Imam Ali Shrine

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Imam Ali Shrine also known as Haram-e-Imam Ali or Masjid-e-Haider is a Dargah of Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib, a cousin, companion and son-in-law of Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. It is located in Najaf, Iraq. Each year, millions of pilgrims visit the Shrine and pay tribute to Hazrat Imam Ali.

The shrine monument has undergone multiple constructions and reconstructions throughout the years, with the current structure dating to the middle of the Safavid era. Under Shah Abbas the Great's orders, work on it started in 1621 and was finished in 1631, the year of his passing. The building was designed in the traditional Safavid Persian architecture, and Baha' al-din al-'Amili was chosen as the architect. Nader Shah Afshar gilded the shrine's dome and minarets in 1743, and other significant restorations have been made over time to further enhance the shrine's grandeur and beauty.[1]

Building history[edit | edit source]

In 786, Abbasid ruler Harun al-Rashid built the first structure over Hazrat Imam Ali tomb, including a green dome.

The Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil flooded the site around 850, but in the tenth century, Abu'l-Hayja, the Hamdanid king of Mosul and Aleppo, reconstructed the shrine in 923, adding a massive dome.

In 979-980, the Shi'ite Buyid emir 'Adud al-Dawla expanded the shrine, adding a cenotaph over the burial site and a new dome. This includes hanging textiles and rugs. He also fortified Najaf with a wall and castle, and provided water from the Euphrates via a qanat.

In 1086, the Seljuq ruler Malik-Shah I and Caliph Al-Nasir both made significant contributions to the temple.

In 1267, vizier Shams al-Din Juvayni improved pilgrim facilities, and in 1303, sultan Ghazan Khan built the Dar al-Siyada wing for the sayyids.

In 1326, Ibn Battuta visited the shrine and reported that it was "carpeted with various sorts of carpets of silk and other materials, and contains candelabra of gold and silver, large and small." Between the three tombs, there are gold and silver plates with rosewater, musk, and various types of scents. The visitor dips his hand in this and uses it to anoint his face as a benediction. The Jalairid monarch Shaikh Awais Jalayir repaired the shrine in 1358 after it was devastated by fire in 1354. He also deposited the remains of his father, Hasan Buzurg, in the courtyard. Timur ordered the shrine's repair following a visit to Najaf.

After a visit in 1534, Suleiman the Magnificent also offered gifts, which most likely contributed to the shrine's restoration. The Safavid Shah Ismail I paid a visit to Najaf in 1508, but Abbas I returned twice and commissioned 500 men to repair the shrine in 1623. His grandson, Shah Safi al-Din, finished the restoration in 1632. To handle the large number of pilgrims, the restoration comprised a new dome, an expanded courtyard, a hospital, kitchen, and hospice. The cenotaph was rebuilt in 1713, while the dome was stabilized in 1716.

References[edit | edit source]