Tarek Bin Ziyad’s inspiring speech to the Muslim Army

Tarik Bin Ziyad

is one of the most admired
heroes of the muslim world. He lead the
muslim army to invade and conquer Spain.
Islamic Spain was known as Andalusia with a
feeling of romantic nostalgic fever in every
muslim. It was in Andalusia where muslim
genius for arts, sciences, architecture and civic
sense flourished, at least 500 years ahead of
rest of Europe at that time.
The library of Cordova is referred to by
Muslims as one of the treasures of modern
history, unfortunately lost to a barbaric force
bent on destruction. The Alhambra palace is a
piece of architectural gem as much as a symbol
of passion in literature.
The general in charge of the Muslim army was
Tarek Bin Ziyad. The rock of Gibraltar was
named after him (Jab al Tarek). Below is a text
of his speech to his soldiers just before his
famous war. Some say that he had all the ships
burned so that his soldiers literally had two
options. Either they fought for life against
their enemy, or they could die drowning in the
sea. Let history books do rest of the talking:
Tarik’s Address to His Soldiers, 711 CE
When Tarik had been informed of the approach
of the enemy, he rose in the midst of his
companions and, after having glorified God in
the highest, he spoke to his soldiers thus:

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“Oh my warriors, whither would you flee?
Behind you is the sea, before you, the enemy.
You have left now only the hope of your
courage and your constancy. Remember that in
this country you are more unfortunate than
the orphan seated at the table of the
avaricious master. Your enemy is before you,
protected by an innumerable army; he has
men in abundance, but vou, as your only aid,
have your own swords, and, as your only
chance for life, such chance as you can snatch
from the hands of your enemy. If the absolute
want to which you are reduced is prolonged
ever so little, if you delay to seize immediate
success, your good fortune will vanish, and
your enemies, whom your very presence has
filled with fear, will take courage. Put far from
you the disgrace from which you flee in
dreams, and attack this monarch who has left
his strongly fortified city to meet you. Here is
a splendid opportunity to defeat him, if you
will consent to expose yourselves freelv to
death. Do not believe that I desire to incite you
to face dangers which I shall refuse to share
with you. In the attack I myself will be in the
fore, where the chance of life is always least.
“Remember that if you suffer a few moments in
patience, you will afterward enjoy supreme
delight. Do not imagine that your fate can be
separated from mine, and rest assured that if
you fall, I shall perish with you, or avenge you.
You have heard that in this country there are a
large number of ravishingly beautiful Greek
maidens, their graceful forms are draped in
sumptuous gowns on which gleam pearls,
coral, and purest gold, and they live in the
palaces of royal kings. The Commander of True
Believers, Alwalid, son of Abdalmelik, has
chosen you for this attack from among all his
Arab warriors; and he promises that you shall
become his comrades and shall hold the rank
of kings in this country. Such is his confidence
in your intrepidity. The one fruit which he
desires to obtain from your bravery is that the
word of God shall be exalted in this country,
and that the true religion shall be established
here. The spoils will belong to yourselves.
“Remember that I place myself in the front of
this glorious charge which I exhort you to
make. At the moment when the two armies
meet hand to hand, you will see me, never
doubt it, seeking out this Roderick, tyrant of
his people, challenging him to combat, if God
is willing. If I perish after this, I will have had
at least the satisfaction of delivering you, and
you will easily find among you an experienced
hero, to whom you can confidently give the
task of directing you. But should I fall before I
reach to Roderick, redouble your ardor, force
yourselves to the attack and achieve the
conquest of this country, in depriving him of
life. With him dead, his soldiers will no longer
defy you.”

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