Sheikh Sharaf al-Dīn

Building name:Sheikh Sharaf al-Dīn
ID number:1
Building type:Mausoleum/mazār + shrine/nîshan
Site/place name:Rashidiya
Measurements: N/A
State of preservation:Intact
Description:The building is located in a courtyard beside two shrines. It is a square-planned tomb chamber (since the building does not contain a coffin, it should rather be considered a cenotaph) with an ante-chamber, oriented SW-NE and measuring 9×14 m. The antechamber has a rectangular plan and four windows: two are located on the long external side – the northern side – and the other two are located on each of the short sides – eastern and the western. They measure 0.90×0.20 m and are rectangular. The entrance to the mausoleum is through an antechamber, on the northern side of which is located a door measuring 2×0.30 m. Through the southern side of the antechamber is the access to the main room of the building, the tomb chamber. The tomb chamber is square-planned and is accessible also from its SE wall: this opening measures 1×1 m. Small windows allow light into the room. The tomb chamber is roofed with a polyhedral dome, composed of 40 conic slices/ribs. In the middle of the tomb chamber there is a prayer column, called stûna mîraza, which is 1 m high and located approximately in the middle of the room. The function of this column is to burn oil wicks on its top, the same as the Zoroastrian fire altars.
The tomb belongs to the simple square type with antechamber. This building is the most popular in Sinjar. It was built in 1274, according to an Arabic inscription on the façade, and dedicated to Sheikh Sharaf al-Dīn, a historical figure attested as one of the sons of Sheikh Hasan, and who died in 1256. Here are carried out local ceremonies and the building itself is said to be effective against jaundice and skin problems.
Building/site biography:The site was defended by a group of Yazidi fighters during the ISIS attacks during the summer and autumn 2014. The mausoleum was attacked many times by the ISIS men but never destroyed thanks to the efforts of the people defending it (see References).
References:Açıkyıldız 2015: 173-174.
Açıkyıldız 2009: 109.
Lescot 1975: 245.
Photograph: © Jérémy André 2016
Plan: Açıkyıldız 2009: Fig. 22