Reflections on Córdoba, España
Have you ever wondered why arches are so abundant in mosques? On my trip to Spain last Summer, my group and I went to visit La Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba, where Shaykh Yasir Qadhi explained the nuisances of these characteristic archs. For example, the arches represent infinity and the fact that the afterlife is everlasting. The intricate golden writing scribed in the stone reads praises of Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (PBUH), and the fountains in the courtyard were designed for the Muslims to make wudhu. Large spaces hosted halaqas and discussions among students seeking knowledge. The magnificence in the mihrab and complicated geometry amazed everyone. To think about the amount of time (over 200 years) and patience it took crafters and engineers to create these details with their relatively inferior technology - subhanAllah. The most beautiful thing to me is that everything is there for a reason; everything was purposefully designed by Abd al Rahman I. La Mezquita, one of the world’s most famous mosques, was built more than thousands of years ago, yet still holds such tremendous beauty today, although it’s not a place of worship anymore. Through these marvels, we witness the advancement and ambition the Umayyad had.
Córdoba has a hard history, though. Home to Jews, Christian, and Muslims, it was a booming site for discoveries in astronomy, medicine, engineering, and theology. However, at the end of the Golden Ages, the Catholics began destroying everything and anything that the Muslims had created or accomplished. Destroying cities and architecture, forced Muslims to eat pork and leave Islam, the Conquistadors ended the glorious tranquility and diversity that Spain was known for. Nonetheless, the conquistadors could not take the dignity and intellect of the Arabs. They could not get erase Arabic achievements in fields of medicine, astrology, etc. that are applicable to us today. This stunning history and art of Spain is what makes visiting worthwhile, endowing me with a sense of genuine pride for my Muslim ancestors.