With the Treaty of Garnata in place, Muslims were given a multitude of promises that their Deen shall not be interefered with and that all freedom of religion should be preserved, (not unlike the the modern western liberal democracies such as America, Britain, Canada). In fact the day after the agreement was signed, “…Ferdinand and Isabella made a solemn declaration in which they swore to Allah that all Moors should have full liberty to work on their lands…and to maintain their religious observances and mosques heretofore, while those who preferred could sell their property and go to Barbary, (Lea, 2001, 21).” Thus in the beginning, western historians argue that the capitulations were made in good faith by the Spanish sovereigns and that they intended to carry them in good faith as well.
It must be remembered that under the Capitulations, Garnata and only Garnata, was given a certain degree of autonomy, (albeit technically and in fact being part of the Spanish crown as its territory), to govern their religious and social affairs. In regards to the Muslims of Spain, (inclusive of Garnata), located mostly in Valencia, Castille and Garnata, they were now all Ahl Al-Dajn or Mudajaneen. In the hectic times that followed, the people that were afraid for their Deen and of the permissibility of remaining under the rule of the Kuffaar, fled mostly to the Maghreb States, (modern-day Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya), Mali, Egypt and Sham47. The Spanish had arranged transport and logistics to allow for the exit of these Muslims, and they left unhindered by Spanish forces either on the path to the port or after departure.
As for those that stayed behind, the capitulations were respected and implemented. Ferdinand and Isabella appointed Inigo Lopez De Mendoza as their Captain General, (e.g. governor), of Garnata and he certainly intended to follow the letter of the law in regard to his Spanish-Muslim subjects. Abu Abdullah, the ousted Emir of Garnata, was suspicious of the Christians, (Ibid, 23), and rightfully so, as he had originially requested papal approval of the Treaty of Garnata, (as is evidenced in Appendix I, as Maqari mentions in his account of the Garnatan capitulations, that Papal approval was demanded by the Muslims), but after realizing the futility of the endeavour, he dropped this point during Treaty negotiatons. As per the capitulations, Muslims were left relatively unhindered in their religious affairs and traffic back and forth between the Maghrib and Andalus was not restricted.
Furthermore, Al Bayyazin’s48 wall was monitored to avoid Christians climbing upon it to peer down at Muslim houses. However, taxes were made more burdensome on Muslims by, “…farming the revenues to Moorish almojarifes or tax speculators whose familiarity with the wealth of their compatriots… (Ibid, 24).” Furthermore, (inspite of the fact that Spanish Crown did not charge a toll to exit Spain or hindered the path of emigrants), private ship owners began speculating, (increasing), on the prices of the trip and freight to the Maghrib, (Ibid). This burdened many of the people that wanted to leave, and in fact stopped many people from leaving since they did not have the funds to leave. The Spanish, had begun to renege on some of their non-religious promises of the Garnata Capitulations but had for the time kept their end of the bargain, (with a few exceptions), on religious matters, (Ibid).
It was only when, in 1499, Cardinal Ximenes was appointed to assist Talavera in Garnata that matters began to devolve. However, let me state clearly that even if Ximenes was not present in Garnata, the forced conversions, the inquisition courts, massacres and the expulsions of the Muslims would have happend anyway (due to many reasons, not the least of which was the nature of the reconquista, in that it was a religious crusade against the ‘infidel’ and ‘heretic’ Muslim occupier). Ximenez’s appointment only accelerated affairs.
In any case, as a sign of the charitable stance of the Spanish sovereigns, they appointed Hernando De Talavera to be the Archbishop of Garnata in 1493. Talavera was known to be a man that was gentle and a man of “…Charity and loving kindness, (Lea, 2001, 26).” In addition he instructed “…his missionaries to learn Arabic but he himself in his old age acquired it sufficiently for his purposes and composed an elementary grammar and vocabulary, (Ibid).” Talavera certainly wasn’t an opponent of the reconquista and of destroying the Muslim faith, but he certainly didn’t adopt the inhumane measures adopted later by his assistant Ximenes. Continue reading