The Falcon of Quraish
A poet, military leader, statesman, politician, and extraordinary figure who affected both Arabian and international history. He founded a state that survived longer than eight centuries, included Arabs and Europeans, and created a civilized pattern of dialogue between the east and west. Our story recounts how the Umayyad prince Abdul Rahman bin Mu’awiyah bin Hisham, the grandson of Hisham bin Abdul Malik, the last powerful Umayyad caliph, made a grueling journey from the Syrian (Shaam) territory of Russafa to Andalusia (Al-Andalus) . He was succeeded by four caliphs. Profligacy and dissipation killed one while illness and weakness exterminated the rest. In the years before our story begins, the Abbasid mission had grown stronger and triumphed over the Umayyads, leading to the induction of the first Abbasid caliph, Abdullah Abul’Abbas, who later gained the epithet of As-Saffah (the Butcher) for his brutality in pursuing and torturing the Umayyads. Our story: A prophecy predicting that Abdul Rahman will rebuild the Umayyad state in Morocco (Al-Maghreb) spares his life, but because he is still being pursued by the Abbasids, he decides to flee. Raah, his mother, of Moroccan descent, commands him to take with him and look after his brother Hisham with his conjunctivitis-infected eyes and reminds him of the prophecy. He crosses the Syrian Desert (Badiyat al-Sham) till he reaches the Euphrates where he only escapes certain capture by the Abbasids by diving into the river and swimming across. There, however, his brother is captured and killed. Abul-Abbas and his brother Al-Mansoor announce all over the country the allocation of a cash reward for Abdul Rahman’s head, a matter that greatly increases his suffering.
He continues from Syria (Al-Sham) to Egypt through the Naqab Desert and the Sinai. In that arid wilderness, hunger and thirst almost consume him but his attendant and friend Badr brings him to a bedouin tribe to care for him while he regains his strength. Later, he and his attendant Badr resume their flight till they arrive in the Egyptian capital, Cairo (Fustat-Masr). In the bazaar, they are once again chased by Abbasids, but they manage to escape with the help of an Egyptian Umayyad. Afterwards, the two head towards Morocco and reach the Berber tribe of Zanata where Wansus, its leader, gives them confidence and protection? from the troops of Abd bin Habeeb Al-Fihri, the prince of Al-Qairawan.
From Zanata to Nefza, his hometown, they start to plan for getting into Andalusia. Badr sends letters to its men who fought the bitter interior and exterior wars. Yosuf Al-Fihri, the prince of Andalusia is a weak ruler guided by his sly minister and army chief, As-Sumayl bin Hatim, who serves only his own interest and that of his clan. A huge gathering of Andalusians approves and declares their readiness to receive and support the prince. At the age of 15, Abdul Rahman enters Andalusia alone in a boat that is subsequently named Ad-Dakhil (The Comer). Upon his arrival, he organizes the troops and his military meets and overcomes the mobilized enemy armies in the Battle of Al-Massarah. Abdul Rahman bin Mu’awiyah enters Cordova as the new liberator who eradicates sedition and consolidates the army. He establishes an invincible army that compels Faroila, the son of King Alfonso I, to sign a peace treaty that enhances security and stability in the country. Once the situation has calmed down, he devotes himself to civilizing, urbanizing and building: his accomplishments include Russafa of Andalusia, Cordova Grand Mosque, educational institutes and libraries, bureaus, palaces, bathhouses, towns such as Grenada, Sevilla, Toledo, and more. The most significant testimony to be granted to Prince Abdul Rahman bin Mu’awiyah bin Hisham is that of one of his mortal enemies: Abu Ja’afar Al-Mansoor, who gives him the name … Saqr Quraish, “The Hawk of Quraish”.
Short version: The action-packed true story of teenaged Umayyad prince Abdul Rahman bin Mu’awiyah bin Hisham, the grandson of the last powerful Umayyad caliph, told through the medium of dance, music and drama. Set against the background of the tumultuous days after the Umayyads’ defeat by the Abassids as the leading power of the Islamic world, the story unfolds as Abassids who want him dead pursue the young hero across the Syrian, Naqab and Sahara deserts. He is kept alive by Bedouin, Berbers and his own wits and faith until he finally reaches Cordova alone and raises an army to defeat the Abassids and set up the Umayyad Kingdom of Spain, earning the title given him by respectful enemies, The Hawk of Quraish.