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Imam Hussein Shrine (part1)

imam hussein shrine

The Shrine of Hussein ibn ‘Ali (Arabic: مقام الامام الحسين‎) is a holy site in the city of Karbala, Iraq. It stands near the place where he was killed during the Battle of Karbala in 680 C.E.. The tomb of Hussein ibn ‘Ali is one of the holiest places for Shi‘a outside of Mecca and Medina, and many make pilgrimages to the site. Up to a million pilgrims visit the city to observe ‘Ashura, which marks the anniversary of Hussein ibn ‘Ali’s death.

The Sunni Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs prevented construction of the shrines and discouraged pilgrimage to the sites. The tomb and its annexes were destroyed by Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil in 850-851 and Shi'a pilgrimage was prohibited, but shrines in Karbala and Najaf were built by the Buwayhid emir 'Adud al-Daula in 979-80.

Two main roads lead the visitor to Karbala. One is from the Baghdad (Capital city of Iraq), through Al-Musails, and the other is from Najaf. At the city's entrance there is a row of houses decorated with wooden columns.

The boundary wall of the shrine surrounds wooden gates covered with glass decorations. The gates open into a courtyard separated into smaller rooms or precincts with many 'Iwans' along the walls. The grave of Hussein is enclosed within a cage-like structure, found directly beneath the golden dome

Karbala: origin and meaning

There are many opinions among different investigators, as to the origin of the word 'Karbala'. Some have pointed out that 'Karbala' has a connection to the 'Karbalato' language, while others attempt to derive the meaning of word 'Karbala' by analyzing its spelling and language. They conclude that it originates from the Arabic word 'Kar Babel' which was a group of ancient Babylonian villages that included Nainawa, Al-Ghadiriyya, Karbella (Karb Illu. as in Arba Illu [Arbil]), Al-Nawaweess, and Al-Heer. This last name is today known as Al-Hair and is where Hussein ibn Ali’s grave is located.

The investigator Yaqut al-Hamawy had pointed out that the meaning of 'Karbala' could have several explanations, one of which is that the place where Hussein ibn Ali was martyred is made of soft earth - 'Al-Karbalat'.

According to Shi‘a belief, the true meaning of the name Karbala was narrated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel as being, 'the land which will cause many agonies (karb) and afflictions (balā).'

imam hussein shrine

Other links:

Al Abbas Mosque

Great Mosque of Damascus, Syria

Masjid-ul-Nabi Photo Gallery

The history of mosques

Imam Ali Mosque

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