Salam! I was in Damascus Syria and to the historical land of the Prophets, the Imams and the Great Muslim Warriors.
We traveled to the old city of Bosra ( Busra Ash Sham ) about 140 km south from Damascus. Along the way I saw vast Olive Plantation on the rich fertile land of Huran plain littered with black basalt.
About half way to Bosra, we stopped at a small town of Nawa, the birth place of the great Al-Imam Abu Zakaria Yahya Syarafuddin An -Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi. Our friend, Ustaz Nor who travel with us, explain, Imam Nawawi was born on Muharram 631Hjrh. and since his early age the Imam had endless thirst for knowledge. Allah had also confered upon him the gift of fast memorisation and depth of thought. He is the authour of the famous Kitabs, Al-Majmu’, Riyadus Salihin and Matan Arba’in An-Nawawiyah.
Imam Nawawi led a life of singular piety, righteousness and simplicity. After over 20 years, he returned to his hometown. Soon after his arrival at Nawa, he fell ill and died in 676 A.H.
Then we move on to Dera’a and Ustaz Nor recalled us to one of the most fascinating stories narrated in the Quran as patience and adversity are concerned. It is famous to an extent that it became an example of patience and endurance.
It’s the story of Prophet Ayoub who lived about ninety years as a preacher who gave warning, obeying and worshiping Allah who granted him Wealth and Posperity.
Almighty Allah instructed in the Quran: “Remember Our slave Ayoub, when he invoked His Lord saying: “Verily! Satan has touched me with distress (by losing my health) and torment (by losing my wealth)!” Allah said to him: “Strike the ground with your foot: This is a spring of water to wash in and cool and a refreshing drink.” And We gave him back his family, and along with them the like thereof as a Mercy from Us, and a reminder for those who understand.(38:41-43)
Soon we reached an old city of Bosra, the first Nabataean city in the 2nd century BC. The Romans took an active interest in the city, and at time of Emperor Trajan it was made the capital of the Province of Arabia (in 106 BC) and was called Neatrajana Bustra.
Bosra is famous for its impressive and beautiful Roman theatre. The Bosra Castle houses the second largest amphitheatre in the world, second to the Colloseum in Rome. It was captured by Salahuddin Al Ayubi ( Saladin ) in the 11th Century and he built a fortress around it.
Bosra was also linked to the rise of Islam, when a Nestorian monk called Bahira met the young Muhammad ( saw ) and predicted his prophetic vocation and the faith he was going to initiate.
Ustaz Nor narrated that one day, Abu Talib ( Prophet Muhammad’s uncle ) decided that Muhammad should travel with him to Syria and after many days, they reached the edge of the city of Bosra.
Through the shimmering heat, Bahira the monk saw a caravan approaching. Above it hovered a solitary cloud. It seemed that the cloud was shielding someone from the sun. Bahira watched as the caravan drew nearer and stopped beneath a grove of trees. As soon as everyone was in the shade the cloud disappeared.
Bahira went to greet the merchants and invited them to join him for a meal. He knew that there was someone very important with them–for what else could the cloud mean? He asked them questions about themselves, but he could not get the answers he wanted. At last he said: “Is all of your group here?” “No,” replied Abu Talib. “My nephew is minding the camels. He’s very young, so we didn’t bring him.” ” Please Let me talk to him,” said Bahira.
Bahira questioned the child closely, He became sure that Muhammad was the Prophet he was waiting for. He tried one last test. In this, he asked the child to swear by the idol-gods of Makkah, Latta, and Uzza. Muhammad refused.
Bahira spoke at once to Abu Talib: “This child is destined for greatness,” he said. “Take him back to your country and look after him well.”
Soon, Abu Talib took his nephew back to Makkah, and looked after the boy until he grew up.
Before heading back to Damascus, we had a great meal at at a restaurant near the Amphitheater.