The small al-Sheikh Raslan Mosque (جامع الشيخ رسلان), located just outside the old city gate of Bab Touma (باب توما) in Damascus (دمشق), contains the tomb of the 12th century religious leader al-Sheikh Raslan (الشيخ رسلان). The Sufi preacher was born in a village on the Euphrates river valley near the city of al-Raqqa (الرقة). He belonged to a wealthy and respected family, his father part of the local resistance to the Crusaders. At twenty years old, al-Sheikh Raslan (الشيخ رسلان) moved to Damascus (دمشق), finding work as a carpenter. He became devoted to the study of Sufism and eventually began preaching at a small mosque in Bab Touma (باب توما).
The sheikh developed a strong following within the city and became particularly popular with members of the militia which defended Damascus (دمشق) against the Crusaders. His teachings emphasized the Sufi approach to jihad, and focused on both spirituality as well as combat tactics and strategy. He became widely respected throughout Damascus (دمشق), developing a reputation for his piety and asceticism and earning the title of “protector of Damascus”. He passed away in 1146 and was buried here, alongside the tombs of one of his teachers and one of his close companions. The mosque is generally open during regular prayer times.
Getting There: al-Sheikh Raslan Mosque (جامع الشيخ رسلان) is located about two hundred meters to the east of Bab Touma (باب توما), the northeastern gate of the old city of Damascus (دمشق). The mosque and tomb is on the northwestern end of a small cemetery.
Coordinates: 33°30’49.00″N / 36°19’05.00″E
Transliteration Variants: al-Sheikh Arslan Mosque
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