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IRAQ

Iraq has long been and is still considered a high-risk zone. Whilst travelling there, be vigilant of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure. Other than this most Zawaars feel safe during the Ziyarat. Millions visit throughout the year with Arbaeen being on of the most popular times for visitation.

There are many merits in performing the Ziyarat of the 6 Imams (as) buried throughout Iraq. A few of these are:

Imam Jaffar Sadiq (as) said: "Whosoever visits the tomb of my grandfather, Ali, while being fully aware of his virtues, will be rewarded by Allah with one accepted Hajj and one blessed Umrah... I swear by Allah that no foot that becomes dusty on its way to the tomb of Imam Ali (as)—whether it came riding or walking—will ever be fed by Allah to the hellfire."

Imam Jaffer Sadiq (as) said: "When Allah (swt) desires goodness for someone, He instils in his heart the love of Imam Hussain (as) and the love of his Ziarat."

Imam Mahdi (atfs) mentions in Ziyaret Nahiya: "Peace be upon the one under whose dome, answer (to supplications) is guaranteed." Here, in Ziyarat Nahiya, he is referring to the dome of Imam Hussain (as).

Many more merits can be found in Kamil e Ziyarat.

NAJAF

IMAM ALI (AS)

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When Imam Ali (as) was martyred by the sword of Ibn Muljim he had left instructions to his sons to carry his coffin by the feet as the head would be supported by angels who would lead the body to its eventual burial site. Indeed, the coffin was carried by unseen creatures and when they reached the burial site, a grave had already been dug between Prophet Adam (as) and Prophet Nuh (as). For many years, the burial site of Imam Ali (as) was kept secret. One narration states that it was Imam Jafar (as) that revealed the burial site to his close companions and provided some money to mark the site. Another narration states that Harun Al Rashid, came across the site whilst on a hunting expedition. His prey took refuge in an area where his horse and hunting dogs refused to enter. When he inquired about the site, he was informed of the burial place of Imam Ali (as). He immediately ordered for a dome to be built over it.

WADI US SALAAM

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Known as the "Valley of Peace" - Wadi Us Salaam is the largest cemetery in the world and a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. Imam Ali (as) called it a piece of heaven on earth. There are many traditions on the advantages and recommendations of being buried at this site. So much so that many people from around the world are flown to be buried here when the pass away. Prophet Hud (as) and Prophet Saleh (as) are buried here. It is also narrated that many other Prophets are buried here as well.

MASJID KUFA

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It is narrated that if people knew the benefits derived from being in this Mosque and supplicating in it, then they would never leave. The Ark of Prophet Nuh (as) came to rest here. The Prophet (saw), himself, stopped here to pray before ascending to heaven. The site was the seat of governance of the Caliphate of Imam Ali (as) and he performed many miracles in this Mosque. The first Imam was also struck by a poisonous sword whilst praying in this very mosque. Many lovers of the Ahlul Bayt such as Hani ibn Urwa, Muslim ibn Aqeel in Kufa and Mukhtar Al-Thaqafi are also burried here. 

MAITHAM TAMMAR

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Tammar means dates (type of fruit). Maitham was a date trader and a highly loyal companion of Imam Ali (as). Imam Ali told him of the way way in which he would be martyred and hung on a tree. Every day, Maitham, watered the tree and took care of it. And just as Imam Ali (as) had foretold, Maitham was hung from the tree and was finally killed when his tongue was cut off so he would stop praising Imam Ali (as). 

MASJID SAHLA

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The following is narrated about this mosque - that it was home to Prophet Ibrahim (as), Prophet Idris (as) and Prophet Khidr (as); that it will be the home of Imam Mahdi (atfs) when he returns; that all the prophets have established prayers here, the trumpet on the day of judgement will be blown here; 70,000 people here will ascend to the heavens on that day without being questioned; praying two units here will increase your life by two years and grant you safety and protection for a whole year. Imam Ali (as) has said, "No anguished person goes to this mosque, prays in it, and supplicates to God, without God relieving him" of his grief and granting him his request.

KUMAIL IBN ZIYAD

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Kumail ibn Ziyad was a loyal companion of Imam Ali (as) to whom the Dua of Prophet Khidhr was taught by the Imam (as) himself. This Dua, later became known as Dua Kumail. He, Kumail, was beheaded for announcing and showing his loyalty to Imam Ali (as) at a time when the leadership promoted the Imam's (as) condemnation.

MASJID HANNAANAH

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It is narrated that when the body of Imam Ali (as) passed this mosque on the way to Kufa, the pillars of the mosque bent forwards to pay their respects to him. It is also narrated that the head of Imam Hussein (as) rested here on the way to Kufa from Kerbala.

AYATULLAH SYED SISTANI

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Born in 1930, Syed Sistani first studied in his father's school and later moved to Qom. After moving to Iraq in 1951, he studied under the eminent Ayatollah Khoei where he rose to the senior level of clerical accomplishment (Ijtihad) at the very young age of thirty-one (31). He is a highly-respected leader of Shia Muslims around the world

KARBALA

IMAM HUSSAIN (AS)

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He was the son of Imam Ali (as) and Sayyedah Faitmah (as). His grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (saw) cared for him and his elder brother Imam Hassan (as) as if they were his own. He has famously said "Hussein is from me and I am from Hussein." He has also said that both Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Hussein (as) are the leaders of the youth of paradise. Muawiyyah, on his death bed, appointed his son Yazid as the caliph which was against the express terms of the treaty he had signed with Imam Hassan (as) after the martyrdom of Imam Ali (as). This and many other usurpation or the people's rights led to the battle of Kerbala where Yazid brutally ordered the killing of the family of Imam Hussein (as). On the tenth day of Muharram Imam Hussein said the famous lines calling for the realization of his rights and help. No one came. After valiantly fighting, he fell from his horse and Shimr bin Thiljowshan came forward, and cut off his head. 

HAZRAT ABBAS (AS)

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Son of Imam Ali (as) and Fatimah binte Hizam (Ummul Banin). It is narrated the he first opened his eyes after birth in the hands of Imam Hussein (as). He was loyal and respectful to his family and did everything he could to protect him. On the 10th Day of Muharram, Hazrat Abbas began an expedition to retrieve water for the children in the camp. He fought bravely, reached the banks of the river Euphrates (Furat) and filled the water skin. On his way back to the camp, the enemy surrounded him, and his arms were severed. Even then he managed to carry the water skin with his teeth. His last vestige of hope to fulfill his niece's wish was shattered when arrow went through the water carrier and his chest. He fell to the ground calling Imam Hussein (as) and died in his arms. His was accompanied to Kerbala by his wife Lububa and four sons (who were also martyred). 

MAQAMS WITHIN KARBALA

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There are many maqams (places) of importance around Kerbala. Some of these include, the garden of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as), River Furat (Euphrates), Khaymagah (Imam's camp), the sites where Hazrat Abbas's (as) hands were severed, martyrdom site of Hazrat Ali Akbar (as), Tille Zainabiya, Sher E Fiza, martyrdom site of Hazrat Ali Asghar (as) and others.

HAZRAT AUN (AS)

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He was the son of Sayyedah Zainab (as) and Abdullah ibn Jaffar-e-Tayyar. It has been narrated that Imam Hussein (as) asked Hazrat Aun (as) to travel to a nearby city of supporters to ask for help. Hazrat Aun (as) was ambushed by the army of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad who had been sent ahead. Hazrat Aun (as) fought valiantly and was martyred.

HUR AL RIYAHI

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During the Battle of Kerbala Hur ibn Al-Riyahi realized the true path was with Imam Hussein (as) and left the army of Yazid. He approached the Imam and asked for forgiveness, after which, he fought valiantly and was martyred. Imam Hussein said to him, "Your mother named you right. You are free in life and in death." To stop the bleeding from his head, Imam Hussein (as) wrapped Sayyedah Fatimah's (as) handkerchief around it. It is said that a caliph once exhumed his body to remove the handkerchief. When it was removed, the bleeding started once more. Nothing could stop it until the handkerchief was put back.

TIFLAN E MUSLIM (MUSSAYIB)

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Ibrahim and Muhammad were the sons of Muslim Ibn Aqeel. At the ripe ages of 10 and 8 they are considered some of the youngest martyrs of Kerbala who were brutally beheaded.

KADHMAIN

IMAM MUSA KADHIM (AS)

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Imam Musa Al Kadhim (as) spent much of his life in prison under the Abbasid rulers who later started to become nervous with rumours that he, the 7th Imam (as), was supposed to be the awaited Al Qaim, and that his imprisonment was being confused for "ghayba". Because of this the Abbasid dynasty poisoned him whilst in prison and hung him from a bridge in Baghdad and called on the public to witness that he was dead to quash the rumors.

IMAM MUHAMMAD AL-JAWAD (AS)

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Imam Muhammad Taqi Al Jawad (as) became an Imam at a very young age. As a result, he was constantly questioned and tested about his abilities and knowledge. He always managed to satisfy these doubts and come out successful. It is narrated that his wife Ummul Fadhl poisoned him at the behest of Mu'tasim (son of Harun Al Rashid).

SAMARRAH & BALAD

IMAM ALI AL-HADI (AS)

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Imam Ali Al-Hadi (as) led his life under the tyrant Mutawakkil who kept dragging him from his home in Madinah to their capital Baghdad on a whim. Eventually he would be sent back after being released from custody. However, at a certain point Mutawakkil grew weary of the popularity of the Imam (as) and had him escorted to an area outside Baghdad and placed him under house arrest. During his house arrest, the tyrant Mutawakkil passed away. Later, the caliph Al-Mu'taz saw the Imam's popularity as a threat and had his food poisoned with which the Imam was killed. Imam's funeral was conducted by his son Imam Hassan Al-Askari (as). He was buried in his house.

IMAM HASSAN AL-ASKARI (AS)

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Imam Hasan Al-Askari (as) got his title Askeri as he lived in a garrison town all his life. As with all Imams, he was troubled by the caliphs of the time. Most of his 6 years as Imam were spent in imprisonment. Even whilst in prison Imam's (as) popularity kept growing. Eventually, the caliph of the time, Al-Mu'tamid had him poisoned. 

LADY NARGIS KHATOON (AS)

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She was the wife of the 11th Imam (as) and the mother of the Imam of our time - Imam Muhammad Mahdi (atfs). She died before the martyrdom of the 11th imam (as). She was the Christian princess of Rum, who had a dream in which Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked Hazrat Isa (as) for one of his disciple's daughter's hand in marriage for Imam Hasan Al-Askeri (as) for she was to be the mother of the savior of mankind.

LADY HAKIMA KHATOON (AS)

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She is the sister of the 11th Imam (as) and the only witness to the birth of Imam Mahdi (atfs) as she was Nargis Khatoon's midwife. She was also her tutor about the rules of religion.

SYED MUHAMMAD - BALAD

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He was the son of the 9th Imam - Imam Muhammad Taqi Al-Jawad (as). During his lifetime, many sought him for intercession for their duas and found them accepted. To this day people come here to pray for his intercession for the fulfilment of their wishes.
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