Sayyidah Zaynab

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Sayyidah Zaynab
السيدة زينب
Sayyidah Zaynab Shrine
Sayyidah Zaynab Shrine
Nickname(s): Set Zaynab
Sayyidah Zaynab is located in Syria
Sayyidah Zaynab
Sayyidah Zaynab
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 33°26′50″N 36°20′10″E / 33.44722°N 36.33611°E / 33.44722; 36.33611Coordinates: 33°26′50″N 36°20′10″E / 33.44722°N 36.33611°E / 33.44722; 36.33611
Country  Syria
Governorate Rif Dimashq
District Markaz Rif Dimashq
Subdistrict Babbila
Population (2004 census[1])
 • Total 136,427
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Sayyidah Zaynab (Arabic: السيدة زينب‎, meaning Lady Zaynab) commonly known as Set Zaynab, is a Syrian town in the Rif Dimashq Governorate. With a population of 136,427 (2004 census), Sayyidah Zaynab is the 10th-largest city in Syria by terms of population and the largest satellite city of the capital Damascus. It lies only 10 km (6 mi) south of the Syrian capital. Administratively, the town is located in Markaz Rif Dimashq district and belongs to the nahiyah ("subdistrict") of Babbila.[2] The municipality of Sayyidah Zaynab is still considered as a rural community by the governorate of Rif Dimashq.[3]


The name of the town is derived from the shrine that contains the grave of Zaynab, daughter of ‘Alī and Fātimah and granddaughter of Muhammad. It is believed by Shī‘a Muslims that the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque is the authentic burial place of Lady Zaynab, whereas the mosque in Cairo by the same name belongs to Zaynab bint Yahya bint Zayd bint ‘Alī Zayn al-‘Ābidīn (i.e. the great granddaughter of the Imam).[4]

Religious significance[edit]

Sayyidah Zaynab is one of the main destinations of the Shia Muslim pilgrims. In the 1980s, during and after the Iran–Iraq War, the flow of the visitors had significantly increased to reach its peak during the 1990s when the construction of the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque was completed and the small town was turned into a major centre of Shī‘a pilgrimage. Nowadays, around 1 million tourists visit the town of Sayyidah Zaynab every year.

Currently, 33 public schools and a number of religious institutions are operating in the town.

Recent history[edit]

On September 27, 2008, there was a car bomb attack on the intersection leading up to the mosque, killing 17 people with 17 others wounded.[5]

On June 14, 2012, the town became the target of a suicide car bomb attack where around 14 people were heavily wounded.[6]

Since mid summer 2012 the town has been under attack from armed militants in neighbouring Sunni towns. Many Shia and pro government families were driven out of their homes in southern Damascus and sought refuge in Sayyidah Zaynab. Constant shelling became more frequent in this predominantly Shia town, and rockets landing on random places in the town became common. In January 2013 a mortar shell landed on the Sayyidah Zaynab Shrine causing some damage to one of the minarets.

See also[edit]