ISLAMABAD, (Parliament Times) : The Surah Ar-Rum in the Quran provides information on how the catastrophic Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602-628 looked to the Arabs of Makkah—interested onlookers who were still unaware that, within a single generation, they would enter the realm of imperialism and defeat both the Byzantines and the Sassanids.
Prof Emeritus Aslam Syed said this while speaking at a Webinar on Discourse of History on History of Europe: From Antiquity to Modernity V here on Sunday.
Responding to a question, Prof Syed said that the Surah begins by noting the defeat of the Byzantine Empire to the Sassanid Empire in Jerusalem, near the Dead Sea. This defeat posed a significant theological and sociological problem for the early Muslim community because the Byzantines were Christians while the Sassanids who defeated them were Zoroastrians, he observed.
Prof. Emeritus Aslam Syed has been serving the Centre for Religious Studies, Ruhr Universität, Bochum, Germany. He remained Chairman, Department of History, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and also served the NIHCR as its Director.
Replying a question, Prof Syed said that Surah Ar-Rum is in a part response to the non-Muslim Arab Makkans, who took the Sassanid victory as a sign that the traditional polytheistic practices would win out over the monotheism of the Abrahamic religions.
The Webinar arranged online by the National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research (NIHCR), Centre of Excellence, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, was attended by a large number of participants from all across the world ranging from students, teachers and researchers to have greater insights into the valuable views of the guest speaker.
Prof Syed said that astonishingly the divine verses third and fourth promised the Muslim community that the Byzantines will reverse their defeat into a victory and retake Jerusalem “in a few years’ time”.
It was the 39th consecutive session on the Discourse of History, a brainchild of the NIHCR Director Dr Sajid Mahmood Awan.
In reply to a question, Prof Syed recalled that through verses eight and nine, Allah Almighty states that the “Quraysh heed not the warnings of God hence despair of the infidels in the resurrection resultantly the righteous and the wicked shall be separated on the Day of Judgement.”
Similarly, Prof Aslam Syed noted that verse 19 states that the “changes in nature a proof of the resurrection hence various signs of God’s omnipotence.”
Muslims believe, Prof Aslam Syed said, this prophecy was fulfilled with Heraclius’ campaign of 622, a Byzantine military counter-offensive that resulted in a crushing defeat for the Sassanids in Anatolia, and cite it as an example of the miraculous nature of the Quran.
The NIHCR Director Dr Awan conducted the Webinar by triggering a dialogue with Dr Syed for substantiating this discourse. This inclusive activity has been taken up every week for the benefit of students in general and capacity-building of the teachers and researchers in particular, he said.