A week after the passing of Shaykh Hisham Borhani (Arabic) the sad news came that Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani passed away last Wednesday, may God have mercy upon them. Shaykh Nazim, originally from Larnaca (Cyprus), had a very deep connection to Syria where he lived for a long time under the spiritual guidance of his teacher, Shaykh Abdallah al-Daghestani.
“One day, when this longing in my heart was particularly intense, I saw a vision in which my Shaykh, Sulayman Arzarumi, came, shook me by the shoulder, and told me, ‘Now the permission has come. Your secrets and your trust and your spiritual guidance are not with me. I only held you as a trust until you were ready for your real Shaykh, who is also my Shaykh, Shaykh `Abdullah ad-Daghestani. He is holding your keys. So go to him in Sham [Damascus]. This permission comes from me and from the Prophet (s).” [Shaykh Sulayman Arzurumi was one of the 313 saints of the Naqshbandi Order, who stand in the footsteps of and represent the 313 messengers.]
“That vision ended, and with it I had received the permission to move to Sham. I looked for my Shaykh to tell him about that vision. I found him coming to the mosque after about two hours. I ran to him. He opened his arms and said to me, ‘My son, are you happy with your vision?’ Then I knew that he knew everything that had happened. He said, ‘Don’t wait. Direct yourself to Sham.’ He didn’t give me an address or any other information, except the name, Shaykh `Abdullah ad-Daghestani, in Sham. I traveled from Istanbul to Aleppo by train, where I stayed some time. While there I would go from one to mosque to another, praying, sitting with scholars and spending time in worship and meditation.
“Then I travelled to Hama, which, like Aleppo, is a very ancient city. I tried to move on to Sham, but it was impossible. The French, who occupied Sham, were preparing for an attack by the English. So I travelled to Homs to the grave of Sayiddina Khalid ibn Walid (r), a Companion of the Prophet (s). I visited Khalid ibn Walid (r) and then I went into the mosque and prayed. A servant came to me and said, ‘I saw a dream last night in which the Prophet (s) came to me. He said, ‘One of my grandsons is coming here tomorrow. Take care of him for me.’ Then he showed me how you would look. Now I see you are that person.’
“I was so taken by what he said, that I accepted his invitation. He gave me one room near that mosque, where I stayed for one year. I didn’t go out except to pray and to sit in the majlis of two eminent scholars of Homs, who were teaching Recitation (tajwid), Exegesis (tafsir), Narration of Traditions (‘ilm al-hadith) and Jurisprudence (fiqh). They were Shaykh Muhammad `Ali `Uyun as-Sud and Shaykh Abdul `Aziz `Uyun as-Sud, the Mufti of Homs. I also attended the spiritual teachings of two Naqshbandi Shaykhs, Shaykh `Abul Jalil Murad and Shaykh Sa’id as-Suba’i. My heart was yearning to go to Sham. Because the war was so intense, I decided to go to Tripoli in Lebanon, from there to Beirut and from Beirut to Sham by a safer way.”
[The grave of Shaykh Abdallah al-Daghestani in Damascus]
The Shaykh spoke about what was taking place in Syria as the genocide in Syria was unfolding and confronted the Muslim world with its failure to put an end to this unimaginable misery that the tyrant was and continues to be causing.
[From 1.27 onward]
His message to the Muslim world: The Muslims of Syria are oppressed and have no means to remove the oppressor. God curses the oppressors, how can these tyrants claim to be Muslim? The Syrian people are calling out to be rescued, but the Muslim world does not respond. Where are the Muslims? Muslim nations are obligated to come to the rescue of the Syrian people from the hands of their oppressor, where are the leaders, kings and scholars, especially among the Arabs? What good are their armies, are they good for parades only? Why are they silent in the face of oppressors and have instead become a means for oppression against the weakest who are being massacred with rockets falling on their homes for no reason? In Egypt, hundreds of thousands went out running amok in the streets [because of that blasphemous movie at the time], yet nobody is taking it to the streets because of what the tyrant is doing to the Muslims in Syria. They only have God.
In this video the Shaykh shares his experiences with the regime from the time he was living there. He lived in Syria since the end of the French occupation and speaks of that time and the military regimes that followed up till the reign of Hafez al-Assad and his war on the people in ’82. This post-colonial period began with political, military, ideological and social chaos which brought about the worst in society and built up to become the great evil that has been exposed for all to see today. The transcription of the video can be found here, what follows are some important points:
The Shaykh tells us how during the French occupation the French governor wanted to build a road and therefore had to remove the grave of Shaykh Hasan al-Jibawi (may God have mercy upon him), but eventually didn’t do it. After the French left, it was eventually destroyed it and a road was built in its place. They also demolished the Yelboga Mosque and turned it into a parking lot. They didn’t demolish the tombs such as that of Ibn Arabi or al-Nabulsi (may God have mercy upon them) only because they had no business there. This was all in Damascus. 
He explains how the people of Syria were beautiful, but that the regime corrupted society. “If Sham is corrupted, then the whole world is corrupted.” Nobody could say anything, not even Mufti Kuftaro (may God have mercy upon him) or any other Mufti or Imam. The common people were too busy trading and going about their lives. No scholars, schools, institutes are left except that the regime entered and corrupted them. To put fear into people, they murdered Shaykh Muhammad Shami in Aleppo. He was “clean”, it was only to put fear into the scholars. They also murdered Mufti Kuftaro’s son to put fear into the scholars. Then he prays for their fall and prevention from taking power again. 
“I will never give them my blessings… They insulted Islam…
They are enemies of Islam, enemies of Muslims.”
 For the past three years we’ve seen how this accursed regime has destroyed everything that stood in its way: innocent men, women and children, homes, hospitals, bakeries, schools, in the most barbaric of ways. They destroyed Syrian society in its totality and it should therefore not come as a surprise that in the process scholars have been hunted down, kidnapped and tortured or blown out of their Mosques. Dozens of scholars have been murdered and hundreds of Mosques and shrines have been destroyed, as well as dozens of churches.
 Even those who form no threat whatsoever, even its own allies, are not spared when their deaths outweigh the benefit of them being alive. The slightest suspicion of defection can be enough. The regime has often successfully claimed its victims as its own martyrs. By murdering them the regime not only puts fear into those who know better, but also fools the ignorant into rallying behind it’s war against those who are being blamed for the murders.
[Shaykh Muhammad Shami]
Shaykh Muhammad Shami (may God have mercy upon him) was one of the leading scholars of Aleppo and known to support the regime. He was murdered when the uprising of the early 80’s reached Aleppo, silencing the scholarly community. The Muslim brotherhood, lead by another leading scholar of Aleppo namely Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghudda, was blamed for this.
Every other murder that took place during that time would be blamed on them and despite the violence and terror inflicted upon the city at the hands of Hafez al-Assad, many people would come to hate the Muslim brotherhood for three decades to come. It was not much different in Damascus, and so Hama would eventually be left to itself and faced genocide in 1982.
Shaykh Muhammad Shami’s son Shaykh Sohayb abandoned the regime and left the country after the bombardments of Aleppo started in 2012 and the murder of his brother Shaykh Mahmoud (may God have mercy upon him) took place. The current Mufti Ahmad Hasoun lost his son and saw his father’s grave being bombarded, but continues to support the regime. Shaykh al-Buti (may God have mercy upon him) was murdered along with his grandson and many others, his son Shaykh Tawfiq continues to support the regime.
The overwhelming majority of scholars in Syria have abandoned the regime and their stories of torture, attacks, threats to kill family members and living up to those threats can now be heard by all. One day, after the fall of the regime, we will hopefully find out the truth about what happened to those who remain to be “chained” today.