Musa ibn Abil Ghassan

Not much is known about the life of this hero of Islam in its last days in Spain. His name was Musa ibn Abil Ghassan. He was a knight from a royal lineage. He reproached the Muslim king of Granada Abu Abdullah Muhammad in 1489 for his submission to the Christians and strove to rekindle the spirit of Jihad among the Muslims in Spain.

When Ferdinand V invited the Muslim king to surrender, Musa sent a biting reply, stating: ‘If the Christian king wishes to take our weapons, let him come and win them, but let him win them dearly. For my part, sweeter were a grave beneath the walls of Granada, on the spot I had died to defend, than the richest couch within her palaces, earned by submission to the disbeliever.’

Musa headed the cavalry and led it several times to neighbouring Christian forts to counter Ferdinand’s attacks. All the Muslim forts around fell and the Christians besieged Granada for seven severe months. Musa kept up the spirits of the suffering defenders, willing everyone to fight to the death.

King Abu Abdullah and his council eventually agreed to surrender the last Muslim hold on Spain. Musa warned them the Christians would violate the treaty, wore his armour and rode out alone.

Christian sources record that 15 Christian cavaliers that night came upon a Muslim knight whose horse matched Musa’s. The Muslim fought with no care for himself. He was wounded together with his horse and at length flung himself into a river to escape capture. Such was the glorious end of a warrior of Islam.

As for those who surrendered, they suffered torture at the hands of the Christians and Muslims never again ruled in Spain.

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