Tomb of Daniel

Coordinates: 32°11′25.3″N 48°14′37.1″E / 32.190361°N 48.243639°E / 32.190361; 48.243639
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The Tomb of Daniel in the city of Susa, in Iran

The Tomb of Daniel (Persian: آرامگاه دانیال نبی) is the traditional burial place of the biblical figure Daniel.[1] Various locations have been named for the site, but the tomb in Susa, in Iran, is the most widely accepted site, it being first mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela, who visited Asia between 1160 and 1163.

Susa‌, Iran[edit]

The Book of Daniel mentions that Daniel lived in Babylon and may have visited the palace of Susa‌, Iran,[2] but the place where he died is not specified; the tradition preserved among the Jews and Arabs is that he was buried in Susa. Today the Tomb of Daniel in Susa is a popular attraction among local Muslims and Iran's Jewish community alike.

19th-century engraving of Daniel's tomb in Susa, from Voyage en Perse Moderne, by Flandin and Coste

The earliest mention of Daniel's Tomb published in Europe is given by Benjamin of Tudela who visited Asia between 1160 and 1163. In the façade of one of its many synagogues he was shown the tomb assigned by tradition to Daniel. Benjamin declares however, that the tomb does not hold Daniel's remains, which were said to have been discovered at Susa about 640 A.D. The remains were supposed to bring good fortune: and bitter quarrels arose because of them between the inhabitants of the two banks of the Choaspes River. All those living on the side on which Daniel's grave was situated were rich and happy, while those on the opposite side were poor and in want; the latter, therefore, wished the bier of Daniel transferred to their side of the river. They finally agreed that the bier should rest alternately one year on each side. This agreement was carried out for many years, until the Persian shah Sanjar, on visiting the city, stopped the practice, holding that the continual removal of the bier was disrespectful to the prophet. He ordered the bier to be fastened with chains to the bridge, directly in the middle of the structure; and he erected a chapel on the spot for both Jews and non-Jews. The king also forbade fishing in the river within a mile of Daniel's bier.[3] According to Benjamin, the place is a dangerous one for navigation, since godless persons perish immediately on passing it; and the water under the bier is distinguished by the presence of goldfish.

Interior of the tomb

Muslim traditions agree in stating that Daniel was buried at Susa, and a similar tradition was current among the Syriac writers.[4] Al-Baladhuri (ninth century) says that when the conqueror Abu Musa al-Ash'ari came to Susa in 638, he found the coffin of Daniel, which had been brought thither from Babylon in order to bring down rain during a period of drought.[5] Abu Musa referred the matter to the calif Umar, who ordered the coffin to be buried, which was done by sinking it to the bottom of one of the streams nearby.[6]

A similar account is given by 10th-century Arab chronicler Ibn Hawqal who writes:

"In the city of Susa there is a river and I have heard that in the time of Abu Musa al Ashari a coffin was found there; it is said to contain the bones of Daniel the Prophet. The people held it in great veneration and in times of distress, famine or droughts brought it out and prayed for rain. Abu Mousa Al Ashoari ordered that the coffin be encased with three coverings and submerged it in the river so that it could not be viewed. The grave can be seen by anyone who dives to the bottom of the water".[7][8]

Istakhri gives a similar account and adds that the Jews were accustomed to make a circuit around Daniel's tomb and to draw water in its neighborhood.[9] Al-Muqaddasi refers to the contention between the people of Susa and those of Tustar.[10] A slightly divergent tradition reported by Ibn Taimiyyah says that the body was found in Tustar; that at night thirteen graves were dug, and it was put in one of these—a sign according him, that the early Muslims were opposed to the worship of the tombs of holy men.[11]

William Ouseley in Walpole's Memoirs of the East described the Tomb of Daniel in Susa as being situated in "a most beautiful spot, washed by a clear running stream and shaded by planes and other trees of ample foliage. The building is of Mahomedan date and is inhabited by a solitary Dervish, who shows the spot where the prophet is buried beneath, a small and simple square brick mausoleum, said to be (without probability) coeval with his death. It has, however, neither date nor inscription to prove the truth or falsehood of the Dervish's assertion. The small river running at the foot of this building, which is called the Bellerau, it has been said flows immediately over the prophets Tomb, and from the transparency of the water, his coffin was to be seen at the bottom; but the Dervish and the natives whom I questioned remembered no tradition corroborating such a fact; on the contrary; it has at all times been customary with the people of the country to resort hither on certain days of the months, when they offer up their prayers at the tomb I have mentioned, in supplication to the prophet's shade."

The current tomb was renovated and repaired in 1870 A.D. by order of Shia scholar Sheikh Jafar Shooshtari, the work being executed by Haj Mulla Hassan Memar. Later Mulla Hassan's son, Mulla Javad carried out further renovations in the site.[12]

Other locations recorded as the Tomb of Daniel[edit]

Name Images Location Year/century Remarks
Mala Amir No image available Khuzestan Not recorded The Jewish Encyclopedia notes that a five days journey from Dezful, near Mala Amir, in Khuzestan of Iran, there is another sacred tomb said to be that of Daniel.
Mosque of the Prophet Daniel, Kirkuk Kirkuk, Iraq 7th century This site is located in the Kirkuk Citadel. It was formerly a synagogue, but converted into a mosque during the reign of Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz. Every year, thousands of people from around the world visit the mosque to offer prayers and make pilgrimage to the grave of the Prophet Daniel and Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah who are allegedly buried next to him.
Tomb of the Prophet Daniel Mosul, Iraq 1813 Originally a mosque founded by the governor Ma'ruf ibn Ibrahim al-Sulayman, the tomb of the Prophet Daniel was discovered at a later date. The site was rebuilt in the 1980s, but it was completely demolished by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2014.
Mausoleum of St. Daniel Samarkand, Uzbekistan 14th century The tomb of Daniel in Samarkand was rebuilt in the 20th century. Inside, the grave is at least 18 metres long, underneath a marble sarcophagus covered with a green cloth. [13]According to the local legend, Tamerlane attempted to conquer Syria for many years, but was unsuccessful. One of his ministers suggested it was because the saint from the biblical times, Daniel, was buried there. Timur then sent his army to where Daniel was entombed in Syria, and after a fierce fight with the Syrians, was able to take some of his remains back to Uzbekistan.[14] It is also said that on the day Daniel was entombed a natural source of water sprung up at that spot, and it is believed by locals that its water has the power to heal.[15]
Mausoleum of Danyal Tarsus, Turkey Unknown The mosque and tomb complex was built atop some Roman-era ruins. The tomb was unearthed in 2006 during an excavation, and it was attributed to Prophet Daniel due to an erroneous legend that the Prophet was buried there.
Tarsus Grand Mosque Tarsus, Turkey Unknown The backroom of the mosque contains two graves which are attributed to Daniel and Seth. Next to both graves is the grave of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma'mun.
Tomb of Sidi Deniane Jorf El Yhoudi, Oriental, Morocco Unknown This site is located at Jorf El Yhoudi, known as Cliff of the Jews. The grave of Daniel, also known as Sidi Deniane is located within the structure.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tomb of Prophet Daniel". Madain Project. Retrieved 17 May 2019. According to al-Tabri and Later on Ibn Kathir, Daniel (Daniyal) is regarded as a prophet in Islamic tradition as well, having origin in Jewish tradition.
  2. ^ Book of Daniel 8:2
  3. ^ Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela [Hebr.], ed. Asher, i. 74–76, ii. 152–154; cf. Petachiah of Regensburg, p. 77, below, Jerusalem, 1872.
  4. ^ Budge, Book of the Bee, p. 73.
  5. ^ compare Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, i. 2567.
  6. ^ Futuḥ al-Buldan, p. 378.
  7. ^ Rosenmuller, E. F. C. (1836). "Appendix to Chapter VI". The Biblical Geography Of Central Asia. Edinburgh: Thomas Clark. p. 318.
  8. ^ ed. Michael Jan de Goeje, p. 174.
  9. ^ ed. De Goeje, p. 92; see also Yaqut, Mu'jam al-Buldan, iii. 189.
  10. ^ ed. De Goeje, p. 417
  11. ^ Z. D. M. G. iii. 58).
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-06-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Mausoleum of Khoja Daniyar, Samarkand, Uzbekistan". Retrieved 2023-11-19.
  14. ^ "Mausoleum of Khoja Daniyar, Samarkand, Uzbekistan". Retrieved 2023-11-19.
  15. ^ "Mausoleum of Khoja Daniyar, Samarkand, Uzbekistan". Retrieved 2023-11-19.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRichard Gottheil and Eduard König (1901–1906). "Tomb of Daniel". In Singer, Isidore; et al. (eds.). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography: Jane Dieulafoy, At Susa, p. 131, New York, 1890; Driver, The Book of Daniel, p. xxi.

32°11′25.3″N 48°14′37.1″E / 32.190361°N 48.243639°E / 32.190361; 48.243639