Sheikh Jarrah: Story Behind The Name

Sheikh Jarrah is named after the doctor of Salahuddin Al-Ayyoubi. Hussam al-Din al-Jarrahi, who lived in the 12th century, was an emir and the personal physician to the military leader who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders.

Sheikh Jarrah was originally a village named after Sheikh Hussam received the title Jarrah (جراح), meaning “healer” or “surgeon” in Arabic.

Sheikh Jarrah established a zawiya (literally “angle or corner,” also meaning a small mosque or school) known as the Zawiya Jarrahiyya. Sheikh Jarrah was buried on the grounds of the school.

The neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah was established on the slopes of Mount Scopus. The initial residential construction works were commenced in 1865 by an important city notable, Rabah al-Husayni, who constructed a large manor among the olive groves near Sheikh Jarrah’s tomb and outside the Damascus Gate. This action motivated many other Muslim notables from the Old City to migrate to the area and construct new homes.

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Because it was founded by Rabah al-Husayni whose home formed the nucleus of Sheikh Jarrah, the neighborhood was locally referred to as the “Husayni Neighborhood.” It gradually became a center for the notable al-Husayni family whose members, including Jerusalem mayor Salim al-Husayni and the former treasurer of the Education Ministry in the Ottoman capital of Istanbul, Shukri al-Husayni, built their residences in the neighborhood. Other notables who moved into the neighborhood included Faydi Efendi Shaykh Yunus, the Custodian of the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and Rashid Efendi al-Nashashibi, a member of the District Administrative Council.

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