Jan - Mar 2012, Spain

Phrases for Muslim Travelers – Spanish


Phrases for Muslim Travellers – Spanish

June 17, 2009

Spanish Pronunciation Guide

Most letters are similar or same as they are in English, the main exceptions are explained below.
Z is pronounced as ‘th’ – like thin in English, and as ‘s’ in the southern areas of Spain.
C is pronounced like a ‘k’ when it is followed by an a, o or u. So ‘carro’ is pronounced like ‘karro.
C is pronounced like a ‘th’ when followed by an i or an e, and like an ‘s’ in the southern areas of Spain. So ‘cinco’ is pronounced as ‘thinko’ in the north and ‘sinko’ in the south.
CH is pronounced like ‘ch’ in English (as in chicken)
H before a vowel (unless as ch) is never pronounced, it is silent. So ‘hasta’ is pronounced ‘asta’.
J is pronounced like ‘kh’ in Arabic however it may also be pronounced as a ‘h’ and it will be understood.
G is pronounced like ‘kh’ in Arabic when an i or e follow it. So ‘people’ is pronounced as ‘khente / hente’. However ‘handsome’ is pronounced as ‘gwapo’ with a hard g sound like in English.
LL is pronounced as ‘ly’. So ‘paella’ is pronounced as ‘paelya’.

(The Prayer)

May I pray here?
Can you pray here?

In which direction is the Qiblah?
In what sense is the Qiblah?

What time is Fajr?
What is the time of Fajr?

(The mosque)

Where is the nearest Masjid?
Where is the nearest mosque?

Where can I make wudhu ‘?
Where can I do wudhu ‘(ablution)?

Where is the toilet?
Where is the bathroom?

Is there a section for women?
Is there a section for women?

What is the name of this Masjid?
What is the name of this mosque?

Who is the Imam of this Masjid?
Who is the imam of the mosque?

May I take photos of the Masjid?
Can I take photos of the mosque?


Are you married?
You’re married? (said to a man)
Are you married? (said to a woman)

I am (not) married
I am not married (for a man)
I am not married (for a woman)

How many wives do you have?
How many wifes do you have?

I have 1/2/3/4 wives
I have one / two / three / four wife / s

I am looking to get married
I’m trying to marry

I am (not) interested in getting married right now


Do you serve Halaal food here?
Do you serve jalál food here?

Where can I find a place which serves Halaal food?
Where can I find a place that serves jalál food?

Where may I buy Halaal meat?
Where can I buy jalál meat?

Is this Halaal?
Is this jalál?

No thanks, I’m fasting
No thanks, I’m fasting

Where may I buy dates from?
Where can I buy the dates?

(Shopping / Dress)

Where can I buy Islamic clothing?
Where can I buy Islamic clothing?

How much is this?
How much?

Where can I find an Abayah / Thawb
Where can I find an Abaya / a Zaub (Yalabía)?

If I buy two can you give me a discount?
If I buy two can you give me a discount?

Is there an Islamic Bookstore here?
Is there an Islamic book store here?

Do you have a copy of the Qur’an (in Arabic / English / Spanish)?
Is there a copy of the Quran (in Arabic / English / Spanish)?




Excuse me
with permission

I’m sorry

Do you speak English / Arabic?
Do you speak English / Arabic?

I understand
I understand

I do not understand
do not understand

I’m sorry, this is against my religion
Sorry, this is against my religion

I’m sorry, I am not accustomed to this
Sorry, I’m not used to this

I prefer not to mingle with the opposite sex
I prefer not to mix with the opposite sex

I do not make any physical contact with the opposite sex
I can not make any physical contact with the opposite sex

What is your religion?
What is your religion?

I am Muslim
I am Muslim

This is forbidden in Islam
This is forbidden in Islam

There is a difference of opinion about this
There is a difference of opinion about this

I do not follow that opinion I do not follow
this opinion

This is kufr!
This is blasphemy!

This is Shirk!
This is polytheism!

This is (not) Haraam
This (not) is Jarám

(Islamic Phrases)

Jazakum ‘Allahu Khayran
May God reward you with good

Wa Iyyakum
And also you

Barak ‘Allahu Fikum
May God bless you

Sallallahu `Alayhi wa Sallam
May the peace and blessings of God be upon him

Insha ‘Allah
God willing

April - June 2010, Spain

The IslamInSpanish Newsletter

First Quarter 2010! – IslamInSpanish.org

June 16, 2010

Alhamdulilah, 2010 has become an exciting year with many new developments for IIS. By ALLAH’s Blessings thousands of people were educated on the truth about Islam by way of audiovisual means worldwide. We have heard and witnessed hundreds coming into the fold of Islam just through our efforts of sharing this information.

Orange County Workshop
January 15-17

IslamInSpanish kicked off 2010 with a workshop in Orange County, CA. The three day event started with a khutba by Isa Parada at the Islamic Center Orange County and Mujahid Fletcher at the Islamic Center of Viejo. Br. Isa and Br. Mujahid then shared their personal stories of how they embraced Islam Friday night.

“Journey to Islam: Latino Muslims Share Their Story”
By Br. Mujahid Fletcher & Br. Isa Parada

Saturday afternoon there was a 4 hour course on the non-Muslim perceptions of Islam and how to invite others to the deen. Sunday was host to tan afternoon event explaining the basics of Islam and the many aspects of Latino culture that go hand and hand with Islam. The event capped off with a sister accepting Islam

Br. Asif Balouch Interns at IslamInSpanish
January 19

As part of IslamInSpanish’ s initiative to mentor the youth and give direction to tomorrow’s leaders, Br. Asif Balouch was brought on board to IIS as our very first intern. A senior at the University of St. Thomas in Downtown Houston, Br. Asif is a Communication Major and a Creative Writing minor. Asif hopes to not only gain skills and experience needed to thrive in the workforce but also to contribute to a greater cause of spreading Islam to the worldwide Latino community. We are happy to have him.

Muhammadi Masjid-Started 2nd Islamic University
February 7th

Arabic language course focused on building a strong religious base for future teachers of the community through learning the classical Arabic from the Quran and Sunnah

“Reality from a Different Perspective”
Islamic Center of Clear Lake – February 26

Coordinated a youth event with NEYA. Over 80 youth came to the event to express their thoughts on different issues going on in their daily lives. They had an opportunity to meet Muslims (Born and Convert) that have 360 degree changes in their lives, from ex-drug addicts, drug dealers, ex-convicts and ex-gang members.

2 young Latino men accept Islam
Masjid Hamza – March 19th

By Allah’s permission, 2 young latino men (Rigo and Danny) accept Islam after meeting with the IIS team after Jumuah prayer. Both brothers are doing great alhamdulilah!

99 Names of Allah In Spanish
Masjid Muhammadi – March 28th

For the first time in the Spanish language, all of Allah’s names were taught for over 1 year by Br. Abdurahman Vega. Also for the first time, the Meccan period was covered in the Spanish language (in Houston) by Br. Isa Parada.

“Reality from a Different Perspective”
Masjid Maryam – April 2nd

The same issues from the Clear Lake discussion circle were discussed around a bonfire at Masjid Maryam along with a BBQ

“Potluck” Sugarland Park- April 4th
Pot luck for Hispanic Muslims. Br.Abdullah Hernandez (Alazhar student) was introduced to the community in Houston and insha Allah he will be joining the IIS team this summer.

“Latinos Journey to Islam”
University of Texas San Antonio/ Harvard University – April 7th

Isa Parada went to the University of Texas-San Antonio and Mujahid Fletcher spoke at Harvard University to discuss their experiences before Islam and how Islam has changed them for the better.

New Spanish Lecture Series
Muhammadi Masjid – April 11th

Br. Abdurahman Vega began his new lecture series in the Spanish Language called “Principles of Prayer” which teaches the new Muslim the basic information on how to perform prayer correctly. At the same time, Br. Isa Parada began the second part of the Seerah which is the Prophet’s life in Medina. This part of the series will focus on how we as Muslims living in America can benefit from the Communal life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions (May Allah be pleased with all of the them).

IIS speak at Catholic Church
St. Cyril Catholic Church – April 14th

Isa Parada and Mujahid Fletcher were invited to speak at their old Church, both speakers covered the basic principles of Islam and also answered the audiences questions for 2 hours in spanish!

Open Discussion
North Zone Dar Ul Arqam School – April 15th

Br. Isa Parada held an open discussion with middle and High school students on the dangers of going to extremes in using Facebook andtxt messaging.

Islamic Awareness Week
University of Houston (MSA)-April 19th

Br. Isa Parada assisted the MSA with their dawah table on their first day of Islamic awareness week at the U of H. He observed the students on their manners in giving dawah and gave them critique at the same time. He also interacted with the non muslims who had questions about Islam.

“A Latino’s Story from Inner City Gang to Islam”
University of Houston-April 20th

Br. Mujahid Fletcher gave an frank talk about his time as a gang leader to him accepting Islam.

Hifz Program
Hamza Masjid – May 6th

Br. Isa Parada had an open discussion with the students of Masjid Hamza’s hifdh program of the blessings of memorizing the Quran and the dangers of sins.

History of Drugs
Clear Lake Islamic Center-May 15th

Isa Parada and Br. Mujahid were part of a panel of speakers that discussed the History of Drugs,Trafficking and Gangs in America for their Drug awareness program. Isa and Mujahid highlighted the reality of drugs being a lingering presence in the life of a Muslim youth in America.

Q&A Session
Muhammadhi Masjid- May 16th

Br.Isa Parada held a Q&A with Muslim and Non-Muslim women in the Spanish language.

IslamInSpanish TV Contract Renewed
Houston Media Source- May 22nd

IslamInSpanish has been picked up for another 6 months for our Spanish TV show.

Blessings of Islam
Masjid Hamza- May 23rd

Br. Isa Parada has been invited by the organizers of Masjid Hamza Sunday School to speak to the children of the blessings of accepting Islam and being a proud Muslim

“Who Am I?”
Masjid Al-Ahad- May 23rd

Br.Isa Parada was invited to speak about the challenges of keeping our Muslim Identity in America. The lecture is called “Who Am I?”

“Salvar La Familia Latina, Salvar Nuestra Sociedad”
ICNA Convention-May 29th-May 31st

Br. Mujahid took part in the annual ICNA Convention in Hartford, CT as a speaked on behalf of the Spanish programs held at the convention covering various topics dealing with Latino Muslims

MSA High School Banquet
June 3rd

Br. Mujahid has been invited to speak at the MSA banquet for High school students

1st Level Course Completed
June 6th /June 13th

The Islamic University of Medina Arabic level 1 course will be completed in its entirety for the first time in Houston. Insha Allah this group will move on to the 2nd level of the 4 level course.

Andalucia Social & Educational Media Center
Opening this Summer InshAllah!

Asalamu Alaikum,

IslamInSpanish Team

May ALLAH Bless you all and please make dua for ALLAH’s Guidance and acceptance for this project and that it serves for the good of all humanity worldwide.

Help Refer to others worldwide: www.IslamInSpanish.org

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educating Latinos about Islam 24hr./7days a week
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1-888-9-IN-SPANISH (1-888-946-7726)

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Jan - Mar 2010, Spain

WhyIslam Spanish Billboard

877-WHY-ISLAM Spanish Billboard in Union City, NJ

The Islamic Circle of North America has launched a nation-wide campaign to place WhyIslam billboards in major cities across the country in its ongoing efforts to educate others about Islam. As part of this campaign, the New Jersey chapter of ICNA has put up a Spanish billboard in Union City, New Jersey.

In addition to the toll free 877-WHYISLAM hotline, the billboard also provides the address of the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center (NHIEC) masjid. The goal of the campaign is to provide unbiased information about Islam and to dispel commonly perceived misconceptions.

Related websites:

Cartelera de WhyIslam

La cartelera de 1-877-Why-Islam en Union City, NJ

El Círculo Islámico de Norte América (en cifras inglés, ICNA, o Islamic Circle of North America) ha lanzado una campaña a escala nacional para colocar letreros de WhyIslam (¿Por qué Islam?) en las grandes ciudades del país en sus esfuerzos en curso para educar a los demás sobre el Islam. Como parte de esta campaña, la sucursal de NJ de la ICNA ha puesto carteleras en español en Union City, NJ.

Además del número de teléfono gratuito, 1-877-WhyIslam, los letreros también dan la dirección a la mezquita del Centro Educacional Islámico de North Hudson (en cifras inglés, NHIEC, o North Hudson Islamic Educational Center). La meta de la campaña es proveer información imparcial sobre el Islam y para disipar ideas equivocadas comúnmente percibidos.

Sitios web relacionados:

Jan - Mar 2009, Spain

The Islamic Influence on Spanish Phrases and Customs

By Juan Alvarado

Although some Spanish words come from Greek, the Spanish language is considered a Romance language because most Spanish words are descended from Latin. Surprisingly, many of these Spanish words carry an Arabic meaning or concept. The following few examples will give an idea of how these words are used. An example is the Spanish word aceros, meaning both energy and strength. Aceros is a translation of the Arabic word hiddah (meaning sharpness and force). Another example is the Spanish word poridad, which means both purity and friendship, from the Arabic word khalasa (meaning to be pure). Lastly, the Spanish word and concept, vergüenza, has a distinct meaning of both shame and honor. This same concept and meaning is found in the Arabic car.

In addition to words, a number of expressions, refrains, proverbs, and common sayings in Spanish have been translated or adapted from their Arabic equivalent. An example would be “Si Dios quiere.” Other sayings come from the strife that local Muslims and Christians endured during their coexistence within Spain’s Moorish era.

Spanish PhraseMeaning / Derivation
AdelanteThis means “Come in.”
It comes from the Arabic, ItfaDDal.
A más moros, más gananciaThis literally means “The more Moors, the more gain.”
During the wars between the Moors and the Christians, a refrain developed meaning despite the risks and difficulties, the glory lies in the triumph of the Christians.
Bendita sea la madre que te parióThis literally means “Blessed be the mother who gave birth to you!”
It is similar to the English expression, “A face only a mother could love.”
Como moro sin señorThis literally means “Like a Moor without an owner.”
A refrain meaning a union or get together of people where there is great disorder and confusion.
Dios te ayudeThis means “God help you.”
It comes from the Arabic, Allah ya’tik or Allah ya’tuka.
El huesped y la pesca a tres días apestanThis is a refrain that literally means “The guest and fish smell after three days.”
It comes from a famous Hadith [translated below] stating similarly that three days for a guest is enough time before running afoul.
Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously. The guest’s reward is: To provide him with a superior type of food for a night and a day and a guest is to be entertained with food for three days, and whatever is offered beyond that, is regarded as something given in charity. And it is not lawful for a guest to stay with his host for such a long period so as to put him in a critical position.” – Narrated by Abu Shuraih Al-Ka’bi. Sahih Bukhari 8/73/156.
Es de DiosThis means “It’s from God.”
It comes from the Arabic, “˜Aysh Allah.
Esta es su casaThis is an expression of invitation, “This is your house.”
It is from the Arabic, Hadha Baytukum.
Haber moros en la costaThis literally means “There are Moors in the coast.”
It is a refrain that has the meaning of recommending caution.
Haber moros y cristianosThis literally means “There are Moors and Christians.”
This is a refrain meaning that there is great discord, fighting, arguments, adversity, etc.
Hasta luegoLiterally meaning “Until next time.”
It comes from the Arabic, Ila al-liqaa’.
Mi casa es su casa (and other variants, such as “˜Ha tomado posesión de tu casa)These expressions mean “You’ve taken possession of your house,” which emphasizes the courtesy of extending someones home to others.
It comes from al-Bayt Baytak.
Moros van, moros vienenThis literally means “Moors go, Moors come.”
It is a refrain meaning that there is little left for a person to become completely drunken.
No hay mal de que bien no vengaThis literally means “There is no evil whereby good isn’t inherent.”
It comes from the Islamic belief based in the Quran,
“Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not”. – [Quran 2:216]
“O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.” – [Quran 4:19]
OjaláLiterally, this means “God-willing.”
It comes from the Arabic words, washa’Allah, which means “By God’s will” or lawÅ¡ā Allāh, which is used to express a wish or desire one cannot fulfill. It is a variant of the more common, insha’Allah [ان شاء الله].
¡Olé!The most famous hoopla that is yelled enthusiastically (especially in bullfighting rings) in approval.
It comes from the Arabic words, Wa Allah, meaning “By God.”
Que Dios te guardeA way of saying good-bye that literally means, “May God keep you safe.”
It comes from the Arabic, ma’a salaama, which means the same.
Si Dios quiereA common way of saying maybe, it literally means “God-willing.”
It comes from the Arabic words, Insha’Allah [ان شاء الله]
Vaya con DiosA way of saying good-bye. It literally means “Go with God.”
It comes from the Arabic, Allah ma’ak.
Vaya por DiosA way of saying good-bye meaning “Go with God.”
It comes from the Arabic words, Hadha iradat Allah.
Zegríes y AbencerrajesAn expression which means “Partisans of opposite interests.”
The Abencerrajes (in Arabic Aban as-Sarráj) was an Arab family of the Kingdom of Granada, rivals of the Zegríes in the 15th century.

Some concepts and cultural holdovers that survived passed the Moorish era are as follows:

SpanishMeaning / Derivation
AdemánaD-Díman or aD-Damán (Andalusian Arabic from Classical Arabic, Damán [الضمان], which literally means legal guarantees that were made through exaggerated movements, gestures and expressions). Gesticulation which expresses the will to do something particularly exaggerated gestures. The change of meaning is due to the exaggerated promises and gesticulations which were offered in a plea. Movements, gestures, or expressions that illustrated a point or emotion.
Flamenco musicThis comes from the Arabic, Fallah Manjah meaning “saved farmer” or Fallah Manqu meaning “running farmer.”
Mal de ojoEvil eye, commonly known in Arabic as al-“˜Ayn (العين) which literally means “˜the eye’ or “˜Ayn Hasad (حسد عين) meaning the eye of envy.
It is one of the oldest and most persistent beliefs among human cultures. It is particularly strong in the Middle East, Southern Europe and Asia, although it exists in many other cultures as well.
Moros y CristianosThis is a classic Cuban dish which has spread throughout Latin America and the United States.
The name meaning “Moors and Christians” harks back to the Moorish Spain. This traditional recipe combines black beans, bell peppers, onions, traditional Cuban seasonings, and premium grade long grain rice. The dish is accompanied by some meat, chicken or fish. Also, a public feast and holiday in certain towns in Spain whereby passersby dress up as medieval Arabs and Christians and fighting make-believe battles is also known by this name.
ÑThe use of the “ñ” is unique to the Spanish language. It is a sort of shorthand for the double “˜n’ used in Spanish which had a unique sound (sounding like “˜ny’ or “˜ni’ in English Sonia). A common word in Spanish using this symbol is “Año” (year) which would have been written as “anno.”
The letter itself seems to be a hybridization of two Arabic symbols or concepts. The tilde (~) which itself comes from the Arabic symbol called a maddah (مدة) and serves to elongate the alif sound in Arabic. The ñ also seems to be influenced by the Arabic symbol of shaddah (شدة) also called tashdīd (تشديد) which serves to double the sound of a consonant.
PaellaThis is a Valencian word for the national dish of Spain and the regional specialty of Valencia.
It was originally a dish made of the leftover food from Muslim leaders’ palace where they used to mix fish, meat, chicken and rice and give it to poor people. The dish is also a common dish of many Latin American countries. This dish is made of various sea foods and meats mixed with rice and legumes.

Besides words and concepts, Iberian culture would inherit much from the Arab-Islamic culture. Even the Spanish gazpacho soup is inherited from the Moorish soup khubz mushrib (soaked bread). Another cultural throwback is the choosing of inauspicious names to ward off evil spirits and the evil eye.

In Egypt, for example, you can find some rural families naming their children strange and sometimes offensive names. They do this to prevent harm from coming to them. This is especially true for a family that has had all of its male children die in childhood, or some other misfortune like that. One can find names such as Esh-Shahhat الشحات (the beggar) or Shehata شحاتة (begging) being used. This is not unlike some of the names found among Spanish-speakers such as Dolores meaning pain or the use of ancient Latin and Greek names that have long died out in some other European countries, such as Porfirio or Eusebio.

Other cultural throwbacks are the use of kerchiefs (pañuelos) and long dresses by many women in Latin America, at least up until very recently. Some country women still endeavor to dress modestly and cover themselves which is very similar to the concept of hijab or dressing up modestly in Islam.

July - Sept 2008, Spain

Islam Comforts Spanish Intellectuals

By Al-Amin Andalusi

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1221720273234&pagename =Zone-English-News/NWELayout

September 25, 2008

MADRID Thousands of Spaniards, especially intellectuals, academics and anti-globalization activists, are finding comfort and solace in Islam.

“Embracing Islam is on the rise despite ferocious Western media campaigns,” Abdul-Nour Brado, the head of the Islamic Society of Catalonia, told IslamOnline.net.

Estimates suggest that between 3,000 to 4,000 Catalonians accepted Islam recently.

“The numbers could be much higher than that,” Barado believes.

Local media reports have noted that intellectuals, academics and anti-globalization activists make up the bulk of the new Muslim reverts in Spain.

Catalonians first embraced Islam in the 1960s and their numbers were quite few.

Now thousands of Catalonians are believed to have joined the fold of Islam.

The Spanish autonomous province of Catalonia covers an area of 31,950 km² with an official population of 6.3 million, and its capital is Barcelona.

It is home to around 100,000 Moroccan immigrants, which is attributed to the geographical proximity with Morocco.

The southern European country has an estimated Muslim minority of about at 1.5 million out of a total population of 40 million.

Islam is the second religion after Christianity and has been recognized through the law of religious freedom, issued in July 1967.


More Spaniards in the northern province of Palencia, in the northern part of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon, are also finding solace in Islam.

“Nearly 4,000 people in Palencia embrace Islam every year,” said Saed Al-Ruttabi, the head of the Islamic Council of Palencia.

He said many Spaniards start their soul-searching journey by delving deep into the Islamic faith.

“And when they do so, they discover that the faith is quite different from the perceptions they had.”

Al-Ruttabi noted that out of the 150,000 Muslims in Palencia, only 90,000 are of immigrant backgrounds.

“This reflects a global trend not only in Spain but across Europe and the US.”

But the rising number of reverts is creating a “cultural problem” in the southern European country.

“New Muslims tend not to attend prayers in the mosques of Muslim immigrants,” Barado said, attributing this to “cultural differences”.

“This is because the reverts believe that such mosques have become like social centers for immigrant Muslims.”

But Mohamed Halhul, a spokesman for the Islamic Cultural Council of Catalonia, sees a positive side.

“Differences between Muslim immigrants and new Muslims are a positive sign in a democratic country.”

July - Sept 2007, Spain

Moorish Heritage in the Cuisines of Spain and Portugal

By Teresa de Castro


Cuisine in the Iberian Peninsula: Moorish Heritage in the Cuisines of Spain and Portugal


The Iberian Peninsula, in south-western Europe, is occupied by Spain and Portugal. It is separated from the main continent by the Pyrennees and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest and west and the Mediterranean to the south and east.

The characteristics of the Iberian cuisine cannot be understood without the culinary influence of Romans, Arabs, Jews and Christians, and the dietary exchange that followed the colonisation of America and the colonialism in Africa and the Far East. Still, Rome never conquered the Basque Country and the Arabic heritage never reached the north-western fringe of the Peninsula. Moorish influence is particularly important in areas in which Moors and/or Moriscos remained longer, that is, in the southern and eastern regions (Alentejo, Algarve, Andalusia, Aragón, Extremadura, Murcia and Valencia) especially in rural areas.

Moorish cuisine was shaped by the combination of Andalusian, Persian and Maghribian ingredients, and had a selection of basic foodstuffs, condiments, and cooking processes. Expiración García in “La Alimentación”, Lucie Bolens in “La cuisine andalouse”, and Manuela Marín in “Cuisine D’Orient” have described this cuisine. The expulsion of Moriscos from the Peninsula in the 17th century was the end of the Moorish culinary system in Iberian lands. However, some Moorish elements are still discernible in the Peninsula’ cuisine.

The disappearance of the Moorish food system from the Iberian Peninsula occurred gradually, following the path of the Christian conquest of the Muslim territories, that happened in different dates depending on the areas). After the conquest, some Muslims areas were completely resettled with Christians; other times Muslims were set in ghettos inside the cities. The last Muslim Kingdom was conquered in 1492, and in 1501 the Moors were forced to convert to Christianity and, by the pressure of the Inquisition, they also were forced to change their dietary practices. The expulsion of Moriscos of the Peninsula in the 17th century was the end of the Moorish culinary system in Iberian lands. However, some elements of this system are still visible in the Peninsula.


The foodways of the Moors influenced indirectly Christians’ cuisine as a result of the contact that Muslims and Christians had during long periods of time in frontier’s lands in peaceful periods, mostly before the 15th century.

Christians’ cuisine absorbed Moorish influence, firstly, through the effect that Moors’ foodways had on Christian upper classes during the Caliphate and Ta’ifa’s periods (10th 12th c.), when al-Andalus (Iberian Muslim Kingdom/s) was a cultural model to imitate. This was the golden age of Al-Andalus, and for the Christian World “Moorish style” meant luxury and exoticism.

A second way of penetration was through the contact that Moors and Christians had during long peaceful periods of time in frontier’s lands, especially in the South.

A third way was the result of years of interaction between Moorish and Chistian communities in those cities where, after the Christian conquest, Muslims (Mudéjares) had been set in ghettos inside or outside the urban walls.

A final via was through the neighbourhood that Moriscos had with Christians in the Kingdom of Granada, the last Muslim territory to be conquered (1492). After the failure of the Morisco’ rebellion in the Alpujarras region (1568-1570) the Moriscos were expelled from Andalusia and relocated around the Kingdom of Castile, spreading even more their influence. Nevertheless, the resistance of the Moriscos to integrate themselves despite the pressure of the Inquisition- produced a Christians’ disgust and hostility with regard to Morisco foodways. Although this anger could not stop the culinary exchange, the action of Christian culture and foodways on Moors’ cuisine led to the disappearance, substitution, addition, modification or different combination of ingredients and culinary practices once Moorish. The outcome was a cuisine that contained some Moorish components but was different because had different flavour, smell, colours, and textures.


Expiración García in “La Alimentación”, Lucie Bolens in “La cuisine andalouse”, and Manuela Marín in “Cuisine d’Orient” have described Al-Andalus cuisine. However, contemporary Iberian cuisine has only a few elements of this Al-Andalus cuisine. In the Iberian Peninsula, these culinary features are marked by the prevalence or use of certain ingredients, dishes, methods of cooking, or ways of eating that were once typical of Al Andalus but devoid of any religious meaning. These features having a Moorish heritage are:

  • Communal sharing from the same dish. Examples of such shared dishes are paella, migas (fried breadcrumbs or semolina), and gachas and papas (porridges). This practice of sharing is no longer as prevalent as it once was.
  • Predominance of yellow, green, and white colors. Yellow is common in most rice dishes, in fish stews with rice or noodles, and in some chickpea stews. White is typical of some sweet rice puddings (arroz con leche and arroz doce), some porridges, and some soups such as ajo blanco (a white garlic soup), the original gazpacho, gazpachuelo (a fish and egg soup), and various almond soups. Green is the dominant color of some Portuguese dishes prepared with coriander, although the sopa verde (green soup) cannot be included in this category.
  • Use of saffron, cumin, and coriander. Coriander is rarely found in traditional Spanish cuisine but is very popular in Portugal, especially in dishes from Alentejo; some food writers relate this use to African influences. Saffron is used both to color and to flavor rice dishes, legume stews, and meat casseroles. Cumin seasons some legume stews, sausages, and dishes of meat or fish.
  • Spiced stews made from chickpeas, lentils, and from fresh or dried broad beans. Examples of such legume and bean stews include potaje de garbanzos, potaje de lentejas, fava rica, and favas con coentro. The consumption of broad beans, however, has diminished during the last sixty years. Bulgur, or cracked wheat, is still included in some dishes from the Alpujarras region in Andalusia.
  • Savory or sweet porridges, made from different grain flours. These porridges, such as gachas and papas, were also the basis of Roman cuisine.
  • Dishes made with breadcrumbs or slices of bread. Breadcrumbs or torn up slices of bread are used for thickening and giving texture to many varieties of gazpacho and other kinds of soups (açorda, sopa de ajo, ensopados, and sopas secas). Breadcrumbs are also the main ingredient in migas, a traditional and popular dish. There are some factors that relate the recipe for migas, in its Andalusian version, to the recipe for couscous. The first element is the way in which migas are cooked. A sort of steam cooking is produced through the sauteeing and continuous stirring of the semolina or the crumbs (these are previously soaked and drained) and gives a golden and granulated appearance to the dish. Migas, similarly to couscous, serve as the base for a wide range of other ingredients such as fresh fruit, fried vegetables, fried or roasted fish or sausages, and even sweets. Finally, migas, like couscous, are eaten from the pan in which they were prepared. The pan is placed on the table, and the whole family eats from it.
  • Spiced fritters and desserts. Various doughnut-like fritters (buñuelos, boladinhos, roscos, filhós, pestiños) and desserts (alcorza, alfeñique, alajú, nougat, and marzipan) are made by combining honey or sugar, egg yolks, cinnamon, and sometimes ground almonds.
  • Other popular foods and dishes. Flatbreads, either baked (pão estentido) or fried (pão de sertã, torta), stuffed eggs, stuffed eggplants, vermicelli stew, spiced meatballs, shish kebabs (pinchos morunos, espetada), and quince paste are current Iberian foods also mentioned in Arab cookbooks.


Recipe from “An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century”.

I Have Seen a Couscous Made with Crumbs of the Finest White Bread.
For this one you take crumbs and rub with the palm on the platter, as one rubs the soup, and let the bread be neither cold nor very hot; put it in a pierced pot and when it’s steam has left, throw it on the platter and rub with fat or moisten with the broth of the meat prepared for it.


Bolens, Lucie. “La cuisine andalouse, un art de vivre : XIe – XIIIe siècle” (The Andalusian cuisine, an art of living: 11th 13th centuries). Paris, Albin Michel, 1990.

García, Expiración. “La alimentación en la Andalucía Islámica: Estudio histórico y bromatológico.” (Food in Islamic Andalusia: an historical and dietetical study) “Andalucía Islámica”, 2-3 (1981-1982): 139-177 and 4-5 (1983-1986): 237-278.

Marín, Manuela. “Cuisine d’Orient, cuisine d’Occident.” (Eastern Cuisine, Western cuisine) “Médiévales” 33 (1997): 9-21.

Martínez, Manuel. “Historia de la Gastronomía Española” (History of the Gastronomy in Spain). Huesca, La Val de Onsera, 1995.


Short version of – version modificada de: Teresa de Castro, «Iberian Peninsula: Overview», Encyclopaedia of Food and Culture. New York, USA. Scribner and Sons. 2003, vol. 2, pp. 227-22. (La Península Ibérica: Visión General) Teresa de Castro © 2005-2008. This paper is protected by copyright laws.

April - June 2007, Spain

From Arabic to Spanish (Surnames and Places)

By Juan Alvarado

Spanish surnames (and place names) that come from Arabic surnames and origins.
Do you have Arab lineage?

This list originally began just for fun. The list soon took a life of its own. It became a bit of an obsession. As I learned more Arabic, I saw and heard the same words I grew up with in Spanish. Some people of Hispanic descent, who first learn about the history of Moorish Spain, look upon the bearer of this history with incredulity. Apart from showing pictures, what more proof could you give? This is my language — a language very much influenced by the Moors.

Toponyms are place names. Many have evolved to become surnames. The ones listed here are mostly found in the Iberian peninsula of Arabic origin.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of toponyms of Arabic origin in Iberia. These include cities, towns, villages, provinces and regions. They even include neighborhoods (barrios) and streets. They may also include geographical features such as mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes. Arabic place names are common in all of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) including much of the North of the country (with the exception of those regions that never came under Moorish rule or where it was for the most part short-lived. Among those regions that didn’t come under Moorish rule are Galicia, Asturias, Catalonia, and the Basque country. Most of the places where Arabic toponyms are most common are the eastern coast and the region of Andalusia (Andalucía). Within Portugal, the frequency of Arabic place names proliferate as one travels south in the country.

Those areas that retained their pre-Islamic names during the Moorish period were generally Arabized. The pronunciation of the names were markedly changed and remain noticeable in their modern names: e.g. Caesarea Augusta became (سرقسطة) Saraqustah and then Zaragoza in Spanish.

Abdala (surname)Abdullah, Abd’Allah (عبدالله)servant of God
Alamedaal-Muwattaclear path, well-trodden path
Alamar (surname)al-‘Amr 
Alangeal-Hansh HaSn (الحنش حصن)Fort of the Snake
Alarco (surname)al-Ark (الأرك)Spanish place name
Albaceteal-BasiiT (البسيط) [the plain]City and province of Castilla la Mancha
Albaicinal-Bayaaziin RibaD (البيازين ربض )Spanish place name
Albarracin???Spanish place name
Albeldaal-BayDa’a (البيضاء)the white (place in Spain)
AlburquerqueAbu al-Qurqthe place with cork (oaks)
Alcaceral-Qasr (القصر)the palace
Alcaláal-Qal’ah (قلعة)the castle
Alcala de Henaresal-Qal’at an-Nahar (قلعة النهر)the river fort
Alcantara (surname)al-QanTarah (القنطرة)the bridge
Alcasaral-Qasrthe palace, castle
AlciraJazirat Shuqr (شقر جزيرة)island of Shuqr
Alcoveal-Qubba (القبة)the dome
AledoAliiT (أليط)Spanish place name
Algarveal-Gharb (الغرب) [the west]Region of southern Portugal
Algécirasal-Jazirat al-Khudra (الجزيرة الخضراء )[the green island] City and port in Cadiz province
Alhamaal-Hama (الحمة)Spanish place name
Alhándegaal-Khanduq (الخندق)the trench
Alicanteal-Liqant (أليقنت)Spanish place name
Aljarafeal-Sharaf (الشرف)Spanish place name
Almadénal-Maydaan (الميدان)the field
Almadenal-Ma’adn (المعدن)Spanish place name
Almanzar (surname)al-Mansur???
Almansilal-Manzil (المنزل)hotel, a stopping place
Almeida (surname)al-Maa’idah (المائدة)the dining table
Almenaraal-Manarah (المنارة)the minaret, mosque tower
Almenia (surname)al-Mani (المانع)[The Preventer, The Shielder, The Defender, etc. One of the 99 divine attributes of God]
Almeria (surname & place name)al-Mirayah (المرية)[the mirror; the watchtower] City and province of Andalucía
Almodovar (surname)al-Mudoor (المدور)Spanish place name
Alomar (surname)al-Amr 
Alpujarras (originally Alpuxarras)al-Bashuraat (البشرات)[the bastion, the news] Region extending South of Granada into Almeria
Alqueriaal-Qiriyya (القرية)the village
Alquezaral-QaSr (القصر)the palace
Amezquitaal-Masjid(from North African dialect, al-Mesgid) mosque
Almunecaral-Munikab (المنكب)Spanish place name
Andalucíaal-Andaluz (الأندلس)[Land of the Vandals] Arabic name of Muslim Spain, it is now the most populated region of Spain.
AndaraxAndarash (أندرش)Spanish place name
Andujar (surname)Andujar (أندوجر)Spanish place name
AntequeraAntikira (الأنتكيرة)Spanish place name
ArchidonaArshidunah (أرشذونة)Spanish place name
Arco (de la Frontera)Arkush (أركش)Spanish place name
ArgelitaFarghaleet (فرغليط)Spanish place name
ArjonaArjunah (أرجونة)Spanish place name
ArnedoArniiT (أرنيط)Spanish place name
AstorgaAsturqah (أسترقة‏)Spanish place name
AtienzaAnisha (أنيشة)Spanish place name
Avila (surname)Abila (آبلة‏)Spanish place name
Axarquíaash-Sharqiyya (الشرقية)[The eastern/oriental region] The eastern region of Malaga province.
AznalfaracheHaSn al-Faraj (الفرج حصن)Spanish place name
BadajozBaTlayoos (بطليوس)City and province of Extremadura
Badillo (surname)Abd’illah (عبدالله)servant of God
Baez (surname)Bayaas (بياس)Spanish place name
BaezaBayaasa (بياسة)Spanish place name
BarbastroBarb Shatr (بربشتر)Spanish place name
BarcelonaBahr shaluna (برشلونة)Spanish place name
BazaBasata (بسطة)Spanish place name
BejaBaaja (باجة)Spanish place name
BenadidBani ?Spanish place name
BenalmadenaBani al-Madina (المدينة بني)sons of the city
BenanataBani ?Spanish place name
Benavides (surname)Bani ? 
BenevitesBani ?Spanish place name
BeniajarBani an-Najaar (النجار بني)sons of the carpenter
BenicalafBani Khalaf (بني خلف)Spanish place name
BenicasimBani Qasimthe sons of Qasim
BenidormBani ?Spanish place name
BenjumedaBani ?Spanish place name
BentariqueBani Tariiq (بني طريق)the sons of Tariiq
BiarBiyaara (بيارة)Spanish place name
Birzali (surname) probably from Berber meaning ‘worthy one’
BobastroBab Shatr (ببشتر)Spanish place name
BoltañaBarntaa’iiyya (بربتانية)Spanish place name
BragaAfraagha (أفراغة‏)Spanish place name
BurgosBurgash (برغش)???
CabraQabra (قبرة)goat’s young, kid
Caceres (surname)QaSirish (قصرش)???
Cadiz (surname)Qadis (قادس)Spanish place name
CalahorraQal’at al-HajaarHagar’s castle
CalatañazorQal’at an-Nasurcastle of eagles
CalatayudQal’at al-Ayyub (ايوب قلعة)Job’s castle
CalatravaQal’at RabaH (رباح قلعة)Rabah’s Castle
CalsenaQalshaana (قلشانة)Spanish place name
Carmona (surname)Qarmoona (قرمونة)Spanish place name
Cartagena (surname)QarTaajina (قرطاجنة)Spanish place name
Castellano (surname)Qashtaala (قشتالة‏)Spanish place name
Catalonia (surname)Kataaloona (كتالونة)Spanish place name
Catalonia (surname)QaTalooniyya (قطلونية)Spanish place name
CiezaSiyaasa (سياسة)Spanish place name
ChinchillaJinjaalah (جنجالة)Spanish place name
Cid (surname)Sidi or SayyidSir, Noble, Mr.
ComaresQumaarish (قمارش)Spanish place name
ConstantinaQusTanTeena (قسطنطينة)Spanish place name
Cordoba (surname)Qurtuba (قرطبة)Spanish place name
CoriaQooriyya (قورية)Spanish place name
CuencaQawinqa (قونقة)Spanish place name
Daniaad-Dani or Dunya???
DarocaDaruqa (دروقة)Spanish place name
DeniaDaniyyah (دانية)Spanish place name
DueroDu’ira (دويرة)name of river in Spain
Ebro (river)Ibrah (أبرة)name of river in Spain
ElcheAlsh (ألش)Spanish place name
ElviraIlbira (إلبيرة)Spanish place name
ÉnovaYaanuba (يانبة)Spanish place name
EvoraYabra, Yaabbura (يابرة)Spanish place name
FrigilianaFarajaala (فرجالة)Spanish place name
Fronteraal-Faranteera (الفرنتيرة)The territory between Christians and Muslims in Moorish Spain
GaliciaJaliqiyya (جليقية)Spanish place name
Galván (surname)al-Qalb[the heart]
Garcia (surname)Garsiyyahagricultural
GenilShaneel (شنيل)name of a river
GeronaJirona (جرندة)Spanish place name
GibraltarJabal Tariq (جبل طارق)[Tariq’s Mountain — named after Tariq ibn Ziyad] Currently a British Colony in Southern Spain
GranadaGharnatah (غرناطة)pomegranate
GuadalajaraWadi al-Hijarah (الحجارة وادي)[Stony River or Valley of the Stones] City and province of Castilla la Mancha
Guadalaviar (surname)Wadi al-Abyad (الأبيض وادي)White River
GuadalbacarWadi al-Baqar (البقر وادي)River of the Cow
Guadalbanar(surname)Wadi al-Fanaar (الفنار وادي)Lighthouse River
Guadalcázar (surname)Wadi al-Qasr (القصر وادي)River of the Castle
GuadalertinWadi aT-Teen (الطين وادي)River of Figs
GuadalertinWadi at-Tin (وادي التين )River of Mud
Guadalhorra (surname)Wadi al-Ghar (الغار وادي)River of the Cave
GuadalimarWadi al-Ahmar (الأحمر وادي)Red River
GuadalquitonWadi al-Qitt (وادي القط )Cat’s River
GuadalquivirWadi al-Kabir (الكبير وادي)Great River or Great Valley
GuadalviarWadi al-Abyad (الأبيض وادي)White River
Guadalupe (surname)Wadi al-Lupus (الذئب وادي)Wolf’s River
GuadarranqueWadi ar-Ramka (الرمكة وادي)Mare’s River
GuadianaWadi Ana (وادي)Anna or Hanna River
GuadixWadi Ashi (وادي آش)Spanish place name
GuarromanWadi ar-Rumaan (وادي الرمان)Pomegranate River
Guzmán (surname)Uthmaan 
HuescaWashqa (وشقة)Spanish place name
Ibiza (surname)Yaabisa (يابسة)Spanish place name
Jaén (surname)Jayyaan (جيان)crossroads of caravans City and province of Andalucía
JativaShaatiba (شاطبة)Spanish place name
Jerez (surname)Sharish (شريش)Spanish place name
La Manchaal-Mansha[land without water] The wide and arid steppes covering much of Toledo, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Albacete provinces.
Laredo (surname)Laarida (لاردة)Spanish place name
La Sagraas-Sahra (صحراء)[the desert] an arid region between Toledo and Madrid
León (surname)Li’oon (ليون)Spanish place name
Lisbon/LisboaIshbuna (أشبونة)Capital of Portugal
LojaLusha (لوشة)Spanish place name
LorcaLoorqa (لورقة)Spanish place name
Los Pedrochesal-Baloot FaHas (فحص البلوط)Plain of oaks/acorns
LucenaLisaana (ليسانة)language
MadridMajriT (مجريط)[breeze; source of water] Capital of Spain
MalagaMalaqah (مالقة)Spanish place name
Mallorca (surname & place name)Mayoorqa (ميورقة)???
MarbellaMarbilla (مربيلة)Spanish place name
MarroquinMarrakeshfrom Morocco
Mayorca (surname & place name)Mayoorqa (ميورقة)???
Medina (surname)Madinahcity
MedinaceliMadinat as-Salim (سالم مدينة)City of Salim (peace)
MedinaSidonia ???Town and municipality in Cadiz province
MeridaMaarida (ماردة)Spanish place name
MertolaMartula (مرتلة)Spanish place name
MinorcaMinoorqa (منورقة)Spanish place name
MontanchezMoontaant Sheesh(مونتانتشيث)Spanish place name
MontleonMuntli’oon (منتلون)Spanish place name
MorónMuroor (مورور)Spanish place name
MotrilMuTreel (مطريل)Spanish place name
Mulhacén Highest mountain in Spain. Named after the 15th century Sultan of Granada, Abu al-Hasan Ali Muley Hacén.
Mosquea (surname)Masjidmosque
Mosqueda (surname)Masjidmosque
NájeraNaajira (ناجرة)Spanish place name
NavarroNabaara (نبارة)Spanish place name
NeiblaLabla (لبلة)Spanish place name
OretoAriiT (أريط)Spanish place name
Padilla (surname)Abd’illah (عبدالله)servant of God
PamplonaBanbaloona (بنبلونة)Spanish place name
PechinaBijaa’ina (بجانة)Spanish place name
PensicolaBin Shikula (بنشكلة)son of Shikula
PicoAlmanzorMountain in the Gredos Mountain range of central Spain. It is named after “Almanzor” or Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir, the defacto ruler of Al-Andalus in the late 10th and early 11th centuries.
PurchenaBurshaana (برشانة)Spanish place name
RondaRunda (رندة)Spanish place name
Rueda (de Jalón)RawiTa (روطة)Spanish place name
Sagrajasal-Zalaaqa (الزلاقة)Spanish place name
SalamancaShalamanqa (شلمنقة)Spanish place name
SalamancaTalamanka (طلمنكة)Spanish place name
Salobreña (surname)Shaloobiniyya (شلوبينية)Spanish place name
SaltesShalTeesh (شلطيش)Spanish place name
SantaremShantareen (شنترين)Spanish place name
SantaverShantabiriyya (شنتبرية)Spanish place name
Segovia (surname)Shiqoobiyya (شقوبية)Spanish place name
Segunda (surname)Shiqunda (شقندة)Spanish place name
Segura (surname)Shaqoora (شقورة)Spanish place name
SevillaIshbiliyya (أشبيلية)Spanish place name
SilvesShilb (شلب)Spanish place name
SidoniaShadoona (شذونة)Spanish place name
SimancasShaa’it Maa’ikash (شانت مانكش)Spanish place name
Tajo (river)at-Taaja (التاجة)Spanish place name
TacaronaTakarunaa (تاكرنا)Spanish place name
TalaveraTalabeera (طلبيرة)Spanish place name
TarragonaTarakoona (طراكونة)Spanish place name
TarazonaTarasoona (طرسونة)Spanish place name
TarifaTarif (طريف)Originally Jazeera Tarif or the island of Tarif, name of the first Muslim to land in Spain. He was a Berber by the name of Tarif ibn Malik. It is now a town in southern Spain.
Taveras (surname)Talabeera (طلبيرة)Spanish place name
TeruelTiru’eel (تيروال)Spanish place name
Toledo (surname)TuleeTa (طليطة)Spanish place name
TolosaTuloosha (طلوشة)Spanish place name
TortosaTurToosha (طرطوشة)Spanish place name
TrafalgarTaraf al-Gharb (الغرب طرف)cape of the cave or west
Trujillo (surname)Tirujilla (ترجلة)Spanish place name
TudelaTuTayla (تطيلة)Spanish place name
ÚbedaUbidah (أبذة)Spanish place name
UclesUqleesh (أقليش)Spanish place name
Valencia (surname)Balansiyya (بلنسية)Spanish place name
ValladolidBalad al-Walid (الوليد بلد)town of Walid
Vega (surname)Buq’ahfield
Ventura (surname)Ben Turason of Tura
Vera (surname)Beera (بيرة)Spanish place name
ZamoraSamura (سمورة)Spanish place name
Zaragoza (surname)SaraqusTa (سرقسطة)originally from Latin: Caesarea Augusta
Common Spanish First Names that come from Arabic
April - June 2007, Spain

Are Some Spanish Surnames Islamic?

By Juan Alvarado

This is an interesting list of surnames commonly seen among people of Hispanic descent and among the people of Spain. Juan Galvan sent me this list (most of), which is attributable to Francisco Rodriguez. I have been personally working on my own list of Spanish names, place names, and words, some of which I have interspersed within this list. Many of the names he listed I had also found, so there are many commonalities within our studies. There is also some divergence. Wherever there are names in disagreement, I have placed the name and/or word I think most probable as well as left Francisco’s own research on the subject. I’ll leave it up to the reader to make up his/her mind on the subject. The names I’ve added are in italics.

I would like to point out that even though we are eager to see an Islamic connection in everything Hispanic, we should bear in mind that not everything is Islamic or comes from the Moors or their languages (Arabic and Berber). A case in point is the name Alonso which was adopted by the conqueror of that city in Spain after the collapse of Moorish rule there. Other names are Arabized forms of names already in existence such as Zaragoza which was none other than the Arabic pronunciation of Caesarea Augustus (some words not only have an Arabic pronunciation but a North African Arabic pronunciation, hence the surname Amezquita comes from al-masgid which is from the standard al-masjid). Many names and words have a Mozarabic origin — an origin that mixes Arabic and Latin/old Spanish such as Guadalupe. Guadalupe comes from Wadi al-Lupus (Wadi being Arabic for River or Valley and Lupus from Latin for Wolf). To further complicate things, many Spanish Muslims shared the same names with their Christian and Jewish compatriots, most of which were not Moorish in origin.

Francisco, a Hispanic Muslim like us, had taken the Islamic name of Ahmad Abdullah Al Birzali. I don’t know Francisco but it is my personal opinion is that he took the surname “Al-Birzali” because it has some Moorish significance with regards to old Andalusia. Unfortunately, Juan Galvan lost contact with Francisco Rodriguez. Insha’Allah (or Ojalá) we will be able to contact him again. It would have been great to have collaborated further with him in regards to this most interesting subject. In any case, Francisco posted this curious message to the LADO (www.LatinoDawah.org) Yahoogroup. He sent a list of Spanish names commonly seen today that are derived from old Moorish names from Islamic Spain (Al-Andalus). As an example, Juan Galvan’s surname is derived from the Arabic word Qalb. ‘Qalb’ literally means “heart” in Arabic.

Francisco wrote to Juan Galvan stating: “It is odd and strange to explain the meaning behind some of these Mudejar and Morisco names simply because the history of the Mudejares and Moriscos of Spain was so diluted and oppressed by Castilian Christians after the Inquisition. But rest assured, I did my research and along with some help from some Mudejares in Spain and Muslims in Morocco. I was able to determine some lost histories and formulate this list. Mind you, this was only a sample of a few that I found and people that I was contacted by! What that means is that there are potentially many more. This is just an example!”

Juan Galvan asked Francisco to translate each of the names and/or words. Francisco told him: ‘Don’t have much time but Al-Mani‘ means “the Preventer” (also the Withholder, the Shielder, the Defender) and is one of Allah’s 99 (most beautiful and perfect) names. Al-Qasr means “the castle.” I must tell you that as far the rest of the names, I know most of their meanings but not all. It is probably because they belonged to old Al-Andalus (since lots of Arabic and Berber names and words were Hispanized). When I get more time, insha’Allah, tomorrow, I will try to send you a list of definitions of the meanings of these words. Trust me, Birzali was hard to translate because most Arabs and Berbers did not know much about its origins. Some Berbers, though, say that it sounds more Berber to them. I got lots of the names from the Internet page that had a whole list of old Arabic- Andalusian surnames. Al-Birzali was one of them. A Berber told me at the mosque that it means “worthy one” hence Ahmad ‘Abdullah Al Birzali!’

You may find your last name within the following list. I do, however, disagree with some of the findings. Some of the names can be seen to be of Spanish/Latin origin. Others could conceivably be of Moorish origin (from Arabic or Berber or a mixture of these and other languages). Still others are undoubtedly of Moorish origin. Again, that may or may not prove that you have a Moorish background. That should not matter, however, if you are Muslim. What distinguishes us as Muslims to Allah Subhanaahu wa Ta’Ala is not your ancestry but your belief (imán) and piety (taqwa).

The following names have either Arab or Berber origins:

Spanish nameArabic or Berber originMeaning
AbdalaAbdullah, Abd’Allahservant of God
AbeytaAl Baytthe house
AbundisAl Bundi 
AcevedoAl Zabaid 
AguilarAl Kabil 
AguinagaAl Kabinaya 
AguirreAl Qiir 
AlamarAl‘Amrthe age, epoch, time
AlamedaAl Muwattaclear, well-trodden path
AlangeAl Hansh HaSnfort of the snake
AlarcoAl Ark 
AlarifesAl ‘Arif 
AlbufeaAl Buhayrah 
AlbuharesAl Buhari 
AlburquerqueAbu al-Qurqthe place of corks, oaks
AlcacerAl Qasrthe palace
AlcaláAl Qal’ahthe castle
AlcantaraAl QanTarahthe bridge
AlcasarAl Qasrthe palace
AlcazarAl Qasrthe palace
AldamarAl Daam 
AlfaraAl Faar 
AlfonsecaAl Funsuq 
AlgécirasAl Jazirah Al Khudrathe green island
AlicanteAl Liqant 
AlmanzaAl Mansiya 
AlmanzarAl Mansur 
AlmanzorAl Mansur 
AlmeidaAl Ma’idahthe dining table
AlmeniaAl ManiThe Preventer, The Shielder, The Defender, etc. One of the 99 divine attributes of God
AlmeriaAl Mirayahthe mirror, watchtower
AlmodovarAl Mudoor 
AlomarAl ‘Amrthe age, epoch, time
AlonzoAl ‘Uns 
AlpujarrasAl Bajara; Al Bashuraatthe (good) news
AlvaradoAl Barad 
AlvarengaAl Baranja 
AlvarezAl BaariThe Maker; One of the 99 divine attributes of God
AlviraAl Biira 
AmadorAl Ma’ad 
AmaroAl ‘Umarthe old, ancient
AmayaAl Maya 
AmezquitaAl Masjidthe mosque
AndradeAl ‘Addra 
AnzalduaAl Sa’id 
ArochaAl Ruj 
AraizAl Rais 
ArandaAl Randi 
ArenaAl Ramal 
ArgondizzaAl Ghundiiya 
ArrecifeAl Rasif 
ArrendondoAl Ra’adun 
ArriagaAl Raajah 
ArroyoAl Ruh 
ArzateAl Za’idah 
AsconaAl Kuni 
AvalosAl Baal 
AyalaAl Yaal 
AzarAl ‘Asar 
BadajozBaTlayoosCity and province of Extremadura in Spain
BadilloAbd’illahservant of God
BarcelonaBahr Shaluna 
Barrios(Al) Baari 
BenadidBani ??? 
BenavidesBanawid; Bani ??? 
BenevitesBani ??? 
Berrios(Al) Baari 
BobastroBab Shatr 
CablaKa’aba; Qibladirection of prayer
CalahorraQal’at al-HajaarHagar’s (Hajaar’s) castle
CalatañazorQal’at an-Nasureagle’s castle
CalatayudQal’at al ‘AyyubJob’s (Ayyub’s) castle
CameronQamar moon 
CarvanaQawan; Karwan 
CataloniaKataaloona; QaTalooniyya 
CidSidi or Sayyidmister, noble, sir, etc.
ColoradoQul al Raadi 
ElizondoAl ‘Izunt 
EscamillaAl ‘Askami 
EscobarAl ‘Asqub 
EsparzaAl ‘Asbarsiiya 
EspinozaAl Banuzah 
EsquivelAl Kaabal 
EvoraYabra, Yaabbura 
FronteraFaranteeraThe territory between Christians and Muslims in Moorish Spain
GamaGhaima; Jama’a 
GuadalajaraWadi al Hajarahstony river; stony valley
GuadalaviarWadi al-Abyadwhite river
GuadalcázarWadi al-Qasrcastle river
GuadalhorraWadi al-Gharcave river
GuadalquivirWadi al-Kabirgreat river; great valley
GuadalupeWadi al-Lupuswolf river; wolf valley
GuadixWadi Ashi 
GuanajuantoWa al Haad 
GuarromanWadi ar-Rumaanpomegranate river
GuzmánQuzman; ‘Uthmaan 
HinojosoAl ‘Inuz 
IbañezAl Banyah 
IbarraAl Baarah 
JaenJayyanicaravan crossroads
LaraAl ‘Arah 
LedesmoAl ‘Idiz 
LeijaLaila night 
LobatonAl ‘Ubbatun 
LongoriaAl ‘Unkuriya 
LopezAl Lubb 
LozanoAl ‘Uz 
MachadoMajidThe Glorious; One of the 99 divine attributes of God
MadridMajriTbreeze; source of water
ManchaAl Maan 
MeloAl ‘Amaal 
MendezMandilrest stop; inn
MontanchezMoontaant Sheesh 
MurciaMursi; MisriyyaEgyptian
NavarroNabaar, Nabaara 
PadillaBaadi; Abdillahservant of God
PensicolaBin Shikulason of Shikula
RamosAr-Raam; Ar-RumRoman, Byzantine, western, barbaric
RomeroRumRoman, Byzantine, western, barbaric
SagrajasAl Zalaaqa 
SalamancaShalamanqa; Talamanka 
SalasZali; Salaah 
SegoviaSaqubi; Shiqoobiyya 
TrafalgarTaraf al Ghar 
ValladolidBalad al-Walidtown of Walid
VenturaBen Turason of Tura
ZaragozaSaraqusTaArabic pronunciation of the Latin Caesarea Augusta
Oct - Dec 2006, Other, Spain

Consideraciones al Traducir los Textos Islámicos al Español

Por Shafiq (Juan) Alvarado

Breve historia del español

La lengua española tiene una historia fascinadora. Se desarrolló en la península ibérica y ahora es hablado por 332 millones de personas en cerca de 20 países y dentro de muchos otros países. Porque tanta gente en muchos países lo habla, el español fue elegido como uno de los idiomas representativos de las Naciones Unidas. Otro resultado es que una variación natural se ha desarrollado en todos los países y regiones. Por ejemplo, las palabras, el argot, y los dialectos españoles pueden variar dentro de un país o de una región particular.

El español se desarrolló del “latín vulgar” o del latín hablado por las masas en la provincia romana de Hispanía. El árabe entonces influyó esta lengua por unos 800 años. Dos dialectos importantes existieron en España: el castellano y el andaluz. El español castellano fue utilizado generalmente para los propósitos administrativos, y el español andaluz fue más comúnmente usado en general por la población. En las edades medias, el castellano fue considerado el “colmo” o la versión elitista del español. Por lo tanto, por eso es que existe mucha de nuestras actitudes hacia el dialecto castellano hoy. Mucho del español hablado en latinoamericano desciende del español andaluz, sin embargo.

El español se habla como lengua oficial en los países siguientes: La Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, la República Dominicana, Ecuador, El Salvador, España, Guinea Ecuatorial, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, y Venezuela. Además, el español se habla extensamente en Andorra, Belice, Brasil, Canadá, Francia, Gibraltar, Marruecos, las Filipinas, y los Estados Unidos. En los años 90, dentro de los Estados Unidos solamente, había un estimado 17 millones de personas que hablaban español en el país. Este número es mayor que la población de algunos países de los cuales muchos Latinos provienen.

Una lengua relacionada al español era el Aljamiado o el idioma Ayami (actualmente extinto). Esta lengua tenía una influencia grande en español. Ayami viene de la palabra árabe “Ayam” y significa feo, bárbaro, y no-árabe. La lengua también se conoce como mozárabe. La palabra mozárabe viene de la palabra árabe “Musta’rib,” que significa algo o alguien que se ha hecho arabizado. Mozárabe era una lengua hecha y derecha que fue hablada por cerca de 2 millones de personas aproximadamente en la época del año 1000 de la era corriente “” una población grande para las edades medias. Sería injusto caracterizarlo como un lenguaje rudimentario mixto. Mozárabe era muy importante en la vida de los moriscos o sea los musulmanes después de la caída de Andalucía. La lengua era una forma arcaica del español influenciado altamente por palabras y la gramática árabe. Escrito en letras árabes, mozárabe tenía muchas más palabras árabes que el español moderno. Para más información sobre el mozárabe puede visitar al sitio en la red: http://www.alsintl.com/languages/spanish.htm.

Características especiales de la lengua española

¿Qué es especial y único sobre la “lengua de Cervantes”? Escrito en el alfabeto latín, el alfabeto castellano es casimente exacto a del alfabeto inglés. Sin embargo, el español utiliza algunos caracteres diferentemente que otros idiomas. Algunas de las letras que son idiosincrásico en el idioma siguen:

1. La letra española “J.” En el español latinoamericano, el sonido de la J es como el sonido fuerte de la letra inglesa H. En español castellano, la J es incluso más áspero, sonando como la letra árabe “Kha” (خ). Por ejemplo, “Juan” suena diferente en el español latinoamericano que en el español castellano.

2. Otras letras españolas “raras’ son el “LL” o doble L. Cuando está doblado, el L tiene un sonido idiosincrásico de Y. Por ejemplo, la palabra “pollo” suena como “poyo.” Algunos dialectos latinoamericanos incluso hacen el LL sonar como la J de inglés, Sh, o Zh.

3. Otra combinación de letra doble es el sonido del “RR.” El R normal en español es una vibración levemente “” el RR es una vibración alargado del sonido de R en el paladar superior. Es uno de los sonidos que mucha gente encuentra divertido sobre español.

4. La próxima letra distintiva que mencionaré es el “H.” Básicamente, el H es una letra silenciosa. No tiene ningún sonido dondequiera que se coloque. Algunos dialectos españoles tienen una breve aspiración como si es evocador del sonido de H en otra lengua.

5. Una de las letras más distintivas de la lengua española es la “Ñ.” El sonido de la palabra “señorita” tiene gusto de “senyorita.” Se piensa que entró en ser como clase de taquigrafía para el sonido doble de N (nn) en español, que existe no más. Los escribanos comenzaron a usar el tilde (que parece vago una N también) para esas palabras que fueron escritas con doble N. El tilde (~) se piensa haber sido prestado de la lengua árabe.

6. La “C” española tiene dos sonidos posibles, apenas como en otros idiomas como en el inglés. Puede sonar como una S o una K como en “centavo” o “carro,” respectivamente. Sin embargo, desemejante al inglés, reglas muy terminantes existen sobre cuando la C española suena como una S o una K. Si la C precede una E o una I, la C tendrá un sonido de S; si no, tendrá un sonido de K. La palabra “cocina” tiene ambos tipos de C en ella. La primera C hace el sonido de K, y la segunda C hace el sonido de S.

7. La “G” española sigue las reglas similares que fueron mencionadas previamente en lo que respecta a letras que precedían. Si la G viene antes de una E o de una I, la G tendrá el sonido de la J; si no, tendrá su sonido normal de G. Por ejemplo, la palabra “general” y la palabra “gato.”

8. La “V” española es muy corto y aprisa. Suena como el B.

9. La “Z” española se pronuncia como S en América latina. Así, el “azul” es pronunciado como “asul.” En España, la Z se pronuncia como el sonido inglés del Th en “this.” Para nuestro propio propósito, cuando una palabra árabe se transcribe en letras españolas, la Z se supone que tiene el sonido de España.

10. Las vocales en español son “A, E, I, O, U” apenas como en inglés. Además de esto, las vocales se pueden acentuar (á, é, í, ó, ú) en algunas palabras, haciendo la vocal acentuada más ruidosa que las otras letras.

Breve historia del árabe

El árabe tiene una historia que se estira millares de años. La lengua se piensa ser derivada del Nabateo, que alternadamente vino del Fenicio. El árabe es un idioma Semita que se clasifica en el grupo afroasiático de idiomas. Es relacionado con otros idiomas antiguos tales como el hebreo, arameo, y el sirio entre muchas otras. Típico de otros idiomas Semítas, el árabe también se escribe con una escritura que va de derecha hacia la izquierda. Tiene una escritura cursiva, que los calígrafos toman gran orgullo en su fabricación hermosa. Su alfabeto tiene 28 letras.

Hay aproximadamente 225 millones de personas que hablan árabe como su lengua materna. Además, es también la lengua litúrgica de sobre mil millones musulmanes por todo el mundo. Debido a su importancia para el mundo moderno, el árabe también se ha hecho uno de los idiomas oficiales de la ONU. El árabe es la lengua principal de cerca de 23 países, y tiene nativos en muchos otros países. Los siguientes son entre los países en donde se habla el árabe: Argelia, Bahrein, Yibuti, Egipto, Irak, Israel, Jordania, Kuwait, Líbano, Libia, Malta, Mauritania, Marruecos, Omán, territorios palestinos, Qatar, Arabia Saudita, Somalia, Sudán, Siria, Túnez, los Emiratos Árabes Unidos, y Yemen. Los países con poblaciones significativas de habla árabe son: Afganistán, Sábalo, Chipre, Eritrea, Etiopía, Irán, Kenia, Malí, Níger, Tayikistán, Tanzania, Turquía, y Uzbekistán.

Hay sobre 30 diversos dialectos del árabe. De hecho, algunos dialectos no son mutuamente inteligibles. Por ejemplo, un argelino y un iraquí no se entenderían aunque hablan el mismo idioma. La diferencia puede ser tanto como el español y el portugués. De hecho, variaciones pueden ocurrir dentro de un país árabe. Hay dos tipos principales de árabe.

El “árabe estándar moderno” es un estándar que se enseña en escuelas. Llamado Fusja (o la lengua elocuente) por los árabes, el árabe estándar moderno (AEM) se utiliza en la televisión, en periódicos, para conferencias, discursos, etc. Designado a veces como Fusja, el “árabe clásico” es la lengua del Corán. El árabe clásico era originalmente el dialecto de la Meca en la Arabia Saudita actual. El árabe clásico es importante para los estudiantes de la religión, especialmente ésos que manejan manuscritos viejos. La diferencia principal entre los dos estándares está en estilo y vocabulario.

Las otras variedades sabidas de árabe se clasifican como “árabe familiar,” que incluye los muchos dialectos regionales resultando del árabe clásico. Esta categoría incluye el egipcio (hecho popular por las películas y la televisión egipcias), magrebí (hablado en Marruecos u otro países norafricanos), sudanés, levantino (hablado en el Líbano, Siria, y por los palestinos), y naydí (hablado en Arabia Saudita, Irak, Jordania, y Siria). La lengua maltesa (hablada en la isla de Malta) no es un dialecto árabe. Maltés se escribe en el alfabeto latino de izquierda a derecha. Aunque está derivada sobre todo del árabe magrebí, la lengua maltesa también fue influído pesadamente por el italiano u otros idiomas.

Una de las características únicas del árabe es que la mayoría de las palabras están compuestas de raíces triláteras, o de tres-letras. Sin embargo, las raíces cuadriláteras, o raíces de cuatro-letras, también existen. La adición de prefijos y los sufijos componen generalmente nuevas palabras. Debido a esto, uno puede calibrar lo que puede significar la palabra. Por ejemplo, K-T-B tiene que hacer con la escritura. Las palabras derivadas de K-T-B incluyen Kitab (libro), Maktab (biblioteca u oficina “” un lugar en donde ocurre la escritura), Kataba (él escribió). Las palabras Islam, musulmán (muslim), y salám (paz) se deriva de la raíz S-L-M.

Según lo mencionado, el árabe se escribe en un cursivo de la derecha hacia la izquierda. Europeos imitaron el estilo cursivo del árabe, donde conseguimos nuestra escritura cursiva en el oeste. El árabe tiene un alfabeto de 28 letras con varias marcas diacríticas. La forma de letras árabes cambia dependiendo de su posición en la palabra. Si la letra está aislada o en el principio, centro, o en el final de la palabra (Referir a la carta I), la letra cambia de forma.

Traducción de textos islámicos

Ya que el Islam es una religión universal, el Islam se encuentra atractivo a mucha gente. Debido a este interés, la información sobre Islam se ha traducido a idiomas diversos para las varias personas alrededor del mundo. La historia islámica es repleta con una serie continua de traducciones. Las traducciones entraban en ambas maneras “” al árabe u otros idiomas. La traducción de textos islámicos al español va detrás de centenares de años. Sin embargo, las traducciones en español eran generalmente de un carácter polémico u hostil, generalmente en contra Islam aunque algunas excepciones notables existen.

Importancia de la traducción continuada de textos islámicos en español

La información islámica española es muy importante porque la literatura traducida sirve como vehículo al Islam. De hecho, esto debe ser la razón más importante de hacerlo. Como musulmanes, tenemos un deber de difundir la religión de Dios a toda la gente, fisabililáh (por el propósito de Dios). En el Corán 41:33, Dios Más Exaltado dice,

وَمَنْأَحْسَنُ قَوْلا ً مِمَّنْ دَعَاإِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحاً وَقَالَإِنَّنِي مِنَالْمُسْلِمِينَ

“¿Quién hay, pues, que hable mejor que quien llama (hombres) a Alá, obra bien y dice: “Soy de los que se someten a Alá”?”

Actualmente, hay tantos parlantes del español en el mundo como del inglés. Además, el español es el segundo idioma mas hablado en los Estados Unidos. Por lo tanto, tenemos mucho trabajo de hacer.

Si hubiera más información islámica en español como existe en otros idiomas, habríamos ganado a muchos más musulmanes hispanos. También tendríamos más musulmanes educados de habla hispana, porque la mayoría de la literatura islámica española disponible es muy básica. Traduciendo textos árabe al español anima una visión justa y equilibrada sobre el Islam, particularmente en la prensa. Es muy obviamente que los no-musulmanes no están necesariamente interesados en la fabricación de Islam como una alternativa en las vidas de la gente. Parece ser que muchos tienen un interés en hacer ver mal el Islam.

Cómo traducir los textos al español

En la era del computador, software y sitios del Internet pueden traducir fácilmente y económicamente documentos largos a otros idiomas. Entres los sitios más populares usados para las traducciones en línea, incluyen babelfish.altavista.com y google.com/language_tools. La desventaja es que las traducciones son generalmente llenas de errores. Las razones son variadas. El sitio del Internet o el programa de la computadora puede que no este al corriente con una palabra que necesite ser traducida. Por lo tanto, la palabra seguirá sin estar tocado. Las palabras con significados duales pueden dar lugar a oraciones raras. Por lo tanto, debes reconocer que estos programas tienen limitaciones y no son perfectos. Tendrás que releer el material traducido para corregir cualquier error o para palabras mejores o la gramática, etc. Algunos programas traducirán simplemente las palabras pero no arreglarán las palabras en una oración legible. Por ejemplo, “el perro pequeño” puede ser traducido como “chiquito el perro.” Además, en algunas ocasiones ciertas traducciones también pueden usar términos arcaicos.

Esto nos trae a la opción de palabras. Los diccionarios Inglés-a-Españoles, tales como wordreference.com, se pueden encontrar en línea. Como la lengua inglesa, diversas palabras se pueden utilizar para comunicar el mismo significado en la lengua española. Para componer el problema de transmitir el mensaje del Islam, muchos hispanos tienen diversos niveles de educación. Algunas palabras son mas comunes que otras. Como regla general, es mejor y más fácil mantener un idioma simple evitando idioma grandioso que puede perder a tu lector u oyente en la traducción. Es mejor leer u oír algo comprensible. La meta es hacer una traducción comprensible que el número más grande pueda entender sin sacrificar la belleza del trabajo original.

Romanización o Latinización

La romanización o la latinización es un acercamiento para representar los sonidos de una lengua con el alfabeto (latino) romano. Español e inglés ambos utilizar el alfabeto (latino) romano. Generalmente, la lengua que no es romanizada no se puede expresar con los caracteres latinos. Por ejemplo, la escritura árabe es representada a menudo por el alfabeto arábigo. Romanización de palabras árabes permite a locutores ingleses y españoles que son desconocedores con la escritura árabe pronunciar palabras árabes. Los métodos de romanización incluyen la transcripción y la transliteración.

La transcripción y la tranliteración son métodos formales de substituir las letras en un alfabeto de una lengua por las letras de otro idioma. Por lo tanto, si la lengua de orígen contiene 30 letras en su alfabeto, la lengua correspondiente de la transcripción también contendrá 30 letras. Por ejemplo, las letras árabes se pueden transcribir en las letras romanas. Se utiliza generalmente dentro del material de estudiante. Las transcripciones son utilizadas sobre todo por los lingüistas, por ejemplo en la investigación académica.

En lo que respecta a la transliteración, ciertos estándares se producen para cerciorarse de que todas las letras están sonadas hacia fuera la manera exacta. Por ejemplo, los parlantes del árabes fruncirían las cejas si se usa una “D” para las letras árabes “dál” (ﺩ) y “Dod (ﺽ).” Semejantemente, no le gustarían el uso de “S” para “sín” (ﺱ) y “Sod (ﺹ).” Los dos tienen sonidos distintos a los parlantes del árabe aun no lo tengan los parlantes del inglés o español. Por lo tanto, los estándares en la transcripción se han hecho para tal uso. Estos estándares incluyen las letras que no se utilizan normalmente en el alfabeto (latino) romano. Hay muchos estándares ingleses para transcribir la lengua árabe. Uno de los más influyentes es la transcripción de Gesellschaft de Deutsche Morgenländische que fue adoptada por la Convención Internacional de los Eruditos Orientalistas en Roma. Es la base del diccionario influyente de Hans Wehr. También hay estándares en español. Uno de los más influyentes es producido por F. Corriente, Catedrático de los estudios árabes e islámicos de la universidad de Madrid. El estándar de la Escuela de Arabistas Españoles (SAS) es otro estándar español popular de la transcripción del siglo 19.

La transliteración es más liberal en que está referida solamente a la pronunciación, más específicamente, con cómo una palabra extranjera suena en la lengua materna. Los dos estándares formales más populares de la transcripción son el alfabeto fonético internacional (IPA) seguido por el estándar de SAMPA. Sin embargo, otros métodos formales e informales de la transcripción son de uso general para transcribir un idioma en el alfabeto de otro. Por lo tanto, las transliteraciones son las que se usan con más frecuencia de la escritura prevista para el público en general, por ejemplo en los periódicos y en otra formas de prensa.

La transcripción y la transliteración se usan frecuentemente porque la mayoría de las letras transcritas se pueden pronuncian semejantemente a la lengua orígen. Por lo tanto, ambos esencialmente se utilizan para el mismo propósito. Para nuestros propósitos, los dos términos se utilizaran alternativamente a través de este artículo. Otra manera de entender transcripciones y transliteraciones es substituyendo el sonido de una lengua por las letras o las concordancias de otra lengua. Un ejemplo estaría para la frase común en inglés: “Do you speak English?” La frase se puede transcribir substituyendo las letras del inglés con el sonido de las letras en español: “Du yu spík inglich?” Semejantemente, otras idiomas se transcriben con las letras y los sonidos de otra lengua. En español, por ejemplo, podemos ver tales términos árabes comunes transcritos como tales: salám, salam, o zalema (en árabe: سلام significa paz), dawa, daua, o dawah (en árabe: ةدعو significa propagación del Islam). Desafortunadamente, esto puede traer confusión a las traducciones. Transcribir árabe en español trae tales desafíos. Por ejemplo, aunque la manera más exacta de transcribir la palabra árabe para los musulmanes en inglés y español es “muslim,” la palabra “musulmán” se usa más frecuente no sólo en español pero también en urdu (idioma de Paquistán), hindustaní (idioma de India), y ruso.

Porque el español tiene algunos sonidos idiosincrásicos, puede ser una buena idea tomar nota de que raro algunas palabras inglesas pueden sonar y verse en español ya que muchas palabras transcribidas del árabe vienen del inglés. Ejemplo, “Allah” (Dios) suena y parece como la palabra “allá” en español. La palabra aceptada en español es “Alá” pero esta palabra también parece la palabra “ala.” Quizas es mejor usar “Al-láh” o “Aláh.” La palabra “imán” (el líder de los rezos) es igual a la palabra magnetica “imán.” Algunas alternativas podrían ser escribido como “Mujammad” para Muhammad e “Imém” para Imam (Imán). Si estás interesado en la transcripción, recuérdese que las letras siguientes: h, j, ll, ñ, i, y rr tienen otros sonidos en árabe. Algunos alternativas posibles son utilizar la “y” o “ch” para la letra “J.” También recuérdese siempre utilizar los acentos donde correspondan: á, é, í, ó, ú.

Una de las últimas cosas que quisiera tocar es recordar siempre mantener cosas simples. Recordar definir siempre conceptos y términos islámicos. No asumir que tus lectores sabrán de lo que estás hablando. Incluso los términos comunes no tendrán necesariamente sentido a los no-musulmanes “” cerciorarse de definirlos. Algunos términos del campo común que los musulmanes utilizan que se definen raramente se pueden encontrar en la carta IV. No hay que reinventar la rueda cuando encuentra una terminología islámica que es difícil de traducir. En muchos casos ya existe una palabra española para términos árabes. Por otra parte, tenga cuidado de no utilizar palabras que son ofensivas o que pueden retratar el Islam en una manera inexacto. Algunas palabras árabes comunes que han entrado al español que pueden utilizar son:

Carta I

Palabras españolasOtra transcripciones
ImánImám, Imém
CoránCur-án, Cor’án
HarénHarám, Harém

Otras palabras del español que han venido a traves del árabe son:

Carta I.a.

Palabras árabe en transcripciónPalabra española
Qitaar, qitaaraGuitarra

Algunas palabras españolas son ofensivas o por lo menos retratan el Islam inexactamente: La carta II demuestra la transcripción aceptable para las varias palabras árabes en el castellano.

Carta II

Palabra preferidaPalabra ofensiva
Islám, IslamIslamismo
Muslim, musulmánMahometano
Mujammad, MohametMahoma
Islám, IslamMahometanismo


El mundo hispano puede utilizar todos materiales del dawah posible y que Al-láh (Dios) recompense todos los que intenten transmitir información islámica. Tenemos que recordar, sin embargo, que la lengua española tiene un uso idiosincrásico con sus letras. Muchas veces, nos tienta utilizar la transcripción inglesa de una palabra árabe al español pero esto puede producir una palabra totalmente diferente. Con un poco de estudio y un cierto esfuerzo, podemos superar tales dificultades. Recuérdese, el Islam no es nuevo a la lengua española. De hecho, el Islam ayudó desarrollar la lengua.

Carta III: Transcripción de letras árabes

thá (como la Z de España)
  thál (como la Z de España)
thá (como la Z de España)
ghayn (como la R de Francia)

Carta IV: Palabras árabes comunmente usada por musulmanes.

ArábigoSignificadoTranscripción Española
أذانLlamada al rezoAzán
اللهDiosAl-lah, Alá, Aláh
الله أكبرDios es más grandeAláju Akbar
الله عليمDios es el SabioAláju Alim
الله تعلىDios el AltísimoAlá Ta ala
عليه السلامLa paz esté con élAleiji salám
الحمد للهElogiado sea DiosAljamdu liláh
السلام عليكمLa paz esté contigoAs-salámu aleikum
أستغفر اللهDios, protéjameAstagfirul-láh
آيةVerso del CoránAya (Aleya)
بدعةUna innovación en la religiónBidá
بسم اللهEn el nombre de DiosBismilá
دعوةPropagación del IslamDaua
الدينReligion de IslamDín
ذكرRecuerdo constante en DiosZikr
دعاءRezo personalDua
دنياEl mundo con sus distraccionesDunia
عيدFestival, celebraciónAíd
فرضUna obligaciónFard
فتوىOpinión legal de estudiososFatua
في سبيل اللهPor el amor de DiosFisabililáh
فتنةDivisión, aflicción, anarquiaFitna
غسلEl baño mayorGusl
حديثTradiciones de Mohamet, pce*Hadíz
الحجLa peregrinación a la MecaHach, Hayy
حلالLo permitidoHalál
حرامLo prohibidoHarám
حجابVestidura modestaHiyab
إمامÉl que dirige los rezosImám, Imém
إن شاء اللهOjalá, si Dios quiereIncha’Alá, Ojalá
الإسلامSubmisión a DiosIslám, Islam
جنزةRezos funeralesYanaza
جنّةParaíso, el JardínYana
جزك الله خيرنGracias a DiosYazak Alláju Kayran
جنّGenio, demonioYin (Genio)
جهادEl esfuerzo santo contra el malYihad, Yijad
كافرUno que niega la verdadKáfer
كفرUno que niega la verdadKufár
لا إلّه الا اللهNo hay más dios que AláLa ilaja il-la Alá
ما شاء اللهVoluntad de DiosMacha Alá
مسجدMezquita, templo musulmánMasyid (Mezquita)
مكّةCiudad sagrada del IslamMeca
مدينةCiudad sagrada del IslamMedina
ماذانÉl que llama a los rezosMuecín (Almuecín)
مسلمMusulmánMuslim (Musulmán)
نبيProfeta de Dios, MohametNabi
قبلةDirección de rezoQibla, Kibla
القرآنEscritura sagrada del IslamCorán
رمضانMes de ayunoRamadán
رسولMensajero de Dios, MohametRasúl
رباPecado del interésRiba
صلاةRezo obligatorioSalát
الشهادةTestimonio de la feChaháda
الشريعةLeyes del IslamCharía
شيخAnciano con experienciaCheik (Jeque)
الشيعةSecta del IslamChia (Chiita)
شركPecado de idolatríaCherk
صوفيMistico islámicoSufi
السنّةTradiciones del IslamSuná
سنّيLa mayoría del IslamSuní (Sunita)
سبحان اللهGloria a DiosSubjána Alá
تجويدLa Unidad total de DiosTaujíd
علماءEstudiosos musulmanesUlema
الاُمّةComunidad musulmanaUma
وليProtector, guardianUali
زكاةCaridad obligadaZakát, (Azaque)

*PCE = La Paz de Dios esté con él

Jan - Mar 2005, Spain

Finally, Spanish Schools Teach Islam

By Al-Amin Andalusi



MADRID, January 12 (IslamOnline.net) – Teaching Islam in Spanish schools has finally found its way to implementation after almost a decade of delays and obstacles.

Since coming to power in the European country, Spain’s new Socialist government under Jose Rodriguez Zapatero has made a host of good gestures toward the Muslim community in the country, the most remarkable of which was a decision to allow the teaching of Islamic subjects at public schools of major cities with significant Muslim presence.

The long-awaited development saw the light early January, 2005.

The government decision on teaching Islam only stipulates giving definition lessons on Islam. But Spanish rightist parties lashed out at the decision, launching a severe campaign against the Muslim community in the country, seeking to put strains that would make the decision void of its meaning.

Teaching Islam was part of an agreement reached in the early 1990s between the former Socialist government and a number of the Islamic bodies in Spain.

However, the agreement was shelved for eight years after former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s People’s Party assumed power.

Spain has a Muslim community of about 600,000 people out of a total population of 40 million. Some 94 percent of its population are Christian Catholics.

The country has recognized Islam through the law of religious freedom, issued in July 1967.

Definition Lessons

The Spanish decision stipulates teaching the Islamic subjects in the Spanish schools in a number of Spanish cities that have high Muslim population such as Barcelona, Madrid and Andalusia.

The Spanish official for religious affairs had said Islamic subjects would be taught in a number of major Spanish cities by early January, 2005.

Teaching Islamic subjects was only allowed since 2000 in the cities of Ceuta and Melilla in which Muslims of Moroccan origin make up the majority of population.

Ceuta and Melilla are located in northern Morocco under the Spanish control.

Teachers of the Islamic subjects in the two cities were only seven, teaching some 1,900 students in the preliminary education, however, the experience was seen as an encouraging step to be copied in other Spanish cities.

Visiting a number of schools in the city of Melilla, the Spanish official for religious affairs said the experience of teaching Islamic subjects in the city was driving factor for the Spanish government to follow suit in other Spanish cities.

The decision to teach Islam stipulates giving simple definition lessons on the Islamic pillars to students at Spanish schools.

The Spanish socialist government and the Union of the Islamic Associations have agreed that the Islamic subjects would be limited to teaching introductory lessons on the pillars of Islam to Spanish students.

The association has been intensifying efforts to correct misconceptions on Islam among the Spanish people.

The association secretary general urged to extend the teaching of the Islamic subjects to other Spanish cities in light of the increasing numbers of Muslim immigrants in the European country.

Neighboring Morocco is expected to play a role in the issue as the Moroccan education ministry will prepare the curricula of the Islamic subjects, similarly to the situation in the cities of Ceuta and Melilla.


But the government’s decision to teach Islam drew ire from rightist and pro-Catholic church parties which oppose the rising numbers of Muslim immigrants in Spain.

The rightist opposition campaign led by the People’s Party and pro-church parties resulted in imposing more restrictions on implementing the law.

These included the Islamic subjects to be taught only in areas that have high Muslim population, to have at least ten students or parents presenting a request and that the Islamic subjects don’t contradict with the by-laws of the government and private schools in Spain.

The Spanish rightist parties, however, failed to place other restrictions, such as allowing only Spanish teachers to teach the Islamic subjects. The proposal was rebuffed by the Spanish government as unrealistic and similar to the idea of Muslim teachers teaching Catholicism.

The Spanish rightist parties believe the government decision to teach Islam is doomed to failure due to the poor number of the Islamic subject teachers, even in the cities of Ceuta and Melilla which have only 20 teachers.

However, the Spanish government is attempting to solve the problem by reaching an agreement with Morocco on seeking Spanish-speaking teachers from the neighboring Arab country, similarly to a deal between Morocco and Italy under which Morocco sent 30 teachers to teach Arabic to the Moroccan immigrants in the European country.

Anti-Islam Drive

The Spanish move on teaching Islamic subjects, however, has stirred anti-Islam parties and their media mouthpieces to launch a scathing attack on Islam and Muslims.

The rightist La Razon daily, known for its links with the church and army circles, launched vile campaigns against the Muslim community, accusing them of inability to integrate into the western societies.

The Spanish daily also claimed that the Noble Qur’an forbids Muslims from easily integrating into the western societies.

The anti-Muslim campaigns in the European country reflected differences between the rightist parties and the Catholic church on one hand, and the leftist parties led by the ruling Socialist party on the other, according to observers.

Since he assumed power, Zapatero has cancelled a host of privileges enjoyed by the Catholic church during the rule of the People’s Party, including a halt of finances to the church-sponsored schools and religious centers.

Such a decision, naturally, drew criticism campaigns from the Catholic circles, accusing the Socialist Party of adopting a policy of “secular extremism”.

The Zapatero government, however, stressed it only applies secular policies that stipulate equality among the different faiths in the country.

It also noted that the decision on teaching Islam was a part of the secular polices adopted by the government.

Observers also believe the decision to teach Islam aims to control the widespread Islamic private schools in the country to avoid any future “terrorist” acts similar to the Madrid bombings.

July - Sept 2004, Spain

Spain’s Islamic past

By Gerald Butt
December 12, 1998


“When the Christians recaptured Granada, they burnt all 80,000 books from the palace library – as if to expunge the memory of Islamic rule.”

When the Arab and Berber armies crossed from North Africa into Spain in the eighth century, they thought they’d discovered heaven on earth.

By the time they were finally driven out in 1492 they’d actually created an earthly celebration of paradise – the Alhambra palaces and gardens in Granada.

For desert Arabs, water is luxury. And in the melting snow of the Sierra Nevada mountains they found what they wanted. By a series of intricate channels they directed water into the palace grounds and onto the dusty plains below.

Still today at the Alhambra you get a glimpse of paradise. Small streams take the water hither and thither to innumerable fountains and ponds – at one point rushing down channels in the balustrades of a stone stairway. Everywhere, splashing and gushing water. And great splashes of colour under the conifers – roses, lilies and sweet-smelling jasmine.

Not to mention the luxury of the palaces themselves with their courtyards shaded by trees and cooled by fountains and with the walls decorated by elaborate Arabic inscriptions and patterned tiles.

For an Arabist like me, a visit to Alhambra should have been the experience of a lifetime. But I came away slightly disappointed. Not at the beauty of what I’d seen – rather with a sense that the Arab and Islamic character had been somewhat down-played.

When the Christians recaptured Granada, they burnt all 80,000 books from the palace library – as if to expunge the memory of Islamic rule. Then they built a cathedral on the site of the great mosque and put a baroque facade around the main palace.

Today the Alhambra is marketed very much as a major Spanish tourist site. One Spanish guidebook says that the Alhambra is to Granada what St Peter’s is to Rome or St Mark’s Square is to Venice.

What the guidebook doesn’t say is that the Alhambra is a legacy of nearly eight centuries during which the Arabs not only occupied Spain but also introduced into Europe mathematics, philosophy and Greek scholarship. Furthermore, the Arabs brought into Spain oranges, lemons, rice, sugar, date palms, cotton and much more.

And then there was the elaborate irrigation system, bringing water to the plains of Andalusia and giving it the landscape it has today. Even when the Arabs had been expelled en masse, two families were required to stay in each village to operate the irrigation system.

In other words, the Christians of Europe were happy to inherit the legacy of the Arab occupation of Spain, but were reluctant to acknowledge its Islamic origin. The American traveller, Washington Irving, noticed this when he visited Granada at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Spanish, he said, considered the Muslims nothing more than “invaders and usurpers”. And that still seems to be the case today.

Does any of this matter? I believe it does. Arabs feel bitterly resentful at how they’re portrayed in the West – as ignorant people, lacking the advantages of our history and civilisation. As I drove away from Granada, I remembered what a retired Jordanian diplomat Hazem Nuseibeh once told me.

For him, history was like a medicine. Whenever he felt depressed by the sense of inferiority and failure that haunts the Arabs today he escaped into history books and read about the glories of the past, not least the glories of Andalusia.

But escapism can’t hide the fact that the Arabs as a whole feel they’ve lost their way and lost their self-esteem. They live, for the most part, under corrupt and incompetent regimes, and – as they see it – in the shadow of the West.

“The West calls the tune to which we dance,” Rabee Dejani, a Palestinian businessman in Jordan told me, “We hate the tune and we hate ourselves for dancing”.

The accumulation of this resentment is creating new generations of Arabs who are hostile to the West. With no political platform on which to vent their anger, they’re increasingly turning for comfort to Islam and to Islamic fundamentalism. And the violent acts that militants carry out blacken the name of Islam in the West.

Thus the anti-Muslim slogans I saw daubed on the walls of the ancient caravanseria in the centre of Granada – and the look of anxiety and suspicion on the face of Hassan, the caretaker of the small centre nearby, when I knocked on the door.

Mutual suspicion is increasing. It’s a vicious circle that won’t easily be broken. But a start would be for the West to give credit where it’s due.

Yes, the Alhambra is a tangible legacy of a great Islamic civilisation. But there are many other intangible legacies from the days of Arab rule in Spain, ingredients of our daily lives that we take for granted. If those debts were acknowledged, Arabs, I believe, would still go to their mosques in large numbers. But they’ll be less attracted than they are now by the angry rantings of anti-Western fundamentalists.

Jan - Mar 2003, Spain

Los Musulmanes Españoles

Por Yusuf Fernández


Entre los países de Europa, España fue el que mantuvo durante más tiempo una presencia musulmana en su suelo. El estado islámico de Al Andalus (711-1492), pese a haber sido destruido tras ocho siglos de una brutal guerra por parte de los cruzados españoles y extranjeros, dejó unas profundas raíces culturales en la región sureña de Andalucía y toda España. Entre los idiomas europeos, el español es el que posee un mayor número de palabras de origen árabe -unas 6.000-.

En los años setenta, después de 500 años de silencio y tras el fin del régimen dictatorial de Franco, comenzó a aparecer de nuevo el Islam en tierras españolas. La Constitución de 1978 puso fin al estado confesional católico que regió en España durante cinco siglos. En 1980 fue aprobada también la Ley de Libertad Religiosa, que abrió el camino a la existencia legal de organizaciones religiosas no católicas en el país.

En este momento, se produjo en Andalucía -la región del sur de España donde el Islam estuvo presente durante más tiempo y donde existen numerosos monumentos de la época musulmana tales como la Mezquita de Córdoba, el Palacio de la Alhambra en Granada y la Torre Giralda en Sevilla- la aparición de algunos colectivos de musulmanes. Estos colectivos tenían en general dos procedencias. Por un lado, algunos andaluces, conscientes del esplendoroso pasado islámico de Andalucía, comenzaron a realizar una investigación acerca de su pasado y su historia y en dicha búsqueda hallaron el Islam como mensaje liberador personal y social. En este sentido, Granada, una bella ciudad que fue la última capital del estado musulmán en España, se convirtió en uno de los primeros centros de renacimiento del Islam en España.

Otro colectivo procedía de estudiantes de Oriente Medio, principalmente Siria y Palestina. Arabia Saudí, por su parte, procedió a construir algunos centros islámicos como la Mezquita de la ciudad de Marbella, en la Costa del Sol, para atender a las necesidades de miles de árabes que visitan cada año esta parte del país.

Desde Granada, el Islam comenzó a extenderse a otras ciudades como Madrid, Barcelona y otras. Aparte de la curiosidad por la propia historia de España, el incremento de los viajes de españoles a países musulmanes -especialmente Marruecos y Turquía-, la difusión de libros musulmanes, incluyendo los de los místicos y sabios de la época de Al Andalus, y el desprestigio de la Iglesia Católica entre gran parte de la población por su colaboración con la dictadura de Franco y otras anteriores contribuyeron a elevar el interés hacia el Islam. Miles de españoles abrazaron el Islam en los años ochenta y noventa.

Se calcula que en la actualidad hay unos 20.000 musulmanes españoles de origen. La mitad de ellos, aproximadamente, son mujeres. El colectivo de mujeres musulmanas ha desarrollado en los últimos años una extraordinaria actividad, que se ha traducido en la realización de tres congresos, el último de los cuales tuvo lugar en la ciudad de Córdoba los pasados días 2 y 3 de marzo.

En las pasadas dos décadas, se produjo también un fuerte incremento en la entrada de inmigrantes marroquíes en España. Éstos suponen hoy en día el 90% del medio millón de musulmanes que viven en el país en el momento presente. También creció en importancia la inmigración de otros países como Argelia y Senegal.

Una de las reivindicaciones de los musulmanes en la actualidad es la transformación de la Mezquita de Córdoba -que fue convertida en una catedral católica tras la conquista de la ciudad en el siglo 13 y ha sido declarada recientemente Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO- en un edificio interreligioso donde musulmanes y católicos puedan realizar sus actividades de culto. Sin embargo, esta petición ha sido rechazada hasta el momento por el Obispado católico de la ciudad, que ha venido impidiendo a los musulmanes el rezar en el interior de la Mezquita. Durante el pasado congreso de mujeres musulmanas de Córdoba el pasado marzo, algunos musulmanes que acudieron a la Mezquita para realizar allí sus oraciones fueron objeto de hostigamiento y agresiones por parte de los guardas de seguridad privados contratados por el Obispo.

Otra reivindicación fundamental de los musulmanes españoles es la aplicación efectiva del Acuerdo de 1992, que fue suscrito por el Estado Español con las confesiones islámica, judía y protestante. Este acuerdo fue firmado en aquel año como parte de la conmemoración del Quinto Centenario del Descubrimiento de América y la caída de Granada, última ciudad musulmana en suelo español. En dicho acuerdo, que tiene carácter de ley, se reconocían algunos derechos constitucionales a los musulmanes, como el de la posibilidad de dar clases de islam en las escuelas públicas, tal y como hace actualmente la Iglesia Católica, la posibilidad de visitar hospitales, cuarteles militares y prisiones para dar asistencia a los que allí se encuentren y algunos otros.

Sin embargo, pese a ser una norma legal, este acuerdo no ha sido hasta la fecha respetado por el gobierno español. Éste continúa financiando además con carácter exclusivo a la Iglesia Católica, pese a ser España oficialmente un estado laico. Los musulmanes españoles tienen ante sí, pues, un largo camino que recorrer hasta alcanzar los derechos que como ciudadanos les corresponden.

Islam, July - Sept 2002, Spain

Islamic Education In Spain

By Khadija Mohiuddin

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Kind

Recent developments of Islam in Spain merit attention. Specifically, the revival of Islamic education in Al-Andalus is a unique phenomenon with far-reaching potential for Spanish speaking peoples worldwide.

Post-1975 Spain

Many are surprised to learn that it was not until 1975 in the twentieth century-463 years since the Inquisition-that the legalization of Islam in Spain took place. The delayed passage of this law finally permitted the Spanish citizen to formally declare his or her Islam to the public without any threat to his or her safety and well-being.

During this time (the ’70s) there was a sizable Muslim immigrant population in Spain that was mainly from Morocco. This was also the period of the so-called “Hippie Era,” and as such, a great many Spaniards, desiring an alternative lifestyle and belief system turned to Islam. From the ’70s through the ’80s many Spaniards began learning more about Islam and accepting it as their faith. Indeed for many Spaniards, coming closer to Islam has meant a rediscovery of their lost heritage. As a result, many Spaniards felt (and may still feel) that rather than converting to Islam they were actually reverting or returning to Islam and reclaiming their buried roots.

Since the 1970s the fledgling Muslim community has considerably grown into a diverse group comprised of ethnic Spanish Muslims and immigrant Muslims. In general, the style (or perhaps, flavor) of Islam-in terms of fiqh and general cultural practices-observed by most Spaniards today is either a Maghrebi (Moroccan) style or a Turkish style. This may be attributed to the influence of the immigrant Moroccan Muslim population in Spain, the fact that current Muslim leaders/teachers received formal education in Maliki fiqh (most frequently observed in Morocco and Mauritania), as well as a result of the country’s relative cultural and geographical proximity to Turkey. In addition to the Moroccan immigrant community, however, there are also many Muslims of Syrian descent that are a component of the Spanish Muslim community. In total-Spaniards and immigrants-there are an estimated 400,000 Muslims in Spain. They are spread throughout the country with noticeable communities in the larger cities of Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Madrid, etc.

The Spanish Muslims are a dynamic group. Individuals have exerted great efforts to study and implement Islam in their lives. One such member of the Spanish Muslim community, Don Antonio Romero-Román (Dr. Abdus Samad), is mayor of the town of Puebla de Don Fadrique and has been instrumental in establishing a Spanish madrasah or institute of learning in Southern Spain. He publicly reverted to Islam after the 1975 law was passed.

The Madrasah: Facultad de Los Estudios Andalusies

The idea of the madrasah was first conceived in the early ’80s in order to set up a community and foster the passage of classical Islamic teachings based on a live chain of narration tracing back to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and to give students a strong background in usool, fiqh, and the Arabic language.

After studying for almost a decade under traditional Maliki and Shafi’i scholars in the Middle East, Dr. Abdus Samad returned to his native Spain in 1993 and began working with his famiy to extend their family farm in order to make it a magnet for Muslim scholars, students, and visitors. The task has now been realized, Alhamdulillah, and the madrasah officially known in Spanish as La Facultad de Estudios Andalusies is located about 125 miles north of Granada and the Al-Hambra in the breathtaking Mountain Valley of Azzaghra (Segura Mountains of Southern Spain). The Azzaghra Mountain is holds special significance to the Muslim experience in Spain; it is symbolic of the Muslim struggle for existence as having been one of the last places where local Muslims retreated to during the days of the Inquisition and where they demonstrated great bravery in defending their Muslim lives.

There is also the Azzagra Cultural Center and restaurant on the premises that attracts local visitors. Students can also enjoy a nearby sports complex, swimming pool, and horseback riding. In addition, students at the madrasah are encouraged to help with the farm’s almond and olive cultivation alongside cultivation of plum, apricot, apple, and walnut trees, which happen to be irrigated by help of ancient Moorish or Muslim underground canals. Farming at the madrasah is done purely along organic lines as Dr. Abdus Samad is deputy president of the Andalusian Green Party.

As it may be observed, there are several extracurricular activities taking place at the madrasah. With no less intensity, in terms of its curriculum the madrasah offers two intensive Arabic programs through its Department of Arabic Language and Islamic Sciences. First, there is the two-year Arabic course, which has received accreditation from the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt and the International University in Damascus, Syria. This two-year course also includes supplementary study of various Islamic sciences such as Tafsir (Qur’anic Exegesis), Fiqh-either Maliki or Hanafi, Hadith, History, and Akhlaaq. Students are usually busy with seven hours of instruction per day. The two-year program in the Department of Arabic language and Islamic sciences is designed to give students a strong enough base in the Arabic language to be able to pursue advanced studies in the Arabic language at universities in the Muslim world. The cost of the two-year program is $5600 Euros per year with the academic year beginning in October. Promising students are eligible for scholarships.

Currently there are 40 students enrolled in the program from various countries including Chile, Puerto Rico, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Argentina. The program in operation right now is witnessing promising student progress. Teachers in the program include the Chilean Yousef Olejado, a student of Shaykh Alawi Mekki, the Maliki fiqh scholar, and two other teachers from Syria. Instruction at the madrasah is ideal for the Spanish-speaking student, however, for the next year the madrasah will additionally accommodate English-speaking students.

In addition to its two-year Arabic program, the madrasah also offers month-long Summer Intensive Arabic programs during the months of July, August, and September. The intensive program offers two levels of Arabic: basic and advanced. Students participating in the summer program will also get to study Tajwid, Fiqh, ‘Aqidah, and History. The summer program is meant for both Spanish and English-speaking students.

For the year 2003 the Facultad de Estudios Andalusies is hoping to offer a four-year undergraduate degree in Arabic. Negotiations are underway with the Complutense University in Madrid for the program to recognized as a full-degree program. Also, interested students may take long-distance courses with the Facultad via the Internet.

In conclusion, the establishment of this Islamic university is a great milestone for Spanish Muslims, Spanish speaking Muslims of Latin America and the United States, Latinos in general, and Muslims all over the world. Its potential to build an educated indigenous Muslim leadership of the Spanish-speaking world has yet to be explored.

To learn more about the madrasah (Facultad de Estudios Andalusies), visit www.al-madrasa.com.

July - Sept 2002, Spain

Islamic Resurgence in Spain and Beyond

By Samantha Sanchez

The Spanish Inquisition spanned four centuries. Spanish Muslims attempting to escape it fled in two directions – North Africa and the Americas. Those that remained became nominal Catholics. Some practiced their religion n secret. If they were found out they were killed or exiled. In 1610 the last of the so-called nominal Catholics or Moriscos were exiled. The Inquisition practically wiped out the Muslim community in Spain. In fact the revival of Islam in al-Andalus as it was known, has been a cherished ideal since the fall of Grenada in 1492.

The first chance that the Andalusian people had to bring back Islam was when they had their freedom in 1975 with the advent of democracy, sine the Inquisition had legally continued until July 15, 1834. After which social pressures hindered Jews and Muslims from practicing their faiths until 1975.

In 1976, in the city of Cordoba, five brave young men became Muslims through the dawah of Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi. Shaykh as-Sufi is a convert himself and the founder of the Murabitun Movement. These were the first Spaniards to accept Islam since the time of al-Andalus. They were instructed to spread Islam to the people and their efforts drew a large number of new Muslims, and subsequently the establishment of a Muslim community in the city. Their efforts to build a mosque, the first since the Inquisition, were hindered by public and government opposition.

In 1980 Spain put forth The Organic Law of religious freedom. The real rebirth of Islam in Spain, thus, did not begin until 1980 with the formation of the Autonomous Community of Andalus. The Yamaa Islamica of Al-Andalus was established in Seville (capital of present-day Andalusia). This association and the association for the rebirth of Islam were the most important. The Grand Mosque of Cordoba under Muslim rule in Spain was open to Muslims, Jews and Christians. It was the center of academic and spiritual learning. Today, it is a cathedral. Muslim visitors to the former mosque are told by the guides/guards before entering that it is prohibited to pray there.

Islam has slowly but surely flourished in Spain. In 1983-4, the Yamaa Islamica al-Andalus opened centers in Granada, Malaga and Jerez. In 1984, it made its first public demonstration by celebrating the memory of Al-Motamid Ibn Abbad, the last Muslim king in Seville. The act included a public call to prayer. More than 4000 people took part in the demonstration. In 1985 a convention of all Andalucian Muslims was held in the province of Granada. In 1986, YIA opened its center in Cordoba and made it the center of the entire community. Between the years of 1987-88 new centers emerged in Almeria and Murcia. So far we have tracked thirteen years of progress among Muslims in Spain since the Inquisition. However in all of this time, the government of Spain did not recognize Muslims and the Islamic faith. It was not until 1989, that Islam was recognized in Spain and even today though Muslims have official status they enjoy fewer privileges.

Between 1989-1993 several celebrations took place to commemorate Muslim ancestors and erected mosques. In 1992, the Islamic commission of Spain signed an agreement of cooperation with the state. In 1993 a major historic event took place. It was led by Ali Kettani. That is a project was begun of establishing the first ever Islamic University in Spain since the fall of Grenada. It began with the purchase of a building in the vicinity of the grand Mosque. Construction was completed in 1994 and the University, Ibn Rushd, is now authorized to award bachelors degrees in Arabic Studies and Islamic Studies.

Thus, as we can see, although it took several centuries for Islam to resurface in Spain, Islam is now flourishing throughout Spain as more and more converts come to Islam each year. In 1998 there were more than 450,000 Muslims and 45 mosques. Still they suffer persecution. In 1999 30 Muslim girls in Grenada were required to remove their veils for ID card photos. Catholic nuns are not required to do this.

As you recall I stated that Muslims fleeing Spain went in two directions. Those who went to North Africa have, in places such as Morocco and Tunisia, maintained their language to some extent, and some have even returned to Spain. And, then there are those who fled with expeditions to the Americas in the 15th century. These Muslim slaves were obliged to abandon their beliefs under fear of being executed, as you know part of the reason for the expeditions was to conquer new lands for Christianity. Thus, the trace of Islam disappeared in the Americas. It was not until the 16th century when Indian and Pakistanis immigrated to the Americas and the slaves were liberated. A few hundred years later, in 1850-1860, massive immigration of Arabs to the Americas took place. Muslim communities erupted as a result of this. But what about Latino Muslims who live in the Americas? In general there are over 6 million Muslims in Latin America (including immigrant populations). IOLA or the Islamic Organization of Latin America in Argentina serves the purpose of providing information about Islam to Latin Americans. This is the largest organization with this purpose. In Caracas, Venezuela, the largest Mosque is Masjid Sheikh Ibrahim.

In the US, since the 1970s, there has been a resurgence of Islam amongst Latinos. Primarily this has taken place in NY in El Barrio and in Los Angeles. Some Latinos would say that they are reclaiming the Islamic heritage, which we learned about tonight. In 2002, it is estimated that there are 40,000 Latino Muslims in the US. Currently a census is being conducted. This number includes born and converted Latino Muslims. The largest concentrations are in Los Angeles, NY, Chicago, and Washington DC. In each of these places, organizations have emerged along with mosques. One of the first of these was Alianza Islamic in El Barrio, now located in the South Bronx. Now there are nearly ten of such organizations, LADO being the largest of them all with a growing membership. All these organizations have different agendas. Some are to promote Islam in Latin America, others are for prisoners, and again others are for Spanish speakers only. Whatever the current number of Latino Muslims in the US or globally, they are being recognized in the Muslim world and in the media. Over the last few years articles in the Washington Post and other well known newspapers have discussed the emergence of Muslims in Latino communities. This year was the third annual conference by ISNA, of Islam amongst Latino Americans. The Inquisition may have been 4 centuries ago, but today it is clear that Islam cannot be erased from the hearts of Latinos.

July - Sept 2002, Spain

What Happened to Spain and the Spaniards?

By Lidia Ingah

There is a human tendency to follow others in order to fit in a social group or community. This eye-blinded tendency not only lowered humans to the level of animals but also makes humans unhappy. Men and women are naturally thinkers and can generally sense the difference between the good and the bad. As a result, if we do not do what our conscious mind rationally thinks is right, then we disrespect ourselves and a feeling of shame and discontent about ourselves develop. This “going against ourselves” to mimic others has happened and is happening in many communities repetitively. Even worse, this irrational imitation is leading to a chaotic society. A clear example of this type of society is Spain today.

I was born and raised in Mallorca, Spain, and for many years I analyzed the features of this potentially great society. Spaniards are known for being very accommodating and welcoming to foreigners, but the reality is that they have a lazy and passive attitude to communicate their will. They would rather agree to the newcomers’ requests than make an effort to stand up for the defense of their values and way of life.

Every time, I go to Spain to visit my family, my parents inform me of how many people have died in driving accidents due to excessive ingestion of alcoholic drinks. Also, I have noticed a great number of Spaniards dying from cancer and heart disease. This fact is not surprising, since they love to eat barbecued pork ribs, smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, and take other illicit drugs.

All these toxic killers’ victims are well aware of how pernicious alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and pork fat consumption are to their health; but they still ingest them. These people are basically killing themselves consciously. Slowly but surely, they are making themselves physically sick.

To the development of diseases cause by physical toxins, we have to add the mental sickness that so many Spaniards suffer. It is not unusual to see young people trying to fight their profound depression. They do not like their life styles, they do not like themselves, but they do not know how to change or what to change to be happier. They feel empty, lost, and sad. Many Spaniards do not believe in God, although they were raised Catholic. They are taught just to believe what the priest says because you are supposed to. They are unable to question anything at a philosophical level. Basically, they are raised to believe what the church preaches and not to worry about thinking too much. This educational system is translated also to all school subjects; that is, the teacher says what the student have to say and think, and the student memorizes and repeats it . Just like a parrot. No brain is required, no ability to choose is required, no understanding is required and, as a result, Spaniard children become order-following machines. Unable to say “no” to something they feel is not right or say “yes” to what they want. Spaniards are not allowed to have their individuality, to work hard to fight for what they believe needs to be changed, to feel fulfilled and happy about themselves. Everything is decided for them. They just need to imitate. Easy task but destructive to their well-being.

Although I am a Spaniard and attended Catholic schools and university, I have always hated to be a follower. I love to decide on my own and act accordingly with what I think is right. I am a very rational type of person, lucky enough to have exceptional parents who accepted that with me the traditional “do it just because I said it” did not work I could never accept that Jesus was God or that all humans beings are born sinners because of the actions of Adam and Eve. God is not human, and I am only responsible for my own actions. Therefore, although I have always been a very religious person, Catholicism just did not make sense to me.

Years after my college graduation, I traveled to California for the first time; and I met who is today my husband, a Muslim student from Indonesia. It was through him that I learned about Islam and how my country had been Muslim for as long as eight centuries (8th to 15th century after Christ). During those years, Muslim Spain, also called Al Andalus, was a very flourishing society. Education was encouraged to all in order to find answers to life’s questions that will let the members of the community to fulfill their desire for understanding things, develop a strong sense of self-esteem, and ultimately, to develop happiness and inner peace. Also, in Al Andalus men and women alike felt very responsible to take care of themselves at a health level: not eating pork, not drinking alcohol, not taking other drugs, nor doing anything that would endanger a person’s health. It was clear to Muslims in Spain that those things were very harmful to them and that the consequences of them would negatively affect the rest of the community: wild and aggressive behavior due to use of alcohol or other drugs and development of deadly diseases as a result of eating pork.

Spaniards in Al Andalus simply loved their lives too much to harm themselves. Moreover, and most importantly, they all had a profound belief in the existence of a main power, a creator of all nature’s creatures, all mighty and powerful, infinitely loving, compassionate and just. This belief provided them with the foundation to live a wonderfully happy life, and to value it, and to be grateful for it, as well as to try to become the best human beings they could possibly be. Everyday they would take time to reflect about their lives and how to improve them, and to ask for guidance and to give thanks for all they had. This was achieved by their five daily prayers that would empower them with a feeling of being loved and protected that can only be understood for those who perform them. Muslim Spaniards had a taste of paradise on Earth. Thank God, they were able to understand and follow the right way of life. Maybe, one day Spaniards will revise their history, and they will learn from their ancestors how to live their lives happily. God-willing.

April - June 2002, Spain

Spain Returning to Islam

By Yusuf Fernández

Since the seventies the number of Muslims in Spain has been increasing. Muslims signed an agreement with the state 10 years ago but last Spanish governements haven´t implemented it up to now. Nowadays, there are about 500.000 Muslims in Spain. Most of them are Moroccan immigrants. There is a growing number of Spaniards who enter Islam especially in the southern region of Andalusia, where there are still lots of buildings and monuments which come from the time of Al Andalus (711-1492).

Among the countries of Europe, Spain was that which had the longest period of a Muslim presence in its territory. The Islamic state of Al Andalus (711-1492) was destroyed at last by the Spanish and foreign crusaders after eight centuries of a cruel war, but left deep cultural roots in the southern region of Andalusia and the whole country. Spanish is the most arabized European language. There are actually about 6.000 Spanish words, which come from Arabic.

In the seventies, after more than 500 years of silence and the end of Franco´s dictatorship, Islam started to return slowly to the Spanish lands. The Constitution of 1978 put an end to the catholic confessional state, which had lasted five centuries. In 1980 the Law of Religious Freedom was passed by the Parliament. It made possible for non-catholic communities to organize and set lawful organizations in the country.

In that time, some Islamic communities started to appear in Andalusia -the southern region where Islam was present for a longer time and there are numerous monuments from the Muslim age, such as the Mosque of Cordoba, the Alhambra Palace in Grenada, and the Giralda Tower in Seville-. Andalusian people who began an investigation about their past and history and found Islam in that search made some of these first communities up. Grenada, a beautiful city, which was the last capital of the Spanish Muslim state, became the first centre of the Islamic revival in Spain.

Students made up other groups from the Middle East, especially Syria and Palestine, which started to come to Spain in the seventies. Moreover, Saudi Arabia built some important Islamic centres such as the Mosque of Marbella, a touristic city situated by the Mediterranean Coast, to serve Muslim people from the states of the Persian Gulf who came to spend some time in Spain for business or holidays. From Grenada, Islam began to spread to other cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and others. Apart from the interest towards the history of Spain, the increase of the number of travels to the Muslim countries -especially Morocco and Turkey- and the circulation of Muslim books, including those that were written by Muslim scholars from the Al Andalus age, contributed to make the interest towards Islam rise. Since the seventies there have been about 20.000 Spaniards of origin who have become Muslims. A half of this number are women. The collective of Muslim women has carried out an extraordinary activity, which has resulted in three important congresses. The last one of them took place in Córdoba last March. As a whole, there are about 500.000 Muslim people in Spain nowadays.

In the eighties, there was also a steady growth in the number of the Moroccan immigrants, which came to Spain. Nowadays, the 90% of the Muslims from Spain are Moroccans or Spaniards of Moroccan origin. There are important collectives of Algerian and Senegalese Muslims too.

One of the main demands of Spanish Muslim community is the transformation of the Mosque of Cordoba -which was turned into a catholic cathedral after the conquer of the city by the Christian kings in the 13 century and has been declared a “world art heritage” by UNESCO recently- into an interfaith building which Catholics and Muslim can share for their religious activities. However, this demand has been rejected by the catholic Bishopric of the city, which has been preventing Muslim people from praying in the Mosque. During the last congress of Muslim women in Cordoba, the security guards who have been hired by the Bishop harassed some Muslims who went to the Mosque and prayed there.

Another demand of the Spanish Muslims is the effective application of the Agreement of 1992, which was signed by the Spanish state with the representatives of the Muslim, Jewish and Protestant communities. This agreement was historical in Spain and was the first one of this type in Europe. This agreement was passed by the Parliament as a law. It recognized some rights for non catholic people and communities -which only the Catholic Church had had until that moment-, such as classes at public schools, visits to prisons, military centres and hospitals to offer religious assistance there and others.

Despite being a law, this agreement has not been developed up to now by the Spanish governments, so the Catholic Church keeps having lots of privileges. The state gives money, coming from the state’s budget, only to the Catholic Church although Spain is, according to its Constitution, a non-confessional country. Therefore, the Muslims from Spain have still a long way in front of them before getting the rights, which, as Spanish citizens, belong to them.

This Hispanic Islamic revival is not only taking place in Spain. Islam is spreading also in Latin America and among Hispanic people living in the United States. According to the American Muslim Council, an advocacy group in Washington, there are about 25,000 Hispanic Muslims in the country. The largest communities are in New York City, Southern California and Chicago, all places that traditionally have had large Hispanic and Muslim populations.

Yusuf Fernández is a journalist who embraced Islam in 1989. He is the spokesman of the Islamic Spanish Federation of Islamic Communities (FEERI). He lives in Madrid, the capital of Spain.

Jan - Mar 2002, Spain

Spanish’s Arab Connection

Language of the Moors is Major Contributor to Vocabulary

If you speak either Spanish or English, you probably speak more Arabic than you think you do. It’s not “real” Arabic you’re speaking, but rather words that come Arabic. After Latin and English, Arabic is probably the biggest contributor of words to the Spanish language, and a large portion of English-Spanish cognates (words that the two language share) that don’t come from Latin come from Arabic.

The English words you’re most likely to think of as Arabic origin are those that start with “al-,” words such as “algebra,” “Allah,” “alkali” and “alchemy,” and they exist in Spanish as álgebra, Alá, álkali and alkimia, respectively. But they are far from the only ones. A variety of other types of common words such as “coffee,” “zero” and “sugar” (café, cero and azúcar in Spanish) also come from Arabic.

The etymology of English words goes beyond the scope of this article, but the introduction of Arabic words into Spanish began in earnest in the eighth century, although even before then some words of Latin and Greek origin had roots in Arabic. People living in what is now Spain spoke Latin at one time, of course, but over the centuries Spanish and other Romance languages such as French and Italian gradually differentiated themselves. The Latin dialect that eventually became Spanish was highly influenced by the invasion of the Arabic-speaking Moors in 711. For many centuries, Latin/Spanish and Arabic existed side by side, and even today many Spanish place names retain Arabic roots. It wasn’t until late in the 15th century that the Moors were expelled, and by then literally thousands of Arabic words had become part of Spanish.

Following are some of the most common Arabic-origin Spanish words you’ll come across. As you can see, many of the words also are a part of English. Although it is believed that the English words “alfalfa” and “alcove,” which originally were Arabic, entered English by way of Spanish (alfalfa and alcoba), most Arabic words in English probably entered English by other routes. Not all possible English translations of the Spanish words are listed.

aceite – oil
adobe – adobe
aduana – customs (as at a border)
ajedrez – chess
Alá – Allah
alacrán – scorpion
albacora – albacore
albahaca – basil
alcade – mayor
alcoba – bedroom, alcove
alcohol – alcohol
aldea – village (same source as English word “alderman”)
alfombra – carpet
algarroba – carob
algodón – cotton
algoritmo – algorithm
alkimia – alchemy
almacén – storage
almanaque – almanac
almirante – admiral
almohada – pillow
alquiler – rent
amalgama – amalgam
arroz – rice
asesino – assassin
atún – tuna
ayatolá – ayatollah
azafrán – saffron
azúcar – sugar
azul – blue (same source as English “azure”)
baño – bathroom
barrio – district
berenjena – eggplant
burca – burqa
café – coffee
cero – zero
chisme – gossip, gadget
Corán – Koran
cuzcuz – couscous
dado – die (singular of “dice”)
embarazada – pregnant
espinaca – spinach
fez – fez
fulano – what’s-his-name
gacela – gazelle
guitarra – guitar
hachís – hashish
harén – harem
hasta – until
imán – imam
islam – Islam
jaque – check (in chess)
jaque mate – checkmate
jirafa – giraffe
laca – lacquer
lila – lilac
lima – lime
limón – lemon
macabro – macabre
marfil – marble
masacre – massacre
masaje – massage
máscara – mask
mazapán – marzipan
mezquita – mosque
momia – mummy
mono – monkey
muslim – muslim
naranja – orange
ojalá – I hope, God willing
olé – bravo
paraíso – paradise
ramadán – Ramadan
rehén – hostage
rincón – corner, nook
sorbete – sherbet
sofá – sofa
rubio – blond
talco – talc
tamarindo – tamarind
tarea – task
tarifa – tariff
toronja – grapefruit
zanahoria – carrot
Jan - Mar 2002, Spain

Islamic Influence in Spain

By Kenny Yusuf Rodriguez

As a nineteen-year-old Dominican Muslim who recently accepted Islam a couple of years ago, I personally know how difficult it is to be a Muslim in this country (nonetheless a Latino Muslim at that). Everyday, not only do we face numerous conflicts living in Western society, but we oftentimes also find ourselves having to defend our beliefs in our own households! Tell me if any of this sounds familiar:

“Islam? That’s a religion for Arabs!”
“Muslim? What are you, a terrorist now?”
“Allah? What’s that? Don’t you believe in Jesus anymore?

These are just some of the things that I had the misfortune of hearing when I first announced my acceptance of Islam. Unfortunately, most of the people who said this were my own blood relatives. It’s sad that our own families can at times set up some of the most difficult obstacles for us.

It seems that a lot of people have forgotten that Islamic and Spanish culture were once closely knit. Many fail to realize how big a role Islam has played in Spanish culture, as well as in Latin American culture. How many Latino/a people have you met with the name Medina or Yahaira? How many times have you said or heard somebody say: “Ojala?” How many times have you eaten a fajita? People tend to think of these things as being Spanish or Latin American foods; however, all of the above stated have Islamic origins.

Islam and Spanish culture have been interlocked for many decades after the Prophet’s (saws) death. Islam was first introduced into Spain by the North African Moors who ruled over Spain (which they renamed Al-Andalus) for close to eight centuries. From 710 to 1492, the Muslim Moors spread Islam throughout the European continent. Regardless of what some people think, historians are now admitting that this was not done through violence as was once believed, but through peaceful meetings and word-of-mouth.

At the height of Moorish rule, the marvelous cities of Cordova, Toledo, Seville and Granada were respected by scholars from around the world. People would travel from far off distances just to study in one the cities. Education was universal in Moorish Spain. It was even given to the poorest people, while in Christian European countries ninety-nine percent of the people were illiterate, and even some kings could neither read nor write.

At a time when the rest of the Western world was debating whether women were even human or not, many Islamic countries educated girls as well as boys, and numerous Moorish women became prominent in literary and artistic fields; there were Moorish women who were doctors, lawyers, professors and librarians (so much for the claim that Islam is misogynistic).

Ever since the Moors first entered Europe, Islam has grown to influence almost every facet of Spanish culture, from architecture and science down to language and clothing. For instance, as far as Spanish food is concerned, rice, tortillas, fajitas and salsa all have Islamic origins. The Spanish word for rice (arroz) actually comes from the Arabic word al-Aruzz, and it was first introduced into Europe by the Muslim Moors. Even Christopher Columbus, the so-called “discoverer” of the Americas, in his own words considered Arabic to be “the mother of all languages.” In fact, nowadays it is said that Columbus wouldn’t even have been able to make it over to the Americas if it wasn’t for the advancements in navigation that the Muslim Moors brought to Spain centuries before him.

In the Western Hemisphere, many historians are now realizing that Muslims have had direct contact with Latin America way before Columbus’s arrival. Historians have found Islamic inscriptions throughout Cuba, Mexico, and Texas that date back before 1492. In fact, the name “Cuba” comes from the same Arabic root as the word “Ka’bah.” There is a significant amount of evidence that shows that African Muslims traveled to the Americas centuries before Columbus was even born. According to Dr. Youssef Mroueh, “a careful study of the names of the native Indian tribes revealed that many names are derived from Arab and Islamic roots and origins, i.e. Anasazi, Apache, Arawak, Arikana, Chavin Cherokee, Cree, Hohokam, Hupa, Hopi, Makkah, Mahigan, Mohawk, Nazca, Zulu, Zuni, etc.” Scientists have found Native American tablets with the Kufic inscriptions “Laa ilaaha illa llaah” on them. Also, other tablets found have Soorah al-Fatihah inscribed on them. All of these date back before the supposed “discovery” of the Americas.

Even though we have been pounded with images of Native Americans as being half-naked since we were in grade school, this is not a universal truth throughout the Americas. In fact, when Spaniards first came to the Americas, they found certain tribes of people where the women were dressed in garments and veils that resembled the Muslim gowns of the East. In the Caribbean, the Taino Indians were said to have performed certain types of bathing rituals numerous times a day ( wudoo’, perhaps?).

There are many other findings that point to Muslim presence in the Americas before the arrival of the Spaniards. The point that I am trying to make is this: do not be discouraged when you hear people say that Islam is a religion for only a specific group of people. Statistics show that out of the 1.4 billion Muslims in the world, only 20 percent of them have an Arab background. Muslims can be found in all parts of the world, from China to Ireland, from Australia to Colombia, from Puerto Rico to Morocco; and statistics show that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.

If I had to offer a piece of advice, it would be this: be proud of your Islamic beliefs, for Muslims have and continue to do great things in the world. Many of the advancements that Europe takes credit for were actually introduced by Muslims centuries before them. I cannot possibly list them all in this short article, but I advise that you go out and research it for yourselves. Regardless of what the media or the average person tells you, Muslims have and still do contribute much to the present world and oftentimes we do not receive the credit that we rightfully deserve. May Allah (swt) give us the strength to overcome whatever obstacles come in our way and may He increase us in knowledge.

Anything true that I have said is by the mercy of Allah (swt); anything wrong I have said is from my own error. May Allah (swt) forgive our wrongdoings and guide us closer to the straight path. Ameen.