In the midst of Visigothic civil war, the heirs of the King Witiza requested Muslim intervention into Spain. A former slave turned vizier of North Africa was sent to the country. On April 30th of that year he landed at a point close to the huge rock which dominates the entrance to the Mediterranean. He led an army of 7,000 men and was unreservedly outnumbered by the enemy. There was an aura of fear and skepticism amongst the Muslim flanks; upon knowing which, the General ordered his loyal men to burn all the ships that had carried them here and thus were only source of a safe journey back home.
That man, that fearless leader was called Tariq Ibn-Ziyad.
Once all the ships were burnt, he addressed his soldiers and said;
“Brothers in Islam! We now have the enemy in front of us and the deep sea behind us. We cannot return to our homes, because we have burnt our boats. We shall now either defeat the enemy and win or die a coward’s death by drowning in the sea. Who will follow me?”
Afterwards, the Muslim army emerged victorious and conquered Spain. The place where he landed was named Jabal Al-Tariq by the Muslims, later twisted to Gibraltar. That little name is a reminder of our glorious past and heroic man who rose to the heights of courage on wings of their faith and self-belief.
Al Maggari: Tarik's Address to His Soldiers, 711 CE, from The Breath of Perfumes