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Al aqsa moschee 2

Masjid al-Aqsa, built near the spot from where Muhammad is said to have ascended to the heavens according to the Quran; Jerusalem

Ziyārah (Arabic: زيارة‎) (Commonly referred to as, "Ziyārat" ; meaning: "Visit") is a pilgrimage to sites associated with Muhammad, his family members and descendants (including the Shī‘ah Imāms), his companions, or other venerated figures in Islām, such as the Prophets, Sufi saints and Islāmic scholars. Sites of pilgrimage include mosques, graves, battlefields, mountains, and caves.

Ziyārat can also refer to a form of supplication made by the Shī‘ah, in which they send salutations and greetings to Muhammad and his family[1].

Etymology & Usage

"Ziyarat" comes from the Arabic word "zur" meaning "to visit". The word is actually pronounced "ziyarah" with an 'h' at the end, but as Arabic is not the first language of most Muslims, the word is commonly pronounced "ziyarat" rather than "ziyarah". It can also be transliterated from Arabic as "ziarah".

Iranian and south-Asian Muslims use the word ziyarat for both, the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca,as well as for pilgrimages to other sites.

Pilgrimage sites

Different Muslim-majority countries, speaking many different languages, use different words for these sites.

Sufi places of worship and retreat may be built near the graves of famous Sufi saints; they are often called khanqahs or tekkes.

Sites by country

Afghanistan

Mazar-e sharif - Steve Evans

The historic Blue Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif

Algeria

Bangladesh

China (People's Republic of)

India

The Ziyarat sites in India are owned and maintained by the waqf Boards of the respective states in which they are located.

Indonesia

Iran

Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization lists several hundred "ziyarat-gah" or places of pilgrimage in which a sage, Sufi, Imamzadeh, or Imam were buried in Iran. Some of the more popular ones include:

Iraq

Six of twelve, Twelver Shī‘ah Imāms are buried in Iraq:

Israel and Palestinian territories

Al aqsa moschee 2

Masjid al-Aqsa

Kazakhstan

Malaysia

Mali

Morocco

Pakistan

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

South Africa

Sri Lanka

Syria

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan

Views on Ziyarat

Sunni Views

The majority of the wahhabi ]]Sunni]]s believe that visiting the graves of saints should be classified as shirk, or idolatry, and bid'ah, or innovation except the visiting of the tomb of Muhammad in Medina which may be done during Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage. However, it is not a requirement of Hajj. Even so, the Sunni scholars state that it would be a Shirk act if they communicate directly with the tomb of Muhammad. They point out to the following sayings of Muhammad as an evidence for their belief.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 425: Narrated 'Aisha:

When the Prophet became ill, some of his wives talked about a church which they had seen in Ethiopia and it was called Mariya. Um Salma and Um Habiba had been to Ethiopia, and both of them narrated its (the Church's) beauty andworship, for verily I forbid you to do so.”[2]

  • “The most evil of mankind are those who will be alive when the Last Day arrives and those who take graves as places of worship.”[3]
  • It is also reported in the most authentic books of Sunni Islam that Aa’ishah (wife of Muhammad) reported:

“Had it not been so, his (i.e. the Prophet’s) grave would have been in an open place, but it could not be due to the fear that it could be taken as a mosque.”[4]

The Sunni Scholars declare that the purpose of visiting the graves and cemeteries is only to remind people of death and the transit curse be upon the Jews and Christians for taking the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.”[5]

  • “...Beware that those before you took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship. Do not take graves as places of worship, for verily I forbid you to do so.”[2]
  • “The most evil of mankind are those who will be alive when the Last Day arrives and those who take graves as places of worship.”[3]
  • It is also reported in the most authentic books of Sunni Islam that Aa’ishah (wife of Muhammad) reported:

“Had it not been so, his (i.e. the Prophet’s) grave would have been in an open place, but it could not be due to the fear that it could be taken as a mosque.”[4]

The Sunni Scholars declare that the purpose of visiting the graves and cemeteries is only to remind people of death and the transitory nature of life.

In the case of the Wahhabi Saudis, such Muslims who have achieved political power over a country or a region have used that power to prevent ziyarat and even to destroy tombs near which people would pray and make supplications.

In Saudi Arabia, the Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques, attempts to prevent Shi'as and Sufis from performing ziyarat to the graves of nobles (except the tomb of Muhammad) while they are visiting Mecca and Medina during the Hajj. For an example, the Baqi Cemetery, is surrounded by large billboards proclaiming the sinfulness of shirk and grave-worshipping. Visitors are advised to visit the cemetery only to remind themselves of death and the Hereafter.

Sūfī Views

Shī‘ah Views

There are many reasons for which the Shī‘ah partake in the performance of Ziyarah, none of which include the worship of the people buried within the tombs - Ayatullah Borujerdi and Ayatullah Khomeini have both said:

"It is haram (forbidden) to prostrate to anyone except Allah. If the act of prostration in front of the shrines of the Infallible Imams ('a.s.) is a form of thanksgiving to God, there is no objection, otherwise it is haram."[6]
The Shī‘ah do however perform Ziyarah, believing that the entombed figures bear great status in the eyes of God, and seek to have their prayers answered through these people (a form of Tawassul) - Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Musawi writes:
"They (the holy figures) are being requested to supplicate to Allah, to deliver the person in need from his affliction, since the supplication of these saintly figures is accepted by Allah."[7]
In this regard, Ibn Shu’ba al-Harrani also narrates a hadīth from the tenth Imām of the Twelver Shī‘as:
"God has some areas where he likes to be supplicated in, and the prayer of the supplicator is accepted (in those areas); the sanctuary of Husayn (a.s.) is one of these."[8]
The Ziyarah of the Imāms is also done by the Shī‘ah, not only as a means of greeting and saluting their masters who lived long before they were born, but also as a means of seeking nearness to God and more of His blessings (barakah).

The Shī‘ah do not consider the narrations in Bukhari to be authentic,[9] and argue that if things such as Ziyarah and Tawassul were innovations and shirk, Muhammad himself would have prohibited people as a precaution, from visiting graves, or seeking blessings through kissing the sacred black stone at the Ka‘bah.[10] Some Sunni scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah,[11] have also rejected the notion that such things are innovations (bid'ah).

Note on "the poor man's Hajj"

Apparently there is a folk belief in South Asia that passing through the gate of the Dargah of Khwaja Sahib seven times is equivalent to doing the Hajj. According to the Tribune of India:

"The “zannati darwaja” is opened only four times in a year during Khawaja’s Urs, on Id-ul-Fitar, Sixth of Id and Bakrid. It is considered by faithfuls that one who passes through the “zannati darwaja” gets his seat reserved in “Zannat” (heaven) after death. Moreover seven rounds of the “Darwaja” gives “sawab” equal to Haj pilgrim. Those who cannot afford to go for Haj come here when the “darwaja” traditionally remains open and pass through it seven times. This is called poor men’s Haj." [2]

See also

References

  1. List of Supplication Ziyarats
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sahih Muslim (Eng. trans.) vol.1, p.269, no.1083
  3. 3.0 3.1 Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal (al-Fitan wal-Ashrat as-Sa’aat – the trials and signs of the Hour). See Ahkaamul-Janaa’iz, p.278
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sahih al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans.) vol.2, p.232, no.414, Sahih Muslim (Eng. Trans.) vol.1, p.268, no.1076 and Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal vol.6, no.156-198, vol.8, no.114.
  5. Sahih Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans.) vol.1, p.255, no.427 Sahih Muslim (Eng. Trans.) vol.1, p.269, no.1082, Sunan Abu Dawood (Eng. Trans.) vol.2, p.917, no.3221, Sunan an-Nass’ai vol.1, no.115 and others.
  6. Ayatullah Borujerdi, Tawdih al-Masa'il, p.172 ; Imam Khumayni, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol.1, p.150 ; Risalah-ye Novin, vol.1, p.148.
  7. Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Musawi, Risalah dar Kitab wa Sunnat, Majmu'ah Maqalat, Kitab Nida'-e Wahdat, Tehran, Chehel-Sutun Publishers, p.259.
  8. Ibn Shu’ba al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-'Uqul, p.510.
  9. Moojan Moman, Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p.174 ; Ahmad Abdullah Salamah, Shia & Sunni Perspective on Islam, p.52.
  10. Risalatan Bayn al-Shaykhayn, p.17.
    http://www.imamreza.net/eng/list.php?id=0113
    http://www.al-islam.org/mot/tawassul.htm
  11. Majmu'ah Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah, vol.1, p.106, as cited in al-Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, vol.14, pp.163-164. Ibn Taymiyya states: "Those who accuse a person of heresy for making tawassul deserve the most severe punishment."
  • Privratsky, Bruce G. Muslim Turkistan: Kazak Religion and Collective Memory. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon. 2001.
  • Subtelny, M. E. 1989. The cult of holy places: religious practices among Soviet Muslims. Middle East Journal, 43(4): 593–604.

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