Tariq Bin Zayad

(Extracted from The Hundrend Great Muslims).
By: Dawood Nabi.
After landing on the coastal strip
overlooking the rock which was later
named as ‘Jabal-ul-Tariq’ (Gibraltar), its
conqueror Tariq Bin Zayid, ordered the
burning of the ships that had brought
his Muslim troops from Africa in 711
Why are you doing this. Sir?’ cried
the astonished soldiers.
How will we return? Enquired
Tariq remained unmoved by these
In reply, he uttered those historic
words, which will always inspire
people to embark on brave deeds. He
said: ‘We have not come her to return.
Either we shall conquer and establish
ourselves here or we will perish.’
Emboldened by these words. Tariq
and his soldiers routed one of the
most formidable armies of the West
and carried the banner of Islam even
beyond the high walls of the Pyrenees.
Soon after the death of the Holy
Prophet of Islam (sws), the Muslims
were threatened from all sides. The
mighty neighbouring Empires of the
Roman and Persians were conspiring
to uproot this new force. But the
Arabs not only met this challenge but
also crushed the two greatest Empires
of the world, and in less than half a
century their arms held sway over the
three known continents.
The Islamic principles of equality
and fraternity had enabled the
conquered and newly converted races
to take their share in the government
along with the noblest of the Arabs.
Islam recognised no distinction of
caste and creed and readily patronised
talent wherever found. This is why all
capable slaves have occupied the
highest positions in an Islamic polity
and many slave dynasties have
magnificently ruled over Muslim
Tariq bin Ziyad, a newly converted
Berber slave wsa a lieutenant of Musa
bin Nusair, the Muslim Viceroy of
Africa. The Berber slave was destined
to be the conqueror of Spain, the
biggest Muslim territory in Europe,
which, for eight centuries under the
Muslims, kept aloft the torch of
civilisation and culture that at last
dispelled the gloom that had
enveloped the Mediaeval Europe.
At this time, when Africa was
enjoying the blessings of toleration,
justice and prosperity under the
Muslims, neighbouring Spain was
groaning under the tyranny, and
bigotry of its Gothic ruler. The honour
of women was not safe and the tillers
of the soil were put to heavy taxation.
The rulers and their henchmen
revelled in luxury while the masses
groaned in poverty. A large number of
refugees from Spain both Christians
and Jews who had suffered under the
Gothic rule had taken refuge in Muslim
Africa. One of them was Julian, the
Governor of Ceuta, whose daughter.
Florinda, had been dishonoured by
Roderick, the Gothic King of Spain.
They appealed to Musa to liberate their
country from the tyrant’s yoke.
In response to their prayer and
with the sanction of the Caliph, Musa
made a reconnaissance on the
southern coast of Spain. The report
was favourable and in May 711, Tariq
bin Zaid with 7,000 Muslims crossed
the Straits in ships in small
contingents. As his troops landed in
Europe, Tariq concentrated them on a
hill, which took the name of ‘Jabl-ul-
Tariq’ (The Rock of Tariq) now called
Gibraltar, and urged them either to
conquer or perish. They had no
intention to go back home.
The Gothic King Roderick collected
a huge army of more than one lakh
solders. Tariq, too was reinforced by
5,000 soldiers dispatched by Musa and
now his army numbered 12,000. The
two armies met at the mouth of river
Barbate, on the shores of a lagoo of
Janda and fought a decisive battle on
July 9th, 711, A.D. The two armies
were unequally matched. The
Christians by Tariq was irresistible and
the Goths were completely routed
with terrible losses. King Roderick was
drowned in the river. This remarkable
victory of Tariq broke the morale of
the Spaniards, and henceforward, they
did not dare face the Muslims in the
Therefore, the armies of Tariq met
little resistance in the interior of Spain.
His was a triumphant march from
place to place in the Peninsula. Tariq
had divided his small army into four
divisions and directed one of his
lieutenants towards Cordova, the
other towards Malaga, the third
towards Granada and himself at the
head of the main body hurriedly
marched upon Toledo, the Capital of
Spain. All these cities capitulated
without much resistance. The Goths
were paralysed by the rapidity of
Tariq’s movement and the severity of
his blows. The Gothic armies fled
before him. ‘God’, says an analyst,
‘filled the hearts of idolators with
terror and alarm.’ The oppressed
masses of Spain hailed the Muslims as
their liberators. The exemplary
treatment of Tariq and his men
endeared him to the conquered races.
The fiercest battle of the entire
campaign was fought at Ecija, which
resulted in the victory of Tariq’s forces.
Toledo, the Capital of Spain, also
capitulated after little resistance. Here
Tariq was joined by his Master Musa
bin Nusair, thee Muslim viceory of
Africa. Hence forward, the two
generals moved side by side and in
less than two years, the whole of
Spain was in Muslim hands Portugal
was conquered, a few years after.
‘This constituted the last and the most
sensational of the major Arab
campaigns’, writes Philip K. Hitti,’ and
resulted in the addition to the Moslem
world of the largest European territory
ever held by them… In its swiftness of
execution and completness of success,
this expedition into Spain holds a
unique place in the Mediaeval Military
Musa and Tariq would have easily
conquered the whole of Europe which
lay at their feet. There was none to
stop their victorious advance, but
Providence meant otherwise. When
they were planning the conquest of
Europe, they received summons from
the Caliph to present themselves at
Damascus. They exhibited a rare
discipline by obeying the orders of the
Caliph, reaching Damascus at the
earliest possible time. Tariq died there
The conquest of Spain by Muslims
opened a new era for the Peninsula. It
brought about a social revolution in
which the freedom of religion was
fully recognised. The intoleration and
persecution of the Christians gave
place to toleration and large-
heartedness. The captured Christian
cities received favourable terms which
were faithfully observed. Individual
acts of violence by the Muslim soldiers
were severely punished. No properties
or estates were confiscated. Instead,
the Muslims introduced an intelligent
system of taxation, which soon
brought prosperity to the Peninsula
and made it a model country in the
West. The Christians had their own
judges to settle their disputes. All
communities had equal opportunities
for entry into the public services.
This wise an generous
administration of Muslim conquerors
had its good effects. The Christians
including their priests, who had first
left their homes in terror came back
and passes a happy and prosperous
life. A well-known Christian writer
says: ‘The Moors (Muslims) organised
that wonderful kingdom of Cordova,
which was the marvel of the Middle
Ages, and which, when all Europe was
plunged in barbaric ignorance and
strife, alone held the torch of learning
and civilisation bright and shining
before the Western world.’


About ان کی گلیوں میں

Pro-Khilafa. Anti-Democrate. Student of Political Math. Occassional Cook. Writer.
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