Every kingdom that exists in this world has its own “golden era”. This is the period where they experience breakthroughs in arts and culture, business, education, and any aspect of the kingdom. According to Merriam Webster, golden age means great happiness, prosperity, and achievement. This definition is suited to describe Al-Andalus, a Muslim conquered land in southern Spain way back in 8TH Century.

Al-Andalus was the former name of Islamic States of Portugal and Spain during the Muslim conquest of Iberian Peninsula. It was conquered by Tariq ibn Ziyad, a Muslim general under

Abn al-Rahman, ruler of Umayyad Caliphate, a second caliphate after the death of Muhammad. During his rule, the kingdom experienced peace, harmony, and economic prosperity. It is the setting where the three great Abrahamic religion, which is Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, experienced religious tolerance and respect to one another. All of the major religions at that time were allowed to practice their faith without fear of being imprisoned or persecuted.

The non-Muslims were paying jizyah or a tax for non-believer in exchange for protection, Muslims were also paying their tax called zakat to the authority. Due to these shared responsibilities among people of religions, the kingdom flourished. During the reign of Muslim rulers in Al-Andalus, it became the melting pot of cultures from different parts of the globe. Advancement in arts, culture, science, education, medicine was also the trademark of its era. People from different countries visited the kingdom to acquire knowledge and expertise in different fields of learning. In relation to this, Christians, Jews, and Muslims helped each other in their field of expertise to help the kingdom’s advancement and for the common good. One of example of this was their joint contribution in publishing medical books and improving the quality of health of Andalusians, making a creative multipurpose structure like combining the used of glass in architecture, using mathematics for everyday concepts like geometry, calculus, and the introduction of decimal number system to the western world were among the bequest of Al-Andalus to the world. In addition, prominent artists and significant persons were produced from Al-Andalus like Ibn Rushd, also known as Averroes who is a polymath and a widely known Muslim philosopher, Ibn Hazm, a Muslim historian, polymath, and a jurist,

Jabir ibn Hayyan who is considered as “The Father of Arab Chemistry”, and others.  These are some of the reasons why Muslims and other scholars considered Al-Andalus as one of the “Golden Age of Muslim Civilization”.

Based on the context of the golden age of Al-Andalus, it served as an eye opener to us that we should not forget the past. It also counters the narratives of extremist groups that non-believers are considered as kafir to Islam and cannot live together with Muslims. It is not true, in fact, to the Andalusian people, they can live harmoniously and contribute to society no matter what religion you are practicing. There is no force conversion, threat, and useless spilling blood among non-believers as they mutually respect each other and live together in peace. Al-Andalus also reminds us that anywhere in the world, it is possible to practice religious tolerance and to govern by any religious authority, especially Muslims because they can contribute to the prosperity of nations too. 

We hope that Al-Andalus may not only become a concept of what we read in books, that someday, there will be another of it, a golden age that we are waiting and longing for, where peace, prosperity, religious tolerance, respect, and love for one another are the common denominator of all people of religions.