SYRIA ~ Damishq “City of Jasmin”

... Still Praying for Damascus

Reminiscing  … a short while before the madness of war broke out, a dear friend, and myself made an incredibly vivid journey to Syria – Damascus in 2009. Encountered many beautiful people and places which helped shape memories, we shall carry always with much warmth in our hearts and a special light in your eyes, whenever the name of this awe inspiring city is mentioned.

Damascus (Arabic: دِمَشقُ‎, Dimashq, commonly known as الشام al-Shām also known as the “City of Jasmin” Arabic: مدينة الياسمين‎ Madīnatul Yāsmīn) is the capital and largest city of Syria as well as one of the country’s 14 governorates (or muhafazat (singular: muhafazah). In addition to being widely known as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Damascus is a major cultural and religious center of the Levant. Located in southwestern Syria, it is the center of a large metropolitan area of four million people. Geographically it is embedded on the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range 80 km (50 mi) inland from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea on a plateau 680 meters (2,200 ft) above sea-level. Damascus experiences a semi-arid climate due to the rain shadow effect. The Barada River flows through Damascus.

First settled in the 2nd millennium BC, it was chosen as the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate from 661-750. After the victory of the Abbasid dynasty, the seat of Islamic power was moved to Baghdad. Damascus saw a political decline throughout the Abbasid era, only to regain significant importance in the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. During Ottoman rule, the city decayed completely while maintaining a certain cultural prestige. Today, it is the seat of the central government and all of the government ministries. Damascus was chosen as the 2008 Arab Capital of Culture. When you enter an old souk (bazaar) in Syria, you will realize that history is something alive and tangible, something you can see, touch and smell. In Damascus, if you walk down the Street called Straight (Midhat Pasha), you might feel that you were walking alongside Saul of Tarsus, suddenly transformed into St Paul on seeing the light of faith, the light on “the road to Damascus”. A journey through a Syrian town is a journey into both the past and the present at the same time. You might happen on a Roman arch, built centuries before Christ, under which you might find a shop selling the latest electronic gadgets. Or you may pass on Ottoman caravanserai’s, bustling under its evocative Arabesque designs with present-day commercial activity.


“While Ibn ʿAsākir’s Syria and the Syrians of the medieval Muslim geographers and travelers included the modern state of Syria, it also included the modern states of Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—that is, everything north of the western Arabian Peninsula. In addition, medieval Muslim scholars rarely used the word “Syria” to describe the region; rather, they generally referred to it as al-Shām or bilād al-Shām (the countries or provinces of al-Shām). Ibn ʿAsākir, following in the tradition of Qurʾān exegesis, defines al-Shām as “God’s blessed or holy land lying between the town of al-ʿArīsh on the border with Egypt in the southwest and the Euphrates River in the northwest.”

James E. Lindsay, Sarah and Hagar in Ibn ʿAsākir’s History of Damascus



Narrated Ibn `Umar:

(The Prophet Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham and our Yemen.” People said, “Our Najd as well.” The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam) again said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham and Yemen.” They said again, “Our Najd as well.” On that the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said, “There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 1037
Book 15, Hadith 32
Vol. 2, Book 17, Hadith 147

Narrated Abu Zuhair:

I heard Allah’s Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam)) saying, “Yemen will be conquered and some people will migrate (from Medina) and will urge their families, and those who will obey them to migrate (to Yemen) although Medina will be better for them; if they but knew. Sham will also be conquered and some people will migrate (from Medina) and will urge their families and those who will obey them, to migrate (to Sham) although Medina will be better for them; if they but knew. ‘Iraq will be conquered and some people will migrate (from Medina) and will urge their families and those who will obey them to migrate (to ‘Iraq) although Medina will be better for them; if they but knew.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 1875
Book 29, Hadith 9
Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith 99

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah’s Messenger (The Prophet Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam) saying, “Pride and arrogance are characteristics of the rural bedouins while calmness is found among the owners of sheep. Belief is Yemenite, and wisdom is also Yemenite i.e. the Yemenites are well-known for their true belief and wisdom).”

Abu `Abdullah (Al-Bukhari) said, “Yemen was called so because it is situated to the right of the Ka`ba, and Sham was called so because it is situated to the left of the Ka`ba.”


Sahih al-Bukhari 3499
Book 61, Hadith 9
Vol. 4, Book 56, Hadith 703


It was narrated that Salamah bin Nufail Al-Kindi said:


“I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah when a man said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! The people have lost interest in horses and put down their weapons, and they say there is no Jihad, and that war has ended.’ The Messenger of Allah turned to face him and said: ‘They are lying, now the fighting is to come. There will always be a group among my Ummah who will fight for the truth, for whom Allah will cause some people to deviate, and grant them provision from them, until the Hour begins and until the promise of Allah comes. Goodness is tied to the forelocks of horses until the Day of Resurrection. It has been revealed to me that I am going to die and will not stay long, and you will follow me group after group, striking one another’s necks. And the place of safety for the believers is Ash-Sham.’”

 Sunan an-Nasa’i 3561
Book 28, Hadith 1
Vol. 4, Book 28, Hadith 3591


Mu’awiyah bin Qurrah narrated from his father that the Messenger of Allah (The Prophet Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said:


“When the inhabitants of Ash-Sham become corrupt, then there is no good in it for you. There will never cease to be a group in my Ummah who will be helped (by Allah), they will not be harmed by those who forsake them until the Hour is established.” Muhammad bin Isma’il said: “Ali bin Al-Madini said: ‘They are the people of Hadith.”‘ (Sahih)

English Reference: Vol.4 Book 7 Hadith 2192
Arabic Reference:Vol.4 Book 7 Hadith 2192
33 Chapters On Al-Fitan
(1) Jami` at-Tirmidhi


Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Um Haram said, “Once the (The Prophet Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam) slept in my house near to me and got up smiling. I said, ‘What makes you smile?’ He replied, ‘Some of my followers who (i.e. in a dream) were presented to me sailing on this green sea like kings on thrones.’ I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger ()! Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” So the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam) invoked Allah for her and went to sleep again. He did the same (i.e. got up and told his dream) and Um Haran repeated her question and he gave the same reply. She said, “Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” He said, “You are among the first batch.” Later on it happened that she went out in the company of her husband ‘Ubada bin As-Samit who went for Jihad and it was the first time the Muslims undertook a naval expedition led by Mu awiya. When the expedition came to an end and they were returning to Sham, a riding animal was presented to her to ride, but the animal let her fall and thus she died.


Sahih al-Bukhari 2799
Book 56, Hadith 17
Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 56

‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-’As (May Allah be pleased with them) said:


The Messenger of Allah (The Prophet Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam)) said, “Dajjal (the Antichrist) will appear in my Ummah and he will stay in the world for forty. I do not know whether this will be forty days or forty months or forty years. Allah will then send (Prophet) ‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). ‘Isa will pursue him and slaughter him. Then people will survive for seven years (i.e., after the demise of ‘Isa) in the state that there will be no rancour between two persons. Then Allah will send a cool breeze from the side of Ash-Sham. None will remain upon the face of the earth having the smallest particle of good or Faith in him but he will die, so much so that even if someone amongst you will enter the innermost part of a mountain, this breeze will reach that place also and will cause him to die. Only the wicked people will survive and they will be as fast as birds (i.e., to commit evil) and as ferocious towards one another as wild beasts. They will never appreciate the good, nor condemn evil. Then Shaitan (Satan) will come to them in the garb of a man and will say: ‘Will you not obey me?’ They will say: ‘What do you order us to do?’ He will command them to worship idols. They will have abundance of sustenance and will lead comfortable lives. Then the Trumpet will be blown. Every one hearing it, will turn his neck towards it and will raise it. The first one to hear that Trumpet will be a man who will be busy repairing the basin for his camels. He will become unconscious. Allah will send, or will cause to send, rain which will be like dew and there will grow out of it (like wild growth) the bodies of the people. Then the second Trumpet will be blown and they will stand up and begin to look around. Then it will be said: ‘O people! Go to your Rubb.’ Then there will be a command: ‘Make them stand there.’ After it they will be called to account. Then it will be said: ‘Separate from them the share of the Fire.’ It will be asked: ‘How much?’ It will be said: ‘Nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand.’ That will be the Day which will make children hoary-headed men because of its terror and that will be the Day when the Shin will be uncovered.”

Sahih Muslim:  Book 19, Hadith 3
Arabic/English book reference: Book 19, Hadith 1810 reference



(1) Jāmi` at-Tirmidhī is a collection of hadīth compiled by Imām Abu `Isa Muhammad at-Tirmidhī (rahimahullāh). His collection is unanimously considered to be one of the six canonical collections of hadith (Kutub as-Sittah) of the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam). It contains roughly 4400 hadīth (with repetitions) in 46 books.


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