Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tariq ibn Ziyad

Tariq ibn Ziyad or Taric bin Zeyad‎ (طارق بن زیاد), (born in Oued Tafna, modern day Algeria and died in 720), known in Spanish history and legend as Taric el Tuerto (Taric the one-eyed), was a Berber Muslim and Umayyad General who led the conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 711 under the orders of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I. According to the historian Ibn Khaldoun(ابن خلدون), Tariq Ibn Ziyad (طارق بن زیاد) was from a Berber tribe of Algeria. Tariq ibn Ziyad (طارق بن زباد) is considered to be one of the most important military commanders in Iberian history. He was initially the deputy of Musa ibn Nusair (موسی بن نصیر) in North Africa, and was sent by his superior to launch the first thrust of a conquest of the Visigothic Kingdom (comprising modern Spain (ہسپانبہ) and Portugal (پرتگال)).

Some claim that his name Tariq ibn Ziyad (طارق بن زیاد) (meaning Tariq son of Ziyad) was more a nickname given to him by historians than a real name, because he was a Berber with probably a Berber non-Arab name, and he converted to Islam shortly before he invaded Hispania.

On April 29, 711, the armies of Tariq landed at Gibraltar(جبل الطارق) (the name Gibraltar is derived from the Arabic name Jabal al Tariq (جبل الطارق) which means mountain of Tariq, or the more obvious Gibr Tariq, meaning rock of Tariq).

The 17th century Muslim historian Al Maggari (المگّاری) wrote that upon landing, Tariq burned his ships and then made a historical speech (well-known in the Muslim world) to his soldiers.

“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 the Commander of True Believers, Alwalid(الولید), son of Abdalmelik(عبدالمالک), 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 your selves.”

“Remember that I place myself in the front of this glorious charge which I exhort you to make. At the moment when the two armies meet hand to hand, you will see me; never doubt it, seeking out this Roderick, tyrant of his people, challenging him to combat, if ALLAH is willing. If I perish after this, I will have had at least the satisfaction of delivering you, and you will easily find among you an experienced hero, to whom you can confidently give the task of directing you. But should I fall before I reach to Roderick, redouble your ardor, force yourselves to the attack and achieve the conquest of this country, in depriving him of life. With him dead, his soldiers will no longer defy you.”

The Muslim armies swept through Hispania (ہسپانبہ) and, in the summer of 711, won a decisive victory when the Visigothic king, Roderick, was defeated and killed on July 19 at the Battle of Guadalete(‏‏‏غرناطہ) . Afterwards, Tariq (طارق بن زیاد) was made governor of Hispania (ہسپانبہ) but eventually was called back to Damascus (دمشق) by the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I(خلیفہ بنوامیّہ الولید اول), where he spent the rest of his life.