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THE IMMORTAL SPEECH: Last Days of Muslim Spain

by on 05/14/2009

The immortal speech of General Musa bin Abil El Gazani, the Commander-in-Chief of the Granda Army.


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About 1610 A.D. Muslim Empire in Spain had been confined to about one tenth of the country in south east – Granada and the outlying areas. The entire power of Christian Spain under King Ferdinand of Castile had besieged Granada.

War had gone on for years. Its inhabitants were in great distress. General Musa bin Abil El Gazani was the commander-in-chief of the Granada army. He was for a fight to the finish. But the King of Granada, Abdullah El Zaquir had had it. So had the Vazir, Abdul Qasim Abdulmali. They had reconciled themselves to a deal with the Christians. General Musa bin Abil made the following speech before the King, his Vazir, Army officers and nobles:


“Leave this useless weeping. Oh! Ye men of Granada, to the eyes of children and the delicate maidens! Let us be men, and consume our hearts, not in the shedding of unmanly tears, but in pouring forth our blood even to its latest drop. Let us go forth with the strength of desperation in our muscles and offering the breasts of brave men to the enemies’ lance, let us die in the battle as befits us. I am ready to lead you.

Oh, my brethren, with a heart that shall not show death of the wherefore should we now refuse the honorable irresolution battlefield; better for us to be accounted by the coming world among the number of those who have been ready to die in defense of their country, than of those who stood inactive while their native land was given over to the grasp of the stranger, and who coldly looked on at the downfall of their country.

But if indeed our hearts fail us, if we have not the valour that would urge us to go forth in a last effort for our homes, then let us listen to these base conditions with the patience of heart and serenity of countenance which become us as men, and let him who can do so bend his neck to the hard yoke of a perpetual and debasing slavery.

I see well that the spirit of the multitude hath become feeble; their hearts have sunk; there is no means left for escaping the loss of the empire; but there is ever one refuge for the breast of the noble- he can seek shelter in death; and I prefer to die while in freedom, rather than to live for the sorrows to come.

For do you believe that the Christians will be faithful to the promises they make you? Will the King who hath led them to conquest be as generous a victor as he is a fortunate enemy? Be certain he will not. Do not deceive yourselves; these Christians are thirsting for our blood, and they will sufficiently appease their desire for that sacrifice. Death is the least of the evils that menace you: more fearful are the torments and humiliation which our inimical fortune is preparing for us; the plunder and sack of our houses, the desecration of our mosques; the outrage and degradation of our wives and daughters; cruel in wrongs of every kind; unjust demands; oppressive enactment; tolerance and the burning pile of the bigot, on which these Infidels will not fail to consume our miserable bodies. All these things we shall see with our eyes; those will see them, that is to say, who now fear the honorable death I propse- for myself by Allah! I shall not see them.”

The brave man looked around him, but met no responsive glance; he made a last effort, and added the following words:

“Death is certain to all, and very near to every man here present: why, therefore, should we not employ the short time that remains to us , in seeking vengeance of our enemies? Up, my brethren! Let us die in the defense of our liberty: our mother earth will receive that which she hath produced, or if to any of us there shall be given no grave to conceal him, there will at least not be wanting the heaven that shall cover him. God forbid that any man should affirm that the nobles of Granada to have proved incapable of dying for their country.”

…………………. Over there in Granada, in 1610, nobody stirred. General Musa El- Ghazani got up, proceeded to his house, took his arms and horse, mounted, rode to the Elvira gate, and charged the Christian beleaguers. Thereafter, none saw him again. He was the greatest son of Granada.

-onlooker Saturday, October 2, 1971
(Courtesy: Over a Cup of tea by H.M Abbasi)



From → Muslim History

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