Rushdi al-Chamaa was born into Syrian notability in 1856. His father Ahmad Pasha was a close confident of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II. He studied law and literature in Istanbul and served in senior administrative posts in the Ottoman Empire, becoming an MP for Damascus in 1908. His family fortunes went into sharp decline with the ousting of Abdulhamid II in 1909. As a result of his critical views, Rushdi al-Chamaa was arrested, brought before a military court, and hanged in Marjeh Square in Damascus on May 6, 1916.