HEROES: Tariq Ibn Ziyad

Tariq ibn Ziyad or Taric bin Zeyad (Arabic: طارق بن زياد, d. 720), known in Spanish history and legend as Taric el Tuerto (Taric the one-eyed), was a Berber Muslim and Umayyad general who led the conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 711. He is considered to be one of the most important military commanders in Iberian history. The 17th century Muslim historian Al Maggari wrote that upon landing, Tariq is said to have burned his ships then made the following speech, well-known in the Muslim world, to his soldiers:

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أيّها الناس، أين المفر؟ البحر من ورائكم، والعدوّ أمامكم، وليس لكم والله إلا الصدق والصبر…

O People! Where can you flee? The sea is behind you, and the enemy in front of you: There is nothing for you, by God, except for truth and strength of character.

Full Address to Soldiers 

“Oh my people, whither would you flee? Behind you is the sea, before you, the enemy. You have left now only the hope of your courage and your constancy. Remember that in this country you are more unfortunate than the orphan seated at the table of the avaricious master. Your enemy is before you, protected by an innumerable army; he has men in abundance, but you, as your only aid, have your own swords, and, as your only chance for life, such chance as you can snatch from the hands of your enemy. If the absolute want to which you are reduced is prolonged ever so little, if you delay to seize immediate success, your good fortune will vanish, and your enemies, whom your very presence has filled with fear, will take courage. Put far from you the disgrace from which you flee in dreams, and attack this monarch who has left his strongly fortified city to meet you. Here is a splendid opportunity to defeat him, if you will consent to expose yourselves freely to death. Do not believe that I desire to incite you to face dangers which I shall refuse to share with you. In the attack I myself will be in the fore, where the chance of life is always least.

“Remember that if you suffer a few moments in patience, you will afterward enjoy supreme delight. Do not imagine that your fate can be separated from mine, and rest assured that if you fall, I shall perish with you, or avenge you…. The Commander of True Believers, Alwalid, son of Abdalmelik, has chosen you for this attack from among all his Arab warriors; and he promises that you shall become his comrades and shall hold the rank of kings in this country… The one fruit which he desires to obtain from your bravery is that the word of God shall be exalted in this country, and that the true religion shall be established here. The spoils will belong to yourselves.

(Tarik’s Address to His Soldiers, 711 CE, from Al Maggari work in 1628 CE The Breath of Perfumes’)

Did I mention that they won the battle?

ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَأَنَّ الْكَافِرِينَ لَا مَوْلَى لَهُمْ

That is because Allâh is the Maula (Master, Helper, Protector, etc.) of those who believe, and the disbelievers have no Maula. (Muhammad 47:11)

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