28 nov. 2013
A letter written by Francisco Núñez Muley, a Morisco from the southern Spanish city of Granada, reveals details of the oppression Muslims faced after the city fell to the Castilians.
he letter of a Morisco servant, who was among many native Muslims in the Andalusian city of Granada who was forced to convert to Christianity after the Castilians conquered it in 1492, has been translated into English.
Originally discovered and published in Madrid’s Biblioteca Nacional in 1899, the letter allows readers to gain a special insight into the life of the Moriscos who remained in Andalus after the conquest until they were finally banished in 1609.
After the conquest, Andalusian Muslims and Jews who didn’t convert to Christianity had to choose between two other options – either leave their homes or face the sword. Those who converted were subjected to strict control regulations, which included disowning their Moorish culture for a Castilian one.
Anyone caught taking a bath on Thursday nights or Friday mornings, a tradition that most Muslims do in preparation for Friday midday congregational prayers, was killed. Moriscos also had to leave their doors open on Fridays and Sundays, to make sure they weren’t observing Muslim prayers on Fridays and were observing Christian prayers on Sundays. All forms of Islamic ablution, including the act of ‘Tayamum’, which involves patting soil onto the hands and face whenever there is an absence of water or when using water could be harmful, was banned.
Those who were simply suspected of upholding non-Christian beliefs were killed. A well-known Muslim scholar at the time advised Muslims to subtly do their Tayamum ablutions by simply toughing a dusty wall, and to pray by moving their eyes.
The author of the letter, Francisco Núñez Muley, details how the Moriscos in Granada were forced to change their entire lifestyles to match the non-tolerant demands of the Castilian conquerors by changing their language, clothes, manners, culture and religious practices.