Tariq was the governor of Tangiers and Morocco in the early 700's, and was a great general. He was given the governorship by his leader Musa ibn Nusayr; together the generals had conquered Morocco and most of North Africa under the great Caliph Abd al-Malik
In 711 he was asked for help by one faction in an ongoing civil war in Spain. With 7000 men, he invaded Spain, defeated the ruling King Roderick, and marched onto take over the major cities of Toledo and Cordoba.
A year later, Musa ibn Nusayr arrived with an army of 18,000 and together the two generals conquered nearly all of Spain.
In 714 both successful generals were summoned back to Damascus by the Caliph Al-Walid, and stripped of their rank.
Gibraltar is named after him: "Jabal Tariq" = Mount Tariq in Arabic.