Muslim World > Syria


Home of ancient civilizations

Palmyra Theater

Syria, located along the eastern shores of the mediterranean sea, was home to some of the earliest civilizations on Earth. Early settlements in Syria are believed to date as far back as 10,000 BC, with the earliest recorded civilizations dating to 3,500 BC. This has left Syria with a rich historical and cultural background, and a diverse population located close to the intersection of Asia, Europe, and Africa. Syria's historical heritage includes influences from ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and others. Islam entered Syria in the year 637 as it spread quickly throughout the region, and eventually Damascus became the capital of the Islamic world for a period of time.

Modern Syria


Syria today has evolved into a modern society that maintains its rich cultural heritage and diversity. Although the majority of the population is Muslim, about 10% of Syrians are Christians, and there are a number of smaller minorities as well. Even within Muslims, there is a diversity of sects represented in Syria. Although Syria has some natural resources including oil, it is not as resource rich as some of its neighbours in the Middle East. This has led to Syria having a diversified economy that includes significant agricultural, industrial, commercial, and service sectors. Nonetheless, economic mismanagement and corruption have unfortunately reduced Syria's economic potential and have prevented it from developing an advanced and strong economy.

War devastation and refugees.

Umayyad Mosque

Syria has suffered from political instability and wars for centuries, being located in the Middle East at the intersection of European and Asian powers. Even during the early Islamic period, Syria was attacked by European crusaders. The well known "Saladin" (Salah Al-Din) was one of the key leaders who fought against the crusaders and expelled them from many parts of the region. More recently, Syria was involved in the first world war, after which it fell under French occupation. Syria only gained independence in its current state in 1945, but quickly thereafter fought several wars with Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973. It was also pulled into the Lebanese civil war, and suffered multiple military coups and local uprisings. More recently, the Syrian civil war in 2011 caused enormous devastation throughout the country, resulting in a high death toll and causing hundreds of thousands of refugees to leave Syria to seek peace and safety in other countries.

Politics and Human Rights

Syrian Flag

Syria has gone through some impressive periods throughout its history defined by justice, peace, and prosperity. Unfortunately, it has also had dark periods of war, injustice, and devastation. Syria's civil war of 2011 is the freshest example of the cruelty, unspeakable crimes, and inhumanity that people can inflict on each other when they lack any moral principles. It is important to recognize that this does not in any way represent the teachings of Islam.

Islam teaches us the importance of justice, and of standing up for the rights of the oppressed. The Quran teaches us that matters of government should be decided in a consultative process that ensures representation of the people. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the early Muslim leaders who followed in his footsteps implemented these values and worked to protect justice, equality, human rights, freedom of religion, and freedom of thought and expression. They also fought against injustice and worked to free people from unjust empires that had enslaved them and taken their rights and their wealth. These are the values of Islam, and these are the values that our world today needs.