Tareq Bin Ziyad
Tariq ibn Ziyad was born in the tribe of Natzawah (a Berber tribe of North Africa). His father was an early convert to Islam who had joined the Faith since the days of the first liberator of North Africa, 'Uqbah ibn Nati' AI-Fihri . Upon the death of his father Tareq bin Ziyad , still a young teenager joined the Muslim army in North Africa. Despite his young age he showed great courage and enthusiasm for the Faith and for its spread in the hearts of people. Soon he won the trust of Musa ibn Nusair who appointed him Governor of Tangier and its surroundings in the Far West (as Morocco was called then), when the area was liberated from Roman control.
History tells us that Spain at the time was suffering from turmoil and strife under the rule of Rodrigos who usurped the Spanish throne from its rightful heirs. Julian had sent his daughter to get education at the Spanish Court in Toledo. But Rodrigos apparently did not observe the rules of propriety in dealing with royal guests. Julian's daughter was badly mistreated and imprisoned by him. When her father learnt of the news he was enraged. Julian convinced the legal heirs of the Spanish throne to seek help from the Muslim Arabs who had conquered the whole of North Africa and were near the doors of the Iberian Peninsula. Both of them talked to Tariq ibn Zivad who suggested to them to talk to his Emir Musa ibn Nusair in Kairawan in Tunisia. Naturally, Musa ibn Nusair and Tareq bin Ziyad were already studying the ways and means of carrying the banner of Islam across the sea to Spain. So Julian's visit gave Mussa ibn Nusair a golden opportunity to learn more closely of the situation in Spain. Musa ibn Nusair wrote to the Caliph at Damascus for permission to invade Spain. Due to the novelty of the experience the Caliph was very reserved in his reply. He suggested that scouting expeditions be sent to Spain before any major invasion was undertaken. Tareef another Berber Muslim was chosen to lead 400 commandoes tor the task of military exploration or scouting. The expedition was a success. Upon the return of Tareef, Musa ibn Nusair decided that the time was ripe for the invasion.
Tariq ibn Zivad was chosen to lead the army of 5000 men under the pretense of saving the Spanish throne. Tariq ibn Ziyad was supported by a group of experts, Arab and Berber alike. Julian was to supply the ships to transport the fighters, and he was also to act as a guide for them on the Spanish land. It has been pointed out by historians that the move was a tactful and strategic one. For if the Muslims used their own ships it would have attracted attention to them. The Muslim fighters crossed the strait in groups and gathered at the mount called later the Mount of Tariq (Gibraltar), after the name of their commander. This was achieved in 92 A.H. (711 G.). In order to show his soldiers the seriousness of the situation, Tareq bin Ziyad burnt all the ships that carried them to the Iberian Peninsula. In his historic speech to his army he said, "0 people! Where is the flight? The sea is behind you, and the enemy is in front of you. By Allah! You have no alternative except patience and steadfastness.
On Sunday, 28th of Ramadhan 92 AH (19th July 711 AD) the battle started between the Muslim army under the command of Tareq bin Ziyad and the Spanish army under the command of Rodrigues . Naturally, by then the Muslim army received a new reinforcement of 5000 men, carried this time by the Muslim fleet. Julian's men acted as agents for the conquerors by pointing out to the Spaniards the truth about the Muslims: that they were not colonizers, nor military invaders, but rather "carriers" of a message of peace and liberation. So, a part of the Spanish cavalry deserted Rodrigues. This caused chaos in the army, and many soldiers started running for their lives. However, the battle continued and the Muslims started winning the war. Rodrigues fled, leaving behind his defeated army. In 14 months all the major towns of Toledo, Seville, Morda and others were under Muslim control, and in two years’ time almost the whole of the Iberian Peninsula was already under Muslim rule, which lasted for the next 800 years.
To the conquest of Spain by Muslims many historians attribute the cultural developments in Europe that led later to the Renaissance. The Muslims brought to Spain the net products of many civilizations that extended from the Atlantic Ocean in the West to India and China in the East. It was in Muslim Spanish centers of learning that many influential European scholars had their education.