Iraq Part 4: The Time of Umar

August 25, 2014 by . 0 comments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful

Very Quick Summer:

  •  Abu Bakr (Allah is pleased with him) dies
  • Umar (Allah is pleased with him) becomes Khalifah
  • At the requests of Al Muthna bin Haritha Umar (Allah is pleased with him) sends aid 
  • The battles in Iraq continue
  • The Muslimeen lose for the first time in the Battle of the Bridge
  • Al Qadisyyah
  • After Al Qadisyyah a number of battles happens
  • The Army reaches Al Mada’in which was the capital of Persia at that time, and fell into our hands


The Battle of Al Qadisyyah


The battle took place on the 13th of Sha’baan year 15 After Hijrah.  The Battle lasted for Three days.  The Muslim Army was lead by Sa’id bin abi Waqas and the Persian Army was lead by Rustum.  Throughout the days of the battle, victory swung between both sides, once the upper-hand was for the Muslims, and once the upper-hand was for the Persians and so on.  The battle ended with total victory for the Muslims and ended with the death of Rustum and many others for the Persians.


During the battle, aid was sent for Shaam (who on their side were fighting the Romans), the aid was not sent all at once but was split into the front which was to go on while the rest will be on their way.  Also during the battle, one of the problems facing the Muslim Army were the elephants (and this was a problem in the other battles as well).  The problem was, the horses of the Muslims were not used to seeing elephants and so they ran away from them, and this caused disorder.

And so it was decided  among the Muslims to make their own elephant, so they came with this animal and put wood on top of it and over it they put a cloth cutting the holes for the eyes and making a trunk, then they put a carrier on top (like what the Persians did with their elephants) tied down with a belt, and the Muslims would fight from the top.  It was ready to go into battle, and when it did the Persian’s horses ran away from this unusual and strange creature.  The Muslims made these strange creatures multiple times during the battle.

Also during the Battle it was noticed by one of the Muslim leaders that the rest of the aid from Shaam was about to come, so he sent to them with a plan and it was carried out.  They were to come not all at once, but in different groups each making the dust rise to make it seem there are a big number of them, and each saying the Takbeer.  And so this happened and caused (as was intended) fright and terror among the Persians.

After Rustum was killed, the Muslimeen wrapped up the battle and total victory was for them.

This was only a short summery of the battle and some of what happened during it.  To learn more, I recommend great resources like:

If you have any questions then please come and ask them here.


سبحان رب العزة عما يصفون، و سلام على المرسلين و الحمد لله رب العالمين

Filed under History, Iraq, Lands, Series

Iraq Part 3: The beginning of the conquests of Iraq

July 20, 2014 by . 1 comments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful

Very Short Summary:

  • The wars of Ar-Riddah end
  • Al Muthna bin Haritha carries out Raids on the Persia, later on sending requests to the Khalifah
  • Al Muthna bin Haritha sends a letter to the Khalifah seeking aid
  • The Khalifah sends a letter to Khalid Ibnu Walid, the Sword of Allah
  • Khalid Ibnu Walid sends letters out to the leaders to gather Muslims
  • Abu Bakr sends two armies
  • Khalid Ibnu Walid enters Iraq with his army from the south, the number of men around 18,000
  • Ayyadh Bin Ghanam enters Iraq with his army from the north-east
  • Khalid was victorious in all four battles before reaching Al Hayrah, which was the goal of both armies, for whoever got there first would lead
  • After the fall of Al Hayrah, Khalid Ibnu Walid gave the army a break to rest

The Plan of Abu Bakr

Simply put, the plan of Abu Bakr was to send two armies into Iraq from two different locations.  One from below (South), the other from above (North), each army’s goal is to reach Al Hayrah, conquering the places on the way to it.  If one of the armies reaches the goal before the other, that army takes lead, but if both armies reach the goal at the same time, one would go on while the others stays behind to protect their backs

Abu Bakr said:

إذا اجتمعتما بالحيرة وقد فضضتما مسالح فارس وأمنتما أن يؤتى المسلمون من خلفهم فليكن أحدكما ردءا للمسلمين ولصاحبه بالحيرة وليقتحم الآخر على عدو الله وعدوكم من أهل فارس دارهم ومستقر عزهم المدائن

تاريخ الطبري (2\308)ب

If you two reached (at the same time) Al Hyrah, and have made sure you cannot be attacked from behind, then let one of  you be a shield for the Muslims, and the other forward and storm the house of the enemies of Allah and your enemies, and the residence of their glory Al Mada’in.

The Advice of Abu Bakr:

Among the Advice which Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) gave to the two armies:

واستعينوا بالله واتقوه وآثروا أمر الآخرة على الدنيا يجتمعا لكم ولا تؤثروا الدنيا فتسلبوهما واحذروا ما حذركم الله بترك المعاصي ومعاجلة التوبة وإياكم والإصرار وتأخير التوبة

And Rely on Allah and choose the hereafter over this Dunya and both will be for you.  And Do not choose this Dunya and go after it, and beware of what Allah has warned you by leaving off sins and hurrying with repentance, and do not insist on sins and do not delay repentance.


He also advised to allow all those who wished to return and not fight to do so, and to get all those who fought the Murtaddeen to come with the armies and fight, and also not to allow anyone who was a Murtad (and repented) to fight until he (Abu Bakr) looks into it and allows so,  Source, Secondary Source.

And so, the two armies became ready, and the conquests of Iraq began.  If you have any questions that came to mind during your reading, I recommend you come and ask it here.

My main sources that I am using for this blog-post are:

  1. Tarikh Attabari (تاريخ الطبري)

سبحان رب العزة عما يصفون، و سلام على المرسلين و الحمد لله رب العالمين

Filed under Iraq, Lands, Series

A Place for the Arabic Language on the StackExchange Network

July 1, 2014 by . 0 comments

This is a Special and not part of the ongoing Series, the next post of the series will be out on July 20th

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful

Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Arabic Language     The Arabic Language is extremely important, Allah has chosen it to reveal the Quran because of it’s extreme clarity and encompassing of meanings (and more) of which no other language has.  Allah says:

بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِيٍّ مُبِينٍ 

In a clear Arabic language.

سورة الشعراء

Ahmad Bin Faris said in his book(PDF Page 19)

فلما خَصَّ جل ثناؤه  اللسانَ العربيَّ بالبيانِ، عُلِمَ أن سائر اللغات قاصرةٌ عنه، وواقعة دونه

And so When Allah specialized the Arabic Language with Bayan, then it is known that every other language is limited from it and inferior

 The Arabic Language is the Language and key to the Quran and Sunnah, it is part of the Deen and Aqeedah, and through speaking it it positively affects the brain, manners, and ones Deen.  The learning of Arabic is a Fard, but the Fard changes for the different parts of the Language.  As some parts are Fard for every single person to learn, while other parts are Fard on the Kifayah.

Ummar Ibnul Khattab said:

تعلَّموا العربيةَ؛ فإنها من دينِكم، وتعلَّموا الفرائضَ؛ فإنها من دينكم

Learn the Arabic Language; for it is of your Deen, and learn the obligations; for it is of your Deen

Source(Page 9)

With that, I will like to briefly speak about StackExchange.  StackExchange is a network of high quality expert Q&A sites on various subjects.  Each site is built and managed by the community, and the goal is to create a repository of high quality questions and answers.  Now every site starts from a proposal, and currently there is one that exists in attempt to build a StackExchange Q&A site for the Arabic Language.

Some Details About the Proposal



اقتراح إنشاء موقع أسئلة وأجوبة يضم المتعلمين، اللغويين، والخبراء بمجالات اللغة العربية ليناقشوا ما يتعلق بهذه اللغة.

Proposed Q&A site for non-native & native Arabic Language learners, linguists & experts to discuss finer points of the language.

Currently the proposal needs more followers who post their example questions and vote accordingly on the others, so that we can build a good high quality Q&A site for Arabic on this network, that can benefit those that come across it.

If you have any questions about the Arabic Language from the Islamic perspective, then please come ask it here.  If you have any question or want a discussion about the proposal then click the “Start Discussion” button here.  If you have a question about the Arabic Language itself or one of it’s sciences, please do not ask it on the Islam site but reserve it for when the Arabic proposal goes to beta, thank you.

سبحان رب العزة عما يصفون، و سلام على المرسلين و الحمد لله رب العالمين

Iraq Part 2: Iraq in the Hadith

June 15, 2014 by . 0 comments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful

In the previous blog-post, I mentioned the few places in the Quran in which Iraq was mentioned or referred to.  In this blog-post, I shall be mentioning what the Prophet  has said in regards to Iraq,making sure that my sources are Authentic.

The Prophet has said About Iraq:

  • Iraq is the land of earthquakes and trials and tribulations, and from it the side of Shaytaan’s head will comes out.  Source
  • There will be a time when the non-Arab world will block of the people of Iraq, and the people of Iraq will go through such a hard time that they would not be able to send out their  money and food at the same time.  Source
  • There will come a time when the Ephorates would uncover a mountain of Gold, and when that time comes and people hear of the news, they would run towards that place to get some, and at that place a battle will rage over that mountain of Gold so fierce that out of every One Hundred people, one will only survive.  The Prophet ﷺ advised those who live when this time comes, to not take anything from it.  Source

Above is three Ahadeeth from the Prophet  and what he has said about Iraq, and what will happen there in the future.  I pray this post was beneficial for you, and if you have questions that arose during your reading of this post, I recommend you come ask it here.


سبحان رب العزة عما يصفون، و سلام على المرسلين و الحمد لله رب العالمين

Filed under Iraq, Lands, Series

Story of this Land Part 2: Iraq Pt 1: Iraq in the Quran

April 26, 2014 by . 3 comments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful

Iraq is mentioned (or referred to) in the Quran in a few places, this post will list them in order of the time the events mentioned in the Ayat happened along with a link to the tafseer of the Ayah for further information on the meaning of it and the different views that scholars have on it.

Ibraheem and Loot (ابراهيم و لوط) 

Iraq was the land in which Ibraheem (May Peace and blessings be upon him) was born, and the land in which he gave Da’wah to his people, and the land from which he and Loot (لوط) made hijra from to Biladu Shaam (بلاد الشام).

ونجيناه ولوطاً إلى الأرض التي باركنا فيها للعالمين

And We delivered him and Lot to the land which We had blessed for the worlds.

سورة اﻷنيباء

ِAlthough there is a small difference between scholars on the land to which Ibraheem and Loot (لوط) were saved too, some say Shaam others say Makkah.  For further information see: IslamWeb – Tafseer Attabari (Arabic)

After Sulayman (سليمان عليه السلام)

After the death of Prophet Sulayman (Peace be upon him) the nation of Bani Isra’eel started to decline, and corruption started entering the practices of traders and businessmen. The Qur’an mentions that Bani Isra’eel were prophesied to rise up and be corrupt in the land twice, and then fall.

The first prophesy was fulfilled by the Persians, then later on the Romans.  When the Persians came, they did their doings, they took a group as prisoners, and went to Babylon in Iraq (link).  Practice of magic was also prevalent among the Jews at this time, taught by the Shayateen after Sulayman, so Allah sent two angels as a test for them, those that failed the test lost the hereafter.

وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ ۖ وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَٰكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنِ بِبَابِلَ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ ۚ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلَا تَكْفُرْ ۖ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنْهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَزَوْجِهِ ۚ وَمَا هُم بِضَارِّينَ بِهِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ ۚ وَلَقَدْ عَلِمُوا لَمَنِ اشْتَرَاهُ مَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ ۚ وَلَبِئْسَ مَا شَرَوْا بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ

And they followed [instead] what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, “We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic].” And [yet] they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife. But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allah . And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew.

سورة البقرة

The people of Yunus (Peace be upon him)

The people of Yunus, are those of the village of Ninawa in Iraq.  They are a mix of the Assyrians and Jews under the kings of Babylon.  When Yunus was sent to them he called them, and they did not listen, so Yunus became frustrated and left promising them the punishment of Allah.  Before the punishment was upon them the people repented and believed and so the punishment did not befall them.  (Link)

فَلَوْلَا كَانَتْ قَرْيَةٌ آمَنَتْ فَنَفَعَهَا إِيمَانُهَا إِلَّا قَوْمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّا آمَنُوا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمْ عَذَابَ الْخِزْ
يِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ
Then has there not been a [single] city that believed so its faith benefited it except the people of Jonah? When they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in worldly life and
gave them enjoyment for a time.


If you have any questions then please come ask it here.

سبحان رب العزة عما يصفون، و سلام على المرسلين و الحمد لله رب العالمين

Filed under Iraq, Lands, Series

The Blessed Land Part 3: The rightly guided Khulafa’

March 1, 2014 by . 2 comments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful

Background of Ash-Sham in the 634 CE

We begin with a review of the political situation of Ash-Sham just before the Muslims conquered it during the year 634 CE. The region was contested by the two superpowers of the time: Byzantine Rome and the Sassanid Persians. The Byzantine-Sassanian war — which had only recently ended in 628 — was a brutal war, leaving both empires weakened and depleted. It was a pyrrhic victory for the Byzantines, with not much to show for their efforts.

The Prophet Muhammad صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم had recently passed away in 632 CE. Apostasy sprung up everywhere in the Arabian Peninsula, leading up to the Ridda Wars. Abu Bakar As-Siddeeq, the first Caliph of the Muslim nation managed to end the war and unite the Arabian Peninsula. He had sent Khalid b. Al-Waleed on a military campaign of Persia right after the wars. The bulk of the Persian army were conscripts, used to support the elite forces of Persia. This caused very high number of casualties reported in all wars against Persia.

The Byzantines on the other hand consisted mainly of trained forces. The Romans had a long military history and had the best heavy infantry and heavy cavalry in the world at the time. They were very educated in military strategy.

In almost every battle since the Hijra, the Muslims had been greatly outnumbered. The Muslim leaders and generals are used to fighting against superior numbers and had adapted their tactics as such. Khalid b. Al-Waleed’s skirmish tactics fared well against the heavily armored Roman forces. The Muslims had extremely high morale and bravery on the battlefield, as they expected to be paid with martyrdom, instead of wealth.

Motive of the Conquest of Ash-Sham

The Muslims had little need for wealth, power, and land. The war sparked partly because of their very poor relations with the Romans. The Prophet Muhammad had sent out letters to Heraclius, the Roman Emperor and Al-Haarith, the Roman viceroy over the Arabs in Ash-Sham, inviting them to Islam. Al-Haarith was overcome with pride and almost attacked the Prophet in Madeenah, but was commanded by Heraclius not to.

An ambassador of the Prophet, Al-Harith bin ‘Umair Al-Azdi was killed by Sharhabeel bin ‘Amr Al-Ghassani. An army was sent, but was defeated and retreated. Despite the defeat, it left a good impression that the Muslims were not afraid to stand up against the Romans.

The Romans posed a fearsome threat, and the Prophet considered going to war with them. Revelation was sent down in several parts of Sura At-Tawbah, and the Prophet Muhammad declared that the Muslims would go to war. Many of the Prophet’s companions donated almost everything they owned to prepare for the impeding war.

In the year 630 CE, the Prophet Muhammad marched to war with 30 thousand men. Their target was Tabouk. There was no battle at Tabouk, the Romans simply retreated out of the city when the Prophet Muhammad’s army arrived. This increased the momentum against Rome. Even on the day of the Prophet’s death, armies waged minor skirmishes against Byzantines, but no conquests.

Abu Bakr Considers Attacking the Romans

At the end of the Ridda Wars, Caliph Abu Bakr considered attacking the Romans. It was certainly a difficult decision, as the Romans were very threatening.

Shurahbeel ibn Hasanah, one of the military commanders during the Ridda Wars, told Caliph Abu Bakr of a dream he had:

“O Khaleefah of the Messenger of Allah, I indeed saw something, and by ‘saw’, I mean what a person sees when one is sleeping: It was as if you were walking among the people above a rough and uneven mountain-pass, and you continued to do so until you ascended to a very high peak. You overlooked the people, and you had with you your companions. Then you descended from those peaks and landed on a flat, soft part of the eart – one that had in it fields, villages, and fortresses. And you said to the Muslims, ‘Attack the enemy of Allah, and I will guarantee for you both victory and spoils.’ I am among them and I have with me a flag. I take the flag and head towards the people of the village, and they ask me for a guarantee of safety, and I grant it to them. Then I return and find that you have reached a huge fortress. Allah then grants you victory, and the people (inside of the fortress) surrender to you. Allah then provides you with a kind of chair, and you sit on it. Then someone says to you, ‘Allah bestows upon you victory, and help has come to you, so thank your Lord and be obedient to Him.’ The same person then recites [of Sura An-Nasr:1-3]: ‘When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest, And you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes, Then exalt [Him] with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance.’

Abu Bakr then said:

“You have given me glad tidings of victory, and at the same time, you have given me news about my death. As for the rough mountain-pass that you saw us in, and from which I ascended to the high peak, from where I overlooked the people – it means that we will face many hardships and difficulties, and that the enemy will face many hardships and difficulties as well. Our being raised (to the peak of the mountain) signifies that we will be raised above our enemy and that our cause will prevail. In terms of us descending from the high mountain-pass and landing on earth that is flat and soft and that contains in it fields, springs, villages, and castles – all of that signifies that our agriculture and standard of living, our situation will become easier than it was before. And as for me saying to Muslims, ‘Attack the enemy of Allah for I will guarantee for you both victory and spoils’, this refers to when Muslims are in the territory of the polytheists. I will encourage them to perform Jihaad, and I will remind them about the rewards and spoils that will be distributed among them. As for the flag you had – that signifies that you will be one of the Muslim commanders and that Allah will grant victory at your hands. The fortress that Allah enabled me to conquer refers to those lands over which Allah will grant me victory. The person who was ordering me to obey Allah and reciting the chapter of the Quran, was in fact announcing my imminent death. When the same Chapter was revealed (to the Prophet), Allah announced to the Prophet his imminent death.”

Caliph Abu Bakr brought his advisors together and they unanimously agreed to attack the Romans, but in different ways. Umar wanted large waves of forces in Ash-Sham, Abdur Rahman wanted skirmishes and raids. Abu Bakr went with Umar’s way.
Abu Bakr’s Military Campaign on Ash-Sham
Abu Bakr sent out four armies in four waves, one after the other.
Word of this got to the Roman Emperor Heraclius. Heraclius ordered his troops to allow the Muslim armies easy victory to pull them further into Roman lands and trick the Muslims into becoming complacent. Once they were deep in their territory, he planned to ambush every army individually. Very large armies were dedicated to the task. For example, 90 thousand soldiers under the leadership of Theodore were dedicated to countering ‘Amr ibn Al- ‘Aas, who led about 6 thousand Muslim soldiers.
The Muslims learned of this plan and wrote to Caliph Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr told the Muslim armies to abandon their conquests and withdraw. They were to gather at a place outside the Roman borders, at Yarmouk. He requested volunteers from within the Arabian tribes and sent them out as reinforcements. Khalid Al-Waleed was pulled from his Persian campaign to Yarmouk, and had to cross one of the harshest deserts to make it there in time.
This withdrawal was the opposite of what Heraclius wanted. The Roman Emperor wanted to fight the Muslims on their grounds and he planned to defeat the armies one by one. One of the armies, led by ‘Amr was being chased by a superior force. Khalid Al-Waleed came to his aid, and with skirmish tactics, delayed the pursuing army.   Muslim sources say that Theodore, brother of Heraclius was killed in this skirmish, but on the other hand Western sources say that he survived but later imprisoned in Constantinople.

Battle of Yarmouk

The Muslims pulled the Romans into a large decisive battle at Yarmouk. This battle has been noted as one of the most decisive battles in history, where a small army defeated a much larger army with superior training and equipment.

The Romans numbered about over 100 thousand. The Muslims numbered less than 40 thousand, and were led by Khalid b. al-Walid. The region was hilly and difficult to manuever in and the Romans stood with their backs to a river. A Roman commander, George, converted to Islam right before the battle started, but died the same day.

The battle went on for six days. For the first 5 days, the Muslims were on the defense. The Romans were unable to inflict much damage, and several Roman commanders were slain by Muslim swordsmen. Khalid was able to read many of their moves and outflank them effectively. The Romans made poor use of their cavalry, whereas Khalid did excellently with his.

On Day 6, Khalid pulled off an effective attack, destroying the Roman cavalry and forcing a retreat. The dangerous terrain caused many Romans to fall off cliffs or drown in their retreat. All in all, roughly 50 thousand Roman soldiers were killed and the Muslims lost only about 4 thousand soldiers.

Military Campaign Under ‘Umar

On the same day as the Battle of Yarmouk, Caliph Abu Bakr passed away. The news was only given to the forces after their victory, as to not lower their morale too early. ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab took the role of Caliph and removed Khalid b. Al-Waleed from the commander role, to be replaced with Abu Ubaidah. His justification for removing Khalid was that the Muslims might become too dependent on him for success and forget that success comes from Allah. However, Khalid remained to serve a role as advisor and warrior.

The remnants of the Byzantine army at Yarmouk battle fled to Damascus and Fahl (Pella). ‘Umar commanded that a siege be laid on Damascus and that a minor cavalry detachment be sent to Fahl. Damascus was a major fortress in Ash-Sham, considered the seat of the kingdom. It played a major role in the Byzantine-Sassanian war and was well defended. The Muslims were unable to breach the walls, but Khalid found an unguarded point where the moat of the fortress was most difficult to cross and climbed the walls there. Sources vary on what happened then, but some say that the Romans in Damascus immediately surrendered after they got into the walls.

Fahl held mostly demoralized Roman remnants from previous battles, but their numbers were about 100 thousand. The Romans flooded the area with sea water to impede the Arabian cavalry, who were used to fighting on dry ground. During the siege, the Romans tried to take advantage of their numbers and launch a pre-emptive night attack. Battle went on for a full day until a Roman commander was killed. The Romans had trouble withdrawing because of the flooded marshes and lost the battle.

The Muslims besieged and conquered several other cities, notably Homs, Qanessarin, Caesarea, and Antioch.

Conquest of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, the Holy City to so many religions, was perhaps the most strongly fortified city in Ash-Sham. Just two decades earlier, a war between Rome and Persia was waged over it. Its conquest and liberation was the goal of the Romans in that war. Just before the Muslims attacked it, the Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius moved Christian relics to Constantinople, including the True Cross.

The Muslims were unable to breach its thick walls, so they did a long siege lasting four months. Large garrisons were in place in Ramallah and Caesarea. Caliph ‘Umar dispatched other smaller armies to distract these garrisons. Caesarea was taken only much later.

Sources differ about the degree of fighting involved. Some, like Dr. `Ali Muhammad say that it involved a difficult battle with the Patriach’s armies outside the gates of  Jerusalem, and daily attacks on the walls of Jerusalem. Others, like E. Gibbon, say that it was a bloodless siege.

The Patriarch of Jerusalem chose to only surrender to ‘Umar in person, and so ‘Umar came himself from Madinah.

The Covenant of ‘Umar

The terms placed upon Jerusalem were extremely lenient compared to what the previous owners of Jerusalem had demanded. The Romans had expelled the Jews from Judea and destroyed many temples in the first century CE. In 614 CE, the Persians had looted Jerusalem, destroyed churches, and killed tens of thousands of Christians.

‘Umar offered the following terms, among others:

  • Full protection of the people of Jerusalem, their money, churches, children and other innocents.
  • Their churches are not taken, not destroyed, and not to be degraded.
  • Nobody is forced to change religion or is harmed.
  • Jews are not to live with them in Jerusalem. However, the Jews are permitted to worship in Jerusalem again.
  • The people of Jerusalem are to remove the Romans and other robbers from the land.
  • The people of Jerusalem who do not wish to convert to Islam must pay Jizyah
  • Whoever was present before the war can stay there and pay Jizyah

And such was how Ash-Sham and its cities came to be under Muslim rule. I end with a quote from page 685-686 of The Biography of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, by Dr. ‘Ali Muhammad, translated by Faisal Shafeeq. While I could not find a secondary citation to support this, it is a good reminder.

The news of the defeat at Yarmook was too much to bear for Haraql [Roman Emperor Heraclius]. When he was informed about the humiliating loss and the tens of thousands of Roman soldiers that had died, Haraql first was put into a state of shock, and then was overcome by extreme grief and sadness. A short while later, bands of Roman soldiers made their way back to Antaakiyyah. Wanting a first-hand account of what had gone wrong Haraql said to them, “Woe upon you! Inform me about the people who fought against you: are they not human beings like you?” They said, “Yes.” Haraql asked, “And did you not outnumber them?” They said, “Yes, in every battle we were many times more than them.” Haraql asked, “Then what was your problem? Why did you suffer defeat at their hands?” An old and wise leader among them was the only one who ventured a reply: “We were defeated because they stand up at night (to pray), they fast during the day, they fulfill their covenants, they enjoin good, they forbid evil, and they are just and fair among themselves; and because we drink alcohol, we perpetrate unlawful acts, we violate the terms of our covenants, we become angry and oppress others, we enjoin angry (and senseless acts of violence), we forbid the things that please Allah, and we spread corruption throughout the earth.” “You have answered me truthfully,” Haraql then said to him. Haraql appreciated the fact that, while no one else had the courage to speak their minds, the old, wise man answered him in a forthright, sincere, and judicious manner.

Filed under History, Lands, Palestine, Series, Shaam

The Blessed Land Part 2: Bani Isra’eel

February 15, 2014 by . 1 comments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful

This post will discuss the early history of the Bani Isra’eel in the holy land, largely as told in the Qur’an.

The Beginning

This story, as is known, starts with the Prophet Ibraheem/Abraham (Peace and blessings be upon him) who had two sons.  The first was Isma’eel/Ishmael (Peace be upon him), and the second was given to him and his wife at old age, his name was Ishaaq/Isaac (Peace be upon him) who himself had a son who was Ya’qoob (Peace be upon him).

Ya’qoob (Peace be upon him) who was also known as Israel had twelve sons among the was the Prophet of Allah Yusuf (Peace be upon).  Yusuf, who is also known as the Prophet of God, the Son of the Prophet of God, the son of the Prophet of God, the son of the friend of God, ended up in Egypt in the well known story.  From there Ya’qoob (Peace be upon him) and the sons with him moved to Egypt leaving behind the life of Bedouins.

Throughout this whole time, Israel (Peace be upon him) and his twelve sons and their descendants followed the way of Ibraheem, but as time went on the people became split into fractions and Bani Isra’eel became an oppressed people.  This went on for about 300 years (and Allah knows best) until Allah sent Musa (Peace be upon him)  to free Bani Isra’eel.  The story of Musa (Peace be upon him) and the Pharaoh (فرعون) is known and will not be discussed here.

Musa موسى Peace be upon him

The incidents that happened in Egypt are known, and Musa (Peace be upon him) was ordered to take Bani Isra’eel with him out of Egypt by crossing the sea, as is known Allah ordered Musa to hit the sea with his staff and the sea parted, and Musa (Peace be upon him) crossed with the small number his people with him who also crossed.

The Qur’an narrates the incidents that happened before they reached Palestine, from their refusal to believe until they see Allah to the request of having an idol like the one they saw a people worshiping when they passed by, to the incident of worshiping of the calf, to their staying in Madian or a place near it.  When they finally reached Palestine and were ordered to fight with the tidings of victory, and so with clear disbelief they refused to enter the blessed land.

يَا قَوْمِ ادْخُلُوا الْأَرْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةَ الَّتِي كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَرْتَدُّوا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِكُمْ فَتَنقَلِبُوا خَاسِرِينَ

O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you and do not turn back [from fighting in Allah ‘s cause] and [thus] become losers.”

قَالُوا يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنَّ فِيهَا قَوْمًا جَبَّارِينَ وَإِنَّا لَن نَّدْخُلَهَا حَتَّىٰ يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا فَإِن يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا فَإِنَّا دَاخِلُونَ

They said, “O Moses, indeed within it is a people of tyrannical strength, and indeed, we will never enter it until they leave it; but if they leave it, then we will enter.”

قَالَ رَجُلَانِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمَا ادْخُلُوا عَلَيْهِمُ الْبَابَ فَإِذَا دَخَلْتُمُوهُ فَإِنَّكُمْ غَالِبُونَ ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَتَوَكَّلُوا إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

Said two men from those who feared [to disobey] upon whom Allah had bestowed favor, “Enter upon them through the gate, for when you have entered it, you will be predominant. And upon Allah rely, if you should be believers.”

قَالُوا يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنَّا لَن نَّدْخُلَهَا أَبَدًا مَّا دَامُوا فِيهَا ۖ فَاذْهَبْ أَنتَ وَرَبُّكَ فَقَاتِلَا إِنَّا هَاهُنَا قَاعِدُونَ
They said, “O Moses, indeed we will not enter it, ever, as long as they are within it; so go, you and your Lord, and fight. Indeed, we are remaining right here.”
The Forty Years and Taloot (طالوت)
And so it was made forbidden for them to enter it or even step on to it for forty years.  After forty years,  a Prophet was sent to them and they asked to be able to fight, so Taloot طالوت  (King Saul) was sent as a king for them to fight with.  On the way to fight the Canaanite people, they were tested with the Jordan river: whoever drank from it was no longer part of the army, and whoever didn’t went on with Taloot طالوت to fight.  The majority of them drank from the river.
The remaining went on to fight, and their number was about the number of Muslims during the Battle of Badr two thousand odd years later, about three hundred and thirteen, and all those who crossed the river were believers.  Among them was Dawood/David (Peace be upon him), who killed Jaloot/جالوت .  Then kingship was given to him and he established the first Jewish state in the Quds.
Dawood داود  Peace be upon him
Dawood (Peace be upon him) was very righteous, made much worship, and was knowledgeable, he was also soft and lenient.  His main work was developing this new state and gathering strength to defend it from those around it, as it was still very small and based in Baytul Maqdis.  Among the things that he did was make metal shields for the people to wear.  When Dawood (Peace be upon him) died, his son Sulayman (سليمان)/Solomon (Peace be upon him) became heir to his father.
Sulayman سليمان Peace be upon him
Sulayman (سليمان) (Peace be upon him) was like his father one of the great Prophets, and was very righteous, powerful, and knowledgeable.  Allah gave him control over the wind and the Jinn, and could understand animals.  He (Peace be upon him) took up what his father left in building and defending this state, and had an extremely powerful army of Jinn, men, and birds, but like his father he did not seek expansion, and made do with what Allah gave him.
The first Corruption
After Sulayman (سليمان) (Peace be upon him) died, the rulers after him were not Prophets, and Prophets now came from among the people.  This nation did not fall immediately after Sulayman’s (سليمان) (Peace be upon him) death.  One of his sons became ruler after him, and the people (especially the traders and businessmen) grew corrupt.  As time went by, corruption spread through the majority of the people.   From total shirk and disbelief, to killing Prophets and giving them hard times, to making what is forbidden permissible, and what is permissible forbidden.  To breaking all the covenants and pledges, and to modifying Scripture. There were however still those who were righteous and followed the Prophets and did as they were commanded, by spreading the truth, and commanding the good and forbidding the evil.
The Romans
This spread of corruption among the people and their disobedience was the cause of divine punishment; Allah sent against them enemies who expelled them from the land.  It didn’t happen all of a sudden, among the first attacks a group was taken as prisoners to Babylon, and then later returned.  Then during the Roman rule they existed in the Quds for centuries until the Prophet Isa/Jesus (Peace be upon him) arrived and returned to Allah, when the existence of the Jews in the Quds was no more.  The Jews were then scattered through out the Roman empire and there were those who were in Arabia as is known.
What is known as Jerusalem was renamed Iylia’ (ايلياء), and stayed like that until the conquests of Shaam began, and Palestine was conquered during the time of Al Farooq Umar (May Allah be pleased with him).  Insha’Allah the next blog-post of this series will be talking about the Palestine when it was conquered during the time of Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) during what was known as the conquests of Sham started by Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him).
If you have any questions that came up while you were reading this, then come and ask them here.  Please make sure that your question fits the rules of the site first.   And I end with that.
سبحان رب العزة عما يصفون، و سلام على المرسلين و الحمد لله رب العالمين

Filed under History, Lands, Palestine, Series

Story of this Land Part 1: The blessed/holy land Pt1

January 30, 2014 by . 0 comments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ

Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed

The Blessed and Holy land of Palestine, a very ancient land, has a rich history of humanity.  A history thousands if not millions of years before the birth of The Last Prophet of this world ﷺ.  A history before Bani Isra’eel (the children of Isra’eel, also known as the Jews) entered the land.  Among the peoples who lived on this land before the Jews were the people of Canaan, and later on the Amorite, and many other peoples.

After the downfall of the Bani Isra’eel, the land hosted the Persians and the Romans, and the defeat that came to them and their return:

الم * غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ * فِي أَدْنَى الْأَرْضِ وَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ * فِي بِضْعِ سِنِينَ ۗ لِلَّهِ الْأَمْرُ مِن قَبْلُ وَمِن بَعْدُ ۚوَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

The Byzantines have been defeated * In the nearest land. But they, after their defeat, will overcome * Within three to nine years. To Allah belongs the command before and after. And that day the believers will rejoice

سورة الروم

At the center of this land, Masjid al-Aqsa was the Muslims’ first Qibla.  And to this land the Prophet ﷺ came to during the night Journey.  This land has been ruled by almost all the khilafat, from the righteous Khulafa’, to the Abbasid, to the Umayyad, to the Salajaqa, to the Ottomans.

Palestine has, is, and will always be seen important to many nations on this earth.  In the past, among those that desired it were the Crusaders and the Mongols, and currently the Israelis.

Like the Jews, this land is important and holy and part of Muslim creed.  It is in Islam as important as Makkah and Madinah.  As is known, Masjidul Aqsa in the Quds was our first Qibla before it was changed to the Ka’bah, meaning that even in Makkah when they were next to the Ka’bah they still had to face Al Aqsa, and this was to implant the realization of its greatness within the Muslims (and of course there are other reasons).

When the Prophet ﷺ went on the night journey, Allah did not take him from Makkah where the Ka’bah is, but from Masjidul Aqsa where what happened there is known then from there He took the Prophet  ﷺ up.  There are a number of wisdom and reasons behind this, among them was to show the oneness of what all the messengers came with, as well as to show its greatness and the land around it and raise its status in the hearts of the Muslims.

After the Qibla was changed, the status of Masjidul Aqsa did not change or become lowered, but the Prophet ﷺ tied it to Makkah and Madinah when he ﷺ said:

لاَ تَشُدُّوا الرِّحَالَ إِلاَّ إِلَى ثَلاَثَةِ مَسَاجِدَ مَسْجِدِي هَذَا وَالْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَالْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى

Do not set out on a journey (for religious devotion) but for the three mosques-for this mosque of mine (at Medina) the Sacred Mosque (at Mecca), and the Mosque al-Aqsa (Bait al-Maqdis)

صحيح مسلم (Muslim)

Many lessons can be learned by studying the history of this land which can be beneficial to Muslims today.  History has been called the mirror of nations, it reflects its past and defines its future, and a nation which does not have a history does not exist, as a nation lives with the existence of history and dies without it (Source).

So what is going to be done from the next upcoming blog-post until the end of the series posts about history of Palestine, is tell the history from the time Bani Isra’eel entered Palestine until their political re-entry in 1948 and establishing of what is known today as the state of Israel.  Of course to entirely recall the history of this land from one point to another requires the writing of an entire book, so what will be done is the posts will suffice with a moderate amount of details Insha’Allah.

سبحان رب العزة عما يصفون، و سلام على المرسلين و الحمد لله رب العالمين

Filed under History, Lands, Palestine, Series

The Excellence of Shaam

January 15, 2014 by . 1 comments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful

Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan all make up what is known as Bilad Ash-Shaam (بلاد الشام).  In this post we will look at the virtues of this land mentioned in Islamic scripture.

There are many verses in the Quran which mention this great land.  This is he land which Ibraheem and Loot (لوط) (peace be upon them both) made hijra to:

وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَلُوطًا إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا لِلْعَالَمِينَ

And We delivered him and Lot to the land which We had blessed for the worlds

 (Surat Al-‘Anbyā’) Ayah 71سورة الأنبياء

and Allah said in regards to Palestine (Which is a part of Shaam) it is the  holy/pure land:

يَا قَوْمِ ادْخُلُوا الْأَرْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةَ الَّتِي كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَرْتَدُّوا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِكُمْ فَتَنقَلِبُوا خَاسِرِينَ

O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you and do not turn back [from fighting in Allah ‘s cause] and [thus] become losers.”

سورة المائدة (Surat Al Ma’idah Verse 21)

There are also many authentic ahadeeth about this land, I will mention some.

This land, is God’s chosen land, The Prophet ﷺ said:

عَلَيْكَ بِالشَّامِ فَإِنَّهَا خِيَرَةُ اللَّهِ مِنْ أَرْضِهِ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهَا خِيَرَتَهُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ

Go to Syria, for it is Allah’s chosen land, to which his best servants will be gathered

رواه أبو داود (Abi Dawood)

This is the land which the Angels spread their wings over, The Prophet ﷺ said:

طُوبَى لِلشَّامِ ‏ ‏.‏ فَقُلْنَا لأَىٍّ ذَلِكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ‏ لأَنَّ مَلاَئِكَةَ الرَّحْمَنِ بَاسِطَةٌ أَجْنِحَتَهَا عَلَيْهَا

‘Tuba is for Ash-Sham.’ So we said: ‘Why is that O Messenger of Allah?’ He said: ‘Because the angels of Ar-Rahman spread their wings over it

جامع الترمذي (Attirmithi)

This land is also the land of the Resurrection and Gathering.  This land is a place of Iman when there will be trials and tribulations at the end of times.  This land is the place of knowledge and Islam.  This is the land that the Prophet ﷺ asked Allah to bless:

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي شَأْمِنَا، اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي يَمَنِنَا

O Allah! Bestow Your blessings on our Sham! O Allah! Bestow Your blessings on our Yemen

رواه البخاري (ِAl Bukari)

This land is the scale of this ummah, if the people of this land become corrupt, then there is no good for us.  The Prophet ﷺ said:

إِذَا فَسَدَ أَهْلُ الشَّامِ فَلاَ خَيْرَ فِيكُمْ لاَ تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي مَنْصُورِينَ لاَ يَضُرُّهُمْ مَنْ خَذَلَهُمْ حَتَّى تَقُومَ السَّاعَةُ

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

جامع الترمذي (Attirmithi)

And there is more about the importance and excellence of this land, Bilad Ash-Shaam (بلاد الشام), but I will end with this.  If you have any questions about this subject, then I suggest you ask here.

سبحان رب العزة عما يصفون، و سلام على المرسلين و الحمد لله رب العالمين

Filed under Lands, Shaam

Islam.SE: A Retrospective

December 31, 2013 by . 3 comments

Not too long ago, I was asked to prepare a retrospective on the site, to commemorate yet another year of existence.  I figured, hey, what better way to celebrate our 560th day anniversary (which just happens to coincide with the end of the Gregorian calendar year, what a coincidence).

Of course, you can’t let that 560 fool you; that’s just when we entered beta, merely one of the many steps we’ve actually taken to get this site where it is.  Rather than deal with only the last year, I feel a true retrospective would need to go back much further than that else I’d be doing a disservice to everyone.

How far back, you ask?  How about September of 2009.

A site four years in the making

That’s right, four years ago.  That’s when Jeff and Joel first released the Stack Exchange platform for public consumption, opening this unique form of Q&A to the wide wide world of…well…not-programmers.

I was walking the local trails while listening to the Stack Overflow podcast (as I do) when I heard them announce it.  Now at this point I was well-familiar — and had been for a good decade, at least — with Islamic forums, blogs, and fatwa sites, and the problems they posed to anyone interested in a serious study of Islam.  The idea — the very potential — of applying the Stack Overflow model (which I was also well-familiar with) to the practice of Islamic studies quite literally stopped me in my tracks.

I spent the rest of that afternoon working out the logistics of getting such a site running.  Not only concerns with hosting and income — Stack Exchange 1.0 was not the free hosted service it is today — but also trying to predict, analyse and resolve issues that would inevitably come up when you throw different schools of Muslim together under one roof.  But the biggest problem, the one that I just plain couldn’t figure out how to tackle, was the problem of actually building the community.

I knew the Stack Overflow model well enough to know that there was no way it would survive without a community, and anyone who knows me knows that “community building” is not on any list of my strengths.  But I set my mind to tackling this problem as I had tried to tackle the rest.

Unfortunately, I kept hitting the same roadblock.  No matter what scenario I built up in my mind, no matter what I had otherwise achieved with the site itself, no matter what tack I chose to attract new users to the site, I knew exactly what question would be coming, just as I knew that I would have exactly no answer for it:

“Where are the scholars?”

Where are the scholars, anyway?

To be fair, this is a reasonable question. Up until that point, Islamic Q&A was effectively dominated by fatwa sites run by professional scholars. The very idea that…well…anybody could be qualified to answer questions without years of dedicated study, questions many of which have been under continuous study and debate for over a thousand years, was preposterous.

After a while of struggling with this problem, I mostly just filed it away in the back of my head.  It was definitely something I wanted to see happen, but I had neither the money, time nor social skills necessary to either get such a site running or build the necessary community of experts for it to thrive.  I continued to revisit the idea, but I knew that what little Islamic community I knew, that I could actually reach, weren’t quite up to the task of getting a site like this off the ground.

Working together for a beta tomorrow

Fast forward to May of 2010.  I obviously wasn’t unique in lacking that exact combination of money, time, skill and idea needed to make a successful SE1.0 site; the whole project ended up getting overhauled and relaunching as Stack Exchange 2.0, which introduced the Area 51 site development process that we’re all involved in right now.  Within a matter of months, a Stack Exchange site on the topic of Islam was proposed.

Compared to some of the other proposed SE sites, Islam.SE got off to a rocky start. The overlap between “Muslims” and “programmers” (read: people who are familiar with Stack Overflow) wasn’t quite as large as with many other proposals, and there were a lot of early followers who didn’t really “get” how the Stack Exchange system worked. The middle ground between “forums” and “professional fatwa site” was also virtually non-existent, so there really was nothing for anyone to compare it to. And while it never really came out explicitly, it was obvious that a lot of these early users were still struggling with the same basic question I was worried about:

“Where are the scholars?”

A lot of the early discussions revolved around the issue of credibility: How can we be sure that the answers we receive are actually any good?  Obviously, we can’t really trust just whatever we read on the internet, and unlike a professional fatwa site we couldn’t rely on any particular author to, quite frankly, know what he was even talking about.

This mindset, unfortunately, demonstrates the fundamental problem we’ve struggled with since the beginning. Since there really was no middle-ground between “forum” and “professional fatwa site” to build off of, attempts at site development tended to swing from one extreme to the other: we either acted as if every answer needed to be written by a scholar, or as if none of them were.

But the important thing was that we were developing the site.  Mistakes were made, mistakes would be made, but slowly, awkwardly, we evolved from a vague tagline of “the Muslim community who have questions about Islam.” into a site that was actually worth building.

T minus three…two…one…

I still see a lot of those early names show up on the site today, but I also see a lot more that have apparently gone off to do other things. It took two years to finally get through those first two hurdles of Area 51: Fifteen months in the definition phase alone, and another nine months in commitment.  And of the 222 users who committed to the proposal, only 143 actually joined the beta site when it was formed, and only 36 of those actually fulfilled their commitment.

I’m still not sure how much of that is just due to real life asserting its presence after so many years, and how much of that was because people just didn’t recognize the full scope of what they were committed to.  Because that’s exactly what phase two of the Area 51 proposal process was: A commitment.  This wasn’t just a link to click and a box to tick and boom we get a website.  No, we were effectively forging a new path through the wilds of the Internet, and creating not only a new site, but a whole new type of site where there was nothing before.  This was not something to be done half-heartedly, it needed people willing to commit to it and see it through.

And if the definition phase was “rocky”, that was nothing compared to what we needed to deal with when the beta site went live.  Needless to say, fourteen hundred years of Islamic history has not been as peaceful as it probably should’ve been, and trying to bring everyone together under one roof, on an unproven site with an inexperienced community, resulted in more than a few fireworks.

It is only through the grace of God that we’re still around today after all that.  There were times where I expected the Stack Exchange team to just shut down the site — and times when I was sore-tempted to recommend the same myself — rather than deal with the mess it was becoming.

The here.  The now.

We have, however, managed to struggle through.  We’re still nowhere near graduating, and God only knows how long that will take, but we are building into a more cohesive site. We’re slowly but steadily getting more and more users who are less interested in always being right, and more interested in learning something new.  And when I see enough people putting aside their differences long enough to achieve this goal, this goal of learning, I know that the site has a future.

Because fundamentally, the Stack Exchange model is all about trust.  Not in trusting everything you read on the Internet, rather it’s about trusting your fellow students, your fellow scholars, your fellow Muslims.  If you can’t trust your own peers to know what is right and what is not, to know what is useful and what is not, to know what they can and cannot answer with their own authority, then the Stack Exchange model fails.  Because regardless of whether we agree with each other, we do need to respect — to trust — each other.

Every day, even through the worst of the quarrelling and noise, I’m seeing sparks of the site I envisioned that warm Autumn day four years ago.  They’re not yet large enough to fan into a full flame, but they’re there, and they’re getting larger, and I feel they only need time to explode into the full potential of what this site could be.

And then the next time someone asks “Where are the scholars?” we can honestly tell them that we are the scholars, that each and every one of us is on the path of scholarship.  Sure, we’re not all studying to become ulama or fuqaha, but we’re all here to learn: the questions and answers are merely a means to that end.  And sure, some of us will take longer to travel that path than others, and not all of us will even follow that path — or even want to follow that path — to the end.  But some of us will want to, and God-willing some of us will succeed, and if this site helped even one person reach the end of that path then it was all worth it in the end.

Because we’re all here to learn together.

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