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Islam in Spain

Islam and Spain have a special relationship that cannot be comparable to any other nation in Europe.

Muslims ruled Spain, or al-Andalus, for more than 700 years, from 711 to 1492 – a period of time during which both the religion and the country thrived as a spiritual, economic and commercial haven.

The Reconquista campaign launched by Christian forces in northern Spain culminated in the end of Muslim rule in 1492 when Queen Isabel of Castile took Granada.

Click below to read about "The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain"

muslim history in spain

Islamic rule in Spain saw Muslims living side by side with Jews and Christians. In fact, even after the Muslims were forced out of the Iberian Peninsula, many Jews moved with them because they enjoyed having the freedom to worship and the protection of the Muslim leaders.

Among the great Islamic architectural legacies of al-Andalus are the Mezquita (mosque) in Cordoba and the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, one of only10 surviving mosques in Toledo.

It is now estimated the only 3% percent of the population, or about 1 million people, are Muslims, mostly Sunnis. However, there has been a recent surge in the number of Muslims because of immigration from Morocco and other parts of North Africa.

In 2003, the sound of the Muslim call to prayer returned to Granada for the first time since the Reconquista, with the opening of the Great Mosque of Granada. It is encouraging to note that the mosque was built to cater for a group of about 500 Spanish Muslims who had converted to Islam over the past 30 years.

It is estimated that there are between 200 and 400 places of worship for Muslims throughout Spain. The difficulty in obtaining exact figures stems from the fact that many “mosques” are within apartment buildings and shops rather than dedicated masjids.

Nevertheless, all places of worship must have a license from the government. The main mosques in Spain are the Abu Bakr El-Sidik and Marbia masjids.

Islam is officially recognized in Spain through the 1967 religious freedom act. In 1989, 15 Islamic organizations joined forces to form the Union of the Islamic Association, later becoming the Union of Islamic Society and expanding to 17 members.

Islam is taught in schools and education institutes where Muslims are studying with the Spanish government trying to integrate second-generation Muslim immigrants into the society.

However, in recent years, Spanish authorities have started to treat the Muslim community with suspicion, to the extent that some politicians wanted to monitor and censor Friday sermons.

The government was also pondering the setting up of a registry of mosques and religious leaders in the country.

These days, Muslims in Spain are represented by Al-Hidaya, which is part of the Council of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities.

In January, 2007 Al-Hidaya spoke out against another group, the Islamic Council, which wanted to revive prayer in the Cathedral of Cordoba, which was the Mezquita during Islamic rule in Spain.

Al-Hidaya maintained that coexistence between Christians and Muslims requires separate places of worship.

Despite native Spanish converts comprising only 2% of the population, they have emerged as a vocal, liberal and moderate voice for Muslims, especially since the Madrid bombings of 2004.

In the 80s, they were instrumental in helping Muslims gain the same rights granted to Catholics, and in current times, they are trying to portray Islam as it was during the days of al-Andalus, when Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together harmoniously.

Islam and Spain have a special relationship that cannot be comparable to any other nation in Europe.

Muslims ruled Spain, or al-Andalus, for more than 700 years, from 711 to 1492 – a period of time during which both the religion and the country thrived as a spiritual, economic and commercial haven.

The Reconquista campaign launched by Christian forces in northern Spain culminated in the end of Muslim rule in 1492 when Queen Isabel of Castile took Granada.

Click below to read about "The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain"

muslim history in spain

Islamic rule in Spain saw Muslims living side by side with Jews and Christians. In fact, even after the Muslims were forced out of the Iberian Peninsula, many Jews moved with them because they enjoyed having the freedom to worship and the protection of the Muslim leaders.

Among the great Islamic architectural legacies of al-Andalus are the Mezquita (mosque) in Cordoba and the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, one of only10 surviving mosques in Toledo.

It is now estimated the only 3% percent of the population, or about 1 million people, are Muslims, mostly Sunnis. However, there has been a recent surge in the number of Muslims because of immigration from Morocco and other parts of North Africa.

In 2003, the sound of the Muslim call to prayer returned to Granada for the first time since the Reconquista, with the opening of the Great Mosque of Granada. It is encouraging to note that the mosque was built to cater for a group of about 500 Spanish Muslims who had converted to Islam over the past 30 years.

It is estimated that there are between 200 and 400 places of worship for Muslims throughout Spain. The difficulty in obtaining exact figures stems from the fact that many “mosques” are within apartment buildings and shops rather than dedicated masjids.

Nevertheless, all places of worship must have a license from the government. The main mosques in Spain are the Abu Bakr El-Sidik and Marbia masjids.

Islam is officially recognized in Spain through the 1967 religious freedom act. In 1989, 15 Islamic organizations joined forces to form the Union of the Islamic Association, later becoming the Union of Islamic Society and expanding to 17 members.

Islam is taught in schools and education institutes where Muslims are studying with the Spanish government trying to integrate second-generation Muslim immigrants into the society.

However, in recent years, Spanish authorities have started to treat the Muslim community with suspicion, to the extent that some politicians wanted to monitor and censor Friday sermons.

The government was also pondering the setting up of a registry of mosques and religious leaders in the country.

These days, Muslims in Spain are represented by Al-Hidaya, which is part of the Council of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities.

In January, 2007 Al-Hidaya spoke out against another group, the Islamic Council, which wanted to revive prayer in the Cathedral of Cordoba, which was the Mezquita during Islamic rule in Spain.

Al-Hidaya maintained that coexistence between Christians and Muslims requires separate places of worship.

Despite native Spanish converts comprising only 2% of the population, they have emerged as a vocal, liberal and moderate voice for Muslims, especially since the Madrid bombings of 2004.

In the 80s, they were instrumental in helping Muslims gain the same rights granted to Catholics, and in current times, they are trying to portray Islam as it was during the days of al-Andalus, when Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together harmoniously.

 

Other Links

Muslims, Jews and Christians claim on Jerusalem

Rise and Fall of Muslim Empire

Islam in Non-Muslim Countries