Muslim Communities in History: the Tolerance of Andalusia and Morocco

Islam has its origin in the present Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is therefore associated with the Middle East over and over again. But religion should not be linked with its origin and Islam is not different.

Andalusia: the intellectual Mecca of the world

The reason why Andalusia had become such a prosperous and profitable civilisation is because of the tolerance of that time. While Medieval Europe experienced its darkest period, Southern Spain became the intellectual Mecca of the world. At its peak, the region generated some of the best poetry, music, science and architecture of that era. All of this was the result of an openness that was nowhere else to be found during that time. And let that be the one thing for which artists and scholars search.

This openness was also present within the different religions. That part of the Spanish history is called ‘La Convivencia’ or coexistence (in the most literal meaning of the word). It was the era in which a Muslim ruler had a Jewish functionary and an archbishop as Secretary of State. Everyone accepted one another, allowing a relatively peaceful coexistence.

Muslims and Jews in Morocco

After the collapse of this almost utopian empire, the Muslims and Jews settled in the present Kingdom of Morocco. The number of Jews kept increasing until the middle of the twentieth century. Back then, no less than a quarter of a million Jews lived in Morocco, which on its own turn had about ten million inhabitants. However, the Second World War caused a huge migration and the Moroccan Jews were forced to move to Israel. Nevertheless, the Moroccan Jews were treated well by Sultan Muhammad V. When, according to historical records, a Nazi commander from Vichy-France came to Morocco to ask for the Moroccan Jews, the Sultan replied: ‘We do not have Jews in Morocco, only Moroccan citizens.’ Each year, this event is commemorated by the Moroccan Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day.


The Sultan’s attitude is a beautiful application of what the above excerpts from the Quran teach us. It proves once again that peaceful coexistence is timeless and definitely possible. Of course, there are always conflicts of interest, but Islam itself is not based on hatred or revenge. Is someone interested in a #tbt#Convivencia?


Islamic culture hand in hand with the Jewish culture: Jewish young men and women in Arabic clothes.and4

Written by Ismail Eddegdag

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Ismail Eddegdag is 19 years old and studies Communication. He has an interest in travelling, current events, history, literature and foreign cultures.