Chapter 30: From Medina to Syria

While waiting for the result of the interview he had at KUSZA, Zul has begun his search for postgraduate studies. He intended to pursue his Masters. He asked several experienced individuals for their opinions on the matter. Among the opinions that attracted his attention was from his friend Zulkifli Mohd Radzi. “Zul, you should study in Syria. It’s a remarkable place to study at. The goods there are cheap. It has beautiful sceneries. There are also numerous scholars living there…” he shared his opinion with Zul. This statement greatly affected him and he had an inner monologue saying, “That’s true…I’ve been hearing the advantages of Syria for a long time. There are numerous scholars there… Syeikh Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadhan al-Buti, Syeikh Dr. Wahbah al-Zuhaili. If I’m fortunate enough, I’ll get to attend talaqqi classes with the scholars there…

Zul has always heard of stories and narrations of the advantages of the land of Syria from his teachers in Medina, the Syrian scholars who visited Medina and through his reading of the hadiths of the Prophet PBUH. His determination to pursue his studies in Syria is reinforced after his failure of passing the interview to be a lecturer in KUSZA. When Zul asked Zaini to join him to continue his studies in Syria, Zaini was reluctant for he has to take care of his mother who is sick. Furthermore, it has been more than 4 years since he left his mother all while he was studying in Medina. This is the time for him to give back and give his best service to his beloved mother.


One night after Maghrib prayer, Zul was talking and discussing his plans with two of his friends Hazman Hasyim and Azli Khalid. “What do you think of continuing your studies in Syria? I am going, but if I have my friends, it will be easier. Why don’t you two join me?” Zul asked his friends. Without much thought, both of them agreed readily.

Zul informed Ustaz Mad of his wish to pursue his studies in Syria, as he talked animatedly of his plans, Ustaz Mad continue reading the newspaper, not even sparing him a glance. Ustaz Mad flipped the newspaper pages slowly, one after the other, once in a while, sipping the black coffee made by Hajah Ramlah. After Zul ended his spiel, Zul looked at his father expectantly, waiting for a response. Ustaz Mad didn’t say anything for five whole minutes.

Ehmm… Where will we get the money for it?” Ustaz Mad asked suddenly. There’s worry lined in his father’s voice. Zul inhaled deeply taking his father’s hand firmly in his before saying assuredly, “Allah is always near,” Ustaz Mad glanced at his son, nodding his head slightly. He has known this his son of his so well. Whatever he wishes, he would strive and do his best to make it a reality. Zul will never give up and loves challenges.

From that day onwards, Zul enthusiastically and ardently saves money to cover his tuition fees and livelihood in Syria. Zul will not look back and regret what was. Every time he gave a sermon at Kampung Merbau Patah Mosque, al-Muktafi Billah Shah Mosque, Surau Kampung Kubang Kekura, Surau Kuala Bedah and Surau Pasir Panjang, he would inform and shared his plans of continuing his studies to Syria. Without him needing to ask, people donated and gave him money. Alhamdulillah, a lot of people donated and this includes Ayoh Chik a blind man from Merbau Patah. Although he is blind, he’s no ordinary man, he has the whole 30 juzuk of the Quran and once won the al-Qur’an memorization competition in Terengganu. “Come on, let’s see where’s my money… oh yeah, it’s right here, I can see it coming out of my pocket!” Ayah Chik joked as he tried to reach his money from inside his pocket. Pok Leh who was beside Ayoh Chik, elbowed his friend humorously, “I’ve known you to be blind for 30 years. How can you suddenly see the money…? Hahaha,” All of them burst into laughter, and their laughs break the silence of the night in Surau Merbau Patah. People donated in various amounts of RM1, RM5 and RM10. Zul was immensely grateful for he had the full support of his family, uncles, neighbours and villagers as well as all his students who followed his lesson at mosques and surau in Terengganu.


Before going to sleep, Zul took out the book Fadha’il al-Sham wa Dimashq written by Ibn al-Sam’ani from his bookshelf. One by one the hadith regarding the favours of Syria he read and studied.

From ‘Abdullah ibn Umar RA, Rasullullah PBUH said:

‌اللَّهُمَّ ‌بَارِكْ ‌لَنَا ‌فِي ‌شَامِنَا، وَفِي يَمَنِنَا

“O Allah bless us in our Sham and bless us in our Yemen.” [1]

From Abu Darda’ RA, he said, Rasullullah PBUH said:

‌بَيْنَا ‌أَنَا ‌نَائِمٌ ‌إِذْ ‌رَأَيْتُ ‌عَمُودَ ‌الْكِتَابِ احْتُمِلَ مِنْ تَحْتِ رَأْسِي، فَظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ مَذْهُوبٌ بِهِ، فَأَتْبَعْتُهُ بَصَرِي، فَعُمِدَ بِهِ إِلَى الشَّامِ، أَلَا وَإِنَّ الْإِيمَانَ حِينَ تَقَعُ الْفِتَنُ بِالشَّامِ

While I was sleeping, I saw a pillar of books (iman/faith) was taken by the angels from beneath my head, I thought that iman will be lifted from this earth. Then, my eyes followed it and a light is struck in Syria. Iman (faith) will remain in Syria even in the time of fitnah.” [2]

From Abdullah bin Amru bin al-‘As RA, he said, Rasullullah PBUH said:

إني رأيتُ عمودَ الْكِتَابِ انْتُزِعَ مِنْ تَحْتِ وِسَادَتِي، فَنَظَرْتُ فَإِذَا هُوَ نورٌ ساطعٌ عُمِدَ بِهِ إِلَى الشَّامِ، أَلا إِنَّ الإِيمَانَ -إِذَا وَقَعَتِ الفتن- بالشام.

I dreamt and in the dream, I saw the pillar of books (iman/faith) is taken from under my pillow. Then I studied it. A clear bright straight light was directed to Syria. Faith is – during the times of fitnah – in Syria.” [3]

From Abdullah bin Umar bin al-Khattab RA, he said, “One day, the Prophet PBUH said to us:

إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَخَذُوا عَمُوْدَ الْكِتَابِ، فَعَمِدُوْا بِهِ إِلَى الشَّامِ، فَإِذَا وَقَعَتْ الْفِتَنُ فَإِنَّ الْإِيْمَانَ بِالشَّامِ.

In a dream, indeed, I saw the angels are taking the pillar of al-Kitab (iman), then bring it to Syria. When the fitnah is rampant, indeed, faith will be in Syria.” [4]

From Umar bin al-Khattab RA, he said, Rasullullah PBUH said,

رَأَيْتُ عَمُوْدًا مِنْ نُوْرٍ خَرَجَ مِنْ تَحْتِ رَأْسِي سَاطِعًا حَتَى اسْتَقَرَّ بِالشَّامِ

“I saw a pillar of light was extracted from under my head, it shines and went and stayed in Syria.” [5]

Zul closes the book he was reading. Just several days left before he will be leaving for Syria. The land gave birth to numerous scholars such as Imam Ibn Kathir, Imam al-Zahabi, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim and many more. The same land where the companions of the Prophet PBUH such as Bilal bin Rabah, Mu’awiyah, Abu al-Darda’, Khalid al-Walid, Abu Hurairah and Salahuddin al-Ayyubi were buried. The Umayyah Mosque in Damascus, Syria is also the place that witnesses the birth of the venerated book Ihya’ Ulum al-Din by Imam al-Ghazali. Syria once was colonized during the time of Saidina Umar al-Khattab, after it was under the rule of the Umayyah, ‘Abbasiyah, Seljuk, Ayyubiah Dynasty and finally the Turkish Utmaniyyah Caliph in the year 1517.

Now, the child of Kampung Kubang Kekura will be going there. Under the shade of knowledge, faith and worship of the scholars there. None knows what lies ahead of him, but surely he will do his best there. Farewell, for now, Malaysia!


[1] Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 1032.

[2] Musnad Ahmad, no. 21733. It is ruled sahih by Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arna’ut.

[3] Narrated Al-Hakim, no. 8554. It is ruled as sahih based on the conditions by al-Syaikhain (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) and agreed by al-Zahabi.

[4] Narrated by Ibn ‘Asakir in the book Tarikh Damsyiq, 1/110.

[5] Narrated by al-Baihaqi in the book Dalail an-Nubuwwah, 6/448; Narrated by Ibn ‘Asakir in the book Tarikh Damsyiq, 1/109.

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