The Theory Of ' Convivencia ' Between Christians And Muslims

1912 WordsDec 13, 20168 Pages
Is the theory of 'convivencia ' between Christians, Jews and Muslims in Iberia convincing in the first four centuries after 711? 4243296 Word Count: 1904 The theory of ‘convivencia’ between Christians, Jews and Muslims is considered to be the period in Medieval Spain in which the three Abrahamic religions were able to coexist and live together peacefully. The notion of convivencia not only refers to the overall tolerance of Christians and Jews to be able to practice their religion in Al-Andalus, it also incorporates the idea of members of these three faiths sharing a common culture, a language and working towards advancing civilisation through poetry, literature and science. Historians who have studied this issue are largely divided on whether this time period really was as harmonious as it is commonly described. Historians such as Bat Ye’or highlight the lack of convivencia by placing emphasis on how leaders of Al-Andalus would enforce rules such as granting non-Muslims with the status of dhimmi, essentially making them second-class citizens which by today’s standards would undoubtedly lead to the theory of convivencia being somewhat unpersuasive. However, relative to this era, Islamic Iberia was the apex of religious tolerance, immensely surpassing the level of tolerance in surrounding nations and empires. Montgomery Watt goes as far to say that under Muslim rule, Jews and Christians were considered as “People of the Book” who were to be a

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