Christianity and Islam in Spain (756-1031) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 224 pages of information about Christianity and Islam in Spain (756-1031).

    [1] Murphy, “Hist. of Moh.  Empire in Spain,” p. 232.

    [2] Conde, i. p. 457.

    [3] For others see Conde, i. 483, 484.

    [4] Sale, Introd., Koran, p. 84. (Chandos Classics.)

    [5] Prescott, “Ferd. and Isab.,” p. 158.

    [6] See a picture in the Alhambra, given in Murphy’s “Moorish
    Antiquities of Spain,” Lockhart, Pref., p. 13; and the ballad
    called “The Bullfight of Ghazal,” st. v. p. 109.

The effect of this improvement in the social position of women could not fail to reflect itself in the conception of love among the Spanish Arabs; and, accordingly, we find their gross sensuality undergoing a process of refinement, as the following extract from Said ibn Djoudi,[1] who wrote at the close of the ninth century, will shew.  Addressing his ideal mistress, Djehama, he says:—­

      “O thou, to whom my prayers are given,
        Compassionate and gentle be
      To my poor soul, so roughly driven,
        To fly from me to thee.

      “I call thy name, my vows outpouring,
        I see thine eyes with tear-drops shine: 
      No monk, his imaged saint adoring,
        Knows rapture like to mine!”

Of these words Dozy[2] says:—­“They might be those of a Provencal troubadour.  They breathe the delicateness of Christian chivalry.”

This Christianising of the feeling of love is even more clearly seen in a passage from a treatise on Love by Ali ibn Hazm, who was prime minister to Abdurrahman V. (Dec. 1023-Mar. 1024).  He calls Love[3] a mixture of moral affection, delicate gallantry, enthusiasm, and a calm modest beauty, full of sweet dignity.  Being the great grandson of Christian parents, perhaps some of their inherited characteristics reappeared in him:—­“Something pure, something delicate, something spiritual which was not Arab."[4]

    [1] Killed, 897.

    [2] II. 229.

    [3] Quoted by Dozy, iii. 350.

    [4] Dozy, 1.1.



We have so far investigated the influence of Christianity on the social and intellectual character of Mohammedanism; let us now turn to the analogous influence of Mohammedanism on Christianity under the same aspects.  This, as was to be expected, is by no means so marked as in the reverse case.  One striking instance, however, there is, in which such an influence was shewn, and where we should least have thought to find it.  We have indisputable evidence that many Christians submitted to be circumcised.  Whether this was for the sake of passing themselves off on occasion as Mussulmans, or for some other reason, we cannot be certain:  but the fact remains.[1] “Have we not,” says Alvar,[2] “the mark of the beast, when setting at nought the customs of the fathers, we follow the pestilent ways of the Gentiles; when, neglecting the circumcision of the heart,[3] which is chiefly commanded us, we submit to the corporeal rite, which ought to be avoided for its ignominy, and which can only be complied with at the cost of no small pain to ourselves.”

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