Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/content/17/7261617/html/plugins/content/facebooklikeandshare/facebooklikeandshare.php on line 356

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/content/17/7261617/html/plugins/content/facebooklikeandshare/facebooklikeandshare.php on line 362
Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - Mediaeval Malta and the Rise of Islam

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/content/17/7261617/html/plugins/content/facebooklikeandshare/facebooklikeandshare.php on line 418

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/content/17/7261617/html/plugins/content/facebooklikeandshare/facebooklikeandshare.php on line 761

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/content/17/7261617/html/templates/reachmalta/functions.php on line 614

The Rise and Fall of Islam

 

In the 7th century, a new religion and military force — Islam, swept across the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Malta fell to the Aghlabid Arab invaders in 871. Arab ruled over Malta for more than two centuries. Christians were allowed to retain their religion, but they were never considered as full citizens and they were subordinate to the Muslim inhabitants of the islands. Some authors express skepticism about this perceived religious tolerance, as this is inconsistent with Arab policies in other invaded territory, and Seddall (1870) points out that the Maltese were overcome with joy when the Normans drove the Arabs out. It is also envisaged that some form of population replacement may have taken place. Wettinger argues that Maltese place names bear no evidence of the language spoken by the natives prior to the Arab invasion, and this may indicate that the entire population was largely expelled or subdued and replaced with speakers of Arabic almost entirely.

The Arabs introduced such technology as an animal driven water screw,known locally as the sienja, used fo rirrigation, and promoted the cultivation of oranges, lemons and cotton. According to al-Qazwini, the Byzantines attempted to recapture Sicily in 1048, but this endeavour was unsuccessful. The Byzantines also attempted a reinvasion of Malta, but this was staved off as the locals and the Arab occupants joined forces against them.

Roger I of Sicily

 

In 1091, Roger I of Sicily (Count Roger) invaded Malta. According to Malaterra, Roger marched to Mdina to meet with the Qadi, the Arab administrator of the country. Roger immediately demanded the release of all Christian prisoners. Roger also demanded a huge sum of money and other commodities such as horses and weapons together with a hefty annual payment. It was only on these conditions that the Arabs retained control over Malta. After Roger's death, his son Roger II succeeded him, and resolved to take over the islands of Sicily. In 1127, he conquered Malta and Arab rule in Malta was thereafter consigned to History.