Why the bloody Christians should keep the Cordoba mosque

With some terms and conditions.

There is a strong leftist moral argument that they should get to do whatever they want with Franco’s Valle de los Caídos because a modest proportion of the construction was carried out on a non-voluntary basis by their ideological forebears. I hope that they will then agree that this argument should also apply to the Cordoba mezquita-cathedral. Here’s the 17th century scholar al-Maqqari’s great compilation of Moorish writings, The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain, in the splendid, free 1840 de Gayangos edition:

[W]hen the Arabs took Cordova they divided with the Christians their principal church, which was within the city and close to the walls, and was known among them as the church of St. Vincent.2 In the moiety allotted to them the Moslems built themselves a mosque for the prayers of the Friday, whilst the other half remained in the hands of the Christians as the only place of worship allowed to them, since all other churches in and out of the city were immediately pulled down. The Moslems remained for a long time satisfied with what they possessed, until their number increasing daily, and Cordova becoming a very populous city, owing to the Arabian Amirs having taken up their abode in it and made it the seat of the government, the mosque proved to be too small to contain them all, and roof after roof was built in order to make it more roomy and spacious, until from the contiguity of these roofs one to another, the narrowness of the doors leading to it, and the great number of wooden pillars supporting each addition, which barred the passage, it became a matter of the greatest difficulty to penetrate into the interior of the mosque; besides, the roof of each successive addition being inferior to the preceding, that of the last was in fact so low as almost to touch the ground and to prevent the people from standing at ease under it. Begun by’Ab- The mosque, however, continued for a long time in this state, until the arrival of ‘Abdu-r-rahman, son of Mu’awiyeh, surnamed Ad-dakhel, who, having gained possession of Andalus, and made Cordova his capital, began seriously to think of enlarging the limits of the mosque. Accordingly he sent for the chiefs of the Christians, and proposed to purchase from them that part of the mosque which remained still in their hands, in order that he might add it to the Mohammedan place of worship. But notwithstanding the liberality of ‘Abdu-r-rahman, who offered them a very considerable sum of money, the Christians, relying on the capitulations of peace signed to them by the conquerors, would not agree to sell their part. However, after much negotiation, they agreed to relinquish their own half, on condition of being allowed to rebuild or repair another church outside the walls, which had been destroyed, and of holding it independently of the Moslems, and entirely consecrated to the worship of their God. This being granted by ‘Abdu-rrahman, and the Christians having received the sum agreed upon, which a certain historian has stated at one hundred thousand dinars, the Sultan proceeded in the year one hundred and sixty-eight of the Hijra (A. D. 784-5) to demolish the old place of worship, and to lay on it the foundations of the great mosque, which V became one of the wonders of the world. In this building, which was carried on with incredible activity during his reign, ‘Abdu-r-rahman is said to have spent the sum of eighty thousand dinars, derived from the fifth of the spoil. However, as we have remarked elsewhere, the building was not completed until the days of his son Hisham, in the year one hundred and seventy-seven of the Hijra (A. D. 793-4).


[Various] difficulties being speedily removed, Al-mansur began to build his addition, in aisles extending all along the mosque, as we have remarked elsewhere, and the whole, when finished, presented a front of the greatest solidity and elegance, the interior being decorated with gold in the most magnificent manner; so that in the opinion of all the intelligent in these matters the addition built by Al-mansur fell nowise short of those of any of his predecessors, that of Al-hakem even not excepted:—the action being rendered still more meritorious by the circumstance of Christian slaves from Castile and other infidel countries working in chains at the building instead of the Moslems, thus exalting the true religion and trampling down polytheism.

But which sect of Christians should get the lease? There’s no obvious case for it being the Roman church, which did not exist in its current form when the mosque was built, and which has depended on the Spanish state for the building’s upkeep for quite a long time. I hope you will agree that an auction is the only solution. I would donate to any bid launched by the Westboro Den of Incest, but I suppose a mainstream band of hooters and fainters will have to be found. And if the winners subsequently fail to maintain the site, then the Jews get the next bite of the poisoned cherry, providing no little amusement.

If you haven’t attended to my hint above and downloaded al-Maqqari for your Kindle or similar, then do so now. It is incredibly entertaining, and de Gayangos’ notes are a delight.

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Last updated 07/03/2013

Ahmed Mohammed al-Maqqari (2): Abu-l-'Abbas Ahmad ibn Mohammed al-Maqqari was an Algerian scholar who was born in Tlemcen in 1577 from a prominent intellectual family that traced its origin to the village of Maqqara, near M'sila.After an early training in Tlemcen, al-Maqqari moved to Fes in Morocco and then to Marrakech, following the court of Ahmad al-Mansur, to whom he dedicated his Rawdat al-As about the ulemas of Marrakech and Fes.

Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba (1):

Kaleboel (4307):

Pascual de Gayangos y Arce (2): Pascual de Gayangos y Arce was a Spanish scholar and orientalist.Born in Seville, he was the son of Brigadier José de Gayangos, intendente of Zacatecas, in New Spain.

Valle de los Caídos (3): The Valle de los Caídos is a Francoist regime monument, Catholic basilica and a monumental memorial in the municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, erected at Cuelgamuros Valley in the Sierra de Guadarrama, near Madrid.

Westboro Baptist Church (1): Westboro Baptist Church is an American church known for its use of inflammatory hate speech, especially against LGBT+ people, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, atheists, Muslims, Jews, Romani people, and U.S.


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