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The jews in spain during the golden age

Having invaded the areas throughout Southern Spain, and coming to rule in a matter of seven years, Islamic rulers were confronted with many questions relating to the implementation of Islamic Rule on a non-Islamic society. The coexistence of Muslims, Jews, and Christians during this time is revered by many writers.

As Sefaradal-Andalus was the "capital" of world Judaism. Jews from other parts of Europe made their way to al-Andalus, where in parallel to Christian sects regarded as heretical by Catholic Europe, they were not just tolerated, but where opportunities to practise faith and trades were open without restriction save for the prohibitions on proselytisation and, sometimes, on synagogue construction. Bernard Lewis takes issue with this view, calling it ahistorical and exaggerated.

He argues that Islam traditionally did not offer equality nor even pretend that it did, arguing that it would have been both a "theological as well as a logical absurdity. Generally, the Jewish people were allowed to practice their religion and live according to the laws and scriptures of their community.

Furthermore, the restrictions to which they were subject were social and symbolic rather than tangible and practical in character.

That is to say, these regulations served to define the relationship between the two communities, and not to oppress the Jewish population. Mark CohenProfessor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton Universityin his Under Crescent and Cross, calls the idealized interfaith utopia a "myth" that was first promulgated by Jewish historians such as Heinrich Graetz in the 19th century as a rebuke to Christian countries for their treatment of Jews.

After the Visigoths joined the Catholic Churchthey placed ever greater economic burdens on the Jewish population, and later persecuted them severely. It is possible that Jews welcomed the Muslim Arab and mainly Berber conquerors in the 8th century.

Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain

A period of tolerance dawned for the Jews of the Iberian Peninsulawhose number was considerably augmented by immigration from North Africa in the wake of the Muslim conquest. Jewish philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers, poets, and rabbinical scholars composed highly rich cultural and scientific work. Many devoted themselves to the study of the sciences and philosophy, composing many of the most valuable texts of Jewish Philosophy.

Jews took part in the overall prosperity of Muslim Al-Andalus. Jewish economic expansion was unparalleled. In Toledo after the Christian reconquest in 1085, Jews were involved in translating Arabic texts to the romance languages in the so-called Toledo School of Translatorsas they had been previously in translating Greek and Hebrew texts into Arabic.

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Jews also contributed to botanygeographymedicinemathematicspoetry and philosophy. This was a time of partial Jewish autonomy. As " dhimmis ", or "protected non-Muslims", Jews in the Islamic world paid the jizyawhich was administered separately from the zakat paid by Muslims.

The jizya has been viewed variously as a head tax, as payment for non-conscription in the military as non-Muslims were normally prohibited from bearing arms or receiving martial trainingor as a tribute. Jews had their own legal system and social services. Monotheist religions of the people of the book were tolerated but conspicuous displays of faith, such as bells and processions, were discouraged. In the 1066 Granada massacre of much of the Jewish population of the city, the Jewish death toll was higher than in the much publicized Christian pogromes in the Rhineland slightly later.

In Letter to Yemen, Maimonides wrote: Dear brothers, because of our many sins Hashem has cast us among this nation, the Arabs, who are treating us badly.

  1. Though written in non-Islamic language and script, medieval Hebrew poetry, and much of the prose literature, belong to the same cultural world as Arabic and other literatures of Islam Lewis 81. It is a common misapprehension that the holy war meant that the Muslims gave their opponents a choice between Islam and the sword'.
  2. Jews were living in an uneasy coexistence with Muslims and Catholics, and the relationship between these groups was more often than not marked by segregation and mutual hostility.
  3. Jews lived among themselves in a walled area known as the aljama Jewish quarter. The Muslims had greater rights and responsibilities than non-Muslims, thus Moorish toleration was not exactly Moorish equality.

They pass laws designed to cause us distress and make us despised. Never has there been a nation that hated, humiliated and loathed us as much as this one. According to one source, "more than 1,500 Jewish families, numbering 4,000 persons, fell in one day. Arabic language in Hebrew letters Beginning in 1090, the situation deteriorated further with the invasion of the Almoravidsa puritan Muslim sect from Morocco.

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The Almoravids were ousted from the peninsula in 1148; however, the region was again invaded, this time by the even more puritanical Almohades. During the reign of these Berber dynasties, many Jewish and even Muslim scholars left the Muslim-controlled portion of Iberia for the city of Toledowhich had been reconquered in 1085 by Christian forces.

The major Jewish presence in Iberia continued until the Jews were forced to leave or to convert to Christianity in the Alhambra decree of 1492 and a similar decree by Portugal in 1496.