Masjid Al-Omari receives Ramadan with no Azan (Call to prayer) nor Tarawih (prayer performed at night during Ramadan)

Masjid Al-Omari receives Ramadan with no Azan (Call to prayer) nor Tarawih (prayer performed at night during Ramadan)

Enab Baladi Enab Baladi
Al-Omari-Masjid-in-Daraa-–-March-18-–-Enab-Baladi-.jpg

Printed Edition ‖ No.: 223

Enab Baladi – Daraa

Al Masjid Al-Omari in the city of Daraa holds a historical value and an important revolutionary dimension for the people of the southern area of Syria and Syrians in general; this Masjid, which was built in the era of Caliph Omar Bn Al-Khattab and holds his name, became a yard for the early protest and demonstrations that lit the Syrian revolution, and that is what made this archeological edifice and its historical minaret an icon that the Syrian regime tried to destroy.

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The status that ِAl-Masjid Al-Omari acquired made it a target for the Syrian forces, who bombarded it with dozens of missiles and rockets and turned its corridors into battle fields before they destroyed the historical minaret in April 2013 and turn it into “a destroyed icon” that may reflect in its destroyed rocks the Syrian revolution’s case today.

What do you know about Al-Masjid Al-Omari?

It is one of the most important archeological Masjid spread in the province of Daraa. It is located amid the area of “Daraa Al-Balad” (downtown of Daraa) in the city center, the name is credited to Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, when he instructed to build Al-Masjid upon his visit to the city in 635 A.D.

Al-Masjid was constructed under the supervision of a number of companions (the Prophet’s – may Allah have peace and blessings upon him – companions), including: Abu Ubaida Ibn Al-Jaraah and Mooz Ibn Jabal. Al-Masjid maintained its old form till some modern renovations were made that changed some of its old features, but changes did not affect its minaret and its Qiblah façade.

In its modern design, Al-Masjid became a miniature of “Umayyad Mosque” in Damascus, as it contains smooth corridors, a wide Haram (a sacred place) for prayer, an outdoor open courtyard and a towering minaret.

Al-Masjid witnessed the spark of the revolution and the protests against the Syrian regime in March 2011, after that it turned into a battlefield, to undergo continuous shelling that completely destroyed its minaret and caused huge damage to its courtyard.

Al-Omari…No Azan and no Prayers

Enab Baladi met Sheikh Faisal Abazeid, the Imam of Masjid “Arbaeen” (forty) in Daraa Al-Balad, in order to talk about Al-Omari’s situation, who explained that the huge destruction caused to “Al-Omari” was due to the continuous target by Assad forces, which made Al-Masjid out of service for his visitors, adding: “no Azan, no prayers nor Friday’s sermons are held in Al-Masjid, and a few of its neighbors hold only Zuhr and Asr prayers in one of its corridors.”

Renovating Al-Masjid requires experts in archeology and architecture in order to maintain its architecture model and its huge archeological value. Sheikh Abazeid explained that some residents tried to fix the damages inside, but “the frequent targeted shelling of it and destroying what has been fixed postponed the idea of rehabilitating it till later.”

Masjids of “liberated Daraa” are no better case

“Al-Omari” is not the only Masjid that has been shelled by the regime, Sheikh Abazeid points out that most of the main Masjids in the city of Daraa have been destroyed and are out of service “Al-Omari, Al-Abass, Abu Baker, Belal Al-Habashi, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, all of which are considered main Masjids in Daraa, and are now out of service due to complete or almost complete destruction.

“Al-Omari” is not the only Masjid that has been shelled by the regime, Sheikh Abazeid points out that most of the main Masjids in the city of Daraa have been destroyed and are out of service “Al-Omari, Al-Abass, Abu Baker, Belal Al-Habashi, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, all of which are considered main Masjids in Daraa, and are now out of service due to complete or almost complete destruction.

The destruction forced people to head back to small Masjids or what is known as “Musala” (a place of prayer, like chapels), which are small rooms that can accommodate only a few dozens, and before the revolution the small ” Musala” were used by some residents who live close by. Sheikh Abazeid continues “in addition to Musala, there are some partially destroyed Masjids that are undergoing some maintenance in order to hold prayers in it.”

A “far” Masjid… in preparation for Ramadan

With the approach of the month of Ramadan, people head for Tarawih prayers in the Masjids of Daraa, which becomes a strong motive for Assad’s forces to target these Masjids with frequent shelling, the thing that pushed the residents to build one away from the line of fire. Sheikh Abazeid explains that Masjid “Shayyah”, which is being currently built, is a fulfillment of the need of the displaced residents in Ash-Shayyah area for a Masjid where they can perform their prayers.

Sheikh adds “as a result of the continuous shelling of the neighborhoods of Daraa, around 200 families fled the city towards Ash-Shayyah area, which is 5 kilometers away from the city of Daraa”, and that agricultural area became more like a small village lacking a small Masjid, saying “someone donated a plot of land, and we started building Al-Masjid with the support of benefactors, and despite the difficulties we faced Al-Masjid will open with the first days of Ramadan with Allah’s will.”

Some non-official statistics indicate that the forces of Assad have destroyed more than 10 thousand Masjids in different provinces since the beginning of the protests, in some kind of systematic policy to destroy Masjids and religious centers. They also occupied some other Masjids as military “barracks” that ended up completely destroyed, just like what happened in Masjid “Abu Baker As-Seddik” in the city of Daraa Al-Balad and “Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abazeid” in Daraa Al-Mahta.

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