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The Rise of the Ribat Mentality and the End of Muslim Spain

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  1. Introduction
  2. The ribat mentality
  3. The trouble the Taifa states of Andalusia were in
  4. The two invasions of Andalusia and its affect
    1. Religious intolerance on the peninsula
    2. Christians living under Muslim authority
    3. The Mozarabs
    4. The Siete Partidas of Alfonso X of Castile
  5. The experiences of the two communities
  6. Bibliography

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). [...]


[...] As the Christian reconquest of Muslim Spain took its course, the Christian Aragon and Castile found themselves ruling over an increasing number of Muslim subjects. By the end of the 13th century, there were roughly 600,000 Mudejars, with at least 250,000 in Valencia, where they made a majority of the population (Reilly 195). While the Mozarabs experienced a decline in their numbers over time, those of the Mudejars held steady (Fletcher but like the Mozarabs; they were mostly concentrated in rural areas (Reilly 73). [...]

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