I picked up a novel to read few weeks before I leave for my summer vacation. It was called “salaam” by Hani Nakshbandi a Saudi writer. What a coincidence it was when I knew that the novel was about Granada! And that was my destination. Was it a coincidence? I was so excited especially that I like Nakshbandi writings. I finished it in one day, trying to find something exciting, worth reading. It was so dull and I was so disappointed. I threw the book away as soon as I finished the last sentence. I tried to find something between the prince, the boat and the mysteries of Alhambra palace. I understood that the novel represented cultural conflict and greed of power that lead to Arabs defeat, but that was not enough for me.
The novel just made me feel confused and more enthusiastic about visiting Granada. Once I arrived and saw this magical little place I couldn’t help but remember all the lines I read in that novel. The novel didn’t seem dull anymore. It was obvious that Nakshbandi has been to Granada; it was obvious that the same questions that went through my mind went through his mind too. This confusion, this anger, this longing to a place that you have never been too. I went on the same narrow roads he mentioned; I walked on the same little steps that lead to San Nicolas; a plaza that over looks Alhambra. My heart broke when I saw the Alhambra standing so beautifully on that hill knowing that there is nothing in this world that could match up with her breath taking sight. I don’t know why I felt like I knew this place; I felt that it is part of me. Every time I look at an arched window, or a carved wooden door I thought of the people who used to live in it. Of who might have still be living in it if the Muslims were never defeated. However, I also wonder.
Would Granada still be as beautiful as it is today if it was ruled by Muslims? What kind of rulers would they be? Would they be the leaders of the Islamic and Arab world? Would they have allowed the Arab’s status to degrade to be followers of the west? Or would they have been worse than what we have become today? I kept wondering about the real reason behind Muslim’s defeat. One of the characters in Nakshbandi’s novel mentions that the reason behind the defeat was that the reason for conquest was wrong from the beginning. It was not for religion but it was for greed. All what the rulers cared about was power, and the struggle over it. The character asked that we, as Muslims and Arabs must move on and stop living in history. The character goes on saying that it wasn’t ours at the first place so that we weep over it.
It wasn’t ours but we created it, I thought. Granada was nothing before Islamic conquest, even now. The most beautiful things about it, is what remains from Muslim’s existence. But its not ours, its over. We lost. This suppressed desires; this history that became like a curse.Weren’t we here? Yes we were! Oh, how painful it is to walk on Granada’s roads! Why did we lose our glory? We are proud of something that we shouldn’t be proud of, we lost!