Syrias capital and largest city is Damascus. Religious groups include Sunnis, Alawites, Mandeans, Salafis, Sunni Arabs make up the largest religious group in Syria. Its capital Damascus and largest city Aleppo are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, in the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a number of military coups. In 1958, Syria entered a union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000. Mainstream modern academic opinion strongly favours the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria, in the past, others believed that it was derived from Siryon, the name that the Sidonians gave to Mount Hermon.
However, the discovery of the inscription in 2000 seems to support the theory that the term Syria derives from Assyria. The area designated by the word has changed over time, since approximately 10,000 BC, Syria was one of centers of Neolithic culture where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period is represented by houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone, finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during the late Neolithic, archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth, perhaps preceded by only those of Mesopotamia. The earliest recorded indigenous civilisation in the region was the Kingdom of Ebla near present-day Idlib, gifts from Pharaohs, found during excavations, confirm Eblas contact with Egypt. One of the earliest written texts from Syria is an agreement between Vizier Ibrium of Ebla and an ambiguous kingdom called Abarsal c.2300 BC.
The Northwest Semitic language of the Amorites is the earliest attested of the Canaanite languages, Mari reemerged during this period, and saw renewed prosperity until conquered by Hammurabi of Babylon. Ugarit arose during this time, circa 1800 BC, close to modern Latakia, Ugaritic was a Semitic language loosely related to the Canaanite languages, and developed the Ugaritic alphabet. The Ugarites kingdom survived until its destruction at the hands of the marauding Indo-European Sea Peoples in the 12th century BC, Yamhad was described in the tablets of Mari as the mightiest state in the near east and as having more vassals than Hammurabi of Babylon. Yamhad imposed its authority over Alalakh, the Hurrians states, the army of Yamhad campaigned as far away as Dēr on the border of Elam
Sunni Islam is the largest group of Islam. Its name comes from the word Sunnah, referring to the behavior of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to Sunni tradition, Muhammad did not clearly designate a successor and this contrasts with the Shia view, which holds that Muhammad intended his son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib to succeed him. Political tensions between Sunnis and Shias continued with varying intensity throughout Islamic history and they have been exacerbated in recent times by ethnic conflicts, as of 2009, Sunni Muslims constituted between 87–90% of the worlds Muslim population. Sunni Islam is the worlds largest religious denomination, followed by Catholicism and its adherents are referred to in Arabic as ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah or ahl as-sunnah for short. In English, its doctrines and practices are sometimes called Sunnism, while adherents are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnites, Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as orthodox Islam. The Quran, together with hadith and binding juristic consensus form the basis of all traditional jurisprudence within Sunni Islam, sunnī, commonly referred to as Sunnīism, is a term derived from sunnah meaning habit, usual practice, tradition.
The Muslim use of this term refers to the sayings and living habits of the prophet Muhammad, in Arabic, this branch of Islam is referred to as ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah, the people of the sunnah and the community, which is commonly shortened to ahl as-sunnah. One common mistake is to assume that Sunni Islam represents a normative Islam that emerged during the period after Muhammads death, and that Sufism and Shiism developed out of Sunni Islam. This perception is due to the reliance on highly ideological sources that have been accepted as reliable historical works. Both Sunnism and Shiaism are the end products of centuries of competition between ideologies. Both sects used each other to further cement their own identities and doctrines, the first four caliphs are known among Sunnis as the Rashidun or Rightly-Guided Ones. Sunni recognition includes the aforementioned Abu Bakr as the first, Umar who established the Islamic calendar as the second, Uthman as the third, Sunnis believe that the companions of Muhammad were the best of Muslims.
Support for this view is found in the Quran, according to Sunnis. Sunnis believe that the companions were true believers since it was the companions who were given the task of compiling the Quran, narrations that were narrated by the companions are considered by Sunnis to be a second source of knowledge of the Muslim faith. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2010 and released January 2011 found that there are 1.62 billion Muslims around the world, Islam does not have a formal hierarchy or clergy. Leaders are informal, and gain influence through study to become a scholar of Islamic law, according to the Islamic Center of Columbia, South Carolina, anyone with the intelligence and the will can become an Islamic scholar. During Midday Mosque services on Fridays, the congregation will choose a person to lead the service
Abū Muḥammad ʿAlī ibn Aḥmad, better known by his regnal name al-Muktafī bi-llāh, was the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad from 902 to 908. His reign saw the defeat of the Qarmatians of the Syrian Desert, and the reincorporation of Egypt, the war with the Byzantine Empire continued with alternating success, although the Arabs scored a major victory in the Sack of Thessalonica in 904. His death in 908 opened the way for the installation of a ruler, al-Muqtadir, by the palace bureaucracy. Ali ibn Ahmad was born in 877/8, the son of Ahmad ibn Talha, real power, lay with al-Mutamids brother, al-Muwaffaq, Alis paternal grandfather. Al-Muwaffaq enjoyed the loyalty of the military, and by 877 had established himself as the de facto ruler of the state, most of the Arabian peninsula was likewise lost to local potentates, while in Tabaristan a radical Zaydi Shia dynasty took power. In Iraq, the rebellion of the Zanj slaves threatened Baghdad itself, following his rise to the throne, al-Mutadid continued his fathers policies, and restored caliphal authority in the Jazira, northern Syria, and parts of western Iran.
Nevertheless, al-Mutadid managed to accumulate a considerable surplus in his ten-year reign, at the same time the bureaucracy grew in power, it saw a growth in factionalism, with two rival clans emerging, the Banul-Furat and the Banul-Jarrah. 894/5, and in 899 over the Jazira and the frontier areas, the future al-Muktafi took up residence at Raqqa. When al-Mutadid died on 5 April 892, al-Muktafi succeeded him unopposed, the new caliph was 25 years old. The historian al-Tabari, who lived during his reign, describes him as of medium size, handsome, of a delicate complexion, with beautiful hair, on the other hand, he was not as steadfast as his father, and was easily swayed by the officials at court. The early period of his caliphate was dominated by the vizier al-Qasim ibn Ubayd Allah, a very able man, he was ambitious, he had plotted to assassinate al-Mutadid shortly before the latters death, and now ruthlessly eliminated any rivals for influence over the new caliph. Shortly after, the managed to discredit al-Mutadids loyal commander-in-chief.
Badr was forced to flee Baghdad but surrendered after being promised a pardon by the viziers agents, in the bureaucratic struggles of the period, al-Qasim ibn Ubayd Allah favoured the Banul-Jarrah and resisted the pro-Shiite leanings of the Banul-Furat. The leading representative of the Banul-Furat, Abul-Hasan Ali ibn al-Furat, al-Muktafis brief reign was dominated by warfare, but he was unlike his father, the ghazī caliph par excellence. Al-Mutadid had actively participated in campaigns, setting an example and allowing for the formation of ties of loyalty, reinforced by patronage. During the 9th century, however, a range of new movements emerged on the basis of Shiite doctrines and their missionary efforts soon spread, in 899, the Qarmatians seized Bahrayn, while another base was established in the area around Palmyra. From there the Qarmatians began launching raids against the Abbasid and Tulunid provinces of Syria, in 902, the Qarmatians defeated the increasingly feeble Tulunids and laid siege to Damascus.
Although the city withstood the siege, the Qarmatians proceeded to ravage other Syrian towns, at the same time, a Kufan Ismaili missionary, Abu Abdallah al-Shii, made contact with the Kutama Berbers
Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah al-Mansur, better known by his regnal name al-Mahdi, was the third Abbasid Caliph who reigned from 775 to his death in 785. Al-Mahdi was born in 744 or 745 AD in the village of Hamimah and his mother was called Arwi, and his father was al-Mansur. When al-Mahdi was ten years old, his became the second Abbasid Caliph. When al-Mahdi was young, his father, the Caliph al-Mansur, so, on the east bank of the Tigris, al-Mansur oversaw the construction of East Baghdad, with a mosque and royal palace at its heart. Construction in the area was heavily financed by the Barmakids. When was 15-years-old, a-Mahdi was sent to defeat the uprising of Abdur Rahman bin Abdul Jabbar Azdi in Greater Khorasan and he defeated the uprisings of Ispahbud, the governor of Tabaristan, and Astazsis, massacring more than 70,000 of his followers in Khorasan. These campaigns put Tabaristan, which was nominally within the caliphate. In 762 AD, al-Mahdi was the governor of the Abbasid Caliphates eastern region and it was here that he fell in love with al-Khayzuran and had several children, including the fourth and fifth future Caliphs, al-Hadi and Harun al-Rashid.
Around 770 AD, al-Mahdi was appointed as Amir al-hajj, al-Mahdis father, Al-Mansur, died on the hajj to Mecca in 775. The throne passed to Al-Mansurs chosen successor, his son Al-Mahdi, according to Marozzi, was, by the standards of the future, blood-soaked successions of the Abbasid caliphate, a model of order and decorum. Al-Mahdi, whose nickname means Rightly-guided or Redeemer, was proclaimed caliph when his father was on his deathbed and his peaceful reign continued the policies of his predecessors. Rapprochement with the Alids in the Caliphate occurred under al-Mahdis reign and he imprisoned his most trusted vizier Yaqub ibn Dawud. In the year 167 AH/783 AD, al-Mahdi instituted an official inquisition which led to the execution of alleged Zindiq, in 775, a Byzantine envoy, travelled to Baghdad to convey the congratulations of the Byzantine emperor to Al-Mahdi on his accession to the throne. On completion, the envoys forecast proved to be correct, and so, delighted, Al-Mahdi ordered that all profits should be given to the envoy and it is believed this continued to his death, in 780.
In 777 AD he put down the insurrection of Yusuf ibn Ibrahim in Khurasan, in the same year al-Mahdi deposed Isa ibn Musa as his successor and appointed his own son Musa al-Hadi in his place and took allegiance for him from the nobles. In 778 AD, he subdued the rebellion of Abdullah ibn Marwan ibn Muhammad, Al-Mahdi was poisoned by one of his concubines in 785 AD. The cosmopolitan city of Baghdad blossomed during al-Mahdis reign, the city attracted immigrants from Arabia, Syria and lands as far away as Afghanistan and Spain. Baghdad was home to Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians and it became the worlds largest city
A caliphate is an area containing an Islamic steward known as a caliph —a person considered a religious successor to the Islamic prophet, and a leader of the entire Muslim community. During the history of Islam after the Rashidun period, many Muslim states, the Sunni branch of Islam stipulates that, as a head of state, a caliph should be elected by Muslims or their representatives. Followers of Shia Islam, believe a caliph should be an Imam chosen by God from the Ahl al-Bayt, before the advent of Islam, Arabian monarchs traditionally used the title malik, or another from the same root. The term caliph, derives from the Arabic word khalīfah, which means successor, however, studies of pre-Islamic texts suggest that the original meaning of the phrase was successor selected by God. There was no specified procedure for this shura or consultation, candidates were usually, but not necessarily, from the same lineage as the deceased leader. Capable men who would lead well were preferred over an ineffectual heir, Sunni Muslims believe that Abu Bakr was chosen by the community and that this was the proper procedure.
Sunnis further argue that a caliph should ideally be chosen by election or community consensus, the Shia believe that Ali, the son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad, was chosen by Muhammad as his spiritual and temporal successor as the Mawla of all Muslims in the event of Ghadir Khumm. The caliph was often known as Amir al-Muminin, Muhammad established his capital in Medina, after he died, it remained the capital during the Rashidun Caliphate, before Kufa was reportedly made the capital by Caliph Ali. At times there have been rival claimant caliphs in different parts of the Islamic world, according to Sunni Muslims, the first caliph to be called Amir al-Muminin was Abu Bakr, followed by Umar, the second of the Rashidun. Uthman and Ali were called by the title, while the Shia consider Ali to have been the only truly legitimate caliph. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk officially abolished the system of Caliphate in Islam as part of his secular reforms, the Kings of Morocco still label themselves with the title Amir al-Muminin for the Moroccans, but lay no claim to the Caliphate.
Some Muslim countries, including Somalia and Malaysia, were never subject to the authority of a Caliphate, with the exception of Aceh, these countries had their own, sultans or rulers who did not fully accept the authority of the Caliph. Abu Bakr, the first successor of Muhammad, nominated Umar as his successor on his deathbed, the second caliph, was killed by a Persian named Piruz Nahavandi. His successor, was elected by a council of electors, Uthman was killed by members of a disaffected group. Ali took control but was not universally accepted as caliph by the governors of Egypt and he faced two major rebellions and was assassinated by Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam, a Khawarij. Alis tumultuous rule lasted only five years and this period is known as the Fitna, or the first Islamic civil war. The followers of Ali became the Shia minority sect of Islam, the followers of all four Rashidun Caliphs became the majority Sunni sect. Under the Rashidun each region of the Caliphate had its own governor, Muawiyah, a relative of Uthman and governor of Syria, succeeded Ali as Caliph
Abu’l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad ibn Jaʿfar, better known by his regnal name al-Muʿtamid ʿAlā ’llāh, was the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad from 870 to 892. His reign marks the end of the Anarchy at Samarra and the start of the Abbasid restoration, power was held by his brother al-Muwaffaq, who held the loyalty of the military. Al-Mutamids authority was circumscribed further after an attempt to flee to the domains controlled by Ahmad ibn Tulun in late 882. In 881, when al-Muwaffaq died, loyalists attempted to power to the Caliph, but were quickly overcome by al-Muwaffaqs son al-Mutadid. When al-Mutamid died in 892, al-Mutadid succeeded him as caliph, the future al-Mutamid was a son of Caliph al-Mutawakkil and a Kufan slave girl called Fityan. His full name was Ahmad ibn Abi Jaʿfar, and was known by the patronymic Abul-Abbas. On 21 June, al-Muhtadi was executed, the accession of al-Mutamid brought an end to the turmoils of the Anarchy at Samarra, which had begun with the murder of al-Mutawakkil in 861. Most of the Arabian peninsula was likewise lost to local potentates, even in Iraq, a rebellion of the Zanj slaves had begun and soon threatened Baghdad itself, while further south the Qarmatians were a nascent threat.
When Caliph al-Mutazz died in 869, there was popular agitation in Baghdad in favour of his elevation to Caliph. In contrast to his brother, al-Mutamid appears to have lacked any experience of, at the time al-Muhtadi was killed by the Turks, Abu Ahmad was at Mecca. Immediately he hastened north to Samarra, where he and Musa ibn Bugha effectively sidelined al-Mutamid, al-Mutamid was thus quickly reduced to a figurehead ruler, which remained the case for the remainder of his reign. Within a short time, Abu Ahmad was conferred an extensive governorate covering most of the still under caliphal authority, western Arabia, southern Iraq with Baghdad. To denote his authority, he assumed a name in the style of the caliphs. During his tenure, the Caliph retained some freedom of action, Ibn Wahb was soon disgraced and replaced as vizier by Ismail ibn Bulbul. Al-Muwaffaqs power was strengthened by the threats the Caliphate faced on all fronts. In April 876, al-Muwaffaq and Musa ibn Bugha defeated Yaqub ibn al-Layths attempt to capture Baghdad at the Battle of Dayr al-Aqul, the repulse of the Saffarids allowed the Abbasids to concentrate their resources in suppressing the Zanj Revolt in the south.
The Zanj rebels had managed to capture much of lower Iraq, in 879, al-Muwaffaqs son Abul-Abbas, the future Caliph al-Mutadid, was given the command against the Zanj, and in the next year, al-Muwaffaw himself joined the campaign. In a succession of engagements in the marshes of southern Iraq, the Abbasid forces drove back the Zanj towards their capital, Mukhtara, at the same time, al-Muwaffaq had to contend with the ambitions of Ahmad ibn Tulun in the western provinces
He came to the throne at the age of 13, the youngest Caliph in Abbasid history, as a result of palace intrigues. His accession was soon challenged by the supporters of the older and more experienced Abdallah ibn al-Mutazz, al-Muqtadir enjoyed a longer rule than any of his predecessors, but was uninterested in government. Affairs were run by his officials, although the frequent change of viziers—fourteen changes of the head of government are recorded for his reign—hampered the effectiveness of the administration. The harem, where his mother, exercised total control, exercised a decisive influence on affairs. After a period of consolidation and recovery under his father al-Mutadid and older half-brother al-Muktafi, the full treasury inherited by al-Muqtadir was quickly emptied, and financial difficulties would become a persistent feature of the caliphal government. Ifriqiya fell to the Fatimids, although the commander-in-chief Munis al-Muzaffar was able to repel their attempts to conquer Egypt as well.
Nearer to Iraq, the Hamdanids became autonomous masters of the Jazira, the forces of the Byzantine Empire, under John Kourkouas, began a sustained offensive into the borderlands of the Thughur and Armenia. As a result, in February 929 a palace revolt briefly replaced al-Muqtadir with his brother al-Qahir, the new regime failed to consolidate itself and after a few days al-Muqtadir was restored. The commander-in-chief, Munis al-Muzaffar, was by a virtual dictator, urged by his enemies, al-Muqtadir attempted to get rid of him in 932, but Munis marched with his troops on Baghdad, and in the ensuing battle on 31 October 932 al-Muqtadir was killed. The future al-Muqtadir was born on 14 November 895, as the son of Caliph al-Mutadid. His mother was the Greek slave concubine Shaghab, al-Mutadid was the son of al-Muwaffaq, an Abbasid prince who became the Caliphates main military commander, and de facto regent, during the rule of his brother, al-Mutamid. Al-Muwaffaqs power relied on his ties with the ghilmān, the foreign-born slave-soldiers that now provided the professional mainstay of the Abbasid army.
Most of the Arabian peninsula was likewise lost to local potentates, even in Iraq, the rebellion of the Zanj slaves threatened Baghdad itself, and further south the Qarmatians were a nascent threat. Until his death in 891, al-Muwaffaq was engaged in a constant struggle to complete collapse. Upon his death, his son assumed his powers, and when Caliph al-Mutamid died in 892, al-Mutadid would prove to be the epitome of the warrior-caliph, spending most of his reign on campaign. All this came at the cost of gearing the state towards war and it seems reasonable to conclude that something over 80 per cent of recorded government expenditure was devoted to maintaining the army. Paying the army became the chief concern of the government. Even the revenues of the Sawad, the agricultural lands of Iraq, are known to have declined considerably at the time
According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, Bosra had a population of 19,683 in the 2004 census. It is the center of the nahiyah of Bosra which consisted of nine localities with a collective population of 33,839 in 2004. Bosras inhabitants are predominantly Sunni Muslims, although the town has a small Shia Muslim community and it continued to be administratively important during the Islamic era, but became gradually less prominent during the Ottoman era. It became a Latin Catholic titular see and the see of a Melkite Catholic Archeparchy. Today, it is a archaeological site and has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The settlement was first mentioned in the documents of Thutmose III, Bosra was the first Nabatean city in the 2nd century BC. The Nabatean Kingdom was conquered by Cornelius Palma, a general of Trajan, under the Roman Empire, Bosra was renamed Nova Trajana Bostra and was the residence of the legio III Cyrenaica. It was made capital of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea, the city flourished and became a major metropolis at the juncture of several trade routes, namely the Via Traiana Nova, a Roman road that connected Damascus to the Red Sea.
It became an important center for production and during the reign of Emperor Phillip the Arab. The two Councils of Arabia were held at Bosra in 246 and 247 AD, by the Byzantine period which began in the 5th-century, Christianity became the dominant religion in Bosra. The city became a Metropolitan archbishops seat and a cathedral was built in the 6th-century. Bosra was conquered by the Sassanid Persians in the early 7th-century, Bosra played an important part in the early life of prophet Muhammad, as described in the entry for the Christian monk Bahira. The forces of the Rashidun Caliphate under general Khalid ibn Walid captured the city from the Byzantines in the Battle of Bosra in 634, throughout Islamic rule, Bosra would serve as the southernmost outpost of Damascus, its prosperity being mostly contingent on the political importance of that city. Bosra held additional significance as a center of the pilgrim caravan between Damascus and the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the destinations of the hajj pilgrimage.
Early Islamic rule did not alter the general architecture of Bosra, as Bosras inhabitants gradually converted to Islam the Roman-era holy sites were utilized for Muslim practices. In the 9th-century Yaqubi wrote that Bosra was the capital of the Hauran province, after the end of the Umayyad era in 750, major activity in Bosra ceased for around 300 years until the late 11th-century. In the last years of Fatimid rule, in 1068, a number of building projects were commissioned, with the advent of Seljuk rule in 1076, increasing focus was paid to Bosras defenses. In particular, the Roman theater was transformed into a fortress, with the coming to power of the Burid dynasty in Damascus, the general Kumushtakin was allotted the entire Hauran plain as a fief by the atabeg Tughtakin
Sir William Muir, KCSI was a Scottish Orientalist, scholar of Islam, and colonial administrator. He was born at Glasgow and educated at Kilmarnock Academy, at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, in 1837 he entered the Bengal civil service. Muir served as secretary to the governor of the North-West Provinces, and as a member of the Agra revenue board, in 1865 he was made foreign secretary to the Indian Government. In 1867 Muir was knighted, and in 1868 he became lieutenant-governor of the North Western Provinces, having been criticised for the poor relief effort during the Orissa famine of 1866, the British began to discuss famine policy, and in 1868 Muir issued an order stating that. In 1874 Muir was appointed member of the Viceroys Council, and retired in 1876. James Thomason served as Muirs mentor with respect to Imperial administration, Muir had always taken an interest in educational matters, and it was chiefly through his exertions that the central college at Allahabad, known as Muir Central College, was built and endowed.
Muir College became a part of the Allahabad University, in 1884 Muir was elected president of the Royal Asiatic Society. In 1885 he was elected principal of Edinburgh University in succession to Sir Alexander Grant, and held the post till 1903, Muir was married to Elizabeth Huntly Wemyss. He died in Edinburgh, and is buried in Dean Cemetery, Sir William Muir was an Orientalist and scholar of Islam. His chief area of expertise was the history of the time of Muhammad, in 1888 he delivered the Rede lecture at Cambridge on The Early Caliphate and Rise of Islam. Written objections to this aspect of Life could be found in the writings of Muslims living inside the Empire only after the 1857 rebellion, however, a contemporary review in The Times criticized Life for propagandist writing with Christian bias and for odium theologicum. He thus combined scholarly and evangelical or missionary purposes,2, It is incumbent upon us to consider this question from a Christian point of view, and to ask whether the supernatural influence, which.
Acted upon the soul of the Arabian prophet may not have proceeded from the Evil One and our belief in the power of the Evil One must lead us to consider this as at least one of the possible causes of the fall of Mahomet. May we conceive that an influence and inspiration was permitted to enslave the heart of him who had deliberately yielded to the compromise with evil. Second, freedom of thought and private judgment are crushed and annihilated, toleration is unknown, and the possibility of free and liberal institutions foreclosed. Third, a barrier has been interposed against the reception of Christianity, Muirs Annals was received with fewer reservations by the Times reviewer and other newspapers of the day. It was the Annals that established Muirs reputation as a scholar on Islam in Britain. Syed Ameer Ali went as far as to declare Muir Islams avowed enemy, an illustrative aspect in the evolution of Muirs positions is his stance on the Crusades