Muslim Rule in Spain
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 5th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 92 AH, Tareq bin Ziyad, crossed the Mediterranean from the northwestern African coast and landed on the island known ever since in his memory as Gibraltar (actually a European corruption of the Arabic term "Jabal at-Tareq", which means Rock or Mount of Tareq). He was governor of Tangiers under Musa bin Nusayr, the conqueror and Emir of the Province of Ifriqiya (made up of present day western Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco).
The Muslims under Tareq swept through Spain and soon conquered the whole Iberian Peninsula. Later, they crossed the Pyrenees into southern France and conquered it. Tareq was made governor of Islamic Spain but was eventually called back to Damascus by the jealous Omayyad caliph, Walid I, who also relieved Musa bin Nusayr of the overall charge of northwest Africa, Spain and the islands off the coast of France.
There are three different accounts of the origins of Tareq given by Arab historians – he was an Iranian from Hamadan; he was an Arab of the Sadf tribe; he was a Berber from North Africa. Musa bin Nusayr is said to be the son of an Iranian Christian, according to the historian Tabari; while others say he belonged to the Lakhmid Arab clan – Sassanid clients.