**Update: After I posted this article on Shaykh Yasir Qadhi's Facebook page, it began to generate an intelligent discussion. However, after about an hour, my post was removed and I am now blocked from posting on his Facebook page.
Muslims should rally behind Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and its allies in the ongoing Syrian-Israeli War, according hadith narrated in popular American Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s end-of-times themed Friday prayer sermon.
Prophet Muhammad (S) forewarned 1400 years ago that his future followers will face a time of bloody and chaotic conflict where Muslim will fight Muslim amidst a sea of confusing lies and deception. To guide those who will be living during this time of fitna before the eventual coming of Imam Mahdi and Prophet Jesus to end corruption and bring peace and justice on earth, the Prophet (S) offered specific signs to recognize and support the right side.
Since many of the narrations relate to Sham [the geographical area that covers Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine], a year after the conflict started in Syria in 2011, Shaykh Qadhi gave a khutbah entitled "Syria Crisis: O Bilaad al-Sham! You are in our hearts" in which he enumerated many hadith from Islamic eschatology to understand the conflict from a religious viewpoint.
Three of these narrations are listed below, followed by Shaykh Qadhi’s comments and then the writer’s analysis.
- Prophet Muhammad (S): "Allah has guaranteed me the people of Sham."
Shaykh Qadhi: "What does it mean? It means that not only will Sham be from my ummah..but also they will be rightly guided. They will be at the vanguard of Islam...The Prophet (S) also predicted there will be many trials and tribulations dealing with Sham but always Sham would come out victorious at the end of it. This is a beautiful prediction for us to be aware of in our times."
There are two sides to the Syrian War. On one side is the Syrian government and its allies: Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia. On the other side is Israel and its compatriots: Syrian opposition groups (inside and outside Syria), ISIS, America, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. So which side are the "people of Sham" on? From the beginning of the conflict most Syrians have supported their government, according to a poll commissioned by Qatar's The Doha Debates. Fifty-five percent of Syrians wanted President al-Assad to stay.
Two years later when Syria held presidential elections--declared fair and reliable by international observers--al-Assad received 88.7 percent of the votes with a 74.3% turnout. Another poll conducted in 2015 by ORB International, a company working with the American and British governments, showed that when asked, "Who's having a positive influence in Syria?", al-Assad got the most votes from Syrians at 47% while Iran was runner up with 43%. Indeed, in April tens of thousands of people came out in Damascus--some holding pictures of their president-- to celebrate Syria Day of Independence.
- Prophet Muhammad (S): "You will make a firm truce with the al-Rum ...You will be granted victory and great spoils."
Shaykh Qadhi: "There will be a treaty between us and al-Rum."
The Prophet (S) tells us another identifying factor of the group on the right side: It will be allied with al-Rum, which is the Byzantines or Eastern Orthodox Christians, according to the Quran (30:2). While the Byzantine Empire is no longer around, today the capital of Eastern Orthodox Christianity is in Russia, so al-Rum refers to the Russians and "not the Yankees (Americans and Western European allies),” says Shaykh Imran Hussain, correcting those who assume al-Rum refers to the Romans.
Obviously, it is the Syrian government that is in close alliance with Russia, which has supported Syria politically and with military aid since the conflict first started. In 2015, Russia decided to become directly militarily involved in Syria, the first time the country entered an armed conflict outside its country since the end of the Cold War.
- Prophet Muhammad (S): "They shall march against you under 80 different flags."
Shaykh Qadhi: "Maybe 80 countries, 80 nations …but 80 flags have been gathered against you...and Prophet (S) said at that time the camp of the Muslims will be and he mentioned a place in Syria."
The Prophet (S) warned that people from 80 different countries will come to Syria to fight the Muslims on the right path. While the first two hadith identify the right side by its supporters—the Syrian people and Russia—this hadith tells us how to identify the wrong group. The misguided side will have representatives from 80 countries. In Syria, it is the side fighting against the Syrian government. "Foreign fighters have gone to Syria from least 81 countries and from all parts of the globe," according to a 2014 study by Soufan Group called "Foreign Fighters in Syria." "Most are fighting with the rebel groups.”
President al-Assad explained why he needed support from allies such as Russia in an interview with El Pais in 2016 "...more than 80 countries supported those terrorists in different ways, some of them directly with money, with logistical support, with armaments, with recruitments. Some other countries supported them politically, in different international forums. Syria is a small country. We could fight, but in the end, there’s unlimited support and recruitment for those terrorists. You definitely need international support."
While the obvious and logical conclusion to the series of hadith discussed in the sermon is for Muslims to support the Syrian government, which is backed by the majority of the people of Syria and allied with Russia, as it remains under attack on the ground from terrorists from 80 countries and from above by American, British, French, and Israeli air strikes, Shaykh Qadhi preaches the complete opposite. That's because when he gave this sermon in 2012, he cited the hadith to support the "rebels" against al-Assad but as time would tell, the hadith proved that the Syrian government is in the right. Unfortunately, Shaykh Qadhi has neither re-analyzed the hadith nor changed his anti-Assad stance.
"Theoretically, jihad against Bashar al Assad is the greatest jihad," Shaykh Qadhi says. “Insha Allah, we will see the fall of this tyrant and we will see the end of this regime, not because I am predicting it from ilm-al-ghaib [knowledge of the Unseen] but because Allah has told us.”
This non sequitur makes no sense until evaluating another prediction of the Prophet (S) Shaykh Qadhi cited in his 2012 sermon.
"Indeed, Allah will take the sanity from many people…They think they have something they are calling for but they have nothing they are calling for."
That explains it all.