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A Book Authored by Sultan cited in 23 Files

The Inquisition Documents of Crimes against More than Half a Million Muslims in Andalusia

The Book named “The Inquisition: An Investigation of Twenty-Three Files of Cases Committed Against Muslims in Andalusia” authored by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, was recently issued among Al Qasimi publications. The book was published in Arabic and Spanish versions. The Arabic version came in two volumes, the first is 712 pages, and the second is 678 pages. The Spanish version, translated by Muhammad Nazir al-Homsi, also came in two volumes, the first included 638 pages, and the second included 610 pages.

This book was previously described by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, addressing his speech to readers of the Arabic language throughout the Arab world and the world, by saying: “This book differs from my previous book "I Condemn" which talks about passing decisions by the king to the government.

The new book tackles secret courts that practice death penalties and arson as well as many things against Muslims. Maybe now the Spanish people know nothing about that because they are all kept secret, but I was able to get 23 manuscripts in the form of trial files, and I searched and scrutinized them.”

His Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah, says in the introduction to the book: "After the conquest of the Catholic kings in 1492 AD to Granada, the last remaining Muslim kingdom in Spain, they introduced legislation to forcibly convert Muslims in Granada from their religion to Christianity, otherwise they would face exile. Although the majority chose to convert from their religion, rather than being exiled, the collection of documents shows that after more than half a century, Muslims continued to preserve their language, customs and practices of their religion. This is noteworthy due to the fact that in 1526 AD a decree was issued on December 7 to transfer the headquarters of the Inquisition Office which was until that time in "Coin" in Malaga to Granada, where attempts were made with determination to "remove an extended range of local culture and identity". The goal behind this is to ban "an entire inherited culture, not just religion itself." One of the documents in the collection reflects the authorities’ failure to carry out a successful Christianization of Muslims."

His Highness added: “It is true that the book is large in size, but the style in which its files were written is smooth and attractive, and every file tells a story, and it is interesting, and educates the person with his religion. The eccentric stuff about these trials is that these Muslims knew the Spanish language, but in the trial they refused to speak it, and they insisted on speaking the Arabic language, to the point that they had to fetch a translator from Arabic to Spanish and vice versa for them.

His Highness added: "The extreme scarcity of the Inquisition documents makes this collection exceptionally important to providing a voice to these silent Muslims for centuries. It is an exceptional and important source of information about the prosperity of Muslim civilization in Granada, which will soon disappear after Muslims react to the increasing pressure on them to quit their culture, resulting in the uprising of the «Alpujarras» behind the mountains of “Sierra Nevada”, also known as the War of Granada in the period 1568 AD - 1571 AD.

Extracting confessions

The trial documents show the comprehensive bureaucratic processes of the Inquisition. Generally, it begins with an arrest warrant, and continues to record the same trial that includes a large number of detailed investigations of the accused and the witness. For example, there is a record of torture used to extract confessions from the accused, followed by pronouncement of the sentence, and the imposed penalty.

These trials were conducted under a strict veil of secrecy, and harsh penalties were imposed if any information related to the content of the trial was disclosed.

Muslims have been accused of adhering to a variety of religious practices, such as: following the rituals of prayer, celebrating Ramadan, giving alms to the poor during that period, celebrating Friday as a holy day, and working on Sunday. In this way, for example, the Muslim woman “Maria de Montoro” admits that she performed her ritual ablution by washing her face, hands, wiping the head, and washing the feet, then praying on a carpet, saying "Allah is Great" and reciting the opening chapter of the Holy Quran, and Surat al-Ikhlas 'the Sincerity'. Moreover, she continues to describe the ritual prayer and prostration, and there is another Muslim woman called “Beatriz Tahonia”, who is a seamstress, who stated that when she was asked in the street whether she and her friends are not “baptized Christian”, she replied that they were baptized when they were young, but they did not care about it, and they do not even remember it.

She was found innocent, probably because of the intervention of her lawyer after attaching a receipt of his offered services to the document that also contained the receipt of prison expenses.

She and most of the defendants have stated that they believe that "the Sharia of Muslims" is valid, and that it is even superior to what Christians have, and that for all of them it is the way to enter Heaven.

Muslim Community

Through these trials, an image of a prosperous world emerges where the ancient bonds of Muslim society are definitely undivided. Muslims still live with each other, speak Arabic, and feel that they can express a certain degree of freedom about their internal ideas about religion, and practice it in reality, and most of the accused have only spoken Arabic. The questions of the interrogator had to be translated by the always-present translator, Garcia Chacon. Many of the defendants were in contact with specialized Muslims who have an important role in preserving knowledge and practicing their religion. The defendants were, in general, among the most modest social classes in life, for example the owners of khans (inns), farmers, tailors, weavers etc. Among them are many women who have a great influence with their traditional role in the religious culture of their children. By making testimonies before a judge, one can get an impression of the simplicity among the defendants who have been withdrawn from their decent lives to face the merciless inquisition machine. The rulings of the Inquisition were very harsh. In the case of three Muslim women, namely “Maria Alabquen”, “Maria Megmeg”, “Maria Megmeg”, and “Ines de la Sirna”, they were brought before one of the Inquisition which is called « Auto de fe », a trial conducted by men belonging to the Catholic faith at the entrances to each village or city, publicly in front of the people. If the accused denies, he is immediately burned to death, and if he admits his guilt that he is a dissident from the Catholic faith, he is sentenced to several year imprisonment. Many have confessed sins that they did not commit, and the first of such trial was in Sevilla in 1481 AD, when the above women were forced to wear the dress of heretics who deviate from the Catholic faith convicted for the rest of their lives, and they publicly admitted their sin. All their belongings were confiscated, and they were sent to prison for three years. Their condemnation seemed to be a disgrace to their families.

Muslims of the «Alpujarras»

The world was ill-treating the reputation of those trials under a growing threat, and soon these trials received a decisive blow to the Muslims uprising in the area of the «Alpujarras»  (1568 AD - 1571 AD), which was fiercely suppressed by Philip II.

The dramatic situation in which Muslims found themselves at the time of the uprising was described as strong in the confession of the Muslim woman named “Bernardina”, the daughter of “Alonso de Dolar Ben Yahes”, who was at the age of eighteen when she testified to the investigation on the fifth of April 1570 AD, when the «Alpujarras» war broke out for almost two years.

"Bernardina" remembers that the Muslims of the «Alpujarras» arrived at the village of "Dolar" in Granada, chanting the cry of war "Muhammad .. Muhammad", and urging the residents to join them in the Serranvada Mountains region. The population of "Dolar" in the year 1568 AD was almost all Muslims (230 Muslims and 2 old Christians) and the Muslims joined the revolutionaries after they destroyed the "Dolar" Church.

Although Bernardina's father realized that whatever the path they would take, their future was ominous, and he said: “If we go to the Muslims, then the Christians will kill us, and if we go to the Christians, the Muslims will kill us.” However, he took his three daughters to the Serranvada Mountains for four days, then the father left, and the girls went to the village of "Calahorra" in Granada seeking clemency from the Christians. There, "Bernardina" was taken as a slave.

The upheaval of the «Alpujarras» was the last ditch's attempt by Muslims to preserve their faith and lifestyle. The revolutionaries were provoked by the brutal measures included in the royal order of Philip II on January 1, 1567 AD, especially in prohibiting the use of the Arabic language, which means the annihilation of culture. According to one witness, there was great hope that the Turks would conquer Granada, and thus they would be able to practice their religion freely. Such hope was futile; most of the Muslim population was expelled from the Kingdom of Granada. But regarding these rare documents, we can still capture a glimpse of a rich Islamic culture in the years leading up to the exile.

His Highness concludes the book by referring to a statistic confirming the continuation of inquisition since their establishment on the first of the month of November 1478 AD until it was canceled on the fifteenth of the month of July 1834 AD, and killed half a million Muslims.

Thousands of Executions

The number of documented executions, as confirmed by His Highness before 1530 AD, amounted to about two thousand cases, between 1530 AD - 1630 AD amounted to about one thousand cases, and after 1630 AD until its abolition amounted to about two hundred and fifty. In connection with this fact, we call on the Spanish people, with a human conscience, to remember those calamities, whenever they see or read about that great heritage.

"I Condemn"

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah issued an important research book entitled "I Condemn" that takes you from the first lines to real meanings associated with documents and evidence for condemnation, furnishing a different and distinct testimony in light of the scarcity of historical sources that talk about the tragedy of the Moriscos Muslims after the fall of Granada, and the crimes committed against them. In this book, His Highness offers two important things regarding the subject of the book. The first of them is a documented historical article on the subject of violation of the rights of Muslims after the Spanish takeover of Granada, and the fall of the last strongholds of the Islamic State there. The second is a sufficiently documented legal document to prosecute those who have so far dared spoil the rights of Moriscos Muslims and refuse to even apologize to them for all the heinous crimes against them. In two hundred pages of the large pieces and in a methodical, historical and scientific style accompanied by pictures of the original Spanish documents with their Arabic translations, His Highness raises ten condemnations that relied on ten Spanish documents where His Highness says in the introduction to his book about it: “I acquired a number of Spanish documents and they date back to the period between 1530 AD and 1610 AD, that is a period of tragedy inflicted upon the Muslims of Andalusia. After translating them from Spanish into Arabic and studying them, I selected 10 documents from them that condemn groups of the Spanish people during that period, whether kings, judges, churches, or a group of people for the crime they committed against the Muslims of Andalusia after they had signed a treaty with them for a period of time whereby the two Catholic monarchs signed pledges for Abu Abdullah al-Saghir on refraining from inflicting any harm against Muslims in their worship and property."

Since its inception, Al-Qasimi Publications confirmed that it has made sure that all its publications are earmarked for humanitarian purposes. Among the most prominent bodies and institutions that benefit from this humanitarian support is the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, which adopts pioneering projects in educating people with special needs and the handicapped along with contributing to their inclusion within the society’s categories.