Biography of sultán de Granada Muhammad II o Muhammad al-Faqih (1236-1302)

Real name Abu Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Muhammad I, second Nasrid sultan of Granada (1273-1302), son of the founder of the Kingdom and of the Nasrid dynasty Muhammad I. It was known by the nickname of al - Faqih ('the lawyer'), by his extensive knowledge of Islamic law. He was born and died in Granada, in the year 1236 and 1302, respectively. Intelligent, wise and cultured, man prior to the throne had an excellent political readiness as vizier of his father.

He overcame more than the tremendous difficulties that was found at the beginning of his Government, as the revolt led by the powerful lineage of the Banu Ashqilula, rulers of Malaga and Guadix. In its external relations, Muhammad II practiced an opportunistic politics that led him to establish pacts and alliances, depending on the circumstances, with the monarchs of Castile-Leon and Aragon and the Emirs marinids of Morocco; Thanks to these agreements got consolidate its authority and the integrity of their territories. It was the real organizer of the Nasrid Kingdom administrative cadres.

Upon access to the throne, Muhammad II continued the policy undertaken by his father to cope with a series of seditions and rebellions throughout the Kingdom, the most serious of all was the fostered by their relatives the Banu Ashqilula. In the year 1272, he inflicted a severe defeat on their relatives in the vicinity of Antequera, city that went to the Nasrid Kingdom, which counted with the valuable help of the mesnadas commanded by the Castilian noble don Nuño de Lara and the infante don Felipe. Two years later, the Nasrid sultan was forced to sign a truce with the Castilian-Leonese King Alfonso X the wise, which meant the rupture of relations with the Castilian nobles confronted their King. Shortly after, Muhammad II changed the policy of pacts with Castile-Leon when he made sure that Alfonso X was still supporting the Banu Ashqilula, within the game, in which he himself participated, support direct enemies of his direct rival at a precise moment.

In the month of September in the year 1274, Muhammad II sent an Embassy to the emir benimeri Abu Yusuf Yacub, where inviting him to organize a holy war in the Peninsula against Alfonso X, request that the Moroccan monarch agreed delighted in Exchange for control of the squares in Algeciras and Tarifa. This period begins the constant intervention of the marinids in the internal affairs of the Nasrid Kingdom, where they could, under the pretext of organising a holy war against the Christians, strongly influencing the destinies of the Andalusian weak monarchy, through so easily agreed as violated covenants. In this context, Muhammad II, devoid of the necessary military strength to confront the castellano-leoneses and the marinids, knew how to make use masterfully a skilful political diplomatic, followed later by all the sultans of the dynasty, consisting of paying the trump card of the double letter: Alliance with the marinids against Christians, when they threatened the Kingdom, and vice versa, Alliance with the Christians when the African risked their expansionist forward weak integrity of the Nasrid Kingdom. This diplomatic ambiguity was one of the main causes of the persistence for two centuries and a half, against all odds, the last Muslim State in the Iberian peninsula.

Coalesced with the marinids, Muhammad II tried in vain recover Malaga, held by the annoying Banu Ashqilula, after which forced was by the Pact to help the benimeri emir in their raids through the territory of lower Andalusia. The marinids, fairly organized militarily, defeated the castellano-leoneses in Écija and surrounding areas of Seville, victories that provided much of the control of the territories of the Strait in dispute. Delivery by the Banu Ashqilula of Malaga to the marinids, in 1278, exceedingly alarmed Muhammad II, who hastened to trocar its policy of pacts seeking this time approach with Alfonso X. With the help of the latter, the Nasrid sultan got recover Malaga and isolate marinids which was stationed in the Peninsula with its North African points of support to troops. Once Muhammad II secured control of Malaga, again it broke relations with Alfonso X el Sabio, was then engaged in the siege of Algeciras, and allied with the marinids, achieving a victory in the year 1279. But, when the emir benimeri claimed Malaga as compensation for assistance, Muhammad II refused outright, prompting the formation of a triple alliance between castellanos, marinids and the Banu Ashqilula against Granada, city that was attacked in the year 1280 without positive result thanks to the heroic resistance of its inhabitants.

The internal crisis that weakened the military force of Castilla-León by the succession problem faced by Alfonso x and the infantes de la Cerda (sons of the eldest son of the wise who died prematurely) against the second son of the Castilian-Leonese King, the future Sancho IV, came at the time just for the interests of the Nasrid sultan. Muhammad II supported the pretensions of the infante don Sancho in Exchange for a Pact of non-aggression between the two that the Nasrid sultan could resolve its internal problems and reorganize top down throughout the Kingdom, rather realigned by the long war which had been supporting. In the year 1284, already King of Castile and León Sancho IV and his ally, Muhammad II managed to get rid of once and for all the dangerous Banu Ashqilula.

The Treaty of Monteagudo, signed between the Kings of Castilla-Leon and Aragon, in the year 1291, set as main objective of both Crowns the fight against the benimeri monarchy, inaugurating what later historiography termed the "battle for the Strait of Gibraltar". Muhammad II and Sancho IV established a secret Alliance to combat the marinids, who remained in possession of Algeciras and Tarifa, at the same time that the emir of Tlemcen and the Aragonese did the same. That year the castellano-granadina Coalition conquered rate, which happened to depend, as scheduled, of Castile and León. Sancho IV had not complied with the delivery of the squares promised to the nazari, who returned to ask for relief from the emir benimeri, but this request was denied request to consider that the situation was nothing favorable. Despite being only, Muhammad II continued the struggle against its old Castilian allies and managed to occupy the desired square of Algeciras, in addition to resolutely crush the rebellion of the Banu al - Hakim round.

The premature death of Sancho IV, in the year 1295, and the minority of age of his successor, Fernando IV, with the consequent power vacuum and the renewal of bloody struggles between the nobility and the Regents, returned to help Muhammad II when they most needed it. Without delay, the Nasrid sultan embarked on a campaign of reconquest of territories lost in which managed to recover the Christians many strongholds, including the vital one of Quesada, Martos and Alcaudete, all of them in the province of Jaén, with which the nazari Kingdom considerably reinforced its northernmost border.

On the death, in the year 1302, Muhammad II left to his eldest son and successor, Muhammad III, a Kingdom pacified and expanding thanks to the internal weakness that was still suffering from the Crown of Castilla-León, the main political enemy of the nasrids.


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