3/11/2005

Side By Side

Walking along the Eastern Wall of the Umayyad Mosque before the Friday Prayer.

The Umayyad Mosque stands on a site that has been previously occupied by an Aramaean temple of Hadad, a Roman Temple of Jupiter and finally a church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. When Muslim armies entered Damascus, they established a mosque in the east side of the temple, leaving the Church intact. For more than seventy years, Muslims and Christians prayed side by side inside the walls of the Temple. They used the same main gate as an entrance; Muslims prayed on the east side and Christians prayed on the west side. In 705, the Caliph of Damascus, now the capital of the world's largest empire, wanted to build a huge new mosque and asked Christian leaders to cede their share of the land to him. After long negotiations, the Christians accepted the Caliph's offer to compensate them with four new churches; among them is the famous Mariamiyyah Church (Church of Mary) in Bab Sharqi.

8 comments:

Ghalia said...

Very useful information, thank u very much...

Ahmad said...

Throughout history, Syria has always been a land of religious tolarence, even after the arabs came in, Damascus was the capital city of the greatest empire at that time, and while the borders of that islamic empire with its capital Damascus extended from spain to china, Syria had only 5% muslims, christians were a majority and there was a lot of christian advisors to the caliph. This is all contrary to what the US media present to the public. A country like Syria with several thousands years of history, will have a great future despite foreign interests and intervention.

amr said...

Dear Ahmad,

I want to ask you about the sources for the 5% statistic? while i agree christians form a large minority, i am suprised at the 5% figure.

and by Syria do you mean the modern Syrian Arab Republic or Syria as Bilad Alcham which was the naming used at that time.

Personally i don't like to talk about this issue in terms of numbers . I think of Christians as "ahl albalad".

Ahmad said...

Dear Amr
thanks for ur post, I absolutely agree with that numbers are not an issue at all, I was first introduced to these fact by an article published by the "southern federeation of syrian lebanese american clubs" the article is posted in their website's library. the website is http://www.sfslac.org/. they have many interesting articles. I am wrong about the 5%. the article says "the total number of Moslems in Syria did not exceed 200,000 out of an estimated population of 3,500,000." I can't remember where i saw this 5%. again i didnt mention numbers for any specific reason.

Anonymous said...

This is a picture that I took last summer of the exact same place :)

Anonymous said...

This scene depicted in this photo could just as well have come from a city in Palestine e.g. Al-Quds, Jaffa, Al-Khalil before the nakba and the destruction of beautiful Ummayad, Mamluk or Ottoman period architecture at the hands of the accursed ones!

t'su said...

Ayman,

I admire your skill at photography. The more I see of Damascus, the more I love the city to which I've never been.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi ayman ,could you take a picture of a 'SAHAN TISIYYAI'.