I know, I know, I’d gone totally AWOL. The past few days have been so hectic and these posts need time and research. I’m a perfectionist so I refuse to post till it’s just right and I’m happy with it lol. So here it is, a nice long post to make up for the delay. I can’t promise when the next post will be. Might be before Monday if I have enough time or on Monday inshaAllah.
Enjoy and drop me your feedbacks. A lot of the readers have gone silent🤔 I love interacting with you’ll so come on, start commenting and make the comments section lively again!😁
He was a young Berber warrior, a new convert to islam and a freed slave who led the Muslim army comprising of three hundred Arabs and ten thousand Berber converts to Islam across the narrow stretch of water that separated Africa from Europe.
He was Tariq Ibn Ziyaad.
“Burn your boats,” said Tariq Ibn Ziyaad while addressing his small army after entering Spain through sea in 711 A.D. The order was instantly followed by his forces despite a huge army of opponents ready to attack them.
“My Dear brothers, we are here to spread the message of Allah. Now, the enemy is in front of you and the sea behind. You fight for His cause. Either you will be victorious or martyred. There is no third choice. All means of escape have been destroyed,” he thundered while addressing his forces before the battle began. The victory of Islam following the acts of valor, as well as piety, was imminent.
The army of Tariq crossed the stretch of water and Ianded at the opposite rocky area that till today carries his name, Jabal Tariq (Gibraltar).
King Roderic of Spain amassed a large force of 100,000 fighters against the Muslims. Tariq wrote to Musa Ibn Nusayr, the ameer of Ifriqiyah (Africa) for reinforcements and received 5000 cavalry men under the command of Tarif Ibn Malik (after whom Tarifa is named in Spain).
The two armies met in the Valley of Bekka, near Sidonia. The battle continued for eight days and ended in the sweeping defeat of the Visigoths who lived there. This was the decisive battle that opened the gates of Andalus for the Muslims.
The defeated Spanish army retreated towards Toledo. Tariq Ibn Ziyad divided his troop into four regiments for a hot pursuit. One regiment marched towards Cordoba and subdued it. The second captured Murcia and the third advanced towards Zaragoza. Tariq himself moved swiftly towards Toledo. The city surrendered without resistance. King Roderic’s rule came to an end in Spain.
Upon hearing the grand victory, Commander Musa Ibn Nusayr rushed to Spain with another large force of 18,000. The two generals occupied more than two-thirds of the Iberian Peninsula In rapid succession, Zaragoza, Barcelona and Portugal fell one after another. Later, the Pyrenees was crossed and Lyons in France was occupied. Spain remained under Muslim rule for more than 750 years, from 711 to 1492. In its swiftness of execution and completeness of success, Tariq’s expedition into Spain holds a unique place in the medieval military annals of the world.
Muslim rule was a major boon to local residents. No properties or estates were confiscated. Instead, the Muslims introduced an intelligent system of taxation, which soon brought prosperity to the peninsula and made it a model country in the West. The Christians had their own judges to settle their disputes. 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. A large number of Spaniards embraced Islam to escape the oppression of their masters. The religious minorities, the Jews and the Christians, received the protection of the state and were allowed participation at the highest levels of the government.
As result of Muslim rule, Spain became a beacon of art, science and culture for Europe. Mosques, palaces, gardens, hospitals and libraries were built. 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.
Cordoba, the capital, became the premier city of Europe and by the 10th century, had over one million inhabitants. A Christian historian writes: “The Moors (Muslims) organized that wonderful kingdom of Cordova, which was the marvel of the Middle Ages, and which, when all Europe was plunged in barbaric ignorance and strife, alone held the torch of learning and civilization bright and shining before the Western world.”
Caliph Walid bin Abdul Malik invited Musa bin Nusair and Tariq bin Ziyad to Damascus. But when they reached the capital, the caliph was on his death bed. He honored them lavishly but he passed away soon after. Caliph Sulaiman succeeded him in Feb. 715 and he turned against the two commanders and deprived them of all amenities. Tariq died in Damascus in 720 in anonymity.
(Source: Arab News)
First on our agenda was Andalusia, a mere fraction of the former Islamic state of Andalus. It was like a big province in the south of Spain, closest to Morocco and with the most Islamic history. We landed in Seville, the capital city at night and went straight to our apartments.
After refreshing ourselves and grabbing supper at a nearby restaurant we chilled in our apartment again. I took this opportunity to make some much overdue calls.
We’d been so busy going around that I hadn’t properly talked to family and friends in ages! I kept getting messages saying I’d forgotten everyone so today was a good day to catch up and prove everyone wrong.
I started with my parents of course.
“Fazila! Nice to see your face again man, I’d forgotten what you look like!” Adnaan joked, peering over mum and dad’s shoulders.
I stuck my tongue out at him. “Same here, big bro. Not one phone call from you as well and I don’t know when’s the last time you even texted!”
“Ya because some people are too busy to talk to family now.”
“Oh please, stop making excuses! If you don’t call you can’t know whether I’m too busy or not!”
“Children, stop arguing,” mum said sternly. We immediately shut up out of habit then looked at each other and laughed.
“Faaaazzz! Finally seeing your face. Where you lost?” Han’s face suddenly popped up in front of the screen.
“She’s too busy touring the world to remember us,” Adnaan put in with a smirk. I shot them both a look.
“Shut it, both of you. Han, show me my niece,” and then I awwwwwed and oohed and aahed over my gorgeous niece who seemed to have grown wings in the past few weeks. She looked at me disinterestedly while I talked to her then wriggled out of her mother’s arms and was away like a bullet.
“Yoh, look at her go!” I said, laughing as I watched her crawl away.
“She can’t sit still now. I’m literally behind her whole day!” Han said with a sigh.
“So how’s things?” Dad asked.
“Lekker man! Though it’s like a whirlwind but it’s awesome! Now I realise how small our little corner is because it’s such a big world out here!” I said enthusiastically.
“You haven’t even seen the rest of the world!” Han chuckled.
“Nana is asking when you guys going to England,” mum put in.
I grinned. “That’s a secret, tell him.”
“You have to let them know, you can’t just pitch up. They’re old now,” mum said with a frown.
“We ourselves don’t know when we’re moving on. We never have our days set, we just take each day as it comes,” I said with a shrug, “and besides, we’re family. We’ll make ourselves at home there and sort ourselves out. It’s not like nana and nani have to run behind us. Chill mum,” I said with a grin.
I spoke to them for a while before hanging up with promises to call back soon. And then came the time for the less anticipated call.
“Do we have to?” Humi grumbled.
“Yeah, we have to keep in touch. They’re your parents,” I said gently.
Humi scowled. “They’ll just spoil my mood for nothing. Especially mummy.”
“Maybe she won’t this time. The time and distance may have made her introspect and soften up,” I said more positively than I felt.
“I like this. Being away from everyone I know, being in a completely different place with different people. No one knows my history, no one knows ME. It’s just so refreshing. I’ve cut off every single person from my old life except you two. Now you want me to open that can of worms again.” Humi looked annoyed with that idea…and something else…something that looked like fear.
“Come on. It won’t be that bad. You have to face your monsters sometimes, it’s actually better for your healing process and gives you closure as well. And with your parents, even if they’re the same you must keep in touch. Even if it’s just for two minutes. At least you’ll have done your duty.”
I dialled daddy’s Skype amidst Humi’s grumbles about bossy people which was definitely aimed at me. Ahmed was just smiling and shaking his head.
Luckily daddy answered on the third ring. “Humaira, Ahmed, Fazila. Nice to see you’ll. It’s been long,” he said, a big smile stretching across his face.
“How you, daddy? How’s things?” I asked after the formalities were over.
“Good, good, shukar. Quiet of course, without you’ll but we okay. And you’ll? How’s the travels? Where you now?”
“Spain,” Humi replied.
“Oh, nice. Been there once, long time ago. Which town, Madrid?”
“Aah, nice. And where’s my grandson? Haven’t seen him as well in long. He must be so big now.”
“He’s sleeping…” Humi began then she seemed to change her mind, “let me check if he’s awake.”
He was, Alhamdulillah. Humi brought him in front of the screen, cradling him protectively in her arms. Daddy’s face genuinely lit up.
“Oh my. He’s so mashaAllah. Bring him closer, let me look at him nicely.”
They stared at each other in fascination, grandfather and grandson while we looked at both of them in amusement and pride. Humi was smiling as well when she saw the silent exchange going on before her. Then Numair let out a loud gurgle, breaking into a huge toothless grin and the spell was broken. Daddy laughed and touched the screen gently.
“He’s beautiful. He has your eyes, Humi, and Ahmed’s and your mother’s dimples. That reminds me, let me call your mother and Dalia. They’ll love to see you’ll as well.”
The mention of mummy darkened the mood. Daddy also noticed it and maybe that’s why he decided to share his other unpleasant news as well.
“And also…Mikaeel came to see me. He wanted to know where you and Numair were. Demanded to know infact.”
“Tell him to go to hell!” Humi spat out. Her arms tightened instinctively around Numair, who let out a squeak of protest.
“I told him I didn’t know and I’ll never tell him anyways so he must never come back. He shouted and threatened for a bit but when I didn’t budge he left, saying he’ll hire detectives to track you down because you can’t take his son from him. Empty threats I’m sure,” he added reassuringly, seeing Humi’s thunderous scowl, “you need bucks for that and I doubt he has that much. Anyways, let me call mummy. Wait,” he heaved himself up from the chair and walked out.
“I’ll die before I give my son to that bas****!” Humi said angrily, still clutching her son protectively.
“You don’t worry about that. Like daddy said he won’t be able to do that so there’s nothing to worry about,” Ahmed tried to reassure her.
Mummy and Dalia came then, right in time to see Humi still scowling darkly.
“Is this how you greet me, Humaira? After so long as well?” Mummy asked, raising her thin, shaped eyebrows.
“I was thinking about something else,” Humi mumbled quickly, “how you? And Daals? Howzit?” Her expression lightened when she saw her younger sister whose eyes were on Numair.
“He’s so gorgeous! And he’s gone so big and chubby! When I saw him he was so tiny!” She exclaimed excitedly.
“He’s a fatty bom bom,” Ahmed put in with a huge grin. Humi elbowed him hard and he burst out laughing.
“Yeah, he’s almost four months now,” Humi replied.
“You so far away. Not fair! I want to play with him!” Dalia pouted.
We laughed. “Oi Daals. Can’t even say salaam to your bhai huh!” Ahmed said.
Dalia grinned. “You look just the same. No big deal!”
“Oh, that’s how it is huh. Fine, I’m gonna eat all your nice lindt chocolates, wait.”
“Hey! Faz, post them to me before this greedy pig eats them all!” Dalia shot back.
Mum was quiet while we joked around with Dalia. Then she spoke up, her eyes on Numair.
“He looks a bit dark. Don’t take him out in the sun too much, Humaira. Keep him inside more.”
“He’s half black mummy, what do you expect??” Humi shot back.
“I know that! No need to rub it in. I’m just saying he looks a bit burnt and it’s hot there now so be careful!”
“Don’t worry, I make him wear a hat always,” Humi muttered in response, her scowl back.
“Ahmed, how you doing? You looking so mashaAllah now, your stomach is also coming out. You must be active there also, do something even if you are retired now. Don’t just sit and eat all day.”
Ahmed grinned, not the least bit offended. “Yes, ma’am. These two make me run around and carry all their million shopping bags so I’m active, don’t worry.”
“And you, Fazila? How you?” She asked, turning to look at me directly. I literally jumped, I was so not expecting her to address me directly.
“I’m well alhamdulillah,” I replied automatically, “and how you? You’re looking well.”
“I look after myself that’s why. Mustn’t let go otherwise you’ll age faster than your years. So how come you’re not getting pregnant now? Too busy travelling to think about having a baby?”
That stung. Ahmed jumped in before I could say anything. “That’s not nice, mummy. It’s not in our control.”
“I know, but come on Ahmed, some people don’t want the trouble of a baby while having a nice holiday. If Fazila falls pregnant it will be the end of your holiday and you know it. That’s why I’m just asking.”
“I’m ready to have a baby whenever Allah gives me. Make dua for us mummy,” I said, refusing to let the hurt overpower me. People will always talk and say the most thoughtless and hurtful things to us. However, how we responded to it was our choice. We could control whether we let their negativity affect us or let it slide and only absorb the positive aspects of life. I refused to let the negativity of one woman spoil the best days of my life.
The talk was mundane after that. After a while mummy left us so we could chat a bit more with Dalia before hanging up. We promised to keep her updated and send lots of pics. Ahmed felt so sorry for her at seeing her sad face that he said he would have fetched her to us if she didn’t have school.
“You see why I didn’t wanna phone her. She spoilt both our moods,” Humi said after we had hung up. I shook my head and smiled and said the same things I was thinking to her.
“People will always talk but we shouldn’t let it affect us. We have the power over that so we should try to do that much at least. We both need to grow a thick skin my dear, because we both will face lots of hurtful comments in our lives.”
“Hear, hear, Doctor Fazila!” Ahmed said with a mock salute. We laughed and that lightened the mood. Then there was Numair, babbling away happily, totally unaffected by any negativity in his life. He made us laugh as well.
So that was that! Social calls taken care of we could now concentrate again on exploring and creating more memories…