The Iberian Peninsula has been immersed in the dark night of the soul defined as “a lengthy and profound absence of light and hope” for centuries. It has borne the burden of witnessing the cruelty of man upon man, upon man upon woman and child in the name of an absent Lord.
The feeling of darkness is palpable, the confusion is acute, as the white faces of the Spaniards search for meaning of their life existence and redemption of their past sins. I feel the tussle between the darkness of the past and the hope of light as I walk the cobbled streets of Albaizin in Granada, on the road to Seville and even on the bridge to Toledo.
In each of these places amongst others the people of La ilaha illal lah have been systematically punished for their submission to One God and no other, repeatedly and in many varied forms.
People who left the cruelty of the men of the cross and crossed over to submission of the Almighty and became the people of la ilaha illalah were put through another form of injustice. They were captured and tortured on the wrack by people purporting to be men of God. Even today the memory of the Spanish Inquisition brings beads of shame on the brow of all who knew it for what it was……..
For those who already were the people of la ilaha illalah had the severest of emotional and physical pain when their children were snatched from the laps of their Muslim mothers and baptized in the name of the Lord who they proclaimed to be the Savior.
The Spaniards wonder today how could a Lord proclaim it right for a child to be snatched from its natural mother by force?
The Muslim children separated from their families by force were then sent to the strictest order of the monasteries where at one slight of action or thought they were locked up in cells the size of a grave with no water or bread for 24 hours.
God watched how his creation wreaked havoc on his creation in His name and slowly he withdrew his name from the Iberian Peninsula.
Young men and women today have turned away from what they believe to be the cruel Lord of the cross that became the reason for all the horrific tragedy perpetrated by their ancestors on those who did not believe Jesus to be God.
The young Spaniards of today have thrown the “baby out with bath water” to cleanse themselves of the heinous acts of their ancestors.
They have washed their hands off of all Gods and proclaimed themselves atheists. In their understanding a God who requires such killing and forcing of human beings into his submission by such torturous in humane conditions was not their God and they wanted nothing to do with him.
It was one such young man that I met in my journey to Spain and then so many more. Some leaving the past lock stock and barrel and some searching for peace in those very words of peace that had gotten them into trouble with the Crusaders.
Meanwhile over the years the earth watched silently absorbing the bodies of the people of Lailaha illah lah that fell, along with others who supported them or who were too weak to stand up for them. One by one they fell to the earth dust to dust.
The Iberian peninsula absorbed the blood of both the oppressor and the oppressed It in the face of injustice cruelty and neglect continues to give up from itself flowers every spring, juicy oranges and lemons every summer and the sweetest olives this side of the world has ever tasted, every fall. It continues to take in the results of cruelty and continues to give beauty like the Sufis saying: “Be like the earth, it takes in garbage and gives back flowers”
There are no rights and wrongs in the eyes of Gods earth, it receives trash and gives up flowers, it receives the killer and the killed and pushes up daisies non judgmental in its reward and with total acceptance and submission of what Allah has commanded it to do.
Yet walking the streets of al AlBaizin I can feel the sense of waiting………..
Whether it is in the hills on the road to Cordova, the streets of Seville, the ruins of churches converted from mosques or the valley of the dead, one feels acutely that the entire Peninsula is in the state of waiting.
Waiting for the end of the long dark night of the soul of Spain.
Not only has the inquisition died a death of attrition but also so has the faith that advanced it. The hearts of the young have overthrown it out of their lives and emptied their soul of all remnants of it and are seeking the Light at the end of the tunnel.
Like the earth that continues to give they too wait for the end of the Dark night of the soul of Spain…….and I feel it too with every step I take toward the newest mosque of Granada.
It sits opposite The Alhambra separated by a gouge of earth filled with road and house. It has a history of its own. The land was bought 25 years ago and permission to build was halted for 25 years by the old Christians. Once the old guard died out the new spaniards had new ideas for Spain and permission was granted.
Young men built it with their own hands, carving the doors with love and reverence, carrying one the most heaviest of musallah carpet up the winding narrow and steep path leading to the site of the mosque, sweat on their brow, peace in their eyes and a smile of anticipation on their lips.
It is Jumma and I am here, it is packed with young men and women, The Khutbah is about Jesus a prophet of God translated into Spanish by a young man fluent in four languages.
The young are seeking the light.
Opposite the large divide of houses and highways the flags of Alhambra proclaim the Christendom and the bell sits silent while the adhaan is called for the next prayer.
I realize I have been in a trance and the next prayer time is here.
Perhaps the dark night of the soul of Spain is about to lift and allow Light to enter into the hearts of those who are yearning for it for centuries.