Bab al-Sa'at

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Bāb al-Sāʿāt (Arabic: باب الساعات, literally: Gate of Clocks or Hours) is a place in Damascus where the captives of Karbala had been kept for a while before they entered Yazid's palace. Sahl al-Sa'idi provided an account of how the caravan of the captives entered Damascus through the Gate of Clocks. The account is cited in the literature of Ashura.


Bab al-Sa'at was an entrance of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus above which there was a great clock. It was also called "Bab al-Jayrun".[1] It can be implied from some hadiths[2] that the entrance gate of Damascus from Aleppo and Kufa was also known as "Bab al-Sa'at",[3] where Imam al-Husayn (a)'s holy head had been kept before it was taken to Yazid's palace.[4] This gate was allegedly known as "Bab al-Halab" (Gate of Aleppo), but it came to be known as "Bab al-Sa'at" (Gate of Hours) because, in 61/680, the caravan of the captives of Karbala was kept waiting there for hours.[5]

However, it is believed by others that it was called "Bab al-Sa'at" because there was a clock above it.[6] There are other accounts according to which the caravan of the Captives of Karbala entered Syria from "Bab Tuma'".[7] However, some people believe that "Bab al-Sa'at" is the same as "Bab Tuma'" which was a Christian district of Damascus, remnants of which still exist.[8]


There is a huge stone in "Bab al-Sa'at" of the Umayyad Mosque which is said to be the same stone on which Abel and Cain had put their sacrifice.[9]

Also, Sahl b. Sa'd al-Sa'idi is quoted as saying that when the caravan of the captives of Karbala was taken to Damascus, people of Damascus gathered and celebrated in Bab al-Sa'at.[10] Shaykh Abbas Qummi quoted from Kamil Baha'i as saying that Imam al-Husayn (a)'s household was kept waiting in the gate for three days.[11]

Sahl b. Sa'd al-Sa'idi gave a report of how the captives were taken to Damascus through Bab al-Sa'at: decapitated heads of the Martyrs of Karbala were on spears, together with the captives. Sukayna, the daughter of Imam al-Husayn (a), asked him to give some money to spear-holders so that they move the heads in front of captives and stop goggling at women and girls in the caravan.[12] Bab al-Sa'at is mentioned in rawdas of the Event of Ashura, including the rawda of Yazid's meeting.

See Also


  1. Ibn Baṭūṭa, Safarnāma, vol. 1, p. 90.
  2. See: Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 45, p. 128.
  3. Bayḍūn, al-Mawsūʿat al-Karbalāʾ, vol. 2, p. 414.
  4. Bayḍūn, al-Mawsūʿat al-Karbalāʾ, vol. 2, p. 414.
  5. Muḥaddithī, Farhang-i ʿĀshūrā, p. 188.
  6. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 9, p. 158.
  7. Ibn Aʿtham, al-Futūḥ, vol. 5, p. 129-130.
  8. Shahīdī, "Bāb al-sāʿāt", vol. 3, p. 12.
  9. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 9, p. 154; Ḥamawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, vol. 2, p. 464.
  10. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 45, p. 128.
  11. Qummī, Nafas al-mahmūm, p. 394.
  12. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 45, p. 128; Khwārizmī, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, vol. 2, p. 68.


  • Ḥamawī, Yāqūt b. ʿAbd Allāh al-. Muʿjam al-buldān. Beirut: Dār al-Ṣādir, 1995.
  • Ibn Aʿtham, Aḥmad. Al-Futūḥ. Edited by ʿAlī Shīrī. Beirut: Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, 1411 AH.
  • Ibn Baṭūṭa, Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh. Safarnāma-yi Ibn Baṭūṭa. Translated to Farsi by Muḥammad ʿAlī Muwaḥḥidī. Tehran: Bungāh-i Tarjuma wa Nashr-i Kitāb, 1359 Sh.
  • Ibn Kathīr, Ismāʿīl b. ʿUmar. Al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, [n.d].
  • Khwārizmī, Muwaffaq b. Aḥmad al-. Maqtal al-Ḥusayn. Qom: Anwār al-Hudā, 1423 AH.
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Wafāʾ, 1404 AH.
  • Muḥaddithī, Jawād. Farhang-i ʿĀshūrā. Qom: Nashr-i Maʿrūf, 1378 Sh.
  • Qummī, Shaykh ʿAbbās. Nafas al-mahmūm. Najaf: al-Maktaba al-Ḥaydarīyya, 1421 AH.
  • Bayḍūn, Labīb. Al-Mawsūʿat al-Karbalāʾ. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī, 1427 AH.
  • Shahīdī, ʿAbd al-Ḥusayn. 1380 Sh. "Bāb al-sāʿāt". Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif Tashayyuʿ 3:12.