IRAQ

Najaf

City of Najaf is about 160 km (roughly 100 miles) south of Baghdad. It’s estimated population in 2008 was 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Province and widely considered the third holiest city of Shia Islam and the center of Shia political power in Iraq.

The city is a great center of pilgrimage from throughout the Shia Islamic world. It is estimated that only Mecca and Medina receive more Muslim pilgrims. As the burial site of Shia Islam’s second most important figure, the Imam Ali Mosque is considered by Shiites as the third holiest Islamic site.

The Najaf seminary is one of the most important teaching centres in the Islamic world. Ayatollah Khomeini lectured there from 1964-1978. Many of the leading figures of the new Islamic movement that emerged in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon in the 1970s had studied at Najaf. 

Pilgrimage sitesImam-Ali2

1   Mausoleum of 1st Imam Ali ibn-e-Abi Taalib (a.s.)
There are 3 graves in one darih:

  • Grave of Imam Ali (a.s.)
  • Grave of Prophet Adam (a.s.) – 1st prophet and man on earth
  • Grave of Prophet Nuh (a.s.)

2   Wadi-us Salaam

  • Tomb of Prophet Hud (a.s.)
  • Tomb of Prophet Saleh (a.s.)
  • Maqam of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.)
  • Maqam of Saheb al-Asr, Imam Al-Mahdi (a.s.)
  • Mosalla of Imam Ali Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.)

3   Tomb of Hadrat Kumayl – companion of Imam Ali (a.s.)
4   Tomb of Rashid Hijri – companion of Imam Ali (a.s.)
Hanana25   Masjid Hannana
This mosque is between Kufa and Najaf. The significance of this mosque is that when Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussain (a.s.) were carrying the janaza of Imam Ali (a.s.) from Kufa to Najaf, they passed near this mosque, and as they were passing, the pillars of the mosque inclined towards Imam Ali (a.s.) as if paying its last respects. It is also believed that some of the skin from Imam Hussain (a.s.)’s head (that came off when Khul Malun was disrespecting the head of Imam Hussain (a.s.)  with a knife is buried here.
6   Grave of Sayyid al-Khui
Grand-mujtahid (marja) to 450 million Muslims since 1970 (Passed away 8th August 1992)

Kufa

Kufa is one of most important Islamic cities that the Muslims established since the beginning of their conquests. This city, which was going to be the capital of the Islamic state, shelters the oldest mosque of Iraq, after that of Basra, as well as the Mimbar of Imam Ali Ben Abi Taalib (a.s.), the room in which he resided, and the place of prayer where he was martyred.

In this city, there is also the school where Jaber Ben Hayan studied. Westerners call him “The father of Chemistry”. Kufa was the city of the most beautiful Arab calligraphy, in which the Koran was written, as well as the broad outline of Arab grammar – thanks to Abu El-Assouad Addaouali, whose grammatical school competed with the Basra school.

Approximately 70 Companions of the Prophet who participated in the battle of Badr lived there, among them Ammar Ben Yasser and Abdullah Ben Massaoud. It was the birth place of the great Arab poet Al-Motannabi. Imam Ali described it as: the “head of the Arab, arrow of God’s, treasure of faith and the house of exodus of the Muslims”. Kufa is all this and much more.

Pilgrimage sitesMasjid-e-Kufa

1   Masjid Kufa

  • Mehrab-e-Ibadat. The place where Imam Ali (a.s.) was martyred
  • Court room of Imam Ali (a.s.)
  • Mausoleum of Muslim Ben Aqil (a.s.), cousin and ambassador of Imam Hussain (a.s.)  to Kufa
  • Mausoleum of Mukhtar, the avenger of Imam Hussain (a.s.)’s massacre
  • Mausoleum of Hani Ben Urwa, companion of Imam Hussain (a.s.)  who was killed by Ubaydullah Ben Ziyad for sheltering and supporting Muslim Ben Aqil
  • Mosalla of several prophets
  • Tanoor. The place from where the deluge (toofan) of Prophet Nuh (a.s.) began

2   House of Imam Ali (a.s.)
3   Mausoleum of Sayyida Khadijatul Sughra (s.a.) daughter of Imam Ali (a.s.)  – outside Masjid Kufa
4   Mausoleum of Prophet Yunus (a.s.)  - near the river
5   Masjid Sahla. Recommended to be in this mosque at the maghrib time of a Wednesday i.e. at the end of a Tuesday

  • Mosalla of 6th Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.)
  • Mosalla of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.)
  • Mosalla of Prophet Idris (a.s.)
  • Mosalla of Prophet Khidr (a.s.). Also called Maqam al-Saleheen
  • Maqam of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.)

6   Kooba of Ebrahim Ben Hasan al-Muthanna Ben Imam Hasan (a.s.)
7   Mausoleum of Maytham al-Tammar, companion of Imam Ali (a.s.)
8   Mosque of Zaid – near Masjid Sahla
9   Mosque of Saasa Ben Sauhan, companion of Imam Ali (a.s.)

Karbala

Karbala is the holy city of Iraq situated about 100Km from Baghdad. This city is best known as the place of the ‘Battle of Karbala’ and is amongst the holiest cities for Shia Muslims after Mecca and Madina. It is located at the edge of the desert, surrounded with beautiful greenery of fruit orchards and palm groves around it. The city has its own Islamic charm with about more than 100 mosques and 23 religious schools, with Imam Hussain’s shrine as the city’s centerpiece. The city is built around the twin shrines of Imam Hussain (a.s.) and his brother Ghazi Abbas (a.s.), which marks a pilgrimage to all Shia Muslims today.

Karbala has imparted a new meaning to the term struggle and left an example for the humankind to strive with patience and constancy in the face of extreme situation without losing standards and self esteem. It has given a meaning that comfort and safety should not to be an obstruction in the higher struggle for the rewards of the hereafter. Imam Hussain (a.s.) did not give up his struggle even though he was abandoned by the multitudes that had offered him support at the start, not did he surrender while facing unbeatable odd consequences. He, not only gave his life in the name of Islam but also sacrifices all his family for the cause of Allah. Imam Hussain (a.s.) had declared his noble mission right from the birth to fight for Islam and save its value and traditions all over the world.

Pilgrimage sites

karbala1     Mausoleum of 3rd Imam al-Hussain (a.s.)

There are 3 graves in one darih:

  • Grave of Imam Hussain (a.s.)
  • Grave of Ali Akbar (a.s.), son of Imam Hussain (a.s.)
  • Grave of Ali Asgher (a.s.), son of Imam Hussain (a.s.)

2     Mausoleum of Hadrat Abbas Ben Ali (a.s.): Brother and Standard-bearer of Imam Hussain (a.s.)
3     Grave of Habib ibn Madhaher (a.s.)
4     Ganj-e-Shohada – graves of the rest of the martyrs of Karbala
5     Qatl-ghah
6     Grave of Ibrahim son of 7th Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.)
7     Til-e-Zaynabiya
8     Khaimaghah
9     Garden of 6th Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.)
10   Garden of 12th Imam Sahib al-Asr, Al-Mahdi (a.s.)
11   Mausoleum of Hur (companion of Imam Husayn (a.s.) in Karbala) – 3 miles from Karbala
12   Mausoleum of Aun, son of Sayyida Zaynab (a.s.)
6 miles from Karbala. One can visit this place as well as the mausoleum of Tiflane Muslim while going back to Kadhmayn

Moosayab

Location

This place is on the way to Kadhmayn while going from Karbala.

Pilgrimage site

Mausoleum of the two sons of Muslim Ben Aqil (a.s.):

  • Muhammad ibn Muslim Ben Aqil (a.s.), and
  • Ibrahim ibn Muslim Ben Aqil (a.s.)

They are also know as Tiflan-e-Muslim.

Kadhmayn

Pilgrimage sites24

1   Mausoleum of 7th and 9th Imams, Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) and Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (a.s.).
2   Grave of Shaykh al-Mufid
3   Grave of Sayyid Ismail Safrudin
4   Grave of Khwaja Nasirudin Tusi
5   Grave of Sayyid Murtada
6   Grave of Sayyid Razi

Baghdad

Baghdad is the capital of the Republic of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Province. The population of Baghdad as of 2011 is approximately 7,216,040, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab World (after Cairo, Egypt), and the second largest city in Western Asia (after Tehran, Iran).

Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time of its inception, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center for the Islamic World. This in addition to housing several key academic institutions (e.g. House of Wisdom) garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the “Centre of Learning”. Throughout the High Middle Ages, Baghdad was considered to be the largest city in the world with an estimated population of 1,200,000 people.The city was largely destroyed at the hands of the Mongol Empire in 1258, resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to frequent plagues and multiple successive empires. With the recognition of Iraq as an independent state (formerly the British Mandate of Mesopotamia) in 1938, Baghdad gradually regained some of its former prominence as a significant center of Arabic culture.

In contemporary times the city has often faced severe infrastructural damage, most recently due to the American-led foreign occupation in March 2003 that lasted until December 2011 and the subsequent sectarian violence. In recent years the city has been frequently subjected to insurgency activities and terrorist attacks.

Location

Baghdad and Madain are very close to Kadhmayn.

Pilgrimage sites

1   The four representatives of the 12th Imam (a.s.) during the minor occultation (ghaybat al-sughra) are buried here i.e.

  • Uthman Ben Sayeed
  • Muhammad Ben Uthman
  • Ali Ben Muhammad Foor, and
  • Husayn Ben Rooh

The graves of Uthman & Husayn are easy to find whereas the other two are inside the bazaar. One will need some guidance from the local people to locate this place.
2   Tomb of Qambar the slave of Imam Ali (a.s.)
3   Tomb of Shaykh Muhammad Ben Yaqub al-Kulayni, the compiler of Al-Kafi
4   Masjid Boorasa. This mosque is on the way to Baghdad from Kadhmayn

Madain/Salman Pak

Pilgrimage sites

1   Tomb of Salman Farsi, companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.a.w.)
2   Tomb of Hudhaifa al-Yamani, companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.a.w.)
3   Tomb of Jabir b. Abdullah al-Ansari, companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.a.w.)
4   Masjid Jum’a – near the tomb of Salman Farsi

Samarra

Location

Samarra is closer (and therefore easier to go to) from Kadhmayn than it is from Karbala. Try and spend at least one night in Samarra so as to perform ziyarat and a’amals properly. Most people make a quick trip to Samarra lasting only a few hours which is most unfortunate.

Pilgrimage sites

1   Mausoleum of 10th and 11th Imams, Imam Ali al-Naqi (a.s.) and Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.)  
The main darih has four graves:

  • Grave of 10th Imam Ali al-Naqi (a.s.)
  • Grave of 11th Imam Hasan al-Askari, peace be upon him
  • Grave of Sayyida Halima Khatoon (a.s.)  daughter of Imam Ali al-Naqi (a.s.)  and sister of Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.). Her narration of the birth of the 12th Imam (a.s.)  is reported extensively as she was a mid-wife to Sayyida Nargis Khatoon (s.a.) the mother of the 12 Imam (a.s.)
  • Grave of Sayyida Nargis Khatoon (a.s.), mother of the 12th Imam Al-Mahdi (a.s.)

2   Cellar (sardab) of 12th Imam Al-Mahdi (a.s.) – where he was last seen. Also called Maqam Ghaybat (i.e. the place of occultation)
3   Masjid Jamia

Balad

Location

This place lies between Kadhmayn and Samarra. One can visit it on the way to Samarra or while returning to Kadhmayn.

Pilgrimage site

Mausoleum of Muhammad ibn Imam Ali al-Naqi (a.s.)

Hillah

Pilgrimage sites

1   Tomb of Hamza (a.s.)
2   Tomb of Qasim Ben Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.)
3   Tomb of Prophet Ayyub (a.s.)
4   Tomb of Prophet Daniel (a.s.)
5   Tomb of Prophet Dhul Kifl (a.s.). Known as “Chifl”
6   Maqam Sahib al-Zamaan (a.s.)

Basra

Pilgrimage sites

Masjid Ali (a.s.)