Female Islamic Saints


People stand praying at the silver and gold enclosure around Ruqayyah’s tomb.
I. The ḍarīḥ of Ruqayyah in her maqām in Damascus, Syria.

Ruqayyah bint Ḥusayn (676–681), also called Sakīnah, was the youngest daughter of Muḥam­mad’s grandson Ḥusayn and his wife Rabāb. She travelled with Ḥusayn to Karbala in his campaign against the Caliph Yazīd. Following the defeat of her father at Karbala, she was taken to Kufa and then Damascus and imprisoned by Yazīd’s army, along with Ḥusayn’s surviving family and companions. There she suffered from thirst before she expired, according Shi‘ah tradition, crying over her father’s disembodied head. She was buried in the dungeon, where a maqām, or shrine, was later built, but by the 9th century, the shrine had sustained great damage and was breached by water, so the scholar Sayyid ibn al-Murtaḍā removed Ruqayyah from the dungeon grave, and the shrine was rebuilt in its current location. A grand mosque was further built around the maqām in 1985. In Shi‘ah liturgy, the 3rd of Muḥarram is dedicated to mourning her.

Photo Reference

I: Gagnon, Bernard. “Sayyidah Ruqayya Mosque 02.” Wikimedia Commons, 13 Dec. 2010, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sayyidah_Ruqayya_Mosque_02.jpg.

Other Reading

“Ruqayya bt. al-Imam 'Ali (a).” WikiShia. Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly, 14 Aug. 2018, en.wikishia.net/view/Ruqayya_bt._al-Imam_al-Husayn_(a).

West AsiaImami Shi‘i.