Martial, the things that do attain
The happy life, be these, I find :
The riches left, not got with pain ;
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind :
The equal friend, no grudge, no strife ;
No charge of rule, nor governance ;
Without disease, the healthful life ;
The household of continuance :
The mean diet, no delicate fare ;
True wisdom join’d with simpleness ;
The night discharged of all care,
Where wine the wit may not oppress :
The faithful wife, without debate ;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night.
Contented with thine own estate ;
Ne wish for Death, ne fear his might.
moro de la morería,
el día que tú naciste
grandes señales había.
Estaba la mar en calma,
la luna estaba crecida;
moro que en tal signo nace,
no debe decir mentira.»
Allí respondiera el moro,
bien oiréis lo que decía:
«No te la diré, señor,
aunque me cueste la vida,
porque soy hijo de un moro
y una cristiana cautiva;
siendo yo niño y muchacho
mi madre me lo decía:
que mentira no dijese,
que era grande villanía:
por tanto pregunta, rey,
que la verdad te diría.
«Yo te agradezco, Abenámar,
aquesta tu cortesía.
¿Qué castillos son aquéllos?
¡Altos son y relucían!»
«El Alhambra era, señor,
y la otra la mezquita;
los otros los Alijares,
labrados a maravilla.
El moro que los labraba
cien doblas ganaba al día
y el día que no los labra
otras tantas se perdía.
El otro es Generalife,
huerta que par no tenía;
el otro Torres Bermejas,
castillo de gran valía.»
Allí habló el rey don Juan,
bien oiréis lo que decía:
«Si tú quisieras, Granada,
contigo me casaría;
daréte en arras y dote
a Córdoba y a Sevilla.»
«Casada soy, rey don Juan,
casada soy, que no viuda;
el moro que a mí me tiene
muy grande bien me quería.»
O thou Muslim of the Morería,
There were mighty signs and aspects
On the day when thou were born,
Calm and lovely was the ocean,
Bright and full the moon above.
Moor, the child of such an aspect
Never ought to answer falsely.
Then replied the Muslim captive,
(You shall hear the Muslim’s reply):
Nor will I untruly answer,
Though I died for saying truth.
I am son of a Muslim sire.
My mother was a Christian slave.
In my childhood, in my boyhood,
Often would my mother bid me
Never know the liar’s shame.
Ask thou, therefore, King, thy question.
Truly will I answer thee.
Thank thee, thank thee, Abenamar,
For thy gentle answer, thanks.
What are yonder lofty castles,
Those that shine so bright on high?
That, O King, is the Alhambra,
Yonder is the Mosque.
There you see the Alixares,
Works of skill and wonder they;
Ten times ten doubloons the builder
Daily for his hire received;
If an idle day he wasted
Ten times ten doubloons he paid.
Farther is the Generalife,
Peerless are its garden groves.
Those are the Vermilion Towers,
Far and wide their fame is known.
Then spake up the King Don Juan
(You shall hear the Monarch’s speech):
Wouldst thou marry me, Granada,
Gladly would I for thy dowry
Cordoba and Seville give.
I am married, King Don Juan.
King, I am not yet a widow.
Well I love my noble husband.
Well my wedded Lord loves me.
The following is excerpted from Ibn Sallām, Kitāb fīhi bada’ al-islām wa sharā’i‘ al-dīn, pp. 121–125. This book, written by an Ibadi from the Tripolitania region, is the first-known historical account which has survived from the Ibadis of North Africa. This set of hadiths is part of a genre of literature known as faḍā’il in which the virtues of a particular group of people is praised through the citation of alleged (and often weak/fabricated) Prophetic traditions. In this case, Ibn Sallām (himself a Berber and an Ibadi) cites three alleged prophetic traditions in order to indicate that it was the Berbers, and not the Arabs, who were the most virtuous believers.
It was related to us that the Mother of the Believers, ‘Ā’isha (may God have mercy upon her), was once approached by a man from among the Berbers while she was sitting in the company of twelve men from among the Emigrants and Helpers (al-muhājirūn wa al-anṣār). As a result, ‘Ā’isha arose from the cushion upon which she was sitting and broke apart from the gathering to [give her attention] to the Berber, leading the people present to angrily disperse. The Berber sought that which he was after and then departed. ‘Ā’isha then sent for those [who had left] in order to gather them together. [When] they all arrived, she said to them: “Why did you all angrily leave my presence?”
They said “We were angry at the man. Verily, a Berber had entered into our presence even though we all hold him in contempt and despise his people (qawm). He esteems himself above us and you.”
‘Ā’isha said “He only esteems himself above us because of the statement of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) about [the Berbers].”
They said: “And what exactly did the Prophet of God say about them?”
She said: “Do you recall so-and-so the Berber?”
They said: “Yes.”
‘Ā’isha said: “The Prophet and I were sitting one day when that Berber entered upon us with a pale face and sunken eyes. The Prophet of God (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) gazed upon him and said to him: ‘What happened to you or are you ill? You departed from my presence yesterday with in good spirits and looking healthy, but now you return looking as if you have emerged from the grave!”
The Berber said: “I have spent the night, O Prophet of God, in severe distress and preoccupation.”
The Prophet said: “What has you worried?”
He said: “Yesterday, you repeatedly turned your gaze towards me and I feared that this was because a verse of the Qur’ān was revealed about me.”
The Prophet said: “Do not let this sadden you! Verily, my repeatedly looking towards you yesterday was only because Gabriel (peace be upon him) came to me and said: ‘O Muḥammad, I entrust you to be mindful of God and to treat the Berbers well.’” The Prophet continued: “Then I said: ‘O Gabriel and who are the Berbers?’ Gabriel said: ‘They are his people’ and he pointed to you, so I looked.” The Prophet continued: “Then I said to Gabriel: ‘And what is it about the Berbers?’ To which Gabriel replied: ‘They will be the ones who revivify God’s religion after it should perish and they shall be the ones to revitalize/renew it if it should falter.’ Gabriel continued: ‘O Muḥammad, the religion of God is a creation from among the creations of God. It arose in the Ḥijāz, its origins/roots being in Medina where it was created weak before He nourished it and caused it to grow until it became ascendant and increased in greatness and became fruitful in the same manner that a tree bears fruit and it will also become decrepit as a tree becomes decrepit. Verily, the head of God’s religion will be located in the West (al-Maghreb) and, truly, when the great, heavy thing falls it is not lifted up from its center or from its roots but rather it is raised up from its head.”
It has been related to us that ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (may God have mercy upon him) was approached by a group of Berbers from the Lawāta tribe which were sent to him by ‘Amr ibn al-‘Āṣ from Egypt; the latter was at that time the governor of Egypt during ‘Umar’s caliphate. They entered into ‘Umar’s presence with shaved heads and beards and ‘Umar asked them: “Who are you?”
They said: “We are from among the Berbers of the tribe of Lawāta.”
‘Umar said to the others in the gathering: “Are there any among you who know anything about this tribe and its relations with the tribes of Arabs and non-Arabs?”
They said: “We know nothing about them.”
Al-‘Abbās ibn Mirdās al-Sulamī said: “I have knowledge about them, O Commander of the Believers. These are descended from Barr ibn Qays. Qays had a number of children, among whom was one called Barr ibn Qays and his character abounded with indecency and licentiousness, meaning he was of low morals, and he fought all his brothers one day and withdrew to the desert (al-barārī) and his descendants increased vastly in number so the Arabs said: ‘They have become Berbers (tabarbarū),’ which means they increased in number.”
When ‘Umar looked at them, who had been sent as a delegation by ‘Amr ibn al-‘Āṣ, who had sent translators along with them to translate on their behalf when ‘Umar asked them anything. ‘Umar asked them: “Why have you completely shaved your hair and beards?”
They said: “That was hair which grew during the days when we were unbelievers. We wished to replace it with hair which will grow while we are Muslim.”
‘Umar said: “Do you possess any towns or cities in which you live?”
They said: “No.”
He said: “Do you have any fortresses in which you seek refuge?”
They said: “No.”
He said: “Do you have markets in which you engage in commerce?”
They said: “No.”
At this, ‘Umar (may God have mercy upon him) began to weep.
Those present asked: “What is making you weep, O Commander of the Believers?”
He said: “I weep because of a statement of the Prophet of God (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) on the day of Ḥunayn. The Muslims were defeated and the Prophet of God looked at me while I was weeping and said: ‘Why are you weeping, O ‘Umar?’ I replied: ‘I am crying, O Prophet of God, because of this small band of Muslims and the gathering of entire nations of unbelievers against them.’ He told me: ‘Do not weep, O ‘Umar, for verily God shall open a door for Islam from the West. God shall glorify Islam through them and God shall humiliate the unbelievers though them. They will be people of piety and discernment (ahl khashya wa baṣā’ir) who will die for that which they have discerned. They do not inhabit cities or towns nor do they possess any fortresses in which they seek refuge nor do they possess any markets in which they engage in commerce.’ As a result of this, I wept because I remembered this statement by the Prophet and other virtues about [the Berbers] which he related to me.”
Then, [‘Umar] sent them back to ‘Amr ibn al-‘Āṣ in Egypt and ordered that they be placed at the vanguard of his armies. ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb treated them kindly and graciously and he ordered that they be placed at the vanguard of his retinue. They remained with ‘Amr ibn al-‘Ās until ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān was killed.
When we heard that this ḥadīth, which is related from the Prophet by ‘Umar, refers to a group of people from the West we hoped and anticipated that it refers to the people of our faith (ahl da‘watuna) who are the most entitled to realizing and embodying the virtues of this Prophetic statement.
It was related to us from a man who was from among the descendants of Abū Bakr: “‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib said: ‘O people of Mecca and people of Medina I entreat you to be mindful of God and to treat the Berbers well for they shall come to you from the West with God’s religion after you have squandered it. Indeed, they are the ones whom God mentioned in His Book: ‘God will substitute in your place people whom He loves and who love Him. They will be kind with the believers, stern with the disbelievers, and will strive in the cause of God without fear of any blame’ [Q. 5:54]. They will not assess the deeds of anyone who has violated the obedience of God.
The descendant of Abū Bakr said: “Since the time of the killing of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, we Arabs have fought each other over dinars and dirhams, and since the time of strife (al-fitna) the Berbers have fought only for the establishment of God’s religion.” This descendant of Abū Bakr continued, extending the chain of the ḥadīth to ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mas‘ūd and said: “During the last pilgrimage which he attended, he arose to give a sermon and said: ‘O people of Mecca and people of Medina I entreat you to be mindful of God and to treat the Berbers well. Verily, they are the ones who shall come to you from the West with God’s religion and they are the ones by whom… [blank in the manuscript]…God shall replace when He says [in the Qur’ān]: ‘If you turn away, God will substitute another people in your place’ [Q. 47: 38]. And, by the One in Whose Hands is the soul of Ibn Mas‘ūd, if you were to see them you would be more obedient to them than their own right hand and closer to them than their own covers, meaning their clothing. And they remembered that the number of Muslims on the day of Ḥunayn was 12,000 and God knows best.”
“No one has seen a space grander than mine,
Neither in the East nor in the West,
Nor has any king, Christian or Muslim, had before
a fountain that resembled me.
I am like a globe of water that to men
shines forth brilliantly and does not conceal itself:
a great sea enclosed by shores
of the most beautiful, select marble.
My waters are melted pearls that on ice
You see running…”
“I am not alone: my garden has created such amazement
The equal of which eyes had never seen:
An edifice of glass, the one who sees it
Imagines a fathomless sea and is frightened by it.
All of this is the work of the Imam Ibn Nasr.
May God guard his majesty among the kings.
His family gained glory in the past
By aiding the Prophet and his followers.”
“In this garden I am an eye filled with delight
And the pupil of this eye is truly our lord
Muhammad [V], praiseworthy for his bravery and generosity
With fame outstanding and virtue graceful;
He is the full moon on the empire’s horizons,
His signs are lasting and his light brilliant
In his abode he is none other than the Sun,
The shade from which is beneficent.
In me he looks from his caliphal throne
Towards the capital of his entire kingdom.”
«Bendito sea Aquél que otorgó al iman Mohamed
las bellas ideas para engalanar sus mansiones.
Pues, ¿acaso no hay en este jardín maravillas
que Dios ha hecho incomparables en su hermosura,
y una escultura de perlas de transparente claridad,
cuyos bordes se decoran con orla de aljófar?
Plata fundida corre entre las perlas,
a las que semeja belleza alba y pura.
En apariencia, agua y mármol parecen confundirse,
sin que sepamos cuál de ambos se desliza.
¿No ves cómo el agua se derrama en la taza,
pero sus caños la esconden enseguida?
Es un amante cuyos párpados rebosan de lágrimas,
lágrimas que esconde por miedo a un delator.
¿No es, en realidad, cual blanca nube
que vierte en los leones sus acequias
y parece la mano del califa, que, de mañana,
prodiga a los leones de la guerra sus favores?
Quien contempla los leones en actitud amenazante,
(sabe que) sólo el respeto (al Emir) contiene su enojo.
¡Oh descendiente de los Ansares, y no por línea indirecta,
herencia de nobleza, que a los fatuos desestima:
Que la paz de Dios sea contigo y pervivas incólume
renovando tus festines y afligiendo a tus enemigos!»
Recent historiography has managed to provide scholars with a better understanding of the factors and conditions which facilitated the rise of the Banū-l Aḥmar in southern Iberia. Most scholars agree that the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) and the death of the Almohad Caliph Abū Ya‘qūb Yūsuf II (r. 1213–1224) in 1224 left a power vacuum in southern Iberia which resulted in a struggle between various local Andalusī factions. For much of the 1220s and 1230s, therefore, al-Andalus was plagued by internal conflict in addition to being subject to the continuing raids and conquests of Fernando III, king of Castile and León, and Jaime I of Aragón. Among the many local strongmen to emerge in the ensuing power struggle was Muḥammad ibn Yūsuf ibn al-Aḥmar, who became ruler of the frontier town of Arjona, slightly north of Jaén, in 1232 following his rebellion against Ibn Hūd, an Andalusī warlord who had managed to impose his authority in a significant portion of al-Andalus in the late 1220s. From his base in Arjona, Ibn al-Aḥmar gradually expanded his influence and control, adding Jaén (1233), Porcuna (1233), Baza (1233), Guadix (1233), Seville (1235), Granada (1238), Almería (1238), and Málaga (1238) to his dominions by 1238. Although Ibn al-Aḥmar had been briefly recognized as sovereign in Córdoba, the prestigious former seat of the Umayyad Caliphate, in 1233, the capture of the city by his ally Fernando III in 1236 ended any Naṣrid pretensions or claims to the city.
Perhaps the most significant of all the political agreements which Ibn al-Aḥmar entered into during the course of his long career was that with Fernando III, as it laid the geographical and political basis of the Naṣrid kingdom. Shortly after the Castilian conquest of Córdoba, cross-border raids and skirmishes occurred between forces loyal to Ibn al-Aḥmar and those loyal to Fernando III, eventually culminating in major warfare. When Arjona was captured by Fernando III in 1244 and Jaén was besieged in 1245, Ibn al-Aḥmar decided to surrender Jaén in exchange for a twenty-year truce and a tribute of 150,000 maravedís to Castile. This agreement, concluded in 1246, which some scholars have termed “the birth certificate of the Naṣrid kingdom,” along with the subsequent fall of Seville in 1248, allowed Ibn al-Aḥmar to consolidate his authority in what remained of al-Andalus. Perhaps the most controversial and humiliating condition, from the perspective of contemporary Muslims, of this treaty was that Ibn al-Aḥmar was forced to render military assistance to Castile, thereby aiding Fernando’s conquests; this was particularly notable in the siege of Seville where 500 Granadan knights took part.
(Later representation of Ibn al-Ahmar pledging allegiance to Ferdinand III. Capilla de Santa Catalina, Burgos Cathedral)
Moreover, Muḥammad ibn al-Aḥmar was forced to look on while Alfonso X, who succeeded Fernando III in 1252, conquered the cities of Cádiz, Niebla, and Jerez. In doing so, Ibn al-Aḥmar directly played a role in the dismantling of Islamic political (and, thus, religious) authority in a significant portion of southern Iberia in exchange for establishing his sovereignty, as a vassal of Castile, in Granada and its neighboring districts.
Many historians have emphasized that the rise to power of Ibn al-Aḥmar cannot be understood without considering the broader context of power politics in al-Andalus during the 1230s. At various stages in his rise to power, between his emergence as lord of Arjona in 1232 and the definitive establishment of the kingdom of Granada in 1247, Ibn al-Aḥmar entered into a series of political arrangements with various powers, theoretically pledging himself in vassalage to the Almohads, the Ḥafṣids, and Fernando III, while simultaneously pursuing an independent policy. Although Castilian sources (and the Spanish historiography which relies upon these sources) strongly emphasize the submission of Muḥammad ibn al-Aḥmar to Fernando III as reflecting the vassal status of the former to the latter, some historians have been skeptical of the political reality underlying this assertion. For Leonard Patrick Harvey, the language of vassalage which derives from the Castilian sources is not the most helpful conceptual framework to understand the emergence of Ibn al-Aḥmar because it does not allow historians to “appreciate the peculiarly delicate form of equilibrium on the frontier between two civilizations which the Naṣrids were striving to maintain.” Although there is merit to this argument, it is nevertheless important to keep in mind that the balance was clearly in Castile’s favor, as is evident from Ibn al-Aḥmar’s surrender of territory and payment of tribute; in other words, this was not an alliance or truce between political equals. However one wishes to classify this arrangement, it is clear that the situation which prevailed between 1246 and 1264, in which there was relative stability (and even peace) between Naṣrid Granada and Christian Spain, was short-lived.
The year 1264 marks a major turning point in the relationship between Muḥammad and Alfonso X. It was during this year that Ibn al-Aḥmar openly allied himself with the Marīnid dynasty in Fez, who had succeeded the Almohads. Shortly afterwards, the first major contingents of Marīnid ghāzīs (holy warriors) crossed into Spain in order to participate in jihād and, specifically, to assist the Mudéjar revolt which had erupted in Castile. The question of whether or not the Mudéjar revolt was directly instigated by Muḥammad I has been debated in previous scholarship; however, it is clear that the uprising was encouraged and facilitated by Granada once it had begun. In fact, the Mudéjar rebels in the towns of Jerez, Utrera, Lebrija, and Murcia recognized Muḥammad ibn al-Aḥmar as their sovereign in the course of the uprising. This led to the renewal of hostilities between Muḥammad I and Alfonso X in 1265 and the invasion of Murcia by Jaime I of Aragón, who finally suppressed the revolt in 1266. By 1267, a truce was concluded between Granada and Castile on the basis of Muḥammad’s renunciation of all territorial claims to Jerez and Murcia, in addition to his agreeing to pay an increased tribute of 250,000 maravedís. Although this seems to represent a return to the pre-1264 reality, the episode of the Mudéjar uprising in 1264–1266 demonstrates that far from simply existing in a state of vassalage, the relationship of the kingdom of Granada vis-à-vis Castile was far more complicated. Despite the restoration of the status quo, in which the kingdom of Granada was once again forced to surrender territory and pay tribute to Castile in exchange for a truce, Muḥammad I had by the end of his reign become disillusioned with the political reality in Iberia. In fact, he explicitly encouraged his successor, Muḥammad II, to increasingly rely on the Banū Marīn from North Africa in order to shift the balance with the Christian kingdoms.
This new element, the Marīnids, which was introduced into the political equation in southern Iberia, had a major impact on the power dynamic in al-Andalus over the next several decades, and remained a significant political force until the late fourteenth century. For the next seventy-five years, the power politics of southern Iberia was dominated by the ever-changing network of alliances between Naṣrid kingdom of Granada, the Marīnids, and the Crown of Castile-León. It was this political situation, in which the Naṣrids balanced the Banū Marīn and Christian kingdoms against one another which prolonged the existence of Granada while allowing it to preserve its independence during much of the fourteenth century.
 For the most comprehensive survey on the rise of the Naṣrids, see Bárbara Boloix Gallardo, De la Taifa de Arjona al Reino Nazarí de Granada, 1232–1246 (Jaén: Instituto de Estudios Giennenses, 2005). The best narrative summary in English is that provided by L.P. Harvey, Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500 (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1990), pp. 20–40. For a good general introduction to the chronology of the Naṣrids, see J.D. Latham and Antonio Fernández-Puertas, “Naṣrids, Ar. Banū Naṣr,” Encyclopedia of Islam, Second Edition (Brill: Brill Online, 2011), ed. Paul Bearman et al.
 Rachel Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada (Madrid: Editorial MAPFRE), pp. 17–19; Miguel Ángel Ladero Quesada, Granada. Historia de un País Islámico (Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 1989), p. 125; Hugh Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal: A Political History of al-Andalus (London: Longman, 1996), pp. 226–228; Robert I. Burns, Islam under the Crusaders: Colonial Survival in the Thirteenth-Century Kingdom of Valencia (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973), pp. 28–31; Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh, 6: 311, 7: 197
 Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, pp. 268–272; Chejne, Muslim Spain, pp. 97–98. For a detailed discussion of this period, see Gallardo, De la Taifa de Arjona al Reino Nazarí, pp. 17–37
 Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Idhārī, al-Bayān al-Mughrib fī Akhbār al-Andalus wa al-Maghrib ( Beirut: Dār Kutub al-‘Ilmīyyah, 2009), 4: 371; Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh, 6: 313, 7: 197; Quesada, Granada, p. 125; Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 274; Burns, Islam under the Crusaders, p. 31; Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, pp. 19–20; Gallardo, De la Taifa de Arjona al Reino Nazarí, p. 60–63; Chejne, Muslim Spain, p. 98. Muḥammad ibn al-Aḥmar had previously sworn fealty to Ibn Hūd, a descendant of the taifa kings of Zaragoza who had been invested with power from the ‘Abbāsid Caliph. He lost much of his following and prestige following his defeat to a Christian army at the Battle of Alanje (1231), which led to the fall of Badajoz and the rest of Extremadura
 Ibn ‘Idhārī, al-Bayān al-Mughrib, 4: 418–419, 434; Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh, 6: 313; Quesada, Granada, p. 126; Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 275; Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, p. 20; Gallardo, De la Taifa de Arjona al Reino Nazarí, pp. 63–77
 Ibn ‘Idhārī, al-Bayān al-Mughrib, 4: 407–408; Joseph F. O’Callaghan, Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), p. 95; Peter Linehan, Spain, 1157–1300: A Partible Inheritance (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2011), p. 71; Ana Rodríguez López, La Consolidación Territorial de la Monarquía Feudal Castellana: Expansión y Fronteras durante el Reinado de Fernando III (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1994), p. 267; Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, p. 20; Harvey, Islamic Spain, p. 22; Chejne, Muslim Spain, p. 98
 Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 276; Gallardo, De la Taifa de Arjona al Reino Nazarí, p. 55; Chejne, Muslim Spain, p. 98
 Harvey, Islamic Spain, p. 23
 Ibn ‘Idhārī, al-Bayān al-Mughrib, 4: 444; López, La Consolidación Territorial, p. 129, 267; Quesada, Granada, p. 127; Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 276; O’Callaghan, Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain, pp. 110–111; Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, p. 21; Gallardo, De la Taifa de Arjona al Reino Nazarí, pp. 77–83; Harvey, Islamic Spain, pp. 23–25
 López, La Consolidación Territorial, p. 129; Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 276; O’Callaghan, Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain, pp. 112–117 Gallardo, De la Taifa de Arjona al Reino Nazarí, p. 79; Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh, 7: 198. Since revisiting the historiographical debate is not the concern of this short overview, it suffices to underscore that the 1246 treaty was mutually beneficial to both parties; Muḥammad benefited from the opportunity to consolidate himself as the sole, legitimate sovereign authority in al-Andalus while Castile benefited from the massive tribute paid by the king of Granada
 Quesada, Granada, p. 127; López, La Consolidación Territorial, p. 268; Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, pp. 22–23; Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 272; Chejne, Muslim Spain, p. 271; Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh, 6: 312. Seville had revolted against Ibn al-Aḥmar in 1236 and reverted to the allegiance of Ibn Hūd, and, after the latter’s death, to the Almohad Caliph (Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh, 6: 312–313)
 During the reign of Muḥammad I, the kingdom of Granada extended from Algeciras and Gibraltar in the south, to the region just south of Murcia in the east, and the limits of the kingdom reached just south of the cities of Jaén and Cordoba. The kingdom consisted of several important cities, such as Ronda, Málaga, Guadix, and Almería, rich agricultural areas and was protected from attack by several natural frontiers, notably mountainous regions
 Jamil M. Abun Nasr, A History of the Maghrib in the Islamic Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 119; Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 276; Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, p. 23; Quesada, Granada, p. 12; Ibn ‘Idhārī, al-Bayān al-Mughrib, 4: 434; Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh, 6: 311, 313–314
 Primera Crónica General de España (Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 1955), ed. Ramón Menéndez Pidal, 2: 746; Harvey, Islamic Spain, p. 27
 Harvey, Islamic Spain, p. 28
 Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 276
 Jaime I of Aragón, The Books of Deeds of James I of Aragon: A Translation of the Medieval Catalan Llibre del Fets (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003), ed. and trans. Damian J. Smith and Helen Buffery, p. 283; Joseph O’Callaghan, The Gibraltar Crusade: Castile and the Battle for the Strait (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), p. 36; Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, p. 23; Quesada, Granada, pp. 130–131; Ibn ‘Idhārī, al-Bayān al-Mughrib, 4: 501, 503
 O’Callaghan, The Gibraltar Crusade, pp. 34–37; Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 278; Harvey, Islamic Spain, pp. 52–54. Jaime I of Aragón, The Books of Deeds, p. 284 asserts that Ibn al-Aḥmar coordinated the uprising with the Mudéjars in Castile
 Ibn ‘Idhārī, al-Bayān al-Mughrib, 4: 502; Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, pp. 23–24; O’Callaghan, The Gibraltar Crusade, p. 37; Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 279; Harvey, Islamic Spain, pp. 52–54. This perspective is corroborated by Jaime’s narration of events in his Book of Deeds.
 Jaime I, Book of Deeds, pp. 284–327; Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, p. 24. The failure of the Mudéjar uprising had massive consequences for the Muslims living under Castilian rule in Andalusia, with mass expulsions occurring in most of the areas affected by the rebellion and the subsequent repopulation of entire regions with Christian settlers
 Arié, El Reino Nasrí de Granada, p. 23; Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, p. 279; Quesada, Granada, p. 131. For a detailed discussion of the Mudéjar uprising, the role of Granada, and the impact on Castilian-Naṣrid relations, see O’Callaghan, Gibraltar Crusade, pp. 34–59
 Burns, Islam under the Crusaders, p. 41
 Al-Mabrūk Ghanīyah al-Usta, Ḥarakat al-Jihād al-Mushtarak ‘ala mada qarn fi ẓill al-silāt bayn Banī al-Aḥmar bi-Gharnāṭah wa Banī Marīn bi-Fās, 674–777 A.H./1275–1375 A.D (Tripoli: Markaz Jihād al-Lībīyyīn lil Dirāsat al-Tārīkhīyyah, 1995), pp. 117–297; O’Callaghan, Gibraltar Crusade, pp. 60–217; Quesada, Granada, pp. 134–156
 Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, pp. 280–88; Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh, 7: 93, 206–219, 221–222, 224–226, 259–260, 271–273. For the most comprehensive study of the Marīnids in Iberia, see Miguel Ángel Manzano Rodríguez, La Intervención de los Benimerines en la Península Ibérica (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1992)
The following is a translation of an excerpt taken from the “Book of Knowledge” of al-Ghazali’s work Ihya’ Ulum al-Din.
On the Conditions of Debate
…the fifth condition which justifies debate is that it should be held in private in preference to public meeting in the presence of celebrities and sultans, because privacy is more conducive to understanding and its atmosphere more suitable to clear thinking. Public meetings encourage hypocrisy and make it imperative for the individual to defend himself whether he is right or wrong. It is very well-known that these public meetings and assemblies are not promoted by their devotees for the sake of God. One of them may be alone with his companion for a long period of time but will not even talk to him because there is no audience to applaud his rhetoric. He may at times try to start a discussion but for the same reason gets no response. But no sooner someone makes his appearance or a group assembles, than he will try his utmost to provoke a controversy and then monopolize the discussion.
The sixth condition which justifies debate is that the debater should seek thereby the truth in the same spirit as that of the person who is searching for a lost object: he does not mind whether the object is found by himself or by his aides, regards his companion a friend not an adversary, and thanks him whenever he points out a mistake to him and reveals to him the truth. Thus if he pursues one way in his search for his lost object and his companion shows him another and better way he will not criticize him but rather will thank and honor him and rejoice with him. Such were the consultations of the Companions that once upon a time, when ‘Umar [ibn al-Khattab] was addressing an assembly, a certain woman interrupted him and pointed out to him his mistake. Thereupon he said, “A woman hath hit the mark while a man hath missed.” At another time a certain man asked ‘Ali a question and, on receiving an answer, disagreed with him saying that it was different; to which ‘Ali replied: “Thou art right while I am wrong, Exalted over all is God, the Omniscient.” On another occasion, Abu-Musa al-Ash‘ari then the governor of al-Kufa, was asked concerning the fate of a man who had died fighting for God and replied that he was in Paradise. Thereupon ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud contradicted Abu Musa and said that, in his opinion, the man would be in Paradise if, at his death, he has been truly sincere. Abu Musa, concurring with the opinion of Ibn Mas‘ud said, “What he hath said is the truth. Ask not my opinion when in your midst you have such an authority.” Such should be the fairness and justice of a seeker after truth. Should such a thing be mentioned nowadays to the most insignificant jurisprudent, he would deny it and declare it to be improbable. He would also say that there was no need at all for the explicit mention of sincerity since everyone knows that it was a necessary requirement.
Compare, therefore, the Companions with contemporary debaters, how the latter become embarrassed and ashamed whenever the truth is determined by an adversary, and how they exert their utmost efforts trying to deny the adversary his credit, malign those who refute their opinions, and finally liken themselves to the Companions in respect of co-operation in determining the truth.
The seventh condition which justifies debate is that the debater should not prevent his adversary from relinquishing one argument in favor of another and one illustration in favor of a second, as the debates of the Fathers were thus carried. The debater, also, should remove from his argument all the unorthodox subtitles of dialectics whether they are relevant or irrelevant. Thus he should not, for example, say that he was under no obligation to bring this up or that such and such a statement was contradictory to your first assertion and, therefore, unacceptable because going back to truth is in itself a refutation of error and should be accepted as an argument. You also notice how all assemblies are spent in defenses and debates, so much so that a debater would deduce a principle from all alleged causes, and when asked what proof he had that his conclusion was explained by that cause, he would say that that was what he had found and would tell his critic, “If you should find anything clearer and better, produce it so that I might examine it.” The objecting critic would then insist that such a thing has several meanings which he himself has always known but need not go through them while the debater would demand that they be discussed; but the critic would persist in his refusal. The debating assemblies are taken up by such questions while the poor debater does not realize that his saying that he neither knows nor remembers, and that he has no need for this or for that, is a lie against the law, because if he asserts that which he does not know simply to incapacitate his adversary he would be a wicked liar disobedient to Allah, any by his claim to knowledge he does not possess he would expose himself to the wrath of Allah. He would also have sinned even if his claims were true because he had concealed what he had known of the law. His brother Muslim had asked him in order to have things explained and examined, so that if he were right he would abide thereby but if he were wrong he would have his friend point out his mistake for him and lead him from the darkness of ignorance to the bright light of knowledge. No one will disagree that it is obligatory on the person to reveal whatever knowledge he may possess of the sciences of religion whenever he is asked about it. The meaning of his words, “I am under no obligation to bring this up,” is that in the rules of dialectics, which have been developed according to the principles of human curiosity and interest in the methods of deception and battling with words, he was under no obligation to admit anything unless it was obligatory by law. By his refusal to admit in the course of his argument a point which has been brought up and which he knows is true he becomes a liar and a villain.
Examine the consultations of the Companions and the negotiations of the Fathers. Have you ever heard of anything like this in them, or have you ever seen anybody who had been prevented from relinquishing one argument in favor of another and one illustration in favor of a second, and from citing as proof an event in the life of one of the Companions after having drawn an analogy, or quoting a Qur’anic verse having related a tradition? On the contrary all their debates were carried on in this manner: they used to set forth and examine everything that occurred to them just as it occurred.
The eighth condition which justifies debate is that one should only debate with those from whom he expects to learn something, people who arrive at their knowledge independently. Usually, however, men nowadays avoid entering into a debate with intellectual giants and celebrities for fear that their adversaries should determine the truth. They would rather debate with their inferiors in the hope of confounding them with falsehood.
Many other minute conditions, which make debate justifiable, exist besides those already mentioned; but in those eight conditions you will find how to distinguish between those who debate for the cause of Allah and those who debate for some other purpose. But in general you should know that he who does not struggle against and debate Satan while his heart is subject to his most virulent enemy, the Devil, by whom he is being continually dragged to his doom, but does instead debate with men in cases wherein the mujtahid is right, or shares with him who is right his reward, the same is a laughing stock of Satan and an example for the sincere. Thus Satan rejoices when he throws him into the darkness of evil which we shall now enumerate and discuss.
On the Evils of Debate and its Character-Destroying Influences
You should know and be sure that debates which are designed for the purpose of overcoming and silencing an opponent as well as for displaying one’s excellence and honor, bragging before men, boasting, and being contradictory, or for the sake of winning popular favor, are the source of all traits which are blameworthy before God and praiseworthy before His enemy, the Devil. Its relation to the secret sins of pride, conceit, jealousy, envy, self-justification, love of power, and others is like the relation of drinking to the sins of the flesh such as fornication, foul play, and murder. Just as the person who has been given the opportunity to choose between drinking and the other sins, deemed the former harmless and took to it only to be led by his drunkenness into committing all the other sins, so is he who succumbs to the lures of overcoming and silencing opponents in debate, and falls victim to the urge for power and boasting; these things have led him to conceal all wickedness in his bosom and stirred in him all blameworthy traits. Proofs of the blameworthiness of all these will be discussed in the Section on the Destructive Matters in Life although we shall now allude to the major evils which are enkindled by debate. Of these we may enumerate the following.
One is envy: The Prophet said, “As fire consumes wood so does envy consume good deeds.” The debater persists in envy because at times he overcomes his adversary and other times he himself is overcome; at times his words are praised and at other times those of his opponent are applauded; and as long as there remains in all the world one known among men for his versatile knowledge and regarded by them more learned than the debater and endowed with keener insight, the debater will inevitably envy him and wish that the favors and admiration which that man enjoys might accrue to him instead. Envy is a consuming fire; its victim is subject to torment in this world while in the world to come his torture will be more intense and painful. For this reason Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Take knowledge wherever ye may find it, but accept not the opinion of one jurisprudent concerning another because they are as jealous of one another as the bulls in the cattle-yard.”
Another is pride and haughtiness: The Prophet said, “He who exalts himself is humbled by God, and he who humbles himself is exalted by God.” Said he again quoting the Almighty, “Pride is my mantle and grandeur, yea it is my cloak. I shall smite anyone who would contest my sole right to them.” The debater persists in exalting himself above his equals and peers and in claiming for himself a station higher than his worth to the extent that he and his colleagues fight over their seats in assembly halls and boast about the degree of their elevation or lowliness as well as their proximity to, or remoteness from the central seat. They would fight as to who should lead the way in narrow streets. Often the foolish, deceitful, and insolent among them justify themselves on the ground that they are thereby maintaining the dignity of knowledge because the believers has been charged not to object himself. They thus consider humility, which God and his prophets commended, abasement, and regard pride, which is reprehensible to God, the dignity of religion. In other words they have altered the signification of these terms for the confusion of people as they have altered the signification of other terms such as wisdom, knowledge and the like.
Another is rancor from which a debater is hardly ever free. The Prophet said, “The believer is free from rancor.” Several more traditions have been related in condemnation of rancor and they are well-known. Yet we do not know of a debater who, is capable of entertaining no rancor against anyone who would nod his head in approval of the words of his adversary, or who when the latter pauses in the midst of a sentence, would politely wait for him. On the contrary he would, whenever he is confronted with such a situation, entertain and foster rancor in his heart. He may attempt to restrain himself hoping thereby to disguise his feelings; but, in most cases, he fails as his feelings invariably reveal themselves. How can he refrain from rancor when it is inconceivable that all the audience should unite in favoring his argument and approve all his conclusions and deductions? Furthermore should his opponent show the least sign of inconsideration about what he was saying, he would entertain for him in his heart a hatred that would last throughout his life.
Another is backbiting which was likened by God to the eating of carrion. The debater persists in “eating carrion” and is continually referring to the words of his opponent and traducing him. Because he endeavors to be right in what he says about his opponent, he inevitably cites only what shows the weaknesses of his opponent’s argument and the flaws in his excellences. Of such is traducing and backbiting, while lying is sheer calumny.
The debater, moreover, cannot keep his tongue from attacking the honor of anyone who turns away from him and listens to his opponent. He would even ascribe to him ignorance, foolishness, lack of understanding, and stupidity.
Another is self-justification; God said, “Assert not then your own purity. He best knoweth who feareth Him.” A certain wise man was once asked, “What truth is reprehensible?” He replied, “A man’s praising himself [even though it may be justified].” A debater is never free from praising himself and boasting of his power, triumph, and excellence over his peers. In the course of a debate he would repeatedly say, “I am fully aware of all such things,” and “I am versatile in science, of independent judgment on question of law, and well-versed in the knowledge of tradition,” and many other assertions besides with which he would sing his own praise, sometimes out of sheer arrogance and at other times out of the need to render his words convincing. It is also well-known that arrogance and self-praise are by law and reason condemned.
Another is spying and prying into the private affairs of men. God said, “Pry not.” The debater always seeks to uncover the errors of his peers and continually pries into the private affairs of his opponents. He would, when informed of the arrival in town of another debater, seek someone who could reveal the inside story of the man and would by means of a questionnaire attempt to bare his vices in order to expose and disgrace him whenever the need should arise. He even would inquire about the affairs of his early life and blemishes of his body in the hope of discovering some defect or disfigurement such as scalp pustule and the like. Should he fear defeat at the hands of his opponent, he would, in the course of the debate, allude to these blemishes, especially if his opponent should remain firm and stand his ground, and would not refrain from being outspoken if he were given to insolence and scorn. Both of these practices are regarded as clever ways of repelling the attacks of an opponent, as should be seen by the accounts of the debates of some of the illustrious and celebrated debaters.
Another is to rejoice at the injury of others and feel depressed when they are glad. Anyone who does not desire for his brother Muslim what he desires for himself is far removed from the way of believers.1Thus he who prides himself by parading his excellence is inevitably pleased at the injury of his peers and equals who vie with him for glory. The hatred which exists between them is like that which exists between fellow-wives. Just as the one wife would tremble and turn pale at the sight of her fellow-wife so would a debater at the sight of another: his color would change and his mind become perplexed as though he had seen a mighty devil or a hungry lion. How unlike the companionship and friendliness which used to exist between the learned men of religion whenever they met is this, and how unlike the brotherhood, the co-operation, and the mutual sharing which were characteristic of them under fair and adverse conditions alike! Thus al-Shafi‘i said, “Among the virtuous and wise, knowledge is like a bond of blood relationship.” I cannot, therefore, understand how some men, among whom knowledge has engendered a deep-rooted enmity, have followed his rite. Or can you ever imagine any spirit of friendliness prevailing among them when they are concerned with achieving triumph and boasting of it? How unlikely! It is bad enough that such an evil fastens on you the traits of the deceitful and robs you of those of the believers and devout.
Another is deception, the evidence of whose blameworthiness is well known and need not be enumerated. Debaters are compelled to deception because when they meet their opponents, friends, or followers, they find it necessary to endear themselves to them by saying nice things which they do not mean, by feigning to have been anxious to meet them, and by pretending to be impressed by their station and position, while everyone present as well as the speakers and those to whom they have spoken to, know that the whole thing is untrue, false, fraudulent, and wicked. They profess their love with their tongues while their hearts seethe with hate. From it all we seek refuge in God.
The Prophet also said, “When people take to knowledge and ignore works, when they profess love to one another with their tongue and nurse hatred in their hearts, and when they sever the ties of relationship which bind them, God will visit His wrath upon them and curse them, He will render their tongues mute and their eyes blind.” The truth of this tradition, which was related by al-Hasan, has been verified as these conditions which it predicts have been witnessed and seen.
Another is to resist truth and detest it and to persist in disputing it so much so that the most hateful thing to a debater is to see the truth revealed by his opponent; no matter what it may be, he would do his best to refute and deny it and would exert his utmost in deception, trickery and fraud in order to disprove his adversary until contention becomes in him a second nature. He is thus unable to hear anything without immediately expressing his objection to it. This habit of his would even drive him to dispute the truths of the Qur’an and the words of tradition and would cause him to cite the one in contradiction of the other. Furthermore wrangling even in opposing wrong is prohibited since the Prophet called men to abjure it although they are right in their contention. He thus said, “Whoever was in error and should abjure wrangling, to him God would build a dwelling in the confines of Paradise; while whoever was in the right and should abjure wrangling, to him God would prepare a habitation in the heart of Paradise.” God has also regarded as equal those who devise lies against God and those who call the truth a lie. He said, “But who acteth more wrongfully than he who deviseth a lie against God, or calls the truth when it hath come to him, a lie?” and again, “And who acteth more wrongfully than he who lieth against God and treateth the truth when it comes to him as a lie.”
Another is hypocrisy and flattering people in an effort to win their favor and mislead them. Hypocrisy is that virulent disease which, as will be discussed in the Book on Hypocrisy, leads to the gravest of the major sins. The debater wants nothing but to put himself forward before people, and to gain their approval and praise.
These ten traits are among the greatest secret sins. Others, who lack restraint may engage in controversies leading to the exchange of blows, kicking, boxing, tearing garments, plucking beards, cursing parents, denouncing teachers, and outright slander. Such people, however, are not considered respectable human beings. The prominent and sober among them do not go beyond the preceding ten traits. One may be free of this or that trait with regard to his inferiors or superiors, whatever the case may be, or with regards to people outside his community or his sphere of work. Yet in his attitude towards his peers, who are equal to him in position, the debater is guilty of all these traits. Each of these ten traits may give rise to ten other vices which we shall neither discuss nor explain at the present time. They include snobbishness, anger, hatred, greed, the desire to seek money and power in order to attain triumph, boasting, gaiety, arrogance, exalting the wealthy and those in authority as well as frequenting their places and partaking of their unlawful riches, parading with horses, state-coaches, and outlawed garments, showing contempt to people by being vain and ostentatious, meddling in the affairs of others, talkativeness, the disappearance of awe, fear, and mercy from the heart, absent-mindedness to an extent that the worshipper would no longer be aware of what he had prayed, or read, or who had communed with him during his prayer, nor, despite the fact that he had spent his life in the study of those sciences which aid in debate but are useless in the hereafter, such as the embellishment of diction and the knowledge of singular anecdotes, would he be able to experience any feeling of humility in his heart.
These traits are common to all debaters although they have them in varying degrees each according to his own station. But everyone, even the most religious and the wisest among them, is subject to several of them. Everyone, too, hopes to conceal them and, by self-mortification, to free himself therefrom.
You should, moreover, know that these vices characterize those employed in admonition and warning if their purpose is to be recognized and establish for themselves prestige, or to obtain wealth and position. They also characterize those who are working in the science of religion and legal opinions if they ever hope to secure a position in the department of justice or become trustees of religious endowments (awqaf) or to excel their peers. In general, these vices characterize everyone who, through knowledge, seeks other than the reward of God in the Hereafter.
Knowledge, therefore, would either doom its possessor to eternal destruction or lead him to life everlasting. For that reason the Prophet said, “The most severely punished of all men on the day of resurrection will be the learned man whom Allah has not blessed with His knowledge.” On the contrary how much better it would have been if he had come out at least even. This, however, is very unlikely because the dangers of knowledge are great, for he who seeks it seeks the everlasting kingdom and the eternal bliss which he will either attain or else be doomed to perdition. The seeker after knowledge is like him who seeks power in this world: if he does not succeed in amassing a fortune he cannot hope to be spared the humiliation of poverty. On the contrary, he will continue to live in the midst of the worst conditions. To say that in encouraging debate lies an advantage, namely, that of inducing people to seek knowledge since without ambition for power and the rivalry which it provokes all branches of knowledge would have vanished, is true in one respect but otherwise useless. Thus had it been for their expectation of playing at the ball and mallet1 and with birds,2 the school would not have been attractive to the boys. But this does not mean that the reasons for the school’s popularity are praiseworthy. Similarly in the case of ambition for power as the reason for the preservation of knowledge: it does not mean that the ambitious one is saved. On the contrary he is one of those whom the Prophet described when he said, “Verily God will establish this faith through men who have no faith.” And again, “Verily God will establish this faith through wicked men.” The ambitious is personally doomed to destruction although, through him, others may be saved, especially if he should urge people to forsake the world and in so doing outwardly resemble the learned Fathers while inwardly he conceals his ambitions. He is, in this respect, like the candle which burns itself out in order that others may see: the good of others lies in his own destruction. On the other hand if he should urge people to cherish this world he would be like the fire which, besides consuming everything, burns itself out as well.
The learned men are of three kinds: First those who are outspoken in seeking this world and in their devotion to it they destroy both themselves and others. Second, those who call people to God in public and in private; they bring joy and gladness both to themselves and to those whom they call. Third, those who preach the hereafter, outwardly forsaking the world while inwardly seeking the approval of men and worldly prestige; they save others but destroy themselves. Examine therefore to which of these three categories you belong and to what end have you been preparing yourself, and do not think that God would accept anything of knowledge and work which has not been consecrated to Him.
[Taken from the Book of Knowledge from Ihya’ Ulum al-Din; translation adapted from: http://www.ghazali.org/works/bk1-sec-1.htm]
“Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
οὕτω δὲ καὶ τὸ μὲν ὀργισθῆναι παντὸς καὶ ῥᾴδιον, καὶ τὸ δοῦναι ἀργύριον καὶ δαπανῆσαι: τὸ δ᾽ ᾧ καὶ ὅσον καὶ ὅτε καὶ οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ ὥς, οὐκέτι παντὸς οὐδὲ ῥᾴδιον”
–Aristotle, “Nicomachean Ethics”