Dr Quien’s Blog Number 9

The more I travel through time, the more I appreciate the vastness of history.  For example, the sheer length of the Moorish occupation of the location of Fuengirola.  The Moors entered Spain in 711 A.D.; within 10 years they had taken the whole peninsula.  Armies from Christian Europe were summoned by the powers of Rome to fight a war that would last for three-quarters of a millennium.  For anyone who has not read or watched Youtube videos on this amazing story, I can only recommend it.  

Perhaps my recommendations will fall on deaf ears, consumers favour the latest news headlines over a spectacular history.  Here, we are concerned with the location of Fuengirola as I journey through history to check the ‘facts’ in the book written in 2021 by Patrick H. Meehan called Fuengirola Revisited.  

You can find out more about my mission through time in Fuengirola and previous journeys of 3D history here.   https://fuengirolarevisited.com/dr-quiens-blog/

The fact is that the location of Fuengirola (or Suhayl as they called it) was the home of the Moors for 775 years until the 7th of August 1485.  Longer than any occupation of this location before or since.  You may not know that from the local visual clues, except for the Castle towering above the modern town never to be erased from our sight.  

So for my next visit to Suhayl, I have done my time travel research and found a famous visitor by the name of Lisan Al-Din Ibn Al-Khatib.  Records show that he was on the way to Africa on a diplomatic mission, trying to oust the then Emir Ismail I in favour of Muhammed V and that he would be sailing from Suhayl on a trip to Fez.  With a little ‘cheating’ I got the date and travelled from my beachfront location in front of the modern Yaramar and wound back the controls 666 years to a spring day in 1360 A.D.

On arrival, my boat has morphed into a typical dhow of the era and has landed on the shore indistinguishable from the other dhows around it.  The first thing I notice was a military or defensive look to the location.  On my last visit here the whole area was bathed in colour.  

Previously the Almoravid warrior monks were a danger to the lives of pirates and the Castillian Conquest had not got far enough south to attack.  There are less homes around the shoreline with more around the Castle and on the hills behind it.  On the quays between the Castle and the river, there are large dhows being filled with agricultural produce.  Everyone I see is armed with swords and daggers.  

There are fences between the beach and Castle from where a potentially hostile horizon is warily scanned.  These are dangerous times and Suhayl is looking dark and defensive; subject to raids at any time.   As I walk toward the Castle there are soldiers and servants everywhere.  My presence is hardly noticed, my wardrobe has been prepared so well that I blend in with the passers-by. 

The captain of the guard announces to the assembled dignitaries and local leaders that the distinguished visitor is crossing the ford in the river and will be with them in less than an hour.   Among the crowd waiting to see the visitor, I meet Suhayli Al Haseem, a bright intelligent fellow, born here in Suhayl.  

“So what’s happening today, looks like you have a famous visitor.  Why is there so much fuss, who is it?”   “Ah, today we are honoured with the presence of the great Lisan Al-Din Ibn Al-Khatib, possibly the most powerful and intelligent man of his generation.  He was born 50 years ago in 1313, in Loja, a village near Granada.  He is a man of the greatest talent;, a polymath, writer, historian, philosopher, physician and politician.  Even his poems decorate the walls of the palace of Alhambra. 

His father was an official at the court of the Nasrid Emir Ismail I in Granada and was killed in battle in 1340.  Many other senior officials of the Emirate died young due to the plague and relentless war with the Christians.  In recognition of his great abilities, Ibn al-Khatib became head of the chancery and later as a diplomat travelling the Islamic world.   

Today he is passing through Suhayl while on his way to Mauretania. Some say he is on a diplomatic mission to Fez, others that he has been banished from Granada for plotting.  The local religious and political leaders are hopeful that he can solve one of their great problems.”  The Suhayli tells me to look along the river to where a group of horsemen has just crossed at the shallow end.  This will be his entourage.  

While waiting for him, I notice that in every one of my visits to this location since visiting the Phoenicians there are always a lot of cats.  We should return to this question, but I am wondering if these, and indeed our modern day cats, are descended from those brought here by the Phoenicians.  Just a thought!

We are waiting outside the Castle when about 20 riders climb the hill and dismount outside the Castle door.  Now I need to attract my interviewee’s attention.  When I see the central person surrounded by aides and guards, I call to him in a loud voice; Lisan Al-Din Ibn Al-Khatib may I speak to you.  

He ignores me.  He is renowned as a ‘polymath’ which coincidentally is the name of the package on my Neuralink implant language translator.  (On the subject of the invention of the Neuralink, Elon was in a lot of trouble when he got back to the Time Lord school)

So I call the same to him in all of the languages he has studied, then, just for the fun of it, a perfect imitation of his Emir, Ismail I. He gets the point and walks over to me to ask  “and who do you think you are”?  

Well, I am not going to introduce myself by my Castillian name, certainly not while the Castilians are engaged in an all-out bloody war with his people.  So in my best grammatic Arabic, I introduce myself as Dr. Munazamat Alsihat Alealamiati.  He looks at me quizzically and asks me what I want.  “An interview”, I reply in my most persuasive grammar using some advanced neuro-linguistic programming with hypnosis.   

Agreed, he replied, let’s go and sit on the lookout tower of this amazing Castle where we can enjoy the view and take some refreshments.  

The group of officials and religious dignitaries were all amazed and slightly miffed.  They knew this distinguished visitor was just passing through and were anxious to speak with him.  He was catching a boat from here because further down the coast the sea was controlled by the Castilians making this the safest point to sail from.  When they saw he had dismissed their official reception to speak with a scruffy-looking foreigner they were not happy.  They had an important request for him and feared it may go unheard.  

When suitably refreshed and comfortable at the top of the tower, he asked me what I would like to know, and then said, “let me guess?”  He then proceeded to talk about the many subjects he had mastered, the countries he had traveled to, the books and poems he had written, his philosophies, wives and languages.  He told me of the complexities of diplomatic life in a system that has been under attack for six hundred years.  Of inter-tribal disputes, internal wrangling, politics, fear, loathing and the horrific death rate of a people under pressure.  

Despite my own scholarly ambitions, my appearance of taking copious notes hides the fact that the information he is giving me is too much to handle.  Thankfully my recording equipment is working and his words may one day be of use to someone studying this period.  After several hours of this ‘interesting’ monologue, I steer him toward a conclusion.  He finally asks me, was that enough for your interview Doctor.  

At this point, I am taken aback, not quite sure how to respond to all that I have heard, so I decided to wing it.  Remembering the purpose of my mission is to report back on the contents of Fuengirola Revisited by Patrick H. Meehan.  In particular this week I am looking at what the same author wrote in the Sur in English on the 27/05/22 <link>

Yes, there is, there are some quotes that are attributed to you, which I would like to discuss.  

You wrote the following of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada; “It is full of riches and abundance, and on the contrary, its inhabitants are all thieves”.  

Answering a question with questions, he asks me if I have been there and where did I think the riches and abundance came from?

Then I say, you wrote this in one of your books, is it true?

“there is a story where a young man asks the old man about the different places in Granada and asks him about Suhayl. He tells him that he has a Castle so strong that he has no rival in India or China.

Well sort of, the old man and the young man may be metaphorical to the passing of wisdom from age to age.  

It also helps young men from thinking they know more than old men but may not have worked.  

And this

Every intelligent man knows his usefulness and that his fame is founded. 

To which his cryptic reply was “those who can understand will, those who can not don’t matter.”  

OK, when you wrote this

“The basis of its prosperity is the cultivation of barley and figs. Its inhabitants are certain that they are a source of life and security.“

How do the ‘barley and figs’ bring security?

“When I was Chancellor of the Emirate of Granada this area was getting a lot of seaborne attacks from the Christians.  There was an outcry across the Islamic world twenty years ago when the great explorer, the great Ibn Battútta, wrote about the slaughter he witnessed right here.  So, I had to do something drastic.  Because we have a ready export market, I was able to increase the price of barley and figs so that it generated revenues to pay for defence.

And what did you have in mind when you wrote this about Suhayl?  

“The population extends along the slope of the Castle, in its river, fish abound and its lands produce abundant grain. For all these reasons the fame of this place reached the country of Nubia, south of Egypt, north of Sudan”.  

Good question he replied, “You see when I was Chancellor it was my job to make money for the area.  As you can imagine with all those raids many felt they would be better off inland or back in Mauritania.  When I was in Egypt, I went to see Meg, the famous fortune-teller.  She was part of a tribe that had been expelled from India centuries before and were traveling through Egypt.  They had rhythmic music to which their Women danced dressed in bright colours like Flamingos.  She told me that certain of their women had a talent for seeing the future through a glass ball and that she was the very best.  

She told me many things.  She described Suhayl to me and told me that the Castle would stand for thousands of years and its lands would be populated by hundreds of thousands of people.  She told me that the agents of estates would earn vast fortunes and bring people to the location by writing nice things about it.  Those words I wrote helped get some new settlers for Suhayl, especially from Nubia, but I am not sure if the fortune teller was right about the large numbers.  

She also told me I would be suffocated for treason at the age of 63, I am 47 and don’t believe in prophecies anyway. “ Then he asked me what I thought.  The rules of being a time lord force me to avoid answering this difficult question and I use my power of manifestation for a diversion.  Down on the dock a bell rang 6 times, and my visitor told me that time and tide wait for no man and it is time to sail while the tide is high and they can be on the other coast by nightfall.  

He asks me to accompany him to the boat and as he rushes down the steps, the local dignitaries are waiting for him and ask if they can speak with him.  ‘What is it?” he asks impatiently.  They repy, we need a hospital here, we only have a clinic and need a proper hospital.  

“Look guys” he said “the Emir has just banished me from the court for 2 years, because I am friends with Abu Abdallah Muhammad.  He thinks I want him to encourage a coup so that my friend becomes Muhammed V of Granada (as if I would do that?).  And as for your hospital, it could take seven hundred years.  Now I have to go and catch that boat“.  As we are going to the boat he asked me, “did I say seven hundred or seven years?”  “I am sure you meant seven”, I replied.

As he was getting on the boat, he turned to me and said, don’t think you have fooled me, there is something very different about you.  “And you” Lisan Al-Din Ibn Al-Khatib I replied as we stare mysteriously at each other as the boat pulls away.

Being aware how the local dignitaries are not happy with me, I walk around the front of the Castle to the boats.  At least 2 guards are following me, but in no time I have disappeared into the group of 12 boats on the beach.  When the guards finally caught up there were 11.

Preparing to sit back and enjoy the journey I found something to listen to, suggestions of why sought and welcomed; https://youtu.be/fregObNcHC8

To find out more about Lisan Al-Din Ibn Al-Khatib https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Khatib

Stay tuned for more adventures through history with Dr Quien

If you want to know more about Dr Quien and his amazing mission to travel through the past of the location of Fuengirola, you can find the introduction and previous installments here

Follow the rest of the website to find out more about Fuengirola Revisited, the (real) story of this amazing location.

And finally, if you want to be kept updated with future episodes and other revelations and inspirations from the past of the location of Fuengirola please like, comment and share my Facebook page at Fuengirola Revisited.