During the Summer of 2022, MSF took a group of Explorers, Network, and Explorer Leaders from across the UK on an Islamic history tour of Spain. 7 days were spent touring the beautiful, historical sites of Granada, Cordoba and Alhambra, inbetween insightful educational and reflective sessions.
Key Sites included:
Madinat Al Zahra Museum and Archaeological Site
The city was built in the 10th century by Abdur-Rahman III (912–961), a member of the Umayyad dynasty and the first caliph of Al-Andalus. The Explorers watched a short film animating the rise and fall of this beautiful city, constructed by the Muslims, visited by Royals and Key Leaders Worldwide. This was constructed where the mountains became a valley. Abdur-Rahman III began the construction of this city around 936, finishing a decade later
The city barely stood for 80 years.
The Aljama was one of three Masjids that once stood in Madinat- Al- Zahra, the construction very similar to that of Masjid Cordoba (which was visited a few days later).
Following this, the Explorers enjoyed an afternoon of walking amongst the ruins of the Archaeological site and museum, enjoying the hot, Spainish weather!
At the incredibly constructed Masjid Cordoba, the Explorers learnt about the history of how the current day Masjid-Cathedral (once most iconic European Masjid) is a monument to the two religions and cultures that have shaped Andalusia: Islam and Christianity. A Renaissance church squats right on top of what was once the most important mosque in the Islamic kingdom. The inside of the Masjid features iconic red and white striped arches throughout, mesmorising mosiac tiles along the ceiling, and the intricately made Mihrab.
Around the entrance to the mihrab itself, the horseshoe arch is enclosed by an elaborate rectangular frame containing Quranic verses.
The visit to Alhambra Palace, and the palace garden was breathtaking in its natural beauty, precision and intricate hand-carved construction. It is one of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture and one of the best-preserved palaces of the historic Islamic world, in addition to containing notable examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture
Designed as a military zone at the beginning, the Alhambra became the royal residence and court of Granada in the mid-13th century after the establishment of the Nasrid Kingdom and the construction of the first palace by the founding king Mohammed ibn Yusuf Ben Nasr, better known as Alhamar.
This was the final place we visited before departing. We spent a while reflecting on the journey our Muslim predecessors made in bringing Islam to Europe, whilst admiring the natural beauty around us.
We also visited Go Ape, and completed a tiring, yet rewarding hike through the streams, cliffs and gorges of Sierra Nevada.
When back at the Villa, the Explorers enjoyed interactive career workshop sessions, an Oscar- worthy performance from the 304th Birmingham Explorer Boys, and prayed every single Salah together in Jama’ah. My personal highlight was the sense of community and sprituality felt when reciting Juz’ Ammah together after Fajr throughout the sunrise.
We thank Allah for taking us there, and bringing us back safely, and look forward to MSF’s 2023 Explorer Trip Insha Allah! 👀