Shi'a

Gallery


Karbala, Shrine to Husayn, Third Imam

Abu 'Abdu'llah Husayn ibn 'Ali, the Third Imam of Shi'a Islam, is the most important figure in Shi'ite history. His martyrdom at Karbala, described in the section on Husayn, is the most significant event in Shi'ite history. This event occurred on 10 Muhurram, and the celebration of this day, Ashura, is one of the most important celebrations of the Shi'ite calendar.

When he was killed at Karbala, he was decapitated (the head was taken to Baghdad), and his body, with more than thirty wounds in it, was trampled by horses. Local villagers buried the bodies, and soon a shrine was erected. This was soon torn down by the Abassids, but another was quickly rebuilt. The current shrine dates from 979 AD / 369 AH and was built during the reign of the Buyid prince, 'Adudu'd-Dawla. It eventually fell to ruin and the dome collapsed in the eleventh century AD (fifth century AH). The whole town of Karbala was sacked and burned by the Wahabis in 1801 and again by the Ottomans in 1843. The shrine was restored in the 1850's by Nasiru'd-Din Shah. The building was significantly rebuilt and the dome was covered in gold.

Karbala is one of the most important religious centers in Shi'a Islam. Because of the war with Iraq, Iranian Shi'ites have little chance to make the pilgrimage there. The shrine is surrounded by an enclosed area, the Hair , which no unbelievers are allowed to enter. Inside is a sarcophagus that contains the body of the slain Husayn.

Copyright, 1993, Corel Corporation. See the Corel License Agreement under which these pictures are published. This image is to be used only for educational activities in connection with the classes connected to this site.


Kazimayn, Shrines to the Seventh and Ninth Imams

Kazimayn is now a suburb of Baghdad. The shrines to Imams Musa-al Kazim and Muhaamad at-Taqi, the Seventh and Ninth Imams of Shi'ite belief, was built over the Quraysh cemetery in Baghdad. Abu'l-Hasan Musa ibn Ja'far was called "The Forebearing" (al-Kazim ). He was heavily persecuted by the Abbassid caliphs, and was finally imprisoned and poisoned in Baghdad in 799 AD / 183 AH.

His grandson, Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Ali, the ninth Imam, was called "God-Fearing" (at-Taqi ) and "The Generous" (al-Jawad ). He became Imam at the age of seven, but seems to have live a retired life in Medina. He died in Baghdad in 835 AD / 220 AH. There is no evidence that he died of anything other than natural causes, but Shi'ite history maintains that all the Imams were martyred and so claim that he was poisoned by his wife.

The shrine was erected in a new Baghdad suburb called "Kazimayn," or "The Two Kazims," built during the Buyid dynasty. The current shrine was built in the sixteenth century by Shah Isma'il, the first Shah of the Safavid dynasty in Iran. The domes you see here were tiled with gold in 1796 by the first Qajar ruler of Iran, Agha Muhammad Shah, retiled with gold in the 1850's, and again by the Iraqi government in the 1970's.

Copyright, 1993, Corel Corporation. See the Corel License Agreement under which these pictures are published. This image is to be used only for educational activities in connection with the classes connected to this site.


Qumm, Shrine of Fatima, sister of the Eighth Imam

Abu'l-Hasan 'Ali ibn Musa, known as "The Approved One" (ar-Rida ), was the Eighth Imam of Shi'a Islam. While he was with the Caliph, Ma'mun in Marv, his sister, Fatima, called "The Immaculate" (Ma'suma ) journeyed to be with him by died in Qumm. The shrine built to her has become the religious center of Qumm, which was founded as a Shi'a city in 712 AD / 94 AH.

The present shrine was built by Shah Bigum, the daughter of Shah Isma'il, in 1519 AD / 925 AH. The dome was covered with gold tiles in the Qajar period.

We are looking at the shrine from the front from the Atabegi Court, which has been recently built. People gather in this court for prayer. Fatima's tomb is directly below the central gold dome. Not shown in the picture are the cloisters around the courtyard in which several Qajar officials are entombed. The inside of the Fatima shrine is decorated with mirrors.

Copyright, 1993, Corel Corporation. See the Corel License Agreement under which these pictures are published. This image is to be used only for educational activities in connection with the classes connected to this site.




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1997, Richard Hooker

Updated 2-27-97