Video. Mysteries of Mohenjo Daro.

Assalaam alaikom,

I recently watched following video. Found it very interesting. Tells about life among ancient civilizations of Mohenjo Daro, Harappa, and Dholavira (all 3 in Pakistan) and their trade with Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Iraq (all 3 in the middle east). Hope you will enjoy it too.

Thanks for being with me.

May Allah make your life easy. Aameen.



Thousands of years ago, the mysterious city of Mohenjo Daro was home to an unknown, advanced and prosperous civilization that used technology and constructed buildings that were unique to the ancient world. Artifacts, relics and ruins reveal startling evidence that the inhabitants of Mohenjo Daro possessed inventions that were far ahead of their time. How and from whom did these remarkable people acquire knowledge of such sophisticated technology? Why did this enigmatic civilization vanish? The history of the ancient world is full of secrets.


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Third Battle of Panipat. 14 Jan 1761.

On this day (14th January), during the year 1761, the third battle of Panipat was fought on the plains of Panipat, north of Delhi. The Afghan forces, under Ahmed Shah Abdali defeated the Maratha Confederacy, and therefore halting the expanding power of the Maratha Confederacy.

“The Maratha debacle at the battlefield of Panipat was complete, their route decisive, and their annihilation total and rather humiliating. A conservative estimate puts the Maratha casualties at Panipat to be about 75 thousand. Abdali had himself estimated that 40 to 50 thousand Maratha soldiers were killed at Panipat though the Afghan causalities was much less because of his well planned and carefully military operation”.

– Advanced Study in the History of Modern India 1707-1813, Jaswant Lal Mehta.



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After 10 years of passing of AVM Muhammad Latif Tambra sahab.

Assalam alaikom dear relatives and friends,

Today is 10th of October 2017 AD / 20 Muharram 1439 AH. According to Christian calendar exactly 10 years ago, on 10th of October 2007 AD / 27th of Ramadan 1428 AH, our respectable, honest, sweet, and vibrant father Janab AVM Muhammad Latif Tambra sahab, whom I fondly called DaddyJan, was brutally murdered in broad daylight on a road, in Clifton Karachi, in front of his office, where he used to go to work daily. Our dear DaddyJan was working, at that time, in Jason Construction Company owned by Mian Abdul Jabbar. This company used to buy land, construct houses and then sell. At the time our dear DaddyJan was murdered, Mian Abdul Jabbar with his son Mian Abdul Samad tried a new way of business. Instead of constructing homes for rich people, they started constructing low cost houses for poor people. It seems simple and honest work. But it was not so simple and not so honestly done. Mian Abdul Jabbar used to take simple people’s hard earned money with a promise to give them completed and finished houses, dream of their lives.

Mian Abdul Jabbar with his son Mian Abdul Samad took all money from innocent people of Pakistan and left the country with all the money. Government of Pakistan, The State of Pakistan, is unable to capture these culprits (Mian Abdul Jabbar, Mrs Abdul Jabbar as Mrs Abdul Jabbar is also owner of many properties, son Mian Abdul Samad) and bring money back to Pakistan. The State of Pakistan must chase these culprits who have flourishing businesses in United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

Sarfaraz, Khaj Muhammad (chauffeur of Janab AVM Tambra sahab), Ahmed Hassan, Hakeem, and the Lawyer (who was working in Jason Company at that time in 2007), are the people who were working in Jason Construction Company in 2007. These ex Jason Company employees must come forward and help the Government of Pakistan to locate and uncover the heinous crimes of the culprits. So that the Government of Pakistan is able to recover back the poor people’s money to them. Obviously this huge recovery will increase our beloved country’s wealth as well.

We appeal to Government of Pakistan to look into this matter with utmost and immediate priority. Catch the culprits and bring back wealth which belongs only and only to Pakistan.

When I look in the past, I remember, our dear DaddyJan was such a thorough gentleman, honest, upright, well dressed and well composed. I had never seen him shouting and frowning. Always smiling. And always spreading positive energy around him. Those smiles still we admire, and that positive energy still we experience.

Please pray for him with us. We pray may Allah Sub Hanahu Wa Taala gives Janab AVM Muhammad Latif Tambra sahab higher place in Jannat ul Firdaus in company with Illiyeen. Aameen. And may all these culprits be captured through Law of Pakistan. All these culprits admit all their crimes, and be punished by a firing squad hitting same organs where they shot bullets to our beloved DaddyJan. Aameen. The culprits must face punishments in this world and in the Hereafter as well. Aameen.

Thanks all for being with me. May Allah make your lives easy for you all. Aameen.


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When England admired Islam- The Wall Street Journal.


When England Admired Islam

Without Muslims there would be no sugar or Shakespeare in England. Jerry Brotton’s “The Sultan and the Queen” traces Islam’s profound influence over English culture during the half-millennium between the Crusades and the rise of the British Empire in the Middle East.


Updated Nov. 4, 2016 6:33 p.m. ET

Portraits from 1622 by van Dyck of the adventurer-diplomat Sir Robert Shirley and his wife, Teresia.ENLARGE

Portraits from 1622 by van Dyck of the adventurer-diplomat Sir Robert Shirley and his wife, Teresia. PHOTO: NATIONAL TRUST PHOTOGRAPHIC LIBRARY

Queen Elizabeth I had bad teeth. The snaggle-toothed sovereign owed her decay to copious amounts of sugar that began flowing into England from Morocco in the 16th century. Candied fruits were her absolute favorite.

The story of Elizabeth’s unfortunate smile is but one facet of a much larger and far more important history of economic, cultural and political relations between the queen’s rather negligible island, the sultan of Morocco and the fabulously wealthy Muslim world that dominated half of the Mediterranean and controlled Europe’s access to the east. Jerry Brotton’s wonderful book reveals this instructive history of Protestant England’s intense interactions with Islam, showing how Muslims shaped English culture, consumerism and literature during the half-millennium between the Crusades and the rise of the British Empire in the Middle East.

It was the pope who made possible this fruitful relationship between Protestantism and Islam. Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth in 1570. Cutting her out of the Catholic Church separated England from most of Europe. Denied the markets of Spain, Italy and France, Elizabeth had to look beyond the continent for trading partners. She tried first with Russia. This worked for a time, but the White Sea proved ice-locked for too much of the year. Stretching her gaze even farther, she set her sights first on Morocco, then for a moment Iran and eventually the largest Muslim state in the world, the Ottoman Empire. (The Sultan And The Queen by Jerry Brotton)

The queen started sending her merchants and diplomats to Marrakesh for sugar and saltpeter, to Istanbul for cotton and indigo and to Aleppo for Iranian silks and Indian spices, and Mr. Brotton follows the often harrowing stories of many of these English merchant-diplomat-spies (the lines were not always clear) as they pursued goods, cash and markets. Relying mostly on these figures’ travel writings, Mr. Brotton walks us through places that have become tragically familiar of late, cities such as Raqqa and Fallujah, which were centers of wealth in the 16th century.

Trade with the east eventually led to the invention of a new financial instrument: the joint-stock company. Moving money and merchandise over such great distances with peoples whose trustworthiness and religion were both suspect proved far too risky for Elizabeth or any merchant to attempt on her or his own. The joint-stock company allowed them to share the risk and reward. As trade between east and west ballooned under Elizabeth, England remained a junior partner. Still, silks, rhubarb, currants, spices, sweet wines and sugar were soon streaming into England, changing tastes, creating new fads and making a lucky few a lot of money.

As Mr. Brotton tells it, for England economic necessity nearly always trumped anxieties about trading with Christianity’s perceived enemies. Both Catholics and Protestants—but especially the latter, given their relative political and economic precarity in the 16th century—undertook all sorts of theological gymnastics to justify their deepening relations with Islam.

From the very start, Martin Lutherregarded the pope as a scourge far worse than the Ottoman sultan. The Turk may have been a devil, but the pope was the antichrist himself. As Protestantism developed, first in Germany and then as Elizabeth’s state religion, Protestants refined their ideas about Islam. The Turk came to be seen as a test from God—a challenge to the believer’s faith that, if endured, would help forge the purity of his soul. The word “Turk” itself came to mean greed, envy and worldliness—all that Protestantism was to overcome.

In Luther’s worldview, the pope killed the eternal Christian soul, while the Turk could only destroy the fleeting body. Thus a Protestant could much more easily justify his economic relations with Muslims than with Catholics, who were Protestantism’s irredeemable enemy. Plus, Islam and Protestantism shared an iconoclasm and anti-clericalism that separated both faiths from Catholicism’s perceived excesses.

For Catholics, Luther’s writings about Turks and Catholics, the growing alignment of English and Muslim trade interests, and Protestantism’s apparent love affair with the overwhelming power of the Ottomans all proved the dangers of Elizabeth’s overtures to the east.

The Catholic powers weren’t wrong. Elizabeth wanted much more from the Muslim Ottomans than sweets: She wanted ships and guns to help her war against the Catholic powers. Both before and after she crushed the Spanish Armada in 1588, Elizabeth coveted a military alliance with the Ottomans to deal Spain the deathblow she so desperately craved. England had a strong navy, but not strong enough. And unfortunately for Elizabeth, all of the ambassadors she dispatched to Istanbul in the 1580s and 1590s left the sultan’s court empty-handed. From an Ottoman perspective, the petty bickering of the weaker powers of Western Europe was not worth the time or effort. The Ottomans had far more pressing concerns with the Safavids in Iran to their east and on the Hungarian frontier in the west.

The second half of Mr. Brotton’s account takes us from the world of high-seas economic and military intrigue to the London stage to show the cultural impact of Islam—or, more accurately, the cultural impact of Western ideas about Islam. This transition from the theater of war and trade to the literal theater may at first seem abrupt, but Mr. Brotton proves adept at tracing the ways in which Elizabeth’s relations with the Muslim world not only brought new goods and tastes to England but also a flood of new ideas, characters and storylines for writers like Christopher Marlowe, George Peele, Robert Greene and, of course, William Shakespeare.

The literary culmination of Elizabethan England’s fascination with Islam was “Othello.” Modeled perhaps on the Moroccan ambassador Muhammad al-Annuri, who was visiting England in 1600, Shakespeare’s character represented the crushing contradictions of early modern identities and the ultimate impossibility of reconciling them. He is called a Moor, thus both black and Muslim. He is a former slave who remains not quite free; a convert who was somehow just still a bit too Muslim; and an outsider who secretly marries the white, Christian European Desdemona. “I am not what I am,” Iago says for Othello. One must choose—Christian or Muslim, free or slave, white or black, European or Ottoman. A Christian Moor, the black husband of a white wife, a former Muslim fighting for Catholic Venice, Othello stages all of these simultaneous differences, inevitably failing to resolve them as he finally succumbs to the only resolution possible: He stabs himself in front of his rapt audience.

Elizabeth herself died before the play was ever staged. With her perished England’s momentary dalliance with the Muslim world. Her successor, James I, negotiated a rapprochement with Spain, bringing Protestant England back into a still mostly Catholic Europe. In the years that have followed, the impossibilities of reconciling Othello’s differences, of Christianity and Islam and of the east and the west have endured, while Islam’s formative role in English history and the lessons of constructive Christian-Muslim interactions has mostly been forgotten.


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    Ottoman History Podcast: History of Science, Ottoman or Otherwise

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    My Great Teacher by Air Commodore Athar Mahmood Qureshi.

    Assalaam alaikum Dear Friends and Family,

    Our Dear DaddyJan, Janab AVM Muhammad Latif Tambra shaheed, took his last breath on 10th of Oct 2007/ 27th Ramadan 1428AH, at the age of 79 years. Allah Sub-Hanahu-Wa-Taala made him a beautiful person, gave him a beautiful life. And we are extremely thankful to Allah All-Mighty that He Sub-Hanahu-Wa-Taala gave us such a wonderful, honest, and upright father. May Allah Sub-Hanahu-Wa-Taala give him highest place in Jannat ul Firdaus. Aameen. It has been 9 years since he left us. But for us it is, as if, just a matter of yesterday. Everyday we pray for him. Every day we supplicate for him.

    On this particular day we pray for him and remember him. Today I want to remember a wonderful time spent during my school days. Whenever we daughters had any difficulty in our studies we used to go to our Dear DaddyJan. He always gave us as much time as we needed in spite of our Dear DaddyJan’s sports routine in the afternoons. When I was in school, particularly in the subjects of Algebra and Physics, whenever I had any difficulty I also used to go to our Dear DaddyJan thinking it was a matter of just a few seconds and within seconds my problem would be solved and I would return back to my other routines. In my childish mind it used to be just a matter of putting a right formula and my difficulty would be over. But it was not so with our meticulous Dear DaddyJan. He would start by asking what the variables stand for? How this formula is made? What change would each variable bring, when each of the variables are changed one by one? And then I would be revising the whole last two or three chapters with our Dear DaddyJan there and then. And what was a matter of a few seconds in my childish mind would take an hour of rigorous revisions. All this our Dear DaddyJan used to do in an extremely composed manner, very softly and lovingly. Our Dear DaddyJan used to be so concerned about the basics of our education. All who spent time with him ever, respected him, loved him, and admired him… then, now, and always.

    We knew our Dear DaddyJan had studied Physics, Mathematics and Algebra at university levels. So it was easy for us to comprehend that he could make these and related subjects easy for us because he had ample knowledge of them. But I was astonished, amazed and highly surprised to watch our beloved Dear DaddyJan explaining medical terms and making easy the medical language, when my sister had difficulty when she was studying medicine. I was really extremely impressed by our Dear DaddyJan at his capabilities of making studies easy when he was above 60 years of age in a subject he had never touched before, in his entire life.

    One more thing I remember from our Dear DaddyJan’s school days. There was a neighbor and a friend of his who was two classes ahead of our Dear DaddyJan. Friend’s father and my respected grand father (our Dear DaddyJan’s father) were also friends. Whenever DaddyJan’s friend had a difficulty in any subject, he used to come to our Dear DaddyJan’s place. And our Dear DaddyJan would read his book. Do the exercises at the back of the chapter. And then used to explain them to his friend. I have yet to meet such a person in my life who could teach a person, two years ahead of his own class. A student is so busy with his own syllabus and school activities that he does not have any time, nor any energy to do anything more than his own studies. That also during exams or just before exams. That friend of our DaddyJan used to visit us during our DaddyJan’s life time. Our DaddyJan joined Pakistan Air Force, whereas his friend could not go beyond Matriculation and started doing his ancestral business of trading leather jackets to Europe from the Great Manufacturing City of Sialkot, Pakistan. Our Dear DaddyJan and his friend both did well in their lives, in their own circles. May Allah Sub-Hanahu-Wa-Taala accept our DaddyJan’s good deeds and Ehsaan he did to people in his life time, and enter him in Jannat ul Firdaus along with Good Doers and Muhsineens. Aameen.

    A wonderful student of AVM Tambra shaheed, whose name is Air Commodore Athar Mahmood Qureshi, who later became his colleague as well. Air Commodore Athar remembers AVM Tambra shaheed in an article “My Great Teacher”, written by him. This article will be included in a book which Air Commodore Athar Mahmood Qureshi is still writing. My very dear husband, Group Captain Ishtiaq Ahmed, also read this interesting article and appreciated it.

    I took permission to include this absorbing article in this post of mine, which he granted graciously.

    We thank Athar bhai sahab for doing that. Every person is busy in his life. But those who take out time to write even a single word, what to talk of a whole article, must be appreciated tremendously. Hope you also enjoy reading it as we did.

    With best wishes for you all,

    May Allah keep us all safe, healthy and a good Muslim. Aameen.



    My Great Teacher

    AVM Muhammad Latif Tambra

    By Air Commodore Athar Mahmood Qureshi.

    When we joined Pakistan Air Force, College of Aeronautical Engineering in May 1966, then located in Korangi Creek, Karachi, this institution was then in its embryonic stage. Several members of the faculty members were still joining the college. Amongst them was then Squadron Leader Tambra, who had recently returned from AFIT, Air Force Institute of Technology, Ohio, USA, after obtaining his Master’s degree in Aerodynamics subject. He was to become part of the faculty of this newly created organization.

    Squadron Leader Tambra had to postpone his Masters studies in USA, and had to come back to Pakistan because of some political changes in Pakistan. Afterwards he had to go back to USA in AFIT to complete his Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering, which was completed in June 1970. Squadron Leader Mohammad Latif Tambra completed his Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering with Distinction, by which he made the name of his country, Pakistan, very Distinguished, very Glorious, and very Proud.

    Although we were new in Air Force, even then he looked somewhat different from other officers of the PAF whom we had met thus far. He was quite informal in his mannerism and speech. That was rather unusual because so far we were being regimented and schooled in rigid discipline and conduct, especially during our earlier stay at Risalpur. We felt very comfortable in his presence because of his caring approach. He was a whiff of fresh air in that period of time.

    AVM Tambra was an exceptionally talented and gifted teacher, who always carried the class with him. At no point we felt that he was breezing past without ensuring the whole class had assimilated the subject under discussion. This approach made him a very amiable teacher with all his students. His wit also helped a great deal in creating a congenial ambience in the class during those grueling lectures on Aerodynamics.

    He was also a very devoted family man. On many afternoons and evenings we used to see him driving his huge Chevrolet Impala car, which was a very rare sight in those times. He usually used to be accompanied by his family. It was not easy for him to take time out of his very busy academic schedule, but he seemed to manage it very well.

    My second association with him came when I was serving in a maintenance unit in Karachi, then called No. 102 Maintenance Unit. Over the years its’ name has changed many times, and I don’t know what it is called now. But anyway I am talking about the old times. Then Group Captain Tambra was heading this unit as its’ commanding officer. Here I learnt that he was not only an academician but equally a very real-world engineer as well. His knowledge about aircraft hardware and engineering processes was astonishing high. There are many interesting stories and anecdotes from this period. To narrate one, we were using a common adhesive in engine and aircraft maintenance called RTV. It had different types such as RTV110 and RTV 90 etc. etc., depending on the type of surface and temperature environment. Once my commanding officer Group Captain Tambra asked me “Do you know what is meant by RTV”? Frankly, I had never thought about it but on the spur of the moment I replied that it must be trade name used by the manufacturer. He smiled and said, “No. It means Room Temperature Vulcanizer”. This is just one example. But there were scores of such instances when he surprised me with tremendous knowledge and equally sharp memory. Each episode like this enhanced his respect in my eyes many fold.

    While in 102 MU, I was heading Aircraft Engineering Squadron. Often, he would come to my squadron to discuss some ongoing technical issue. During the discussions if he needed to examine something closely, he would not mind climbing the ladder or sitting on the concrete floor underneath the aircraft without the slightest hesitation. For him the problem on hand was more important than any other consideration.

    During the discussions, if an NCO tried showing off his knowledge without substance, he would stop him in his track immediately, correcting his erroneous discourse. The discussion would often end up with him saying, “What are you trying to show me, I have taught your officer in charge for four years”. We were always his students and he was always our teacher. That was such a strong bond which persists throughout our lives.

    Like any great man he never boasted about his extensive knowledge but rather displayed humility and behaved in a very down to earth manner. It was yet another sterling quality which endeared him to everyone around him. Once I went to his office and found him in a very jubilant mood. He said, “You have just come at the right moment. I wanted to discuss something very important with you”. Then he showed me a technical study, conducted by an officer of the unit, and Group Captain Tambra felt very excited about it. I scanned through the report and felt as if somebody had punched me in the stomach. Having worked a long time in the engine overhaul system, I had some insightful knowledge which was naturally not available to those who did not have that opportunity. I found that while the officer had made an honest effort, he had totally missed something very critical and vital in his report. After studying the report rather quickly, I sat silently brooding on how to broach this subject with my benevolent Officer Commanding and dampen his euphoric mood.

    But loyalty demanded that I gave him the true picture. Group Captain Tambra was looking expectantly at me waiting for my reaction. Finally he said, “What is the matter. You don’t seem to be pleased about it”. I had no option but to narrate my views slowly and gradually. He listened patiently, all air of exuberance melting away. Finally he sighed and said, “I guess you are right. There is no way to go ahead with this project”. Had there been another officer in his place, I think he would have tried to coerce me into agreeing to his scheme, but not Group Captain Tambra. He would never do such a thing. While still sitting there in a gloomy mood, he received a telephone call. I heard him say, “No, I am not fine. You see I had this big thing coming, but Athar has just put a big spanner in it ………….” Although he was somewhat upset, but when I was leaving his office he thanked me for giving my views honestly and without any hesitation.

    Some years later, I again met him in Paris, where he was posted as Technical Attaché. I was in France attending a course on Atar Engine overhaul. He was, as usual, very helpful in every matter and we faced no obstacles during our stay there. He was the same considerate teacher that I knew for such a long time.

    After his retirement, he was working in a construction company by the name of Jason Construction Company Pvt. Ltd. On 10th October, 2007 when AVM Latif Tambra reached his office at 11:00 in Clifton and as he came out of his car, he was shot at close range by the killer, who was hiding nearby. He was grievously injured and pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. In the meantime, the assailant escaped on motor bike but remains at large to this day. Ina Lilahe Wa Inna Alehe Rajaoon. When I came to know about this terrible news I was numb with shock and grief. It was very hard for me to understand how such a noble person like my great teacher could be targeted like this. I miss my great teacher so much and always pray ALLAH ALMIGHTY may shower his blessings upon the departed soul. Aameen.


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    England’s Forgotten Muslim History. 

    Assalam alaikum Dear Friends,

    I read this interesting piece of information. I want to share it with you all. This post of mine is 1057 words.

    London — Britain is divided as never before. The country has turned its back on Europe, and its female ruler has her sights set on trade with the East. As much as this sounds like Britain today, it also describes the country in the 16th century, during the golden age of its most famous monarch, Queen Elizabeth I.

    One of the more surprising aspects of Elizabethan England is that its foreign and economic policy was driven by a close alliance with the Islamic world, a fact conveniently ignored today by those pushing the populist rhetoric of national sovereignty.

    From the moment of her accession to the throne in 1558, Elizabeth began seeking diplomatic, commercial and military ties with Muslim rulers in Iran, Turkey and Morocco — and with good reasons. In 1570, when it became clear that Protestant England would not return to the Catholic faith, the pope excommunicated Elizabeth and called for her to be stripped of her crown. Soon, the might of Catholic Spain was against her, an invasion imminent. English merchants were prohibited from trading with the rich markets of the Spanish Netherlands. Economic and political isolation threatened to destroy the newly Protestant country.

    Elizabeth responded by reaching out to the Islamic world. Spain’s only rival was the Ottoman Empire, ruled by Sultan Murad III, which stretched from North Africa through Eastern Europe to the Indian Ocean. The Ottomans had been fighting the Hapsburgs for decades, conquering parts of Hungary. Elizabeth hoped that an alliance with the sultan would provide much needed relief from Spanish military aggression, and enable her merchants to tap into the lucrative markets of the East. For good measure she also reached out to the Ottomans’ rivals, the shah of Persia and the ruler of Morocco.

    The trouble was that the Muslim empires were far more powerful than Elizabeth’s little island nation floating in the soggy mists off Europe. Elizabeth wanted to explore new trade alliances, but couldn’t afford to finance them. Her response was to exploit an obscure commercial innovation — joint stock companies — introduced by her sister, Mary Tudor.

    The companies were commercial associations jointly owned by shareholders. The capital was used to fund the costs of commercial voyages, and the profits — or losses — would also be shared. Elizabeth enthusiastically backed the Muscovy Company, which traded with Persia, and went on to inspire the formation of the Turkey Company, which traded with the Ottomans, and the East India Company, which would eventually conquer India.

    In the 1580s she signed commercial agreements with the Ottomans that would last over 300 years, granting her merchants free commercial access to Ottoman lands. She made a similar alliance with Morocco, with the tacit promise of military support against Spain.

    As money poured in, Elizabeth began writing letters to her Muslim counterparts, extolling the benefits of reciprocal trade. She wrote as a supplicant, calling Murad “the most mighty ruler of the kingdom of Turkey, sole and above all, and most sovereign monarch of the East Empire.” She also played on their mutual hostility to Catholicism, describing herself as “the most invincible and most mighty defender of the Christian faith against all kind of idolatries.” Like Muslims, Protestants rejected the worship of icons, and celebrated the unmediated word of God, while Catholics favored priestly intercession. She deftly exploited the Catholic conflation of Protestants and Muslims as two sides of the same heretical coin.

    The ploy worked. Thousands of English traders crossed many of today’s no-go regions, like Aleppo in Syria, and Mosul in Iraq. They were far safer than they would have been on an equivalent journey through Catholic Europe, where they risked falling into the hands of the Inquisition.

    The Ottoman authorities saw their ability to absorb people of all faiths as a sign of power, not weakness, and observed the Protestant-Catholic conflicts of the time with detached bemusement. Some Englishmen even converted to Islam. A few, like Samson Rowlie, a Norfolk merchant who became Hassan Aga, chief treasurer to Algiers, were forced. Others did so of their own volition, perhaps seeing Islam as a better bet than the precarious new Protestant faith.

    English aristocrats delighted in the silks and spices of the east, but the Turks and Moroccans were decidedly less interested in English wool. What they needed were weapons. In a poignant act of religious retribution, Elizabeth stripped the metal from deconsecrated Catholic churches and melted their bells to make munitions that were then shipped out to Turkey, proving that shady Western arms sales go back much further than the Iran-contra affair. The queen encouraged similar deals with Morocco, selling weapons and buying saltpeter, the essential ingredient in gunpowder, and sugar, heralding a lasting craving and turning Elizabeth’s own teeth an infamous black.

    The sugar, silks, carpets and spices transformed what the English ate, how they decorated their homes and how they dressed. Words such as “candy” and “turquoise” (from “Turkish stone”) became commonplace. Even Shakespeare got in on the act, writing “Othello” shortly after the first Moroccan ambassador’s six-month visit.

    Despite the commercial success of the joint stock companies, the British economy was unable to sustain its reliance on far-flung trade. Immediately following Elizabeth’s death in 1603, the new king, James I, signed a peace treaty with Spain, ending England’s exile.

    Elizabeth’s Islamic policy held off a Catholic invasion, transformed English taste and established a new model for joint stock investment that would eventually finance the Virginia Company, which founded the first permanent North American colony.

    It turns out that Islam, in all its manifestations — imperial, military and commercial — played an important part in the story of England. Today, when anti-Muslim rhetoric inflames political discourse, it is useful to remember that our pasts are more entangled than is often appreciated.

    Jerry Brotton, a professor of Renaissance studies at Queen Mary University of London, is the author of the forthcoming “The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam.”
    Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

    © The New York Times Company 2016

    Thanks for being with me,

    May Allah SubHanahuWaTaala make our life safe and easy, and make us all good practicing Muslims. Aameen.

    Allah Hafiz,


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