Alvar of Cordoba on Reality Denial in Societies

Alvar of Cordoba was a 9th century Christian writer who lived as a dhimmi under Muslim rule and Sharia law. He was part of a reform movement trying to encourage Christians to be proud of their religion, and not to convert to Islam for gain, and he wrote about the various martyrs of Cordoba.

Martyrdom was easily achieved for these folks, because Muslim law held that one could be killed for being a Muslim who converted to Christianity, killed for being a Christian child of a Muslim parent, or killed for being a Christian who says a few home truths about Mohammed. (Plus the ever-popular “getting killed by a Muslim mob before you even get to a qadi’s law court.”) The sound of church bells and of public Christian or Jewish preaching was also prohibited, among many other normal activities which were harshly penalized.

Despite all the martyrdoms and despite this injustice inherent in the Muslim system, along with a whole lot of other onerous dhimmi rules and fines and taxes and “voluntary contributions,” some Christians and Jews were disinclined to admit that life in Cordoba was basically living on sufferance, and that Sharia law was designed to make non-Muslims and Muslims alike live in a state of submission and fear. (Even though the name of the religion is “Islam,” which means “Submission,” and the relevant texts say that dhimmis are supposed to feel oppressed, because otherwise it’s not following Sharia law.) They apparently resented the martyrs and the preachers for “making trouble,” instead of resenting Sharia law or their Muslim rulers.

So yeah, this sort of thing does happen in societies. And this is what Alvar said:

“You who would deny the existence of persecution at this time – are you maybe fogged in some cloud of error sprinkled with the dregs of iniquity?

“And what greater persecution is there going to be?

“What kind of harsher degradation are you waiting for, when what is reasonably believed in the heart cannot be mentioned in public with the mouth?”

Indiculus Luminosus, 6.


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