From early ages of humankind, people have showed various forms of adulation to their honorable and unique personalities. One of these forms is the sanctification of their tombs by constructing handsome buildings that are, in most cases, taken as places of worship.
The Holy Qur’an, narrating the story of the seven sleepers of Ephesus, has referred to this phenomenon:
“We caused their story to become public so that people would know that God’s promise was true and that there is no doubt about the coming of the Day of Judgment. They started to argue with each other about the matter (resurrection) and some of them said, ‘Let us establish a building at the youths’ sleeping place.’ Their Lord knew best their intentions about them. The majority prevailed in their suggestion of the establishment of a mosque in that place.”1
Such buildings have been ceaselessly visited by people for seeking blessings, showing respect, and practicing definite ceremonies and rituals of worship there.
The question of visiting the tombs of the prophets, their successors, and saints has been an uninterrupted tradition quoted from Prophet Muhammad’s words, deeds, and confirmations. Nevertheless, some heresy doctrines claiming to belong to Islam have given rise to problematic matters regarding this point. As if they are the only Muslims believing in the legality of visiting the tombs, the Shia have been accused of believing that it is permissible to visit the shrines of the Prophets, Imams and saints, to build them, to seek blessings through them, to pray and make supplications around them. All the other Islamic schools of jurisprudence have shared the Shia in such beliefs.2
Not only is the holy shrine of al-’Abbas visited by the Shia, but also Muslims from other Islamic sects have made pilgrimage to that shrine ceaselessly.
The Immaculate Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a) confirmed the pilgrimage to the holy shrines of the Prophets, Imams, and saints and referred to definite rules of conduct to be followed there. They also dedicated definite statements of supplication and greetings to such shrines.
As a matter of fact, the question of constructing shrines on the tombs of certain individual is not an ordinary issue originated from personal views or tendencies. Indeed, it is a divine will having many dimensions.
First of all, God, the Exalted has promised to His sincere servants that their names will be commemorated and mentioned in this world as well as in the world to come. One of the signs of their eternal life in this world is the presence of handsome buildings on their tombs to remind of their situation, way of life and piety to their Creator.
As these pious individuals have played exemplary roles during their lives, their shrines keep alive their examples in the minds of people. This should be followed for winning happiness in this life and the life to come.
The holy shrines too, have become the shelters of those who are inflicted with worldly disasters and those who seek refuge of God. Under the domes of such shrines all supplications to God are responded to, all screams of the repentant are heard and all cries of seekers of succor are answered.
These holy shrines finally, have very frequently been the seat of reestablishments of relations with the Lord, many revolutions against individual and shared wrong and injustice and many returns towards God.
Historians have confirmed that Imam al-Husayn (a) used to carry the bodies of his soldiers who were killed in the battlefield to a special tent prepared for this purpose. For instance, historians have confirmed that al-Hurr ibn Yazid when killed, was carried to the tent where those who had been killed were kept and Imam al-Husayn ordered some young men of his household to carry the body of his son ‘Ali to that tent, and he himself carried the body of al-Qasim, his nephew to the same tent.
It is also related that Imam al-Baqir (a) said:
“Al-Husayn used to place the bodies of the killed ones in one place and used to comment: These martyrs are just like the martyred Prophets and sons of Prophets.”3
Nevertheless, Imam al-Husayn (a) left the body of his brother al-’Abbas in the place where he fell wounded at the banks of the River al-Alqami, near the dam.
Some historians have mentioned that Imam al-Husayn (a) could not carry the body of al-’Abbas because it was wounded so heavily that all the organs were separated from each other.4
Others have mentioned that al-’Abbas in the last spark of his life, begged his brother to leave him in his place because he was embarrassed to meet Sukaina, daughter of Imam al-Husayn, whom he had promised to bring water.5
However, it is now very clear that Imam al-Husayn (a) left the body of his brother in that place for an excellent secret that can be understood only by the well-mannered ones. Anyhow the Imam was not able to carry the body of his brother.
Days have uncovered that secret of where al-’Abbas had that handsome shrine built for him, to which thousands of people pilgrimage ceaselessly. The place where that holy body fell has become one of the most considered areas on this earth. People have sought nearness to God, supplicated to Him to solve their most complicated problems and ordeals, offered to Him the most acceptable rituals of worship and seen the most miraculous charismata under the golden, shining dome of that holy shrine that contained the holy body of al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali - the righteous servant of God.
People therefore have recognized the actual standing of al-’Abbas in the sight of God and in turn, recognized the scope of respect that they should bear to this personality who has played the role of being a connecting link between people and their Lord.
God the Exalted has willed to grant al-’Abbas a distinctive rank in this world as well as the world to come.
Just like the Immaculate Imams, al-’Abbas has had a special shrine pilgrimaged by the Imams who passed by that area. We have already mentioned that Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad as- Sadiq (a) visited the tomb of al-’Abbas and recited a special Ziyara, different in statements from the Ziyaras recited before the tombs of the other martyrs. In the same manner, the shrine of al-’Abbas has had its special ceremonies and rites of Ziyara.
The traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a) have guided us to the location, as well as the ceremonies and rites to be practiced at that holy shrine of al-’Abbas.
Ibn Qawlawayh, in his book titled Kamil uz-Ziyara, page 256, narrates from an authentic series of narrators that Abu-Hamza ath-Themali related the following saying to Imam as- Sadiq (a):
“If you intend to visit (the tomb of) al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali, which is on the bank of the Euphrates opposite to al-Haair, you should stop at the gate of the shed and say: Salaam of Allah and Salaam of His angels… etc.”6
Al-Mejlisi, in his book titled Mezar ul-Bihar, records another Ziyara for al-’Abbas related to the narration of Sheikh al-Mufid and Ibn al-Mash’hadi, defining the same location that is defined by Imam as-Sadiq (a) in the previous narration.
Similar narrations are recorded in Allama an-Nouri’s Tahiyyat uz-Zaair and related to Sheikh al-Mufid, ash-Shahid, and Sayyid Ibn Tawous.
The following statement of Sheikh al-Mufid identifies the location of the tomb of al-’Abbas that is decided by the saying of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a):
“Except al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali who was buried in a place on the dam in the way of al-Ghadhiriyya, all the members of Imam al-Husayn’s family, peace be upon them, were buried in a hole located beyond the legs of Imam al- Husayn. The tomb of al-’Abbas is clear and known… etc.”
All scholars and investigators have followed this definition of the location. They all have decided that the tomb of al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali is opposite to the holy Haair near the shore of the River Euphrates.7
River al-Alqami was a stream branching from the Euphrates. It was passing by and irrigating the lands of Karbala. It was the only river in that area.
Neither the geography scholars nor have the historians referred to the location and history of this river. Moreover, Imam as-Sadiq (a) did not refer to this name as he mentioned the location of the martyrdom of al-’Abbas. However, this name was mentioned in many narratives recorded in authentic, trustworthy reference books.
At-Turaihi, in his book titled al-Muntakhab page 91, writes down a narration in which there is a reference to the River al- Alqami. A narration recorded in Medinat ul-Ma’aajiz in Chapter 127 on page 263; it includes a reference to the River al-Alqami.
Ibn Shahrashub, in his book titled al-Manaaqib; 2/190, records the narration of al-Mutawakkil’s orders of digging the tomb of Imam al-Husayn (a). In this narration, he refers to the River al-Alqami.
In Mezar ul-Bihar page 161, a narration of a special Ziyara to the tomb of al-’Abbas is recorded. This narration begins with:
“If you intend to visit Karbala, you should first reside at the shore of the River al-Alqami, undress yourself, wash…etc.”
This narration is quoted from the famous books of Ziyara compiled by Sheikh al-Mufid and al-Mash’hadi.
All these narrations prove that the name of al-Alqami was known for everybody for many decades. Nevertheless, the reason behind this name is not known. Some mentioned that a man from the tribe of Alqama dug that river.
In his book titled Zeenat ul-Majalis and written in AH 1004, Sayyid Majduddin Muhammad Majdi records that the vizier Saeed ibn al-Alqami gave his orders of ruining that river after he had heard the saying of Imam as-Sadiq (a) addressing to the river:
“How is it that you are still flowing after my grandfather was prevented from drinking from you?”8
As the River al-Alqami was ruined, the gardens of Kufa were damaged, because they were irrigated from its water.
Various reports have been narrated about the places where the heads of the martyrs of Karbala were buried.
Historians have, almost unanimously, agreed that Omar ibn Saad gave the orders of beheading the bodies of the warriors of Imam al-Husayn’s army. They were seventy-eight heads carried by the tribes and individuals of Yazid’s army.9 These heads were then taken to Kufa. Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa, later sent these heads with the caravan of the captives to Syria.
After a long series of events the stars of which were Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn ul-Abidin and his aunt Zaynab daughter of Imam ‘Ali in Damascus, Yazid anticipated revolution of people against him. He therefore had to allow the Imam and the captives to go home and respond to all their demands. They demanded Yazid to give them the head of Imam al-Husayn so as to attach it to the body in Karbala.
Historians, though most of them did not refer to the other heads, have mentioned that Yazid gave all the heads to Imam Zayn ul-Abidin who attached them to the bodies on the twentieth of Safar. The head of al-’Abbas was one of these.10
This report seems to be the most acceptable if we take in consideration the events and motives that obliged Yazid to respond to the demands of Imam Zayn ul-Abidin who would surely ask for all the heads so as to attach them to the bodies.
Nevertheless, there are other narrations:
In his A’yaan ush-Shi’a, 4/290, Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin records:
“In AH 1321, I saw a place in the cemetery known as Maqbarat Bab us-Sagheer in Damascus on whose door there was a rock with the script: This is the burial place of the heads of al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali, ‘Ali al-Akbar ibn al-Husayn, and Habib ibn Muzhahir… A few years later, that burial place was destroyed. When it was reconstructed, that rock was taken away and a tomb was built inside that burial place. On that tomb the names of many individuals whom were martyred in Karbala with Imam al- Husayn (a) were engraved. In fact, that tomb contained only the three aforementioned heads…etc.”
Had Sayyid al-Amin skimmed through the book of Habib us - Siyar, he would have believed that these three heads were not buried in that cemetery in Damascus. Anyhow, those who wrote the names of these three heroes of Karbala on that rock in the cemetery had other intentions. Finally, it is not unlikely that these three heads were crucified, not buried, at that place.
In Karbala there are two sacred areas believed to be the burial places of the two hands of al-’Abbas. Uninterruptedly, these two sanctuaries have been visited and respected by the generations who believed their being the burial places of the two hands that were cut during the encounter between al-’Abbas and his enemies.
The sanctuary of the right hand lies to the north east of Karbala on the borders of district known as – ‘Bab Baghdad - Gate of Baghdad’ and the district known as – ‘Bab ul-Khan’, near the eastern gate of the holy shrine. On the window found on the wall of that sanctuary, two poetic verses in Persian are carved. Nobody however, knows the poet, date of construction, the designer of the window, or the carver of these two poetic verses.
The sanctuary of the left hand lies in the Minor Market near the small gate of the holy shrine to the south east. This market is called ‘Bab al-’Abbas as-Sagheer’. On the wall of that sanctuary poetic verses composed by Sheikh Muhammad as-Sarraaj are carved.
Indeed, the shrine of Abu’l-Fadhl al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali is one of the houses about which Almighty God said:
“…the houses that Allah has declared to be highly respected and His Name be mentioned therein in glory in the morning and evening. (24:36)”
The construction of the holy shrine, altogether with the dome, of al-’Abbas who is on the top in the list of the martyrs and righteous servants of God, is another factor helping the discovery of the secret of his having an independent tomb away from the tomb of the other martyrs.
During his visit to the tomb of al-’Abbas, Imam as-Sadiq (a) referred to the praiseworthy personality of this hero who alone possessed such a lofty rank that all martyrs will wish for if they could have its like. On that account, it has become very important to pay a great attention to the construction of the holy shrine of this unique, righteous servant of God.
God, the Exalted, gave the holy mission of constructing this shrine to some individuals who won eternal reputation in this world and will be rewarded abundantly in the life to come, each according to his intention.
Many kings, princes, scholars, and celebrities succeeded each other in constructing this holy shrine, which day by day has increased in splendor and beauty. Today it is gorgeous with its attractive, golden dome that challenges the heavens in elevation and dares the stars in brilliance. Its impregnable sanctuary is as great as throne, its porticoes are covered by flasks, its yard is the field of sanctity, and its handsome, golden lobby that is similar to the edifices of Paradise.
Historians have mentioned that Shah Tahmasp,11 in AH 1032, decorated the dome of the Holy Shrine with tiles. He built a window on the box that contained the tomb, arranged the porticoes and the yard, built the lobby that lies in front of the first gate of the sanctuary, and sent precious carpets made in Iran.
In AH 1115, Nadir Shah sent many gifts to the holy shrine and decorated some of the buildings there with flasks. In AH 1117, the vizier of Nadir Shah went on pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a). He remade the box of the tomb, reconstructed the portico, and presented a chandelier for lighting the holy precinct.
In AH 1216, the Wahhabis invaded Karbala and robbed all the precious lusters and chandeliers that were in the holy shrines of Imam al-Husayn and al-’Abbas. Fath ‘Ali Shah12 gifted new lusters, chandeliers, and precious pieces of decoration to the holy shrines in Karbala. He also reconstructed the dome on the holy shrine of al-’Abbas with tiles, gilded the dome of the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a), and made other constructions.
Hajji Mirza Abd-ul-Karim al-Muqaddas al-Urumi, in his book titled Taqat Raihan, records that Hajji Shukrullah Badal Beg al-Afshari gilded the big hall facing the holy precinct of al- ‘Abbas and spent all his fortune on this work, carrying out the constructions of Sheikh Zayn ul-Abidin al-Mazindarani who died in AH 1309. He also recorded his name on the western side on the wall of the hall on the golden plates. This golden script is still present.
In the same book it is recorded that Nasir ud-Dawla gilded the minaret of the holy shrine of al-’Abbas.
Sayyid Hasan, the writer of Fadak and other books, has mentioned that the golden small hall facing the first gate of the holy shrine was established by the King of Lakanhu Muhammad Shah, the Indian. The wooden shed was established according to the instruction of Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid Khan. Muhammad Sadiq al-Isfahani reconstructed the dome with tile. He also purchased the houses attached to the yard of the holy shrine and increased that yard. He increased the area from the direction of the kiblah to a greater extent. He was buried in a room at the Gate of the Kiblah. He also constructed the yard with tile.
In AH 1355, Sayyid Murtadha, the custodian of the holy shrine, rebuilt the silver gate lying in the golden hall facing the room of the tomb. On the shutters of that gate he wrote the poem of Sheikh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Ya’qoubi.
The custody of the holy shrine of al-’Abbas has been taken by honorable individuals who spared no efforts in managing, servicing, and constructing this holy shrine.
The pilgrimage to the holy shrines of the Prophets, Imams, and saints is called Ziyara. It is different from the ritual pilgrimage to Mecca, which is called Hajj. Hajj however is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman under specific conditions, whereas Ziyara is not obligatory. Yet, it is much recommended in the innumerable narrations of the Prophet and the Imams who have stated about the rewards of those who perform such pilgrimages voluntarily.13
Simply, Ziyara is to visit the tomb and say a word of greeting, such as ‘Salaam’. Other narrations have confirmed that it is acceptable to address such words of greetings from any place in the world while directing the face towards the direction of the tomb.
At any rate, it is advisable, according to reason as well as instructions of well-versed scholars, to commit to the statements of the Ziyaras that are related to the Ahlul Bayt (a), because such statements express the deep reality of status of the owner of the visited tomb and hint at the most accurate conducts to be practiced there.
On that account, it is recommended for the visitors of the tomb of al-’Abbas to follow the instructions mentioned in the saying of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a) regarding the Ziyara.
In this saying, the Imam instructs the visitor to stop opposite to the body of al-’Abbas turning the back to the kiblah, just like visiting the tombs of the prophets and Imams. This expresses the utmost courtesy befitting the elevated rank of al-’Abbas. In fact, to visit al-’Abbas after his death is same as visiting him during his life. This is because the martyrs are
“…alive with their Lord and receive sustenance from Him.”14
The author of Mezar ul-Bihar on page 165, records that Sheikh al-Mufid, Ibn al-Mash’hadi, and ash-Shahid al-Awwal emphasized that the visitor of the tomb of al-’Abbas should first stop at the door of the shrine and seek permission to enter by saying: “Greetings of Allah… etc.” He then should enter and throw himself on the tomb and recite: “Salaam be upon you, the righteous servant of God… etc.” He then should move to the direction of the head to offer the prayer and supplicate to God. He then should return to the tomb, stop at the two legs, and recite: “Salaam be upon you, Abu’l-Fadhl al-’Abbas… etc.”
Although these statements do not show whether it is advisable to stop at a specific side, it is understood that the direction of the kiblah is the intended.
Some scholars however advised to visit the tomb of al-’Abbas before that of Imam al-Husayn (a), because the earlier is the door to the latter.
It is also advisable to offer the two-rakaa15 prayer of Ziyara at the tomb of al-’Abbas. During his visit to the tombs of the martyrs of Karbala on the fortieth day after their martyrdom, Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari visited the tomb of al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali and offered a two-Rakaa prayer.16
It is also advisable to kiss the tomb. This is proved through the narration of Safwan al-Jammal who relates it to Imam as- Sadiq (a):
“…You should then come near the tomb of al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali and say… Then throw yourself on to the tomb, kiss it, and say… etc.”17
The noble Sheikh Ja’far ibn Qawlawayh al-Qummi related to a considerable series of narrators that Abu-Hamza ath-Themali had said that (Imam) as-Sadiq (a) stated:
If you intend to visit the tomb of al- ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali that lies on the bank of the River Euphrates opposite to al-Haair, you should stop at the gate of the shrine (precinct) and say -
Salaam of Allah and Salaam of His favorite angels, His commissioned prophets, His righteous servants, all the Shahids, and all the veracious (ones), and also pure, true blessings that come and go, be upon you O son of Amir ul-Mu’minin (chief of the faithful ones).
I testify to you about your submission (to the will of God), honest acceptance as being true, the loyalty and sincerity to the descendant of the commissioned Prophet (S) and his family, the chosen grandson (of the Prophet), the well knowledgeable guide (to the true religion), the conveying successor, and the wrongfully oppressed one (namely - Imam al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali).
So, may Allah reward you on behalf of His Messenger, Amir ul-Mu’minin, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, peace of Allah be upon them, with the best reward for your steadfastness, dedication (to the sake of God) and support (for the right party) - very excellent may be the reward of an eternal life.
May Allah’s curse be on he who killed you. And Allah’s curse be on he who omitted your right, belittled your sanctity. And Allah’s curse be on he who precluded you from having from the water of the River Euphrates.
I testify that you were killed wrongfully, and that Allah will verily fulfill His promise that He made with you.
O Son of Amir ul-Mu’minin, I have come to you to present myself before you. My heart is submissive to you and is following you. And I am your follower. I am ready to support you until Allah decides for me. He is surely the best of all who decide.
I am verily with you, not with your enemy. I am one of those who believe in you and believe in your Return. I am also one of those who deny your opponents and killers.
May Allah kill the group who killed you with hands and tongues (by giving orders of killing you)
You should then enter, throw yourself on the tomb, and say -
Salaam be upon you; the righteous servant (of God), the obedient to Allah, His Messenger, Amir ul- Mu’minin, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, peace and greetings of Allah be upon them.
Salaam, Allah’s mercy, blessings, forgiveness, and gratifications be upon you, your soul, and your body.
I testify, and call Allah to witness, that you abided by the same course that was taken by the warriors of (the battle of) Badr and the mujahids for Allah’s sake who faithfully served Him in the battlefields against His enemies, did their bests for supporting His disciples, and defended His intimate ones.
So, Allah may reward you with the best, the maximum, the most abundant, and the most conclusive reward that He may give to anyone who fulfills his homage, answers the call (of the religion), and obeys his (divinely elected) leaders.
I testify that you served (the Lord) extremely sincerely and exerted all your efforts (in this regard).
May Allah attach you with the shahids, add your soul to the souls of the happy ones, give you the largest abode and the most handsome room in His Paradise, exalt your mention in Illiyyin,18 join you to the prophets, the veracious (ones), the shahids, and the righteous (ones) - Very excellent is the companionship of such ones.
I testify that you did not lag behind and did not turn away the face, and that you left this life with full awareness of the truth, following the examples of the righteous ones and sticking to the prophets.
So, may Allah gather us with you, His Messenger, and His disciples in the abodes of those who practiced humbly (with their Lord). He is certainly the most Merciful of all the merciful ones.
You should then turn to the side of the head and offer a two-rakaa prayer. Afterwards you may offer as many units of prayers as you wish. You should also supplicate to God earnestly. After these prayers, you should say:
O Allah, send Your blessings to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and do not leave for me, in this honored place and glorified shrine, any sin (that I did) without forgiveness, any care without relief, any illness without cure, any defect with covering up, any (source of) sustenance without expansion, any item of terror without pacification, any disunity without reunification, any absent one without guarding and approaching (him to me), and any single need whose settlement achieves your gratification and my good, among the many needs of this life as well as the life to come without settlement. You are the most Merciful of all the merciful ones.
You should then return to the tomb, stop at the side of the legs, and say –
Salaam be upon you, Abu-al-Fadhl al-’Abbas, son of Amir ul-Mu’minin.
Salaam be upon you, son of the chief of the successors (of the prophets).
Salaam be upon you, son of the foremost to (the embracement of) Islam, the first one who believed (in God), the best one who served the religion of Allah, and the most knowledgeable of Islam.
I testify that you served Allah, His Messenger, and your brother sincerely. You were the most excellent consoling brother.
So, Allah’s curse be on the group who killed you. And Allah’s curse be on the group who wronged you. And Allah’s curse be on the group who violated your sanctities and infringed the sanctity of Islam.
You were the most excellent steadfast fighter, protector, supporter, and brother who defended his brother, responded to the obedience to his Lord, and worked desirably for gaining the abundant reward and the nice tribute that others refused.
So, Allah may attach you to the rank of your fathers in the gardens of bliss.
O Allah, I have done the pilgrimage to Your appointed ones out of my desire for (winning) Your reward and my wish to recognize You and Your abundant benevolence. So, I implore to You to send Your blessings to Muhammad and his immaculate family and make my sustenance, by their intercession, flow copiously, my living delightful, my pilgrimage worthy of reward and my life pleasant. And make me take to the conduct of the honored ones and make me one of those who win success and prosperity and deserve forgiveness of sins, covering up of defects, and relief of disasters after their return from the pilgrimage of the shrines of your intimate disciples. You are surely worthy of being feared and worthy of forgiving.
If you intend to take leave, approach the holy tomb and say –
I seek, through you, the guard and custody of Allah and I say Salaam to you.
We have believed in Allah and in His Messenger and in His Book and in that which he conveyed from Allah. O Allah, record our names with the witnesses.
O Allah, do not make this pilgrimage to the tomb of the son of Your Messenger’s (peace of Allah be upon him and his family) brother the last one. Grant me opportunities to visit him so long as You keep me alive, and join me to him and his fathers in the paradises, and introduce me to him, to Your Messenger, and to Your chosen ones.
O Allah, send Your blessings to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and take me to you abiding by the believing in You, giving credence to Your Messenger, being faithful to ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib and the Imams, his descendants, and disavowing their enemy. My Lord, I have accepted such.. May Allah send blessings to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.
You may then supplicate to God for yourself, your parents, the faithful believers, and the Muslims. You may choose any statement of supplication you like.19
One of the divine conferment to the faithful supporters of cause of Allah is the grant of supernatural powers to them during their lifetimes and after their death. Such powers indicate the high ranks of those chosen ones in the sight of the Lord. These are also regarded as precious rewards that the true followers of God win in this world for their righteous deeds and great service for their Lord’s sake. Furthermore, such charismata urge others to pursue the examples of such followers.
Thus, people have seen various charismata in the holy shrines and under the domes covering the tombs of the righteous individuals upon whom God conferred the items of His unique kindness and benevolence.
One of these righteous individuals was Abu’l-Fadhl al-’Abbas who won worthily the epithet of ‘the righteous servant of God’. He preceded others in the field of offering everything he had for God’s sake; therefore, the All-benevolent God rewarded him with the best rewards in this world and the world to come. His holy shrine has become the refuge for the fearful and a center for answering of the prayers.
The holy shrine of al-’Abbas has been showing countless charismata that most people witnessed and reported to one another.
Some of these have taken the form of solving the most complicated problems brought to God through the intercession of al-’Abbas. Some have taken the form of completely uprooting the incurable diseases that professional physicians could not treat. Some have taken the form of giving victory to the weak, oppressed ones. Some have taken the form of discovering the most mysterious secrets. After all, under the holy dome that covers the tomb of al-’Abbas all questions are answered and all problems are solved - all by the permission of God who instructs us to seek means that take us closer to Him:
Believers, have fear of God. Find the means to reach Him and strive hard for His cause so that you may have everlasting happiness.20
Those who want (God’s true guidance) should seek means to their Lord.21
Let us now refer to some charismata shown at the holy shrine of al-’Abbas.
Sheikh Abd-ur-Raheem at-Tustari (died in AH 1313) recounted:
In the holy precinct of the tomb of Abu’l-Fadhl al-’Abbas there was an Arab boy, who was paralyzed, tied to the window covering the tomb. With this boy I saw a man, who seemed to be his father, entreating earnestly al-’Abbas to give cure to the boy. Soon after that, the boy stood up and shouted: “Al-’Abbas has cured me!” People who were present there gathered around the boy and tore his clothes for seeking blessings through them…22
Sayyid Ahmed al-Haairi recounted:
I was with a group of the servants of the holy shrine of al-’Abbas when a man went out in a hurry. He was putting his hand on the root of his pinkie from which blood was flowing. We were told that this man had despised al-’Abbas who cut his pinkie. On the widow covering the tomb, we found the pinkie of that man without a single drop of blood.23
Sheikh Hasan Dakheel recounted:
It was very hot that midday when I visited the holy tomb of al- ‘Abbas. Nobody was in the holy shrine except that sixty-year old servant whose mission was to supervise the shrine. Not too long after that a woman hiding all her parts came in with a sixteen-year old boy who was dressed in the garb of the Kurds. A tall white Kurdish man came in after them. Ignoring the rituals people used to do in that place, the man seemed to be disrespecting the holy shrine and the tomb. He turned the back to the tomb and went on looking at the swords and precious pieces hung there.
Few minutes later, something strange occurred. That man, as if he was electrified, was beaten to the window. His face turned to red and all his organs were cramped… the man was taken to the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a). On the way, people began to gather as they noticed the man’s unusual state. He was tied to the window on the tomb of ‘Ali al-Akbar.
He slept there. When he woke up, he recited the shahada24 and declared his submission to the Imamate of the Twelve Imams (a) whose names were mentioned by him. He then told that a tall man, near the holy tomb of al-’Abbas, had seized him firmly and went on beating him with a stick he had in the hand and reproaching him for following the wrong path!
The lady who accompanied him then narrated her story with this Kurdish man.
This virtuous, polite man asked my hand from my brothers after he had done them a great favor. They, as well as I, agreed. After marriage, I asked my Sunni husband to permit me to pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Imam al-Kadhim and Imam al-Jawad in Baghdad, but he refused claiming such pilgrimage is a sort of superstition.
When I became pregnant, I asked him to vow that he would pilgrimage to the holy shrines if the baby would be male. He did, but he did not fulfill his vow when I gave birth of a boy. He promised he would fulfill his vow when the boy would be fifteen years old. As I insisted on the pilgrimage, the man agreed and I could pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Imam al-Kadhim where I asked to show my husband a charisma that would cause him to follow Shiism and show respect to the Imams. Unfortunately however, the husband’s sarcasm at the Imams increased.
We then visited the holy shrines of Imam al-Hadi and Imam al-Askari in Samarra. Nevertheless, my husband was not guided to the right path. As soon as our feet trod on the dust of Karbala, I said to myself: “I will first visit the tomb of al-’Abbas and entreat him to show a charisma due to which my husband will believe in the Imamate. If this will not occur, I will neither visit the holy shrine of his brother, Imam al-Husayn, nor will I pilgrimage to Najaf to visit the holy shrine of his father, Imam ‘Ali Amir ul-Mu’minin.” Now, you have seen what happened in the holy shrine of al- ‘Abbas.25
Sayyid Ibrahim al-Bahbahani recounted:
One week after my marriage in AH 1351, I had flu accompanied by high fever. The physicians of Najaf, including Dr. Muhammad Zaki Abazha, treated me, but uselessly. As my disease was increasing, I decided not to see any physician. A few months later, a committee of four physicians decided that I would die in a month.
In Muharram, AH 1354, my father went to a village called ‘al-Qasim’ to recite the tragic saga of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the memorial gatherings for that anniversary. My mother, who was in an incessant state of weeping, was tending me.
On the seventh night of that month, I saw in sleep a tall, good-looking man asking me to give a sermon in the memorial gathering held in that anniversary. He also asked me to go to Karbala and mention the saga of al-’Abbas there. For three times, that man asked me to do that thing. When I woke up, I told my mother of that dream. She was delighted and decided to take me to the holy shrine of al-’Abbas. None responded to her suggestion because of the bad state I had. Finally, some relatives decided to put me in a coffin because I was unable to ride on anything.
As soon as we arrived in the holy shrine, I slept there and saw the very man who had reproached me for delay and asked me to recite the saga of al-’Abbas. I woke up terrified, but I immediately fainted. When I recovered consciousness, I was very healthy. Everybody who was in the holy shrine, the yard, and even the market gathered around me with cries of Allahu Akbar and La Ilaha illa (A)llah. Policemen attended, asked people to leave, and took me out to the hall facing the holy sanctuary…26
Referring to this charisma, many authors, such as Sayyid Salih al-Hilli, Muhammad ‘Ali al-Ya’qoubi, Sheikh ‘Ali al-Jeshi, Sayyid Hassoun Radi al-Qizwini, Sayyid Muhammad Reda al-Hindi, Sheikh Abd-’Ali Husayn, Ja’far at-Turaifi, Sheikh Kadim as-Sudani, Sheikh Hasan Sebti, Sayyid Nuri Salih al-Baghdadi, and others, composed poetic verses that perpetuated the occurrence.
‘Mkhelef’ was the name of a man who lived in al- Muhammara27 and was inflicted with a chronic illness in his legs which were as thin as fingers. Most of the inhabitants of al- Muhammara knew that man and his illness. Creeping on his buttocks and hands, Mkhelef used to be present at the memorial gatherings held for commemorating the tragedy of Imam al- Husayn (a). He used to sit under the mimbar with his legs extended.
Sheikh Khaz’al, chief of the province of al-Ahwaz southern Iran, had a Husseiniyya in which the ceremonies of the consolation of Imam al-Husayn were held. On the seventh day of Muharram that year, people, as usual, stood up for slapping on chests as expression of their deep sadness for the martyrdom of al-’Abbas. In the midst of their slapping and shouting, the crowds observed that Mkhelef was standing among them shouting, ‘I am Mkhelef. Al-’Abbas enabled me to stand up on my legs.’
As they noticed this miracle, people rushed to Mkhelef and tore his clothes as each one tried to take a piece of it for seeking blessings. Sheikh Khaz’al then ordered his officials to take Mkhelef to one of the rooms of the Husseiniyya and prevent people from reaching him.
When people asked him what had happened, Mkhelef recounted:
As people were slapping and shouting, I fell into a slumber under the mimbar. I saw a tall, handsome man on a horse asking me: ‘Mkhelef, why do you not slap for al-’Abbas?’ ‘Sir,’ I answered, ‘I cannot because of that which you see.’ As the horseman ordered me to stand up, I asked him to give me his hands so that they will help me stand up. He said, ‘I do not have hands! You may hold on the stirrup of the horse and stand up.’
Thus, the holy tomb of al-’Abbas has been, day and night, visited by various kinds of people: needy who seek God’s charity, an ailing person who searches for cure from the Lord, a grieved one who hopes for relief from God, the terrified who seeks succor, and the affected who seeks solution - all through the intercession of al-’Abbas. All return with pleasure and a happy heart as the intercession of al-’Abbas, as usual, achieves success.
- 1. The Holy Qur’an, Sura of al-Kahf, Verse 21
- 2. At-Tabarani in his books al-Mu’jam al-Kabir and al-Awsat, ad- Darqutni in his book al-Amali and Abu-Bakr bin al-Muqri in his Mu’jam mention a tradition narrated by Maslama ibn Salim al- Juhani, from Ubaidullah bin Omar, from Nafi, from Salim, from Ibn Omar that the Prophet Muhammad (a) and his family said, “He who comes to see me, having no other desire than that of visiting me, of surety I will be an intercessor for him on the Day of Judgment.” He commented: “It was mentioned in ibn ul- Muqri’s Mu’jam, “For him who comes to visit me, it will be incumbent upon Allah to make me an intercessor for him on the Day of Resurrection.”
- 3. See al-Fadhil al-Qizwini, Tadhallum uz-Zahraa, 118
- 4. See ad-Dam’at us-Sakiba, 337
- 5. See al-Kibrit ul-Ahmar, 1/158, as quoted from Ixeer ul-Ibadat
- 6. Al-Haair, in Arabic, is any low place in which rainfall waters are gathered. This word however, is dedicated to the place of the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (a). Some scholars have made a relation between this word and the occurrence of the stoppage of water that al-Mutawakkil, the ‘Abbasid caliph, released for covering the tomb of Imam al-Husayn, intending to efface its signs. This event is very famous. It has been narrated uninterruptedly by a great number of narrators such as ash- Shahid ul-Awwal in his ath-Thikra, Sheikh at-Turaihi in al- Muntakhab, and Sheikh al-Muhaqqiq in al-Jawahir. The word, al- Haair, however was mentioned by Imam as-Sadiq and Imam al-Kadhim, peace be upon them, and hence, this proves that it was used before the reign of al-Mutawakkil.
- 7. See the following reference books: At-Tabirsi, I’lam ul-Wara, 147; Sayyid al-Jazaairi, al-Anwar un-Nu’maniyya, 344; Sheikh at-Turaihi, Al-Muntakhab; Sayyid ad-Dawoudi, Umdat ut-Talib, 349; Riyad ul-Ahzan, 39 (as quoted from Kamil us-Saqifa); Ibn Idris, As-Saraair, Al-Muntaha, Ash-Shahid ul-Awwal, Mezar ud-Durous; Al-Ardabili, Sharh ul-Irshad; As-Sebzwari, Ath-Thakhira; Sheikh Agha Redha, Misbah ul-Faqeeh
- 8. See al-Kibrit ul-Ahmar, 2/112
- 9. See al-Lahouf, 81
- 10. See Nafas ul-Mahmoum, 253 and Riyad ul-Ahzan, 155
- 11. Tahmasp was the Shah of Iran in 1524 AD
- 12. Fath ‘Ali was the Shah of Persia (1797-1834)
- 13. See Sheikh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Mafaateeh ul-Jinan
- 14. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of Aal-Imran, Verse 169
- 15. Rakaa is unit of prayers
- 16. See Ziyarat ul-Arbaeen
- 17. See Mezar ul-Bihar, 180
- 18. Illiyyin is the highest point of the heavens
- 19. This Ziyara is quoted from Sheikh ‘Abbas al-Qummi’s Mefateeh ul- Jinan
- 20. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of an-Nisaa (5), verse 35
- 21. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of an-Insaan (76), verse 29
- 22. See Sheikh al-Ansari’s As-Salat, and Al-Kibrit ul-Ahmar, 3/50
- 23. See Asraar ush-Shahada; 325
- 24. Shahada is the Muslim profession of faith, La ilaha illa (A)llah, Muhammadun rasul Allah (There is no God but Allah, (and) Muhammad is the messenger of Allah)
- 25. Quoted from Sayyid Abd-ur-Razzaq al-Musawi al-Muqarram’s al- ‘Abbas
- 26. See I’laam un-Nas fi Fadhaail il-’Abbas
- 27. Al-Muhammara is the Arabic name of Khorramshahr; the famous city and port on the Shatt al-Arab southern Iran