Culture and Art in Muslim Spain

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Maimonides teaching

The Muslim period in Spain is often described as a 'golden age' of learning where libraries, colleges, public baths were established and literature, poetry and architecture flourished. Both Muslims and non-Muslims made major contributions to this flowering of culture.

From 969 to 1027, Cordoba, the capital of Moorish Spain,was a thriving metropolis and a great center of leanings with over 70 libraries, 700 mosques, 3,000 public baths, sumptuous palaces on the Guad and paved streets lit by oil lanterns. It was situated at the center of an important agriculture area along a river that was used for trade and the moving of raw materials and finished goods.

Cordoba was one of the greatest centers of learning in the world in the Middle Ahes. Abd al-Rahman III's library reportedly had 400,000 volumes. Muslim Spain was famous for its poetry, which resembled French troubadour poetry. Córdoba's libraries and poets were celebrated and Islamic scholars kept alive the knowledge of the Romans and Greeks which had died out in the Dark Ages in Europe. The monumental Great Mosque of Córdoba was built by Sultan Abd al-Rahman I and his successors as a symbol of the political and religious power of Muslim Spain.

Córdoba grew rich through the export or beautiful ceramics, green and manganese Alhambra vases, detailed textiles, wool, silks, felts and linens, intricately carved ivory boxes and European slaves throughout the Muslim world at a time when Muslims ruled the Mediterranean, northern Africa, the Middle east and western Asia.

Websites and Resources: Islamic Art and Architecture: Islamic Arts & Architecture / ; British Museum Islamic Art Metropolitan Museum of Art ; Islamic Art Louvre Louvre ; Museum without Frontiers ; Architecture of Islam ; Images of mosques all over the world, from the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT ; Islamic Images ; Victoria & Albert Museum ; Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar ; CalligraphyIslamic, lots of Islamic calligraphy ; Islamic, Arabic and Persian Literature Islamic and Arabic Literature at Cornell University ; Internet Islamic History Sourcebook ;
Wikipedia article on Islamic Literature Wikipedia ; Wikipedia article on Arabic Literature Wikipedia ;

Prominent Jews in Muslim Spain

One of Cordoba's citizens was the famous Jewish philosopher Maimonides (See Below). Spanish rabbi-poet Judah Halevi was a outgoing physician and court poet (See Below). Bahya ibn Pakuda (11th century) was another famous Jewish thinker from Spain. In his book “Duties of the Heart” he espoused asceticism, denounced giving into one's desires and developed a kind of Jewish Sufism and brought it to a large audience.

Spanish rabbi-poet Judah Halevi was a outgoing physician and court poet. He wrote religious verse and secular poems and was liked by Jews and Muslims alike. Many of his poems dealt with spirituality, alienation and the longing for a homeland. Some of his poems, such as “Ode to Zion”, are still fixtures of Jewish religious services.

One of Cordoba's most talented residents was Samuel Ibn Neghrela, a poet who wrote in Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, Berber and other languages. When Cordoba collapsed, he moved to Malaga and then Granada, where he became a court poet and minister. In “The Curse”, he wrote:
Heart Like a pennant
On a ship's mast, in a storm;
An exile is ink
In God's book
Across my soul and in every shore
And all on whom wandering is written
Are driven like Jonah, and scavenge like Cain.

Ten years after Neghrela's death his son was killed in an anti-Jewish riot in Granada, which claimed the lives of 1,500 Jewish families.


Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) is regarded as the greatest Torah scholar, the most important medieval Jewish philosopher and the most influential rationalist thinker of Judaism. He is the author of The Guide to the Perplexed and the Thirteen Articles of Faith and the source of many Talmudist and Rabbinic laws. Both Maimonides and the Muslim philosopher and scientist Averroes were born in the Spanish city of Cordova and it is said that they became good friends.

Maimonides was a physicians and polymath. He advocated rationalism and was an admirer of Greek philosophy. He was both a clever Aristotlean thinker and believer that all fundamental truths can be found in the Torah. His ideas however were quite controversial and split Judaism into two camps.

The Thirteen Articles of Faith of Maimonides are regarded as the basic dogma of Judaism. They are: 1) The existence of God, the Creator of All Things; 2) His absolute unity; 3) His incorporeality; 4) His eternity; 5) The obligation to serve and worship him alone; 6) The existence of prophecy; 7) The superiority of the Prophecy of Moses above all others; 8) The Torah is God's revelation to Moses; 9) The Torah is immutable; 10) God's omniscience and foreknowledge; 11) Rewards and punishments according to one's deeds; 12) The coming of the Messiah; 13) The resurrection of the dead.

Yehudah Halevi

Yehudah Halevi

Yehudah Halevi (1080-1141?) is a great rabbi-poet and Jewish thinker who approached Judaism from a different perspective and is also considered one of the greatest Jewish poets. Born in Spain, he spent much of life in Palestine. In his work he stressed an intense, deeply personal love of God, fealty to the Jewish community and a desire for divine communion.

Halevi was an outgoing physician and court poet. He wrote religious verse and secular poems and were liked by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Many of his poems dealt with spirituality, alienation and the longing for a homeland. Some of his poems, such as Ode to Zion , are still fixtures of Jewish religious services.

Halevi's philosophical book Kuzari is in the form of dialogue with the king of the Khazars. It explored things like the difference between the God of Aristotle (a bloodless abstraction) and the God of Abraham (a living god experienced through personal revelation) and reconciled reason, history, love and religion.

One Halevi poem goes: Lord Where shall I find thee? High and hidden is they place; And where shall I not fond thee? The world is full of thy glory .

Art in Muslim Spain

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “From 711 to 1492 al-Andalus was the occidental frontier of Islam. Floating on the western edge of the Mediterranean, cut off from the European continent by jagged mountains, it was geographically isolated from both North Africa and Europe, from Islamic as well as Christian lands. Physical remoteness gave al-Andalus a privileged place in medieval myths but also separated it from the communities of the east and the west, so that it received only sporadic attention from both worlds. Although a small group of scholars pursued the serious study of the arts of Islamic Spain, these arts have for the most part been viewed as brilliant and exotic vestiges of a lost culture, as objects and monuments that left no mark on European tradition. [Source: Department of Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art,\^/]

Andalus Qu'ran

“Most of the art and architecture that remains from Islamic Spain was produced for palatine settings and aristocratic patrons; representing, as these works do, almost eight centuries of history, they issue from diverse rules and traditions” and includes” intricately carved ivories, metalwork, and ceramics, luxurious textiles, jewelry, arms, marble capitals, stucco panels, and tiles, as well as major monuments of religious and secular architecture such as the Great Mosque of Córdoba, the palace city of Madinat al-Zahra, and the Alhambra. \^/

“Art from the Islamic period of Spain includes (in chronological order), the brilliant architecture and courtly arts of the Umayyad caliphate, the refined and original accomplishments of the succeeding Taifa kingdoms, the more rigorous contributions of the Almoravids and Almohads who followed, and, finally, the opulent palaces and objects created for the Nasrids of Granada, the last Muslim dynasty in Spain.” \^/

Art of the Umayyad Period in Spain (711–1031)

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “On July 19, 711, an army of Arabs and Berbers unified under the aegis of the Islamic Umayyad caliphate landed on the Iberian Peninsula. Over the next seven years, through diplomacy and warfare, they brought the entire peninsula except for Galicia and Asturias in the far north under Islamic control; however, frontiers with the Christian north were constantly in flux. The new Islamic territories, referred to as al-Andalus by Muslims, were administered by a provincial government established in the name of the Umayyad caliphate in Damascus and centered in Córdoba. Of works of art and other material culture only coins and scant ceramic fragments remain from this early period of the Umayyad governors (711–56). [Source: Department of Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2001, \^/]

When the Umayyad caliphate of Damascus was overthrown by the ‘Abbasids in 750, the last surviving member of the Umayyad dynasty fled to Spain, establishing himself as Emir ‘Abd al-Rahman I and thus initiating the Umayyad emirate (756–929). ‘Abd al-Rahman I (r. 756–88) made Córdoba his capital and unified al-Andalus under his rule with a firm hand, while establishing diplomatic ties with the northern Christian kingdoms, North Africa, and the Byzantine empire and maintaining cultural contact with the ‘Abbasids in Baghdad. The initial construction of the Great Mosque of Córdoba under his patronage was the crowning achievement of this formative period of Hispano-Islamic art and architecture. \^/

Umayyad garden

The Umayyads reclaimed their right to the caliphate during the reign of ‘Abd al-Rahman III (r. 912–61), who became the first Spanish Umayyad emir to declare himself caliph (929). Under the Umayyad caliphate (929–1031), Córdoba became perhaps the greatest intellectual center of Europe, with celebrated libraries and schools. Hispano-Umayyad art reached its apogee during the lengthy reign of ‘Abd al-Rahman III and his son al-Hakam II (r. 961–76) and the regency of the powerful ‘Amirids, particularly al-Mansur (978–1002), chamberlain to the nominal ruler, the child-prince Hisham II (r. 976–1013 with interruption). Despite their open rejection of ‘Abbasid political authority, the Umayyads of Córdoba emulated the opulent palatial arts of the centers of ‘Abbasid power, Baghdad and Samarra. There was also influence from the Fatimid rulers, who had established an independent Shi’i caliphate in North Africa in 909 and occupied Egypt in 969. Perhaps in response to these eastern Mediterranean cultural impulses, which coexisted with a strong indigenous artistic component, there began to appear in Córdoba a revival of the Umayyad period, almost a nostalgia for the time when the Umayyads ruled the Islamic world from Damascus. \^/

“Art patronage as a sign of kingship and authority is a theme that emerged from these creative appropriations from abroad and the past. Luxurious objects such as boxes of carved ivory and gilt silver, bronze animal statuary, and richly figured silks were commissioned for palaces decorated with ornate marble capitals, stucco wall panels, and marble fountains. ‘Abd al-Rahman III’s palace city at Madinat al-Zahra‘ set the standard for artistic taste in the caliphate, and al-Hakam II’s addition to the Great Mosque of Córdoba marked the imposition of a palatial level of luxury and hierarchy on this religious monument.”

Poetry of the Spanish Moors

The late-19th- and early-20th-century historian Charles F. Horne wrote: “While the scientific leadership of the Moors faded with the breaking of their military unity in the twelfth century, they still retained in some of their smaller kingdoms, and especially in that of Granada, a high degree of culture. The love of beauty and the spirit of romance were strong among all the Spanish Moors; and so their poetry continued long after science failed them. [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VI: Medieval Arabia, pp. 245-255, Internet Islamic History Sourcebook,]

Poetry indeed became their main expression. Granada, the last of all their Spanish kingdoms, did not fall before the advancing Christians until 1492. Then, as our histories have so often told, Ferdinand and Isabella, the Christian rulers of Spain, conducted a holy war for the destruction of Granada. Its last fortress surrendered, and its people withdrew to Africa. There, according to a characteristically dreamy legend, they still retain the keys of their mansions in Granada, treasuring them up for the day of their triumphant return.

“Of the Moorish poetry which survived the fall of Granada, much was preserved by the Spaniards themselves and in the Spanish language. The victors knew how to value the spirit of the vanquished; and ballads of Moorish origin, telling of Moorish loves, long remained popular in Spain. The authors of most of these have been forgotten. The text of some of the best known of them is given here.

Poems from Muslim Spain

Verses To My Daughters
With jocund heart and cheerful brow
I used to hail the festal morn—
How must Muhammad greet it now?—
A prisoner helpless and forlorn.

While these dear maids in beauty's bloom,
With want opprest, with rags o'erspread,
By sordid labors at the loom
Must earn a poor, precarious bread.

Those feet that never touched the ground,
Till musk or camphor strewed the way,
Now bare and swoll'n with many a wound,
Must struggle through the miry clay.

Those radiant cheeks are veiled in woe,
A shower descends from every eye,
And not a starting tear can flow,
That wakes not an attending sigh.
Fortune, that whilom owned my sway,
And bowed obsequious to my nod,
Now sees me destined to obey,
And bend beneath oppression's rod.

Ye mortals with success elate,
Who bask in hope's delusive beam,
Attentive view Muhammad's fate,
And own that bliss is but a dream. — Prince Muhammad Ben Abad [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VI: Medieval Arabia, pp. 245-255, Internet Islamic History Sourcebook,]

Serenade To My Sleeping Distress
Sure Harut's potent spells were breathed
Upon that magic sword, thine eye;
For if it wounds us thus while sheathed,
When drawn, 'tis vain its edge to fly.

How canst thou doom me, cruel fair,
Plunged in the hell of scorn to groan?
No idol e'er this heart could share,
This heart has worshiped thee alone. — Ali Ben Abad

The Inconsistent
When I sent you my melons, you cried out with scorn,
They ought to be heavy and wrinkled and yellow;
When I offered myself, whom those graces adorn,
You flouted, and called me an ugly old fellow.

Bull-Fight Of Gazul

King Almanzor of Granada, he hath bid the trumpet sound,
He hath summoned all the Moorish lords, from the hills and plains around;
From vega and sierra, from Betis and Xenil,
They have come with helm and cuirass of gold and twisted steel.

'Tis the holy Baptist's feast they hold in royalty and state,
And they have closed the spacious lists beside the Alhambra's gate;
In gowns of black and silver laced, within the tented ring,
Eight Moors to fight the bull are placed in presence of the King.


Eight Moorish lords of valor tried, with stalwart arm and true,
The onset of the beasts abide, as they come rushing through;
The deeds they've done, the spoils they've won, fill all with hope and trust,
Yet ere high in heaven appears the sun they all have bit the dust.

Then sounds the trumpet clearly, then clangs the loud tambour,
Make room, make room for Gazul—throw wide, throw wide the door;
Blow, blow the trumpet clearer still, more loudly strike the drum,
The Alcaide of Algava to fight the bull doth come.

And first before the King he passed, with reverence stooping low,
And next he bowed him to the Queen, and the Infantas all a-row;
Then to his lady's grace he turned, and she to him did throw
A scarf from out her balcony, 'twas whiter than the snow.

With the life-blood of the slaughtered lords all slippery is the sand,
Yet proudly in the center hath Gazul ta'en his stand;
And ladies look with heaving breast, and lords with anxious eye,
But firmly he extends his arm—his look is calm and high.

Three bulls against the knight are loosed, and two come roaring on,
He rises high in stirrup, forth stretching his rejon;
Each furious beast upon the breast he deals him such a blow
He blindly totters and gives back, across the sand to go.

"Turn, Gazul, turn!" the people cry—the third comes up behind,
Low to the sand his head holds he, his nostrils snuff the wind;
The mountaineers that lead the steers, without stand whispering low,
"Now thinks this proud alcayde to stun Harpado so?


From Guadiana comes he not, he comes not from Xenil,
From Glaudalarif of the plain, or Barves of the hill;
But where from out the forest burst Xarama's waters clear,
Beneath the oak-trees was he nursed, this proud and stately steer.

Dark is his hide on either side, but the blood within doth boil,
And the dun hide glows, as if on fire, as he paws to the turmoil.
His eyes are jet, and they are set in crystal rings of snow;
But now they stare with one red glare of brass upon the foe.

Upon the forehead of the bull the horns stand close and near,
From out the broad and wrinkled skull, like daggers they appear;
His neck is massy, like the trunk of some old knotted tree,
Whereon the monster's shaggy mane, like billows curled, ye see.

His legs are short, his hams are thick, his hoofs are black as night,
Like a strong flail he holds his tail in fierceness of his might;
Like something molten out of iron, or hewn from forth the rock,
Harpado of Narama stands, to bide the alcayde's shock.

Now stops the drum—close, close they come—thrice meet, and thrice give back;
The white foam of Harpado lies on the charger's breast of black—
The white foam of the charger on Harpado's front of dun—
Once more advance upon his lance—once more, thou fearless one!

Once more, once more;—in dust and gore to ruin must thou reel—
In vain, in vain thou tearest the sand with furious heel—
In vain, in vain, thou noble beast, I see, I see thee stagger,
Now keen and cold thy neck must hold the stern alcayde's dagger!

They have slipped a noose around his feet, six horses are brought in,
And away they drag Harpado with a loud and joyful din.
Now stoop thee, lady, from thy stand, and the ring of price bestow
Upon Gazul of Algava, that hath laid Harpado low. [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VI: Medieval Arabia, pp. 245-255, Internet Islamic History Sourcebook,]

Zegri's Bride

Of all the blood of Zegri, the chief is Lisaro,
To wield rejon like him is none, or javelin to throw;
From the place of his dominion, he ere the dawn doth go,
From Alcala de Henares, he rides in weed of woe.

He rides not now as he was wont, when ye have seen him speed
To the field of gay Toledo, to fling his lusty reed;
No gambeson of silk is on, nor rich embroidery
Of gold-wrought robe or turban—nor jeweled tahali.

No amethyst nor garnet is shining on his brow,
No crimson sleeve, which damsels weave at Tunis, decks him now;
The belt is black, the hilt is dim, but the sheathed blade is bright;
They have housened his barb in a murky garb, but yet her hoofs are light.

Four horsemen good, of the Zegri blood, with Lisaro go out;
No flashing spear may tell them near, but yet their shafts are stout;
In darkness and in swiftness rides every armed knight—
The foam on the rein ye may see it plain, but nothing else is white.

Young Lisaro, as on they go, his bonnet doffeth he,
Between its folds a sprig it holds of a dark and glossy tree;
That sprig of bay, were it away, right heavy heart had he—
Fair Zayda to her Zegri gave that token privily.

And ever as they rode, he looked upon his lady's boon.
"God knows," quoth he, "what fate may be—I may be slaughtered soon;
Thou still art mine, though scarce the sign of hope that bloomed whilere,
But in my grave I yet shall have my Zayda's token dear."

Young Lisaro was musing so, when onward on the path,
He well could see them riding slow; then pricked he in his wrath.
The raging sire, the kinsmen of Zayda's hateful house,
Fought well that day, yet in the fray the Zegri won his spouse. [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VI: Medieval Arabia, pp. 245-255, Internet Islamic History Sourcebook,]

Zara's Earrings

"My earrings! my earrings! they've dropped into the well,
And what to say to Muca, I can not, can not tell."
'Twas thus, Granada's fountain by, spoke Albuharez' daughter

"The well is deep, far down they lie, beneath the cold blue water—
To me did Muca give them, when he spake his sad farewell,
And what to say when he comes back, alas! I can not tell.

Entering the Palace Gardens

"My earrings! my earrings! they were pearls in silver set,
That when my Moor was far away, I ne'er should him forget,
That I ne'er to other tongue should list, nor smile on other's tale,
But remember he my lips had kissed, pure as those earrings pale—
When he comes back, and hears that I have dropped them in the well,
Oh, what will Muca think of me, I can not, can not tell.

"My earrings! my earrings! he'll say they should have been,
Not of pearl and of silver, but of gold and glittering sheen,
Of jasper and of onyx, and of diamond shining clear,
Changing to the changing light, with radiance insincere—
That changeful mind unchanging gems are not befitting well—
Thus will he think—and what to say, alas! I can not tell.

"He'll think when I to market went, I loitered by the way;
He'll think a willing ear I lent to all the lads might say;
He'll think some other lover's hand, among my tresses noosed,
From the ears where he had placed them, my rings of pearl unloosed;
He'll think, when I was sporting so beside this marble well,
My pearls fell in—and what to say, alas! I can not tell.

"He'll say, I am a woman, and we are all the same;
He'll say I loved when he was here to whisper of his flame—
But when he went to Tunis my virgin troth had broken,
And thought no more of Muca, and care not for his token.
My earrings! my earrings! O luckless, luckless well,
For what to say to Muca, alas! I can not tell.

"I'll tell the truth to Muca, and I hope he will believe—
That I thought of him at morning, and thought of him at eve;
That, musing on my lover, when down the sun was gone,
His earrings in my hand I held, by the fountain all alone;
And that my mind was o'er the sea, when from my hand they fell,
And that deep his love lies in my heart, as they lie in the well." [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VI: Medieval Arabia, pp. 245-255, Internet Islamic History Sourcebook,]

Lamentation For Celin

At the gate of old Granada, when all its bolts are barred,
At twilight at the Vega gate there is a trampling heard;
There is a trampling heard, as of horses treading slow,
And a weeping voice of women, and a heavy sound of woe.
"What tower is fallen, what star is set, what chief come these bewailing?"
"A tower is fallen, a star is set. Alas! alas for Celin!"

Three times they knock, three times they cry, and wide the doors they throw;
Dejectedly they enter, and mournfully they go;
In gloomy lines they mustering stand beneath the hollow porch,
Each horseman grasping in his hand a black and flaming torch;
Wet is each eye as they go by, and all around is wailing,
For all have heard the misery. "Alas! alas for Celin!"—

Him yesterday a Moor did slay, of Bencerraje's blood,
'Twas at the solemn jousting, around the nobles stood;
The nobles of the land were by, and ladies bright and fair
Looked from their latticed windows, the haughty sight to share;
But now the nobles all lament, the ladies are bewailing,
For he was Granada's darling knight. "Alas! alas for Celin!"
Before him ride his vassals, in order two by two,
With ashes on their turbans spread, most pitiful to view;
Behind him his four sisters, each wrapped in sable veil,
Between the tambour's dismal strokes take up their doleful tale;
When stops the muffled drum, ye hear their brotherless bewailing,
And all the people, far and near, cry— "Alas! alas for Celin!"

Oh! lovely lies he on the bier, above the purple pall,
The flower of all Granada's youth, the loveliest of them all;
His dark, dark eyes are closed, his rosy lip is pale,
The crust of blood lies black and dim upon his burnished mail,
And evermore the hoarse tambour breaks in upon their wailing,
Its sound is like no earthly sound— "Alas! alas for Celin!"

The Moorish maid at the lattice stands, the Moor stands at his door,
One maid is wringing of her hands, and one is weeping sore—
Down to the dust men bow their heads, and ashes black they strew
Upon their broidered garments of crimson, green, and blue—
Before each gate the bier stands still, then bursts the loud bewailing,
From door and lattice, high and low— "Alas! alas for Celin!"

An old, old woman cometh forth, when she hears the people cry;
Her hair is white as silver, like horn her glazéd eye.
'Twas she that nursed him at her breast, that nursed him long ago;
She knows not whom they all lament, but soon she well shall know.
With one deep shriek she through doth break, when her ears receive their wailing—
"Let me kiss my Celin ere I die— Alas! alas for Celin!" [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VI: Medieval Arabia, pp. 245-255, Internet Islamic History Sourcebook,]

Muslim Influence and European Culture

Europe was in the Dark Ages when the Muslims were in Spain. If it wasn't for the Arabs many of the great works of Aristotle, Euclid and Ptolemy and other classical Greco-Roman philosophers, scientists, historians and writers may have been lost for ever. The medieval European sources of many of these valuable documents where Arab manuscripts that were translated into Latin in Toledo. The Arabs also gave us Algebra (al-Khwarizmi) and the standard medical textbook used in Europe for 500 years (Ibn Sina).

Before the Muslims, most buildings in Iberia were plain an nondescript. The Muslim made mosques from marble scavenged from Roman and Visagoth temples. In Cordoba many old iron door knockers are in the shape of a hand which is said it be in the shape of the Prophet Muhammad's daughters hand. "Christians didn't look down on Islamic art," Dodds said. "They treated it was the latest fashion. Muslim textiles were so prized that the Christians wrapped relics in them. When Christians expelled Muslims, they turned the mosques into Christian churches."

The influence of the Moors can be seen in southern Spain where the people are shorter and darker than the rest of Spain. There are also a lot of similarities between the Spanish, especially the Andalusians, and their Moroccan neighbors. The rhythms in flamenco ar similar to some kinds of arabesque music. In villages around Rhonda older women sometimes cover their face with their head scarves when the see a stranger, almost as if they were wearing a veil. Arabic poetry, which is intended to be sung, many believe, inspired the ballads of Spanish troubadours.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); Arab News, Jeddah; “Islam, a Short History” by Karen Armstrong; “A History of the Arab Peoples” by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures” edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994). “Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated March 2024

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