T Nation

This Day in History

[quote]Precisely 100 years of Islamic conquests after Muhammad’s death (632), the Muslims, starting from Arabia, found themselves in Gaul, modern day France, confronting a hitherto little known people�??the Christian Franks. There, on October 11th, 732, one of the most decisive battles between Christendom and Islam took place, demarcating the extent of the latter�??s conquests, and ensuring the survival of the former.

Prior to this, the Islamic conquerors, drunk with power and plunder, had, for one century been subjugating all peoples and territories standing in their western march�??from Arabia to Morocco (al-Maghreb, the “furthest west”). In 711, the Muslims made their fateful crossing of the straits of Gibraltar, landing for the first time on European ground. Upon touching terra firma, the leader of the Muslims, Tariq bin Zayid, ordered all the boats used for the crossing burned, asserting “We have not come here to return. Either we conquer and establish ourselves here, or we perish.” Islam was there to stay.

This famous Tariq anecdote�??often reminisced by modern day jihadists�??highlights the jihadist nature of the Umayyad caliphate (661-750), the superpower of its day. As most historians have acknowledged, the Umayyad caliphate was the “Jihadi-State” par excellence. Its very existence was closely tied to its conquests; its legitimacy as “viceroy” of Allah based on its jihadi expansion.

Once on European ground, the depredations continued unabated. Writes one Arab chronicler regarding the Muslim northern advance past the Pyrenees: “Full of wrath and pride” the Muslims “went through all places like a desolating storm. Prosperity made those warriors insatiable…erything gave way to their scimitars, the robbers of lives.” Even far off English anchorite, the contemporary Bede, wrote, “A plague of Saracens wrought wretched devastation and slaughter upon Gaul.”

Strange anecdotes also find their way in the chroniclers�?? accounts during this time. The Muslim chronicler Abd al-Hakim reports that, after landing on an island off Iberia, one of Tariq�??s squadrons discovered that the only inhabitants were vinedressers. “They made them prisoners. After that, they took one of the vinedressers, slaughtered him, cut him into pieces, and boiled him, while the rest of the companions looked on.” The Muslims proceeded to eat halal meat�??cannibalism of course being forbidden in Islam�??while letting the vinedressers believe they were eating their companion, resulting in a rumor that Muslims feast on human flesh. …[/quote]

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Nice link.

The numbers seem a little inflated though- I don’t think it was as big as they say it was. But interesting anyway.