Global Qiyām for Syria: Friday May 17th.
Mobilize for Change!
Like many of you, we at VirtualMosque.com and Ella Collins Institute have paid special attention to the crisis in Syria. Syria holds a special place in the hearts of Muslims because of religious and family bonds shared with Syrians, and because of statements of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) about its virtues, and the role it will play in the end of times. An example of this is his ﷺ statement:
طوبى للشام قلنا لأي ذلك يا رسول الله؟ قال: لأن ملائكة الرحمن باسطة أجنحتها عليها
“Congratulations to the people of Sham!” When the Companions ﷺ asked why, the Prophet ﷺ responded, “Because the angels of mercy surround it with their wings!” (Tirmidhi)
The Prophet ﷺ said,
اللهم بارك لنا في شامنا
“God! Bless for us our Sham!” (Bukhāri)
What is Sham?
Scholars mentioned two possible meanings for this word. First, Shām was north of the K’aba. Second, it was named after the son of Prophet Noah (Nūh), Yasām, pronounced Yashām in Syriac.
Today, Bilād al-Shām covers a large area of land, with the country of Syria being part of it. This area was so important that scholars wrote books on the virtues of the land and its people, such as Ibn Rājab’s Fadl al-Shām.
As the winds of change blew throughout the Middle East, the people of Syria rose up against a tyrant. Sadly, unlike other countries, the struggle of the Syrians has been neglected by many. For us, students of knowledge and those who have family members in Syria, haunting news has become part of our daily diet. As an Imām, I have heard many stories from my students such as: “My cousin was shot and killed by a sniper,” “My uncle is missing,” or “My family fled” on a weekly basis. As a student of knowledge, I haven’t heard from teachers I would read with from Syria since the war started. Two days ago, I heard of a woman in Syria asking if suicide was a viable option instead of facing rape at the hands of Assad’s forces. In the simplest words: we are ignoring a country, a people, who are being brutalized every minute. To fully appreciate the magnitude of this tragedy, look at the following statistics provided by CNN:
- 70,000: The estimated death toll as of mid-February, according to the United Nations Human Rights Center.
- 22,530,746: Syria’s estimated population in July 2012, according to the CIA World Factbook.
- 0.311: Approximate percentage of the Syrian population killed so far. For comparison’s sake, 0.311% of the population would be 976,066 people for the United States, 196,077 people for the United Kingdom and 4,177,476 people for China, the world’s most populous country.
- 3,043: Average number of deaths per month.
While these numbers are appalling, CNN continues, “And that might be an underestimate. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Syria’s raging civil war has made it “increasingly challenging” to collect accurate and reliable data.” Talk with Syrian friends and these numbers turn to horrific images of murder, plunder, rape, displacement and psychological torture.
Global Qiyām: Mobilize for Change. Mobilize to Pray for Syria.
In Febuary 2011, VirtualMosque.com requested a “Global Qiyām” seeking God’s aid for the people of Egypt. The response was incredible: mosques, MSAs and organizations mobilized in a way that, as expressed to me by Egyptian friends, “touched our hearts.”
It is time again for a “Global Qiyām” for Syria. If the entire world is deaf to the cries of Syria, there is no doubt that God is The All-Hearing, The All-Knowing. We say to the evil regime of al-Assad as Abdul Mutalib said to Abraha who wanted to destroy the K’aba,
إني أنا رب الإبل وإن للبيت ربا سيمنعه
“I am the owner of these camels, and this house has an owner (God) who will protect it!”
What We Are Calling For?
We ask everyone who visits this blog, no matter where you are, to organize a local qiyam program to pray for the people of Syria on Friday, May 17. National Muslim organizations, youth groups, MSAs and regional coalitions, mosques, families – even groups of neighbors – can come together and raise your hands in du`a’ for the people of Syria. The time is short, and the task is large. This global event may not go down in the history books, but we pray it goes down in something even more valuable: our records of deeds. We pray that Allah showers the earth with His angels on that Friday, and that they find worshipers crying in sincere prayer.
Just as the Syrians used Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, and the internet to stand for their liberation, let us also join them in using these tools to gather masses of Muslims to pray qiyam.
- Invite groups like Islamic Relief and Helping Hand to raise money for the deteriorating infrastructure in Syria and the basic needs of the people.
- Encourage congregants to contact their local representatives, calling them to task on their positions towards this crises.
- Write Op-Eds (Opinion-Editorials) that highlight the danger of ignoring the fight for dignity and freedom in Syria.
Mobilize the Most: Get a Weekend with Imam Suhaib Webb and Imam Ibrahim Rahim!
VirtualMosque.com and Ella Collins Institute are partnering to offer the community that mobilizes largest number of attendees a weekend of classes with the Imams! Post your pictures with an estimated number of attendees at the “Global Qiyam” facebook page. The winner will receive a weekend of courses with the Imams; VirtualMosque.com and Ella Collins Institute will take care of airfare and lodging! Mobilize for Syria and we will mobilize for you. Act quickly by posting on the web with #GlobalQiyam4Syria. I hope to see it raining this hash tag, insha’Allah.
I make this call to you on a personal level. American Islam does not imply we ignore the plight of others. We are a community that is bound by creed; a creed that knows no borders or ethnicities.
As a poet said,
أخي المسلم في كل مكان وبلـد أنت مني وأنا منك كروح في جسد
“My Muslim brother and sister is in every country and place
You are to me, and I to you, like breath in a body.”
It is our duty to do our best to serve our Syrian brothers and sisters. It is is our duty to stand for humanity.
Imam Suhaib Webb