Written in 1501 by the Moriscos of Spain to the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II, asking for his help.
The Moriscos used Aljamiado, which is a dialectical form of Spanish written in Arabic characters.
Translated by Devin Stewart.
from Mercedes Garcia Arenal, Los Moriscos
(Granada: Univ. of Granada, 1996), 33-41.]
Anoble, enduring, and continual peace for my Lord, the best of Caliphs.
Peace be upon my exalted and glorious Master
who forces the unbeliever to don the cloak of humility!
Peace be upon him whose reign
God has blessed with victory over all regions!
Peace be with him whose capital
Is the noble city of Constantinople!
Peace be upon him whose kingdom
God has adorned with armies and peoples subject to the Turks!
Peace be with you! May God exalt your station
And mark your reign over all nations!
Peace be with the judges, scholars, nobles,
And important men who desire to emulate him!
Peace be with the men of piety and religion
And with those counselors endowed with good judgement!
Peace be with you in the name of the believers who remain
In al-Andalus, in the West, the land of exile.
Who are bordered by the Mediterranean
And the unplumbed, deep, and tenebrous Ocean.
Peace be with you in the name of worshipers
Afflicted by enormous calamity - how enormous it has been!
Peace be with you in the name of old men
Whose white hair has been torn to shreds, after having known glory!
Peace be with you in the name of the faces forced
To uncover themselves among barbarians after having spent a lifetime veiled!
Peace be with you in the name of old women forced
To eat pork and meat not sacrificed according to the religious law!
We kiss the floor of your court
And pray for your good fortune at all times.
May God prolong your reign and your life
And save you from every evil and disgrace!
May he support you with victory
And triumph over your enemy and keep you in His favor and care!
We complain before you, my Lord,
Of the injuries, disgrace, and enormous misfortunes which afflict us!
We have been betrayed and converted to Christianity,
Breaking with our faith; we have been oppressed, in dishonor!
When we had been weakened, they descended upon our territory,
devastating it town by town.
Using great canons to demolish our fortresses impregnable walls,
Laying siege to them, attacking them for days and months
For this reason, when our cavalry and infantry had perished,
And when we saw that no help was coming to us from our brothers,
And that our food had decreased, making our situation truly dire,
We submitted, against our will to their demands out of fear of further misfortune.
Fearing that our sons and daughters would be taken captives or cruelly murdered,
On the condition that we be allowed to remain in a situation similar
To that of the Mudejars before us, the inhabitants of the old Muslim territory;
That we would enjoy the right of calling to prayer and celebrating our ritual prayers
And not be made to abandon any prescriptions of the religious law;
Whoever among us wished to cross the sea to the African coast would be permitted
To do so safely, with all the belonging he desired to bring;
And other stipulations, over one hundred and fifty in all.
Their Prince and Sultan told us then, What you have stipulated
Is granted to you in entirety.
He showed us documents containing pacts and treaties, telling us,
This is my amnesty and my guarantee of protection.
By it shall you remain in possession of your belongings and your homes,
As you were before, but without arms.
However, though we remained under his treaty,
Treachery soon became evident: he broke the pact.
He transgressed the capitulations with which he had fooled us
And made us convert to Christianity by force, with harshness and cruelty,
Burning books we had
And mixing them with excrement and filth!
All the books which dealt with matters of religion
Perished in the fire, amid mockery and ridicule!
They left not a single book belonging to a Muslim,
Nor a single volume one could read in solitary refuge.
If it became known that someone fasted, or prayed,
This person would end up in the flames.
Whoever among us stopped going to their place of dis/belief was punished by the priest
Who would slap him on both cheeks, confiscate his belongings, and throw him into prison.
During Ramadan, they interrupted our fast,
Forcing us to consume food and drink.
They ordered us to curse our Prophet
And prohibited us from invoking him on occasions of happiness or misfortune.
We call to you, our Lord, by God and Pure One, the Chosen One, the best of men!
And by the most exalted of men, the family of Muhammad
And his Companions - what noble companions they are!
And by Abbas, the uncle of our Prophet
And by his white banner, the most venerable of all banners!
By all great men who recognize their Master
And all upright men endowed with nobility!
Perhaps they will look upon us and what has happened to us;
Perhaps God, from his Throne, will rain down Mercy!
Since whatever you say is heard and what your order comes to pass,
Whatever you command is done swiftly,
Particularly since the land of the origin of Christianity
Whence it spread to other regions, is under your dominion.
By God, our Lord, deign to favor us with a piece of advice or a word of protest! Since you possess the excellence, glory, rank, and power Whereby to save those devoted to God from all evil, Ask their Pope, the governor or Rome,
Why they permit treachery after having signed an amnesty? Why they harm us with their deceit Though we are innocent of any fault or crime?
When their people, who had been conquered, were under the security of our religion
And under the protection of our glorious kings, who fulfilled their promises,
They were not obliged to abandon their faith or their homes,
Nor did they suffer any betrayal or dishonor.
Your missive arrived, but they took into consideration not a word of it.
It did nothing but increase their enmity and boldness against us,
And their perseverance in all types of nefarious acts.
The Egyptian envoys arrived and were not treated with betrayal and dishonor
But they told them that we had accepted their religion of unbelief voluntarily,
And that they did not impose upon us once defeated conversion to their idolatry.
God is our witness that this is not true!
In saying this, they lied concerning us,
With perfidious words and arguments.
It was fear of death and being burned which made us convert.
We said what they forced us to say; it was against our intentions.
Alas for us! Our Lord, we plead before you,
For that which afflicts us is the worst of exiles!
We could not possibly have given up our religion or our prayers,
As they swear we did before breaking the pact.
If not, get them to allow us to emigrate from their land to North Africa,
The land of our loved ones, with our belongings.
For we prefer emigration over remaining amid unbelief,
With power but without religion.
This is what we desire from the glory of your exalted station.
May our needs be fulfilled through you!
From you we look forward to the end of our anguish,
Our disgrace, and the humiliation that afflicts us!
You, may God be praised, are the best of our kings
And your glory will rise higher than all other glories!
Therefore, we ask our Lord God to prolong your life in reign and glory,
In good fortune and prosperity!
Peace in your dominions, victory over your enemies,
Numerous troops, abundance and magnificence!
Lastly, may God s peace and mercy
Be with you always and at every hour.
***** This is the legal fatwa given by a Morrocan jurist to the Muslims of Spain after the reconquest