July 13, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 6104

Current And Former Egyptian Muftis: Ramadan Is The Month Of Victories And Conquests

July 13, 2015
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 6104

To mark the month of Ramadan, Egyptian mufti Dr. Shawki Ibrahim 'Allam and former mufti Dr. 'Ali Gum'a each wrote about Ramadan as the month of victories and conquests. In their articles, they provided examples of Muslim victories and conquests during the month, from the early days of Islam to 1973, when the Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal during the war with Israel.

Following are excerpts from both articles:

Shawki Ibrahim 'Allam: Ramadan Is The Month Of Victories And Conquests - From The Battle Of Badr To The Crossing Of The Suez Canal

On June 26, 2015, Egyptian Mufti Dr. Shawki Ibrahim 'Allam wrote in the official Egyptian daily Al-Ahram under the headline "Victories During Ramadan": "It is no wonder that throughout Islamic history, Ramadan has been the month of victories and conquests. Religious fervor and the conquering of carnal desires by worshipping God during this venerable month should transform Ramadan into a month of victories on all levels.

"The month of Ramadan has been tied to jihad since Allah the Almighty gave us the duty of fasting on Ramadan in the Cow Chapter [of the Koran], in which He said: 'O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous' [Koran 2:183]. The first of these victories occurred during the great Battle of Badr, which took place on 17 Ramadan in the second year of the Hijra.[1] This was a battle that separated truth from lies, the first battle between the Muslims and the polytheists. Despite the meager number of Muslims, victory was on their side. The Muslims emerged from this battle with many spoils. Allah the Almighty said in this context: 'And already had Allah given you victory at [the battle of] Badr while you were few in number. Then fear Allah; perhaps you will be grateful' [Koran 3:123].

"The second of these victories was the conquest of Mecca in the eighth year of the Hijra [630 CE], with which Allah glorified His religion and the victory of His armies, and purged the Ka'ba of the desecration of statues and polytheists; this led groups of people to convert to Islam. On 8 Ramadan the following year, the ninth year of the Hijra, the Battle of Tabouk took place, in which the Arab tribes declared their surrender.[2]

"Muslim victories continued after the death of the Prophet (pbuh). The Battle of Al-Qadisiyya between the Muslims and Persians, which took place on the western banks of the Euphrates river, began in [the month of] Sha'aban and stretched into Ramadan in the 16th year of the Hijra [637 CE]. The Muslims won this battle, which changed the course of human history and ended the Persian presence and rule.

Shawki Ibrahim 'Allam's article in Al-Ahram

"On 25 Ramadan 658 [1260 CE], the Battle of 'Ain Jalut took place; during it, Allah granted might to the Muslims over the Tatars under the command of Hulagu [Khan] the Mongol, who were broken and never recovered.

"History tells us that on 2 Ramadan 702, Muslim general Hasan bin Al-Nu'man conquered the middle Maghreb - modern day Algeria - and, at the same time, defeated Berber leader Queen Al-Kahina. That same year, on 3 Ramadan, the Muslims conquered the island of Rhodes. Furthermore, Egyptian and Syrian armies defeated the Tatar armies at the Battle of Shaqhab near Damascus.[3]

"In Ramadan of 532 [1138 CE], the Muslims under 'Imad Al-Din Zengi defeated the Crusaders, and also conquered Amorium, the most important Byzantine city, on that same day.

"And in the modern age, we also played a part in Ramadan victories. This happened on 10 Ramadan 1363, or October 6, 1973, when our courageous Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal and ended the myth of the invincible Israeli army, after breaking the Bar Lev Line and writing a new chapter in the history of our glorious Islamic ummah."[4]

'Ali Gum'a: Ramadan Is The Month Of Jihad And Da'wa Alongside Worshipping God

On June 23, 2015, former Egyptian mufti Dr. 'Ali Gum'a, republished, on his website, his July 29, 2012 article titled "Islamic Conquests" that he had written while he was serving as mufti. It stated: "Ramadan in Islamic culture was not only a month [devoted] to worshiping God and growing close to Allah the Almighty, but also a month of action and jihad in order to spread this mighty religion. When the soul grows stronger and the spirit transcends, it influences the body, which also becomes more powerful. What is the body if not a mirror of the spirit?

"And therefore, throughout Islamic history, the month of Ramadan witnessed the greatest conquests, which were an important factor in Islam's expansion to the entire world by means of its tolerance and justice. Additionally, Ramadan witnessed many events that went down in history as remarkable milestones in [the development of] Islamic culture.

"On 22 Ramadan in the first year of the Hijra, the Prophet's raids[5] began, including the raid of Hamza bin 'Abd Al-Muttalib, the raid of Muhammad bin Maslamah, and other raids that helped support the foundations of Islam. [These continued] until 17 Ramadan in the second year of the Hijra, in which the great Battle of Badr took place, which saw the Muslims, under the command of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), triumph over the large armies of unbelief.

"[On 21] Ramadan in the eighth year of the Hijra, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and his companions conquered Mecca. This conquest was a crowning achievement for the efforts of the Prophet (pbuh) in da'wa for the sake of Allah and in bringing the rule of Islam to the Arabian Peninsula, and led groups of people to convert to Islam. On 8 Ramadan in the ninth year of the Hijra, the Battle of Tabouk took place. The Messenger (pbuh) returned from this battle on the 26th of that month, after Allah the Almighty had aided him greatly. After the death [of the Prophet Muhammad] (pbuh), his Companions, may God's will be upon them, continued his path in spreading Islam.

"In the [Companions'] days, Ramadan was also witness to many great Islamic conquests. On 13 Ramadan in the 15th year of the Hijra, the leader of the believers, 'Omar bin Al-Khattab, may God's will be upon him, arrived in Palestine after fierce battles to conquer the Levant, having already received the keys to Jerusalem - which we ask Allah to return in its entirety to the Muslims - and wrote a contract for its residents guaranteeing their lives and property.[6]

"On 1 Ramadan in the 20th year of the Hijra, the Muslims, under the command of the general 'Amr bin Al-'As, may God's will be upon him, entered Egypt. This was during [the reign] of the leader of the believers, 'Omar bin Al-Khattab, may God's will be upon him, after 'Amr vanquished the oppressing Byzantine soldiers on his way.

"On 6 Ramadan 63, Muhammad bin Al-Qasim defeated the Indian armies on the Sind River and conquered India. This was at the end of the [reign] of [the Umayyad Caliph] Al-Walid bin 'Abd Al-Malik.[7]

'Ali Gum'a's article on his website

"The conquest of Spain also began on 1 Ramadan, in the year 91, when the Muslims, under the command of the Berber Tarif bin Malik, landed on the southern coast of Spain and conquered some of the thaghour.[8] On 9 Ramadan 93, Muslim general Moussa bin Nusayr conducted a campaign to complete the conquest of Spain, conquering Seville and Toledo. On 9 Ramadan, 212, the Muslims, under Ziyad Ibn Al-Aghlab, landed on the coast of Sicily, and conquered it [Sicily] in order to spread Islam there.

"During Ramadan, the Muslims defeated the Byzantine Empire at the battle of Amorium, under the command of Abbasid Caliph Al-Mu'tasim, who had come to the aid of his Muslim brothers. He led a large army in order to punish the Byzantine Empire. The battle took place on 17 Ramadan 223.

"On 25 Ramadan 658, the battle of 'Ain Jalut was fought, under the command of Al-Muzzafar Saif Al-Din,[9] and Allah the Almighty granted the Muslims a decisive victory that stopped the Mongol advance and saved Islamic culture from ruin. Additionally, the first victory of the Muslims over the Crusaders took place in this venerable month, on 6 Ramadan 532, under the commander of 'Imad Al-Din Zengi in Aleppo in northern Syria.

"As for 10 Ramadan, it has gone down in history as a day of victory not only for the Egyptians, but as one for the entire Arab and Islamic ummah, and every Arab and Muslim will mark it forever. It was the victory of the Egyptian army in the war of October 6, 1973, at the battle of the crossing, when the Egyptian army, with Allah's help, crossed the Suez Canal and took back [control] of the Sinai from the Israeli occupier. Hundreds of years earlier, also on 10 Ramadan, in the year 648 - December 12, 1250 [CE] - the Egyptians defeated Louis IX at the battle of Al-Mansoura, killing and capturing many of his soldiers.

"Therefore, the month of Ramadan has become known in Islamic history as the month of conquests - the same month during which Allah the Almighty wanted the light of Islam to spread to all people, by means of its virtues and values."[10]



[1] March 13, 624 CE.

[2] This battle, between the Muslims and Byzantines, took place in 630 CE, and was Muhammad's last battle.

[3] These three events actually took place on different dates, and not on the same day, as the author states. Rhodes was conquered in Ramadan of the Hijri year 53 (August, 673 CE) during the reign of Umayyad Caliph Muawiya (661-680). Hasan Al-Nu'man, who conquered Tunisia and Algeria, died circa Hijri year 86 (705 CE). The battle between the Muslims and the Berbers, at which Queen Al-Kahina was killed, took place on 2 Ramadan 82 (October 9, 701). The only battle that took place on the date mentioned by the author is the Battle of Shaqhab, which took place on 2 Ramadan 702 (April 20, 1303) and lasted three days. At this battle, the Mamluks defeated the Mongols and ended Ilkhan Mahmoud Ghazan's aspirations to conquer Syria.

[4] Al-Ahram (Egypt), June 26, 2015.

[5] The Arabic term used here is Saraya. Unlike Ghazwa, which indicates early Islamic raids and battles commanded by the Prophet Muhammad, Saraya is used to describe a raid or battle that the Prophet Muhammad ordered but in which he did not participate.

[6] Known as the Pact of 'Omar, this letter guaranteed protection of the lives, property, churches, and freedom of worship of Jerusalem's Christians, in return for their payment of the jizya poll tax.

[7] Muhammad bin Al-Qasim defeated the Indian armies on 6 Ramadan 92 (June 27, 711 CE), during the reign of Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid bin 'Abd Al-Malik, and not on the date mentioned by the author.

[8] Arabic word meaning both "ports" and "frontier zones."

[9] Mamluk Sultan Al-Muzzafar Saif Al-Din Qutuz, who ruled Egypt 1259-1260 CE.

[10], June 23, 2015. The article originally appeared in Al-Ahram (Egypt), July 29, 2012.

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