The month of October marks the anniversary of an epic event that unfortunately is no longer widely known but which nonetheless shaped the future of the Western world, and which may still hold inspiration for the West today.
After the death of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in 632, Islam spread like a bloody tide throughout the Arabian peninsula, north to the Caspian Sea and east through Persia and beyond, westward through Egypt and across North Africa all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. From there it crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and consumed all of the Iberian peninsula, or al-Andalus as the Saracens called it. In a mere one hundred years, Muhammad’s aggressive legacy was an empire larger than Rome’s had ever been.
By 732 that fallen Roman empire had devolved into a patchwork of warring barbarian tribes. When Abd-ar-Rahman, the governor of al-Andalus, crossed the Pyrenees with the world’s most successful fighting force and began sweeping through the south of what would become France toward Paris, there was no nation, no central power, no professional army capable of stopping them.