The general belief amongst Bahraini scholars is that the reason why the suburb literally translates to "negros" or "blackamoors", is because it pertains to the African slaves who were sold there. Some foreign scholars disagree and claim that it is named after the so-called "Negro Rebellion of the 9th century" against the Abbasid caliphate.
The suburb is divided into two sections: New Zinj and Old Zinj. New Zinj consists of spacious villas, many overlooking the sea front and Tubli Bay. Old Zinj is an old section adjacent to the village of "Bilad Al Qadeem" (Arabic: بلاد القديم)
Old Zinj houses many historical places such as Al-Saboor Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Bahrain. Al Saboor Mosque is uniquely known to have no ceiling since all efforts to build one have failed.
In J. G. Lorimer's Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, it is mentioned that 30 huts belonging to the Baharna are located in the village, and that cement is locally produced in 1908. His account also mentions extensive cultivation of well-irrigated date palms (estimated at 12,000) and farm animals.
Zinj is the home of several foreign embassies including those of the United States of America, Philippines, Indonesia, and Russia, while also being the previous location of the embassy of Pakistan. In April 2002, large pro-Palestinian demonstrations, numbering up to 20,000, were held in front of the American embassy, in which a Bahraini citizen was killed and around 100 injured after the American embassy was attacked with petrol bombs and stones.  A similar protest was held in 2003, in the run-up to the Iraq War. Several roads in Zinj remain barricaded with concrete blocks, and special security forces are frequently seen in the area at night.
Al-Ahli Club and stadium are located in Zinj. Al-Ahli Stadium holds League A and B football matches. AlAhli Sports club is also one of the oldest and most respected sports club in the country and region. The club is famous for winning various regional competitions in football, basketball, and volleyball. The club is also known for being the one which nurtured star player Ala'a Hubail, who currently plays with Al Ahli football club.
- Az Zinj Map — Satellite Images of Az Zinj, Maplandia.
- 'Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Vol. II. Geographical and Statistical. J G Lorimer. 1908'  (252/2084), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/20/C91/4, in Qatar Digital Library <http://www.qdl.qa/en/archive/81055/vdc_100023515712.0x000035> [accessed 24 July 2015]
- "Bahrainis protest against US war plans on Iraq". Middle East Online. 2003-01-03. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Pop concert in Bahrain triggers violent protests". China Daily. 23 October 2003. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
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