On this day in 732 A.D., the Battle of Tours was fought between the Frankish Army, led by Charles Martel (the "Hammer"), and the Islamic army, led by Emir Abd er Rahman. The Franks defeated the Muslims, and the battle stopped the northward advance of Islam into Europe. Edward Gibbon
claimed great significance for this battle: "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 Muhammed."
The Battle of Tours has often been described as the "high water mark" of the Islamic invasion of Western Europe. That description now has a quaint ring, inasmuch as the historian Bernard Lewis famously remarked
to the German newspaper Die Welt
in July that "Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century."
Meanwhile, those wishing to begin Qur'anic studies at Oxford
need not wait any longer.
Labels: Battle of Tours, Charles Martel, Emir Abd er Rahman