Vandalization of the tomb of Sheikh Shihab ed-Din
Al-Houdalieh, Salah H.
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Sheikh Shihab ed-Din lived during the Ayyubid period (1187-1250 A.D.). When he died, followed by his two sons, the three of them were buried close to each other at a site known by Saffa residents as ed-Deir and/or Shihab ed-Din. The sacred place of the Sheikh, now recognized as an archaeological site, covers an area of about 1,700 square meters encompassing the shrine itself, a Late Islamic cemetery, a Byzantine wine-press, three cisterns, a Byzantine monastery, and remains of other ancient walls from different periods. The majority of the people of Saffa, along with and some residents of the larger Ramallah province, believe that the Sheikh enjoys a distinguished charisma from God. Therefore, until the mid-1980s the sacred place of Sheikh Shihab ed-Din was a center of attention for many people of Saffa and the surrounding villages, in order to gain the blessing of the Sheikh and obtain the benefits of his supernatural power. Despite this distinctive respect given to the personality of the Sheikh and his sacred place over the past centuries, in 2015 an as-yet unknown group vandalized the shrine and completely disrupted and destroyed the graves of the Sheikh and his two sons.