Samuel Ibn Naghrela (Samuel Ha-Nagid)-Jewish Prince in Moslem Spain

Samuel Ibn Naghrela (Arabic Ismail Ibn Nagrelʿa) was born in Cordoba 993 and lived his life in Andalusia, Moslem Spain. He was Talmudic scholar, grammarian, statesman and poem. Samuel was educated in all branches of Jewish and Islamic knowledge and mastered in Arabic calligraphy. Naghrela lived his life in Moslem Spain like no Jew lived in the Christian Europe. In 1013, after Cordoba was sacked by the Berbers, Samuel was forced to flee to Malaga, part of Moslem Kingdom at that time.


This Jewish poet served as a vizier in the Royal Granada. He was also private secretary to Granadan vizier ( Arabic and modern Persian wazīr, Turkish vazir, originally the chief minister or representative of the ʿAbbāsid caliphs and later a high administrative officer in various Muslim countries, among Arabs, Persians, Turks, Mongols, and other eastern peoples). He soon became an invaluable political adviser to the vizier, who, at his death, commended Samuel to the caliph Ḥabbūs. The caliph made Samuel the new vizier, and as such he assumed direction of Granada’s diplomatic and military affairs. Ḥabbūs died in 1037. Although his elder, pleasure-loving son then assumed the throne, Samuel was the caliph in fact if not in actuality. He steered Granada through years of continuous warfare and actively participated in all major campaigns. His influence became so great that he was even able to arrange for his son Joseph to succeed him as vizier. Samuel led the Muslim armies and wrote inspired comments from the Qur’an. He taught Talmud in Andalusia. He was also a protector of Jewish artists, students and scientists.

Samuel was also nagid (Hebrew: “chief ”) of Granadan Jewry. As such, he appointed all the judges and headed the Talmudic academy. He is generally believed to be the author of Mevo ha-Talmud(“Introduction to the Talmud”), a long-lived Talmudic manual. He also wrote a concordance to the Bible, encouraged learning in all fields, and became a respected, even revered figure among both Arabs and Jews.

He died 1055/1056 in Granada, Spain.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s