Between the fall of Toledo in 1085 and the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, a new force entered the politics of Muslim al-Andalus (or Andalusia). This force was the North African Islamic fundamentalism of two groups, the Almoravids and their successors, the Almohads. Both these groups developed out of a ribat mentality, which stressed a strict interpretation of Islamic law (the Sharia) and simple living. Their coming to Spain would alter the political and social landscape by introducing a level of religiosity and intolerance to both the Muslim and Christian Kingdoms of Spain, ending the relative toleration of religious minorities in both regions and leading to the eventual destruction of the Muslim presence on the Iberian Peninsula. However, the ribat mentality of the Almoravids and the Almohads cannot be blamed entirely for these changes in Iberia; there was also a strong outside influence on the Christian Kings of Northern Spain to increasingly mix religious and political institutions, namely from the Papacy, and the extent to which these Muslim fundamentalists were able to totally create a barrier between Christians and Muslims cannot be over-exaggerated, as both groups used members of the other to further their own political ends.
[...] Jewish scholars faced persecution as well. Moses Maimonides, Moses Halevi, and Moses ben-Ezra all fled Almohad rule (Reilly 125). The attitudes of the Almoravids and Almohads inspired not only oppressive laws, but outright violence, such as the destruction of church in Granada in 1099 (Fletcher 112). The most influence the ribat mentality had on the fabric of Spain, however, was on the Christian side. Before the arrival of the Almoravids and Almohads, the Christians under Muslim rule lived under a grudging tolerance. [...]
[...] While the Christian Monarchs were willing to have Muslim subjects as long as they remained peaceful, paid taxes and kept the land populated, events within the Church would lead to the Monarchs of Spain to change their position of relative toleration to one of outright hostility towards the Mudejars. During the tenure of Pope Gregory VII numerous reforms of the Church were made. These reforms lead to the belief that if the clergy and Church could be made more ethically superior, then society could be changed for the better as well, and the reformed Church was in a position guide this development (Fletcher 116). [...]
[...] A totally Christian Spain became a goal for all of Western Europe as well, leading them to continually intervene in the affairs of Spain, stirring the pot of religious hatred as much as the ribat mentality. It took the Papal intervention of Celestine III (1191-1198) and Innocent III (1198 1216) to keep Christian Kingdoms from splitting apart and fighting each other (123-124) and it was another Pope, Sixtus IV who issued the edict which spurred on the final push against Granada, in order to compensate for the loss of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453. [...]
[...] At the time, John of Gorze, a visiting German monk, remarked how they were not combative at all against their Muslim rulers (140). In addition, the Christian kings did not have a policy of conquering the Muslims, only of using force to extract tribute from them. The coming of the Almoravids changed this, as they undid the two pillars which had kept Christian/Muslim tensions from exploding. First they began to encourage violence against the Christian Mozarabs, and second, in conquering the Taifa states, the Almoravids robbed the Christian Kings of a primary source of revenue (Fletcher 113). [...]
[...] Eventually, the Mudejars were presented with the choice of either leaving Spain or converting in a series of edicts between 1502 and 1525. Those who did convert were never fully trusted by the Church and were eventually expelled as well in 1609- 1614. In the “Morisco Appeal to the Ottoman Sultan,” a Mudejar laments how Islam was never forced upon the Mozarabs (Constable 368), for the Mudejars were forced to convert to Christianity or leave Spain, and even after conversion they were suspected of being secretly Muslim. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee