April 19, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9912

Prominent Salafi Cleric Ali Al-Salabi: Major Islamic Conquests Took Place During Ramadan; Muslim Conquest Of Iberian Peninsula Was Natural Outcome Of Muslim Strategy During Invasions – Protecting Borders, Spreading The Religion, And Waging Jihad Beyond Borders

April 19, 2022
Libya | Special Dispatch No. 9912

In an April 12, 2022 article on the website of the Qatar- and Turkey-backed International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), titled "The Islamic Conquest Of Al-Andalus Was Part Of Victories Attained During Ramadan,"  Ali Al-Salabi, a prominent Libyan Salafi cleric and an IUMS member, emphasized that major Islamic conquests took place during the month of Ramadan, including the conquest of Al-Andalus (Spain). In his article, he described the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula as a "natural outcome of the strategy that the Muslims followed during their conquests: to secure their borders to promote their religion and to continue to wage jihad beyond these borders to spread the religion of Islam – which necessarily meant the advancement of Islam as long as there was a driving force."

The following is the full translation of the article [1]

The Battle Of Badr, The Conquest Of Mecca, And The Battle of Guadalete Are Three Major Battles That Took Place During The Month Of Ramadan

"Ramadan is known as the month of conquests that changed the course of Islam and advanced it tremendously, such as the Battle of Badr and the conquest of Mecca. The Battle of Badr was an official declaration of the establishment of the new state of Islam. The conquest of Mecca a few years later, however, was the major victory for the Islamic state against those who had waged wars against it for 20 years – the people of Mecca and their allies. After the conquest of Mecca, people converted to Islam en masse. Also, among the Muslim victories which took place during the month of Ramadan was the Battle of Guadalete, after which Muslims took over Al-Andalus and a chapter of oppression and tyranny ended, and a new chapter of advancement and civilization started." (The History of Al-Andalus, pp. 43, 44.)

The Conquest Of Al-Andalus Was A Natural Outcome Of The Strategy Adopted By Muslims During Invasions

"Islam's conquest of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) was a natural outcome of the strategy that the Muslims followed during their conquests: to secure their borders to promote their religion and to continue to wage jihad beyond these borders to spread the religion of Islam – which necessarily meant the advancement of Islam as long as there was a driving force. In addition, after Musa Ibn Nusayr[2] and his companions cemented that message of Islam in the greater Maghreb with their efforts, the natural next step was the conquest of Al-Andalus.

"Musa completed the efforts of his predecessors – the soldiers, preachers, commanders, and armies – in strengthening Islam in North Africa. He focused on stabilizing Islam in people's hearts and actively taught and educated them about the principles of Islam. His efforts were successful, as the Berbers in North Africa were among the groups most loyal to Islam, in inviting people to convert to Islam and in waging jihad to spread its teachings. The majority of the soldiers in Tariq ibn Ziyad's army, which was deployed to the Iberian Peninsula, were Muslim Berbers who were zealous about Islam, admirers of it, and willing to sacrifice themselves for it. They were not in it to take spoils or to gain recognition. This was the objective of all the Islamic conquests, and reading about them and learning about their nature would be sufficient for a rejection of allegations and refutation of false claims seeking to show, whether directly or indirectly, that these conquests were for the purpose of obtaining spoils of war. There is no evidence backing that claim, which is a mere illusion with no scientific or historical backing. (The History of Al-Andalus, p. 45.)

"It would be reasonable to say that the idea of conquering the Iberian Peninsula was an exclusively Islamic idea. In fact, it has been narrated that it was an ancient idea dating back to the time of the Rightly Guided Caliph Othman Bin Affan, and that [commander] Uqba Ibn Nafi Al-Fihri had considered crossing the strait to Spain if that would have been possible. In the past, Muslims carried out activity on the eastern shores of Spain and on the nearby islands of Majorca, Minorca, and Ibiza. According to the [Muslim historian] Al-Dhahabi, in the year 89 of the Islamic calendar [commander] Musa ibn Nusayr equipped his son Abdollah militarily, and he took over Majorca and Minorca. As for contacting Julian, the governor of the city of Ceuta, or other Spanish governors, it appears that this was during the time when Musa ibn Nusayr was considering executing the plan of conquest.

"How did he contact the Spanish side – Julian, the followers of the ousted king, and others? There are differing accounts about whether it took place by mail or in person, and where. If the communication actually took place and it was at that level, then the contact between the Spanish side and Musa, and their support during the conquest operation, might have contributed to facilitating or accelerating the conquest. But the initiation of the attacks and the management and implementation of the operation were done by the Muslims, who advanced powerfully and quickly with the conquest, while relying on Allah to achieve the objective of leading people to guidance.

"Musa had consulted Al-Walid Ibn Abd Al-Malik [the sixth Umayyad Caliph] before contacting Julian, or when Julian contacted him. At first, the Caliphate was hesitant to pursue that great plan, out of fear of endangering Muslims, but Musa managed to convince the Caliph and they agreed that the conquest would be launched after sending multiple brigades and exploration expeditions.

"Musa implemented Al-Walid's orders and prepared an exploration expedition consisting of 500 soldiers, including 100 knights led by Tarif Ibn Malik, aka Abu Zur'ah, who was a Muslim Berber. The army managed to cross the strait from Ceuta in ships belonging to Julian or someone else, and [the troops] disembarked on or near Paloma Isla on the Spanish side. Later, this island become known as the island of Tarif. The exploration expedition sailed from Ceuta during Ramadan of the year 91 in the Islamic calendar (June 710), and Tarif roamed the city and its surrounding areas and surveyed the enemy's positions. Then the expedition returned with reassuring and encouraging news about continuing the conquest operation. Tarif studied the region and sent groups to multiple areas, including Gibraltar, for the conquest operation, and the information gathered was valuable in setting up the plan of conquest and the march of Tariq's army to Gibraltar.

"When Musa learned about the outcome of Tarif's expedition, which further confirmed to him what had been reported to him about Al-Andalus, he sent Tariq ibn Ziyad with 7,000 Muslims, the majority of whom were Berber and freed slaves along with a small number of Arabs. And when Tariq needed additional fighters, he supplied him with 5,000, and Tariq's army built ships to transport the soldiers to the land of Al-Andalus. In order to complete the embarkation, those in charge of the campaign made sure to keep the news about the campaign hidden from the people. Therefore, Julian brought the ships to Ceuta at night and they started transporting the soldiers consecutively. It seemed that transporting the soldiers took more than one night, and it was reported that the soldiers who had disembarked would hide during the day so people would not notice their presence. The ships were going back and forth from Ceuta to Al-Andalus, and the people of Al-Andalus thought they were regular traders' ships, and when they learned about the campaign, the transport operation was completed peacefully in the month of Rajab in the Islamic year of 92. (Nafh At-Tib 1/226-227.)

"Tariq marched with the soldiers to Mons Calpe, which was the mountain that was later named after him and become known as Gibraltar. It was also reported that when Al-Andalus fell under the control of the Caliph of Almohad, Caliphate Abd Al-Mu'min, and when he crossed to Gibraltar, he ordered the building of a city on the top of the mountain and named it the 'mountain of conquest.' But the name did not become famous, and Gibraltar remained the most common name. Tariq marched with the army towards the green island and took it over. At that time, Roderic was in the north of Al-Andalus, busy fighting the Basques. It was reported that he was fighting against the French. His deputy Teodomir informed him about the Islamic invasion, and he returned to stop it. On his way to fight the Muslims, he passed by the capital Toledo and reconciled with the family of Wittiza and invited them, along with the Goths, to join him in fighting a mutual enemy, and they did. It was reported that Roderic appointed the two sons of Wittiza to lead the right side and the left side of his army.

"When Tariq learned about the armies which Roderic had prepared, he wrote to Musa Ibn Nusayr informing him about their massive size and asking him for additional fighters, and he was supplied with 5,000 fighters. Describing Tariq's army, Al-Maqqari [a Muslim historian] wrote, citing other historians, that they marched forward wearing chain mail and white turbans on their heads, holding Arabian bows and carrying swords and arrows. When Roderic saw them, he was terrified.

"Ibn Al-Athir [a Muslim historian] mentioned that when Tariq was sailing the sea, he took a nap and dreamed of the Prophet accompanied by his local and migrant companions carrying swords and bows. The Prophet then told him to march forth, be kind to Muslims, and fulfill their commitments. Tariq then saw the Prophet and his companions entering Al-Andalus in front of him. Then he awoke and delivered the glad tidings to his comrades, and was never in doubt about attaining victory.

"That conquest was attained because of the Muslim might and the solid ideology whose meaning has been engraved in the hearts of Muslims. The Muslims' supremacy has always derived from their belief in their ideology, not from the poor state of the others'. Islam's supremacy and advancement derived from its strong nature, its pure ideology, and its vigorous laws, because it is a revelation from Allah."


[1], April 12, 2022.

[2] The military commander who governed North Africa under the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid and directed the Islamic conquest of Spain.

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