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The Rewards and Merits of Visiting the Grave of Imam Hussain (a.s)

As Arbaeen is just around the corner, millions of mourners from all around the world are heading towards Karbala to pay their tribute to the Sayyid al-Shohada, Imam Hussain (a), whereas, those who couldn’t make it to the holy land this time around are planning on visiting Karbala next year. Visiting the oppressed Imam (a) is an expression of one’s heartfelt affection with him and an explicit action signaling hostility and hatred towards his oppressors. Be it known that glorious merits and exalted station of the visitor of Imam’s (a) holy shrine are too innumerable to be counted.

Visiting the grave of Imam Hussain (a) is recommended, while emphasis upon visiting his grave is among the necessities of the Religion. The 11th Imam, Imam Hasan al-Askari (a) considered attending Arbaeen to be one of the clear and apparent signs of a true believer when he said, “the signs of a true believer are five.” [1]

It is related that the visitation to His (a) grave is essential upon every believer and is obligatory upon every man and woman. While one who abandons it, in fact has abandoned the rights of Allah and His Prophet, while abandoning it is ungratefulness with the Prophet of Allah (s) and is a result of a defect in his belief and Religion. And the one who deliberately avoids it, he shall be among the dwellers of hell.

It is advisable to visit Imam Hussain (a) with understanding of his holy station. This knowledge has different aspects. One of its aspects is for us to realize which path are we walking on. We should know what the “Friends of God” have said about a person who goes to Karbala and what prayers are made for such a person. Knowing these gives you an expanded existence, which is the necessary factor for attracting light, blessings, and grace on this path. It gives us the capacity to benefit from these blessings. [2]

As a matter of fact, it is impossible to contain all the narrations about the merits of pilgrimages to Imam al-Hussain’s tomb; yet, I will try to mention as many of them as possible.

Ali (a) ibn Abi Talib (as) narrates:

“RasoolAllah (s) visited Us one day. We offered Him a plate full of dates and a cup of milk and butter, which had been sent to Us from Um Ayman. After He ate, I rose and poured some water over His hands and I washed them. Then I wiped His face and beard with the water from His hands. Then He went to a corner of the house and began to pray. When He went into sajda, He began to weep. After weeping for a long time, He raised His head.

Then Hussain (a) went and climbed on the lap of RasoolAllah (s). Hussain (a) placed RasoolAllah (s)’s head on His chest and then laid His chin on top of the head of RasoolAllah (s). Then He said, “O Father (s)! What causes You to weep?”

RasoolAllah (s) replied, “O My Son (a)! When I s You, Ahlul Bayt (a), today I felt such a happiness that I had never felt before, but then Jibrael (as) came to Me and informed Me that each of You will be martyred and that Your graves will be far from each other. I praised Allah and asked Him to bless You all with the best.”

Hussain (a) asked, “O Father (s)! Who will perform the Ziyarat of Our graves and maintain their oaths with Them even though They are far from each other?”

RasoolAllah (s) replied, “Those from My ummah (nation) who seek My pleasure and seek nearness to Me by performing Ziyarat of Your graves. On the Day of Judgment, I will search for them and take them by the hand and save them from the hardships and tribulations of that day.” [3]

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“There are four thousand disheveled angels covered with dust by the grave of Hussain (a). They weep over Him and will continue to do so until the Day of Judgment. Their leader is an angel named Mansoor.

These angels receive all who come for the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) and the angels accompany them when they bid farewell to Hussain (a). The angels visit them if they become ill and pray over them at their funerals and seek forgiveness for them after their death.” [4]

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) narrates:

“Order Our Shia to perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a). Performing His Ziyarat is wajib upon every momin who testifies that Hussain (a) is an Imam divinely appointed by Allah (swt).” [5]

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

I heard My Father, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a), ask one of His servants who had just asked Him regarding the Ziyarat of Hussain (a), “To whose Ziyarat are you going and whom do you seek to please by going to this Ziyarat?”

The servant replied, “Allah swt.”

My Father, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) said:

“Those who establish one salat behind the grave of Hussain (a) seeking the nearness of Allah will meet Him on the Day of Judgment shining so brightly that the light emanating from them will cover everything that sees them.

Allah will honor those who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) and will prevent the hellfire from touching them. They will not be prevented from coming to the Pool of al Kauthar and none shall precede them.

Ameerul Momineen (a) will be standing by al Kauthar and He will shake their hands and quench their thirst with the water.

Then they will go to their abodes in Jannah accompanied by an angel appointed by Ameerul Momineen (a). This angle will order Sirat (bridge over hellfire) to humble itself before them and will order Hell not to touch them with its blazing fires. They will pass over Sirat accompanied by the angel sent by Ameerul Momineen (a).” [6]

Muawiyah ibn Wahab narrates:

Aba Abdullah (Imam Jafar Sadiq a) said:

“O’ Muawiyah! Do not neglect performing the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) due to fear. He who abandons the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) for any reason will regret it so much that he will wish that His grave was next to him. Do you not desire for Allah to see you amongst those whom RasoolAllah (s), Ameerul Momineen (a), Syeda Fatima (sa), and the Imams (a) pray for?

Do you not desire to be amongst those who return with forgiveness for their past sins and do you not desire to return from His Ziyarat with seventy years of sins forgiven for you? Do you not desire to be amongst those who will not have any sins about which they will be questioned when they leave this life? Do you not desire to be amongst those whose hands RasoolAllah (s) will shake tomorrow on the Day of Judgment?” [7]

It is related in numerous traditions that from Ahlulbayt (a) that,

“Visiting his grave is a meritorious deed and for every dirham spent upon it will be recompensed with one thousand dirhams”. [8]

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“Those of Our Shia who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) will not return without all of their sins having been forgiven. Allah will record one thousand good deeds and erase one thousand bad deeds for every step they take or their mount takes. He will also raise their rank one thousand times for every step.” [9]

8. Reward of Allah, RasoolAllah (s), Ameerul Momineen (a) and Syeda Fatima (sa)

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (asws) narrates:

“Syeda Fatima (sa), the Daughter of RasoolAllah (s), visits those who perform the Ziarat of the grave of Her Son, Hussain (asws), and She seeks forgiveness for their sins.” [10]

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“On the Day of Judgment a crier will call out, “Where are the zuwar (visitors) of Hussain (a) ibn Ali (a)?”

A number of people so great it can only be counted by Allah will stand.  Allah will ask them, “What made you perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a)?”

They will reply, “O Lord! Our love for RasoolAllah (s), our love for Ameerul Momineen (a), and our love for Syeda Fatima (sa) made us go to Him.”

They will be told, “Here are Muhammad (s), Ali (a), Syeda Fatima (sa), Hasan (a), and Hussain (a). Join Them, for you will be with Them on Their station in Jannah. Now follow the flag of RasoolAllah (s).”

Then they (the zuwar) will go to the flag of RasoolAllah (s) which is carried by Ameerul Momineen (a), and there they shall remain—surrounding it on all sides, under its shade, in front of it, to the left of it, to the right and behind it—until all of them enter Jannah.” [11]

  1. Abu Baseer narrates:

I heard Aba Abdullah Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) say, “Those who wish for their final abode to be Jannah should not neglect performing the Ziyarat of the Oppressed One.”

I asked, “Who is the Oppressed One?”

Imam (a) replied, “Hussain (a) ibn Ali (a), the Man of Karbala. Allah will make those who perform His Ziyarat while longing for Him and with love for RasoolAllah (s), love for Syeda Fatima (sa), and love for Ameerul Momineen (a) to sit at the Ma’ida (table spread) of Jannah. They will be dining with them while others are facing the Hasab (accountability).” [12]

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“The days which one spends performing the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) are not counted as part of their lives; those days do not deduct from their appointed life span.” [13]

Abdullah ibn Zurarah narrates from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a):

“On the Day of Judgment those who have performed the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) ibn Ali (a) will be given preference over others.”

I asked, “What kind of preference?”

Imam (a) replied, “They will enter Jannah forty years before others do. They will enter Jannah whilst others will be waiting in the Desert of Judgment to face the Hasab (accountability).” [14]

Imam Musa Kazim (a) narrates:

“The least reward for those who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) by the shores of the River Furat whilst having His marifat and believing in His greatness and Wilayat is the forgiveness for all of their past and future sins.” [15]

  1.  Imam Jafar Sadiq ( narrates:

“Those who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) with the niyyat of receiving sawab from Allah and without the intention of showing off or being seen by others will have their sins purified the way the water purifies the clothes.” [16]

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“Those who perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) for the sake of Allah and in the way of Allah will be free from the hellfire by Allah. They will be kept safe by Him on the Day of the Great Terror. They will not ask Allah for anything in this world or the hereafter that Allah will not grant for them.” [17]

Salim ibn Mukram al Jamal narrates, I asked Aba Abdullah Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) regarding the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a).

Imam (a) replied: “It is the best of all deeds.” [18]

  1. Imam Ridha’ ( narrates:

“Those who perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Aba Abdullah Imam Hussain (a) by the shores of the River Furat are like those who have performed the Ziyarat of Allah on His Arsh.” [19]

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“Those who want their time of death to be easy, those who want their fear for that which will come on the Day of Judgment to be reduced, and those who want to be able to look upon Allah on the Day of Judgment should perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) as much as possible. The Ziyarat of Hussain (a) is the Ziyarat of RasoolAllah (s).” [20]

15. Prolongs One’s Life and Increases One’s Rizq

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) narrates:

“Inform Our Shia to perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a). Performing His Ziyarat increases rizq (sustenance), prolongs life, and keeps afflictions away. Performing His Ziyarat is wajib upon every momin who believes Hussain (a) has been divinely appointed by Allah as an Imam.” [21]

16. Equals to performing Hajj, Umrah & Freeing Slaves

It is related in numerous traditions that visiting grave of Imam Hussain (a) is equal to accepted Hajj and Umrah, and emancipation one thousand slaves, rather it is equal to twenty Hajj, and better than twenty Hajj, rather Allah will write down eighty Hajj in his account. While his pilgrimage is equal to the Hajj performed along with the Prophet of Allah (s), rather the one who goes for his pilgrimage, being cognizant of his rights, will be equal to the one who has performed Hajj hundred times accompanying the Prophet of Allah (s). [22]

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“On the Day of Judgment, a crier will call out, “Where are the zuwar of the grave of Hussain (a)?”

A group of people will rise and they will be told, “Take the hand of whomsoever you wish and take them to Jannah with you.” [23]

18. Misfortune for those who Neglect it

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) narrates:

“Those from amongst Our Shia who do not perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) are lacking in iman (faith) and their deen (religion) is incomplete. And even if they enter Jannah, their position will be lower than that of the momin (true believers).” [24]

19. Most Beloved Place for Dua

Abi Hashim al Jafari narrates:

Muhammad ibn Hamzah and I (Abi Hashim al Jafari) went to visit Imam Ali Naqi (a) during a time when the Imam (a) was ill. The Imam (a) said to us, “Take some of My money and send some people to the Ha’yr on My behalf.”

After we left the Imam (a), Muhammad ibn Hamzah said, “The Imam (a) wants us to send someone to the Ha’yr while He is as sacred as the One in the Ha’yr (Imam Hussain a).”

When I returned to the Imam (a), I (Abi Hashim al Jafari) mentioned to Him what Muhammad ibn Hamzah had said.

The Imam (a) replied, “There are certain places Allah loves to be worshipped at and the Ha’yr of Hussain (a) is one of those places.” [25]

Safwan al Jammal narrates from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a):

“Those who live near to His grave should perform His Ziyarat no less than once per month. Those who live at a great distance should perform His Ziyarat no less than once every three years.

If three years pass and they do not perform His Ziyarat, or do not have a valid excuse for not performing His Ziyarat, then they are considered amongst those who are selfish and unthankful to RasoolAllah (s).

If the zawir (visitor) of Hussain (a) knew how happy he made RasoolAllah (s), Ameerul Momineen (a), Syeda Fatima (sa), the Imams (a), and the martyrs from amongst Our Family, and how They prayed for him (the zawir) and the rewards which They prepared for the zawir in this life and the rewards which will be preserved for Him before Allah in the hereafter, then the zawir would have wished for his house to be next to the grave of Hussain (a) for as long as he lived.

When the zawir leaves Karbala to return to his home, his shadow does not fall upon anything without that thing praying for him. And when the sun shines down upon the zawir, it burns his sins like the fire burns the wood. The sun does not allow any of his sins to remain so he returns as a person without sin and his status will be elevated for him to a level that cannot be attained even by those who spilled all of their blood in the way of Allah. [26]

Now, to give a brief overview about the sourcebook of the aforementioned narrations, I would like to quote widely known Hadees e Saqalayn where RasoolAllah (s) said,

“Verily, I am leaving behind two precious things (Saqalayn) among you: The Book of God and my kindred (itrah), my household (Ahlulbayt), for indeed, the two will never separate until they come back to me by the Pond (of Al-Kawthar).”

During the era of occultation of Imam al-Asr al-Mahdi (atfs), the best possible way to recognize Saqalayn, the twofold legacy of the Prophet (s) in the form of the Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt (a), is through the valuable books, which we have inherited and preserved over the years from our great scholars.

Soon after the Minor Occultation (260 AH – 329 AH) of Imam al-Mahdi (a) ended, eminent Shia scholars started documenting the hadiths to preserve the teachings of the Holy Prophet (s) and his Progeny (a). Following is a brief timeline of the foremost Shia hadith sourcebooks.

  1. Al-Kafi, Yaqub al-Kulayni, d. 329 AH

  2. Kamil al-Ziyarat, Ibn Qulawayh al-Qummi, d. 368 AH

  3. Man la Yahduruh al-Faqih, Al-Shaykh Saduq, d. 381 AH

  4. Nehjul Balagha, Syed al-Razi, d. 406 AH

  5. Al-Irshad, Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, d. 413 AH

  6. Tahdhib al-Ahkam, Al-Shaykh al-Toosi, d. 460 AH

  7. Al-Istibsar, Al-Shaykh al-Toosi, d. 460 AH

  8. Gurar al-Hikam, Abu Fateh al-Amadi, d. 510 AH

  9. Bihar al-Anwaar, Allama Majlisi, d. 726 AH

The book that we have mainly referred here is Kamil al-Ziyarat [27] authored by Abul Qasim Jafar bin Muhammad bin Jafar bin Musa bin Qulawayh al-Qummi famously known as Ibn Qūlawayh who is one the prominent shi’a hadith narrator hailed from a very knowledgeable and religious family. His father Abu Jafar Ibne Mohammad Ibne Jafar was a Muhaddith (narrator of traditions) and was well regarded in the field of jurisprudence (fiqh). His brother Abul Hussain Ali bin Mohammad bin Jafar bin Moosa bin Qulawayh was also a Muhaddith and one of the narrators of traditions in Kaamil-uz-Ziaraat. Ibn Qūlawayh al-Qummi was among the best students of Muhammad bin Ya’qub al-Kulayni (b. 255 – d. 329) and one of the most prominent teachers of Al-Shaykh al-Mufid (b. 336 – d. 413). He died in 368 AH and is buried next to al-Shaykh al-Mufid in the holy shrine of al-Kazimayn, Iraq. [28]

It is important to note that Ibn Qulawayh al-Qummi is among the earliest Muhadditheen (narrators of hadith) who was also alive during the era of minor occultation and most of his work is taken as Maakhaz (origin/source) by the great Shia scholars of every era. Some of the notable scholars who have paid tribute to his work are Shaykh al-Toosi, Ahmed Najashi, Shaykh al-Mufid, Ibn Tawus, Allama Hilli and Shaykh Abbas al-Qummi. [29] Ibn Qulawayh has written around 30 books, however, Kamil al-Ziyarat remains his most celebrated and notable accomplishment. This book is a collection of hadiths from Ahlulbayt (a) about how to pilgrimage the Prophet (s) and the other Imams and their children.

To conclude, there is no doubt that Imam Hussian (a) has not only awoken the human race by sacrificing everything that he had for the sake of Allah but also compelled its consciousness to ponder over the sanctity of his religion and the sublimity of the Allah Almighty before whom He (a) bowed. In the words of renowned subcontinental poet, Josh Malihabadi, [30]

The One, whose Sajood (bows), pulls towards the Masjood (whom one worships)

The One, who is a solitary indication towards the Ma’abood (the Creator)

Enormous rewards and merits for the pilgrims of Imam Hussain’s (a) holy shrine are the proof of Imam’s (a) extraordinary status and Allah’s love for Him (a) and his ardent zuwaar. We pray to Allah that He grants us taufeeq, resources and recognition of the highest order to perform the ziyarat of Imam Husain (a) on a regular basis.

O Allah! Bless Muhammad (s) and the progeny of Muhammad (s).

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