Damascus (commonly known in Syria as ash-Sham) and nicknamed as the City of Jasmine (Madīnat al-Yāsmīn), is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo. It borders Quneitra, Daraa, and As-Suwayda to the south, Jordan to the east, Homs to the north, and Lebanon to the west. It is also the capital city of one of the country’s 14 provinces. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major cultural and religious center of the Levant.

Located in southwestern Syria, Damascus is the center of a large metropolitan area of 2.6 million people (2004). Geographically embedded on the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range 80 kilometres (50 mi) inland from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean on a plateau 680 metres (2,230 ft) above sea-level, Damascus experiences a semi-arid climate due to the rain shadow effect. The Barada River flows through Damascus.

First settled in the 2nd millennium BC, it was chosen as the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate from 661 to 750. After the victory of the Abbasid dynasty, the seat of Islamic power was moved to Baghdad. Damascus saw a political decline throughout the Abbasid era, only to regain significant importance in the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. During Ottoman rule, the city decayed completely while maintaining a certain cultural prestige. Today, it is the seat of the central government and all of the government ministries. During the ongoing civil war in Syria, Damascus has witnessed intense anti-government protests and violent government responses in which hundreds of people died.

Pilgrimage sites

421 Tomb of Bibi Zaynab (s.a.)

Daughter of Imam Ali (a.s.) and Sayyida Fatima al-Zahra (a.s.)

2 Bab Saghir (also called “Goristan-e-Ghariban”)

This is a street with cemeteries on either side of the road

    • Tomb of Bibi Ruqayya (a.s.), daughter of Imam Hussain (a.s.)
    • Tomb of Bibi Umm Kulthum (a.s.), sister of Imam Hussain (a.s.)
    • Tomb of the Prophet’s (s.a.a.w.) wives (ummahatul muminin), Umm Salma and Umm Habiba
    • Tomb of Bibi Fidha, the maid of Sayyida Fatima (a.s.) (the Prophet’s daughter)
    • Tomb of Hujr Ibn Adi (a.s.), companion of Imam Ali (a.s.)
    • Tomb of Kamaid Ben Aswad al-Kindi (a.s.), companion of Imam Ali (a.s.)
    • Tomb of Abdullah Ben Jafar al-Tayyar (a.s.), husband and cousin of Bibi Zaynab (s.a.)
    • Tomb of Obay Ben Ka’b (a.s.): husband of Halima [r], nursing mother of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.)
    • Tomb of Bilal al-Habashi, the Muazzin of the Holy Prophet (s.a.a.w.)
    • Tomb of Abdullah bin Umm Maktoum – Muazzin
    • Tomb of Abdullah b. Imam Zaynul Abideen (a.s.)
    • Tomb of Abdullah b. Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.)
    • Tomb of Fatima Sughra bint Imam Husayn (a.s.)
    • Maqam Ra’s Shuhada. The burial place of the heads of the martyrs of Karbala. Also called “ganj-e-sarha-e-shuhada-e-Karbala”

3 Prison

This place can be reached by walking through Souk Hamidiyya (i.e. the Hamidiyya bazaar)

      • Mausoleum of Sakina (s.a.): daughter of Imam Hussain (a.s.)
      • Prison of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)
      • Pulpit (mimbar) of Imam Zaynul Abideen (a.s.)
      • Niche (mihrab) where Imam Zaynul Abideen (a.s.) used to say his prayers
      • Place where Imam Zaynul Abideen (a.s.) prayed when he went to take the head of Imam Hussain (a.s.)

4 Ummayyad Mosque (Jaami al-Amawi)

This is a walking distance from the Prison:

      • The Pulpit from which Imam Zaynul Abidin (a.s.) delivered a sermon before Yazid
      • Grave of Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) (a.s.) son of Prophet Zakariya (a.s.)
      • Maqam Ra’sul Husayn (a.s.). Place where the head of Imam Hussain (a.s.) is said to have been buried
      • Place where the head of Imam Hussain (a.s.) was kept in Yazid’s treasury

5 Salera (Hill)

      • Cave of Ashab al-Kahf
      • Koh-e-Raqim
      • Masjid Sulayman
      • Small Masjid
      • Footprint of Imam Ali (a.s.)
      • Serm
        on (khutba) writtten by Imam Ali (a.s.) on stone with his finger


6 Another Hill (dangerous to ascend)

      • Place where Qabil killed his brother Habil – Sons of Adam (a.s.)
      • The “two eyes” from which water drops like tears
      • Fingerprint of the Archangel Jibrail (a.s.)
      • Forty (arbain) Mosallas: Place where 40 prophets are buried




Khutba-e-Zainab (s.a.) in the darbaar of Yazid

After she saw Yazid disrespecting the head of her brother (a.s.) with a cane. She stood and said:

“God says, and He says the truth, the end of miscreants will be awful, those who belied the signs of God and mocked them. Oh Yazid, do you feel that you have made our life miserable and existence impossible? And you think that God has dishonoured us and that you have been honoured and elevated? This apparent success of yours is the result of grandeur of your might and lofty status for which you are proud…. You feel that you have conquered the whole world and your affairs are organised and that our domain is now under you control…

Wait! Wait! Let not your ignorance make you so elated for have you not heard God’s words – Let not those who disbelieve think that our giving them respite is good for themselves. We only give respite to them so that they may increase in sins and for them is a disgraceful chastisement. (3:177)

Oh you the son of freed slaves! Is this your justice that the ladies of your house remain veiled and we the Prophet’s daughters should be paraded from place to place? You have thus insulted our dignity….

Oh Yazid! Your misdeed has proved your rebellion against God…. And this action of yours comes as no surprise from a person whose ancestors chewed the liver of such saintly martyrs. The descendants of such enemies of God should naturally be the most deadly!

Oh Yazid! You are happily disrespecting the teeth of Husain even though it was the place of kissing for the Holy Prophet!

Oh Yazid! You did what you wished, but remember that you have cut your own skin, In the near future you will be taken in the presence of the Holy Prophet. On that occasion you will be burdened with the sins of the misdeed committed by you shedding the blood of his progeny and dishonouring the sanctity of his family.

Oh Yazid! It does not befit you to get inflated with joy after slaying the Prophet’s progeny and reckon not those slain in the way of God to be dead: nay! Alive they are with their Lord, being sustained, rejoicing in what God has granted them” (2:168)

Oh Yazid! Feel not elated with our defeat, for you will have to pay the penalty of it on the day when you will be rewarded for your misdeeds. God is not unjust to anyone. We trust in Him. He is our place of refuge. In Him we seek sanctity and with Him rest our hopes!

You can never reach the level of our lofty position, nor can you destroy our remembrances, nor can you wipe out the ignominy you have earned for yourself by your abominable and vile performance. Your decisions are poor and your days are numbered. Your party will disperse the day when the Announcer will announce – ‘GOD’S CURSE BE ON TYRANTS AND TRANSGRESSORS’