The last bastion of Islam will be Shaam
Abu Ad-Darda (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and be upon him) said:
عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ( بَيْنَا أَنَا نَائِمٌ إِذْ رَأَيْتُ عَمُودَ الْكِتَابِ احْتُمِلَ مِنْ تَحْتِ رَأْسِي ، فَظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ مَذْهُوبٌ بِه ِ، فَأَتْبَعْتُهُ بَصَرِي ، فَعُمِدَ بِهِ إِلَى الشَّامِ ، أَلَا وَإِنَّ الْإِيمَانَ حِينَ تَقَعُ الْفِتَنُ بِالشَّامِ
“While I was sleeping, I saw the Pillar of the Book being taken from underneath my head. I thought that it was taken away, so I followed it with my gaze. It was taken towards the Shaam (Levant). Verily, faith is in the Shaam (Levant) when corruption appears.” (Musnad Ahmad)
This is a sound narration and there are different wordings of his narration in different books of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In another narration he called it a Pillar of the Book. These narrations show us two things, the first is that the core of Islam will be placed in Shaam and the second is that its people will exhibit sincere belief.
In other words, the central and essential aspects of Islam will be placed or preserved in Shaam. This implies that during challenging times, the stronghold of true faith will be associated with this region.
This is not my statement. The Prophet (peace be upon him) saw this vision during his journey in Isra and in another narration he saw it in a dream. Scholars comment that this means he saw it twice – once in person and once in a dream.
In his vision the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw that a white Pillar had been taken from under his pillow while he was sleeping. He wondered where it was being taken and he thought this was the Book of Allah being taken away from people so he asked the angels where it was being taken and they replied ‘Shaam’. He interpreted this to mean that when tribulations hit the Ummah, the beating heart of the Ummah and the paragon of faith will be in Shaam.
What is the definition of Shaam? In Surat al Isra, Allah Almighty says that He took the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Makkah to the furthest mosque whose surroundings are blessed. This along with the collection of other narrations in the Sunnah, confirm that Shaam is Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. In other words Bait al Maqdis and its surroundings, which have been specially blessed by Allah:
۞ سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱلَّذِیۤ أَسۡرَىٰ بِعَبۡدِهِۦ لَیۡلࣰا مِّنَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ إِلَى ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡأَقۡصَا ٱلَّذِی بَـٰرَكۡنَا حَوۡلَهُۥ لِنُرِیَهُۥ مِنۡ ءَایَـٰتِنَاۤۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِیعُ ٱلۡبَصِیرُ ١
Glory be to Him, who carried His servant by night from the Holy Mosque to the Further Mosque the precincts of which We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing. (17:1)
The compass of the Ummah when you have fitan directs you towards Bait al Maqdis
What the Prophet (peace be upon him) is saying here is that when trials and tribulations hit the Ummah the heart of imaan will be in Palestine. It is not coincidental at all that what we have been seeing over the last month, the last few years and the last hundred years that Palestine has been the bastion of Islam.
In another sound hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that the last people on earth who will become corrupted are the people of Shaam. If you read the huge amount of writings on the virtues of Bait al Maqdis and Shaam you will find the Prophet (peace be upon him) confirms that when we have fitnah, remember that our direction is Bait al Maqdis.
The midst of fitan is a time of confusion, when people lose direction, and don’t know where to go and what to do. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has given us the solution. He has said our direction is Bait al Maqdis – as the Pillar of Imaan is in Bait al Maqdis, in Shaam.
As we are seeing it is the stronghold that has remained firm in the face of extreme opposition and adversity. A place that is maintaining its principles, values, or characteristics despite the unbelievably painful challenges.
The blessed land
This land is Mubarak – Allah blessed this land because it is a land of prophets and messengers. The Prophet (peace be upon him) started his journey to the heavens from Bati al Maqdis. Eesa (peace be upon him) will descend in Shaam. Al Mahdi will appear and lead the Ummah in Bait al Maqdis. Eesa (peace be upon him) will be behind Mahdi when he leads the salah. These are just from a few of the plethora of narrations which confirm the importance of Bait al Maqdis. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Allah Himself is looking after Shaam. (Tabarani)
When we look at people in Gaza, all over the world people are surprised how they can tolerate their dire situation. It is because the core of the House of Islam is in Shaam.
Based on the different wordings of the hadith the description of the pillar is highly symbolic.
Firstly as a pillar of the Deen it symbolises strength as pillars hold up the building. Similarly Palestine is carrying the Ummah now and it will stay the driving force and the compass of the Ummah until the Day of Judgement
The white colour is a symbol of the purity of imaan and sincerity. Moreover it is bright and shining as its light has reached the whole world and we see people are embracing Islam because of people of Palestine.
The shinning strength of imaan can be witnessed burning brightly in Shaam. And there is no doubt that Shaam is Palestine.
In one of the narrations the whiteness is likened to a pearl which is symbolic because it is precious and something you treasure and you protect and feel proud of.
People are embracing Islam today because they cannot believe it when they see people losing their children and their homes, climbing out of the rubble saying ‘Alhamdulilah’, praise be to Allah. This is a testament to their indomitable, unshakeable unyielding imaan.
Mu’awiyah bin Qurrah narrated from his father that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ قُرَّةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” إِذَا فَسَدَ أَهْلُ الشَّامِ فَلاَ خَيْرَ فِيكُمْ لاَ تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي مَنْصُورِينَ لاَ يَضُرُّهُمْ مَنْ خَذَلَهُمْ حَتَّى تَقُومَ السَّاعَةُ ” .رواه الترمذي. حسن صحيح.
“When the inhabitants of Ash-Shaam 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.” (Tirmidhi)
Salamah bin Nufail (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah… he said:
And the strongest place for the believers is Ash-Sham. (Nasa’i)
The place of prophets, scholars and resurrection,
It is the destiny of this land, that it will be the place of Gathering and Resurrection. Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Al Shaam is the land of the Gathering and the Resurrection.” (Ahmad)
In the history of Bait al Maqdis we find that a long list of companions lived in Palestine, such as Abu Dharr Al Ghifari and Abu Ubayfah bin Al Jarrah. In addition thousands of scholars lived there, including Imam Shafi. The dwellers of this land are the carriers of the Pillar of Islam.
In the vision that the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw during Isra, the angels were carrying the pillar and the scholars commented that this pillar means those who are carrying the truth will be there.
If you want to see the essence of imaan look at the people of Palestine you will see genuine conviction, unwavering resilience, and brave resistance. This is why it is the compass of the Ummah. Just as a compass always points north, our compass points where true faith resides and where true believers are.
You are tested according to the strength of your imaan
In the hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned that you are tested according to your imaan. If your imaan is weak your test is small and if your imaan is strong your test is hard. No wonder the people of Shaam have such a difficult test, because they have deep imaan.
Mus’ab bin Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that his father, Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas, said:
“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him walking on the earth with no sin on him.’” [Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Darimi]
Our imaan by contrast is shaky. We are still arguing about what we should have for breakfast or where we should go for our next holiday or what colour we should paint our house.
Meanwhile the people of Shaam are ascending to Allah in multitudes, with uncountable shuhada. We should learn from them how to strengthen our imaan. And we should do our best to support them and not lose our direction because this is where the truth is.
Mu’adh bin Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“There will always be a group from my Ummah manifestly upon the truth, unaffected by those who oppose them or those who betray them until the Hour is established.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
When they asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) where this people are he said:
“They are in the Sham (Greater Syria)
We feel dwarfed by the dignity and strength of the people of Gaza but the minimum we can do is support them in any legal, permissible way possible – through our duas, reciting the Dua Qunut in our salah, donations and fundraising, attending demonstrations to push for a permanent ceasefire and urging our MPs to show humanity and compassion for the thousands who are being killed and injured and crushed under the rubble.
We ask Allah to enable us to defend and support the truth and be among those who are resilient and committed to Allah until the day we die.
Based on the Khutbah of Shaykh Haytham Tamim 24th Nov 2023
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