Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return” (Quran 2:156)
It is with deep sadness that Majlis-e-Ulama Shia Europe must confirm the discretion of the burial sites of two prominent companions of the Holy Prophet (saw), Ammar Ibn Yassir (ra) and Uwais Al-Qarani (ra) in the city of Ar-Raqqah, Syria. The extent of the damage remains unclear. The first set of attacks on the shrine of Ammar Ibn Yassir (ra) in Ar-Raqqah took place in March 2013. Ar-Raqqah is a city located on the north bank of the Euphrates, some 160km east of Aleppo.
Both Ammar Ibn Yassir (ra) and Uwais Al-Qarani (ra) are revered by all Muslims for their kindness, loyalty, humility and piety.
The Holy Prophet (saw) has stated about Ammar Ibn Yassir (ra) that
“May Allah be Merciful to ‘Ammar. He will be killed by a rebellious, aggressive group. He will be inviting them (i.e. his murderers, the rebellious group) to Paradise and they will invite him to Hell-fire.” ‘Ammar said, “I seek refuge with Allah from affliction.”
Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Number 438
The Holy Prophet (saw) in regards to Uwais Al-Qarani (ra) has stated;
“When you see him, convey to him my greeting and ask him to pray for my Nation”
Over the last few months, the Majlis has received numerous reports of extremist forces descreting and vandalising Syrian Heritage, which include churches, graves, mosques and shrines.
The recent attacks come after confirmed attacks have taken place on the shrines of Sayeda Zainab (as) granddaughter of the Holy Prophet (saw), Sayeda Sakina (as) daughter of Imam Ali (as), Sayeda Ruqayyah (as) daughter of Imam Hussain (as) and companions of the Holy Prophet (saw) such as Hujr Ibn Adi (ra) where attempts were made to exhume the body.
The Majlis strongly condemns these actions. The discretion of graves, heritage sites or religious sites are ethically and morally unacceptable in any civilised or tolerant society. We believe all world heritage sites should be protected. As a result of on going conflict in Syria, we feel that immediate action should be taken to protect Syrian heritage sites, including religious sites. We therefore urge UNESCO World heritage centre to act promptly in working to secure these sites.
We appeal to the British Government on behalf of the Shia Muslim Community in Britain and as its representatives to take strong action in working to stop the targeting of Heritage sites in Syria.
We urge Muslim Communities to come together in condemning these heinous actions and to work to create awareness through all forms of media and social media networks.
It is our duty to peacefully and in the parameters of the law, create awareness and denounce immoral and unjust behaviour.
“You who believe, be steadfast in your devotion to Allah and bear witness impartially; do not let hatred of others lead you away from justice, but adhere to justice, for that is closer to awareness of Allah” (Quran 5:8)
Majlis-e-Ulama Shia Europe