Ruins of Damascus
The ruins of Damascus (Arabic: خَرِبَة الشَّام, Kharibat al-Shām) is a place in Damascus in which the Captives of Karbala were accommodated by Yazid b. Mu'awiya. According to sources of hadiths, the place did not have a ceiling and its walls were flimsy. The martyrdom of Ruqayya occurred in this place.
Naming and Location
Yazid b. Mu'awiya accommodated the Captives of Karbala in ruins in Damascus. In the literature of Ashura, the place is referred to as Ruins of Damascus. According to al-Shaykh al-Mufid, the Captives were accommodated in a house adjacent to Yazid's Palace.
The Ruins of Damascus is described in some hadiths, such as not having a ceiling and having flimsy walls.
Moreover, according to a conversation between Minhal b. Amr and Imam al-Sajjad (a), cited by al-Sayyid Ni'mat Allah al-Jaza'iri, the house did not have a sunshade, and could not protect the Captives from cold and heat. Some Captives said that Yazid had sent them to the Ruins so that it would fall over their heads and kill them.
Condition of the Captives of Karbala
It is suggested by some hadiths that the Captives of Karbala were in terrible conditions in the Ruins. They were bothered by the sunshine, and as a result, their face skins were peeled. They recited elegies and cried for Imam al-Husayn (a) in the Ruins. According to some hadiths, Yazid had appointed guards on the Ruins who did not know Arabic.
There is a disagreement over how long the Captives of Karbala stayed in the Ruins. According to some sources, they were confined in the ruins until their face skins were peeled. According to some authors, they stayed in the Ruins of al-Sham for about one week.
When the Captives of Karbala stayed in the Ruins of Damascus, some events took place, including the following:
Martyrdom of Ruqayya
According to some sources, one of Imam al-Husayn's young daughters died in the Ruins of al-Sham. On these sources, she had longed for her father. Yazid commanded that Imam al-Husayn's head be taken to her. She held her father's head in her arms and cried until she died. Some later sources referred to the girl as Ruqayya. The famous shrine attributed to Ruqayya is built in this place.
According to some sources, on the fourth day of their stay in Damascus, Sukayna had a dream. According to Ibn Nama al-Hilli, she dreamt of the Prophet Muhammad (s), prophets Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus visiting Imam al-Husayn in Karbala, while the Prophet (s) had grabbed his beard with his hand, sometimes falling on the ground and then standing up. Fatima (a), Eve, Asiya, Maryam, and Khadija were also there, while Fatima al-Zahra had put her hand on her head, sometimes falling on the ground and then standing up. In the dream, Sukayna approached al-Zahra and started to cry. Fatima al-Zahra told her, “Dear Sukayna! Stop crying. Your moans are burning and breaking my heart. This cloth has your father's blood on it. I will not put it aside until I meet God”.
Doubts About the Residence of the Captives of Karbala in Ruins
Some Shiite scholars have denied the accommodation of the Captives of Karbala in the Ruins. Muhammad Hadi Yusufi Gharawi believes that Yazid could not accommodate Ahl al-Bayt in the Ruins because of their respect and social status among people. Thus, Yazid accommodated them in his palace, which was located in an area named "Mahallat al-Kharab" (lit. Ruins Neighborhood). According to some sources, when Yazid held a ceremony in his house, the Captives were taken there and accommodated in the palace.
In Literature and Culture
The Ruins of Damascus is a focus of attention in the literature of Ashura, especially in elegies and laments. The rawdas of Ruqayya and the accommodation of the caravan of the Captives of Karbala are usually associated with the Ruins of Damascus, pointing that the accommodation of the Captives was in the Ruins without a sunshade.
- The material for writing this article is mainly taken from خرابه شام in Farsi WikiShia.