As a group, it’s easy to blame other people for what they have done to our culture and heritage, but very difficult to see what we are doing to ourselves. Looking beyond what atrocities non-Muslims have done to us, I’d like to bring attention to some of what we are responsible for doing. Knowledge is power and to destroy knowledge will only lead to our own demise.
“And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful.” ~Qur’an 16:78
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~George Santayana
Our history is a collection of the things that make us who we are not just as Muslims but as human beings. It has set the stage for Allah to address us and our historic social ills with understanding through Islam.
History (Islamic and not) is under assault by groups that spread ignorance, religious intolerance, hatred and war. Justice must be done in the assault on history. Whether it be the destruction of the giant Buddhas in Afghanistan, artifacts of Nimrud or destruction of our mosques and museums, these are things that we can no longer study and learn from anymore beyond mere stories of their destruction.
By reminding us of physically verifiable examples of past civilizations in Qur’an, Allah clearly wants us to study and learn from ancient people so that we can follow the right path. The destruction of ancient sites is not just an attempt to erase Islamic and pre-Islamic history, but spread ignorance. In light of extremist groups like the Taliban, Al-Qaida, ISIS and others, the following hadith should stand out to us now, more than ever before! It seems somehow… prophetic.
Narrated `Abdullah and Abu Musa: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Near the establishment of the Hour there will be days during which Religious ignorance will spread, knowledge will be taken away (vanish) and there will be much Al-Harj, and Al- Harj means killing.” ~Sahih Bukhari (Vol. 9, Book 88, Hadith 184; Chapter: The appearance of Al-Fitan)
The Great Mosque in Samarra was commissioned by Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil in 848 and completed in 851. It was bombed numerous times by insurgents because US troops were using it as a watchtower damaging the mineret.
The Great Mosque of Aleppo construction was begun by the Ummayad Caliph al-Walid I in 715 and was finished by his successor Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik in 717. The site was destroyed by Syrian Army tank fire in 2013.
The Mosque of the Prophet Yunus (Jonah) was believed to be the burial place of the Prophet Yunus (8th century BCE). Formerly the site of an ancient Nestorian-Assyrian Church, in the 14th century was converted to a Mosque.
Khalid ibn Walid Mosque began as a small mosque in the 7th century but saw major construction in the 11th century making it a popular pilgrimage site. Khalid ibn Walid was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, well known for his military prowess and considered one of the greatest Mujahid in Islamic history.