It seems clear that the Mudejars' distinctively Arabo-Berber mode of social organization helped to shore up their cultural boundaries against the acculturative attrition of an overwhelming Christian presence. These boundaries preserved the essential element of their ethnic identity, the profession of Islam. Although social mores and behavior were intimately bound up with and were to a large extent the product of religious belief, nevertheless, they in themselves were insufficient to perpetuate the religious faith of the social group. The decision of Mudejars to flee the kingdom in 1502–1503 instead of abandoning Islam was the expression of an intensity of faith that transcended the more amorphous "Moorish" cultural identity engendered by repetitive social practice. It is necessary, therefore, to comprehend how the Mudejars actively instilled and fostered their Islamic faith and identity.
An essential element buttressing the faith of individual Muslims was the sense of belonging to a larger community of believers, the ummah . Whatever the situation of the ummah 's individual component polities, even those long since subjugated to Christian powers, membership in the ummah served to distinguish them from all non-Muslims. Unfortunately, the Muslims' adherence to a common faith did not preclude divisiveness within the ummah . Since the fall of the Umayyads in the eighth century the Islamic world had been rent by factionalism, and, as has been seen, this was no less true of the Mudejars. However, making allowances for human imperfection and the not unusual inconsistency between religious precept and social practice, that the Mudejars frequently embroiled themselves in feuds, despite the fact that Muhammad had inveighed against such fratricidal strife among Muslims, does not mean that they had lost their sense of Muslim identity, particularly their collective identity vis-à-vis the Christian world. On the contrary, there were a number of instances in which the Mudejars appear to have acted as a collectivity or were perceived by the Christian authorities to have been such. Let us recall how the nobility advised Fernando against the forced conversion of Valencia's Muslims (1502), noting that "they have their communications with each other," and that any untoward royal initiatives would provoke a violent mass Mudejar reaction. The Mudejars also seem to have been united in a common concern for the embattled sultan of Granada, as was manifested in their taking up collections on his behalf, praying in their mosques for his victory, and negotiating with the Ottoman Turks to come to his rescue. Likewise, the aid provided to runaway slaves by the Mudejars—not just by one community but by any number of morerías in which the fugitives hid on
their way to freedom—demonstrates their ability to act together as Muslims for the benefit of other Muslims.
Mudejar group-consciousness may be seen as the sum of each Muslim's perception of the fundamental difference between himself and his Christian neighbor, and of each Muslim's participation in the life of an autonomous community juridically framed by the Shariah, a corpus of law at once religious and secular. This aggregate awareness of individual Mudejars, however, seems in itself insufficient to have counterbalanced the animosity between feuding families and competing communities, or to have allowed for the Mudejars' alleged network of "communications" and their ability to act as almost a single political entity. One must seek a more concrete pattern of relations transversing the cleavages between agnatic lineages and rival neighboring communities.
The role of exogamous marriage in binding families together and the factor of intercommunal strife in promoting solidarity among the inhabitants of any one village has been discussed. The apparent impediment of intercommunal conflict to a larger, kingdom-wide Muslim solidarity presents a greater problem. Mudejar economic activity, establishing contacts between Muslims of all walks of life from a variety of localities, would have been a key factor in circumventing, or at least lessening, the rivalry between communities. It must be emphasized that while the Mudejars were vassals of particular royal or seigneurial morerías , their economic activities were not circumscribed by the boundaries of any one place. This was especially true of itinerant retail merchants, whose vending took them from the northern to the southern reaches of the kingdom. Since by the nature of their work they were more or less unattached to any particular local interest, these merchants would have served as an appropriate medium for relaying information from one community to another, tying together the separate worlds of distinct aljamas.
Another group whose activities were equally unhampered by specifically local concerns were the licensed mendicants, who traveled throughout the kingdom begging alms from their Muslim brethren. Since charity was one of the Five Pillars of Islam, these itinerant mendicants provided an opportunity for pious Muslims to express their religiosity in a manner unrelated to the secular aims of the family and community. Both the giver and the receiver of alms participated in a transaction that emphasized exclusively their obligations as members of an Islamic community, not those stemming from kinship or from residence in a particular place.
The economic interplay between town and countryside made the kingdom's urban centers sites for the meeting and mingling of Muslims from various rural villages. Mudejars traveled to town to market pro-
duce, to purchase the manufactures of local artisans, or to pass their leisure time in the taverns or fonduk. The large Christian populations of the towns would have induced Muslims from out-of-town to congregate with their coreligionists before turning to Christians for comradeship. If towns like Játiva, Alcira, Castellón de la Plana, and Villarreal attracted Muslims from surrounding hamlets, the capital city gathered in Muslims from all over the kingdom—indeed, from all over the peninsula. Valencia, a veritable teeming metropolis, served as a "melting-pot" for the kingdom's Mudejars. This is indicated in the documentation by the frequent appearance of non-local Muslims working, purchasing, and pursuing litigation in the capital. Furthermore, new vassals in Valencia's morería originated from seigneuries of a wide geographic range, whereas those swearing vassalage to the king in towns such as Játiva or Alcira came from seigneuries nearby. Change of vassalage in itself accentuated two other trends that created links between Muslims of different communities. First, many Muslims who changed vassalage still continued to hold and cultivate land in their former seigneuries, either themselves or through local sharecroppers. This further complicated the already complex Valencian pattern of land tenure, which saw farmers and artisans renting small parcels of land in a variety of places, not just in their place of residence. Mudejars with economic interests in diverse localities likely would have had friends and contacts of equally diverse origins. Thus land tenure itself sometimes cut across the lines of economic competition contingent upon strictly local affiliations. Second, change of vassalage caused the fragmentation of local lineage groups as nuclear families left their agnates behind when they settled elsewhere. Given the importance of c asabiyah[*] in Mudejar society, agnates living in different places were probably still bound by kinship. In addition to these intercommunal agnatic links, there also occurred exogamous marriages between families of different towns, such as the one uniting the niece of Játiva's qadi[*] to the son of Valencia's qadi . Therefore, kinship, both agnatic and affinal, created a network of interests that would have mitigated the intensity of the rivalry between communities for economic reasons alone.
The individual Mudejar's sense of belonging to a kingdom-wide Muslim community and the ritual expression of his commitment to Islam coalesced in the act of pilgrimage to the mosque of Atzeneta in the Vail de Guadalest. This mosque housed the sepulcher of the Sufi mystic Abu[*] Ahmad[*] Jac far b. Sid-bono[*] al-Khuzac i[*] (d. 1227). From the thirteenth century until 1570, when King Felipe II had the mosque of Atzeneta destroyed, the tomb of this saint attracted Muslim pilgrims from all over the kingdom of Valencia, and sometimes from Aragon, Catalonia, Granada, and the Maghrib as well. Ecclesiastical views, expressed at the
Council of Vienne in 1311, that such Muslim pilgrimages were an affront to the Christian community, combined with royal misgivings about large numbers of Muslims of diverse origins gathering each year at the shrine of Atzeneta by 1379 resulted in Crown attempts to prohibit this pilgrimage. The royal authorities, however, were unsuccessful, for throughout the fifteenth century and much of the sixteenth century Valencian Muslims continued in "semiclandestine" fashion to journey to the tomb of Sid-bono[*] . This annual act of Islamic devotion thus became for the individual Mudejar a statement of resistance to Christian authority, a politically dangerous affirmation of identity with the other participants in the pilgrimage.
As evinced by the Mudejars' awareness of the events occurring in the wider Islamic world, especially in Granada and the Maghrib, and by their political activities in conjunction with Granadan, Maghriban, and Ottoman Turkish Muslims, their understanding of what constituted the community of believers extended far beyond the borders of the kingdom. Recognition of this much larger community alleviated their sense of isolation and hopelessness, and strengthened their own Muslim identity, particularly when the large majority of that community was governed by Muslim rulers, some of whom, like the Ottoman sultan, were extremely powerful. As was pointed out in chapter 2, concrete family and commercial connections underlay the Mudejars' politicoreligious identification with the dar[*] al-Islam[*] . As a consequence of previous Mudejar emigration to Granada and the Maghrib, Valencian Muslims had family branches in Islamic lands. On account of these kinship ties, Mudejars traveled to Almería, Tunis, and Oran for the purpose of collecting the inheritances left them by deceased relatives, or, like Ali Fotoffa of Bétera, in order to visit those still alive. A Muslim family of Cocentaina journeyed to Granada to attend a family wedding, while a widow of the morería of Valencia married a Granadan Muslim and then departed with him to North Africa. Like this marriage, there were other instances of recent emigration that forged new links of kinship between Valencia and the Maghrib. The sub-qadi[*] of Játiva decided to spend his retirement in the Maghrib, while his son stayed behind in Játiva and succeeded him in office. Yahye Bellvis, the brother of the qadi general, moved to Tunis and continued to benefit from his commercial connections in Valencia. It was precisely such ties of kinship that facilitated Fernando's settlement of Granadan Muslims in Valencia after the conquest. Thus, Mahomat Fuçey of Bellreguart was licensed to travel to Almería "in order to fetch some relations that he has in the city." Reciprocal commercial interests strengthened Mudejar affinity for Granada and the Maghrib. Mudejars journeyed to Almería and Tunis to sell their merchandise, while Maghriban mer-
chants came to Valencia on business. The royal licenses that permitted these merchants to reside in the kingdom for a year or more created ample opportunity for contact with Mudejars. Religion, kinship, and commerce all bound the Mudejar inextricably to the dar[*]al-Islam[*] . It is doubtful that the Mudejars' Muslim identity and group consciousness would have fared as well had they been isolated.
Relative isolation of a different sort actually abetted the Mudejars in their preservation of an Islamic culture. Historians have puzzled over the fact that despite royal efforts to attract Muslims to urban royal morerías , where the tax burden was lighter, the large majority nevertheless preferred to remain on seigneurial lands. The Mudejars' choice of residence is best interpreted as having had a religiocultural foundation, rather than an economic one. Life in the largely Christian cities posed obvious threats to the integrity of Mudejar Islamic culture. Either militant Catholics were endeavoring to eradicate all signs of Islam—calling for the destruction of minarets, prohibiting the call to prayer, and the like—or the pleasantries of city life were insidiously weakening the Muslims' resolve to live in accordance with the Shariah. That pious Muslims were sensitive to the latter threat is evinced in the complaint of the aljama of Játiva regarding the nocturnal activities of Christian youths in the morería and the deleterious effect that the "dishonest dress" of the alfondeguer 's wife might be having on Muslim youths.
In contrast, life in seigneurial villages afforded the Mudejars a refuge from an aggressive and expanding Christian presence. In these villages Muslims sometimes composed the majority of the population, and their freedom and comfort in religious observance were correspondingly greater. The lords seem to have had few qualms about the public manifestations of Islamic worship. For instance, they allowed their Muslim vassals to make the call to prayer with a horn and perhaps vocally, whereas it was prohibited in the cities. During the time of the Moriscos, the seigneurs were infamous for permitting their ostensibly Christian vassals to practice Islam and for protecting them from the Inquisition. The Mudejars also seem to have benefited from their lords' religious tolerance, even if at a price. For most Mudejars the religious freedom thus secured was sufficient compensation for the heavier burden of seigneurial dues.
Not surprisingly, the centers of Islamic learning in Valencia, such as they existed, were for the most part located in rural villages, not in urban morerías . Of the twenty-five Mudejars who journeyed to Almería, Tunis, Oran, and Granada for the purpose of studying the Arabic language and Islamic law (see table 19), only five came from urban morerías —four from Játiva and one from Castellón. The others all came from seigneurial lands—Ondara, Cuartell, Artana, Mascarell, Valldig-
na, Benilloba, the Vall de Uxó, and so on. Barceló Torres, intimating the cultural inferiority of the urban morerías , notes that of the 270 Mudejar and Morisco Arabic documents she has found, only nine were drawn up in the morería of Valencia. It is indicative of this state of affairs that Çahat Coret of the Foya de Buñol, who "applied himself diligently to Agarene letters," was appointed faqih[*] of Valencia, after the aljama had failed to find anyone in the morería sufficiently learned to fill the post.
It appears, then, that the Mudejars' Muslim identity was nurtured both through the unobstructed public worship of Islam, a freedom they
secured by their choice of residence, and through the maintenance of and participation in a literate Arabic culture. Clearly, the latter was needed to sustain the former. Even a minimal level of popular religious awareness necessitated the mediation of learned men (c ulama[*] ') who could read and interpret the Qur'an[*] for the faithful (the Arabic dialect spoken by Mudejars was different from the classical language of the Qur'an). Beyond that, men conversant in jurisprudence (fiqh ) and all that entailed—a knowledge of the Qur'an and of the customs of Muhammad and his companions (Sunnah ) as set down in the traditions (hadith[*] )—were needed to administer justice in the Islamic courts, either as qadi[*] or as faqih[*] , and to see to it that the community lived as much as possible within the framework of the Shariah. Taking into account the Mudejars' situation as a minority enclave composed primarily of farmers and artisans, the grooming of even a small group of culama[*] ' required a determined and sustained effort. Mudejar acquisition of the necessary cultic and legal knowledge was in itself a considerable achievement. The social and intellectual environment was unpropitious for the creation of original scholarly works.
Arabic instruction given to Mudejar children in local schools perpetuated this rudimentary but essential Arabic culture. The thirteenth-century capitulations had granted the basic privilege of maintaining schools to the Mudejars. The Muslims inhabiting the new morería of Orihuela (formed in 1446, but lasting only until 1451) were allowed "to have a schoolmaster." The morería of Valencia also had a school, at least until 1455. Documentation from Fernando's reign contains references to schools operating in Ondara, Oliva, and Valldigna. Perhaps Çahat Coret of the Foya de Buñol began his studies of "Agarene letters" in his hometown. Since the Mudejars were able to give at least an elementary Arabic education to their children in Valencia, one may infer that the Mudejars who took the trouble to travel to Granada or North Africa for study did so not merely "to learn to read and write Moorish," as the travel licenses state, but to pursue more advanced studies, particularly in jurisprudence. Tunis and Almeria were both well equipped to meet the academic needs of the aspiring Mudejar faqih[*] .
It is difficult to know whether there were schools for more advanced studies in Valencia, although it seems that the Mudejars possessed a sufficient amount of learned Arabic works to have allowed for at least the informal meeting of erudite culama[*] ' with students eager to learn. Juan Andres, the convert from Játiva, recounted that his father, a faqih[*] , had taught him jurisprudence. Barceló Torres's search for the bits of Arabic literature surviving in Valencia reveals that fifteenth-century Mudejars had access to Qur'ans, hadith literature, devotional works,
and legal works. Also, in 1450 a faqih[*] of Paterna brought back from Cairo a treatise on trigonometry, in which the use of an astronomical instrument is explained. The most impressive information on Mudejar higher learning comes, surprisingly, from the kingdom of Aragon. The letter of a student to a faqih in Belchite reveals the existence of a madrasah (school) in Zaragoza as late as 1494. There the student in question studied theology, and medicine from the Qanun[*] of Ibn Sina[*] (Avicenna). Considering that such a school still functioned in Aragon, where the Muslims' fluency in Arabic was much less than that of their brethren in Valencia—although perhaps not as minimal as was once thought —it would seem that similar centers of advanced study must have existed in Valencia as well. It is doubtful that every Valencian faqih had the opportunity to travel to Islamic lands for study; some were probably purely local products. Moreover, there were Mudejar physicians and surgeons in Valencia, and these professions required a certain amount of learning, perhaps in the classical Arabic medical texts. Juçeff Alatar, a surgeon of Valencia, was granted a royal license to practice after administering to a Christian knight and passing the examination given by a Christian "master in medicine."
The Mudejars frequently utilized their Arabic literacy in a far more mundane fashion in the writing of letters and contracts for official and private business. The extant Arabic documentation contains records of tax payment, and letters to and from local amin s[*] concerning the collection of taxes and debts from Muslim vassals or judicial procedure against them. Much of this correspondence was between amin s and royal bailiffs, which indicates the functioning and interpenetration of two levels of bureaucracy: the all-encompassing royal Romance-Latin administration and the local Mudejar Arabic administration manned by amin s, qadi s[*] , and faqih s. It has already been demonstrated how the two bureaucracies interrelated in the matter of the Crown's taxation of Mudejar inheritances (chap. 4). The Christian authorities' recognition of Arabic documents as valid evidence in litigation and as contractually binding in business transactions, even those between Muslims and Christians, gave Arabic an "official" status in the kingdom of Valencia. For instance, when passing sentence in favor of Fatima Bisquey, who claimed that she owned half of a house given to her as bridewealth (sadaq[*] ) by her husband, against the opposing claimant, the merchant Berthomeu Pinos, the bailiff general pointed out that the decisive evidence was "an act of acidach (sadaq[*] ) and/or marriage contract—exhibited in the trial on behalf of the said Fatima—received by the qadi[*] and/or faqih[*] Mahomat ben Abdulaziz Alcari on the date of 11 March 892 of the Moorish calendar." Muslims bound themselves to pay debts to Christian creditors by acknowledging their debts in Arabic
documents. In an Arabic document written in his own hand, Ubaydal Donzell confessed, "I, Ubaydal Donzell, recognize that I owe to you, Manuel Bou, eighteen and one-half pounds, which are for spices and alum."
The cultivation of Arabic for higher intellectual pursuits—Qur'anic[*] study, fiqh , medicine, and so on—for the drawing up of legal instruments of various sorts—marriage contracts, letters of debt, and tax records—and for daily parlance lent the Mudejars a common ethnic identity and group consciousness on the basis of language alone. Their knowledge of Arabic allowed them to participate in the intellectual life of the wider Islamic world, just as their understanding of Romance enabled them to function more efficiently in Valencia's Christian society. The Mudejars' use of Romance, however, was far more occasional, employed only when they desired or needed to communicate with Christians. Otherwise, Arabic was an effective social and intellectual barrier between Valencia's Muslim and Christian communities. Indeed, the Mudejars' use of Arabic sometimes aroused Christian suspicions. When Muslim slaves escaped from their masters, any Mudejar who had been seen speaking with the slave in Arabic was considered a prime suspect as an accessory to the crime. The Christians assumed that the Mudejars' choice of language defined their sympathies and guided their actions as persuasively as did their religious faith. There was much truth in this assumption. Since Arabic was the language of the Qur'an[*] , literally the word of God dictated to Muhammad, its use by the Mudejars had a special spiritual significance, and therefore contributed to their perception of themselves as Muslims. The veneration of the Arabic language itself explains the Aragonese and Castilian Mudejars' and Moriscos' writing of aljamiado literature (Romance written in Arabic script) as a means of strengthening their Muslim identity. It also explains why the Christian authorities decided to prohibit the Valencian Moriscos' teaching of Arabic to their children as a means of effecting their true conversion to Christianity.
Social structure, language, communal and judicial autonomy, ties of kinship and commerce within Valencia and with their coreligionists in the dar[*]al-Islam[*] —all contributed to the Mudejars' distinct religioethnic identity and to their perception of themselves as a single body united in stark cultural opposition to Christian society. Still, the body required animation and direction, a sense of purpose particularly Islamic. This was provided by the faqih s[*] . They functioned in the Mudejar social body as spiritual cadres, infusing its individual communal cells with a commitment to Islam and, by virtue of their grounding in a common intellectual tradition and world view, binding those cells together in a unity of religious purpose. As the local fonts of religious and legal knowledge, the
jurists were eminently suited for this task. By offering their legal opinions and resolving disputes on the basis of the Shariah, they ensured that it remained the lofty standard against which Mudejars evaluated their own conduct and by which they endeavored to regulate their lives.
The plea of the newly converted Moriscos in their negotiations with Carlos I in 1526 reflects the great esteem in which the faqih s[*] were held by the kingdom's Muslim populace. The Moriscos informed the king that in the days before the conversions, "when the call to prayer was made in the mosques," the Muslims of the kingdom used the rents from those properties bequeathed by the pious to the mosques to pay the salary of the faqih s, "who have consumed their whole life in studying and knowing the Moorish law and have not been concerned with other offices." The Moriscos went on to request that a portion of the rents pertaining to the new Morisco churches, formerly mosques, continue to be reserved for the support of the baptized jurists. The Morisco faqihs —and they are still referred to as alfaqins in the sixteenth-century documentation—continued throughout the sixteenth century to form the core of Morisco resistance to the official Christian program of religious and social assimilation.
The aforementioned Morisco request reveals important information about the Mudejar jurists. It is clear that they devoted their entire lives to the study of Islamic law and, presumably, of its foundations, the Qur'an[*] and the Sunnah . Because the study of the jurists ensured the continuity of Islam as a living religious and intellectual tradition, the Mudejars deemed it an essential activity, so essential that they used the pious endowments (waqf ) bequeathed by the faithful to the mosques to support the jurists. Furthermore, the jurists were supported in such a way that they would not need to bother themselves with any labor other than that properly religious and legal. It is important to note that in Islam there were neither priests nor an ecclesiastical hierarchy for whom financial support was institutionalized, as was the case with the Catholic Church. The Mudejars' support of the faqih s was made possible by the will of the community, a local adaptation to a situation in which Islam had long been deprived of public primacy.
Despite the faqih 's key role in the life of the Mudejar community, the documentation provides, unfortunately, very little information about him. The reason for this is that the faqih 's sphere of activity—the mosque, the madrasah , the Islamic court—was very rarely impinged on by the Christian world. Matters concerning Muslims alone and not affecting the public life of the kingdom had no importance for the king and his officials. As a result, it is the amin[*] , the fiscal and juridical intermediary between Muslim and Christian worlds, who appears most often in the
documentation. The activities of the faqih[*] held as little interest for the Christians as did the Muslims' theological views.
The primary role of the faqih was that of jurisconsult, acting either as counsellor or as arbitrator in litigations between Muslims. Ageg b. Çaat Ageg of Alcira paid 10s to the faqih of Villalonga for having counseled him in his dispute with Abraym Xativi. A faqih of Ondara traveled to Ribarroja in order to "treat with and reconcile a Moor and a Mooress, husband and wife, who wanted to separate." The faqih also taught in the local school, a task for which his years of study had well prepared him.
Also, as the Moriscos stated in 1526, the faqih s "were serving in the mosques," undoubtedly as preachers. Regarding the content of their sermons, the only information comes indirectly from the allusions made by the nobility when, in 1502, they beseeched Fernando not to convert their Muslim vassals. It seems reasonable to assert that the sermons of the jurists comprised primarily instruction in the basic tenets and precepts of Islam and positive exhortation to conduct oneself accordingly. As a consequence of their teaching, the lords stated, "among them [the Mudejars] each one defends the said sect [of Islam] and has worked and works [to the end] that the Moor may be a good Moor." More interesting is a type of sermon more negative in tone, which constituted a defense of Islam through a disparagement of Christianity. The nobles offered an illuminating explanation of why the Mudejars were "beside themselves" with fear that the Inquisition would proceed against them all:
they [the Mudejars] say that ... none of them could be excused [from prosecution by the Inquisition] because publicly they have had and have in the present kingdom their mosques and their faqih s, who publicly admonish them that the sect of Mahomat is better than the law of the Christians and that all [Christians] end in this damnation.
By emphasizing the threat of eternal damnation, the jurists hoped to discourage potential Muslim apostates who might be toying with the idea of baptism for worldly reasons. This kind of preaching may be interpreted as a reaction to the pressures exerted by an increasingly militant Spanish Church and to the threatening pervasiveness of Christian culture. The tragic end of the Spanish Jews and Conversos, and the incipient movements of the Inquisition against Islam, could hardly have failed to impress upon the faqih s the necessity of a defensive anti-Christian posture.
The contemporary struggle between Christian and Islamic states did
not fail to influence the direction of the faqih s[*] ' activism. The jurists understood what implications the conquest of Granada might have for the future of Islam in the Iberian peninsula, in terms of both the morale of the Mudejar populace and the Mudejars' treatment by the Catholic Monarchs. Consequently, the jurists' activity, particularly their preaching, took on a markedly political tone. It was they who collected in the morerías funds for the aid of the beleaguered Nasrid sultan. Moreover, the king was informed:
the said Moors and the faqih s of the said morerías since the time of this enterprise [the war against Granada] have ordered a certain prayer and they make that [prayer] continually in their hours [of prayer], [the prayer] containing, in effect, that God should exalt the said king of Granada and that He should destroy us [King Fernando] and all our people.
While the efforts of Mudejar jurists could hardly have altered the course of political events, they nevertheless succeeded admirably in strengthening the commitment of their congregations to Islam. This commitment is evinced in the very low rate of Mudejar apostasy. One document offers a rare glimpse of Mudejar sensitivity in matters of faith, an area of life where Christian interference was not easily endured. When royal officials made the mistake of entering a mosque in Ondara in order to apprehend a condemned Muslim criminal, the reaction of the congregation was one of violent indignation. "The Moors, amin s[*] , jurates [adelantats ], and all the people" hurled "stones and ... the tiles from the roofing, and with lances and crossbows wishing and working to damage you [the lieutenant governor] and your ministers, made a great resistance against you, perturbing you and preventing the capture of the one convicted."
The success of the faqih s in overcoming intracommunal and intercommunal factionalism and imparting to each community a sense of commitment to the common cause of Islam was furthered by two factors: the communication between those possessed of religious and legal knowledge, and the foundation of the jurists' status on terms different from those which determined the prestige of other community members. Even though each faqih belonged to a particular community, the faqih s did not exist in a state of intellectual isolation, instructing their congregations and offering legal opinions without consideration of the opinions and perhaps greater knowledge of their learned fellows in other places. On the contrary, their role as the transmitters of a common tradition and their very similar intellectual formation—all having been educated in Granada, the Maghrib, and Valencia—facilitated consultation among the learned and, indeed, advised it, if they were to
maintain a consistent orthodox standard. The activities of the faqih[*] Abdalla, originally a captive from Tripoli, suggest a network of communication and consultation among the Muslim judges and jurists of the kingdom. While in Valencia, Abdalla met the faqih of Manises, and they discussed Islamic law. The latter then invited him to dinner in Manises. He was also a friend of the qadi[*] of Benaguacil and lodged in his home. In Ribarroja Abdalla acted as marriage counselor to an unhappy couple. He taught school in Ondara, Oliva, and other places, and while in Oliva he conferred with the faqih and "read in the said morería ." More interesting still, he and the faqih of Paterna exchanged Arabic books. Abdalla's career was probably somewhat more peripatetic than that of most jurists, since he had to wander about collecting alms to repay the aljama of Ondara for having ransomed him. Nevertheless, Abdalla was able to "go among the faqih s of the present kingdom begging for the love of God," because there were established channels of communication among the learned, and because he himself was "a man of knowledge."
The career of Abdalla also demonstrates that the Mudejars on the whole respected and heeded the opinions of learned and holy men. Abdalla was known by Muslims throughout the kingdom and was reputed to lead the life of a saint. The qadi of Játiva, the kingdom's largest morería , related why he and the aljama wished to make Abdalla their jurist. Abdalla, the qadi pointed out, "is a very good Moor and ... leader of prayers [oracioner ]," so much so that after the death of the former faqih of Játiva, Abdalla, owing to his "good fame, life, and knowledge," was the unanimous choice to succeed him.
Clearly, the prestige of Abdalla, a foreigner and technically a slave, and of men like him in the eyes of the Mudejar community, rested neither on wealth nor on family backing; rather, their status and influence, both local and, in the case of Abdalla, kingdom-wide, derived from their knowledge of religious and legal tradition and from the holiness of their lives. This is suggested in two other cases mentioned above: the intervention of a faqih from Villalonga as legal counselor in a litigation between Muslims in distant Alcira, and the appointment of a Muslim of the Foya de Buñol as faqih of Valencia on the basis of his diligent studies alone. Put in another way, the jurists were able to rise above the petty feuding between Mudejar families and villages because their way of life, financially supported by the community, removed them from the competition for honor, wealth, and political power. Their opinion was heeded because they were nonpartisan and had no stakes in that competition. It is probable that the jurists were able to attenuate the intensity of local feuding by acting as legal counselors and arbitrators between disputants. Their preaching was persuasive because it was an expression
of the knowledge and piety that so few possessed. The jurists were able to appeal to the Mudejars as Muslims on a level of consciousness unrelated to mundane local concerns. Because the jurists themselves had a scholarly network of sorts and a certain consensus of opinion regarding the Mudejar community's needs, they preached a similar message. Their message, that of Muslim resistance to Christian assimilative pressure, had efficacy and resonance because, on one hand, they themselves were dispersed throughout the kingdom's Muslim population, local products closely tied to their people, while on the other hand, they possessed vital knowledge that raised them above the mass of Mudejars in an overarching network of religious leadership.
For reasons beyond the control of Valencia's faqih s[*] , the Muslims of the kingdom were to spend their final years in the peninsula as unwilling Christians. As has been seen, the chain of events that led to the Mudejars' conversion began with the fall of Granada. This signal and seemingly conclusive event in the long and bloody peninsular struggle between Islam and Christianity had an unforeseen and somewhat ironic consequence. For the Mudejars of Valencia it resulted in a cultural windfall that would help them in the difficult days ahead.
When Fernando settled conquered Granadan Muslims in Valencia and promoted the sale of Maghriban and Granadan prisoners of war within the kingdom, he was not only helping himself by increasing royal revenues but also unconsciously contributing to the Mudejars' Muslim identity and group solidarity. The influx of numerous Muslim captives—hundreds from Málaga alone—elicited from the Mudejars considerable cooperative effort on behalf of their Muslim fellows. Mudejar communities collectively ransomed Muslims and, in a seemingly organized fashion, provided assistance to runaway slaves. More important still was the type of Muslim brought into the kingdom through Christian conquest and piracy. These Muslim captives and settlers, unaccustomed to Christian rule and little affected by the acculturative impact of long-term coexistence with Christians, were in all likelihood more steadfast in their commitment to their ancestral faith. Among the new arrivals were men of learning. There were physicians from Granada, jurists and readers of the Qur'an[*] from both Granada and the Maghrib, and a Sufi mystic from the Maghrib. True, it is not known what became of these men, although the career of the faqih Abdalla of Tripoli, a captive known throughout the kingdom for his learning and piety, is, if not typical, suggestive. In this regard, a puzzling but interesting comment was made by some Christians about Abdalla. When the Christian hostess of a hostel and some Muslims lodging there introduced Abdalla to some Christian guests as a faqih , the Christians remarked,
apparently in jest, "he is black and he could be a faqih[*] ." Given the similarity between Iberian Muslims and Christians in terms of skin color, the reference to Abdalla's darker coloration as if it were part of a widespread stereotype of Valencia's faqih s hints at a perhaps more general phenomenon of Mudejar religious leaders with Maghriban origins. In any case, the social organization of Mudejar society would have facilitated the integration of Granadan and Maghriban Muslims, both erudite men and less extraordinary folk. Thus, Mudejar society was strangely reinvigorated as a result of the Monarchs' war against Islam. While the conquest of Granada ushered in the tragedy of the Moriscos, it also ensured that the Christian authorities of Valencia would have more formidable opponents in their struggle to eradicate Islam from the kingdom. Islam survived in Valencia not as a fossilized remnant of thirteenth-century Almohad glory, but as a resilient and adaptive society, steeled by its social structure and inspired by its faqih s.