Nabi Shu’ayb

Nabi Shu’ayb means ‘the Prophet Shu’ayb’. It is a Druze and Muslim religious shrine near Kfar Zeitim close to Tiberias. It is believed to be the burial place of the Druze and Islamic prophet Shu’ayb.

The prophet Shu’ayb is the 14th prophet Nabi Shuayb was an object of traditional veneration by Druze and Sunni Muslims. The tomb has been a site of annual pilgrimage for the Druze for centuries.

According to Druze tradition towards the end of his life, Shuaib took refuge in a cave outside Hittin. His followers buried him at the site and placed a tombstone at his grave. Another Tradition holds that Saladin had a dream the night prior the battle against the Crusaders at Hittin. An angel promised him victory on the condition that after the battle, he would ride his horse westward wherever the horse stopped he would find the burial site of Shuaib. According to tradition the Druze built a shrine for Shuaib at the site.

The site has been expanded over the years. The older part was built in the 1880s by Sheikh Muhanna Tarif after a delegation of community members went to Syria and Lebanon to raise funds for a new construction and renovations. The local Druze of the Galilee and Mount Carmel also made considerable contributions.

During the British Mandate there was a dispute between the Druze and the Islamic Council over who exercised custodianship over the site of Nabi Shuaib. After Israel’s establishment in 1948 the Druze were granted custodianship over the tomb, and an additional 100 dunams surrounding it. Under the leadership of Sheikh Amin Tarif, the shrine was then renovated and numerous rooms were added for the hosting of pilgrims. The Israeli government also paved the road leading to Naby Shuaib and provided electricity and water infrastructure services there.

The first mention of the tomb dates back to the 12th century CE, and the Druze have held religious festivals there for centuries. According to Druze tradition, the imprint of Shuaib’s left foot (da’sa) can be seen on the grave. Pilgrims visiting the site pour oil into the imprint, and then rub the oil over their body in order to be blessed with good fortune.

The Druze customarily had no fixed date for their annual pilgrimage, which generally occurred sometime in the spring. When the Israeli government granted official recognition of the pilgrimage as a Druze religious holiday, the dates were standardized, such that the event now takes place between April 25 and April 28. During the festivities, mass celebrations are held at Nabi Shu’aib, and Druze religious leaders gather at the site.