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Must-See Ziyarat (sacred sites) in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala in Iraq

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Iraq, a country in the Middle East, holds a significant place in the hearts of Muslims, especially Shia Muslims. For Shia Muslims, places like Najaf and Karbala are like spiritual centers. These cities have important mosques and shrines where people go on pilgrimages to pray and honor their religious leaders. 

 

 

 

NAJAF CITY

Najaf holds significance for all Muslims especially Shia Muslims. Situated in Iraq, it is renowned for the Hazrat Ali (R.A.) Shrine, which serves as the final resting place of Hazrat Ali R.A, a revered figure in Islam. Pilgrims from diverse backgrounds flock to this sacred site for spiritual reasons. Moreover, Najaf boasts educational institutions where individuals study various aspects of religion. It stands as a hub of historical, spiritual, and educational importance, drawing visitors seeking to deepen their understanding of Islam and its principles, regardless of their sect.

 

1. Hazrat Ali's Shrine

Hazrat Ali's Shrine, located in Najaf, Iraq, is one of the most revered sites in Shia Islam. It houses the tomb of Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. The shrine's magnificent golden dome and intricate architecture draw pilgrims from around the world who come to pay their respects and seek blessings. It is a place of deep spiritual significance and reverence, embodying the teachings and legacy of Hazrat Ali A.S. and serving as a symbol of faith and unity for Shia Muslims worldwide.

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2. Wadi Al-Salaam Cemetery

Wadi Al-Salam, meaning "Valley of Peace," is one of the largest cemeteries in the world, located in Najaf, Iraq. It holds immense religious significance for Shia Muslims, as it is believed to be the burial place of countless prophets, saints, scholars, and ordinary believers. The cemetery spans several square kilometers and is intricately divided into sections based on religious and social affiliations.  Daily burials have been ongoing for over 1,400 years and the site is on the Tentative List of UNESCO's World Heritage sites. Burials in Najaf have been documented as early as the Parthian and Sassanid eras and ancient Mesopotamian cities often had similar cemeteries, where there was an accumulation of tombs.

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3. Al Sahla Mosque

The Al-Sahla Mosque is located in the city of Kufa in Najaf, Iraq. It is renowned for its historical and architectural significance, serving as a place of worship, learning, and community gatherings. The mosque's name, "Sahla," refers to its spacious courtyard. Pilgrims and visitors come to the Al-Sahla Mosque to offer prayers and partake in religious ceremonies. Its tranquil ambiance and rich history make it a cherished destination for those seeking solace and connection to their faith. According to certain accounts, it is believed that prophets Hud and Salih are laid to rest here.

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4. The House of Hazrat Ali (A.S)

The House of Hazrat Ali (a.s), located in Najaf, Iraq, is believed to have been the residence of Hazrat Ali A.S. during his time in the city. As the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. The house is a revered site for pilgrims and visitors, offering a glimpse into the daily life of Hazrat Ali A.S. and his family. It serves as a place of reflection and reverence, where believers can pay homage to this esteemed figure and gain insight into his teachings and legacy.

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5. Qibla Island

Qibla Island, found in Najaf. It's famous for its historical and religious importance to the Islamic faith. The island's main attraction is the Qibla Mosque. It's believed to be the first direction Muslims prayed towards before it changed to Mecca. Many people visit this mosque to pray and feel its historical significance. Besides its religious value, Qibla Island is known for its natural beauty. Surrounded by the calm Euphrates River, visitors can enjoy lovely views while walking through lush greenery. It's a peaceful spot away from the busy city where people can relax and feel refreshed. Exploring the island is like going on a treasure hunt because you can find ancient ruins from civilizations long ago. You'll learn about the area's history while enjoying activities like boat rides and fishing. On Qibla Island, you'll find restaurants serving tasty local food, perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway. It's a serene place with captivating attractions, ideal for tourists interested in Najaf's cultural and historical richness. Before planning a visit, make sure to check travel advisories for safety. Also, remember to dress modestly and respectfully since it's a significant religious site for Muslims. Overall, Qibla Island offers a unique mix of religious importance and natural beauty, making it a top destination in Najaf. Whether you're into history, or spirituality, or just want to relax, Qibla Island is a place you shouldn't miss.

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Baghdad City


Baghdad is the big capital city of Iraq. It's famous for being old and having a lot of history. People have lived there for a long time, and it's known for its mosques and palaces. Even though it's had some tough times, Baghdad is still a busy and important place in Iraq.

1. Al-Kadhimiya Shrine

In Baghdad, Iraq, lies the Al-Kadhimiya Mosque, a place of profound significance for Shia Muslims. This mosque is dedicated to honoring the legacies of two revered Imams, Musa al-Kadhim and Muhammad al-Jawad. People travel far and wide to visit this sacred site, particularly during religious occasions, to pay their respects and seek spiritual solace. Within the mosque's tranquil confines, believers find a sense of peace and connection to their faith as they engage in prayer and reflection. It stands as a symbol of devotion and reverence, offering a sanctuary where the teachings and legacies of these esteemed Imams continue to inspire and uplift the hearts of believers.

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2.AlJawadain Holy Shrine

The AlJawadain Holy Shrine in Baghdad, Iraq, holds special significance for Shia Muslims worldwide. Dedicated to the revered figures of Imam Muhammad al-Jawad and Imam Musa al-Kadhim, it attracts visitors from all corners of the globe seeking spiritual solace and blessings. Adorned with ornate domes and intricate designs, the shrine exudes a sense of serenity and devotion, fostering a profound connection to one's faith upon arrival. Beyond its religious importance, the shrine serves as a vibrant cultural center, hosting a variety of events and educational activities that promote unity and understanding. Moreover, the hospitable staff ensures that every visitor feels welcomed and cared for, enhancing the overall experience of reverence and reflection. In essence, a visit to the Al Jawadain Holy Shrine promises to be a meaningful and unforgettable journey for all who embark upon it.

3.Buratha Mosque

The Buratha Mosque in Baghdad is a special place for Shia Muslims. Dedicated to two important Imams, al-Hadi and al-Askari, it's a peaceful sanctuary where people come to pray and find comfort in their faith. The mosque's beautiful architecture and welcoming atmosphere make it a place of community and learning, where people gather to share their beliefs and support each other. Despite challenges over the years, the Buratha Mosque remains a symbol of strength and unity for believers around the world.

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4.Bunnia Mosque

The Bunnia Mosque, located in Baghdad, is a historic place of worship for Muslims. It holds cultural and religious significance, serving as a center for prayer and community gatherings. The mosque's architecture reflects its rich heritage, and its tranquil atmosphere provides a peaceful space for reflection and devotion. Over the years, the Bunnia Mosque has remained a cherished landmark, symbolizing the enduring faith and unity of the Muslim community in Baghdad.

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5. Ramadan Mosque

The Ramadan Mosque, situated in Baghdad, Iraq, is a cherished place of worship for Muslims, particularly during the sacred month of Ramadan. As the sun sets and the call to prayer echoes through its halls, believers gather here to partake in the nightly Taraweeh prayers, recite the Quran, and seek spiritual rejuvenation. Throughout Ramadan, the mosque bustles with activity, as worshippers come together to observe the fast and engage in acts of devotion.

The foundation stone for the mosque was laid during the reign of King Ghazi of Iraq. However, its construction wasn't completed until the 14 July Revolution on July 14, 1959, led by Abd al-Karim Qasim. Originally, it was designated the "Mosque of the Martyr." Despite its inauguration, prayers did not commence until December 6, 1963, under the era of Abd al-Salam Arif, who renamed it the "14th of Ramadan Mosque" in honor of the 1963 Ramadan Ba'ath Revolution. This mosque has undergone several name changes throughout its history. Initially intended to be called the "al-Alawiyyah Mosque," it was later referred to as the "Republic Mosque" following the 14 July Revolution. However, Qasim sought to rename it the "Mosque of the Martyr" after its inauguration. Ultimately, on December 6, 1963, it was rechristened the "14th of Ramadan Mosque.

 

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Karbala City Karbala is a special city in Iraq where a big battle happened a long time ago. It's important for Shia Muslims because it's where Imam Hussain, a very respected person, was martyred. People visit Karbala to remember him and pray at his shrine. It's a place filled with history and faith, where people feel connected to something bigger than themselves.

1. Imam Hussain (a.s) Holy Shrine

Situated in the city of Karbala, the Imam Hussein Shrine is one of the most important sites in Shia Islam. It is the burial place of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who was martyred in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. Karbala is located in central Iraq, approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, along the Euphrates River. Karbala is a special city in Iraq that holds great meaning for Shia Muslims all over the world. Let's dive into what makes Karbala so important and why people travel from far and wide to visit this sacred place. Karbala became famous because of a big battle that happened there a long time ago. It was a battle about standing up for what's right, even when it's hard. This battle is important because it teaches us about courage and staying true to our beliefs, no matter what. For Shia Muslims, Karbala is a significant place because it's where Imam Husayn, whom they look up to, was killed. Every year, millions of Shia Muslims visit Karbala to remember him and show their love and respect. Visiting Karbala is a special experience. People from all over the world come here to pray, reflect, and be together. It's a time for unity and friendship as everyone walks together to the Imam Husayn Shrine and shares in the spiritual journey. For Muslims, a visit to Karbala is not just a trip; it's a lifetime spiritual journey, leaving a lasting impact on the soul and reaffirming one's commitment to the principles of faith, resilience, and devotion.

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2.Al-Abbas Holy Shrine

The Al Abbas Holy Shrine, located in Karbala, Iraq, is a revered site for Shia Muslims around the world. The shrine is dedicated to Abbas ibn Ali, the half-brother of Imam Hussain, who is a central figure in Shia Islam. During the intense Battle of Karbala, Imam Hussain (a.s.) made a profound decision regarding Hazrat Abbas (a.s.), his loyal brother and standard-bearer. Rather than allowing Hazrat Abbas (a.s.)to join the battlefield alongside him, Imam Hussain (a.s.) entrusted him with a noble mission: to fetch water for Bibi Sakina, his beloved daughter, and the other women and children in their camp who were suffering from thirst. Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) embarked on this crucial task with unwavering determination. He courageously journeyed to the banks of the nearby Euphrates River, filled a water container, and began his return to the camp. However, tragedy struck on his way back as Yazeed's merciless army ambushed him. In the ensuing chaos, the water container was pierced, and Hazrat Abbas (a.s.)was left with no choice but to witness the precious water spill onto the desert sands. In his heartbreaking final moments, Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) faced a dilemma. He knew that returning to the camp without water would break the hearts of the thirsty women and children, especially Bibi Sakina, whose hope had rested on his shoulders. Unable to bear the thought of facing them in such a state, Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) chose to remain by the banks of the Euphrates, valiantly defending the water's sanctity until his last breath. Thus, Hazrat Abbas's (a.s.) shrine stands as a poignant testament to his unwavering loyalty and sacrifice. Located near the Euphrates River, where he made his final stand, the shrine is imbued with an aura of reverence and sanctity. Pilgrims from far and wide are drawn to this sacred site, where countless miracles are believed to have occurred. It serves as a place of reflection, where visitors honor the memory of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and seek his intercession for their own spiritual and worldly needs.

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3. Till'a Zainabia

This place is known as Till'a Zainabia, a significant Shia Islamic religious location in Karbala. Till’a Zainabia holds a special place in the hearts of Shia Muslims. It's linked to Bibi Zainab (a.s), the beloved sister of Imam Hussain (a.s), and has two versions of its story. In one, it's believed that Bibi Zainab stood there, calling out to her brother Hussain (a.s) as their tents burned during the tragic events of Karbala. In another version, she stood witness as her brother was beheaded. Despite the differences in these stories, Till’a Zainabia remains a symbol of strength and devotion, reminding us of Bibi Zainab's courage in the face of adversity. It's a place where believers gather to reflect on her resilience and honor her memory.

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4. Shrine of Ali al-Asghar

Maqaam Ali Asghar, or the Shrine of Ali al-Asghar, is located in Karbala, Iraq, within the Imam Husayn Shrine compound. It's near the Bab al-Qiblah gate. After the tragic deaths of Hazrat Abbas and Hazrat Ali Akbar in the Battle of Karbala, Imam Hussain stood amidst the turmoil and cried out, "Hal min nasirin yan-surna" (Is there anyone to help us?). Legend has it that in response to his call, Imam Hussain's six-month-old son threw himself from his cradle, sensing his father's distress. When Imam Hussain presented the innocent child to Yazid's forces, pleading for water to quench his thirst, Umar ibn Saad remained unmoved by the sight of the thirsty baby. Instead, he ordered Hurmala to kill the infant with the largest arrow in his quiver. With a serene smile, the child accepted the arrow to his throat, becoming the final martyr for Imam Hussain (a.s) in the Battle of Karbala. This spot commemorates the heartbreaking moment when the arrow struck the newborn baby while Imam Hussain held him tenderly in his arms, symbolizing the ultimate sacrifice made in the name of faith and righteousness.

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5.Maqam E Imam Zamana

Maqam e Imam Zamana is located at the beginning of Shahrah Sidra tul Muntaha, near the shrine of Imam Hussain (a.s.) in Karbala, Iraq. This spot is believed to be where the last Imam (a.s.) will reside. Whenever this Imam visits the shrine of Imam Hussain (a.s.), it's said that he always stops first at Maqam e Imam Zamana. According to some stories, this is also the very spot where Imam Hussain (a) fell from his horse during his final battle. It's a place of great significance for pilgrims who come to pay their respects and seek blessings. Maqam e Imam Zamana serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring legacy of faith and sacrifice that continues to resonate through time.

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6.Mukhayyam (Khayma-gaah)

Mukhayyam, or Khayma-gaah, is typically located in Karbala, Iraq. Al-Mukhayyam, translated as the tented grounds, serves as the hallowed site where the Khayyam, or tents, of Imam Hussain and his revered family members, were pitched during their stay in Karbala. Each tent holds a unique significance, reflecting the roles and responsibilities of its occupants. At the outskirts stands the tent of Abbas (a.s), symbolizing his pivotal role as the guardian of the entire tribe and the esteemed commander of Imam Hussain's army. This sacred ground embodies the spirit of unity, resilience, and devotion that permeated the encampment of Imam Hussain and his loyal companions during their fateful stay in Karbala. When people visit Al-Mukhayyam, they usually feel a strong sense of respect and awe. They're reminded of the sacrifices made by Imam Hussain and his companions, which can be both humbling and inspiring. It's a place where faith and history come together, leaving visitors with a profound impression of courage and devotion.

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7. Shrine of Hazrat Hurr

In Karbala, Iraq, there's a special place called the Shrine of Hazrat Hurr. It's dedicated to remembering Hazrat Hurr ibn Yazid al-Riyahi, who made a brave choice during the Battle of Karbala. At first, he was on Yazid's side, but he felt he was doing wrong. So, he decided to stand with Imam Hussain, who represented what was right. It was a tough decision, but he did it anyway. This shrine is a reminder of Hazrat Hurr's bravery and his decision to do the right thing, even when it was hard. People from all over visit this place to pay their respects to him and to ask for blessings. When you go there, you feel a sense of peace and respect. It's a quiet place where you can think about important things like courage and doing what's right. Visitors to the Shrine of Hazrat Hurr leave feeling inspired by his story and reminded of the importance of being brave and sticking to your beliefs. It's a special place that holds a lot of meaning for people who come to visit.

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