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Ziara or pilgrimage (literary: visiting) is a religious term meaning being at the graveside of the deceased and especially the righteous and those highly accepted by God and particularly Prophets and Imams, sometimes accompanied with special rites. Ziara from the root «zawara», literally means intending, desiring and inclining to go to that which is to be visited and departing from everything else. As an expression, it means visiting and meeting someone or visiting a place. Ziara implies being next to the visited, be it a person or a place and departing from other than that, and it necessitates the veneration of a person or a place connected to a holy matter.

Pilgrimage in general has been accustomed in human societies, as it is a tradition arisen from a human inner need and desire related establishing an inner relation with a beloved person. In Islamic teachings, this tradition has not been fully rejected rather attention has been paid to correction of methods and certain views and to prevention of deviations in its regard. Therefore, ziara has been common among Muslims and still is. Some have even specified permissibility of ziara and also its ‘state of being prescribed as recommended’ (istehbab) as a matter of consensus amongst scholars. Only a small group among ‘Muslims, I.e. the Salafis, has opposed some cases of ziara on the ground of considering it as a polytheistic act.

In religious statements, much emphasis has been placed on going to visit the great personages and scholars of religion and also on going to visit the believers while they are living. Going to the ziara of the tomb of the Messenger of God, ziara of the tombs of the Imams, ziara of the graves of martyrs and religious scholars, and ziara of the graves of parents and others who have passed away are all examples of ziara.

According to Islamic traditions the ziara of the graves of the deceased, particularly the religious dignitaries, is permissible; but the Wahhabis and Salafis and other adherents to some sectarian issues have regarded this practice as polytheistic and have opposed it. Besides having different teachings regarding many matters with the Shi’a, they have particularly a different opinion in regard to ziara and its resulting effects.

In the Quran

No definite indication of either permitting of prohibiting the ziara of the deceased exists in Quranic Verses. Certain interpreters from the content of the Verse 21 of Surah Kahf have understood that going to ziara and building masjid around graves of believers and monotheists are allowed. Also in interpretation of the Verse 84 of Surah Tawbah- in which the Holy Prophet is prohibited from reciting salah and praying at the corpses of hypocrites (al-munafiqun) and also from standing next to their graves- it has been said that this prohibition is not merely related to the burial ceremony and the recitation of the prescribed «deceased prayer», rather the intention is to forbid praying and standing next to the graves of hypocrites namely the ziara of the graves of hypocrites. Thus, it can be concluded that ziara of the graves of non- hypocrites i.e. the believers, is allowed.

According to the Verse 64 of Surah Nisa’, if people come to the Prophet in order to seek forgiveness and the Prophet seeks forgiveness for them from Allah, indeed they shall benefit from Divine forgiveness. Some have considered this Verse as a proof for permissibility of ziara of the grave of the Prophet. for, the Prophet is alive in the presence of God, sees his pilgrims, and responds to their salutation and thus there is no difference whether forgiveness is sought from him during his life or after his death. Therefore, the verb «come to you» is related to both his lifetime and after it. The general belief among Muslims has also been such and Muslims have not understood from this Verse that there is no difference between the Prophet’s life and death in this regard. To support the application of the Verse to the person after the Prophet’s death, the story of a Bedouin has been cited. He went to the grave of the Prophet and recited this Verse and sought forgiveness, then he received the glad tidings of the intercession of the Prophet.

The Verse 32 of Surah Hajj_ which recommends veneration and honoring of the Divine rituals, «al-Sha’aa’ir al-ilahiya»_ has also been regarded as another evidence for the permissibility of ziara of great religious figures. Sha’aa’ir literally means signs and symbols. According to exegeses, the intended meaning of Sha’aa’ir in the Quran is the symbols and signs of the religion of Allah. It has been said that ziara of the graves of religious dignitaries is in the same category as veneration Divine rituals and, with due attention to the content of the Verse, is the sign of piety.

In Hadith

In some Shi’a and Sunni hadith sources, it has been said that the Messenger of Allah in the first stages of inviting people to Islam had forbidden Muslims to visit graves of the deceased but after a while ziara of the graves of the dead people was permitted on condition that no word mixed with ungratefulness would be uttered. Ziara authorization date after its original prohibition is sometimes stated to have been at time of the battle of Khaybar (7 AH), sometimes it is said at time of the battle of Hunan (8 AH) and sometimes it is said it was after the Prophet visited his mother’s grave at Abwa’ which was probably after the Conquest of Mecca in the 8 AH. In any case, it is certain that after the 8th year from Hijra, ziara of the people of grave was allowed and thenceforth the Prophet and his companions used to go for ziara of the graves. In regard to the reason for its original prohibition it is said that in the Age of pre-Islam Jahiliyya- as understood from the first and second Verses of Surah Takathur- people going to the graves of their deceased used to boast of the numerousness of their (dead) relatives. This type of ziara which was the habit of Meccan polytheists, was reproached. Therefore, it can be understood that ziara- due to the misbehavior of people in a certain period of time- was prohibited and with correction of such behavior and departure from the habits of Jahiliyya, after establishment of Islam, this prohibition was lifted.

Many narratives exist about the Prophet going on ziara of the deceased and recommending it to Muslims and teaching them its rituals, from which permissibility of ziara is understood. It has been narrated that whenever the Prophet went to the Baqi’ cemetery, he used to speak softly to the dead and pray and seek forgiveness for them. It has also been said that the Prophet while passing graves, used to recite Salam to the people of grave and speak about joining them in the near future and seek forgiveness from Allah for them all. In addition, in narratives it has been mentioned particularly that the Prophet used to visit his father’s and mother’s gravesides. According to narratives the holy Prophet and following him Fatima repeatedly went for ziara of the martyrs’ graves and in particular the grave f Hamzah, the Master of Martyrs, and recited Salam to them. The Prophet also used to exhort Muslims to go on ziara of martyrs’ graves and the grave of Hamzah.

Based on Shi’a hadiths the Imams, like the Prophet, used to exhort their followers to go on ziara of the dead people and teach its rituals to them. For instance Imam ‘Ali in the hadith «’arba’ mi’ah» has considered going on ziara of the deceased as cause of joy for them. He has asserted that it is meritorious to request one’s needs and wants from Allah next to the graves of one’s father and mother after praying for the two of them. Hadiths also recommend ziara of the people of grave on early Friday mornings before sunrise. Some hadiths say that the dead recognize persons visiting their graves; ziara makes them happy so much that they feel anxious and fearful after the visitor has left. In many Shi’a hadiths much emphasis has been placed on the ziara of the Imams’ graves, in particular Imam ‘Ali, Imam Hussain, and Imam Reza. Also, ziara rituals for the Imams have been explained in detail. Recommending ziara of certain personages from the progeny of the Messenger of Allah such as ziara of Hazrat Ma’suma and promising Heaven for it and also recommending ziara of Abdul ‘Azim Hasani in Ray and equating its reward with ziara of Imam Hussain in Karbala in order to confirm these places, are of other permissibility confirmers for ziara in the Shi’a Tradition.

The Muslims’ Conduct

Study of Muslims’ conduct in the subject of ziara of people of grave can be regarded as another confirmation for ziara permissibility. As examples ziara of people of grave by religion personages and the ashab, these are mentioned: ziaras of Abu Bakr, Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas, Abu Sa’eed Khudri, Umar and Fatimah Khoza’iyah from the grave of Hamzah, ziara of Aisha from the grave of her brother ‘Abd al-Rahman, ziara of ‘Umar from his father’s grave, ziara of Imam Hussain from the grave of Imam Hasan on Friday eves, ziara of Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah Ansari on Arba’een and also based on some sources, ziara of the family of Imam Hussain from the graves of Karbala martyrs on their way back to Medina after being emancipated from captivity. Also mentioning of certain graves noted by Muslims in some sources in an indication of Muslims’ conduct throughout times. Some of such people of grave are: Bilal Habashi, Salman Farsi, Talhah, Zubair, Abu Ayyub Ansari, ‘Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, Abu Hanifa and Malik ibn Anas.

Philosophers have also believed in ziara of people of grave and have raised argument for this belief too. Ziara of the dead people has also been common among the mystics and Sufis. They have considered going to ziara as a way to spiritual journey and to gain virtues, therefore they have recommended it to their followers.

Benefits of Ziara

In narratives, benefits have also been stated for ziara of the dead people. Based on those narrations, ziara of the dead people has results in worldly life such as blessings, remembering the Hereafter, learning from the state of the dead, piety and disinclining toward the world, becoming tender-hearted, drawing close toward Allah, answering of prayers and granting the wishes and removing of problems, profiting from material and spiritual benefits, purity and staying away from sins. Also, ziara of the graves of the Infallible Ones results in acceptance of repentance and tawbah of pilgrims and their remoteness from sins in the world. Of the otherworldly benefits of ziara are the promise of Heaven and the privilege of intercession.

According to Shi’ite hadiths, one who willingly and eagerly goes on ziara of any of the Pure Imams, that Imam on Qiyamat will intercede for that person. The reward for ziara of any of the Imams is said to be equal to the reward for ziara of the Messenger of Allah. It has also been narrated that the holy Prophet has ensured the deliverance of those going on his and other Infallible Ones’ ziara from the fear and hardship of the Resurrection Day.

Ziara of the Prophet’s Grave

Ziara of the Messenger of Allah in particular has been the subject of some discussions. Many narratives are there in regard to ziara of Messenger of God being recommended and its benefits. Based on Narrations, the reward for ziara of the Messenger’s grave is equivalent to the reward of visiting him during his lifetime and also it is considered equivalent to performing two hajjes or equivalent to one hajj accompanying the Prophet. Also promises of his intercession and his companionship at the Resurrection Day have been given to the pilgrim.

Another hadith states that one who performs hajj and intentionally avoids ziara of the Messenger of God, has unfaithfully troubled and oppressed him. Moreover, Muslims’ conduct in many periods has been that they went to ziara of the Prophet’s grave either before or after hajj. They used to go for ziara of the Prophet while enduring hardships and traveling long distances to prove obedience and seek closeness. This continuous conduct indicates the desirability of this behavior in the eyes of all Muslims. Conduct of the companions and the successors and the Ahl Al-Bayt too, verify the permissibility of ziara of the Prophet. Different Sunni sects hold a consensus regarding desirability of the Prophet’s ziara and some have considered its istehbab as highly emphasized upon. In addition, ziara of the dead people is veneration and honoring of the visited. Since the honoring of the Prophet is obligatory, his ziara is thus not only permitted but it is praiseworthy and recommended.

Ziara of Imam Hussain’s Grave

The plain of Karbala was the site of the battle on 10 Muharram 61/10 October 680 between Imam Hussain and the Umayyad army which led to the martyrdom of Imam and his followers. After the Umayyad troops had left, tribesmen from a nearby village buried Imam Hussain and ʿAbbas in the battlefield, and as early as 65/684-85 Hussain’s grave became a pilgrimage site for the Shiʿites. In the first decades following Hussain’s death, visitation of his tomb was precarious and was observed mainly by the members of the ʿAlid family. By the 9th century, the Shiʿite Imams were already attempting to institutionalize the practice of ziarat al-ʿAshura (visitation on the 10 Muharram) and ziarat al-arbaʿeen (visitation on the fortieth day of Hussain’s death) as a central element in Shiʿite identity. The early traditions attribute such attempts to Imam Jaʿfar al-Sadeq. [1] In promoting the visitations, the Imams exalted Karbala’s position, attributing blessing and healing power to its soil and highlighting the future heavenly rewards that the visitors would gain. Henceforth, the pilgrimage, particularly to Karbala, aimed at preserving Shiʿite collective memory and group identity distinguished from that of the Sunnis. Since they were taken throughout the year, the visitations became a more popular destination among the Shiʿites. [2]

Evaluation and Criticism of the Opposing Views

Despite the consensus of Islamic sects regarding permissibility of ziara in general and permissibility ziara of the holy Prophet in particular, a few of the followers of the Hanbali school announced ziara as against monotheism and invalid. The first person who ordained prohibition of ziara was Barbahari, a Hanbali scholar of 4th century. After him, ibn Taymiyah and then his student ibn Qayyim, both of Hanbali scholars in 7th and 8th centuries, opposed ziara. Later, beliefs of ibn Taymiyah formed the foundations of the Wahhabi beliefs and they too opposed ziara of graves and began destroying the graves.

Opinion of this group is that ziara of graves is a kind of polytheism and also a heretical innovation. However, ziara would be polytheism if it was not permitted by Islamic law and if the person doing the ziara was doing it with the intention of worshiping the visited. While as explained, permissibility and legitimacy of ziara is quite clear and thus it cannot be regarded as a polytheistic act. In addition, the goal of ziara is to honor and commemorate the deceased. There is no issue of worship so that one might regard it as a polytheistic action. It might be argued that ziara of any grave other than the Prophet’s as a religious act is an innovation. But we can deduce from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah in regard to going to ziara of certain act, and this favorability and permissibility can be generalized to other graves too. From the viewpoint of Sunni scholars, generalization of good deeds even with title of religiously legal is not unfavorable rather it is considered as good innovation and so it is favorable and desirable. Based on this, in accordance to the Sunnis, ziara of graves is regarded as a good innovation and is permissible. The Shi’a viewpoint too is that ziara is Sunnah, not innovation.

The Wahhabis forbid Muslims from visiting graves relying on a narration that says the Messenger of God implored Allah to withhold His Mercy from some Jews and Christians because they made the graves of their Prophet as worshipping places. In response, it has been said that the Islamic purpose of building masjid besides graves of great religious figures is that the pilgrims of graves may perform their obligatory duties and acts there before or after their ziara. In addition, with due attention to the Verse 21 of Surah Kahf it becomes clear that building masjid besides graves is not a sign of polytheism; for, when the story of the companions of the Kahf was divulged monotheism was prevailing.

Opposers of ziara also cite a narration about Imam Sajjad seeing a person next to the grave of the Messenger of God and forbidding him to do that, reminding him a hadith from the Prophet in that regard. However, the context of this prohibition shows that this report was about someone who was visiting the grave of the Prophet to excess and was disregarding his other duties. The intent of this prohibition, therefore, was not repudiation of Ziara itself.

Considering Ziara a polytheistic innovation, the Wahhabis destroyed the graves of Baqi’, and they have appealed to the Abu al-Hayyaj hadith which ordains to flatten high graves and to uniform graves. But for citing a hadith as a decree two requisites must be met: The accuracy documentation (chain of narrators and so on) and the signification of the implied. This hadith lacks both requisites. Moreover, for the sake of argument, on the assumption of documentation accuracy of the hadith, high grave means a grave that the highness of the grave itself is in the form of camel humps. The hadith only suggests that if the grave itself is higher than the ground it should become flat and even.

Wahhabis also consider repairing graves, making buildings, shrines, and pariahs over graves, building shades or ceilings, also installing lights or cressets over them, and beautifying Ziara places using gold silver and adornments, as polytheistic deeds and condemn all of them.

In regard to repair and preservation of graves of Awliya (Allah-chosen authorities, saints), based upon the Verse 32 of Surah Hajj it must be said that honoring anything which is a sign and symbol of the religion is a means for drawing near to God. Prophets and saints are of the clearest symbols of the religion, being delivering the religion and spreading it among people. In accordance to the Verse 23 of Surah Shura, veneration of the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet has been prescribed too. Preservation and protection of monuments and graves, prevention from destruction and their repair when needed, all are of ways for venerating figures. It is also understood from the Verse 21 of Surah Kahf that honoring graves of the believers was common among previous nations too.

About construction of buildings over graves, the practical consensus among Muslims has been such that they have constructed buildings over the graves of religious persons to preserve them from becoming decayed and have regarded this action an example of honoring the religious Sha’aa’ir. About placing ceilings or shades over graves, even if it is considered unfavorable (makruh) in general, still for certain considerations such as saving pilgrims and reciters of the Quran from heat and cold, the karahat is removed. The issue of placing lights is for the same reason, as pilgrims can read Quran and meet their needs under the light. Regarding using gold, silver, and adornments in sacred Ziara places, the Shi’a believe that whenever there is no specific holy command about an act, doing it is permitted. Regarding adorning the graves of great religious leaders «ibahah principle» there is no problem. In addition, if adding gold in a holy place such as Ka’ba and beautifying it with gold and silver and adornments are permitted, its permissibility in other worship places can be understood. From historical reports and the text of narrations, it can be realized that the caliphs’ tradition was to venerate the House of God and to beautify it with gold, silver, and adornments, as it was the Prophet’s. Moreover, some of the adornments are used to preserve and distinguish such places.

Opposers of ziara also cite a hadith from the Messenger of Allah indicating prohibition of intending to travel to any masjid but the Masjid al-Nabi and Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Aqsa. They believe that it is permissible and even favorable for a Muslim to travel to Medina with intention of performing salat in Masjid al-Nabi, but it is not permissible to travel with intention of Ziara of the grave of the Prophet or other graves and if the travel is done with the intention of Ziara, that travel is a sin. Even if a person has vowed such a trip, doing it is not incumbent upon that person. In response it has been said that with due attention to the Prophet’s travel to Quba Masjid this prohibition cannot be a forbiddance rather it is an advisory prevention. It means that enduring hardships for traveling to masjid is useless, for, the reward of performing salat in all masjids but the three mentioned Masjids is the same. In any case, this prohibition is not related to the decree for ziara of the grave of the Prophet, such decree is deduced from proofs.

In recent decades, under the influence of Saudi Wahhabism, some in Iran also have presented certain criticism about Ziara and have found some followers too. It is noteworthy to mention that some of their followers, after evaluating the beliefs of these criticizers, have left them expressing regret and criticizing themselves.

Some criticism of Ziara expressed by the leaders of this belief is related to the life and dignitaries of religion and martyrs after death. For instance, they have said that the world of barzakh [3] is a world of unawareness with no consciousness, and the dead even if they have special kind of life, will not be aware of this world. Their proof is certain Verses of the Quran such as Fatir: 22; Rum: 52 and Naml: 80 in which the Prophet was told that he could not make the people resting in graves to hear. They also rely on parts of Nahj al-Balaghah indicating that the grave is a place of loneliness and solitude (Sermon 83), and that the neighboring dead are unaware of each other’s conditions (sermon 111). Therefore, in their view none of the dead has any knowledge and information about the world of the living.

This view neglects the fact that according to the Quran and hadiths the spirit in the world of barzakh continues to live and the believers, depending on their level, are aware of their close relatives’ circumstances. In some Verses of the Quran, spirit’s continuation of life in the world of barzakh in barzakh’s heaven or hell have been mentioned. There are also narratives in regard to spirit’s continuation of life and ability to apprehend in barzakh. An example is a narrative that says the dead person, after being buried, hears the footsteps of people at the funeral leaving his graveside.

In Shi’a hadith resources there are many hadiths regarding the dead’s ability to apprehension. For instance, based on a hadith the Prophet after burying Fatimah daughter of Asad, clapped his hands and then asserted that she heard the sound of his hands. In another narration, the Prophet asserted that I would hear any one next to my grave saying Salam to me. It has also been narrated that after the battle of Jamal, Imam ‘Ali spoke to the killed and asserted that they were hearing his voice. A hadith mentions the manner of burial of Sa’d ibn Ma’adh and Prophet’s addressing his mother in regard to Sa’d’s torment in the grave due to his bad temper with his family. From other narratives proving deceased’s ability to apprehension these can be mentioned: narratives related to question and answer of the two angels Nakir and Munkar in grave; narratives related to spirit’s visit of the surviving relatives after death; narratives related to the deceased person being informed of his close relatives’ actions and becoming fond of those burying him; narratives suggesting payment of sadaqah and recitation of salah on behalf of the deceased person. Also, the incumbency of talqin (inculcation of beliefs in the deceased person) among all sects of Muslims has been considered another confirmation for the deceased’s possession of awareness and ability of apprehension, for, if the deceased person lacks any power of apprehending then his talqin will be futile.

Some have also considered narrations expressing rewards for Ziara of the grave of the Prophet as weak and fake. But compilers such as Subki and after him Samhudi examined in detail the credibility level of Ziara narratives in their works and provided answers for this issue.

Of other examples of oppositions to Ziara permissibility is that after the demise of the holy Prophet he was buried in Aisha’s chamber and none of the companions, for almost a century, ever went to visit his grave, to the point that at time of Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz, while in repairing the prophet’s house, piles of miasmic garbage was accumulated there. But historical evidence shows that contrary to this statement, Ziara of the Prophet was common, as Imam Hussain went for Ziara of the grave of the Prophet before leaving for Karbala. In addition, there exist very serious doubts in regard to truthfulness of burying the Prophet in Aisha’s chamber. Also, presence of garbage by the grave of the Messenger of Allah was the result of Banu-Umayya actions from the rulership of Mu’awiya thenceforth in order to eradicate any trace and sign of the holy Prophet and consequently to extirpate symbols of Islam.

Another issue set forth in regard to Ziara is the issue of ladies going to ziara. some, by citing certain Sunni narratives, maintain that it is haram (forbidden). But even with assumption of documentation accuracy of these kinds of narratives, considering the fact that the proofs of Ziara permissibility and the narratives about benefits of Ziara include both men and women, these narratives cannot be taken as the proof of hurmah (forbiddance). Moreover, as mentioned before, Fatima used to go to graves of Uhud martyrs and the grave of Hamzah. Aisha went for Ziara of her brother ‘Abd al-Rahman too. It has also been narrated from Aisha that she said, one night she followed the Prophet to the Baqi’ cemetery and that when the Prophet realized her presence, he did not disapprove rather he taught her the rules and manners of ziara. Therefore, we should either consider narratives which include prohibition for Ziara for ladies as abrogated or consider the prohibition in such narratives as karahat or consider them for cases where Ziara for ladies necessitates committing sins or acts of haram.

Literature of Ziara

Due to the importance of ziara, Muslim scholars particularly the Shi’a have compiled several writings on the topic. Some of the oldest and most famous are Kamil al-Ziara of ibn Quluway Qummi (d. 368 AH or 369), al-Mazar of Shaykh Mofid (d. 413), al-Mazar of Muhammad ibn Mashhadi (d. 610) and al-Mazar of the First Martyr Muhammad ibn Makki ‘Ameli (d. 786). In addition, a short essay from Rashid al-Din Fazlullah with the title Benefits of Ziara of Mashahid and Turbats of Great personages is at hand. According to his explanation, grounds for writing it was the question of ‘Allamah Helli- who in the year 709 with a group of scholars and government officials was accompanying the compiler during Ziara of Salman- requesting him to explain the effects and benefits of Ziara of graves, with consideration to the departure of spirit from body after death.

Since the views of ibn Taymiyah and following him the Wahhabis in regard to Ziara conflict with views of all other Muslims, since long many critical writings from other Muslim sects, be it as a book or a chapter of a book, have been produced Taqi al-Din Subki, a contemporary of ibn Taymiyah in the 8th century, wrote the book Shifa’ al-Siqam Fi Ziara khayr al-anam in the favor of ziara. Other contemporaries of ibn Taymiyah, such as ibn Hajar Makki in al-Juhar al-Munzam Fi ziara qabr al-Nabi al-Mukarram and Qadi Taqi al-Din Akhna’i in al-Maqala al-Marziya Fi al-Rad ‘ala man yanker al-Ziara al-Muhammadiya repudiated his beliefs. Samhudi (d. 911) in the fourth volume of Wafa’ al-Wafa bi-Akhbar Dar al-Mustafa devoted a detailed section to the subject of ziara.

In the 12th century Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab propounded beliefs similar to that of ibn Taymiyah, but his brother Solayman wrote al-Sawa’iq al-Ilahiyya Fi Rad al-Wahhabiya in repudiation of his beliefs. Minhaj al-Rashad li-man Arad al-Sidad written by Shaykh Ja’far Kashif al-Ghita (d. 1228) is another book which its major portion is devoted to the subject of ziara. It is a response to Saudi ruler of the area of Najd after the Wahhabis’ attack to Karbala and its destruction and the killing and plundering of its inhabitants and the pilgrims. In the following works, the subject of Ziara has been discussed in detail as well: Kashf al-Irtiyab Fi Atba’ Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab written by Sayyid Hasan Ha’eri Qazvini (d. 1380), also the fifth volume of al-Ghadir compiled by ‘Abd al-Hussain Amini (d. 1392).

Ziara of Imamzada

Recitations form the essence of pilgrimage to an Imamzada; it is no accident that the word ziara denotes both the act of visitation and the words recited during it, especially in Arabic. Bodily expressions of devotion, especially the placing of the hands on the grille (zarih) enclosing the tomb and circumambulation, with a pause at each corner of the tomb, are also permitted. [4] In addition, the tying of votive rags or cloths and the deposit of gifts at Imamzadas can be frequently observed even in contemporary Persia. Although Imamzadas have always functioned primarily as places of pilgrimage, at least the most famous among them served as places of refuge (bast, q.v.) during both the Safavid and Qajar periods. [5] Many Imamzadas are in addition the points of assembly and departure for the mourning processions during the first ten days of Muharram as well as the places where the associated paraphernalia are stored during the rest of the year. [6]


  1. d. 148/765, Nakash, 1995, p. 155.
  2. http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/karbala.
  3. limbo: time between death and Qiyamat.
  4. Horr ʿAmeli, II, p. 8.
  5. Massé, Croyances II, p. 407.
  6. http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/emamzada-index.


  • Ahmad B. Hanbal, al-Musanad, Dar Sader, Beirut.
  • ‘Alam al-Huda, al-fusul al-Mukhtara, Beirut, 1414/1993.
  • Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Kubra, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut.
  • Bukhari, Sahib al-Bukhari, Dar al-Fikr, 1401/1981.
  • Al-Hakim Nayshaburi, al-Mustadrak ‘ala ‘l-sahihayn, ed. mar’ashli, Beirut.
  • Ibn Babawayh, Al-Amali, Qum 1417.
  • Ibn Taymiyya, Ketab al-Ziara, Beirut, 1400/1980.
  • al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, ed. Ghaffari, Beirut 1401.
  • Madjlisi, Bihar al-anwar.
  • al-Sheikh al-Mufid, al-Irshad, Beirut, 1414/1993.
  • Ibid, Al-Amali, Beirut, 1414.
  • Najm -i din Tabasi, Rawafed al-Imam, Beirut, 1423/2002.
  • Subhani, al-Ziara fi al-Kitab wa al-Sunna, Beirut, 1425/2005.
  • Ibid, Ayin -i wahabiyyat, Tehran, 1388 sh.


  • Encyclopaedia Iranica
  • Encyclopaedia Iranica
  • Maryam Kiani Farid (2018). Pilgrimage: “Ziyara” from the Viewpoint of the Holy Quran, Hadiths and Theological Discourses. Encyclopedia of the World Islam. Tehran: Islamic Research and Information Center.