The Influence of the Persian Ram upon the Modern Islamic Shi’ite Nation of Iran
Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the he-Goat
By Robert Mock MD
September - October 2006
The Golden Age of Persia (750 – 1200 CE)
It was during Islamic Golden Age between the years of 750 to 1600 CE when the Islamic world blossomed. Philosophers, scientists and Islamic engineers entered an Islamic era of enlightenment in technology, inventions and social changes. While Europe was in the “dark ages” the Islamic era made her greatest advances in civilization.
It was not that all knowledge was indigenous for the Islamic governments as their scientists and philosophers borrowed heavily from the more ancient civilizations in the Middle East, Greece, India and the ancient Persian Empire. The Arabic merchant was known throughout the then known world. There was even one tradition in which the disciples of Muhammad were advised to travel to China if it meant obtaining the means to spread the message of Allah.
This land of China was later conquered by the Mongolian hordes from the land of Magog and it was the Arabic chroniclers who left us their travel diaries that early called the Great Wall of China the “Wall of al-Magog”. It was this Great Wall that hindered the Mongolian hordes for centuries from moving south into mainland China. The Mongols were pushed eastward over the Aleutian Straits into the Americas as the future “Land of Magog” became the home of the American Indians.
It was Ala’eddin who was later honored in Yuan Dynasty of China by the construction of the Counterrweight Trebuchet for the great Kublai Khan. During the era of the rising Islamic world, they imported such innovations as paper manufacturing from China and the decimal numbering system from Pakistan. The manufacturing of paper would no longer be from various types of organic material such as mulberry bark. From the Chinese they learned to make it from linen that was more durable than papyrus from Egypt and more economical than parchment. These advancements were taken by the Arab from the Chinese and sent to the rest of the world.
This was the era of Islamic art within the medium of glass, textiles, ceramics and woodwork. In this flowering culture, its greatest indigenous art came from lustered glass and illuminated manuscripts. With their central literature centered on the Qur’an, the beautiful artwork and lettering called calligraphy became central to their expressions of the Islamic faith. This was used in both manuscripts and in the distinctive Islamic architectural design.
The Alhambra and the Jewish Italian Genoese Discoverer of America
One of the highest manifestations of Persian Islamic architecture was the Palacio Arabe or the Arabian (Moorish Palace) in Granada, Spain. Built between the years of 1248 to 1354, the palace construction was begun by Muhammed Ibn Al Ahmar.
Here in the largest room on the palace, The Hall of the Ambassadors (Gran Salón de Embajadores), was the Sultan’s throne room where he received his foreign dignitaries. The room was built into a perfect cube in all dimensions with 8,000 pieces of inlaid cedar of Lebanon that were star-studded with a domed ceiling which to the Islamic artisans was the finest expression of the complexity of Allah’s infinite universe. Plaster stalactites were carved on the cornices with stucco walls with ornamental flowers that were made by pressing molds into the plaster.
Around the room were the calligraphic letterings in a subliminal message in Arabic script with only one phrase repeated 9,000 times throughout the palace, “only Allah is victorious.” Here under the thousands of expression of faith to Allah, two historic events occurred in this room in 1492.
On January 2, 1492, the Spanish flag was first raised over the palace in celebration of the “reconquista” of Granada by the Spanish Christian rulers Ferdinand and Isabella. As the finale of a 700 year-long battle between the Christians and the Islamic Moors, the last Moorish king, Boabdil signed the terms of surrender and fled to Africa.
Only months later, a forty-one year old Jewish Genoese navigator and admiral called Cristoforo (Italian: kristospheros “the bearer of Christ, or “Christ carried to the Spheres”) Colombo (1451-1506) was ushered into the The Salón de los Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors), the largest hall in the Alhambra where the former Islamic Sultan received dignitaries from around the world. Here Christopher Columbus, as he is now known, received the royal support to sail to the New World in four separate voyages; 1492–1493, 1493–1496, 1498–1500, and 1502–1504. Columbus set sail August 3, 1492, after celebrating the Jewish Sabbath on board his ship on Tisha B’Av (9th of Av), August 2, 1492.
Christopher Columbus, depicted in his only state-sponsored (albeit non-authenticated) portrait, painted by Alejo Fernández between 1505 and 1536. Photo by Historian Manuel Rosa
The fascinating coincidences do not end here. One of the vigorous historical debates was discussed in the article, “Columbus Medinah” that discussed the Jewish roots of Christopher Columbus. Here was a Spanish speaking “Italian” with the adopted last name of “Colón" used predominately by Jews, who frequented the company of Jews and whose crew and backing were predominately Marrano Jews. A student of the Bible and the geography of the Holy Land, he was known to calculate the date from the destruction of the "Second House" or the Temple of Herod using the old Jewish date of 68 CE.
On his official report on the first voyage that was addressed to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, he wrote,
Christopher Columbus - "And thus, having expelled all the Jews from all your kingdoms and dominions, in the month of January, Your Highnesses commanded me that...I should go to the said parts of India."
While this date may have been the first royal notice to the Jewish people in Spain, the date for the order of expulsion was not signed until March 31, 1492.
Columbus and his crew were set to sail on August 3, 1492 but at his insistence, the entire crew was expected to be on their boats a day earlier. We set this date in the historical context that on August 2, 1492 all the Spanish Moranno Jews were expelled from Spain by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
This “black day” was first noted by Spanish biographer S. de Madariaga. It was later affirmed by the English Jewish historian Cecil Roth, editor in chief of the Encyclopedia Judaica. They noticed that the day of August 2, 1492 was also the “Tisha B’Av” the 9th day of Jewish month of Av.
On this day in infamy, the temples of Solomon and Herod were destroyed respectively by the imperial forces of Babylonians and the Romans. This day also hosted other Jewish national disasters; the worshipping of the golden calf, the return of the Israelite spies from the Promised Land and from their negative report had to continue to wander in the wilderness another forty years, the fall of Betar, the last stronghold of the Bar Kochba Revolt in 135 CE when the city of Jerusalem was razed to the ground by the Roman Emperor Hadrian on the 9th of Av, 136 CE, and many centuries later on July 26, 1555, the Jewish Ghetto was established in Rome on July 26, 1555, also the 9th of Av. The most infamous in modern history was on the 9th of Av when the deportation of the Jews living in the Warsaw Ghetto began as they were taken to the Treblinka concentration camp in 1942 CE.
The Spirit of Islamic Ummayad Spanish Architecture from the Great Mosque of Cordoba to the Alhambra
Nearby and no doubt seen by this famed “Italian” now turned Spanish Marrano Jew, was the Court of the Lions (Patio de los Leones). Around the courtyard were filigree walls and light domed roofs that were ornamented elaborately while surrounded by 124 white marble columns. In the center was a blue and yellow tiled courtyard, where each tile was bordered with enameled blue and gold, that was highlighted by an exquisite alabaster fountain clock with 12 Lions.
This fountain was made as a gift to the good relations between the Jews and the Muslim for the Sultan in Granada by a Jewish community leader. The twelve lions around the fountain represented the 12 tribes of Israel. Each hour of the day, a different lion would spout a stream of water. In the center of the fountain, there were four streams of water representing the four corners of the globe that were directed to the four separate apartment sections for the royal family. After the Spanish Christians took possession of the palace, they disassembled the clock to see how it worked. The fountain made by Jewish hands never worked again.
The Islamic Moorish scholar who sat within courtyard of Alhambra, the poetry of the Koran would be enlivened by the lushness of the garden. This was symbolized by the Islamic concepts of paradise and the embodiment of Islamic truth.
The eastern oriental mystical mind saw the concepts of life differently than the analytic minds of the western occidental thinker. The poetic strains were seen in reality;
"How beautiful is this garden
Where the flowers of earth rival the stars of heaven.
What can compare with this alabaster fountain, gushing crystal-clear water?
Nothing except the fullest moon, pouring light from an unclouded sky."
The Muslim artisans were soon able to take their art to the heights of spiritual expression as the geometric Islamic arabesque art was transferred from the vellum and parchment to the walls of their royal buildings. These were then transferred to the ceiling of their mosques and enhanced with plastered “stalactites” and “honeycombed” texturing on the walls and ceiling.
Whereas Islamic architecture and engineering peaked with the Palace of Alhambra in Granada Spain near the end of the Persian Golden Age, this architecture can only be compared with the Great Mosque at Cordoba Spain that was built in 785 CE. This marked the beginning of the impact of Islamic architecture in Spain and Northern Africa. Built over the Roman pagan temple and the later Cathedral Church of St. Vincent of Saragossa that was erected during the Visigothis rule, the rising edifice of the Mezquite (Mosque) was commissioned by the first Islamic Emir of Cordoba, Abd ar-Rahman I as it was built to the side of his palace.
The “Noble” Visigothic Kingdom of Aquitaine and Hispania and Nazarien, the disciples of Linus, the first Nazarene bishop of the Roman Christian Church
In the ferment of Western Europe from the 6th to the 11th centuries, several major trends were merging in the lands once controlled by the Western Roman Catholic Church. With the fall of Rome in September 4, 476 CE, the Italian peninsula was now under the control of the Kingdom of Odoacer and the “Gleaming” Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths) when Romulus Augustus, the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire was deposed. The Spanish Iberian Peninsula and southern France were now under the control of the Arian inspired “Noble” Visigothic Kingdoms of Aquitaine and Hispania (Western Goths).
The Arian Visigoths were quite tolerant to the Jews as their views on the Godhead had greater affinity. This toleration to the Jews continued in the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis, called Septimania, when Theodoric II, king of the Visigoths assumed control in 462.
Here lay the fortified city of Carcassonne where Theodoric II built the Basilica dedicated to Saint Nazaire. This appears to be a strange act as the name Nazaire appears to have some affinity to the early Nazarenes. According to the legends of the Early Christian Nazarenes, Nazarien was the son of a Jewish nobleman called Africanus who followed the “law of the Sabbath” and a Nazarene Christian called Perpetua who followed the “law of baptism”. He lived for a while in Rome during the reign of Nero and according to the traditions was baptized by either the Apostle Peter or Linus, reputed to be the second Roman Christian Pope.
Today, we know that Linus was the prince heir to the British Silurians in Wales and was baptized by Joseph of Arimathea with possibly Mary, Martha and Lazarus in the Nazarene mission in Glastonbury, England. As son of Caradactus, the Pendragon of Britain and the most feared enemy of Rome, when Caradactus was captured by the Romans, he and his family went to Rome. There Caradactus, speaking to the Roman Senate in the presence of the Empress, won his clemency but remained in Rome for seven years.
The sister to Linus the royal Silurian prince, called Gladys (princess in Celtic) was later adopted by Augustus Caesar and renamed Claudia Britannica. They became the sponsors of the Roman Christian Nazarene Ecclesia. Claudia Britannica became the wife of the Roman Senator Rufus Pudens and lived on one of Rome’s seven hills, the Viminilus Hill, in a palatial estate called the Palatium Britannica. Senator Rufus Pudens is believed to be the step-brother of the Apostle Paul. It was Linus the prince, who gave up royal life to become the Nazarene pastor and was ordained according to the Apostolic Constitutions by the Apostle Paul, his uncle-in-law to be the first bishop of Rome. It was Bishop Linus in Rome, who baptized the Nazarene Christian Nazarien.
The bodies of Nazarien (Nazarius) along with a Nazarene friend called Celsus were martyred possibly during Nero’s persecution against the Jews and Nazarenes. Their bodies were discovered by Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, and documented in the “Vita Amrosii” of Paulinus in a garden outside the walls of Milan and interned in the Basilica of San Nazaro and Celsus.
It was in the heavily fortified city of Carcassonne that the Frankish king Clovis was rebuffed from capturing (508) the city in 508 CE. There was no attempt made against this city until it was taken by the Islamic Moors called the “Saracens” in 725 CE.
During the era of the crusades, this walled city of Carcassonne became associated with the Albigensians. They were also known as the Cathars or “pure ones”. The Cathars were later condemned as a heretical Christian sect because of their dualism and gnostic religious beliefs. What was most significant was they were among the remnant of the early Christians to continue to strongly oppose the sacraments of the Roman Church. Probably the last significant stronghold of protesting against the monolithic control and corruption of the Roman Catholic Church, they became subject to violent persecution by the Roman Christian Church in the 12th century.
As a mass movement, the Cathars were overwhelmingly popular with the populous. The Roman papacy had not encountered an institutional and ecclesiastical resistance movement against Roman Orthodoxy since the days of Arianism and Marcionism over 900 years earlier.
As such, the Cathars were strongly hunted and persecuted especially in the regions and strongholds where they lived in the middle of the Pyrénées in southern France. This was called Languedoc-Roussillon region where their capital city, Toulouse was southwest from the town of Albi (ancient Albiga), one of the ancient centers of the Albigensians.
The final end of the Cathars and the Albigensians came with the “Albigensian Crusades”. During this time, the city of Carcassonne was captured in 1209 by the armies of the English noble, Simon de Montfort.
The Jews under the Roman Catholic Visigothic Kingdom of Aquitaine and Hispania
The Iberian Peninsula in Spain under Arian Visigothic rule in the 5th century found the Jewish way of life easy to intermingle with the Spanish population. Though called barbarians, the Visigoths were in reality followers of the Jewish messiah called Jesus who believed in a different Jesus than the Roman Orthodox Christian Church. They were part of a branch of Christianity started by Arias of Alexandria that believed that Jesus was not a part of a Trinity but Jesus was a completely separate being created in a lower dimension than God, whom He called His Father. After the adoption of the Nicean Creed and by the 4th and the 5th century, Roman Catholicism had become mainstream Christianity and Arianism was now denounced as heretical now subject to wars of destruction and genocide.
When the Visigoth king Recared was converted to Roman Catholicism in 587 CE, the lives of the Jews took an ominous turn. The Visigothic rulers became aggressive in their political policy towards the Jewish people. In the Third Council of Toledo in 589 CE, King Recared established the law that would forcibly baptize children of mixed marriages between Christians and Jews. The Jewish leaders were afterwards forbidden from holding any public office, having sexual relations with Christian women and performing circumcision on either Christians or slaves. Though the ruling heirarchy had come under the sway of papal legates and priests, many Visigoths did not convert to Catholicism and when oppressed became allies of the Jewish people. There continue to exist in this day also separate Arian bishops and Arian nobility.
By 613 CE, the Jewish citizens in Spain either had the choice under King Sisebut (612-620 CE) either to convert or be expelled from Spain. The historical chronicles record that 90,000 Jews converted while many fled north to Gaul and south to Northern Africa. Many of the “conversos” (Jews converted to Christianity) did continue to maintain secretly their Jewish identity. When the tolerant ruler of King Swintila (621-631 CE) came to office, many of the exiles returned and many of the Spanish conversos returned to their Judaism.
The Fourth Council of Toledo was assembled in 633 CE. They rejected the former ideology of compulsory baptism but a more urgent problem was now at hand, Crypto-Judaism. At that time, the bishops decided that if a “professed Christian” actually continued to be a practicing Jew, their children would be taken away from them and placed in a monastery or in an assigned adopted Catholic family. Those Jews who converted to Christianity and then returned to Judaism had to be rebaptized.
By the time of the Sixth Council of Toledo during the reign of King Chintila (636-639 CE), it was decreed that only Catholics could remain and live in the Visigothic kingdom from Southern France to the tip of the Spanish Peninsula. To further seal his decree, he excommunicated “in advance” any future king of the Visigoths who did not rule by the anti-Semitic edicts of his reign.
In 653 CE, during the Eighth Council of Toledo, all Jewish rites were forbidden, including circumcision and the observance of the Seventh-day Sabbath. All Jewish converts had to promise to put to death either by burning or stoning, any of their own people who they knew reverted by to the ways of Torah observance. To add weight to the council edicts, any Spaniard that was known to aid a Jews would be excommunicated from the Catholic Church and one-fourth of his possession would be seized by the government.
Once again, a new ruler came to the Visigothic kingdom that had compassion upon the “chosen ones” of God. First there was King Wamba (672-680 CE) who limited his expulsion orders and then King Erwig (680-687 CE) was recorded to be a “relative moderate anti-Semite.
The Twelfth Council of Toledo convened and again a Spanish decree went forth for forced baptism. Though who still disobeyed the law had their property seized, were subject to physical punishment, excommunication, exile or slavery. Jewish children over the age of seven were again taken away from their families and various fines and punishment were to be meted out to the nobility or clergy who did not enforce the decree with punishment.
In 694 CE, rumors were spreading throughout the land
by informants that certain Jews in Spain were planning a
revolt with Jewish and Muslim allies in Northern Africa.
Immediately King Egica (687-701 CE) began to enforce
the rulings of the 12th Council and instituted and began to levy
stiff fines against nobles who sympathized with the Jews and priests
and clergy who did not enforce the edicts of the realm.
When the Sixteenth Council of Trent was convened in 693 CE, the rulings of King Egica were approved. Yet there appeared to be a soft spot in the heart of King Egica. He felt that forced baptisms were wrong, allowed more relaxed rulings on converted Jews but continued the hardship on practicing Torah observant Jews. The practicing Jews could not longer engage in commercial activity with Christians nor even conduct international business with Christians overseas.
If there ever was an era in which the “Mark of the Beast” was rehearsed as a mini-drama for the Final Drama at the time of the end, it was in the final era of the Catholic Visigothic rule of Spain. The Visigothic rule in southern Europe must stand as a typology for prophetic observers of the time of the end. There are not many blatant rulings in the archives of history that can be studied and serve as a model of the future anti-Messiah who according to the prophetic Jewish picture at the End of Days would give out the “Mark of the Beast”.
Revelation 13:15-18 – “He (Islamic Earth Beast) was granted power to give breath to the image of the (Jesuit Illuminate controlled, Rothschild funded and Shabbatean Jewish implemented “Sea”) Beast, that the image of the (sea) beast would both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive the mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”
It was only after the Visigoths were converted to Catholicism with the baptism in 587 CE of the Visigothic king Reccared (586-601 CE), were the Jews forced into Catholic Christian baptism. It was the Synod at Toledo in 633 CE that the Catholic bishops took away the right to elect the king from the Visigothic nobles and conferred this right upon the bishops to choose a king from the royal family. Western Roman Catholicism was reasserting its “divine mandate” to control the kings of the west. The Iberian Peninsula was completely Catholicized, the Sephardic Jews of Spain underwent one of the worst periods of oppression and anti-Semitism under Catholic rule until an epic event happened in 711 CE.
It was April 30 and the Visigothic Kingdom of Iberia came under assault by the Islamic jihad that had moved across Northern Africa and landed on the straits of Gibraltar. They were at the doorsteps of the European continent. By July 19, 711, the Berber general Tariq ibn Ziyad with about 7-9,000 Muslim warriors, under orders by the Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus, met the Visigoth king Roderic (Rodrigo) at the Guadalete River.
Prior to battle, the speech of Tariq was penned for immortality.
Tariq ibn Ziyad – ‘"Oh my warriors, whither would you flee? Behind you is the sea, before you, the enemy. You have left now only the hope of your courage and your constancy. Remember that in this country you are more unfortunate than the orphan seated at the table of the avaricious master. Your enemy is before you, protected by an innumerable army; he has men in abundance, but you, as your only aid, have your own swords, and, as your only chance for life, such chance as you can snatch from the hands of your enemy. If the absolute want to which you are reduced is prolonged ever so little, if you delay to seize immediate success, your good fortune will vanish, and your enemies, whom your very presence has filled with fear, will take courage. Put far from you the disgrace from which you flee in dreams, and attack this monarch who has left his strongly fortified city to meet you. Here is a splendid opportunity to defeat him, if you will consent to expose yourselves freely to death. Do not believe that I desire to incite you to face dangers which I shall refuse to share with you. In the attack I myself will be in the fore, where the chance of life is always least.
"Remember that if you suffer a few moments in patience, you will afterward enjoy supreme delight. Do not imagine that your fate can be separated from mine, and rest assured that if you fall, I shall perish with you, or avenge you… The Commander of True Believers, Alwalid, son of Abdalmelik, has chosen you for this attack from among all his Arab warriors; and he promises that you shall become his comrades and shall hold the rank of kings in this country. Such is his confidence in your intrepidity. The one fruit which he desires to obtain from your bravery is that the word of God shall be exalted in this country, and that the true religion shall be established here. The spoils will belong to yourselves...”
The Battle of Guadalete was decisive, King Roderic disappeared and his fate was never known. His 25,000 man army had been defeated by only 7,000 Muslim warriors. The entire court of the Visigoths was believed to have been killed in battle. It was not known whether he fled or was killed but the Islamization of Europe began.
Over the next eight years, with the newly arrived forces of Emir Musa ibn Nusair, the Spanish Iberian Peninsula, along with Portugal was brought under the control of the Muslims, except for a few regions of Asturia and the Basque region in the north near the Pyrénée mountain range that separated Northern Spain from Southern France. The advance of the Umayyad Moorish conquest did not stop until the Moors were defeated by Frank Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732 CE.
With every imperial quest, there is the renewal of the spirit to defeat the conqueror by the conquered. And such was the Visigothic nobleman, one of the bodyguards of King Roderic, who was called Pelayo of Asturias. Pelayo did escape the Islamic conquerors and returned to his native land in Asturias. There is one tradition that the Moorish governor, Munuza fell in love with Pelayo’s sister, Ormesinda. He kidnapped her, yet on their wedding date she took a poison and killed herself. In his fury, Pelayo became the leader of a rebellion against the Moorish governor, Munuza. In 717, he defeated Munuza and established the first Spanish kingdom, the Kingdom of Asturias in 718 with his capital at Cangas de Onis. Reverting to the ancient Visigothic custom, he was elected as the first king of his nation by a democratic vote from his countrymen in Asturias, a province in Northern Spain. His kingdom was not assured nor secured until 722 CE when he defeated a much larger Moorish force coming against the Kingdom of Asturias. His victory was recorded in the Moorish chronicles as they described his army as “thirty wild donkeys.” With independence, Pelayo victory became the first Christian victory of the Spanish Reconquista (722 CE). This reconquista was not complete until the 9th of Av, 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabella conquered Granada and the Jews were expelled from Hispanola (Spain).
The Umayyad Empire in Cordoba
The Umayyad Empire at Damascus that began in 661 CE came to its end with Ibrahim ibn al-Walid in 744 CE. For the next six years, Marwan II ibn Muhammad ruled from Harran, the ancient home of Terah and Abraham now located in modern day Turkey. In the battle of Abu al-'Abbas al-Saffah at the Zab River, he was defeated by the Abbasids where 300 of his royal family were killed in that one battle alone. Of the entire dynastic family, only the prince Abd ar-Rahman I escaped to Spain. There he established the Umayyad Dynasty in Cordoba in 756 CE that was captured by the royal Ummayad decree in 711 CE.
The Mosque at Cordoba at one time was only one of 1,000 mosques in the city. It was also the second largest mosque in the Islamic world. The palace of the Caliph had its own private secured overhead walkway so that he would not risk being assassinated.
The architecture of giant arches and over 1,000 columns was a combination of jasper, onyx, marble and granite that was taken from the more ancient Roman temple and other Roman buildings. The arches that were called “poly-lobed” depicted a new Islamic architectural design to protect the huge weight of the higher ceilings. The central dome was honey-combed with blue tiles as it decorated the ceiling in the likeness of the heavenly stars. The size of the mosque reached is greatest and current extent in 987 CE when the gardens, outer naves and orange tree courtyard were completed.
Cordoba was a stylish, sophisticated city that excelled in its city planning.
According to one Moorish historian:
“The city of Cordova ‘had 471 mosques and 300 public baths … the number of houses of the great and noble were 63,000 and 200,077 of the common people. There were … upwards of 80,000 shops. Water from the mountain was distributed through every corner and quarter of the city by means of leaden pipes into basins of different shapes, made of the purest gold, the finest silver, or plated brass as well into vast lakes, curios tanks, amazing reservoirs and fountains of Grecian marble…
The houses of Cordova were air conditioned in the summer by ‘ingeniously arranged draughts of fresh air drawn from the garden over beds of flowers, chosen for their perfume, warmed in winter by hot air conveyed through pipes bedded in the walls.’ This list of impressive works includes lamp posts that lit their streets at night to grand palaces, such as the one called Azzahra with its 15,000 doors. Without a doubt, during the height of the Caliphate of Córdoba, the city of Córdoba proper was one of the major capitals in Europe and probably the most cosmopolitan city of its time.’”
By 1212, a coalition of Christian kings drove the Muslim south from central Spain under the military command of Alfonso VIII of Castile. The Christian Reconquista continued for another three centuries in the southern sector of the Iberian peninsule to drive out the Moorish Kingdom of Granada. Here was the architectural gem of the Islamic culture, the royal palace of Alhambra.
The Islamic Palace of Alhambra in Granada, Spain by David Roberts (1830s)
When Cordoba was conquered from the Moors by King Ferdinand III of Castile in 1436, this was also the same year he was rebaptized back into the Roman Catholic Church. Later additional Christian additions were added to the Mosque in Cordoba that included the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel which King Alfonso X of Castile later repented for marring this beautiful edifice.
The most massive reconstruction within the Mosque at Cordoba was the construction of a Renaissance style cathedral nave within its midst by King Carlos V of the now united Spanish monarchy. Upon its completion, it was reputed that King Carlos V said,
King Carlos V - “You have built what you or others might have built anywhere, but you have destroyed something unique in the world."
And true there was yet a more valuable historical event that happened. The now Christian Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin preserved the former Moorish Mosque in Cordoba from being destroyed by the Spanish Inquisition that was begun by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1478. This brutal and catastrophic Spanish Inquisition lasted over 360 years in Spain until it was abolished in 1834 by Queen Isabella II of Spain
As we have seen, the trend from Arian Christianity to Roman Catholic Christianity and the “Athanasian Creed” that formed the roots of its universal power and authority was a transition for the Jewish people of increasing persecution, oppression, loss of all personal freedom, political freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and business and economic freedom. Yet the Jewish people flourished. The training in true life’s experience was that one day you could live freely as a Jew and tomorrow you had to learn to go under-ground as a Jew. In this transition, some of the Morrono Jews of Spain completely lost their identity.
Even in this modern age, the Spanish conquest of the New World was also the link to a new land in which the former Spanish Sephardic Jew could live away from the prying and oppressive eyes of the Spanish Catholic royalty. Only in this past century have many Spanish émigrés to the New World come to shed their Spanish Catholic ancestry and reclaim their Jewish heritage and roots.
Out of the horrors of oppression, is it any wonder that there were rumors during the reign of King Ergica (687-701 CE) that Jewish people were possibly appealing to the Moors in Northern Africa to come to their aid. Suddenly there occurred a rash of government confiscation of personal Jewish property and slavery for the Jews that including also those that were baptized into Catholicism occurred. They were declared traitors and persona non grata.
Once again in the regions where the Cathars and the Albigensians were living, the converted Jews were exempted. There in the mountain passes of Septimania, where the Arian Visigoth still had control of their kingdom, the Jews were still felt to be a necessary ally for the protection of the Kingdom.
When Prince Abd ar-Rahman I escaped to Spain, he established the Umayyad Dynasty in Cordoba in 756 CE as the Emir of Cordoba. The exiled Sunni Caliphate at Damascus was now to be resurrected into one of the great arenas of culture and learning in the world on the Iberian Peninsula of Spain. The Jewish people began to flock to Spain from Europe, Morocco and as far away as Babylon. The traditions of the Sephardic Jews came into a religious renaissance with the blending of diverse Jewish cultures from all around the world.
Alienated by Catholic rule, by the time the Moors reached southern Spain, many Jews were awaiting them as liberators. Eager to assist the Islamic Sunni conquerors, the Jews shunted out by the Catholic superiors in Spain and France from participating in the political arena of the country were eager to help the Moors. As the Moorish conquers moved from one region to another, many times the citadel or garrison was left in the hands of the Jews. The major cities of Granada, Málaga, Seville, and Toledo were protected by a garrison of mixed Jews and Moors. The “Golden Age” for the Spanish Jews had arrived.
Even as a dhimmis (non-Muslim believers in a monotheistic God), the Jewish life under the Umayyad rulers was immensely improved and became one of great opportunities. The religious contacts with the Jewish Babylonian community were improved. The Babylonian academies at Sura and Pumbedita were at their zenith. Over the next three centuries the scholarship of the Sephardic community was one in which they spent considerable effort to reinforce how to live the life of Torah (halakha) in a world that hated Torah. They had come out of considerable repression by the former lenient Arian Visigothic rulers who had now converted and come under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. The study of Hebrew also had a renaissance and with it the study of the Torah and the prophets.
During the Golden Era in the Sunni controlled Umayyad Spain, Judaism grew, blended and refined their interests in philologic pursuits, the love of learning and reasoning. This included:
Even though the Jews had gone through the age of Shammaite Phariseeism in the first century of rigid sectarianism, isolationism and anti-Goyimism (anti-Gentile) while they lost their semi-autonomous independence and their temple, the voice of the God of Israel gave them new direction for them to survive when they were cast out to flee into the wilderness of the nations. That new direction was the “voice of Hillel the Elder”. They were to live a life of Hesed (mercy) in a world of evil and share the God of Israel to the entire gentile world. The continuous trust in their sages also led them to maintain their own Jewish identity as the forces of the world sought to destroy and eliminate the last vestige of the Hebrews that stood at the base of Sinai and received the revelations from the God of Israel.
Then came the age in which the authority of the rabbinate was challenged. It was in the age of Muslim control that Karaism (Karaite Judaism) came into prominence among the Mesopotamian Jews. The Karaite Jew believed in the eternal monotheistic God of Israel who was the Creator of the Universe and gave the TaNaKh scripture (Torah, Prophets and Writings) to the Hebrews to preserve for all ages. They believed in the trust in Divine providence, the continuous hope for the coming of the Messiah and the Resurrection of the dead. The one thing that the Karaite Jews did reject was the elevated opinion the rabbis gave to the Mishnah, the Talmud and their Oral Law as the interpretation of how one should live the life of Torah. They rejected the Talmudic tradition only as an innovation that portrayed polemic opinions within Judaism, with all their contradictions as the “traditions of men”, without stating which opinion was the “truth”. Therefore, the Karaite believed in only one opinion, the Torah and its literal “pshat” interpretation that was adapted to their own age.
The phenomenon of schism within Islam was “fodder” that gave rise to the Karaites during the Golden Age. During this era, various Jewish traditions that rejected the Mishnah and the Talmud as having any authority arose. One of the most prominent was Anan ben David in the 9th century, who some regard as the founder of the Karaite Movement. As Islam came into collision with the older religions, factions within those older traditions began to resurrect themselves.
In Judaism, there was a resurrection of the Sadducees (and Boethusians) that were in league with the Shammaite Pharisees in 1st century Judaism that collided with the “Jesus Party” of Nazarene Judaism and the Essenes that in most part were assimilated within Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia. Other Essenic factions that remained split off soon became extinct.
Karaite Judaism became a part of and absorbed many of the non-Jesus messianic sectarian groups such as the Isawites (Abu 'Isa al-Isfahanim, the Persian founder of a Jewish messianic sect that saw him as the fifth and last Messianic herald that would deliver the Jews from Gentile rule and giving them political independence. They also included the Yudganites (Islamic Sufi messianic and mystical traditions from Jewish disciple of Abu 'Isa al-Isfahani called Yudghan or Judah of Hamadan, the Shadganites (followers of Yudghan and Shadgan), the Malakites (one of the four schools of Sunni Islam) and the Mishawaites who might have been absorbed within the conflict of ideas with Talmudic Judaism except for the anti-Rabbinic actions of Anan ben David.
Karaite Judaism as the World Karaite Movement founded by Nehemia Gordon and Meir Rakhavi exists today in the resurrection of the ancient Karaites who are now seeking to bring the observation of the lunar observance of the original Feasts of the Lord back to mainline Judaism. The attack on the rabbinic authority by the World Karaite Movement parallels in part the German protestant revolt against the ecclesiastical authority of Roman Catholicism when Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. To the Christians, the thesis of “Justification by Faith in Christ Alone” parallels the modern Jews as they address the “Halachah of the Jews by Faith in the Messiah Alone” and not on the ecclesiastical authority of the Talmud and the rabbanim of the newly established Jewish Sanhedrin trying to establish the official Halachah of the Jews.
This fact is significant as one of the great streams of the Jewish phenomenon. When the Jewish people gave up their anti-Goyim (anti-Gentilism) it became easy for them to assimilate into other cultures. When the Jew became a part of a different culture, the inhabitants of that culture became jealous. Even though they were culturally hidden, their identity was sought out and great cultural and political forces were set in motion to throw them out.
At the time of the end this process of casting them out by their cultural patrons whom they assimilated with has been accelerated. The most potent and catastrophic effects of this “casting out” of assimilation was seen in the German Holocaust when orthodox Jews, secular Jews and Jews who tried to blend and act like non-Jews were all treated the same – extermination in the German and Polish concentration camps.
The Arab assimilation was accomplished during the Golden Age of Islam. For hundred of years they were protected by their guardian hosts. Then in February 1840s with the Damascus Affair, the Arab world began to separate and “spit” the Jewish people out of their Islamic culture. We have seen that process accelerate in effect over the last fifty years as the Jews of Iraq, Iran, Saudi, Morocco and the rest of the Islamic world have had to flee back to the land of their forefathers.
During the era of the European Enlightenment, the Jewish people quickly assimilated into the European and Russian culture. On the heels of the Nazi Holocaust and the Russian pogroms, they also have been “spat” out to return to the land of their forefathers.
This same phenomenon is working today in America. Hidden and not seen nor understood clearly, anti-Semitism is rising in America. The prosperity of the Jews who control 90% of the American media, control a majority of the stock brokerage companies on Wall Street and control the American foreign policy of the United States State Department as the “Neo-Cons” are now seeing a mega-shift in American idealism.
The days of the Jewish assimilation in American culture may be about over as can be seen with the following: the Abramoff Scandal of corruption in the Congress of the United States, the Conrad Black Wire and Mail Fraud Scandal, Israeli-British-United States controlled Hedge Fund Operation Scandal called Refco, AIPAC Intelligence Scandal with the indictment of Israeli Lawrence Franklin, and the looming international Corruption of the Israeli Government leaders of Arial Sharon and Ehud Olmert. The latest of the Jewish non-Jew or Shabbatean Jewish scandals is the revelation of the American Jewish billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis. Here are the “leading financiers, radical-leftist ideologues and political activists” through their MoveOn.org that are spending millions to counter the American political support of Israel by attacking Jews and Evangelical Christians alike.
When it came to government officials, the most prominent was the Ibn Nagrelas family. Samuel Ha-Nagid ibn Nagrela (993-1063 CE) served as viser to the Berber king Habbus al-Muzaffar in Granada and his son Badis for thirty years. His ministerial roles included director of government policy. He also became one of only two Jews who commanded a Muslim army. The other military leader was his son, Joseph ibn Nagrela. Samuel ibn Nagrela became a poet of renown and later wrote the introduction to the Talmud that today is in most standard texts. Later his son, Joseph ibn Negrela besides being the viser also became the commander the Islamic military forces until he was assassinated by Islamic rivals in 1066 CE. Within the Jewish community there also rose viziers in the Spanish Islamic cities of Seville, Lucena and Saragossa.
It had now been 170 years since the Moorish invasion of Spain by the former deposed and exiled Caliph of Damascus, Emir Abd al-Rahman I. The land was filled with strife and exhaustion from internal dissent. Though some of the dissent came from Spanish Christians, the bitterest enemies of the state were the aristocratic Arabs of Spanish descent.
The Shi’a Fatimids in Egypt and Northern Africa was continuously seeking to establish a Shi’a Muslim caliphate in Spain that was ruled by a descendant from a member of the family of the Prophet Muhammad. Finally, Abd-ar-Rahman III broke with the Egyptian Shi’a Fatimids and the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad by declaring himself a Sunni Caliphate of Cordoba on January 16, 929 CE. While the “Caliphs” were always thought to be the prince who ruled over the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina, the tradition was finally broken. There were now two Sunni Caliphs in Baghdad and now Cordoba, Spain and one Shi’a Caliph, the Egyptian Fatimids.
We have now become aware of the influence of the Jewish stateman, Hasdai ibn Shaprut. With a Jewish protector at the highest level in the Islamic court, the involvement of the Jews quickly expanded into finance, commerce, medicine and agriculture.
With Hasdai, poet himself, now as the leading Jewish patron of the arts, Cordoba was become the “Mecca in the West” and a place that sought to draw Jewish scholars. They were assured that they would be welcomed by Jewish patrons of means. The Sephardic culture flourished especially in literature and language studies.
The areas of medicine, mathematics, astronomy and logic were areas of discipline that appealed to the Jewish mind and they were the foundation of divine knowledge. What better than to use the mind in the course of logic that was filled with abstract and add to that the subtleties of various modes of thought. Here in the natural world, the study of the creation was a way to understand the Creator, which in turn allowed the student to come closer to His God.
In philosophy, many of the Jewish philosophers spent their lives dedicated to the field of ethical Jewish rationalism. In linguistics, the Sephardim became able translators, taking Greek texts and translating them into Arabic, taking Arabic texts and translating them into Hebrew and taking Hebrew and Arabic texts and translating them into Latin. The work of the linguist and translator spread into the fields of science and philosophy. It can be said that the European Renaissance rested upon the Jewish fertile mind accustomed to thinking and translating into multiple languages.
On the side of literature, “men of letters” that came to Cordoba included:
1. Dunash ben Labrat (921-990 CE) a Moroccan Jew from Fes, who was a student of Rabbi Saadia Gaon in Tiberias and became a famed commentator, poet, and grammarian in the Spanish Golden Era. It was Dunash who invented the Hebrew metrical poetry.
2. Menahem ben Saruq (920-970 CE), a polyglot and poet who compiled the first Hebrew dictionary and the assistant to the stateman and Jewish councilor, Hasdai ibn Shaprut.
3. Solomon ibn Gabirol (1021-1058 CE) who was a Jewish Iberian poet and philosopher.
4. Yehuda Halevi (1075-1141 CE) a physican turned acclaimed poet who lived in Toledo, Cordoba and headed eventually to Israel.
5. Abraham ibn Ezra (1088-1164 CE) a Jewish grammarian, commentator, poet, philosopher and astronomer that lived in Tudela, Spain respected for his biblical commentaries that were Newplatonic and rationalistic.
6. Moses ibn Ezra (1055-1130 CE) that was a distinguished philosopher, linguist and powerful poet.
When it came to literary achievements by the Jewish authors in the Golden Age of Islam, we find Ibn Gabriol who wrote the neo-Platonic book called “The Source of Life”. For the next few centuries throughout the Middle Ages, was read by Christians in monasteries as though he were a Christian writer. The Jewish Sephardic community even came forth with the confidence that they began to proselytize Judaism among Christians, even to the debate podium where a former Catholic deacon turned Jew (838 CE), Bodo Eleazar corresponded with the Jew turned Catholic Bishop, Paulus Albarus who tried to convince each other to return to their former religion.
The End of the Golden Age and the
Rise of Radical Zealot Islamic Sects from North Africa.
It was in 1031 that the Umayyad Dynasty at Cordoba fell. By 1085, the Christian Reconquista led to the fall of Toledo. The Umayyads appealed to their Islamic brethren and soon a Berber invasion arrived. It was actually the Muslim Berbers from Northern Africa who was led by a Berber General Tariq ibn Ziyad who took Spain in 711 CE for the Caliph of Damascus Abd al-Malik and the North African Viceroy Musa ibn Nusayr. Over the years, it was the Berbers that became two thirds of the Muslim population in Spain. The reason the exiled Umayyad caliph Abd ar-Rahman I was supported in become the first Emir of Cordoba was because his mother was a Berber.
In the collapse of the Umayyad, the Taifa Islamic principalities arose that were ruled by Arab, Berber or Slavic leaders. As the Muslims were loosing power and the Christians were gaining power, the Jews stood to benefit. Wanting a stable government and economy, the Jewish scholars, scientists, doctors, government leaders, commercial traders and writers were sought by both the Muslims and the Christians.
Initially the Almoravides rulers in Seville became the supreme rulers. They despised the liberal governance of the al-Andalus culture and the fact that non-Muslim such as the Jews were allowed to rule over Muslims. They were the more radical fundamentalistic Muslim and began a forced conversions of the Sephardic Jews into Islam. Even so, writers, diplomat and physicians were sought by the Almoravides leaders.
Yet while the Almoravides Berbers were taking over Spain, their home base was being conquered by another Muslim faction, the Almohads in 1172 CE. They not only destroyed the Northern African homeland but headed to Spain and the Almohads gained controlled. The times got rapidly worse. The Almohads were harsh and unyielding. The “dhimmis” whether Jews or Christian were harshly dealt with. Many of them fled including the family of Maimonides, one of the greatest of the Jewish Torah sages and the codifier of the Jewish Law. They fled to the southeast while many fled to the northern Christian kingdoms.
By the 12th century, Aragon and Navarre had surrendered to Christian forces. As the Christians entered, so also the services of the Jews who understood the governance of the Spanish government were needed. They knew the language, the culture of the Islamic enemy of the Christians and their skills became of great value to the Christian Reconquistadors. The final journey for the Jew who lived between two bitter enemies was mixed. They were looked with suspicion by both and subjected to religious persecution by both. As the centuries unfolded, the life of the Jew living in a culture with Sunni Islam was far superior then living in a land of Roman Catholic Christians.
By the year of 1492 when the Jews were expelled completely from Spain by the new Catholic Spanish rulers of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Spanish Jewish population was one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish enclaves in the Western World. In Spain today, only a few thousand Jews remain in that vibrant cultural community. Yet, the descendants of the Sephardic Morrono Jew of Spanish and Portuguese descent today comprise of twenty percent of the global Jewish population.
Sixty five years after the Great Mosque of Cordoba was built, the Great Mosque of Samarra in Iraq was complete. It was 852 CE, the hypostyle architecture with its rows of columns over a flat base with a huge spiraling minaret soaring overhead became one of the revered Sunni mosques in Iraq. This mosque was commissioned by the new Abbasid ruler, Caliph Al-Mutawakkil whose reign was in Samarra from 847 to 861 CE.
Destined to be the biggest mosque in the entire world, this open plan mosque was able to hold eighty thousand worshippers with its rectangular walled frame and 23 doors. Towering high above the walls was the eminent minaret called the “al- Malwiya" tower whose ascending rampway spiraled into the heavens. Here was a replica of the spiral towers of ancient Mesopotamia and the Babylonian Ziggurats like the infamous Tower of Babel.
The Muslims were mercantile and trade merchants par excellence. Geography was in their favor for through their lands weaved the great trade routes between the East and the West. These included the Arabian-Asian trade routes and the African-Arabian trade routes.
The Arabian city of Mecca was the central trade center for all of Arabia. The Prophet Muhammad for that fact was a merchant. Inherent within the grand pilgrimages to the sacred city of Mecca was that the “holy site” was a time to share and exchange ideas about holiness and the Divine. It was also was a cultural melting pot for the exchange of goods and social cultural ideas for the enlightenment of all the Muslim peoples.
The Golden Era came on the expansion of Islamic culture and civilization after the great jihad and wars were over and their expansion across the globe had reached its zenith. As the Chinese, Indian and Christian contemporary cultures were building social cultures on an agrarian based feudal class nobility, the Islamic culture expanded to its furthest extent on the foundation of a mercantile and trade culture. As the Islamic goods spread around the globe so also the Islamic faith went with it. Soon there were upwards to 37 million Muslims living in China predominately in the regions of the ethnic Turkic Uyghur territories that were later incorporated into proper China. As the Islamic merchants borrowed inventions, they left their religion and the profits of this exchange they invested in great plantations and textiles.
With the combined interests of the Muslim, Jewish and later Christian merchants, a system of contracts was effectively implemented by wealthy investors. They formed commercial ventures that funded the trading networks around the world. In time, money that was promised in Baghdad could be cashed in Spain. The roots of the modern check system were found in the trading world of the Jewish and Muslim economic expansion. As the trade goods would pass from one city to another, a city tax was imposed and the final destination of silk, perfume, textiles and other luxury commodities were eventually bought later by the rich and famous.
Travel along rivers was limited only to the northern and southern routes of the Nile, Tigris and the Euphrates. Transportation by sea became critically important. Within the Middle Eastern mind was also the inventive quest that gave the western world the rudimentary sextant, known as the kamal, and the astrolabe that allowed the navigator to travel by the orientation of the stars. The Arabs later gave the west the magnetic compass that the traveler used in their orientation to the magnetic spheres. With the Muslim voyagers also came the three masted merchant ships that traversed the Mediterranean. In fact, the caravel ships that were used by Christopher Columbus were based on the earlier Muslim Andalusian merchant vessel. It was the “caravela redonda” that became the type of ships that Columbus set out on his famous expedition to India in 1492.
Columbus’ original fleet included the Santa Maria, a small carrack cargo vessel about seventy feet long with a deck, called the Nao. It was a ship that Columbus never liked yet it initially became his mother ship. She ran aground and sank on Christmas Eve 1492 at the site of Môle Saint-Nicolas at Hispaniola Haiti the area now known as Cap Haitien. The Pinta and Niña were caravel redonda ships of a little over 60 feet by 25 feet of the type later used by the explorers during the Age of Discovery in the New World. After the first voyage, the Pinta disappeared from history.
Yet the Niña, clearly Columbus ’ favorite, logged about 25,000 miles under Columbus’ command in three voyages. Originally named the Santa Clara after the patron saint of Moguer, the Niña received her nickname after her master-owner Juan Nino of Moguer. Her first captain on the First Voyage, Vincente Yanez, later became the discover of the Amazon River on a separate voyage.
Of the three ships only the Niña accompanied seventeen ships on Columbus Second Voyage to Hispaniola and became the flag ship on an exploration trip to Cuba. Later Columbus became 50% owner of the Niña. She was the only ship to survive the 1495 hurricane and safely brought back the Admiral and 120 passengers to Spain in 1496. On Columbus’ Third Voyage, she became the advance guard in 1498. The last recorded entry of the Niña was to the Pearl Coast in 1501 CE.
Even when the geo-political culture shifted by the intermittent creation of the third axis of the ancient Mongolian Empire in the early 13th century, the foundation of Islamic civilization continued its urban and business oriented culture enhanced by its global trade networks. The power of the state was endemic in all oriental cultures, from Russia, Persia to China. As was so typical of the Mongolian Empire of Ghenghis Khan, the state was supreme and the individual was always subservient to the state. On the local level the state power was focused on the Dar al Imara, the office of the governor that resided in the citadel with fortresses that towered high above the city walls.
Along with the civil authority of the state was also the religious authority founded and supported by the Islamic Waqf. The waqf was an inalienable religious endowment in Islam where land or a building was given for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. These religious charities then dealt with the qadi, and Islamic judge ruling by the Islamic Sharia Law and mullahs, their religious leaders.
Because the waqf was tax exempt it also became rich and powerful much like the Catholic Churches and monasteries on the European continent. Out of these donations education was funded where knowledge became the power of the Islamic mullah. The power of the typical waqf was enhanced when the civil power was in league with the religious power and the Muslim states would expropriate or condemn the estates of wealthy people when they died or were excommunicated or disgraced in public. If the estate was declared a waqf with the descendants as the trustees, the wealthy could provide a source of income for his family under the aegis of religious charity. Such became concepts for “charitable foundations” that grew up later in the western world.
Today the most famous waqf is the Waqf of Jerusalem that is responsible for the care and upkeep of the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. For decades the Waqf of Jerusalem had been run by the family or relatives of Yasser Arafat. This waqf is today one the foundational charitable organizations associated with the radical Hamas terrorist organization. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, became the most noted Arabic supporter of Hitler’s Nazi thrust to control Europe and the Middle East.
These same charitable organizations began to proliferate with the noted success of the Hamas and the Mufti of Jerusalem “Waqf of Jerusalem.” They are today the path of money that supports the modern Islamic Jihad by Osama bin Laden, the Hamas, the Hezbollah and the Palestinian Authority. Their roots were all founded during the Golden Age of Persia.
Only within religion and philosophy were the Islamic thinkers prevented from introducing unorthodox ideas. Even so the impact of Aristotle and Plato did profoundly affect the Islamic world. It was Avicenna, called Ibn Sina (980–1037 CE) (Abū ‘Alī al-Husayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sīnā) who would became the famed Muslim physician, philosopher and scientist.
He used the scientific approach of Hippocrates and Galen and was called “the most famous scientist of Islam and of the most famous of all races, places and times” by George Sarton, historian of science in his book, “History of Science, the Study of the History of Science.” Avicenna’s influence on the Renaissance in Europe was profound.
It was Avicenna along with the speculative thinkers, al-Kindi and al-Farbi, introduced the combination of Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism into Islamic religious ideology. This would later have to re-translate from Islamic literature back into Latin and reintroduced into European science by Constantine the African.
Out of Spain, the Arabic philosophical literature that was translated into Hebrew, Latin and Ladino became one of the great contributions to the emerging European philosophy. In all, the Persian Golden Age affected the greats of all cultures. These included the Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides (Mussa bin Maimun ibn Abdallah al-Qurtubi al-Israili), the most profound codifier of Torah Law, the Islamic historiographer-historian Ibn Khaldun, as a sociologist-historian, the Christian Carthaginian Constantine the African who reintroduced the ancient Greek medical texts by translating them from Arabic back into Latin and Al-Khwarzimi, the Persian mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and geographer. He was best recognized as the Father of Algebra with his systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations.
The finger of the Lord can be recognized as working throughout the gentile nations of the world for to each of them He gave a renaissance or a Golden Age for their cultural glory.
The Roman Empire was in descent when the Islamic Empire was rising. Though many glorify the Byzantine Empire, this Eastern Roman Empire only sought to preserve the ancient glory of Rome and the Western Roman world of the Roman Catholic Church. There were remarkable differences between the scientists of the Byzantine world and their medieval Islamic contemporary peers. In the arena of science, the Byzantines did not add any new knowledge to science or medicine. In fact it has been shown that they stagnated in relationship with their Greco-Roman classical predecessors.
With the Islamic jihad that shot across the Middle East, Northern Africa, Spain and stalled at the doorsteps of what would become Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire in Southern France, the three most advanced cities of the Byzantine Empire, Alexandria in Egypt, Carthage in Tunisia and Antioch in Syria came under Islamic rule. The centralized governments collapsed, the arts and sciences disappeared and the populous returned to subsistence farming. The Golden Age of Science, Religion and Philosophy was now under Islamic rule. This list of the Scientists and Scholars of the Persian Empire is staggering and is little appreciated in relationship to what existed in Medieval Europe and the rest of the known world
There is nothing that escapes the watchful eye of the Almighty One of Israel. The rise and fall of the kings, monarchs or powerful leaders of the political and religious entities around this globe are all placed there by the “hand” of the God of Israel. He alone possesses the “Keter” or the crown of all authority. He alone is the “King” of the Universe and the “King of kings and the Lord of lords”.
It is the theme of the TaNaKh (Old Testament) and the Brit Hadassah (New Testament) that the history of the world will revolve around the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who would carry the lineage and the “seed” of the future Maschiach of Yisra’el. This messiah would be a descendant of King David and would bring salvation and peace to this planet earth. Any divergence from this theme would lead to prophetic speculation that will lead to the potential of the acceptance of the “wrong messiah” or the anti-Messiah called by Christians as the Antichrist.
Throughout the ages, the Jewish people, in spite of their rebellion to the God of Israel, the failure to accept His emissary and Son, Yahshua (Jesus) and their failure to keep the Torah as their covenant with their God, have been preserved. Why? The Jewish prophet Ezekiel was very specific in answer to the question of why.
Ezekiel 36:16-28 - “Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds…therefore I poured out my fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it. So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds.
When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name…but I had concern for My holy Name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations wherever they went. Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy Name’s sake…And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations…and the nations shall know that I am the Lord…when I am hollowed in you before their eyes.
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean…I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you… and cause you to walk in My statues and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, you shall be My people, and I will be your God.”
With the rise of the Islamic world by the revelations of the Prophet Muhammad, the fate of the Jewish people, the last or remnant of the people of the “covenant, was now resting with what happened to their cousins of Abraham, the Arabic people or the children of Ishmael.
Even the fate or destiny of the Jewish people who remained and lived in and around Jerusalem was tied to the fate of the Muslims. They were no different than the fate of the Jews who remained in exile in Babylon.
One of the greatest mysteries is how the Muslim people protected the Jewish people during the days of their exile in the “wilderness” of the Middle East. In the Book of Revelation (Gilyahna), there is a mysterious passage that reads:
Revelation 12:4-6 – “And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as He was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”
Though most Christian scholars indeed interpret the “woman” in this passage to be the Christian Church or “Spiritual Israel”, it was indeed the Jewish people. It was the Jewish people that the God of the Universes gave a covenant as Israelites and a promise that from the loins of their descent the Messiah would come to this earth. As the Pharisee Shaul, who was trained in the School of Hillel in Jerusalem, stated:
Romans 9:1-5 – “I say the truth in the Messiah (ha Maschiach), I lie not, my conscience also being my witness in the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For if it were possible I myself would wish to be banished from the Messiah (haMaschiach) for my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites (Yisrealites); to whom pertains the adoption, and the tifereth (“Glory of the Sefirot” or the Divine Presence) and the covenants and the giving of the Torah, and the temple worship, and the promises; who are the fathers (ahvot), from whom the Messiah (haMaschiach) came in the flesh (natural descent), who is the Elohim over all, YHVH, the Blessed One for all eternity on this world (le-olam-va-ed).”
Until the year of 614 CE, the city of Jerusalem was a Christian city under the dominion of the Romans. After that it was ruled by the Shi’a Persians until the Byzantine Christians re-conquered it and ruled over Jerusalem until 637 CE. On that date, the Sunni Muslims ruled over Jerusalem until 1099 CE when the Christian Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and massacred the entire population, Arabs and Jews alike.
Throughout the greater part of Jewish exile from Jerusalem, the Jews were a numerous and sizable population in the Arabic life and culture in the Middle East. During this age, the rabbinic schools at Sura and Pumbeditha became great Jewish institutions of higher learning. These schools became the nurturing grounds for the preservation of the Torah and the education for the majority of the Jewish rabbis and scholars.
Jerusalem from the Road leading to Bethany by Scottish Painter David Roberts (1839)
It was the fourth Caliph of the Sunnis who was also the first Caliph or Imam of the Shi’ites, ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, the son-in-law to the Prophet Muhammad when he married the Prophet’s daughter, Fatima Zahra, that gave the Islamic ruling in 657/658 CE to free the Jewish academies of any political control within the Islamic world. This ruling came from the only Caliph or Imam that was accepted by both the Sunnis and the Shi’as. What it did was to remove the Jewish people from obtaining any political power that would become a rivalry to the Muslims. As such the Jewish people were no longer a political threat to the Islamic people.
Like Nebuchadnezzar of old, who caused one of the greatest catastrophes in Jewish history, within one generation, under the wise guidance of the Jewish Prime Minister Daniel, made Babylon a safe haven and the greatest city in the entire world became the Jewish educational mecca and the seeding ground to implant the ideas that there was a God of the Universe who created all mankind and wanted to establish a loving relationship with all men. So also under the guidance of the “finger” of the God of Israel, when the imperial power of authority swung from the Babylonians to the Persians, the only city that did not shed one blood of the Jewish people in that epic transition of political domination was the city of Babylon.
Like Cyrus the Great, who became a “messiah” to the Jewish people also with his marriage to the Jewess, Esther, imbedded the Jewish blood in the Persian royalty. This fact protected the Jewish people against their biggest threat of all time during their Babylonian and Persian exile; the threat of complete annihilation of the entire Jewish race living in the Babylon and Persian provinces by the Persian Prime Minister Haman the Agagite (Amalekite) who wanted to “wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth.”
Now within one generation of the Prophet Muhammad there came an Islamic Sharia ruling that would preserve and protect the Jewish people living in exile in the “wilderness” for the next twelve hundred and sixty years. Now only that, this ruling of taking away political power in the Islamic world would refocus the direction of the Jewish leadership. The attention of the Jewish leadership would not be to the possession of political power but for the preservation of the written Torah and the halachah of how to live the Torah for the Jews in the Oral Torah or the Babylonian Talmud. This one fact did more to protect and preserve the Jewish people than any other thing during the Muslim era of political domination.
The Jewish educational centers at the rabbinical colleges at Sura and Pumbeditha in the seventh to the eleventh centuries were the settling time as the Jewish people established the mature understanding of their halachah on how to keep the Torah of their covenant. As the first century Pharisee scholar, the Apostle Paul recognized, this halachah was without a “faith” in their Messiah Yahshua but that did not negate that the Jewish people still remained in a covenant relationship with the God of Israel. They still fulfilled their responsibilities to preserve the Torah and the Oracles of God and the knowledge that here is a God of Israel who loves all mankind.
These centuries, as shown in the history of the Jews, depicted the development of a vigorous and thriving Jewish economic and religious cultural life. For centuries the religious and intellectual life of the Jews thrived in the only place on this planet earth that a true renaissance of learning and culture existed.
In an era in which the Jews were no longer threatened by extinction, the Jewish leaders took the title of Gaon (Excellency) and established the Jewish era of the Gaonim in Babylon. From the seventh to the eleventh centuries, as the Muslims were experiencing their “Golden Age or Islamic Cultural Renaissance” the Jewish people were experiencing a “Religious Renaissance.” All the questions on Jewish law and Talmudic Law were directed to the Jewish scholars at the rabbinic colleges at Sura and Pumbeditha which were debated with great intellectual freedom and recorded for all generations thereafter. This fact as been a source of great distress to Christians in later years as parts of these debates were taken in part and usually out of historical context and showed the defensive frustrations and anger over how the Jewish people had been treated by the Roman Christian Church over the ages.
When the Jewish political leaders lost all political power in the Islamic world, the emphasis of the Jewish leadership was now dedicated only to the spiritual or religious influence upon their own people. They were recognized to be the “dhimmi” or free non-Muslim citizens in a state that was governed by the Islamic-Sharia law. As a dhimmis, they were allowed to “practice their religion,” were given privileges of “communal autonomy” and governance over their own people with the guarantee of their personal safety and property. These privileges were honored, with only few exceptions, as long as the Jews paid a tax or tribute to Muslims and accepted the political supremacy of Islam.
In this Islamic pact with the Muslim political leaders, the historical facts suggest that the Jewish people were protected and preserved from the factions, battles and power struggles between the Sunnis and the Shi’as for over one thousand years. From that date on 657/8 CE until the modern age, the Jewish people were preserved within the Islamic culture until the imperial quests of the British and the French in 1917 CE began to politicize the condition of the Jews. This made the Jewish people the focal point of the relationship between the western occidental powers and the Islamic power elite in the Middle East.
This was a time of peace and security when the unique Jewish religious, cultural and historical heritage was not threatened by anti-Semitism nor the threat of annihilation. The Western Roman world was in a marked decline. While Roman Christian persecution and Inquisition was raging across the continent of Europe while the Jews were prospering in the Arabic Muslim dominated regions of the Middle East and Africa. Unlike the Holy Roman Empire whose emperor was led by the spiritual pontiff of the Pope who had now usurped the temporal powers that was once placed only in the hands of the emperor, the Jewish Gaons were given spiritual but no political power and authority. They were in essence placed as a “neutral” party.
Roman Catholic Europe was in a precipitous moral, religious and cultural freefall yet the Jewish people were “safe” in the hands of their Islamic benefactors. Here began a time of safety when the Jewish people were isolated and preserved from the chaos of the rest of the world. Here the vital intellectual reservoir, the spiritual independent of the Jewish people was preserved. Here the God of Israel chose to preserve in “hiding” in the “wilderness” the continuous faithfulness of His people, the preservation of the Jewish religious, economic and cultural life. As such the Holy Scriptures and the calendar of the Lord were preserved for the Time of the End. Here was an era of 1260 years that began in 657/8 CE and lasted until 1917 CE when the God of Israel cast his protective “net” over the Jews from the Tigris and the Euphrates River to the coastline of the eastern Mediterranean Ocean. The time was soon to come for them to be “called” out of these Islamic lands and return to the Promise Land that the God of Israel gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
History of the Middle East from Wikipedia
Go to Part Three of the “Influence of the Persian Ram” –
Daniel 8 – The Epic War of Civilizations between the Golden Internationale and the Red Internationale
Go to Part One –
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Go to Part Five –
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Go to Part Seven –
Go to Part Eight –
Go to Part Nine –
Go to Part Ten –
Go to Part Eleven –
Go to Part Twelve –
Go to Part Thirteen –
Go to Part Fourteen –
Message from BibleSearchers
BibleSearchers scans the world for information that has relevance on the time of the end. It is our prayer that this will allow the believers in the Almighty One of Israel to “watch and be ready”. Our readiness has nothing to do trying to halt the progression of evil on our planet earth. In our readiness, we seek to be prepared for the coming of the Messiah of Israel so that goodness and evil will be manifested in its fullest. Our preparation is a pathway of spiritual readiness for a world of peace. Our defender is the Lord of hosts. The time of the end suggests that the Eternal One of Israel’s intent is to close out this chapter of earth’s history so that the perpetrators of evil, those that seek power, greed and control, will be eliminated from this planet earth. The wars of the heavens are being played out on this planet earth and humans will live through it to testify of the might, power, justice and the love of the God of Israel. In a world of corruption and disinformation, we cannot always know what the historical truth is and who is promoting evil or mis-information. We cannot guarantee our sources but we will always seek to portray trends that can be validated in the Torah and the testimony of the prophets of the Old and the New Testament.
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