Chapter 3: Mosques And Holy Places

The Ahl al-Bayt’s View about Holy Places

Rules of Mosques

1. The Holy House, the Sacred Mosque, and Makkah

2. The Prophet’s Mosque

3. Mosques of Madinah

4. Kufah and its Mosques

5. The Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (‘a)

6. Other Mosques and Holy Places

Mosques and Holy Places

Mosques and holy places are privileged in the Ahl al-Bayt’s view and characterized by expansiveness, all-inclusiveness, and profundity. A ‘holy place’ is one of the items upon which all Muslims agree unanimously and all divine religions accept with admissibility. To the Muslims, the general title of a holy place is mosque (masjid) which is the Muslims’ place of worship to which the Holy Qur'an has referred many times:

إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَلَمْ يَخْشَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ فَعَسَى أُولَئِكَ أَنْ يَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِينَ (18)

He only shall tend Allah's mosques that believes in Allah and the Last Day and observes proper worship and pays the poor-due and fears none save Allah. For such only is it possible that they can be of the rightly guided. (9:18)

أَقِيمُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ (29)

Set your faces upright toward Him at every masjid and call upon Him, making religion pure for Him only. As He brought you into being, so return you to Him. (7:29)

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا (18)

The mosques are only for Allah, so pray not to anyone along with Allah. (72:18)

The Role of Mosque

The word masjid’ is the Muslim term for a place of worship. For instance, a place for public worship for a Christian is a church, a place for Jewish worship is a temple, and a place of meeting for Jewish or Sabaean worship is a synagogue. Referring to all these terms, the Holy Qur'an says:

وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لَهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا وَلَيَنْصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَنْصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ (40)

Had there not been Allah's repelling some people by others, certainly, there would have been churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques pulled down, in which Allah's name is much remembered. And surely, Allah will help him who helps His cause. Most surely, Allah is Strong, Mighty. (22:40)

Mosques were not just restricted to worship but played a significant role in Islamic legislation, Islamic culture, education, general activities, and political and spiritual mobilization. In the earliest period of Islam, mosques were used for administration of the affairs of the Islamic state, administration of justice, and judgment of disputes. Mosques were thus devotional, cultural, political and social foundations that played effective roles in Muslim communities and gained the sacredness, veneration, and respect of all.

Thus, we come upon a large number of traditions, reported from the Holy Prophet and his noble Household (S), about the laws, etiquettes, and affairs of mosques as well as how to venerate, sanctify, and construct them materially and devotionally. Such traditions also include the reward of frequenting, praying in, and occasional confinement to mosques.1

The Ahl al-Bayt’s View about Holy Places

In the traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), other holy places are also sacred, including the homes and holy shrines of the Holy Prophet and his Household (S) and places that are historically associated with prophets and saints who had offered prayers there or other events related to them took place there.

Some holy texts show that the Holy Qur'an pays considerable attention to historical sites and monuments that embody the movements, circumstances, and deeds of these personalities, especially their praise of Almighty Allah, and the necessity of strengthening such sites and events historically.

This idea can be fundamentally concluded from the confirmation of some historical events, the establishment and practice of some rites, and the concepts that the Holy Qur'an has established as a part of the features of the Islamic mission. It can be also concluded from some Prophetic traditions.

Let us now refer to some features involved:

First: Relating the story of the Sleepers of Ephesus, the Holy Qur'an confirms that the believers who prevailed on the affairs of the people of that time, decided to erect a mosque over the graves of the Sleepers as a sign of exalting the incident of these righteous men who had rejected paganism and tyranny:

وَكَذَلِكَ أَعْثَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهَا إِذْ يَتَنَازَعُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَمْرَهُمْ فَقَالُوا ابْنُوا عَلَيْهِمْ بُنْيَانًا رَبُّهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ قَالَ الَّذِينَ غَلَبُوا عَلَى أَمْرِهِمْ لَنَتَّخِذَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ مَسْجِدًا (21)

Thus did We make their case known to the people, that they might know that the promise of Allah is true, and that there can be no doubt about the Hour of Judgment. Behold, they dispute among themselves as to their affair. Some said, “Construct a building over them (their remains). Their Lord knows best about them.” Those who prevailed over their affair said, “Let us surely build a place of worship over them.” (18:21)

Second: Prophet Abraham’s Standing-place, which is a place upon which he stood while building the Holy Ka’bah, is highly praised in the Holy Qur'an and it is deemed obligatory, on the consensus of all Muslims, to offer a two unit prayer there after performing the ritual circumambulation of the Ka’bah. The Holy Qur'an thus reads:

اتَّخِذُوا مِنْ مَقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى (125)

Take you the station of Abraham as a place of prayer. (2:125)

Third: As unanimously agreed by Muslims, it has been made obligatory to include the site that is called Hijr Isma’il (the fence built by Prophet Ishmael (‘a) around the tomb of his mother) with the ritual circumambulation even though it is not part of the Holy Ka’bah itself. Likewise, it is recommended to offer prayers on that site because it is the graveyard of Prophet Ishmael’s mother as well as a group of prophets.

Fourth: The Holy Qur'an has confirmed the act of hastening between the hills of Safa and Marwah as one of the rituals determined by Almighty Allah. In this respect, the Holy Qur'an says:

إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ فَمَنْ حَجَّ الْبَيْتَ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا وَمَنْ تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ شَاكِرٌ عَلِيمٌ (158)

Behold! Safa and Marwah are among the RITUALS of Allah. So, if those who visit the House in the Hajj Season or at other times should compass them round, there is no sin in it. And if any one obeys his own impulse to good, be sure that Allah is He Who recognizes and knows. (2:158)

Historically, running seven times between Safa and Marwah, as a ritual, is a repetition of the running of Hajar, Prophet Ishmael’s mother, between these two hills in order to save her child from thirst, which culminated in gaining the water of the Zamzam Spring.

Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported through a valid chain of authority that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:

When (Prophet) Abraham (S) left behind him his child Ishmael (‘a) at Makkah, the child felt terribly thirsty. His mother walked towards Safa and climbing it, cried out, “Is there any friend in these deserts?” As she received no answer, she walked towards Marwah and repeated the same words. She received no answer. She then returned to Safa and continued running between these two places, which were full of trees, seven times. Accordingly, Almighty Allah determined running back and forth seven times at this site as a religious tradition.2

Fifth: In its capacity as the earliest kiblah (i.e. direction towards which faces are turned in prayers), a place where past prophets used to worship Almighty Allah, and the origin of the Holy Prophet’s ascension into heaven, the Furthest Mosque (of Jerusalem) has been determined to be an object of glorification and honor.

Sixth: Muslims unanimously agree upon the necessity of having a high regard for the Quba Mosque “whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety” as expressed in the Holy Qur'an. This mosque was also the place where the Holy Prophet (S) offered a prayer on his way to Madinah and resided for some time before he entered the city. Therefore, Muslims erected a mosque at that place. Further details will soon follow.

Seventh: The Holy Qur'an has strongly asserted that there are certain houses that Almighty Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His Name should be mentioned therein. These are houses that the righteous inhabit. The Holy Qur'an has thus said:

فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تُرْفَعَ وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ فِيهَا بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ (36) رِجَالٌ لَا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ (37)

In houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and in which His name is remembered in the mornings and the evenings, therein are men who glorify Him, whom neither merchandise nor selling can divert from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate. They fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about. (24:36-37)

Rooted in this conception, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), familiar with the history of the divine missions, took it upon themselves to revive the features of the previous divine missions and the mission of Islam and urge sanctification of these places and commemoration of the events that took place in them.

The Sacred Mosque (in Makkah), the Prophet’s Mosque (in Madinah), and the Furthest Mosque (of Jerusalem) are endowed with special veneration and respect by all Muslims.

Some Muslim traditionists have reported that pilgrimages must not be made to any places other than these three mosques,3 which are given such exclusive respect and religious regard. In addition, the Holy Qur'an has mentioned these three mosques, especially the Sacred Mosque of Makkah.

As for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), they have endowed mosques with a vast and all-inclusive concept quantitatively and qualitatively.

Concerning quality, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have ordered showing respect to these holy places, explained their historical importance, and performed many devotional acts there.

There are other holy places besides the abovementioned three mosques, which have gained great respect and sanctity. These include: Masjid e Kufah, Masjid e Quba, Masjid e Khif, Masjid e Sahlah (or Suhayl), Imam al-Husayn’s shrine, the Valley of Peace (wadi al-salam) in Najaf, Imam ‘Ali’s shrine, Masjid e Buratha, Imam Ridha’s shrine in Tus (Khurasan), and the other shrines of the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

Laws Of Mosques

Before entering upon the details of the most important mosques, it seems appropriate to point out some general laws of mosques.

1. Offering prayers in mosques is a generally accepted act of worship and the best mosque in this regard in the Sacred Mosque of Makkah. For a single prayer there is a reward equal to one million prayers at other places. In the Prophet’s Mosque, a single prayer is equal in reward to ten thousand prayers at other places.

In the Kufah Mosque a single prayer is equal to one thousand prayers. In the Furthest Mosque a single prayer is also equal to one thousand prayers. In a mosque dedicated to congregational prayer, one prayer is equal in reward to one hundred prayers at other places. In the mosque of ones tribe (or the area where one lives), a single prayer is equal to twenty-five prayers. Finally, in the mosque of a market or place of business a single prayer is equal to twelve prayers at other places.

It is also recommended to set apart a place in one’s house for prayer although the laws of mosques are not applicable to such places. For women, it is better to offer prayers in their houses and the best part of their home (for offering the prayers) is their private room.

2. It is recommended to offer prayers at the shrines of the Holy Imams (‘a), which are houses that Almighty Allah has ordered to be exalted and that His Name be mentioned therein. Moreover, these shrines are even better than some mosques.

3. It is recommended to offer prayers at different places because each place where one offers a prayer will testify on the Day of Resurrection. It is reported that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) was asked whether one should offer all the supererogatory prayers at the same place or at different places.

The Imam (‘a) answered:

لاَ، بَلْ هُنَا وَهُنَا، فَإِنَّهَا تَشْهَدُ لَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ.

In fact, it is better to offer them at different places because each place will testify for the offerer of the prayer on the Day of Resurrection.4

4. It is discommended for the neighbor of a mosque to offer his prayers at any other place than the neighboring mosque unless there is an obstacle preventing him from doing so, such as rain or the like. In this regard, the Holy Prophet (S) is reported to have said:

لاَ صَلاَةَ لِجَارِ الْمَسْجِدِ إِلاَّ فِي مَسْجِدِهِ.

No prayer is accepted from the neighbor of a mosque except those offered therein.5

It is recommended to avoid sharing a meal or a drink with one who abstains from presenting himself in mosques. It is further recommended to avoid counseling with him, making any marriage contracts with him, and even neighboring him.

5. It is discommended to leave a mosque untended, for Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

ثَلاَثَةٌ يَشْكُونَ إِلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: مَسْجِدٌ خَرَابٌ لاَ يُصَلِّي فِيهِ أَهْلُهُ، وَعَالِمٌ بَيْنَ جُهَّالٍ، وَمُصْحَفٌ مُعَلَّقٌ قَدْ وَقَعَ عَلَيْهِ غُبَارٌ لاَ يُقْرَأُ فِيهِ.

Three will complain to Almighty Allah: an empty mosque that is not attended by its locals, an educated person who lives among ignorant people, and a copy of the Qur'an that is covered with dust because nobody recites it.6

6. It is recommended to go habitually to mosques, for the Holy Prophet (S) is reported to have said:

مَنْ مَشَى إِلَى مَسْجِدٍ مِنْ مَسَاجِدِ اللهِ فَلَهُ بِكُلِّ خُطْوَةٍ خَطَاهَا حَتَّى يَرْجِعَ إِلَى مَنْزِلِهِ عَشْرُ حَسَنَاتٍ وَيُمْحَى عَنْهُ عَشْرُ سَيِّئَاتٍ وَيُرْفَعُ لَهُ عَشْرُ دَرَجَاتٍ.

Whoever goes to any of the mosques of Allah walking, Allah shall record for him ten rewards, erase ten of his evildoings, and raise him ten ranks for each step he makes until he returns home.7

7. It is recommended to build a mosque, which brings about a great reward. In this regard, the Holy Prophet (S) is reported to have said:

مَنْ بَنَى مَسْجِداً فِي الدُّنْيَا أَعْطَاهُ اللهُ بِكُلِّ شِبْرٍ مِنْهُ مَسِيرَةَ أَرْبَعِينَ أَلْفِ عَامٍ; مَدِينَةً مِنْ ذَهَبٍ وَفِضَّةٍ وَلُؤْلُؤٍ وَزَبَرْجَدَ.

Whoever builds a mosque in this world, Almighty Allah shall give him a city of gold, silver, pearl, and aquamarine that is too vast to be traversed with forty thousand years of walking for each hand span of that mosque.8

Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

مَنْ بَنَى مَسْجِداً بَنَى اللهُ لَهُ بَيْتاً فِي الْجَنَّةِ.

Whoever builds a mosque, Almighty Allah shall build a house in Paradise for him.9

8. It is forbidden to gild mosques and paint pictures in mosques.

9. It is impermissible to sell a mosque, be it sound or ruined, or to add it to one’s personal property.

10. It is forbidden to defile a mosque. However, if a mosque becomes unclean, it is then obligatory upon those managing it to remove the impurity as immediately as possible. It is also forbidden to introduce things into the mosque that violate its sanctity.

11. It is recommended for true believing men to take the lead in presenting themselves in mosques and to stay there for as long a period as possible, lagging behind the others while leaving.

12. It is recommended to offer services to mosques, such as lighting lamps, cleaning up, sweeping, and dusting.

It is also recommended:

• to enter mosques by placing the right foot in before the left and to leave them by placing the left before the right

• to take heed whether one’s shoe or sandal carries dirt or impurity

• to face the direction of the kiblah

• to supplicate and praise Almighty Allah and to invoke His blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household (S)

• to be ceremonially pure and to have performed the ritual ablution (wudhu').

13. It is recommended to offer a two-unit prayer in the mosque immediately after entering it. However, to offer the obligatory, supererogatory, or other recommended prayers substitutes for this prayer.

14. It is recommended to perfume oneself before heading for mosques and to put on one’s best and cleanest clothes.

15. In mosques, it is discommended:

• to use them as one’s pathway unless one offers a two-unit prayer there every time one passes through

• to give off one’s phlegm or mucus there

• to sleep there unless it is necessary to do so

• to raise one’s voice except for declaring the call to prayer (adhan) or like things, such as giving a direction, or delivering a sermon, an address, or a lecture

• to throw or fling pebbles

• to recite poetic compositions except exhortative poems and the like, such as eulogies of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)

• to engage in trade

• to discuss personal worldly affairs, because a mosque is a place of worship and public interest

• to show weapons and put them in the direction of the kiblah

• to allow those entrance into the mosque who have eaten malodorous things, such as onion, garlic, and the like, because their smell will annoy the attendants and performers of prayers

• to allow children or mad people into the mosque

• to take the mosque as a place of making tools and like crafts

• to take off one’s clothes, show the private parts—even if one is sure that none can see him—and to uncover one’s navel, knee, or thigh

• to pass wind or do any other things that are in violation of general civic behavior

The Holy House, the Sacred Mosque and Makkah

The Holy House is the Ka’bah. In the words of the Holy Qur'an:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلْعَالَمِينَ (96) فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمَنْ دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا (97)

Most surely, the first house appointed for men is the one at Bakkah, blessed and guidance for the nations. In it are clear signs; (for example) the standing-place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be secure. And pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, upon every one who is able to undertake the journey to it. (3:96-97)

The Sacred Mosque is the great mosque surrounding the Holy Ka’bah. Inside this mosque, there lies the standing-place of Prophet Abraham (S), where the Holy Qur'an has ordered everyone visiting it to pray, saying:

اتَّخِذُوا مِنْ مَقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى (125)

Take you the station of Abraham as a place of prayer. (2:125)

Therefore, the Sacred Mosque is the earliest place of worship known by humanity throughout history.

On many occasions, the Holy Qur'an has referred to this mosque as al-masjid al-haram (the Sacred Mosque). It has also referred to other issues and rites related to this mosque, such as the Holy Ka’bah, the Holy House, its building, its designation as a refuge and sanctuary for mankind, and its sanctification for those who compass it around and use it to stand, genuflect, or prostrate therein in prayer. Moreover, other issues like the Hajj Pilgrimage are also related to the Sacred Mosque, since all these deeds are practiced therein.

In the coming chapter about the Hajj Pilgrimage, it will be cited that the Holy House at Makkah was the objective of pilgrimage two thousand years before the creation of Prophet Adam (‘a), the father of humanity. Other traditions have confirmed that the place of this house was the first thing created by Almighty Allah on this globe. Then, He, the Almighty, spread the earth from beneath it.10

From other traditions, we can conclude that the design of the Holy House and the rite of circumambulating it had been determined since the issuance of the divine decree to create Adam11 about which the Holy Qur'an reads:

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً (30)

Behold, your Lord said to the angels, “I will create a vicegerent on earth… (2:30)

Furthermore, Almighty Allah has chosen a rough land—expressed by the Holy Qur'an as “a valley unproductive of fruit”—to carry this house so that He would test the obedience of His servants towards Him and the scope of their compliance with His command of glorifying this house and making pilgrimages to it.12

Some other validly reported traditions reveal that the borders of the Sacred Mosque erected by Prophet Abraham (S) were so vast that they covered the whole area between Hazurah, an area in the vicinity of the Sacred Mosque, and Mas’a, the location where the ritual of sa’y is carried out. As some other traditions hold that the borders of the Sacred Mosque extended between Safa and Marwah, this means that it was more expansive than its current building.13

At the time of Prophet Abraham (S), the area of the Holy Ka’bah was nine cubits. At the time of the Quraysh, it was expanded to eighteen cubits, and to twenty-seven cubits in the time of al-Hajjaj.14

The site of Hijr Isma’il is not part of the Holy Ka’bah, rather a graveyard of Hajar, Prophet Ishmael’s mother, and a group of prophets. It was encircled because it was discommended to tread on the graves within.15

Other validly reported traditions indicate that the Black Stone was in Paradise, but it was Almighty Allah Who put it in its current place after He had made a covenant with all the creatures. On the Day of Resurrection, this stone shall testify to those who kept this covenant and fulfilled their pledge to the Lord. Accordingly, a pilgrim, when kissing the Black Stone, is required to say the following supplication:

اَللَّهُمَّ أَمَانَتِي أَدَّيْتُهَا وَمِيثَاقِي تَعَاهَدْتُهُ لِتَشْـهَدَ لِي بِالْمُوَافَاةِ…

O Allah, I have fulfilled my trust and I have performed my covenant so that You may witness for me that I have fulfilled it.16

The Holy Ka’bah occupies a great status before Almighty Allah Who has declared it and the Sacred Mosque as highly sacred by endowing it with special creational effects, enacting certain religious laws for it, and establishing a great reward for those who sanctify and circumambulate it and offer prayers within the Sacred Precinct.

The Holy Qur'an has related the story of the owners of the elephants whom Almighty Allah pelted with stones of baked clay by way of swarms of flying creatures because they intended to demolish the Holy Ka’bah. Before that, traditions report the divine punishment that afflicted the people of Tubba’ when they devised to demolish the Holy Ka’bah. Later, they changed their opinion and paid high regard to it.17

It was Almighty Allah’s will to inflict a penalty on any tyrant who intended any evil to the Holy Ka’bah.

Imam ‘Ali (‘a) is reported to have said:

مَكَّةُ حَرَمُ اللهِ وَالْمَدِينَةُ حَرَمُ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَالْكُوفَةُ حَرَمِي؛ لاَ يُرِيدُهَا جَبَّارٌ إِلاَّ قَصَمَهُ اللهُ.

Makkah is the sanctuary of Almighty Allah, Madinah is the sanctuary of the Messenger of Allah (S), and Kufah is my sanctuary. There is no tyrant that intends evil to these places but that Almighty Allah shall shatter him.18

The Holy House and its interests precede all other interests in Makkah because of this special sacredness, as maintained by some traditions.19

Almighty Allah has forbidden the polytheists from entering the Sacred Mosque. As declared by the Holy Qur'an:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِكُونَ نَجَسٌ فَلَا يَقْرَبُوا الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ بَعْدَ عَامِهِمْ هَذَا (28)

O you who believe, surely the idolaters are unclean, so they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year. (9:28)

Other validly reported traditions hold that whoever makes mischief in the Holy Ka’bah should be sentenced to death.20

Through a valid chain of authority, Imam al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said:

لاَ يَنْبَغِي لأَِحَدٍ أَنْ يَرْفَعَ بِناءً فَوْقَ بِنَاءِ الْكَعْبَةِ.

It is improper to build any edifice higher than the Ka’bah.21

There are many traditions asserting the distinctive status of the Holy Ka’bah:

Through a valid chain of authority, Imam al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said:

إِنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مَا خَلَقَ بُقْعَةً فِي الأَرْضِ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْهَا، وَإِنَّ النَّظَرَ إِلَيْهَا عِبَادَةٌ.

Verily, Allah the Exalted and Majestic has not created any area on the earth dearer to Him than the Ka’bah. To take a look at it is a sort of devotional act.22

The Holy Prophet (S) is reported to have said:

إِنَّ النَّظَرَ إِلَيْهَا يَهْدِمُ الْخَطَايَا هَدْماً.

Just looking at the Holy Ka’bah utterly knocks down sins.23

Through a valid chain of authority too, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

إِنَّ للهِ تَعَالَى حَوْلَ الْكَعْبَةِ عِشْرِينَ وَمِائَةَ رَحْمَةً، مِنْهَا سِتُّونَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَأَرْبَعُونَ لِلْمُصَلِّينَ وَعِشْرُونَ لِلنَّاظِرِينَ.

Verily, Almighty Allah has decreed one hundred and twenty mercies to surround His Holy House; sixty for those who circumambulate it, forty for those who offer prayers there, and twenty for those who look at it.24

According to another validly reported tradition, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) has said:

مَنْ نَظَرَ إِلَى الْكَعْبَةِ فَعَرِفَ مِنْ حَقِّنَا وَحُرْمَتِنَا مِثْلَ الَّذِي عَرِفَ مِنْ حَقِّهَا وَحُرْمَتِهَا، غَفَرَ اللهُ لَهُ ذُنُوبَهُ كُلَّهَا وَكَفَاهُ هَمَّ الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ.

Whoever looks at the Ka’bah and acknowledges that our standing and sacredness is similar as the Ka’bah’s standing and sacredness, Almighty Allah shall forgive him all of his sins and save him from the griefs of this world and the Next.25

Prayers that are offered in the Sacred Mosque are the best of all prayers, as also prayers offered in the Prophet’s Mosque, as maintained by some traditions. One prayer that is offered in the Sacred Mosque is equal in reward to one thousand prayers that are offered in the Prophet’s Mosque, while one prayer in the Prophet’s Mosque is equal in reward to one thousand prayers that are offered in other mosques or even one hundred thousand prayers that are offered in other mosques.26

According to another tradition, Abu-Hamzah al-Thumali has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying:

مَنْ صَلَّى فِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ صَلاَةً مَكْتُوبَةً قَبِلَ اللهُ مِنْهُ كُلَّ صَلاَةٍ صَلاَّهَا مُنْذُ يَوْمِ وَجَبَتْ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلاَةُ، وَكُلَّ صَلاَةٍ يُصَلِّيهَا إِلَى أَنْ يَمُوتَ.

Whoever performs an obligatory prayer in the Sacred Mosque, Almighty Allah shall determine admissible all the prayers he had performed since the time prayers were made obligatory upon him to perform and the prayers he will perform up to his death time.27

Owing to the high regard of the Sacred Mosque and the Holy Ka’bah, Almighty Allah has given preference to the holy city of Makkah over other places. It has thus been reported that Makkah is the best of all places, the Holy House the best of all parts of Makkah, and the area between the Black Stone and the Station of Abraham (S) and the gate of the Ka’bah the best areas of the Holy House. This area is also called Hatim Isma’il (‘a).28

Innumerable texts also report the merits of this city, the merits of doing devotional acts and righteous deeds there, and the merits of living in its vicinity. Also, painful chastisement is reported to be the share of anyone who commits sins therein. In this respect, the Holy Qur'an says:

مَنْ يُرِدْ فِيهِ بِإِلْحَادٍ بِظُلْمٍ نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (25)

Whoever shall incline therein to wrong unjustly, We will make him taste a painful chastisement. (22:25)

Besides, Almighty Allah has decided Makkah to be a safe haven for every one who enters there up to the Day of Resurrection. It is also impermissible to hunt on land and to uproot trees of this city except in a few cases. It is also inadvisable to carry weapons openly or to frighten people therein. Moreover, many regulations have been instituted with regard to this holy city.

There are certain etiquettes, manners, and rites to be done in the Holy Precinct of Makkah, the Sacred Mosque, and the Holy Ka’bah. Some of these rites have been cited in the previous chapter on the rites of the Hajj Pilgrimage. However, the readers are advised to acquaint themselves with the other laws, etiquettes, and recommended acts found in books on the Hajj Pilgrimage.

The Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid Al-Nabi)

Situated in the holy city of al-Madinah, the Prophet’s Mosque is the next in merit after the Sacred Mosque. As has been cited, to offer one prayer in this mosque is equal in reward to one thousand prayers that are offered in other mosques. According to other traditions, a single prayer is even equal in reward to ten thousand prayers offered in other mosques.29

Within the area of the Prophet’s Mosque, there is a garden of Paradise, which is the distance between his house, which is now his burial place, and his minbar (pulpit).

In his book of al-Kafi, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported through a valid chain of authority that Mu’awiyah ibn Wahab asked Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) about the authenticity of the following tradition that is ascribed to the Holy Prophet (S):

مَا بَيْنَ بَيْتِي وَمِنْبَرِي رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ.

The area between my house and minbar is a garden of Paradise.

The Imam (‘a) answered confirmatively and added:

وَبَيْتُ عَلِيٍّ وَفَاطِمَةَ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ مَا بَيْنَ الْبَيْتِ الَّذِي فِيهِ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ إِلَى الْبَابِ الَّذِي يُحَاذِي الزُّقَاقَ إِلَى الْبَقِيعِ. فَلَوْ دَخَلْتَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ الْبَابِ وَالْحَائِطُ مَكَانَهُ أَصَابَ مِنْكَبَكَ الأَيْسَرِ.

The house of ‘Ali and Fatimah, peace be upon them, lies in the area between the house in which the Holy Prophet (S) is buried and the door that is facing the street going to al-Baqi’ Cemetery. If you enter from that door, the wall would hit your left shoulder if it was still there.

The Imam (‘a) then referred to other houses and quoted the Holy Prophet (S) as saying:

الصَّلاَةُ فِي مَسْجِدِي تَعْدِلُ أَلْفَ صَلاَةٍ فِي غَيْرِهِ إِلاَّ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ فَهُوَ أَفْضَلُ.

A single prayer that is offered in my mosque is equal to one thousand prayers that are offered in other mosques except the Sacred Mosque, which is more meritorious (than my mosque).30

Another tradition holds that the Holy Prophet’s tomb is on a canal of Paradise.31

According to a number of traditions some of which are validly reported, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) has said that to offer a prayer in the house of Lady Fatimah (‘a) is more preferable than offering prayers in the area defined as a garden of Paradise and thus known as Rawdhah. Shaykh al-Kulayni in al-Kafi has reported that Yunus ibn Ya’qub asked Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) whether it is better to offer a prayer in the house of Lady Fatimah (‘a) or in the Rawdhah.

The Imam (‘a) answered, “To offer a prayer in Fatimah’s house is better.”32

According to another tradition, to offer prayers in the Holy Prophet’s houses, one of which is of course the house of Imam ‘Ali (‘a), is equal to offering prayers in the Prophet’s Mosque or even producing a bigger reward.33

As has been previously mentioned, the house of Imam ‘Ali and Lady Fatimah, peace be upon them, is situated in the area between the house in which the Holy Prophet (S) is buried and the door facing the street that goes to al-Baqi’ Cemetery.34

According to a narration deemed as valid by a group of scholars, the area of the Prophet’s Mosque is three thousand and six hundred cubits.35

The borders of the Prophet’s Mosque and the Rawdhah have been mentioned in two authentic traditions. Abu-Basir al-Muradi is reported to have quoted Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

حَدُّ الرَّوْضَةِ فِي مَسْجِدِ الرَّسُولِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ إِلَى طَرَفِ الظِّلاَلِ، وَحَدُّ الْمَسْجِدِ إِلَى الإسْطِوَانَتَيْنِ عَنْ يَمِينِ الْمِنْبَرِ إِلَى الطَّرِيقِ مِمَّا يَلِي سُوقَ اللَّيْلِ.

The borders of the Rawdhah in the Prophet’s Mosque extend to Taraf al-²ilal, and the border of the Prophet’s Mosque extends from the two columns to the right of the minbar up to the public way behind Suq al-Layl.36

Muhammad ibn Muslim is reported to have asked the Imam (‘a) about the borders of the Prophet’s Mosque, and he was answered:

الإسْطِوَانَةُ الَّتِي عِنْدَ رَأْسِ الْقَبْرِ إِلَى الإسْطِوَانَتَيْنِ مِنْ وَرَاءِ الْمِنْبَرِ عَنْ يَمِينِ الْقِبْلَةِ، وَكَانَ مِنْ وَرَاءِ الْمِنْبَرِ طَرِيقٌ تَمُرُّ فِيهِ الشَّاةُ وَيَمُرُّ الرَّجُلُ مُنْحَرِفاً وَكَانَ سَاحَةُ الْمَسْجِدِ مِنَ الْبِلاَطِ إِلَى الصَّحْنِ.

It extends from the column that is situated near the head of the tomb to the two columns lying behind the minbar to the right side of the kiblah direction. Behind the minbar, there was a narrow way in which a sheep could pass but a man must pass aslant. The yard of the mosque extended from the court to the patio.37

Other Holy Sites in the Prophet’s Mosque

In addition to the mosque, the Rawdhah, the houses of the Holy Prophet (S), and the house of Imam ‘Ali and Lady Fatimah (‘a), which are highly regarded and enjoy special merits, there are other sites inside the Prophet’s Mosque that are considered blessed and meritorious, such as the Prophet’s minbar and niche where he used to offer prayers.

Shaykh al-Kulayni in al-Kafi has reported through a valid chain of authority that Mu’awiyah ibn ‘Ammar quoted Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

إِذَا فَرِغْتَ مِنَ الدُّعَاءِ عِنْدَ قَبْرِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ فَأْتِ الْمِنْبَرَ فَامْسَحْهُ بِيَدِكَ وَخُذْ بِرُمَّانَتَيْهِ، وَهُمَا السُّفَلاوَانِ، وَامْسَحْ عَيْنَيْكَ وَوَجْهَكَ بِهِ فَإِنَّهُ يُقَالُ إِنَّهُ شِفَاءٌ لِلْعَيْنِ. وَقُمْ عِنْدَهُ وَاحْمَدِ اللهَ وَاثْنِ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلْ حَاجَتَكَ; فَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ قَالَ: مَا بَيْنَ قَبْرِي وَمِنْبَرِي رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ وَمِنْبَرِي عَلَى تُرْعَةٍ مِنْ تُرَعِ الْجَنَّةِ. وَالتُّرْعَةُ هِيَ الْبَابُ الصَّغِيرُ. ثُمَّ تَأْتِي مَقَامَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ فَتُصَلِّي فِيهِ مَا بَدَا لَكَ.

When you accomplish your prayers near the tomb (of the Holy Prophet (S)), you may come to the minbar, pass your hand over it, hold the two lower pommels, and then rub your face and eyes, for this act brings about eye healing. You may then offer prayers there, praise and thank Almighty Allah, and implore Him for settling your needs. The Holy Prophet (S) has said, “The area between my house and minbar is a garden of Paradise and my minbar is standing on a canal of Paradise.” This canal is the small door. You may then go to the Holy Prophet’s standing-place and offer as many prayers as you like.38

One of the other places regarded special is Maqam Jibra'il (the Standing-place of Archangel Gabriel) where the Archangel would stop to gain permission from the Holy Prophet (S) to enter.

Shaykh al-Kulayni in al-Kafi has reported through a valid chain of authority that Mu’awiyah ibn ‘Ammar quoted Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

You may come to the standing-place of Gabriel, which is under a drainpipe, because at this very place, Archangel Gabriel used to stop to seek permission from the Holy Prophet (S) before he would visit him. You may say these words at this place:

اَيْ جَوَادُ اَيْ كَرِيمُ اَيْ قَرِيبُ اَيْ بَعِيدُ اَسْاَلُكَ اَنْ تُصَلِّيَ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَاَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَاَنْ تَرُدَّ عَلَيَّ نِعْمَتَكَ.

O All-magnanimous! O All-generous! O Nigh! O Remote! I beseech You to send blessings upon Muhammad and his Household and to grant me this blessing of Yours over again.39

Amongst the other consecrated places in the Prophet’s Mosque are the three columns; namely, Abu-Lubabah’s40 Column, known as Ustuwanat Abi-Lubabah or Ustuwanat al-Tawbah (The Repentance Column) and the other two columns following it towards the Holy Prophet’s prayer-place, standing-place, and niche. Those who visit the Holy Prophet’s tomb and mosque perform certain rites at these columns.

These certain rites and recommended acts have been mentioned by Shaykh al-Kulayni in al-Kafi and Shaykh al-Tusi in Tahdhib al-Ahkam with many traditions of valid chains of authority.

For instance, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan has reported on the authority of Mu’awiyah ibn ‘Ammar that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:

While residing in Madinah for three days, you may observe fasting for three days beginning with Wednesday. On Tuesday night, you may offer a prayer at Abu-Lubabah’s Column, which is also called the Column of Repentance to which Abu-Lubabah tied himself until he was excused by Almighty Allah. You may spend Wednesday thereat. The next night and day (i.e. Thursday), you may offer prayers near the next column, which is situated behind the Holy Prophet's (S) standing-place.

Fasting on Thursday, you may spend the next night and day (i.e. Friday) at the next column, offering prayers and sitting there. You may then fast on Friday. If possible, you should abstain from talking except when necessary. Do not leave the mosque except for an urgent need, and do not sleep at all as long as you are there. If you do all that, you will gain much reward. On Friday, thank and praise Almighty Allah and invoke His blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household. Then, pray to Him to grant you your requests. Include these words with your prayer:

اَللَّهُمَّ مَا كَانَتْ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ حَاجَةٍ شَرَعْتُ اَنَا فِي طَلَبِهَا اَوْ إلْتِمَاسٍ اَوْ لَمْ اَشْرَعْ سَاَلْتُكَهَا اَوْ لَمْ اَسْاَلْكَهَا فَإنِّي اَتَوَجَّهُ إلَيْكَ بِنَبِيِّكَ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ نَبِيِّ الرَّحْمَةِ فِي قَضَاءِ حَوَائِجِي صَغِيرِهَا وَكَبِيرِهَا.

O Allah, whatever I need from You whether I have mentioned it or not, whatever entreaty, which I have besought from You or not; I turn my face towards You, beseeching You to grant it in the name of Your Prophet, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his Household, the Prophet of Mercy. Settle all my needs for me, be they insignificant or great.

If you do all that, then you will deserve to have your requests granted, Allah willing.41

Other Mosques in al-Madinah

In the holy city of al-Madinah, there are other mosques that have the honor to be places where the Holy Prophet (S) offered prayers, or which he himself ordered to be built.

The most important and most preferred of these mosques is the Quba Mosque about which Almighty Allah revealed the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:

لَا تَقُمْ فِيهِ أَبَدًا لَمَسْجِدٌ أُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَى مِنْ أَوَّلِ يَوْمٍ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَقُومَ فِيهِ فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَتَطَهَّرُوا وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ (108)

Certainly, a mosque founded on piety from the very first day is more deserving that you should stand in it. In it are men who love that they should be purified, and Allah loves those who purify themselves. (9:108)

The Holy Prophet (S) is reported to have said:

مَنْ أَتَى مَسْجِدِي مَسْجِدَ قَبَا فَصَلَّى فِيهِ رَكْعَتَيْنِ رَجَعَ بِعُمْرَةٍ.

Whoever visits Quba Mosque and offers therein a two-unit prayer, will return with the reward of ‘Umrah.42

Another important site is Fadhikh Mosque, the place where the sun was returned for Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and where the Holy Prophet (S) offered prayers.

In Madinah, there are also Masjid e Ahzab (Mosque of the Allies), which is the place where the Holy Prophet (S) prayed to Almighty Allah to grant Imam ‘Ali (‘a) victory over ‘Amr ibn ‘Abd-Wudd al-’Amiri in the Battle of the Allies (or Khandaq).

There is also the Ummu-Ibrahim’s Chamber (known as mashrabat ummi-ibrahim), which is the residential place of the Holy Prophet (S) during his residence in Quba on his way to Madinah. In this place too, the Holy Prophet (S) offered prayers.

There are also the Uhud Mosque and the graves of the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud among which is the grave of Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, the Holy Prophet’s uncle and the master of martyrs.

In al-Kafi, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported that Mu’awiyah ibn ‘Ammar quoted Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

Make sure that you will not leave any of the following sites unvisited: Quba Mosque (the mosque founded on piety from the very first day), Ummu-Ibrahim’s Chamber, al-Fadhikh Mosque, the graves of the martyrs, and Masjid al-Ahzab, which is also called the Conquest (fath) Mosque.

We have been informed that the Holy Prophet (S), whenever visiting the graves of the martyrs, would say:

اَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَى الدَّارِ.

Peace be upon you because you were constant; how excellent is then the issue of the abode!

Among the prayers that are performed at Masjid al-Ahzab are the following:

يَا صَرِيخَ الْمَكْرُوبِينَ وَيَا مُجِيبَ دَعْوَةِ الْمُضْطَرِّينَ وَيَا مُغِيثَ الْمَهْمُومِينَ إِكْشِفْ عَنِّي ضُرِّي وَهَمِّي وَكَرْبِي وَغَمِّي كَمَا كَشَفْتَ عَنْ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ هَمَّهُ وَكَفَيْتَهُ هَوْلَ عَدُوِّهِ فِي هَذَا الْمَكَانِ.

O He Who aids the aggrieved! O He Who responds to the supplication of the distressed! O He Who helps the depressed! (Please do) remove my distress, my grief, my anguish, and my dejection in the same way You relieved the grief of Your Prophet—peace be upon him and his Household—and saved him from the horror of his enemies at this very place.43

‘Uqbah ibn Khalid is reported to have asked Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “When we visit the mosques that are around Madinah, with which one should we start?”

The Imam (‘a) instructed:

You should start with Quba Mosque where you should offer as many prayers as you can, for this place is the first mosque of this area in which the Holy Prophet (S) offered prayers. You may then go to Ummu-Ibrahim’s Chamber and offer a prayer therein, for it was the residence and prayer-place of the Holy Prophet (S). You may then go to al-Fadhikh Mosque and offer a prayer therein, for your Prophet (S) offered a prayer therein. After visiting all the sites at this side, you may move to the other side of Mount Uhud and start with the mosque that is situated on the side of al-Hirah wherein you may offer a prayer. You may then pass by the tomb of Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and offer him salutation. Then, come to the martyrs and stop at their graves, greeting them with the following statement:

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ يَا اَهْلِ الدِّيَارِ اَنْتُمْ لَنَا فَرَطٌ وَإنَّا بِكُمْ لاََحِقُونَ

Peace be upon you, O inhabitants of these graves. You have preceded us, and we shall certainly join you.

You may then go to the mosque that lies in the vast place beside the mountain on your right. Then, head for Mount Uhud and offer a prayer therein. It is the place from where the Holy Prophet (S) started off to contend with the polytheists at Mount Uhud. The army of the Muslims, under the command of the Holy Prophet (S), resided there until the time of prayer. They performed the prayer there. You may then return to the graves of the martyrs and offer as many prayers as Almighty Allah has determined for you. Then, head forward until you arrive at Masjid al-Ahzab to offer prayers and supplicate before Almighty Allah there because in the Battle of al-Ahzab the Holy Prophet (S) prayed to Almighty Allah at this place. Ammar ibn Musa has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying that the incident of the sun recourse for Imam ‘Ali (‘a) took place at Fadhikh Mosque.

There are some other famous mosques in Madinah, such as the following:

 Al-Kiblatayn Mosque wherein the following holy verse of changing the direction of kiblah was revealed:

قَدْ نَرَى تَقَلُّبَ وَجْهِكَ فِي السَّمَاءِ فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ (144)

Indeed, We see the turning of your face to heaven, so We shall surely turn you to a kiblah which you shall like. Turn then your face towards the Sacred Mosque. (2:144)

 Masjid al-Ghumamah (Mosque of the Cloud), which is the place where a cloud cast a shadow over the Holy Prophet (S) who had suffered from the heat of the sun.

 The five mosques attributed to Abu-Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, Imam ‘Ali (‘a), and Lady Fatimah (‘a).

 Masjid al-Mubahalah (Mosque of the Mutual Invocation of Curse), which is the place where the Holy Prophet (S) challenged the Christians of Najran and called them to invoke Almighty Allah’s curse upon the lying party.

 Masjid e Salman al-Farisi (the Persian)44

 The place of the Holy Prophet’s overnight stay (mu’arras) during his journey back from Makkah to Madinah. At this place, he also offered prayers.

About these places, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported a set of traditions, in his book of al-Kafi, one of which is the following validly reported one:

Mu’awiyah ibn ‘Ammar has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

When you leave Makkah and head for Madinah, you will pass by Dhu’l-Halifah Mosque, which lies on the way between Makkah and Madinah. There, you may visit the place of the Holy Prophet’s overnight stay. If it is the time of an obligatory or supererogatory prayer, you must perform it there. If not, you may reside there for a while, because the Holy Prophet (S) used to stay overnight and offer prayers there.45

On the way between Makkah and Madinah, there lies the Ghadir Khumm Mosque, which is the place where the Holy Prophet (S) stopped and declared Imam ‘Ali (‘a) as his successor and the next leader and Imam of the Muslim nation.

In this connection, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported through a valid chain of authority that ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Hajjaj asked Imam al-Kazim (‘a) about the merit of offering a prayer at al-Ghadir Mosque in daylight during a journey. The Imam (‘a) answered:

You may offer a prayer there, because it is rewardable. My father used to order me to do so.46

This list of holy places and mosques at Madinah and other places proves what has been previously mentioned in the introduction of this discussion. The Ahl al-Bayt’s view about holy places is based on the concept of maintaining those Islamic sites and sacred places associated with the divine mission, since they enjoy special sacredness where devotional acts are practiced as expressions of thanking Almighty Allah and respecting His commands and prohibitions.

Al-Kufah And Its Mosques

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) viewed the city of Kufah as distinctive because of various significances.

As for its historical significance, this city is connected with previous divine missions and prophets.

As for its political significance, this city has always been loyal to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

As for its cultural significance, this city has played a significant role in promulgating the culture of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

As for its future significance, this city is predicted to contribute greatly to the advent of the Awaited Imam al-Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance.

In many traditions that are unanimously acceptable, the significance of Kufah has been confirmed, apart from some details that cannot be proved by scholarly methods.

The results of these truths, which are reported from the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), have been certified through some scientific (archeological) surveys and some ancient texts found in divine books, such as the Torah and the Psalms of David (‘a).47

In this respect, Abu-Bakr al-Hadhrami has reported that he asked Imam al-Baqir (‘a) to name the best region after the holy precincts of Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet (S).

The Imam (‘a) thus answered:

الْكُوفَةُ; هِيَ الزَّكِيَّةُ الطَّاهِرَةُ. فِيهَا قُبُورُ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالْمُرْسَلِينَ وَغَيْرِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ وَالأَوْصِيَاءِ الصَّادِقِينَ. وَفِيهَا مَسْجِدُ سُهَيْلٍ الَّذِي لَمْ يَبْعَثِ اللهُ نَبِيّاً إِلاَّ وَقَدْ صَلَّى فِيهِ، وَفِيهَا يَظْهَرُ عَدْلُ اللهِ، وَفِيهَا يَكُونُ قَائِمُهُ وَالْقُوَّامُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ. وَهِيَ مَنَازِلُ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالأَوْصِيَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ.

It is Kufah! It is the perfect and pure city. In this city, there are the graves of the prophets—both messengers and non-messengers—and the veracious successors (of prophets). There is also the Mosque of Suhayl, in which all the Prophets that Almighty Allah had sent offered prayers. From this city will the Justice of Allah appear; and in this city will be His Rising Imam and the leaders who will succeed him. It is also the abode of the prophets, the successors, and the righteous.48

Sulaym—the manumitted slave of Tirbal—and other reporters have reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

نَفَقَةُ دِرْهَمٍ بِالْكُوفَةِ تُحْسَبُ بِمِائَةِ دِرْهَمٍ فِي مَا سِوَاهَا، وَرَكْعَتَانِ فِيهَا تُحْسَبُ بِمِائَةِ رَكْعَةٍ.

To give as alms a single dirham at Kufah is recorded as giving one hundred dirhams as alms in other cities. Likewise, to offer a two-unit prayer thereat is regarded as offering one hundred-unit prayer.49

‘Asim ibn ‘Abd al-Wahid al-Madini has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying:

مَكَّةُ حَرَمُ اللهِ، وَالْمَدِينَةُ حَرَمُ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ، وَالْكُوفَةُ حَرَمُ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ. إِنَّ عَلِيّاً حَرَّمَ مِنَ الْكُوفَةِ مَا حَرَّمَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ مِنْ مَكَّةَ وَمَا حَرَّمَ مُحَمَّدٌ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ مِنَ الْمَدِينَةِ.

Makkah is the sanctuary of Almighty Allah, Madinah the sanctuary of Muhammad (S), and Kufah the sanctuary of ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib. ‘Ali has deemed sacred the city of Kufah in the same way Abraham (S) had deemed Makkah sacred and Muhammad (S) had deemed Madinah sacred.50

Ishaq ibn Yazdad has reported that a man came to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) and said that he had transferred all his property into gold and silver and sold all his country estates, intending to migrate to another country. “Should I move to Makkah?” the man asked.

“No,” said the Imam (‘a), “because the people of Makkah blaspheme Almighty Allah publicly.”

“Should I move to the sanctuary of Allah’s Messenger (i.e. Madinah)?’ asked the man.

“No,” said the Imam (‘a), “because the people of Madinah are more wicked than the people of Makkah.”

“Where should I move?” asked the man.

The Imam (‘a) suggested:

عَلَيْكَ بِالْعِرَاقِ الْكُوفَةِ; فَإِنَّ الْبَرَكَةَ مِنْهَا عَلَى اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ مِيلاً هَكَذَا وَهَكَذَا، وَإِلَى جَانِبِهَا قَبْرٌ مَا أَتَاهُ مَكْرُوبٌ قَطُّ وَلاَ مَلْهُوفٌ إِلاَّ فَرَّجَ اللهُ عَنْهُ.

You should choose Kufah, Iraq because blessing is only twelve miles away from this city to the side of which there is a tomb. Whoever agonized or distressed comes to it shall be certainly relieved by Almighty Allah.51

Abu-Usamah has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying:

الْكُوفَةُ رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ; فِيهَا قَبْرُ نُوحٍ وَإِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ وَقَبْرُ ثَلَاثَمِائَةِ نَبِيٍّ وَسَبْعِينَ نَبِيّاً وَسِتُّمِائَةِ وَصِيٍّ وَقَبْرُ سَيِّدِ الأَوْصِيَاءِ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ.

Kufah is one of the gardens of Paradise where exist the tombs of Prophets Noah and Adam—peace be upon them—as well as three hundred and seventy prophets, six hundred successors (of prophets), and the tomb of the master of the prophets’ successors; namely, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him.52

In addition, there are other holy places in Kufah due to which this city enjoys great importance, merit, and sacredness.

The Great Mosque of Kufah

At the top of the list of holy places is the Great Mosque of Kufah whose sacredness, as well as the merits of offering prayers and acts of worship therein, have been mentioned in many traditions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) some of which are the following:

Shaykh al-Kulayni in al-Kafi, Shaykh al-Saduq in al-Majalis and al-Amali, al-Barqi in al-Mahasin, Ibn Qawlawayh in Kamil al-Ziyarat, and Shaykh al-Tusi in Tahdhib al-Ahkam, report Harun ibn Kharajah as saying that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) once asked him, “O Harun ibn Kharijah, what is the distance between your house and the Kufah Mosque? Is it about a mile?”

“No,” answered Harun, “probably less than that.”

The Imam (‘a) further asked, “Do you perform all your prayers therein?”

“No,” answered Harun, “I do not.”

The Imam (‘a) commented:

أَمَا لَوْ كُنْتُ بِحَضْرَتِهِ لَرَجَوْتُ أَلاَّ تَفُوتَنِي فِيهِ صَلاَةٌ، وَتَدْرِي مَا فَضْلُ ذَلِكَ الْمَوْضِعِ؟ مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ صَالِحٍ وَلاَ نِبِيٍّ إِلاَّ وَقَدْ صَلَّى فِي مَسْجِدِ كُوفَانَ، حَتَّى إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ لَمَّا أُسْرِيَ بِهِ قَالَ لَهُ جَبْرَئِيلُ: أَتَدْرِي أَيْنَ أَنْتَ السَّاعَةَ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ؟ أَنْتَ مُقَابِلُ مَسْجِدِ كُوفَانَ. قَالَ: فَاسْتَأْذِنْ لِي رَبِّي حَتَّى آتِيَهُ فَأُصَلِّي رَكْعَتَيْنِ. فَاسْتَأْذَنَ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَأَذِنَ لَهُ. وَإِنَّ مَيْمَنَتَهُ لَرَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ وَسَطَهُ لَرَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ مُؤَخَّرَهُ لَرَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ الْمَكْتُوبَةَ فِيهِ لَتَعْدِلُ أَلْفَ صَلاَةٍ، وَإِنَّ النَّافِلَةَ فِيهِ لَتَعْدِلُ خَمْسَمِائَةِ صَلاَةٍ، وَإِنَّ الْجُلُوسَ فِيهِ بِغَيْرِ تِلاَوَةٍ وَلاَ ذِكْرٍ لَعِبَادَةٌ، وَلَوْ عَلِمَ النَّاسُ مَا فِيهِ لأَتَوْهُ وَلَوْ حَبْواً.

Had I been present in the precinct of that mosque, I would have never missed any prayer that I could perform there. Do you know the merits of that place? All Prophets and virtuous saints offered prayers at the Kufah Mosque, including the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S). When he was taken to the heavens, Archangel Gabriel (‘a) said to him, ‘O Muhammad (S), do you know where you are now? You are now opposite the Kufah Mosque.’ The Holy Prophet (S) thus asked permission from his Lord to visit the mosque and offer a two-unit prayer. He was thus permitted. Verily, to the right side of this mosque is a garden of Paradise, in the middle of it a garden of Paradise, and behind it also a garden of Paradise.

To offer an obligatory prayer therein is equal in reward to offering one thousand prayers (at other places), to offer a supererogatory prayer therein is equal in reward to offering five hundred prayers, and to sit there without reciting or saying any devotional statement is considered to be an act of worship. If people were to realize the merits of visiting this place, they would certainly come to it, even crawling.53

Shaykh al-Tusi in Tahdhib al-Ahkam, and Shaykh al-Saduq in man-la-yahdhuruhu’l-faqih, have reported on the authority of ‘Ali ibn Mahziyar that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:

حَدُّ مَسْجِدِ الْكُوفَةِ آخِرُ السَّرَاجِينِ خَطَّهُ آدَمُ، وَأَنَا أَكْرَهُ أَنْ أَدْخُلَهُ رَاكِباً.

The border of the Kufah Mosque, as sketched by (Prophet) Adam, extends to the end of the Sarajin quarter. As for me, I dislike entering there riding.

“Who changed the borders of the mosque, then?” asked the reporter. The Imam (‘a) answered:

أَمَّا أَوَّلُ ذَلِكَ فَالطُّوفَانُ فِي زَمَنِ نُوحٍ، ثُمَّ غَيَّرَهُ أَصْحَابُ كِسْرَى وَالنُّعْمَانِ، ثُمَّ غَيَّرَهُ زِيَادُ بْنُ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ.

First of all, it was changed by Prophet Noah’s flood. It was then changed by Khosrow, the Persian king, and al-Nu’man, the Arab king. Finally, it was changed by Ziyad ibn Abi-Sufyan.54

Najm ibn Hatim has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying:

لَوْ يَعْلَمُ النَّاسُ مَا فِي مَسْجِدِ الْكُوفَةِ لأَعَدُّوا لَهُ الزَّادَ وَالرَّوَاحِلَ مِنْ مَكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ; إِنَّ صَلاَةَ فَرِيضَةٍ فِيهِ تَعْدِلُ حِجَّةً، وَصَلاَةَ نَافِلَةٍ فِيهِ تَعْدِلُ عُمْرَةً.

If people were to realize the favors they might gain when they visit Kufah Mosque, they would certainly travel to it from remote countries. One obligatory prayer in this mosque is equal in reward to one Hajj and to offer a supererogatory prayer therein is equal in reward to one ‘Umrah.55

Shaykh al-Saduq, in man-la-yahdhuruhu’l-faqih, has reported Imam ‘Ali (‘a) as saying:

لاَ تُشَدُّ الرِّحَالُ إِلاَّ إِلَى ثَلاَثَةِ مَسَاجِدَ، الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ، وَمَسْجِدِ الرَّسُولِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ، وَمَسْجِدِ الْكُوفَةِ.

Trips should not be taken except to three mosques—the Sacred Mosque of Makkah, the Holy Prophet’s Mosque, and the Kufah Mosque.56

Al-Asbagh ibn Nubatah has reported that Imam ‘Ali (‘a) addressed the following words to the people of Kufah:

يَا أَهْلَ الْكُوفَةِ، لَقَدْ حَبَاكُمُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِمَا لَمْ يَحْبُ بِهِ أَحَداً، مِنْ فَضْلِ مُصَلاَّكُمْ بَيْتُ آدَمَ وَبَيْتُ نُوحٍ وَبَيْتُ إِدْرِيسَ، وَمُصَلَّى إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْخَلِيلِ، وَمُصَلَّى أَخِي الْخِضْرِ، وَمُصَلاَّيَ، وَإِنَّ مَسْجِدَكُمْ هَذَا لأَحَدُ الْمَسَاجِدِ الأَرْبَعَةِ الَّتِي إخْتَارَهَا اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لأَهْلِهَا. وَكَأَنِّي بِهِ قَدْ أُتِيَ بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِي ثَوْبَيْنِ أَبْيَضَيْنِ يَتَشَبَّهُ بِالْمُحْرِمِ وَيَشْفَعُ لأَِهْلِهِ وَلِمَنْ يُصَلِّي فِيهِ فَلاَ تُرَدُّ شَفَاعَتُهُ. وَلاَ تَذْهَبُ الأَيَّامُ وَاللَّيَالِي حَتَّى يُنْصَبَ الْحَجَرُ الأَسْوَدُ فِيهِ. وَلَيَأْتِيَنَّ عَلَيْهِ زَمَانٌ يَكُونُ مُصَلَّى الْمَهْدِيِّ مِنْ وُلْدِي، وَمُصَلَّى كُلِّ مُؤْمِنٍ، وَلاَ يَبْقَى عَلَى الأَرْضِ مُؤْمِنٌ إِلاَّ كَانَ بِهِ أَوْ حَنَّ قَلْبُهُ إِلَيْهِ. فَلاَ تَهْجُرُوهُ وَتَقَرَّبُوا إِلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِالصَّلاَةِ فِيهِ وَارْغَبُوا إِلَيْهِ فِي قَضَاءِ حَوَائِجِكُمْ، فَلَوْ يَعْلَمُ النَّاسُ مَا فِيهِ مِنَ الْبَرَكَةِ لأَتَوْهُ مِنْ أَقْطَارِ الأَرْضِ وَلَوْ حَبْواً عَلَى الثَّلْجِ.

O people of Kufah, Almighty Allah has bestowed something upon you that He has not given to any other people. It is the merit of this prayer-place of yours, which was the house of Adam (‘a), the house of Noah(‘a), the house of Idris (Enoch)(‘a), the prayer-place of Abraham(S), the Friend of Allah, the prayer-place of al-Khidhr (‘a), my brother, and my prayer-place. Verily, this mosque of yours is one of four mosques chosen by Almighty Allah for the people.

On the Day of Resurrection, I see this mosque brought forward, clad in two white garments like the costume worn by Muhrims (i.e. those entering into the sacred state before performing the ritual Hajj Pilgrimage). It will then intercede for its people and for those who used to offer prayers therein, and its intercession will not be rejected. Soon will the Black Stone be installed in this mosque. In a coming age, this mosque will be the prayer-place of Mahdi, one of my descendants, and the prayer-place of all true faithful believers. At that time, there will be no faithful believer on this globe but that he will be in this place or will have his heart yearning for it. Should people come to know the blessing found in this mosque, they would come to it from the furthest regions of the world even crawling on snow.57

Moreover, some traditions have mentioned more merits and rewards for visiting this mosque than those mentioned for the Furthest Mosque of Jerusalem.

In this respect, Muhammad ibn Ya’qub has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as narrating the following:

One day, a man came to Imam ‘Ali (‘a), who was in the Kufah Mosque, and greeted him, saying, “Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you, O Commander of the Faithful.”

As the Imam (‘a) responded to his greeting, the man said, “I have intended to head for the Furthest Mosque (of Jerusalem) and I thus wanted to greet and bid you farewell before I leave.”

“What do you expect from this journey?” the Imam (‘a) asked.

“I expect to attain its reward and merit,” answered the man.

The Imam (‘a) advised:

فَبِعْ رَاحِلَتَكَ وَكُلْ زَادَكَ وَصَلِّ فِي هَذَا الْمَسْجِدِ; فَإِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ الْمَكْتُوبَةَ فِيهِ حِجَّةٌ مَبْرُورَةٌ وَالنَّافِلَةَ عُمْرَةٌ مَبْرُورَةٌ وَالْبَرَكَةَ مِنْهُ عَلَى اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ مِيلاً. يَمِينُهُ يُمْنٌ وَيَسَارُهُ مَكْرٌ. وَفِي وَسَطِهِ عَيْنٌ مِنْ دُهْنٍ وَعَيْنٌ مِنْ لَبَنٍ وَعَيْنٌ مِنْ مَاءٍ شَرَابٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ، وَعَيْنٌ مِنْ مَاءٍ طَاهِرٍ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ. مِنْهُ سَارَتْ سَفِينَةُ نُوحٍ، وَكَانِ فَِيهِ (نَسْرٌ) وَ(يَغُوثُ) وَ(يَعُوقُ)، وَصَلَّى فِيهِ سَبْعُونَ نَبِيّاً وَسَبْعُونَ وَصِيّاً أَنَا أَحَدُهُمْ. مَا دَعَا فِيهِ مَكْرُوبٌ بِمَسْأَلَةٍ فِي حَاجَةٍ مِنَ الْحَوَائِجِ إِلاَّ أَجَابَهُ اللهُ تَعَالَى وَفَرَّجَ عَنْهُ كُرْبَتَهُ.

If so, you may sell your riding-animal, consume your provisions, and pray at this mosque, for performing an obligatory prayer at this mosque is equal (in reward) to performing one Hajj, and offering a supererogatory prayer to performing one ‘Umrah. The blessed area is only twelve miles away from the mosque where its right side is felicity while its left side is ill omen. In its center, there is a spring of oil, a spring of milk, a spring of fresh water for the believers, and a spring of pure water for them, too. From this place, the ark of Prophet Noah (‘a) set off, where there had been the idols Nasr, Yaghuth, and Ya’uq.58 At this place too, seventy prophets and seventy successors of prophets, one of whom is myself, offered prayers. No agonized person prays to Almighty Allah for any request without his prayer being granted by Allah and his agony relieved.59

It is maintained by many traditions that at the Kufah Mosque there are stations ascribed to some prophets and Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). For instance, the station of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), is situated at the seventh column of the mosque, the station of Imam Hasan (‘a) at the fifth, the station of Prophet Abraham (S) at the third, and the station of Archangel Gabriel (‘a) at the fifth, directly behind the Kindah Gate.60

Books on supplications and formulas of ziyarah have mentioned special devotional rites, prayers, supplications, and whispered prayers to be practiced at the Kufah Mosque, such as the two-unit prayer of granting requests. In each unit Surah al-Fatihah (No. 1), Surah al-Falaq (No. 113), Surah al-Nas (No. 114), Surah al-Tawhid (No. 112), Surah al-Kafirun (No. 109), Surah al-Nasr (No. 110), and Surah al-Qadr (No. 97) are recited. Upon accomplishment, the famous Tasbih al-Zahra' litany61 is said and then one’s request is made through supplication. Once one does all that, his request will be granted by Almighty Allah and his prayers will be responded to, Allah willing.62

Imam ‘Ali’s Tomb and Wadi al-Salam

In Kufah is the tomb of Imam ‘Ali (‘a), which is situated at the back of the city by the side of the white hills. This region is called Ghari and Najaf. It was too dry to support vegetation. After the appearance of Imam ‘Ali’s tomb in this area, the people of Kufah used to bury their dead people there. The modern city of Najaf was established around the tomb of Imam ‘Ali (‘a) and then became the central city of the Najaf Governorate. The city of Kufah became a district attached to it.

The method and merits of visiting the tomb of Imam ‘Ali (‘a) have been cited within the chapter on the virtues of this holy place.

Nasir al-Din al-Tusi has reported on the authority of Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Fadhl, the nephew of Dawud al-Raqqi, that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:

أَرْبَعُ بِقَاعٍ ضَجَّتْ إِلَى اللهِ أَيَّامَ الطُّوفَانِ: الْبَيْتُ الْمَعْمُورُ فَرَفَعَهُ اللهُ، وَالْغَرِيُّ وَكَرْبَلاءُ وَطُوسُ.

On the days of Noah’s flood, four regions cried to Almighty Allah: the Much-Frequented House, which Almighty Allah thus raised, Ghari, Karbala', and Tus.63

In his book, entitled Fadhl al-Kufah, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Hasan al-’Alawi reports, through a chain of authority connected to ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Alqamah Abu’l-Janub, that Imam ‘Ali (‘a) purchased the area between the Khawarnaq Palace and Hirah in Kufah, (or the area between Najaf and Hirah, according to another narration), with forty thousand Dirhams and called some people to witness the contract. “Why have you, Commander of the Faithful (‘a), purchased this land at such a high price while it is barren?” they asked.

He answered:

سَمِعْتُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ يَقُولُ: كُوفَانُ كُوفَانُ؛ يُرَدُّ أَوَّلُهَا عَلَى آخِرِهَا، يُحْشَرُ مِنْ ظَهْرِهَا سَبْعُونَ أَلْفاً يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ. فَاشْتَهَيْتُ أَنْ يُحْشَرُوا مِنْ مِلْكِي.

I have heard the Messenger of Allah (S) saying, “Kufan! Kufan! The first of it shall be returned to the last of it (because of complete destruction to which this city will be exposed). From this region, seventy thousand individuals shall be resurrected and allowed to enter Paradise without settling an account with them.” I, therefore, would like these people to be resurrected from my property.64

Badr ibn Khalil al-Asadi has reported on the authority of a man from Sham that Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said:

أَوَّلُ بُقْعَةٍ عُبِدَ اللهُ عَلَيْهَا ظَهْرُ الْكُوفَةِ، لَمَّا أَمَرَ اللهُ الْمَلاَئِكَةَ أَنْ يَسْجُدُوا لآِدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا عَلَى ظَهْرِ الْكُوفَةِ.

The first region (of the earth) on which Almighty Allah was worshipped is behind Kufah. That was when Almighty Allah ordered the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam (‘a); so, they did at the place behind Kufah.65

Habbah al-’Arani has reported that he once accompanied Imam ‘Ali (‘a) to Kufah. There, the Imam (‘a) stopped at Wadi al-Salam as if he were talking to some people. Following him, I stood with him for so long that I felt worn out. I then sat for a long time until I grew weary. So, I stood up again until I felt tired and had to sit down again. Again, I sat down for so long that I felt weary. The third time, I stood up, gathered my garment, and said, “O Commander of the Faithful (‘a), I feel pity for you because you have been standing for such a long time. Would you like to rest for a while?” I then put the garment on the ground so that he could sit on it.

The Imam (‘a) then said to me, “O Habbah, this has been no more than a discourse with a faithful believer—a kind of pleasure.”

“O Commander of the Faithful (‘a),” I said, “Are they communicating?”

The Imam (‘a) answered, “Yes, they are. If you were now allowed to see the unseen, you would see them in meetings speaking to one another.”

“Are they bodies or spirits?” I asked.

The Imam (‘a) answered:

أَرْوَاحٌ، وَمَا مِنْ مُؤْمِنٍ يَمُوتُ فِي بُقْعَةٍ مِنْ بِقَاعِ الأَرْضِ إِلاَّ قِيلَ لِرُوحِهِ: إِلْحَقِي بِوَادِي السَّلاَمِ. وَإِنَّها لَبُقْعَةٌ مِنْ جَنَّةِ عَدْنٍ.

They are spirits. There is no faithful believer that dies in any region on this earth except that his soul is allowed to join Wadi al-Salam, which is also an area in the Garden of Eden.66

Safwan al-Jammal has reported that he once accompanied Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) on a journey from Madinah to Hirah. When they passed over Hirah, the Imam (‘a) asked Safwan to lead the riding-animals to the road that led to Ghari. When they reached that place, the Imam (‘a) took out a thin rope made of coir which he had carried with him and then moved many steps away from the road towards the west. He then stretched that rope and stopped at its other end. He then tapped the ground with his hands and took a handful of dust that he smelt for a long time. He then walked towards the place where Imam ‘Ali’s tomb lay. On the tomb, he spread the dust with his blessed hand, took a handful of it, smelt it, and sobbed so heavily that I thought he had passed away. When he recovered consciousness, he said, “This is, by Allah, the burial place of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a).”

The Imam (‘a) then drew a sketch.

I asked him, “O son of Allah’s Messenger (‘a), what had made the rightful members of Muhammad’s Household (‘a) refrain from showing this burial place to the people?”

The Imam (‘a) answered, “They feared lest the descendants of Marwan and the Khawarij would damage this place.”

Safwan then asked the Imam (‘a) how to visit the tomb of Imam ‘Ali (‘a), and the Imam (‘a) instructed:

To visit his tomb, you should bathe yourself, put on two new or clean and ceremonially pure garments, and use a perfume, although it is acceptable without this. When you are about to leave your house, you may say, “I am leaving my house, seeking Allah’s bounty… etc.”67

Sahlah Mosque

Sahlah (or Suhayl) Mosque is one of the holy places of Kufah. Many traditions report the merits of this mosque, such as Imam al-Sadiq’s saying:

مَا مِنْ مَكْرُوبٍ يَأْتِي مَسْجِدَ السَّهْلَةِ وَيُصَلِّي فِيهِ رَكْعَتَيْنِ بَيْنَ الْعِشَائَيْنِ وَيَدْعُو اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلاَّ فَرَّجَ اللهُ كُرْبَتَهُ.

Any aggrieved person who visits al-Sahlah Mosque, performs the Maghrib and ‘Isha' Prayers thereat, and supplicates, Almighty Allah will most certainly have his grief relieved by Him.68

Other traditions hold that Sahlah Mosque is the place where the prophets and righteous persons offered prayers since the time of Prophet Abraham (S) and even before that.

Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn Aban that he, accompanied by others, visited Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) who asked if any one of them had something to tell about Zayd ibn ‘Ali, the Imam’s uncle. One the attendants thus related, “I do. One night, we gathered at the house of Mu’awiyah ibn Ishaq al-Ansari who called us to visit Sahlah Mosque and to offer a prayer thereat. However, something happened to Zayd and prevented him from going there.”

Commenting on this event, the Imam (‘a) said:

أَمَا وَاللهِ لَوِ اسْتَعَاذَ اللهَ بِهِ حَوْلاً لأَعَاذَهُ. أَمَا عَلِمْتَ أَنَّهُ مَوْضِعُ بَيْتِ إِدْرِيسَ النَّبِيِّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ الَّذِي كَانَ يَخِيطُ فِيهِ، وَمِنْهُ سَارَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ إِلَى الْيَمَنِ بِالْعَمَالِقَةِ، وَمِنْهُ سَارَ دَاوُدُ إِلَى جَالُوتَ، وَإِنَّ فِيهِ لَصَخْرَةً خَضْرَاءَ فِيهَا مِثَالُ كُلِّ نَبِيٍّ، وَمِنْ تَحْتِ تِلْكَ الصَّخْرَةِ أُخِذَتْ طِينَةُ كُلِّ نَبِيٍّ؟ وَإِنَّهُ لَمُنَاخُ الرَّاكِبِ… الْخِضْرِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ.

By Allah (I swear), if he had sought Almighty Allah’s protection in the name of that place, he would certainly have been given protection for a whole year at least. Do you not know that the Sahlah Mosque is the place where Prophet Idris (‘a) lived and used to sew. From this place too, Prophet Abraham (S) lead the Giants towards Yemen. Likewise, from this place, Prophet David (‘a) moved to confront Goliath. In this place, there is a green rock on which the picture of each prophet was carved and from beneath this rock, the clay of every prophet (from which they were created) was taken. The Rider also resided at this place… i.e. al-Khidhr (‘a).69

Salih ibn Abi’l-Aswad has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

أَمَا إِنَّهُ مَنْزِلُ صَاحِبِنَا إِذَا قَامَ بِأَهْلِهِ.

Sahlah Mosque is the house where our Master (i.e. Imam al-Mahdi (‘a)) shall reside along with his family members.70

Imam Al-Husayn’s Sanctuary

In the previous section on pilgrimages to the tombs of the Holy Imams (‘a), we have cited the great reward and merits of visiting the tomb of Imam al-Husayn (‘a), the Master of Martyrs. This pilgrimage acquires a distinctive importance with regard to the spiritual, cultural, political, individual, and communal significance of the Event of Karbala'.

Moreover, Imam al-Husayn’s sanctuary (also called al-ha'ir al-husayni; the place where water would not flow over his tomb on various occasions), represented by Imam al-Husayn’s holy shrine, enjoys great merit that no other place can ever have.

Many traditions report the merits of this sanctuary, such as the following one reported by Shaykh al-Kulayni, Shaykh Ibn Qawlawayh, and Shaykh al-Tusi, through several chains of authority, from Imam al-Sadiq (‘a):

إِنَّ لِمَوْضِعِ قَبْرِ الْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ حُرْمَةً مَعْرُوفَةً؛ مَنْ عَرَفَهَا وَاسْتَجَارَ بِهَا أُجِيرَ.

The place of Husayn’s tomb enjoys a well-recognized sanctity. Whoever recognizes and seeks refuge through it, shall be protected.

The reporter then asked the Imam (‘a) to mark out the borders of that place.

The Imam (‘a) answering him said:

إِمْسَحْ مِنْ مَوْضِعِ قَبْرِهِ الْيَوْمَ خَمْسَةً وَعِشْرِينَ ذِرَاعاً مِنْ نَاحِيَةِ رِجْلَيْهِ وَخَمْسَةً وَعِشْرِينَ ذِرَاعاً مِنْ نَاحِيَةِ رَأْسِهِ. وَمَوْضِعُ قَبْرِهِ مِنْ يَوْمِ دُفِنَ رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ. وَمِنْهُ مِعْرَاجٌ تُعْرَجُ فِيهِ بِأَعْمَالِ زُوَّارِهِ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ. وَمَا مِنْ مَلَكٍ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلاَ فِي الأَرْضِ إِلاَّ وَهُمْ يَسْأَلُونَ اللهَ أَنْ يَأْذَنَ لَهُمْ فِي زِيَارَةِ قَبْرِ الْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ، فَفَوْجٌ يَنْزِلُ وَفَوْجٌ يَعْرُجُ.

From the current place of his tomb, survey twenty-five cubits from the side of his feet and twenty-five cubits from the side of the head. Since the day he was buried, the place of his tomb has been a garden of Paradise. From this place, the deeds of his visitors ascend to the heavens. All the angels of the heavens and of the earth are always asking Almighty Allah to permit them to visit Husayn’s tomb. Thus, a group (of angels) is seen descending while another is ascending.71

On the authority of his father, ‘Umar ibn Thabit has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying:

خَلَقَ اللهُ كَرْبَلاَءَ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَخْلُقَ الْكَعْبَةَ بِأَرْبَعَةٍ وَعِشْرِينَ أَلْفَ عَامٍ، وَقَدَّسَهَا وَبَارَكَ عَلَيْهَا، فَمَا زَالَتْ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَخْلُقَ اللهُ الْخَلْقَ مُقَدَّسَةً مُبَارَكَةً وَلاَ تَزَالُ كَذَلِكَ، وَجَعَلَهَا اللهُ أَفْضَلَ الأَرْضِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ.

Almighty Allah had created Karbala' twenty-four thousand years before he created the Ka’bah. Since then, He deemed it sacred and blessed it. Karbala' has thus always been sacred and blessed even before He created the creations and for all time to come. He has made it the best of all the regions of the earth in Paradise.72

Muhammad ibn Sinan reports on the authority of someone he had not named that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:

One day, Imam ‘Ali (‘a) led some people on a journey. When he was about one or two miles away from Karbala', he moved toward it. When he arrived at the place where the martyrs of Karbala' would be martyred, he said:

قَبْرٌ فِيهَا مِائَتَا نَبِيٍّ، وَمِائَتَا وَصِيٍّ، وَمِائَتَا سِبْطٍ شُهَدَاءٌ بِأَتْبَاعِهِمْ.

This is a place which contains the bodies of two hundred prophets, two hundred successors of prophets, and two hundred descendants of prophets along with their followers, all of whom were martyred.

Circumambulating that place, the Imam (‘a) took out his feet from the stirrup of his riding-animal and said repeatedly:

مُنَاخٌ وِكَافٌ وَمَصَارِعُ شُهَدَاءَ لاَ يَسْبِقُهُمْ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلاَ يَلْحَقُهُمْ مَنْ كَانَ بَعْدَهُمْ.

This is a residence where the martyrs who were never excelled by those that existed before them and shall never be surpassed by those who will exist after them will be martyred.73

Imam al-Husayn’s Soil

In addition to the sacredness and the rewards obtained from visiting the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn (‘a), Almighty Allah has given this place further positive (i.e. material) particularities one of which is that the soil of this place brings about healing for the sick. Accordingly, master jurisprudents have permitted using a very small amount of this soil for healing purposes even though it is generally forbidden to eat any amount of soil.74

Many traditions recommend seeking healing from the soil of Imam al-Husayn’s tomb. For instance, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported on the authority of Yunus ibn al-Rabi’ that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:

عِنْدَ رَأْسِ الْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ لَتُرْبَةٌ حَمْرَاءُ فِيهَا شِفَاءٌ مِنْ كُلِّ دَاءٍ إِلاَّ السَّامَ.

At the head of Husayn’s tomb, there is red soil that holds remedy for all maladies except death.75

‘Abdullah ibn Ya’fur reports that he once said to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “Some people take a piece of the soil of Imam al-Husayn’s tomb and it benefits them; however, when others do this, they do not find any benefit. Why is that?”

The Imam (‘a) commented:

لاَ وَاللهِ، لاَ يَأْخُذُهُ أَحَدٌ وَهُوَ يَرَى أَنَّ اللهَ يَنْفَعُهُ بِهِ إِلاَّ نَفَعَهُ بِهِ.

This is untrue. I swear it by Allah. Every one who takes from this soil and believes that Almighty Allah will benefit him by it, will certainly find benefit.76

Shaykh al-Tusi has reported on the authority of Zayd al-Shahham that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:

Verily, Almighty Allah has made the soil of Husayn’s tomb a remedy for all maladies and security against all feared matters. When you intend to use any amount of it, kiss it, pass it over both your eyes and the other body organs and then say the following:

اَللَّهُمَّ بِحَقِّ هَذِهِ التُّرْبَةِ وَبِحَقِّ مَنْ حَلَّ بِهَا وَثَوَىٰ فِيهَا وَبِحِقِّ جَدِّهِ وَاَبِيهِ وَأُمِّهِ وَاَخِيهِ وَالاَئِمَّةِ مِنْ وُلْدِهِ وَبِحَقِّ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ الْحَافِّينَ بِهِ إِِلاَّ جَعَلْتَهَا شِفَاءً مِنْ كُلِّ دَاءٍ وَبُرْءاً مِنْ كُلِّ مَرَضٍ وَنَجَاةً مِنْ كُلِّ آفَةٍ وَحِرْزاً مِمَّا اَخَافُ وَاَحْذَرُ.

O Allah, for the sake of this dust, for the sake of him who resided in it and occupied it, for the sake of his grandfather, his father, his mother, his brother, and the Imams from his descendants (‘a), and for the sake of the angels who surround him, [I beseech You to] make it a remedy for all maladies, a cure for all diseases, a security against all epidemics, and a refuge against whatever I fear.

After that, one may use it.

Abu-Usamah commented, “Since I have used it from early times, I have found it exactly as Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) had said. Since then, I have never faced any misfortune, thanks to Almighty Allah.”

It is also recommended to use rosaries whose beads are made of the clay of Imam al-Husayn’s tomb. One of the merits of such rosaries is that the reward of praising and glorifying Almighty Allah is recorded for one who carries such rosaries in the hand even if he is inattentive.

Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Ja’far al-Himyari reports that he once wrote a letter to a Jurisprudent asking him whether it is or not permissible to use rosaries made of the clay of Imam al-Husayn’s tomb and whether there is a merit in doing so.

My letter, he said, was answered back as follows:

تُسَبِّحُ بِهِ، فَمَا فِي شَيْءٍ مِنَ السُّبَحِ أَفْضَلُ مِنْهُ، وَمِنْ فَضْلِهِ أَنَّ الْمُسَبِّحَ يَنْسَى التَّسْبِيحَ وَيُدِيرُ السُّبْحَةَ فَيُكْتَبُ لَهُ ذَلِكَ التَّسْبِيحُ.

You may use it (i.e. the clay) in making rosaries, for there are no rosaries better than those made of this clay. One of the merits of glorifying Almighty Allah using such rosaries is that when one, having such a rosary in the hand, omits uttering words of glorification, the reward of it is still recorded for him.77

Response of Prayers under his Dome

Another distinctive merit of Imam al-Husayn’s holy shrine is that all supplicatory prayers offered under the dome of this shrine will be responded.

In the word of Ahmad ibn Fahad, it is reported that Almighty Allah has compensated Imam al-Husayn (‘a) for his martyrdom with four characteristics:

(1) He has made the clay of his tomb a remedy for ailments

(2) He responds to all prayers offered under the dome of his tomb

(3) He made the other Holy Imams (‘a) descend from him

(4) He has determined the days during which his tomb is visited to be added to the lifespan of its pilgrims

Shu’ayb al-’Aqarqufi has reported that he once asked Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) about the reward of visiting the tomb of Imam al-Husayn (‘a), and he answered:

يَا شُعَيْبُ، مَا صَلَّى عِنْدَهُ أَحَدٌ وَدَعَا دَعْوَةً إِلاَّ اسْتُجِيبَ عَاجِلَةً وَآجِلَةً… أَيْسَرُ مَا يُقَالُ لِزَائِرِ الْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ: قَدْ غُفِرَ لَكَ فَاسْتَأْنِفِ الْيَوْمَ عَمَلاً جَدِيداً.

O Shu’ayb, whoever offers a prayer at his tomb or supplicates, will certainly have his supplication responded sooner or later….The least thing said to a pilgrim of Imam al-Husayn’s tomb is the following: You are forgiven; therefore, make for yourself a new beginning on this day.78

Many other traditions have reported many rewards for those offering prayers and performing devotional acts at the tomb of Imam al-Husayn (‘a).

Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) to have addressed the following words to someone:

مَا يَمْنَعُكَ إِذَا عَرَضَتْ لَكَ حَاجَةٌ أَنْ تَأْتِيَ قَبْرَ الْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ فَتُصَلِّي عِنْدَهُ أَرْبَعَ رَكَعَاتٍ، ثُمَّ تَسْأَلُ حَاجَتَكَ؟ فَإِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ الْمَفْرُوضَةَ عِنْدَهُ تَعْدِلُ حِجَّةً، وَالصَّلاَةُ النَّافِلَةُ عِنْدَهُ تَعْدِلُ عُمْرَةً.

What prevents you, when you need any of your requests to be granted, from coming to the tomb of Husayn (‘a), offering a four-unit prayer there, and then imploring for what you need? Verily, an obligatory prayer that is performed there is equal to one Hajj Pilgrimage and a supererogatory prayer to one ‘Umrah.79

Abu’l-Numayr has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying:

إِنَّ وِلاَيَتَنَا عُرِضَتْ عَلَى أَهْلِ الأَمْصَارِ فَلَمْ يَقْبَلْهَا قَبُولَ أَهْلِ الْكُوفَةِ شَيْءٌ، وَذَلِكَ أَنَّ قَبْرَ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ فِيهِ، وَإِنَّ إِلَى لُزْقَتِهِ لَقَبْراً آخَرَ، يَعْنِي قَبْرَ الْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ، وَمَا مِنْ آتٍ أَتَاهُ يُصَلِّي عِنْدَهُ رَكْعَتَيْنِ أَوْ أَرْبَعاً ثُمَّ سَأَلَ اللهَ حَاجَتَهُ إِلاَّ قَضَاهَا لَهُ، وَإِنَّهُ لَيَحُفُّهُ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ أَلْفُ مَلَكٍ.

The (divinely designated) loyalty to our leadership was offered to the people of all countries, but none accepted it like the acceptance of the people of Kufah. This is because the tomb of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) lies there. Next to him, there is another tomb (that is the tomb of Imam al-Husayn (‘a)). No visitor comes to that tomb, offers a two or four-unit prayer, and then prays to Almighty Allah to grant him his request but that He shall certainly grant him that request. Every day, one thousand angels surround this tomb.80

Optionality of Performing the Prayers in Complete or Shortened Form

The holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) is one of the four places where it is optional to perform the obligatory prayers in complete or shortened form by travelers.81 The other three places are the city of Makkah (or the Sacred Mosque specifically), the city of Madinah (or the Holy Prophet’s Mosque specifically), and the Kufah Mosque. This verdict has been issued by a large number of scholars and well-qualified jurisprudents.82

In this connection, Hammad ibn ‘Isa has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

مِنْ مَخْزُونِ عِلْمِ اللهِ الإِتْمَامُ فِي أَرْبَعَةِ مَوَاطِنَ: حَرَمِ اللهِ، وَحَرَمِ رَسُولِهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ، وَحَرَمِ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ، وَحَرَمِ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ.

Of the collective knowledge of Almighty Allah it is revealed to perform the (obligatory) prayer in the complete form at four places; (1) the Sanctuary of Almighty Allah, (2) the Sanctuary of His Messenger (S), (3) the Sanctuary of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), and (4) the Sanctuary of Husayn ibn ‘Ali (‘a).83

Similarly, Ziyad al-Qandi has reported Imam al-Ridha (‘a) as saying to him:

يَا زِيَادُ، أُحِبُّ لَكَ مَا أُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِي وَأَكْرَهُ لَكَ مَا أَكْرَهُ لِنَفْسِي; أَتِمَّ الصَّلاَةَ فِي الْحَرَمَيْنِ وَبِالْكُوفَةِ وَعِنْدَ قَبْرِ الْحُسَيْنِ.

O Ziyad, I love for you whatever I love for myself and I hate for you whatever I hate for myself. Perform the prayers in the complete form at the two Sanctuaries (of Makkah and Madinah), in Kufah, and at the tomb of Husayn (‘a).84

Other Mosques and Holy Places

Jerusalem and the Furthest Mosque

The Furthest Mosque (al-masjid al-aqsa) is the place to which the Holy Prophet (S) was carried at night (during his Night Ascension to the heavens) and to which the Holy Qur'an has referred to, saying:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ (1)

Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the Furthest Mosque of which We have blessed the precincts so that We may show to him some of Our signs. Surely, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (17:1)

According to other traditions, the Furthest Mosque (of Jerusalem) was the place from which the Holy Prophet (S) started his night ascension to the heavens.85 At that place too, there is a famous rock known to be the very place of the Holy Prophet’s ascension to the skies.

About the merit of this mosque, a famous tradition upon which all Muslims unanimously agree reports the following:

لاَ تُشَدُّ الرِّحَالُ إِلاَّ إِلَى مَسَاجِدَ ثَلاَثٍ: الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَسْجِدِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَالْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى.

Luggage must not be packed except for travel to three mosques: the Sacred Mosque (of Makkah), the Prophet’s Mosque, and the Furthest Mosque.86

Traditions that are reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) confirm this distinctive feature. In this respect, Abu-Hamzah al-Thumali has quoted Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying:

الْمَسَاجِدُ الأَرْبَعَةُ الْمَسْجِدُ الْحَرَامُ، وَمَسْجِدُ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ، وَمَسْجِدُ بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ، وَمَسْجِدُ الْكُوفَةِ. الْفَرِيضَةُ فِيهَا تَعْدِلُ حِجَّةً، وَالنَّافِلَةُ فِيهَا تَعْدِلُ عُمْرَةً.

The most distinctive mosques are four: (1) the Sacred Mosque (of Makkah), (2) the Prophet’s Mosque, (3) the Mosque of Jerusalem, and (4) the Kufah Mosque. An obligatory prayer performed at these mosques is equal (in reward) to one Hajj Pilgrimage and a supererogatory prayer to one ‘Umrah.87

Al-Sakuni has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) on the authority of his father on the authority of Imam ‘Ali (‘a) as saying:

صَلاَةٌ فِي بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ تَعْدِلُ أَلْفَ صَلاَةٍ، وَصَلاَةٌ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ الأَعْظَمِ مِائَةُ صَلاَةٍ، وَصَلاَةٌ فِي مَسْجِدِ الْقَبِيلَةِ خَمْسٌ وَعِشْرُونَ صَلاَةً، وَصَلاَةٌ فِي مَسْجِدِ السُّوقِ إثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ صَلاَةً، وَصَلاَةُ الرَّجُلِ فِي بَيْتِهِ وَحْدَهُ صَلاَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ.

One prayer offered at the mosque of Jerusalem is equal to one thousand prayers, one prayer at the Great Mosque is equal to one hundred, one prayer at the tribe mosque is equal to twenty-five, and one prayer at the mosque of the market is equal to twelve, while one prayer at one’s house alone is considered one only.88

The Khif Mosque

Among the other holy places that are deemed sacred by Muslims is the Khif Mosque at Mina, which is the grand mosque there. A number of traditions from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) report the merits of this mosque, the merits of offering devotional acts therein, and the method of offering such acts.

Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported through a valid chain of authority that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:

صَلِّ فِي مَسْجِدِ الْخِيفِ وَهُوَ مَسْجِدُ مِنَى، وَمَكَانُ مَسْجِدِ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ عَلَى عَهْدِهِ عِنْدَ الْمَنَارَةِ الَّتِي فِي وَسَطِ الْمَسْجِدِ، وَفَوْقَهَا إِلَى الْقِبْلَةِ نَحْواً مِنْ ثَلاَثِينَ ذِرَاعاً وَعَنْ يَمِينِهَا وَعَنْ يَسَارِهَا وَخَلْفِهَا نَحْواً مِنْ ذَلِكَ. فَتَحَرَّ ذَلِكَ فَإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ يَكُونَ مُصَلاَّكَ فِيهِ فَافْعَلْ; فَإِنَّهُ قَدْ صَلَّى فِيهِ أَلْفُ نَبِيٍّ، وَإِنَّمَا سُمِّيَ الْخِيفَ لأَِنَّهُ مُرْتَفِعٌ عَنِ الْوَادِي، وَمَا ارْتَفَعَ عَنِ الْوَادِي سُمِّيَ خِيفاً.

Offer prayers at the Khif Mosque, which is the mosque of Mina and the place of the Holy Prophet’s prostration, specifically near the column that is in the center of this mosque and about thirty cubits towards the kiblah direction and to its left, right, and back. Investigate this very place and make it your prayer-place, if possible, because one thousand prophets offered prayers here. This mosque has been called so because it is mounting up the valley, and every mounting place is called khif.89

Other traditions have mentioned the merits of offering prayers and devotional acts at this mosque. Shaykh al-Saduq, through a valid chain of authority, has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying:

مَنْ صَلَّى فِي مَسْجِدِ الْخِيفِ بِمِنَى مِائَةَ رَكْعَةٍ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَخْرُجَ مِنْهُ عَدَلَتْ عِبَادَةَ سَبْعِينَ عَاماً، وَمَنْ سَبَّحَ اللهَ فِيهِ مِائَةَ تَسْبِيحَةٍ كُتِبَ لَهُ كَأَجْرِ عِتْقِ رَقَبَةٍ، وَمَنْ هَلَّلَ اللهَ فِيهِ مِائَةَ تَهْلِيلَةٍ عَدَلَتْ أَجْرَ إِحْيَاءِ نَسَمَةٍ، وَمَنْ حَمِدَ اللهَ فِيهِ مِائَةَ تَحْمِيدَةٍ عَدَلَتْ أَجْرَ خَرَاجِ الْعِرَاقَيْنِ يَتَصَدَّقُ بِهِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ.

Whoever offers one hundred units of prayers at the Khif Mosque before he leaves it, his prayers will be equal in reward to doing acts of worship for seventy years. Whoever glorifies Almighty Allah at this mosque one hundred times, will have the reward of manumitting a slave. Whoever professes Almighty Allah’s being the One and Only God at this mosque one hundred times, his words will be equal to the reward of giving life to a human being. Whoever praises Almighty Allah one hundred times at this mosque, his doxology will be equal to the reward of giving as alms for Almighty Allah’s sake the tributes of both Kufah and Basrah in Iraq.90

Shaykh al-Kulayni has also quoted Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:

صَلِّ سِتَّ رَكَعَاتٍ فِي مَسْجِدِ مِنَى فِي أَصْلِ الصَّوْمَعَةِ.

Offer six units of prayer at the center of the Mina Mosque.91

Buratha Mosque

One of the famous mosques of Baghdad, the Buratha Mosque is situated on the road between Baghdad and Kazimiyyah. In his book of Mu’jam al-Buldan, al-Hamawi, one of the historians of the fifth century, has referred to this mosque. Likewise, traditions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have referred to this mosque. Shaykh al-Qummi, in his book of Mafatih al-Jinan,92 has also mentioned this mosque and its merits with some details.

Let us now cite a tradition that is reported by Shaykh al-Saduq, in man-la-yahdhuruhu’l-faqih and Shaykh al-Tusi, in Tahdhib al-Ahkam, on the authority of Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari, the magnificent companion of the Holy Prophet (S):

Upon his return from fighting the evil forces, Imam ‘Ali (‘a) led about one hundred thousand men in a congregational prayer at Buratha. Upon completion, a Christian man came out from his hermitage and asked about the commander-in-chief of our army. He was thus led to Imam ‘Ali (‘a).

“Are you a prophet, sir?” asked the Christian.

“No, I am not,” answered Imam ‘Ali (‘a), “the prophet, who is my master, has died.”

“So, you are a prophet’s successor, are you not?” asked the man.

“Yes, I am,” answered Imam ‘Ali (‘a) and asked the man to sit with him, “Why have you asked these questions?” asked Imam ‘Ali (‘a).

The man explained, “This hermitage was established here because of this place, which is Buratha. In the divinely revealed books, I have read that no one except a prophet or a prophet’s successor would lead such a group in a prayer at this place. I have just come to declare my conversion to Islam.”

So, the man became a Muslim and accompanied us to Kufah. On their way, Imam ‘Ali (‘a) asked him, “Do you know who offered prayers at this place?”

“Jesus and his mother (‘a) did,” answered the man.

“May I tell you more,” suggested Imam ‘Ali (‘a).

“Yes, please,” answered the man.

“The Friend of Allah (i.e. Prophet Abraham (S)) also offered prayers at this place,” informed Imam ‘Ali (‘a).93

Imam al-Ridha’s Holy Shrine

About the merits, rewards, and significance of visiting the tomb of Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (‘a) in the land of Khurasan, many traditions have been reported in a supportive manner. Some of these have been previously cited in the discussion of pilgrimages to the Holy Imams (‘a).

In addition to the merits and rewards of making pilgrimages to this place, many other traditions and texts have confirmed the sanctity of the blessed tomb. As has been previously cited, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

أَرْبَعُ بِقَاعٍ ضَجَّتْ إِلَى اللهِ أَيَّامَ الطُّوفَانِ: الْبَيْتُ الْمَعْمُورُ فَرَفَعَهُ اللهُ، وَالْغَرِيُّ وَكَرْبَلاءُ وَطُوسُ.

On the days of Noah’s flood, four regions cried to Almighty Allah: the Much-Frequented House, which Almighty Allah thus raised, Ghari, Karbala', and Tus.94

Shaykh al-Saduq, in his books of man-la-yahdhuruhu’l-faqih, al-Majalis, and ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha, has reported through a valid chain of authority that al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali ibn Fadhdhal quoted Imam al-Ridha (‘a) as saying:

إِنَّ بِخُرَاسَانَ لَبُقْعَةً يَأْتِي عَلَيْهَا زَمَانٌ تَصِيرُ مُخْتَلَفَ الْمَلائِكَةِ فَلا يَزَالُ فَوْجٌ يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَفَوْجٌ يَصْعَدُ إِلَى أَنْ يُنْفَخَ فِي الصُّورِ.

There is an area in Khurasan where angels will come and go. All the time a group of angels will be landing there from the sky and another group will be departing from there to go to the heavens. This will continue forever until the Trumpet is sounded.

“Which area is this?” the Imam (‘a) was asked.

He answered:

هِيَ بِأَرْضِ طُوسَ فَهِيَ وَاللَّهِ رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ مَنْ زَارَنِي فِي تِلْكَ الْبُقْعَةِ كَانَ كَمَنْ زَارَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ‏ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَكَتَبَ اللَّهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى لَهُ ثَوَابَ أَلْفِ حَجَّةٍ مَبْرُورَةٍ وَأَلْفِ عُمْرَةٍ مَقْبُولَةٍ وَكُنْتُ أَنَا وَآبَائِي شُفَعَاءَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ.

It is in the land of Tus and it is, by Allah, a garden of Paradise. Whoever visits me in this area will be as if he has visited the Messenger of Allah (S) and Almighty Allah will record for him the rewards of one thousand Hajj Pilgrimages, one thousand ‘Umrahs, and my fathers and I will be his intercessors on the Resurrection Day.95

Al-Saqr ibn Dalaf has reported that he heard ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Ridha (i.e. Imam al-Hadi (‘a)) saying:

مَنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ إِلَى اللهِ حَاجَةٌ فَلْيَزُرْ قَبْرَ جَدِّيَ الرِّضَا عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ بِطُوسَ وَهُوَ عَلَى غُسْلٍ، وَلْيُصَلِّ عِنْدَ رَأْسِهِ رَكْعَتَيْنِ، وَلْيَسْأَلِ اللهَ تَعَالَى حَاجَتَهُ فِي قُنُوتِهِ، فَإِنَّهُ يَسْتَجِيبُ لَهُ مَا لَمْ يَسْأَلْ مَأْثَماً أَوْ قَطِيعَةَ رَحِمٍ. إِنَّ مَوْضِعَ قَبْرِهِ لَبُقْعَةٌ مِنْ بِقَاعِ الْجَنَّةِ لاَ يَزُورُهَا مُؤْمِنٌ إِلاَّ أَعْتَقَهُ اللهُ تَعَالَى مِنَ النَّارِ وَأَدْخَلَهُ دَارَ الْقَرَارِ.

Whoever has a request to be granted by Almighty Allah should visit the tomb of al-Ridha (‘a), my grandfather, in Tus after performing the ritual bath. He should then offer a two-unit prayer at the side of the Imam’s head and ask Almighty Allah to grant him his request in the ritual supplication of that prayer (i.e. qunut). If he does all that, his request will certainly be granted unless he has asked for a sin or a matter that leads to cutting off of family ties. Verily, the place of his tomb is an area of Paradise. Any believer that visits it will be released by Almighty Allah from Hellfire and allowed into the Abode of Settlement.96

Qum: the Tomb of Lady Fatimah the Daughter of Imam al-Kazim (‘a)

In the sight of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), the city of Qum has a special significance and a vital role in the history and life of the virtuous community. In its cultural aspect, this city seems to occupy the second place after the city of Kufah because it has been joined with this city in many traditions.97 As for the scholastic aspect of Shi’ism, the religious school of Qum is seen as an extension of the religious school of Kufah and the second educational site that comes after it. From the city of Kufah, people from the Ash’ar Tribe migrated to Qum and scholars of the virtuous community arrived successively in this city down the ages. Some texts predict that this city would play a major role in the life of the virtuous community.98

This prediction has come true due to the harsh circumstances encountered by the religious school of Najaf in this age and the great favor of Almighty Allah endowed upon Iran where the government of Islam was established under the leadership of the religious leader, Imam Khumayni, and the active contribution of the religious school of Qum towards this great achievement.

As a result, a vital development in the religious school of Qum as well as its role and status took place.

The existence of the tomb of Lady Fatimah al-Ma’sumah the daughter of Imam Musa al-Kazim (‘a) in the city of Qum has been significant in the development and growth of the educational and religious state of this city. In addition, traditions reported from Imam al-Ridha (‘a) about the merits of visiting the tomb of this lady are considered another factor in the development of religious studies in this city, being the center of an important class of narrators during certain stages of the history of Shi’ism.

In the previous discussion of the pilgrimages to the tombs of the Holy Imams (‘a) and their descendants, we have referred to the recommendation of visiting the tomb of this lady, considering this tomb to be one of the most important and famous tombs of the Holy Imams’ (‘a) descendants.99

  • 1. - Books of Muslim jurisprudence and Hadith have dealt with all these aspects in various chapters, the most important of which are the sections on the place of prayer within Book of Prayer (kitab al-salat).
  • 2. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 4:202, H. 2.
  • 3. - Mansur ‘Ali Nasif, al-Taj al-Jami’ lil-Usul 1:224.
    This tradition is reported by the five Sunni master traditionists; namely, al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, and al-Nasa'i. However, the traditions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) show that such special respect is not dedicated to these three mosques exclusively.
  • 4. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:472, H. 2.
  • 5. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:478, H. 1.
  • 6. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 83:385, H. 63.
  • 7. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 83:367, H. 25.
  • 8. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:486, H. 4.
  • 9. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:481, H. 2.
  • 10. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:1-3, H. 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6.
  • 11. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:5, S. 2.
  • 12. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:19, S. 3.
  • 13. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:23-25, H. 1-5.
  • 14. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:25, H. 8.
  • 15. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:25, H. 12.
  • 16. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:31-32, H. 5 & 6.
  • 17. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:41.
  • 18. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:50, H. 19.
  • 19. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:58, H. 1 & 2.
  • 20. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:59, S. 11.
  • 21. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:83.
  • 22. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:63, H. 6.
  • 23. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:65, as quoted from al-Barqi’s al-Mahasin.
  • 24. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:64, as quoted from Shaykh al-Kulayni’s al-Kafi.
  • 25. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:66, H. 15.
    This tradition is decided as valid, because it has been reported from Ibn Abi-’Umar on the authority of ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-’Aziz.
  • 26. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:536, H. 3, 4, 5, 7, 8; ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:146-148, H. 4, 5, 10 as quoted from Shaykh al-Kulayni’s al-Kafi and Shaykh al-Tusi’s Tahdhib al-Ahkam.
  • 27. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:536, H. 1 & 2.
  • 28. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 10:69 as reported by Maysarah.
  • 29. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:543, H. 1, 2, & 3..
  • 30. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:542, H. 1.
  • 31. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:543, H. 4.
  • 32. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:547, H. 1.
  • 33. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:543, H. 4.
  • 34. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:542, H. 1.
    Unfortunately, all these traces have been wiped out because the Wahhabi sect (which dominates in Makkah and Madinah) does not respect the signs and traces of Islamic history. Moreover, it attempts to totally obliterate such traces.
    It seems that the “door facing the street that goes to al-Baqi’ Cemetery” indicates the door that presently is to the back of the shrine that currently stands on the Holy Prophet’s tomb, which is the north eastern corner of the shrine.
  • 35. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:546, H. 2.
  • 36. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:546, H. 3.
  • 37. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:546, H. 1.
  • 38. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:270, H. 1.
  • 39. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:271, H. 1.
  • 40. - Abu-Lubabah, Bashir ibn ‘Abd al-Mundhir, of the Ansar (supporters; Muslims of Yathrib who accepted and received the Holy Prophet (S) and the emigrants of Makkah), was one of the Holy Prophet’s companions (Sahabah). During the Battle of Badr, the Holy Prophet (S) ordered him to stay in Madinah, yet he allotted a share of the spoils of war for him. This column carrying his name has a story:
    When the Holy Prophet (S) besieged the Jews of Banu-Qurayzah, they pleaded for conciliation, but the Holy Prophet (S) refused, asking them to accept the condition to agree to any decision made by Sa’d ibn Mu’adh in this regard. They therefore asked him to grant them respite so that they could take counsel with Abu-Lubabah because, to them, he was a good adviser. Abu-Lubabah advised that they should not accept this condition because it would lead them to be sentenced to death.

    Afterwards, he felt sorry for giving this advice, seeing it as betrayal and disloyalty to the Holy Prophet (S). He therefore repented and decided to tie himself to a column in the Prophet’s Mosque, refraining from having any food. Because this state lasted for seven days, the man fainted. Then, Almighty Allah’s acceptance of his repentance was revealed to the Holy Prophet. (S) When he was informed of the acceptance of his repentance, he asked the Holy Prophet (S) to come to untie him personally. See Al-Mamuqani, Tanqih al-Maqal 1:175.

  • 41. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:274, H. 1.
  • 42. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:548, H. 3 & 10:278, H. 5.
  • 43. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:275, H. 1.
  • 44. - Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Mafatih al-Jinan, pp. 334-335.
  • 45. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:289, H. 1.
  • 46. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:292, S. 22.
  • 47. - Some of our brethren are doing some surveys in this regard, hoping that they would be successful to publish them in the near future.
  • 48. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:524, H. 10.
  • 49. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:526, H. 2.
  • 50. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:399, H. 43.
  • 51. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:404, H. 60.
    This guideline of the Imam (‘a) might be given to express the manners of the people of that time exclusively. However, this tradition obviously entails one of the distinctive features of the city of Kufah.
  • 52. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:404, H. 61.
  • 53. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:521, H. 3.
  • 54. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:523, H. 8.
  • 55. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:525, H. 14.
  • 56. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:525, H. 16.
  • 57. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:526, H. 18.
  • 58. - These idols, also mentioned in the Holy Qur'an (71:23), were worshipped by the heathen people of Prophet Noah.
  • 59. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:528, H. 1.
  • 60. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:530. Section: Recommendation of Offering Prayers at the Seventh and Fifth Columns of al-Kufah Mosque.
  • 61. - Tasbih al-Zahra' is a famous litany comprising one hundred words of praising Almighty Allah. The most famous and considerable form of it is to say allahu-akbar(u) (Allah is the Greatest) thirty-four times, alhamdu-lillah(i) (Praise be to Allah) thirty-three times, and subhanallah(i) (Glory be to Allah) thirty-three times. Further details about this litany can be found in books on devotional acts, especially Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi’s famous one of Mafatih al-Jinan. [Translator]
  • 62. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:532; Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Mafatih al-Jinan, pp. 386-401 where details of the devotional rites at al-Kufah Mosque are mentioned.
  • 63. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:231, H. 22.
  • 64. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:231, H. 21.
  • 65. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:232, H. 25.
  • 66. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:234, H. 26.
  • 67. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:235, H. 1.
  • 68. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:441, H. 20.
  • 69. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:533, H. 3.
  • 70. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:533, H. 4.
  • 71. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:400, H. 4.
  • 72. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:404, H. 5.
  • 73. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:405, H. 6.
  • 74. - Imam Musa al-Kazim (‘a) is reported to have said:
    وَلاَ تَأْخُذُوا مِنْ تُرْبَتِي شَيْئاً لِتَبَرَّكُوا بِهِ، فَإِنَّ كُلَّ تُرْبَةٍ لَنَا مُحَرَّمَةٌ إِلاَّ تُرْبَةَ جَدِّيَ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ، فَإِنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ جَعَلَهَا شِفَاءً لِشِيعَتِنَا وَأَوْلِيَائِنَا.Do not eat any amount of the soil of my grave for seeking blessing, because the soil of our graves is forbidden for eating except the soil of the grave of Husayn ibn ‘Ali (‘a), my grandfather. Almighty Allah has made this soil carry remedy for our Shi’ah and loyalists.See al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:414.
  • 75. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:408, H. 1.
  • 76. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:409, H. 2.
  • 77. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:420, H. 1.
  • 78. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:422, H. 4.
  • 79. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:406, H. 3.
  • 80. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:406, H. 4.
  • 81. - One of the unanimously agreed upon laws of Islam is that a traveler, under certain circumstances, is required to perform the obligatory prayers in shortened (i.e. qasr) form; that is to lessen the four-unit prayer into two units. Exempted from this general law are the travelers to four defined places, one of which is the holy shrine of Imam Husayn (‘a). [Translator]
  • 82. - See, for example, Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim, Minhaj al-Salihin 1:361, Q. 71 and Sayyid Abu’l-Qasim al-Khu'i, Minhaj al-Salihin 1:255, Q. 952.
  • 83. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 5:543, H. 1.
  • 84. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 5:546, H. 13.
  • 85. - Al-Huwayzi, Tafsir Nur al-Thaqalayn 3:103, H. 10 as quoted from ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim’s famous book of Tafsir (exegesis of the Holy Qur'an).
  • 86. - Sahih al-Bukhari 2:56; Sahih Muslim 4:126.
  • 87. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:551, S. 64, H. 1.
  • 88. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:551, S. 64, H. 2.
  • 89. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:534, H. 1.
  • 90. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:535, H. 1.
  • 91. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:535, H. 2.
  • 92. - Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Mafatih al-Jinan, pp. 488-490.
  • 93. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 3:549, H. 1.
  • 94. - ‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:231, H. 22.
  • 95. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:445, H. 4.
  • 96. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 10:446, H. 2.
  • 97. - Muhammad ibn Sahl ibn Alyasa’ has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying:
    إِذَا فُقِدَ الأَمْنُ مِنَ الْعِبَادِ وَرَكِبَ النَّاسُ عَلَى الْخُيُولِ وَاعْتَزَلُوا النِّسَاءَ وَالطِّيبَ فَالْهَرَبَ الْهَرَبَ عَنْ جِوَارِهِمْ.When security is lacking and people ride on their horses and isolate themselves from women and perfume, flee from their vicinity.“May Allah accept me as ransom for you,” said the reporter, “Where should we flee to?”
    The Imam (‘a) answered:
    إِلَى الْكُوفَةِ وَنَوَاحِيهَا أَوْ إِلَى قُمَّ وَحَوَالَيْهَا فَإِنَّ الْبَلاَءَ مَدْفُوعٌ عَنْهُمَا.Flee to Kufah and its districts or Qum and its outskirts, for tribulation shall be repelled from these two cities.‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 57:214, H. 29.
    Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is also reported to have said:
    أَهْلُ خُرَاسَانَ أَعْلاَمُنَا، وَأَهْلُ قُمَّ أَنْصَارُنَا، وَأَهْلُ الْكُوفَةِ أَوْتَادُنَا ، وَأَهْلُ هَذَا السَّوَادِ مِنَّا وَنَحْنُ مِنْهُمْ.The people of Khurasan are our signs, the people of Qum our supporters, the people of Kufah our pillars, and the people of Iraq are from us and we are from them.‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 57:214, H. 30.
    Imam al-Kazim (‘a) is also reported to have said:
    قُمُّ عِشُّ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَمَأْوَى شِيعَتِهِمْ، وَلَكِنْ سَيَهْلِكُ جَمَاعَةٌ مِنْ شَبَابِهِمْ بِمَعْصِيَةِ آبَاءِهِمْ وَالإسْتِخْفَافِ وَالسُّخْرِيَةِ بِكُبَرَاءِهِمْ وَمَشَايِخِهِمْ، وَمَعَ ذَلِكَ يَدْفَعُ اللهُ عَنْهُمْ شَرَّ الأَعَادِي وَكُلَّ سُوءٍ.Qum is the refuge of Muhammad’s Household (S) and the shelter of their partisans (i.e. Shi’ah). However, a group of their youths will be annihilated for disobedience of their fathers and the belittling and mocking of their grand personalities and chiefs. Otherwise, Almighty Allah will ward off from them their enemies and every misfortune.‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 57:214, H. 31.
  • 98. - About the history of the city of Qum, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), having mentioned the city of Kufah, said:
    سَتَخْلُو كُوفَةُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَيَأْزَرُ عَنْهَا الْعِلْمُ كَمَا تَأْزَرُ الْحَيَّةُ فِي جُحْرِهَا، ثُمَّ يَظْهَرُ الْعِلْمُ بِبَلْدَةٍ يُقَالُ لَهَا قُمّ، وَتَصِيرُ مَعْدِناً لِلْعِلْمِ وَالْفَضْلِ حَتَّى لاَ يَبْقَى فِي الأَرْضِ مُسْتَضْعَفٌ فِي الدِّينِ حَتَّى الْمُخَدَّرَاتِ فِي الْحِجَالِ، وَذَلِكَ عِنْدَ قُرْبِ ظُهُورِ قَائِمِنَا، فَيَجْعَلُ اللهُ قُمَّ وَأَهْلَهُ قَائِمَيْنِ مَقَامِ الْحُجَّةِ، وَلَوْلاَ ذَلِكَ لَسَاخَتِ الأَرْضُ بِأَهْلِهَا وَلَمْ يَبْقَ فِي الأَرْضِ حُجَّةٌ، فَيَفِيضُ الْعِلْمُ مِنْهُ إِلَى سَائِرِ الْبِلاَدِ فِي الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ، فَيِتِمُّ حُجَّةُ اللهِ عَلَى الْخَلْقِ حَتَّى لاَ يَبْقَى أَحَدٌ عَلَى الأَرْضِ لَمْ يُبَلَّغْ إِلَيْهِ الدِّينُ وَالْعِلْمُ، ثُمَّ يَظْهَرُ الْقَائِمُ وَيَصِيرُ سَبَباً لِنِقْمَةِ اللهِ وَسَخَطِهِ عَلَى الْعِبَادِ، لأَِنَّ اللهَ لاَ يَنْتَقِمُ مِنَ الْعِبَادِ إِلاَّ بَعْدَ إِنْكَارِهِمْ حُجَّتَهُ.Kufah will be empty of true believers, and knowledge will leave this city as a snake leaves its hole. Then, knowledge will emerge in a town called Qum, which will then become the center of knowledge and superiority until there will remain there no single individual, even women in their boudoirs, uneducated in religious knowledge. That will be at a time close to the advent of our Rising Imam (i.e. al-Mahdi). Hence, Almighty Allah will make the city of Qum and its inhabitants take the place of His Proof, the Imam. Without this, the earth would certainly sink with its people and there would not be anyone playing the role of Allah’s proof on earth. Knowledge will then spout forth from this city to the peoples in the west and the east of the earth and none will remain too remote to receive the knowledge of the religion. Then, the Rising Imam will become the cause of Almighty Allah’s chastisement and wrath on the [disobedient] creatures. This is because Almighty Allah does not chastise any people except after they deny His argument against them.‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 57:214, H. 31.
  • 99. - Refer to Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Mafatih al-Jinan, pp. 562.
    The following traditions are quoted from this book:
    Shaykh al-Saduq, through a seemingly authentic series of narrators, has reported Sa’d ibn Sa’d to have asked Imam al-Ridha (‘a) about Fatimah, his sister and the daughter of Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (‘a).
    Imam al-Ridha, peace be upon him, answered:
    مَنْ زَارَهَا فَلَهُ الْجَنَّةُ.Whoever visits her (tomb) will be awarded Paradise.Through another valid series of narrators, Shaykh al-Saduq reports Imam Muhammad al-Jawad ibn al-Ridha (‘a), as saying:
    مَنْ زَارَ قَبْرَ عَمَّتِي بِقُمٍّ فَلَهُ الْجَنَّةُ.Whoever visits the tomb of my paternal aunt in Qum will be awarded Paradise.‘Allamah al-Majlisi has reported from some books of formulas of Ziyarah that ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim reported on the authority of his father that Imam al-Ridha (‘a) said to Sa’d al-Ash’ari al-Qummi:
    “O Sa’d, we have a tomb in your city.”
    “May Allah accept me as ransom for you!” answered Sa’d, “Do you mean the tomb of Fatimah the daughter of Musa ibn Ja’far (‘a)?”
    The Imam answered in the affirmative and added:
    مَنْ زَارَهَا عَارِفاً بِحَقِّهَا فَلَهُ الْجَنَّةُ.Whoever visits her with full recognition of her standing will be awarded Paradise…