thefinalmessage|THE FRIDAY NOTE
Our Ummah, Our As-Sham - Part Two;
Geographical Area of As Sham;
The Arabic word al-Sham (As-Sham) has been left untranslated for lack of an English equivalent. It is originally written and pronounced al-Sha'm and means "the North" with relation to the Hijaz, covering the lands of present-day Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan from the Euphrates to Sinai.
As Sham References from Hadith;
If Allah has chosen to have his Prophet (PBUH) mention these blessed places then we need to pay attention to and protect these blessed places.
In the Noble Hadith:
11. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
"Blessings to al-Sham, blessings to al-Sham, blessings to al-Sham!" (ya tuba li al-Sham). They asked why and he replied: "Because the wings of the angels of the Merciful are lowered over it."
[Narrated from Zayd ibn Thabit al-Ansari by al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan (hasan gharîb) with a fair chain because of Yahya ibn Ayyub al-Ghafiqi who is merely "truthful" (sadûq) as in al-Arna'ut and Ma`ruf's al-Tahrir (4:78 #7511); Ahmad with two chains, one of which is sound according to Ibn al-Qayyim in his commentary on Abu Dawud's Sunan (7:115), the other is a fair chain because of `Abd Allah ibn Lahi`a; al-Hakim (2:229; 1990 ed. 2:249) who said it is sahîh and al-Dhahabi concurred; al-Bayhaqi in the Shu`ab (2:432); Ibn Abi Shayba (4:218, 6:409); Ibn Hibban (16:293) with a sound chain meeting Muslim's criterion according to Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna'ut; and al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (5:158 #4935) with a sound chain according to al-Haythami (10:60) and al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:30)]
Ibn `Abd al-Salam said:
"This is an allusion to the fact that Allah has put certain angels in charge of guarding Sham and protecting it. This is in agreement with the hadith of `Abd Allah ibn Hawala [#18] that states that they [the people of Sham] are under His guarantee (kafala) and His care."
[Ibn `Abd al-Salam, Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 21)]
12. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
"The heartland of the Abode of Islam is al-Sham." (`Uqr dar al-islam al-sham.)
[Narrated from Salama ibn Nufayl by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (7:53 #6358) with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami (10:60)]
A longer version states that Salama ibn Nufayl al-Hadrami al-Sakuni came to the Prophet and said:
"I have fattened the horses and laid down arms, for war has rested its burdens and there is no more fighting." The Prophet said: "Now has fighting come! There shall not cease to be a group in my Community that shall remain victorious over all people. Allah shall cause the hearts of some to go astray and those shall fight them and receive from them His sustenance, until His command comes to pass as they are in that state. Lo! Verily, the heartland of the Believers is al-Sham (`uqr dâr al-mu'minîn al-sham), and immense good remains tied to the forelocks of horses until the Day of Resurrection."
[Narrated from Salama ibn Nufayl by Ahmad with a fair chain, al-Nasa'i with a sound (sahîh) chain, Ibn Sa`d (7:427-428), and al-Bukhari in his Tarikh al-Kabir (4:70), the latter with the addition: "and I find the breath of the Merciful coming from over there [i.e. Yemen]." Also narrated from al-`Irbad ibn Sariya and al-Nuwwas ibn Sam`an by Ibn `Asakir in his Tarikh (1:70, 1:105-106). A forged mursal report narrated from the Tâbi`î Kathir ibn Murra al-Hadrami by Nu`aym ibn Hammad (d. 228) in Kitab al-Fitan (1:254) states that the Prophet said: "Lo! Verily, the heartland of the Abode of Islam is al-Shâm. Allah leads to it the quintessence of His servants. None earnestly desires to live in it except a beneficiary of divine mercy, and none earnestly desires to live away from it except one seduced by sin. Allah trains His gaze upon it since the beginning of time until the end of time, with shade and rain. Even if He makes its people needy of money, He never made them needy of bread nor water." Its chain contains Sa`id ibn Sinan who is discarded as a narrator because of his forgeries, but I cited it because its last sentence is true from general observation, and its first two sentences are confirmed in sound narrations.]
Ibn `Abd al-Salam said:
"In this hadith the Prophet informed us of the apostasy that would take place on the part of those whose hearts Allah would cause to go astray, and the fighting against the apostates. In his telling us about residing in Shâm there is a sign that to live there consists in waging war for His sake, and news that Shâm shall remain a fortified borderline city until the Day of Resurrection. We have witnessed this, for the outer borders of Shâm are permanent front lines."
[Ibn `Abd al-Salam, Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 20)]
13. Strengthened by the above report is that of the Prophet's saying:
"The people of Sham, their spouses, their offspring, and their male and female servants are garrisoned for the sake of Allah murabitun). Therefore, whoever takes up residence in one of the cities of Sham, he is in a garrison-post or fortified borderline city and he is a mujahid."
[Narrated from Abu al-Darda' through Abu Muti` Mu`awiya ibn Yahya from Artah ibn al-Mundhir from someone unnamed from Abu al-Darda' by al-Tabarani, the rest being trustworthy, as stated by al-Haythami (10:60), Artah himself being highly trustworthy, and Muti` fair as stated by al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:32 = 1994 ed. 4:106 #4514). The hadith is further strengthened by Ibn `Asakir's chain in Ta`ziya al-Muslim (p. 75) from Sa`id al-Bajali from Shahr ibn Hawshab (cf. n. 1636) from Abu al-Darda']
14. The Prophet (PBUH) is also related to say:
"A party of my Community shall not cease to fight at the gates of Damascus and its surroundings and at the gates of Bayt al-Maqdis and its surroundings. The betrayal or desertion of whoever deserts them shall not harm them in the least. They shall remain victorious, standing for truth, until the Hour rises."
[Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Abu Ya`la in his Musnad and by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat, al-Haythami (10:60-61) indicating that the former chain is sound but the latter weak because of al-Walid ibn `Abbad, who is unknown. However, he is also in Abu Ya`la's chain and Ibn `Adi in al-Kamil (7:84) stated that this hadith is narrated only through him. The hadith is therefore weak with this chain and wording - although confirmed by the hadith #32 below - and mass-transmitted with the wording "A party of my Community shall not cease to remain victorious, standing for truth, until the Hour rises." See al-Kattani, Nazm al-Mutanathir (p. 141)]
Al-Nawawi explained the term "the Hour" to mean "the spread of the wind [that shall take away the lives of the Believers]."
[In Sharh Sahih Muslim (1972 ed. 13:66)]
15. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
"The anti-Christ shall come out into my Community and endure for forty days or months or years" - the narrator was unsure - "after which Allah shall send `Isa ibn Maryam, who looks exactly like `Urwa ibn Mas`ud. `Isa shall pursue the anti-Christ and destroy him. Then people shall live for seven years without the least enmity among them. Then Allah shall send a cool wind from the direction of al-Sham, whereupon none shall remain on the face of the earth that has an atom's worth of goodness in their heart except they shall be taken away..."
[Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by Muslim and Ahmad as part of a longer hadith]
The Prophet described that wind as having "the scent of musk and the touch of silk."
[Narrated from `Uqba ibn `Amir by Muslim]
16. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
"O Allah, bless us in our Sham and our Yemen!" They said: "O Messenger of Allah! and our Najd!" He did not reply but again said: "O Allah, bless us in our Sham and our Yemen!" They said: "O Messenger of Allah! and our Najd!" He did not reply but again said: "O Allah, bless us in our Sham and our Yemen!" They said: "O Messenger of Allah! and our Najd!" He said: "Thence shall come great upheavals and dissensions, and from it shall issue the side of the head of Shaytân."
[Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Bukhari, al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahîh gharîb), and Ahmad with three chains, one of which with the addition: "And in it [Najd] are nine tenths of all evil."]
17. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
"A huge fire shall issue from Hadramawt - or: from the direction of the sea of Hadramawt - before the Day of Resurrection, which shall cause a great movement of people." They said: "O Messenger of Allah! What do you order us to do at that time?" He said: "You must go to Sham."
[Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharîb sahîh) who added that it is also narrated from Hudhayfa ibn Asid, Anas, Abu Hurayra, and Abu Dharr. Also narrated from Ibn `Umar by Ahmad with five chains, Ibn Hibban (16:294) with a sound chain meeting al-Bukhari's criterion according to Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna'ut, Ibn Abi Shayba (7:471), Ibn Tahman in his Mashyakha (#201), and Abu Ya`la in his Musnad (9:405) with a sound chain as stated by al-Haythami (10:61)]
18. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
"It shall reach the point when you will all be joining [opposite] armies: one army in al-Sham, one in Yemen, and one in Iraq." `Abd Allah ibn Hawala said: "Choose for me, O Messenger of Allah! in case I live to see that day." The Prophet said: "You must join al-Sham, for it is the chosen land of Allah in His earth. In it shall the chosen ones among His servants have protection. Otherwise, go to Yemen but be prepared to drink from still water. For Allah has given me a guarantee concerning Sham and its people." `Abd Allah ibn Hawala would add after narrating the above: "And whoever has Allah as his guarantor shall suffer no loss."
[Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn Hawala by Abu Dawud and Ahmad with sound chains, Ibn Hibban (16:295), al-Hakim (4:510; 1990 ed. 4:555) who said it is sahîh and al-Dhahabi concurred, al-Tahawi in Mushkil al-Athar (2:35), al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (9:179), and Ibn `Abd al-Salam in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 15). Also narrated from Abu al-Darda' by al-Bazzar and al-Tabarani with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami (10:58) after al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:30). Something similar is narrated from `Abd Allah ibn Yazid by al-Tabarani with a very weak chain as indicated by al-Haythami (10:58) and from Wathila ibn al-Asqa` by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (22:55-58), specifying that those who were asking the Prophet were Mu`adh and Hudhayfa. Al-Haythami (10:59) stated that all al-Tabarani's chains of the latter narration were weak. Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari in al-Mughir (p. 71) declared this hadith forged by Mu`awiya's - Allah be well-pleased with him - supporters against `Ali - Allah be well-pleased with him]
19. In another version Ibn Hawala states:
"When he noticed my dislike for Sham he said: `Do you know what Allah says about Sham? Verily, Allah said: O Sham, you are the quintessence (safwa) of My lands and I shall inhabit you with the chosen ones among My servants."
[Narrated by al-Tabarani with two chains of which one is fair according to al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:30). Something similar is narrated from al-`Irbad ibn Sariya by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (18:251) with a sound chain according to al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:30) and al-Haythami (10:58), chapter entitled Fada'il al-Sham, and from Ibn `Umar by al-Tabarani and al-Bazzar with a weak chain according to al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur. Al-Suyuti also said that Ibn `Asakir narrated it from Thabit ibn Ma`bad]
Ibn al-Athir defines safw and safwa in his dictionary al-Nihaya as "the best of any matter, its quintessence, and purest part."
[The Prophet also compared the world to a little rain water on a mountain plateau of which the safw had already been drunk and from which only the kadar or dregs remained. Narrated from Ibn Mas`ud by Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq. Al-Huwjiri and al-Qushayri mention it in their chapters on tasawwuf respectively in Kashf al-Mahjub and al-Risala al-Qushayriyya]
20. Related to the events mentioned by the Prophet (PBUH) above is his hadith:
"Strife shall take place after the death of a Caliph. A man of the people of Madina will come forth flying to Mecca. Some of the people of Mecca will come to him, bring him out against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner and the Maqam. An expeditionary force will then be sent against him from Sham but will be swallowed up in the desert between Mecca and Madina, and when the people see that, the Substitutes (Abdâl) of Sham and the best people of Iraq shall come to him and swear allegiance to him..."
[Narrated from Umm Salama by Abu Dawud through three different good chains in his Sunan, Ahmad, Ibn Abi Shayba, Abu Ya`la in his Musnad (12:369 #6940) with a fair chain according to Shaykh Husayn Asad, al-Tabarani in al-Awsat (2:89 #1175) and al-Kabir (23:389-390 #930-931), al-Hakim, Ibn Hibban (15:158-159 #6757) with a weak chain because of Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn Rufa`a - but he has been corroborated - and al-Bayhaqi]
Forty Narrations on The Immense Merits of al-Shâm
Compiled and Translated by GF Haddad