What was distinctive about Muslim Spain, and why?

By the end of the 1st century AH (early 8th century CE), Muslims were able to cross what came to be known as the Strait of Gibraltar and conquer most of the Iberian Peninsula. This was the beginning of a Muslim presence in the Peninsula that would continue for more than seven centuries to come. With the fall of the Umayyad Dynasty and the rise of the ‘Abbasids in the Muslim East, however, Muslim Spain was separated politically from the rest the Muslim state. Later events in Muslim Spain mirrored at times events in other parts of the medieval Muslim world, but Muslim Spain had nevertheless its own distinctive character. Your extended essay needs to answer the following questions: To what extent did developments in Muslim Spain reflect what was going on in the rest of the Muslim world? What was distinctive about Muslim Spain, and why? Given that a central theme of this course is “the interface between unity, as an ideal religious aspiration, and diversity, as reflected in the actual historical experience of Muslim communities,” to what extent did events in Muslim Spain come close to either the “ideal religious aspiration” or the “actual historical experience” that the Course Descriiption mentions? When answering this question, do not limit yourself to political and military events, but try to explore political, social, and economic institutions, ideas, and trends as well. The length of the essay should be between 2000 and 2200 words. The essay should have a clear thesis and supporting arguments and evidence. You need to use at least five different sources, including books and academic articles. You can choose the format and citation system so long as these are followed consistently. The essay will be graded on the basis of the strength and persuasiveness of the argument , critical engagement with the sources, reflection of relevant class discussions, organization and coherence, clarity of ideas and expression.
** Please avoid repetition and irrelevant information. Also, please double-check if the sources used are academic articles or books. Lastly, please stick to the word limit (2200).

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