Monday, 16 January 2012

Arabian Chronicle: Ghassanide Kingdom

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

Rasafa Monastery City


Just returned from the library, the definite article which is used to refer to the library shows that I haven't been there for quite a long time, hehehe. I am pressured to be there due to that I wanted to quickly graduated and release myself from the torments in this university. Actually since I was at home until I made up my mind to return here around 2010 I had already psychologically feel tortured. 

I am actually afraid of my religion and faith would be affected when I go to work due to the tendency that I assimilate and adapt quite fast within the environment around. I had printed out forms to Saudi Arabian University and applying for degree courses in Shariah but I checked that they need Arabic certification requirements. My mum and other sisters did not understand it and she thought that I am trying to lower my level of studies but the studies of Shariah, Quran and Sunnah need us to begin with memorization of Quran and Hadith Nabawi together with practical knowledge. Well, my undergraduate certification is not so remarkable even in job market so what else can I be proud of? I could only be proud with the Kingdom to come because it is inherited by the poor like us. The world is not for us. While I was in the uncertain period after graduated in 2009, I went to the UITM and trying to get the Arabic certificates there but I could not complete the classes due to the shift of part-time jobs. I love my Arabic ustad, he is from Kelantan. I wrote this Arabian Chronicle by memory and through few notes that I made after reading some Arabian historical reports. 

I have Lower Secondary Arabic Certificate which is incorporated into my secular component of studies during I was in Religious Secondary School around 2001 but I don't thinks that it is enough. I still was a silent Buddhist at that time but I had got quite a good result for Arabic as compared to other subjects, lolll. We were taught with Arabic letters since our childhood and we also speak with Classical Malay which is heavily influenced by Arabic and Persian. Roman script was introduced to me later when I entered nursery but I could only read them properly when I was registered as a standard one pupil in National Primary School.

I also began to memorize the Glorious Quran beginning with surah Maryam when I was in the Holy Mecca performing the Hajj pilgrimage around 2004 after being brought into enlightment by this Pakistani guy in Masjidil Haram who's only known by 'Arif. He talked with me in Arabic though I was not fluent in our own ancestral tongue. If I meet him again I would surely kiss his hand to respect him. I tried to resit again for Arabic paper at the time when I was in High School level around the end of 2005 after returning from Mecca since I begin to speak Arabic there after I have to deal with people around. 

I didn't mingle much with fellow Malaysian pilgrims but I stayed in mosques and outside of the muassasah (foundation) walking alone here and there in Ajyad road and other junctions stopping by at little mosques and respect the Lord while waiting the time to be free from Ihram. I passed my oral tests and comprehension but sadly I failed the literary paper because at that time I have no internet connection nor textbooks. I didn't join any formal classes or school but doing the higher level certificate on my own. With this certificate I was registered as an undergraduate in the course which is insignificant (just to fulfill the pre-condition for job market). Now everything is going to be dissolved, I am so disappointed with myself to the extend that I feel disgusted to see my own face.

Ghassanide Kingdom

Beginning the narration with Ibnu Khaldun statement about the first Arabic kingdom in modern Syrian territory is through the establishment of Amalek tribes country. Amalek were mentioned in the Old Testament. They are among fierce and brutal ancient Arabs. Then, the kingdom went to the hand of Iram bin Saam or the Iramis who were his descents. The Children of Iram lived there at the edge of Syrian and Iraqi frontiers. This people were also mentioned in the Old Testament. They had also been involved in few battles with other minor kings. The last king of this tribe of Iram is known as Zuba' and she is a female the daughter of 'Amr bin Sumida'.  

The people were neighbors of the Quza'a of the Arabian Peninsula and they had managed to overthrew the Amalek. When Zuba' passed away, a person who's known as Tunawakh from the Quza'a tribe of Arabian Peninsula became the king in the area. The Quza'a descend down from the Hirah and al-Anbar in Iraq. Their country is neighboring to the Armenian country. Tunawakh getting the protection of the Byzantine Roman empire. However, Tunawakh had lost in a battle with another person from the same tribe whose name is Sulayh. Later, Daja'im became the king in Syrian southern frontiers.

During the period of Daja'im, everybody in the kingdom was Christianized. They are still Arabs by nationality but being protectorate citizens of Byzantine Roman empire. These people also inhabited the Mo'ab in the land of Bulaqa'.

According to Abul Fida, the Ghassan kings were the representatives of Eastern Roman emperor in Syrian territory. These Ghassanides were originated from Yemen in Southern Arabian Peninsula. Their ancestor was known as the Children of Azad who came out from the Sheba kingdom after the Ma'areb dam was broken and it caused a great flood called as Saylul 'Areem. The Children of Azad went out from Yemen and settled down around the well in Syrian territory and the well is known as Ghassan. So, this is how they were called as the Ghassanide. Before the Children of Azad entered Syrian territory, there were already inhabitants there who were known as the Dhaja'im tribe of the Children of Sulayh. The Azadis killed the Sulayh's leader and chasing them out.

The first king of Ghassan in Syrian territory is known as Juhnah. He began to rule the kingdom for about 400 years before the rise of Muhammad s.a.w in Arabian Peninsula. Few narrators said that it is more than that. After Juhnah became the king and the Sulayhi's leader was killed, the Quza'a tribe and the Roman in Syrian territory became subjects of the Ghassanide. Juhnah opened fabrications and producing stuffs for trade and daily use.

After Juhnah passed away, his son known as Tsa'labah came into succession. Tsa'labah ordered the construction of a dam known as Sarhil Ghader near Hawran beside the land of Bulaqa'. Then Tsa'labah passed away and came al-Harith bin Tsa'alabah who resides in Bulaqa' as the king. In Bulaqa', al-Harith opened fabrications in al-Haafir. 

The fourth king is al-Munzir bin al-Harith. The sixth is Nu'man bin al-Harith. The seventh is Jabalah bin al-Harith. And the eighth is ad-Diham bin al-Harith. Ad-Diham bin al-Harith initiated two Christian monasteries known as Dir ad-Duhkam and Dir an-Nubuwwah. It is for monks and priests to pray and meditate.    

The ninth is Amr bin al-Harith. The tenth is Juhnah bin Amr which is his son. Juhnah became the king while he is a little boy. When he grew older he ordered the city of Hirah being burned. His descents later were known as al-Muharriq which means the burner due to this incidence.

The 11th king was an-Nu'man bin Amr bin al-Munzir. He became the came while he was a little boy. He build his castle in Suwaida'. The 12th was Jabalah bin an-Nu'man bin ad-Diham bin al-Harith. He was succeeded by his younger brother, al-Harith bin an-Nu'man. The 14th king is Jabalah's son whose name is Nu'man bin al-Harith.  

Arabian Name-Giving Culture Explanation

It's quite confusing when it comes to names because these people are recycling names. They use the name of their forefathers as their children names as to make it easier for them to remember and it brings them to the memory toward their ancestors. Our community here also practicing the same customs. They usually use the same name given to their forefathers as children names. The name could be different if there are special occasion or events happen. In case of my name, it is different from the rest of my ancestors. If brothers and sisters could guest my name??? The clue is the place of miqat for 'omrah and also a village in Mecca province located in western of Saudi Arabia. About 5 km from the east of Holy City. I modified my name into half sound here because I don't want people to ask me about my name. It sounds like Chinese name too and I could just modify it easily into Chinese sounds with close meanings when dealing with fellow Chinese brothers and sisters and they would never notice my religion, ethnicity and faith. Some people surprisingly also thought that I am a Hui Chinese due to that I speak in Chinese dialect but ethnically I am a Peranakan Arab which is closer to those in Gujarat and Yemen ancestral land.

Continue on Ghassanide Kings

Nu'man bin al-Harith ordered the city of Rasafah being repaired. The city was damaged by the armies of Hirah from Lakhmid kingdom. The 16th king was al-Munzir bin an-Nu'man. He was succeeded by his younger brother, 'Amr bin an-Nu'man and later by little brother, Hajar bin an-Nu'man. The 19th king was al-Harith bin al-Hajar. The 20th king was al-Harith bin Jabalah. The 21st was known as Nu'man bin al-Harith. The 22nd was al-Aiham bin Jabalah bin al-Harith.

The 22nd king possessed a palace in a place known as Tadmur. He has a representative or a governor who was known as al-Qayn bin Khisru. Al-Qayn has a palace in western part of Syria and he opened few fabrications. Perhaps the palace mentioned by historians referring to the palace in Burqu'. The 23rd king was the younger brother of the 22nd king whose name is al-Munzir bin Jabalah. The 24th was the younger brother of both 22nd and 23rd kings whose name was Sharahil bin Jabalah. The 25th king of Ghassan was the little brother of these kings whose name is Jabalah bin al-Harith. The 26th and the last one is king Jabalah bin al-Aiham bin Jabalah. All of these kings were Arabs and Christians.

Jabalah bin Aiham

Jabalah bin Aiham is the last Ghassanide king. He embraced Islam during the period of Umar bin al-Khattab caliphate but he returned to Christianity after an incident which scratches his ego as a king and a royalty. There was a misunderstanding happened in the Holy City of Mecca when a commoner had non-purposely stepped over the edge of his Ihram during the circumambulation of the Ka'aba. 

The king was so ill-tempered when a commoner stepped on his Ihram and he spontaneously slapped the face of the lowly commoner. The person was so surprised, humiliated and shocked. He asked the caliph, Omar al-Khattab to seek justice for him as he did not purposely stepped the Ihram of the king so why must the king slapped him so hard?? The caliph said that Jabalah bin al-Aiham must apologize to the man. But he is quite ego with his class. He ran his way to Byzantine empire in Constantinople at night and was baptized again there according to Byzantine Catholic rites and he lives there.

After Jabalah bin Aiham, the rule of Ghassanide in Syria for about 400 years, and some said 600 years comes to the end. Al-Mas'udi narrated that the kings of Ghassan reigned in Yarmouk, Jawlan, and some other in Ghawthah and Damascus and around. Some of them went to Jordan where Jordan was apart of Syria. Ibnu Sa'ad mentioned that the kings of Ghassan in Syria primarily were 32 people with Juhnah as the early king. The Ghassanide kingdom and dynasty ruled Syria for about 600 years. Jabalah al-Aiham however established a kingdom in exile from Byzantine under the blessing of Byzantine emperor, Heraclius the Elder. From what I read in current updates, they tried to revive the Ghassanide monarchy seat in Syria as well.

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace, and love, amin!

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