Out of Andalusia
Geographically, except for Spain, the world of Arabic-speaking Islam was the same in the Middle Ages as it is today. Although this vast expanse had no one central government, it was possible to travel from Morocco, which lies as far west as Ireland, to Oman on the Persian Gulf, and from Aden, on the latitude of Costa Rica, to Cordoba, on the latitude of Washington, D.C., while remaining within the bounds of a single language, culture, and religion.
About the Author
Hillel Halkin is a columnist for the New York Sun and a veteran contributor to COMMENTARY. Portions of the present essay were delivered at Northwestern University in March as the Klutznick Lecture in Jewish Civilization.