s enemies…He [Muley Zaydan] is said to have spoken to some Hollanders who were there and had explained his intentions to them, and asked whether with their ships they would assist him to cross with 20,000-22,000 men if he paid them well to do so. The Dutch had replied that they would not just help, they would establish a bridge of ships over which he could pass in complete safety…What is to be feared is the multitude of Moriscos [Muslims] stubborn in their adherence to their beliefs [deen]. He [King Philip III] has also taken into account that the Turk [Uthmani khalifa], according to the latest reports, is disengaging himself from his conflicts with those in rebellion against him, and with the Persians…(Janer, 274-277).”

The Memo continues to highlight that other than Spain’s Muslim enemies, even their Italian allies were now apparently also discontented. The Memo goes on to recommend a course of action:

“…He [King Philip III] is resolved [i.e. urged] to finish off these evil people [i.e. Muslims] by whatever means seem best and most speedy, and he will not shrink from slitting their throats [i.e. killing them all]. For as those who have been engaged in the conversion have discovered, it is not just that nothing has been achieved, but that every time some effort has been made, their [Muslims] stubbornness and ill will has only increased, without a single one of them ever being converted, in spite of all hopes. The patriarch Archbishop of Valencia is quite in despair, [as are] all the others who over the years have striven so hard. The process has been so long drawn out that it is now quite out of the question to leave the security of the realm dependent on it, for on the security of this realm depends [that of] the rest of Christendom, (ibid, 277).”

The interesting point made in the memo is that geopolitically, the Muley Zaydan was now free to fight Spain, the Uthmanis were now, after the completion of their campaigns elsewhere disengaging from fighting the Safawiyya and due to the constant wars, Spanish allies were exhausted as well. By this analysis, it would seem that Spain was certainly in a precarious situation, and one that would be exacerbated to the point of disaster if the Muslims of Spain were to remain in Spain to serve as a sort of ‘fifth column’ to aid and fight alongside any foreign invasion force. Additionally, the memo bears testimony to the fact that the Muslims of Andalus, even after more than 100 years, held onto Islam in spite of torture, the inquisition and the series of oppressive laws that were enacted in the interim.

On April 9, 1609 Spain concluded with the Dutch, (one of their many enemies), a truce agreement, (“The Twelve Year Truce”), and on that same day, a decree was announced to finally begin the expulsion of the Muslims from Spain. The strategy was to expel all the Muslims from coastal kingdoms, (such as Valencia), using covertly position troops, so as to assure that the Muslims are not able to call in aid from abroad, (due to the speed of the operation and the element of surprise), to launch a counterattack to stop the expulsion, (you must remember that in the naval age, control of the sea was the equivalent of controlling the skies today). They would then proceed to further expel the inland Muslims subsequently, (such as those in Castile).


[1] The Holy League of 1571 was arranged by Pope Pius V and included almost all the major Catholic maritime states in the Mediterranean. It was intended to break Uthmani control of the eastern Mediterranean Sea and was formally concluded on 25 May 1571. Its members were the Papal States, the Habsburg states of Spain, Naples and Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Republic of Genoa, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchies of Savoy, Parma and Urbino and the Knights of Malta.

[2] To be taught Christianity literally, but in this case means additionally that the Moriscos in question were willing participants.

[3] The charter of the company empowered it to build forts, maintain armies, and conclude treaties with Asian rulers. It provided for a venture that would continue for 21 years, with a financial accounting only at the end of each decade. Clearly, these were not mere ‘companies’ as we are accustomed to thinking, but rather militant capitalist mercenaries, more akin to Blackwater than Apple Computers.

[4] by this I mean countries with Muslim majorities under Muslim rulers. Obviously that doesn’t mean the ruler is applying the Law of Allah but neither are they kuffaar. This definition does not include countries such as Egypt, Algeria or Morocco since they are militant secularists and are in some cases worse than kafir countries in their treatment of Muslims and Islam

[5] Mawlay Zidan Abu Maali, sultan of Morocco of the Saadi Dynasty (reigning from 1603–1627), son of Ahmad al-Mansur.


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