Islam: The Royal Outlook
We have seen that, contrary to the expectations evoked by the establishment of the Inquisition, the expulsion of the Jews, and the fate of the Muslims of Granada and Castile, Fernando was determined not only to maintain the Mudejar communities of his kingdoms but also to increase the Crown's share in the financial benefits accruing from Mudejar vassalage. Hence, one might conclude that in Fernando's mind fiscal considerations carried greater weight than religious ones, and that in the chemistry of the Catholic Monarchs' union the cool cynicism of Fernando managed to control but not extinguish the flames of Isabel's religious zeal. These conclusions are, to a certain extent, tenable. Certainly Isabel's religiosity was more extreme, and she was more willing to use
the Catholic faith, in its mutations of Inquisition and crusade, as a blunt tool with which to hammer the Iberian peninsula, if not the entire Mediterranean, into a crude shape of religious uniformity. It is also safe to say that Fernando was the subtler one of the couple, adroitly balancing the seemingly disjunctive demands of Church, royal treasury, and Mediterranean empire. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to assert that the king did not find the concerns of the Church and Christian society equally compelling. The main difference between Fernando and Isabel was not that the king was less interested in the promotion of the faith and the proselytizing of non-Christians, but that he was not willing to employ quite the same means as the queen in achieving those ends. Fernando had the perspicacity to realize that the majority of Mudejars were not about to abandon Islam voluntarily and embrace Christianity, and, as we shall see below, he had no desire to force the issue. At the same time, it was clear to him that an expulsion of the Mudejars would seriously debilitate the kingdoms of Valencia and Aragon. Fernando, then, accepted these two basic premises, that the Mudejars must continue laboring in their fields and shops, and that they would also continue praying in their mosques. Royal Mudejar policy consisted of pursuing the optimal fiscal benefits under these conditions.
Given that Fernando seems to have felt compelled to accept the Mudejar's adherence to Islam, which is evinced by the simple fact that the Mudejars' religious status remained unchanged until the subsequent reign, it is still essential to understand more precisely Fernando's outlook on the Islamic presence in his kingdoms, on the relations between Muslims and Christians, and on the possibilities of assimilating that Muslim body into Christian society through baptism. Such an understanding is necessary not simply because the history of the Jews and Castilian Mudejars raises the question but also for the reason that whatever economic importance the Mudejars had, it would have made little difference had Fernando indeed been intent on the eradication of Spanish Islam. The early history of the Inquisition speaks eloquently enough on this point. Very much aware of the economic havoc the Inquisition would and did wreak by decimating the Converso community, the Catholic Monarch still unhesitatingly forced the Holy Office on all of his kingdoms to stamp out the judaizing heresy. Although material concerns significantly influenced Fernando's handling of the minorities, the factor of religion was ultimately decisive.
The most fundamental of all the privileges accorded to the Mudejars was the freedom to practice Islam, and this freedom Fernando never disputed. However, religious sentiments were such that the Mudejars' practice of Islam raised other delicate issues, namely, whether Islamic
worship should be allowed to manifest itself publicly, and, if so, what kind of limitations were to be imposed so as to render it less offensive to Christians.
Since the time of the conquest the Crown had recognized the importance of mosques for the Muslims' religious and communal life, and thus allowed the Mudejars to retain them, along with their cemeteries and pious endowments. From the Christians' perspective, the mosque was the physical symbol of Islam, just as the church was representative of their own religion. Fifteenth-century Valencian Christians begrudged the Mudejars their mosques and could take some comfort in the fact that, as a result of demographic change, mosques were greatly outnumbered by churches. While Mudejars might maintain and renovate the mosques they already had, the construction of new ones was quite a different matter. Some Christians perceived this as an insult to their own faith and an unwanted increase of the Islamic presence.
Fernando himself was sensitive to this issue. When he established the new morería in Castellón de Játiva it seems that he purposely did not provide for the building of a new mosque there. Not every Mudejar community had its own mosque, and the king probably supposed that Castellón's Muslims would pray in the mosque of nearby Játiva. Yet, by 1493 Castellón's Mudejars had built or set aside a particular house for a mosque. The matter concerned Fernando, and he ordered an official investigation to determine if the mosque had been built recently—it probably had been, considering that the morería itself dated only from 1480—how long it had been standing, and whether there had been a mosque there in the past. Perhaps he was willing to give the Mudejars the benefit of the doubt if some preconquest antecedent to the mosque could be found, but his queries suggest that he was not comfortable with the idea of the Christians of Castellón being subjected to the public display of Islam by an aljama of his own creation.
Similar sentiments prompted the king to relocate the mosque of Zaragoza from a site near a plaza "where the Christians socialize and ... receive from it [the mosque] much offense" to "another area more convenient, closer to the morería , or inside of it." Fernando was not questioning the right of Mudejars to worship as Muslims; he was, in his mind, protecting Christians from excessive exposure to Islam's ritual manifestations.
In another case Fernando's opinions emerge less clearly. The scene of conflict was the Vall de Ayora, where the lord of the town of Ayora, the Marqués de Zanete, was constructing a new morería and mosque in an effort to attract to the town Muslims from the surrounding communities of the valley. Don Gerubin de Centelles, the lord of the valley, strenuously objected, arguing that since the conquest the town had been
populated by only Christians. Now, with this new mosque, the town, which had only heard the invocation of the name of Jesus Christ, would resound with the Muslims' call to prayer and the name of Muhammad. Centelles, obviously trying to strike a nerve here, demanded that the king put a stop to the Marqués's initiatives, which were so detrimental to the faith. Fernando reacted by ordering the Marqués to cease construction pending a hearing of both parties. This measured reaction may be attributed to the rumor that the Marqués had procured a papal bull allowing him to construct a new mosque. Also, there was much more at stake than a new mosque; there was the additional question of conflicting seigneurial jurisdictions and the Marqués's prerogatives.
As the preceding case suggests, what Christians found objectionable was not so much the existence of the mosque itself as the call to prayer five times daily from its minaret. Christians referred to the Muslims' call to prayer as the çala, employing this term for both the call (adhan[*] )—"Ashhadu anna Muhammad rasul[*] Allah[*] " ("I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God")—and the prayer itself (salat[*] ), although clearly it was the former that vexed them. It is interesting that Centelles remonstrated against the name of Muhammad being invoked in Ayora, for the public chanting of the adhan[*] had long been forbidden, although perhaps to little effect in seigneurial areas, if Centelles's word can be relied upon. Taking their cue from Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne (1311), the Aragonese kings—Jaime II (1318), reinforced by Martin I (1403) and Alfonso V (1417) after the leniency of Pedro IV—had enacted a series of prohibitions, so that by Fernando's reign Muslims could be notified of the hour of prayer only by the sounding of a horn, and even that was prohibited in the city of Valencia. Since what the Church deplored was the public chanting of the name of Muhammad, Fernando did not think it necessary to add to his predecessors' restrictions. After all, if the Mudejars were to be allowed to practice Islam, they needed to be apprised of the proper time for prayer.
However, some of the more intolerant elements in Valencian society had other ideas. In 1477 placards had been posted in the capital calling for the tearing down of the minarets of all mosques. The Inquisitors, whom the king had thrust upon Valencia, came to represent the forces of religious extremism. In 1506 they threatened with excommunication and monetary fine (500 gold florins) all seigneurial officials in the region of the kingdom south of the Jijona River who permitted the Muslims to make the call to prayer, even "indirectly" with a horn. The Inquisitors, it seems, were not satisfied with extracting the judaizing cancer from within the Christian body; they desired to "Christianize" the entire kingdom, which entailed the suppression of Islam. On this score they differed with Valencian clergymen, or at least with those who had Mus-
lim vassals and seemed content with the existing arrangement. It is revealing that all three estates—military, royal, and ecclesiastical—complained to Fernando that the Inquisitors had violated the Furs, of which they had little knowledge. They noted that even canon law did not object to the Muslims' use of a horn. It is unlikely that Fernando would have supported the Inquisitors' initiative. The events of the crisis of 1500–1503 (see chap. 2) advised against further upsetting the Mudejars, who might have resorted to mass flight, utterly ruining barons, prelates, and towns.
Along with the restriction of the ritual expression of Islam, the Crown also deemed it necessary to censure any demonstrations of disrespect toward the Catholic faith by Muslims. Alfonso V had demanded that Mudejars be punished for blaspheming in the name of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary, and during Fernando's reign legal procedure was taken against a number of Muslims, such as Ali Castellano of Alcira, who had to pay a fine of 50s "because he swore by the unclean parts of our Lord God." Muslims were also expected to make overt displays of their respect for Christianity by kneeling or turning aside when the Host was carried through the streets, and by ceasing work on Sundays and feast days, although they were permitted to labor in their fields on many of them. Fernando took great exception to the insolence of Mudejar blacksmiths and shoemakers in Tarazona who labored in public on Sundays and other feast days. When the priest elevated the Host during the Mass, the Muslims did "not cease hammering, striking iron, cutting and sewing," and even when Christian processions bearing the Host passed by the Muslims did "worse in the same manner without any respect or reverence, which is a bad example and by it service is done neither to our Lord God nor to us [the king]." Exasperated because he had already commanded that Muslim shops be removed from Christian areas of Tarazona, the king threatened to deprive the city's bailiff and jurates of their offices if they did not remedy the situation.
Fernando favored a strict spatial separation of Islamic and Christian cults, so that his Christian subjects would not have to bear the affront of seeing mosques and hearing the Arabic chant of the mu'adhdhin, or of witnessing the Muslims' impudent disregard of their Lord. In other words, Islam was to keep a very low profile. No doubt the Church applauded Fernando's policy, or the enforcement of his predecessors'. Yet it is less clear that he acted in these matters in response to widespread popular demand or that the generality of his Christian subjects were as sensitive as he to these alleged insults to their faith; in Ayora and Tarazona, at least, it appears that they were not. In fact, Fernando found the occasional manifestations of laxness and tolerance by his subjects to be shocking.
Much to the king's chagrin, the church of the Virgen María de la Rapita, located within the limits of his own city of Tortosa, was the site of a display of understanding rarely seen along the Christian-Muslim interface. With the cognizance of the authorities, presumably both ecclesiastical and civil, Muslims from Valencia, Aragon, and Catalonia were congregating in the church on Islamic holy days for prayer and ceremony. As far as Fernando was concerned, this was far worse than the building of a mosque in a Christian town or the labor of Muslims on Sunday; this was the violation of a church's sanctity by what were to him the ungodly and unclean rites of Islam. His reaction to the news, shock followed by intense anger, shines through the formulaic rhetoric of the document:
Not without great astonishment and (?) we have learned of the tolerance which until now has been given in allowing the Moors of the said kingdoms to enter the church of the Virgen María de la Rapita, which is established and built within the limits of that city of Tortosa, to ululate and to venerate the festivals and things required of them by their Mahometan sect and diabolic custom, which is done and consented to in the greatest disservice of our Redeemer Jesus Christ and of his most glorious mother, our Lady.
Fernando fumed, perturbed "that in the temple ordained for veneration and honor of the Divine cult there is permitted to be done another thing that is manifestly repugnant to the order of the Holy Church and Christian religion." The king was determined to act decisively "as pertains to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ and of his pure mother, our Lady, and to the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the oppression of the disorders of the pestiferous and infernal Mahometan sect." The severity of the threatened punishment corresponded with Fernando's opinion of the gravity of the offense. Officials who permitted Muslims to enter the church were to be fined 1,000 gold florins, while the Muslims themselves who violated the royal prohibition were to be given capital punishment or made slaves of the king. Also, whoever had the keys to and custodianship of the church was to lose his life if he allowed Muslims to pray or leave votive candles there. The king further enjoined that the church undergo a symbolic cleansing. In the part of the church where the Muslims made their devotions—perhaps the part they used as a mihrab[*] (a niche indicating the direction of Mecca)—the window was to be covered and on the window were to be painted images of Christ and the Virgin, "so that by them [the paintings] all impurity may be purged and abolished."
Because Fernando viewed the faith of Islam with such obvious aversion, particularly when it threatened to intrude on the religious con-
sciousness of the Catholic faithful, close social relations between adherents of that faith and Christians caused the king dismay. His opinion that the rites of Islam were somehow unclean implies that he feared Christians would be morally contaminated by extensive social interaction with Muslims. Fernando's sentiments were rooted not in a scorn for the Muslims as a distinct race, for there was little or no difference in the physiognomies of Spanish Muslims and Christians, but in a disdain for the religion that defined the Mudejars' ethnicity. There were, nevertheless, practical limitations to the institution of a rigid policy of social segregation. The Crown's encouragement of Mudejar economic activity—which meant their participation in most sectors of the economy and not just as servile agricultural laborers—militated against such a policy, for daily contact between Muslim and Christian in the workplace and market fostered a certain level of rapprochement that made social relations both possible and inevitable. If the king desired that the royal aljamas grow and prosper, he could not expect the Mudejars to remain in asphyxiating and impoverishing isolation. Religious concerns thus clashed with the Crown's fiscal interests. The contradictions or ambivalence perceptible in certain of Fernando's decisions are a reflection of this dichotomy.
The conditions stipulated by Fernando in his creation of an aljama in Castellón de Játiva are indicative of the state of affairs he deemed most preferable. He unequivocally commanded that the Muslims must inhabit a distinct morería and not mix in with the town's Christian residents. Ideally, this was what many Christians and Muslims would have desired, but sometimes necessity advised otherwise. To help make ends meet, Mudejars of the struggling and underpopulated morería of Valencia sold to Christians houses located within the morería . The issue here was not whether Christians could purchase houses located within a morería —this Fernando did not question—but whether they had to pay the taxes incumbent on the morería 's Muslim residents. Even when Fernando was intent on enforcing segregation, established local practice and relative indifference sometimes confounded him. While staying in Tarazona, he had decided that Jews and Muslims must be prohibited from having their homes and shops in Christian neighborhoods, "in order to avoid scandals and damages which could arise from it." Although the Jews and Muslims had dutifully returned to their respective quarters, Fernando was incensed when he learned that after his departure they had returned to live among the Christians "even more profanely than they were accustomed." Six years later word reached him that Mudejar craftsmen still had their shops outside of the morería , and that they worked in them on Sunday. It is significant that it was not an outcry from the Christian populace of Tarazona which had reached
Fernando's ears, but the complaint of only one citizen, Ferrando de Matalebreras.
Because Muslims and Jews ritually slaughtered their animals as prescribed by their dietary laws, the Christians' purchase of meat from their butcher shops assumed religious implications. Fernando and his bailiff general seem to have ignored these implications on account of fiscal concerns, or at least that was the case initially. Thus, when the jurates of Castellón de la Plana forbade the Muslim butcher shop to sell meat to Christians, primarily because they themselves did not collect the sales tax on the animals slaughtered by the Muslim butcher, the bailiff general demanded that they revoke the prohibition since it was prejudicial to the Crown, from whom the Muslim butcher shop was rented. The Inquisitors, however, did not take royal revenues into consideration when, in 1488, they preached in the see of Valencia that Christians should not dare to eat meat slaughtered by Muslims and Jews, under penalty of excommunication. Predictably, this elicited a protest from the lords of Mudejar vassals, and they enlisted the influence of the bishop of Segorbe in Rome to get a papal bull exempting their lands from the Inquisitorial decree. There is no evidence that Fernando was privy to this Inquisitorial offensive, although his subsequent action in Alcira indicates that he at least approved of and so acted in accordance with its substance. By 1492 Fernando decided that Alcira's Muslim butcher shop did not need to be provided with as many sheep as before "inasmuch as now it is prohibited [that] the said Christians buy meat from the said [Muslim] butcher shop." Owing to the resistance of the nobility, it seems that the zeal of the Inquisitors was felt less on seigneurial lands than in royal towns.
If Christians and Muslims were going to mingle, and realistically this could hardly be prevented, then it was important that Muslims at least be easily identifiable. At the behest of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), Spanish monarchs had included in their legal codes legislation demanding that Muslims wear distinctive clothing, although this legislation was only intermittently enforced. Fernando attempted to correct the previous laxness, bidding the bailiff general of Aragon to see to it that the Mudejars wore their special apparel. In the kingdom of Valencia Juan II had called for the enforcement of Jaime I's ordinances demanding that all Muslims dress in distinctive blue garb; however, in return for a 60-pound payment he had exempted the Muslims from having a special tonsure. Fernando followed suit and in 1482 issued a royal proclamation that Muslims and Jews must wear their special clothing in the city of Valencia. Yet, four years later Fernando was expressing dismay that his father's orders were being disobeyed and that Muslims were dressing "like Christians, and many of them in silk doublets and
fine clothing." The king's interests in the enforcement of this legislation were partly political—so that incognito Muslim enemies could not kidnap Christians (see chap. 2)—and partly social. Regarding the latter, Fernando was anxious to prevent "inconveniences and scandals" of a sexual nature, especially relations between Muslim men and Christian women. His fears were not unfounded, for the documentation attests to the not infrequent violation of this sexual taboo. When the jurates of Zaragoza were outraged because Muslims visiting the fonduk (hostel) of the morería brought Muslim women there with them—actually their daughters—Fernando bade the jurates to let the Muslims be, "so that those Moors will abstain from having anything to do with Christian women." In any case, it seems that despite the king's expressed concern to prevent such illicit relations, the Mudejars still were not forced to wear the special clothing. This is indicated by the absence of any record of the penalization of a Muslim for violation of the dress code and by the near impossibility of regulating Mudejar dress outside of the few royal morerías .
Fernando's anxiety about immoderate intimacy between Christians and Muslims may be considered within the context of the Catholic Monarchs' efforts to reform Spanish Christian society. Their program of reform for the Spanish Church, especially the religious orders, is well known. They were also preoccupied with the moral laxity of their subjects. In Valencia Fernando took measures to regulate prostitution and to prohibit gambling, profanity, sorcery, and usury. Still, this general interest in Christian morality does not minimize the fact that the comradeship of Muslims and Christians was perceived as a moral evil in itself or as the root of others. It is understandable how Fernando could have jumped to such conclusions, since Muslims and Christians were often found together partaking in Valencia's riotous tavern life. For instance, there was the disreputable Hostal del Palomar in Albaida, which Fernando wanted razed, because "there are committed many evils and damages, since many men of evil life and practices congregate there, and since it is found that Moors sleep with Christian women." In another tavern Muslims were fined for gambling with Christians.
Despite its decline in population and wealth, the morería of Valencia still maintained its reputation as a center of lowlife. Orders were issued prohibiting gambling there and restricting the activities of Muslim prostitutes to the morería 's bordello. Muslim residents of the morería who received as guests in their homes intoxicated Muslim vagabonds or Christian men and women, thereby encouraging "scandals, fights, and disorders," were to be fined 10s. The Crown attempted to prevent such disturbances from spreading beyond the confines of the morería by forbidding Muslims to drink their wine in any place other than the royal
tavern. Also, Muslims and Jews visiting the city of Valencia were required to lodge at the royal fonduk in the morería and not at Christian inns. The same applied to other royal morerías that had their own fonduks. These restrictions had a double motive. On one hand, confining Mudejars to the royal tavern and fonduk curtailed the "many and great inconveniences, scandals, and other perils which arise from the cohabitation of Sarracens, Jews, and other infidels with the Christians." On the other hand, the restrictions ensured a steady flow of income from these royal monopolies. The repeated proclamation of them attests to the frequency with which they were violated.
Fernando's measures to limit the public display of the Mudejars' religion and to promote the social segregation of Muslim and Christian all had their precedents in the legislation of previous monarchs, and it would be difficult to argue that the Catholic Monarch was more hostile than his predecessors toward Islam. In some areas where the king expressed concern, such as the Mudejars' distinctive clothing or their confinement to morerías and royal taverns for residence and recreation, the concern was not translated into consistent enforcement of proscriptive legislation. In others, such as the relocation of Zaragoza's mosque or the forbidding of Alcira's Muslims to sell meat to Christians, royal action was more decisive and in line with the views held by the aggressively anti-Islamic Inquisition. In any case, it is patent that Fernando, whether merely remonstrating or acting conclusively, desired to impede the mixing of Christians and Muslims, but without challenging the religious status of the latter.
Yet, considering the above instances of close and amicable relations between Muslims and Christians in Valencia, Aragon, and Catalonia, it seems that Fernando, in his desultory attempts to segregate Mudejars, was fighting a losing battle. Indeed, one might pose a disjunction between royal (and ecclesiastical) attitudes and those of a substantial portion of the Christian populace. Fernando's segregationist stance was inspired by a concern for the moral and spiritual well-being of his Christian subjects. His subjects, however, were probably not nearly as preoccupied with the state of their souls as he would have liked. Their concerns often were far more mundane. If their neighbors happened to be Muslims, it was perhaps easier to befriend them than to shun them. Christians in the capital knew Muslims of the local morería well enough to testify as character witnesses in their behalf. Making a living might mean cooperation with the Muslim tilling the adjacent plot of land, or selling goods to a large Muslim clientele, or even a business partnership with a Muslim. A Muslim of Alcira's acknowledgment of his debt to a Christian, written in Arabic and translated by the qadi[*] general, indicates the direction in which some business relationships might tend: "I Ageg,
son of Çahat Ageg, confess to you [my] singular and good friend, en Jacme Barbera, how I owe you twelve pounds." Alasdrach of Buñol and Ali Alcayet of Chiva preferred to lodge at the "Hostal de Angel" when they were in Valencia, because they were acquainted with the hosteler, Joan Jeroni. Deeper friendships between Muslims and Christians might flourish. Açen Muça's defense counsel tried to disqualify the testimony of the tailor Miguel Serra in favor of the plaintiffs, the family of the murdered Ubaydal (or Abdalla) Çentido, because Serra "was a very great friend, like a brother, of the said Ubaydal Çentido and is a very great friend of the sister of the said Ubaydal." Another friend of Ubaydal was the farmer Domingo Roda. While visiting his sister and attending to his lands in Mirambell, Domingo dined at the house of Ubaydal's sister with Ubaydal and another Muslim, Alfiquinet. After dinner, the three of them went for a stroll and talked, mainly about a Christian woman who had run off with some Muslims. (The defense impugned Domingo's testimony as well. That Domingo might have perjured himself for the sake of Ubaydal's family is impressive in itself.)
When leisurely pursuing pleasure Muslims and Christians let questions of faith recede into the background. Taverns brought Christians and Muslims together just as surely as churches and mosques separated them. Even the capital's colorful Corpus Christi Day processions, in spite of their being a clear expression of the Catholic faith, attracted Muslims from all over the kingdom. And the Christians found nothing unusual in this; nor did they expect the Muslim onlookers to kneel and show obeisance. In fact, Muslims and Christians set out for and watched the processions together.
That some Christians had no qualms about mingling so freely with Muslims was not the result of their having somehow come to terms with the religion of Islam, for on the theological plane there could be no Mudejar-Christian rapprochement. These Christians probably did not see themselves as somehow compromising their own religious beliefs. For them such interaction with Muslims was simply a way of life, a life in which secular pursuits often obscured spiritual concerns. In Valencia the pursuit of peace, the pursuit of wealth, and the pursuit of pleasure all frequently involved dealing with Muslims. Given the size of the Mudejar population, it could hardly have been otherwise. In his efforts to reform Christian society, Fernando was essentially asking his subjects to lead more spiritual lives. Success here might have rendered his segregative measures more enforceable. The failure to segregate the Mudejars was partly the consequence of the unwillingness and the inability of most Christians to live completely in accordance with the dictates of the Church.