From 711 AD, after Tariq bin Ziyad landed on the shores of Spain, the Ummayad conquests penetrated deep into Europe and eventually al-Andalus' borders extended into Southern France and the Ummayad Caliphate posed a real threat to the Christian heartlands.
This expansion reached its climax in 723, where both Frankish and Ummayads army came face to face.
In 732, Charles Martel and his forces met the Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghafiqi and Ummayad forces in north-central France and the historical war began.
Martel met the Al-Ghafiqi in a great battle called "The Battle of Tours" or, "The Battle of the Martyrs' Tiles."
Though the Muslims were coming off a stretch of momentum-gaining victories, their morale began to deteriorate. Rifts formed between the different ethnic groups in the army and quarrelling over booty began before the fighting.
Al-Ghafiqi was killed in battle and his army fell apart with no leader, ultimately retreating back to their stronghold in the South.
European historians speculate that had the Muslims defeated Martel - then the mightiest force in Europe - the Islamic Caliphate would have inevitably spread throughout the Continent. This was the result of the division of the Muslims; despite their great leadership, their internal conflicts and lack of focus on important matters were causal to their downfall.
The loss established Frankish power in Europe for centuries.
The Islamic Advance
Successfully conquering the heart of Christendom Europe, would have brought significant changes to the world.
After a victory, the province would come under Islamic rule, providing a springboard for the conquest of Europe:
A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet. (Edward Gibbon).
The Battle of Tours has significant historical relevance. Islamic Europe, from which the ideologies of secularism, individualism, capitalism, nationalism, Kantian philosophies would not have ever emerged. The rest of the Islamic and non-Islamic world would have remained safe from unnecessary wars, exploitation and conflict.
Arabs, Franks, and the Battle of Tours, 732: Three Accounts,
Ibn Idhari al-Marrakushi, Al-Bayan al-Mughrib,
Khalid Yahya Blankinship, The End of the Jihad State: The Reign of Hisham ibn `Abd al-Malik and the Collapse of the Ummayads.
Mozarabic Chronicle of 754
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