Damascus

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Damascus, as—Sham or Dimashq, is the oldest city in the world. Recent archaeological discoveries suggest that Dimashq is older than 8,000 BC. It is said that the name “Sham” was derived from “Shem” or “Sam” in Arabic, the name of the eldest son of Prophet Nooh (Noah), alayhis salaam, who chose to live there after the floods.

635 CE was a turning point in the history of Dimashq. The city received the Islamic armies under the leadership of Khalid ibnul Waleed. The first decades of Islamic rule in Dimashq are considered the golden age of the city. In 661 CE. Dimashq became the capital of an empire that stretched from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the western borders of China. Later on, Dimashq became the Muslim’s stronghold during the Crusades. Its people defended the city very strongly and the attempts of the Crusades to capture the city failed.

The period between 1260 and 1400 was one of relative properity for Dimashq. In that period, the Crusader States fell to the Muslims, one after the other. In 1400, however, while the Dimashq armies were in the south, Tamerlane took advantage of the city’s lack of defenses. His Mongol hordes almost completely destroyed the city and killed everyone they could capture. After a ransom of one million pieces of gold was paid, Tamerlane left the city.

Dimashq was the capital of many Muslim leaders such as Nuruddeen Zenki and Salahuddeen al-Ayoubi. Many Important and famous Muslim scholars studied and lived in Dimashq, such as Shaikh al—Islam Ibn Taimiyyah, ibn Katheer, Imam al—Nawawi, and many others. Dimashq has a lot of masajid and madaress (schools). One very important site is the Umayyad Masjid, where Prophet Eesa, alayhis sallam, will be descending near its white minaret (tower) to begin the campaign against ad—Dajjal (Antichrist), the hadeeth says. “In the mean time when the Dajjal will be busy doing this and this. Allah will send down the Messiah, son of Mary, who will descend in the eastern part of Dimashq, near the white minaret (tower). (Muslim. Abu Dawud & Tirmithi).

The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, recommended it to many of his companions. “Oh Allah. bless our Sham. Oh Allah. bless our Yemen.” (Bukhari). Dimashq will be the place of assembly of the Muslims at the time of the Armageddon (al—Malhamah, the great war) which will be in al—Ghutah near Dimasq as narrated by Abu Dawud.

Al-Jumuah vol.10 issue8/9