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Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Zamzam? | Sunday Open Thread

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Innalhamdolillah. They called them Barbarossa, Italian for “Red Beard.” The Europeans called them pirates, too, and wikipedia still does to this day. You have to scroll all the way down to a little section at the bottom, but sure enough you’ll see the link “Piracy.”

The wikipedia link is pretty fair in other respects and details the amazing naval accomplishments of Hızır Reis. Hızır and his brother Oruç were Turkish naval commanders, may Allah be pleased with them and forgive them their mistakes and sins. As the wikipedia page recounts their exploits, there are so many successes I was wondering if there would be setbacks (and there were occasional tragedies that I will leave you to read). But what really comes across is the perseverance of these Muslims and the winning. No wonder the Europeans malign this Ottoman Fleet Admiral with the term pirate, both brothers decimated them at every turn, alhamdolillah, and refused to be subdued or bought over.

Hayreddin (Khayr-ud-Deen) Pasha defeats the Holy League of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Battle of Preveza in 1538.

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So was “Redbeard” meant to defame them, too? Pirates deserve pirate-like names? Maybe, but Frederick Barbarosa was a Holy Roman Emperor, so probably not so much.

Was it that the brothers had red beards? Apparently not.

Barbarosso sounds a lot, apparently to those Europeans, like Baba Oruç. Baba is translated as father and Oruç was called Baba Oruç by the Muslims because from 1504 to 1510 he transported Muslims fleeing Christian-ruled (and Inquisition maddened) Spain, bringing the refugees safely to North Africa. Hızır was made from the same mold, mashaAllah, and continued his brother’s work rescuing Muslims fleeing Christian religious persecution. That alone would endear them to me more than any bandit from Treasure Island.

Here’s the link one more time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayreddin_Barbarossa

Warning: following the link may make you love these “pirates” and inspire you to learn more about your own much-neglected history. There are worse diversions for your lazy Sunday afternoons.

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Bismillah walhamdolillah. May Allah accept my repentance and yours. I am an attorney, a stepfather, a husband, a son, and a Muslim. Studying Islam is a means, reflecting what I have learned is a must, and to Allah is the inevitable return. If you would like my help, know that Allah is the source of all aid. If you would like to contact me, try tariqnisarahmed at Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter, or add me as a friend on Facebook.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    May 2, 2010 at 3:59 AM

    Please note, the picture is from wikipedia, too, and no, these men were not perfect. They’re pretty darn cool, though. I would not go visit the mausoleum or statues, but the people who built those need(ed) guidance not blanket condemnation from us. I ask for forgiveness for them because all I know about their Islam is that they were Muslims and that they risked their lives saving Muslims and expanding the dominion of the Islamic State. May Allah cover their faults, as I pray He will cover mine and yours.

  2. UmA

    May 2, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    I can’t wait to read this, being the History and Language junkie that I am

  3. Sayf

    May 2, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    A name like redbeard just makes you cooler. I go by the name Volleybeardâ„¢ when I get on the court! =D}

    In another topic, I find it interesting how words from one language to another get so horribly mangled, even when the letters needed for proper pronunciation is available. Boabdil is the name for the last Andalusian King I believe, when it’s really Abu Abdullah. Oh, and English to Arabic gets owned too, “Al-Amriki”? I guess people are just too lazy to correct things they’re used to saying like “muzlums”.
    lol..humans..

    • abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

      May 2, 2010 at 1:54 PM

      I admit that after I found this article I toyed with the idea of adopting the name Redbeard. After all, I put henna in my beard. :) hmmm: اللحية الحمراء

    • UmA

      May 2, 2010 at 3:15 PM

      These are just natural transitions of words based on how people speak. For example Faa’izah is pronounced fayza (the desi way) in Egypt. The same with Khawlid, which as a Qur’anic word, the a would be pronounced as in awesome, but dialectically it’s pronounce Khaalid.

      Turkish (based on a little bit of study) actually has rules about matching up vowels. Also as in many languages, d and t (khadija and khatija), g and y (like beg and bey) are interchangable depending on the word. So within the language spellings and pronounciations change all the time.
      In English: Look at the word affidavit: we naturally pronounce the t as a d.
      It’s perfectly natural for an English tongue to say Muzlims, it’s upto us if we feel it’s really really important that they prononunce it as well as other foreign words like Czech or Kitsch.

      By the way you know what they say about English. It’s French spoken badly!

  4. Kashif H

    May 2, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    I would ask that MuslimMatters consider making this a permanent feature of the site, to explore undiscovered aspects of our history and blog about it, because according to most Western/American history that is taught, apparently nothing happened between the times of the dark ages and the renaissance.

    Islamic history is a subject with which more and more Muslims need to learn about and be fluent in.

  5. elham

    May 2, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    Barbarosso sounds way cooler than Redbeard.
    And theres a man actually called Mr Bigbeard.

    The more I read up on the Islamic History the more I feel like going back in time and becoming part of the ”action”. Sometimes I think their times, though more difficult in terms of quality of life, still had something special about it. ‘Izza?

    And then the names again. There was khayrudin, Salahuddin, Jamaluddin, ‘Alauddin, Saifuddin etc etc. I dont know but its like a self-fufilling prophecy when they happen to turn out to be just as their names say.

    • Muadh Khan

      May 3, 2010 at 3:55 PM

      I may be wrong, but some of them adopted names after they had accomplished things for the Ummah or these names were titles given as rewards, ex. Khayr ud-Din, which the Uthmani Khalifa bestowed upon our man here up in this article.

  6. izzet

    May 2, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    Is it just me, or does this title of “Yo ho ho and a bottle of…” speak its own volumes?

    How we choose our words, reflects our state of mind.

    If we have to resort to adapting cute puns from the West with Islamic sprinkles, to get our attention on OUR history – and here, it concerns the neglected millenium of Muslim history – then we definitely need better teachers.

    • Gohar

      May 4, 2010 at 8:03 AM

      or better students.

    • abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

      May 4, 2010 at 12:24 PM

      The title highlights the disconnect between the Western characterization of this Muslim as a “privateer” and “pirate,” and all the facts about his life that the very same article testifies to, if begrudgingly.

    • student

      May 9, 2010 at 1:57 AM

      Or maybe we just need to be slightly less uptight?

  7. A

    May 4, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    Asalaamu Alaikum,

    Just a bit of feedback not related to the article. I’m a big fan of MM and all its posts, mashaAllah. I used to be able to read your posts directly from Google Reader, but lately I’m forced to click to the site. Although it’s a minor nuisance I’ll admit, but it does make a big difference in the experience I have as a reader, since I heavily rely on readers to consolidate my blog posts. My humble request would be to return to that approach. Jazak Allah khayr on this informative article!

    • Amad

      May 4, 2010 at 2:22 PM

      salam “A”
      we are doing a test of partial vs. full feeds and affect on clickthroughs and other factors. We are not sure where this will take us, but jazakallahkhair for the input.

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