Syria or officially called as Syrian Arab Republic is a country located in Western Asia. The country bordered by Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan in south, and Israel in southwest. The country has diverse in ethnic and consists of religious group including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Mandeans, Turks, Circassians, and Assyrians.
There are so many different religion can be found in Syria including Islam, Christians, Jews, and so on. But almost 90% of the population in Syria are practicing Islam as their religion and Sunni has been the majority with approximately practiced by 74% of all muslim in Syria. You may want to read ways to ask your office prayer room.
We all know that this country has been in serious civil war for years started in 2011 and further became more complex and terrible. The headline news of every news paper in the world always talk about Syria. Since as we know that Syria are bordered by several countries and it has been affected their political issues either.
But, today let us skip about that fact and what we are going to do is learning yet creating a better understanding about Syria. Our team would like to write about the History of Islam in Syiria. How Islam can grow fast and big in Syria and becoming the main religion there. And what is Syria mean to Islamic history which also as important as the brief history of Islam in Pakistan.
History of Islam in Syria
If we look back in the history of Syria, this country plays significant role in the development of Islam. Syria is the first country opened by Muslim and the first country accepting Islam. In Quran also written about the history of Syria especially about Al-Aqsa as the following verse,
“Exalted is He who took His Servants by night from al-Masjid al-Haraam to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings. We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”QS. Al-Isra : 1
While Rasulullah SAW ever mentioned about Syria as written in the following hadith.
“If the people of Syria (al-Sham) are corrupted, then there will be no good in you. A group among my nation will continue to be supported, unharmed by those who fail them until the establishment of the Hour.”Hadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi
And from Abu Huraira said that the Messenger of Allah mentioned,
“Iraq with withold its dirhams and qafiiz; Syria will withold its mudd and dinar and Egypt will withold its irdab and dinar. You will return to that position from where you started. The flesh and blood of Abu Huraira bears testimony to it.”Hadith narrated by Muslim
Therefore Syria has a great role in the development of the culture of Islamic religion. You may want to know about importance of wednesday in Islam.
Syria was one of the Neolithic culture and archeologist said that the early civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient in the world and probably it precedes only by Mesopotamia. There are several kingdoms recorded to be part of anxient Syria such as Kingdom of Ebla.
Syria was under the Roman government during the 7th century before Islam arrived in the country. Persian kingdom also sends their invasion during the 3th, 6th, and 7th century.
The first contact of Syria and Rasulullah is when he was 12 years old. He followed his uncle Abu Thalib on a trade trip. In this trade trip he met Christian monk who recognized him as the last Messenger of Allah. This story has been spread out and very famous, since he was the first people who recognize the prophetic side of Muhammad. While he was only sent almost 30 years later after that time.
After the apostolic era, Rasulullah still care about Sham (Syria) to be part of his da’wah field. The liberation of Syria begin with the expedition to the south of Syria in 629 CE when the Prophet Muhammad is still alive. According to the book of Encyclopedia of Islamic Civilization (Muhammad Syafii Antonio) before being ruled by Islam, Syria was ruled by Byzantine. The roman ambition to ruled over Islamic teritory and the cruelty of Caesar Heraclius. And among the atrocities that initiate the liberation of Syria and Damascuss is because the Caesar arrest and murdered Prophet Muhammad’s messenger. Read also about history of prohibition of alcohol in Islam.
Because of that reason, the battle of Mu’tah in September 629 AD broke near the village of Mu’tah, east of the Jordan River and Karak. The battle between the forces of Islam and the forces of Byzantine empire. The prophet dispatched about 3.000 of his troops led by Zayd ibn Harithah. Even muslims suffered defeat but it is still considered as a good first step.
After the battle of Mu’tah, there are several conquests led by the Islamic caliphate.
1. Conquest during the caliphate of Abu BakarDuring the caliphate of Abu Bakar, Muslims army was sent to Syria led by Khalid. With half of his troops which is 8.000 people. They give support to the muslims army in Syria. The reinforcement was able to infiltrate in Syria and appeared in the eastern of Byzantine. The army wins battle and the regions like Sawa, Syria, and Tadmur fall into the hand of Khalid following with Sukhnah, Qaryatain, and Hawarin.
2. Conquest during the caliphate of Umar ibn Khattab
The first region conquered is Damascus in the year of 635 AD and Jerusalem in the year of 637 AD also lead by Khalid ibn Walid during the caliphate of Umar ibn Khattab. Caliphate Umar divides Syria into 4 districts including Damascus, Hims, Jordan, and Palestine. He keeps the military army in their barracks, so that the lives of local people will not be disturbed and they can live as usual.
Many Arabian tribes in Syria begin to convert into Islam and because the caliph also applied religion tolerance, it give positive image to Nestorian Christians, Yacobite Christians and Jews who are persecuted during Roman rule. It later became as the important thing that make Islamic goverment success on managing their teritory in Syria.
3. Conquest during the caliphate of Ustman ibn Affan
During the rule of Ustman, there was a great scale of invation to take back Syria from Constatinus III. Caliph of Umar ordered the governor of Kufah to sent troops and along with the garrison in Syria to reclaim and fight againt Byzantine army in the North Syria.
At the time of Umayyads, Mu’awiyah made Damascus as the base power to widen the territory of Islam when he became caliph in 660 AD. He became the first Umayyad caliph who led the Islamic caliphate with a center in Syria and Damascus until the next century. You may want to know how did Islam become popular in India.
And from there Islamic became spread wide and be the part of the history of Syria.