Deir al-Bukht

For other uses, see Bukht.
Deir al-Bukht
دير البخت
Deir al-Bukht
Coordinates: 33°8′49″N 36°11′25″E / 33.14694°N 36.19028°E / 33.14694; 36.19028
Grid position 261/283 PAL
Country  Syria
Governorate Daraa Governorate
District al-Sanamayn District
Nahiyah Ghabaghib
Population (2004)[1]
  Total 5,381
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Deir al-Bukht (Arabic: دير البخت, also spelled Deir al-Bukhit or Dayr al-Bakht) is a town in southern Syria, administratively part of the al-Sanamayn District of the Daraa Governorate located north of Daraa. It is situated about 63 kilometers south of the capital Damascus. Nearby localities include al-Sanamayn to the south, Kafr Shams to the southwest, Deir al-Adas to the west, Ghabaghib to the northeast, Muthabin to the east and Jabab to the southeast. In the 2004 census by the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Deir al-Bukht had a population of 5,381.[1]


The name "Deir al-Bukht" is Arabic for "Convent of the Bactrian Camel." According to early 13th-century Syrian geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi, Deir al-Bukht had previously been known as "Deir Mikhail", a monastery dedicated to Saint Michael. It received its current name as a result of early 8th-century Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik's habit of having a Bactrian camel saddled at the monastery.[2][3]

A member of the Abbasid family, Ali ibn Abdullah ibn Abbas,[2][3] maintained a garden at Deir al-Bukht for recreation during the reign of Abd al-Malik's successor, al-Walid. Ali was accused of killing his adopted brother Salit in Deir al-Bukht, but Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik and Ubaydallah ibn Ziyad interjected on Ali's behalf, persuading al-Walid to spare his life. Ali was imprisoned instead.[3]

In 1596 Dayr al-Buht appeared in the Ottoman tax registers as part of the nahiya of Bani Kilab in the Qada of Hauran. It had an entirely Muslim population consisting of 15 households and 6 bachelors. Taxes were paid on wheat, barley, summer crops, goats and/or beehives.[4]

In the 19th-century Biblical scholar Eli Smith noted that Deir al-Bukht was a Muslim village.[5]

During the French Mandate period, Deir al-Bukht was the center of the 'Al al-Zubi clan which controlled a total of 16 villages in the Hauran, including Khirbet Ghazaleh and al-Musayfirah, and provided the local religious leadership of the Qadiriyya, Sufi Muslim order dating back to the 12th-century. The head of the clan was Muflih al-Zubi who served as a deputy of the French Mandate authorities.[6]


  1. 1 2 General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Daraa Governorate. (Arabic)
  2. 1 2 le Strange, 1890, p. 428.
  3. 1 2 3 Thomas, 2003, p. 29.
  4. Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 209
  5. Smith; in Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Second appendix, B, p. 149
  6. Batatu, 1994, p. 107


External links

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