Rafed English

Pilgrimage to Mashhad

Pilgrimage to Mashhad

by :

Haji Davood Haji Naseer

Ay Azeezan in Sukhan Farmoodae Paigamberast,

Nooray Chashm Der Khorasan Bekaso Beyaver Ast,

Yak Tawafay Merqaday Sultan Ali Moosay Raza,

Haft Hazaaro Haft Sado Haftaad Hajje Akber ast.

Hazrat Rasoole Khuda (SAWA) has said that one Tawaaf of The Zareeh of My son Imam Ali Moose Raza will bestow the sawaab of seven thousand seven hundred & seventy-seven Hajje Akber to the Zawwar of Mashhad-e-Muqaddas.

Al Moamino Farmaataa Hai woh Saiyede Abraar

Ek Baar Ziyarat ko meri Karta Hai Zawwar

Mar Jaata Hai jab voh to main Hotaa hoon azadar

Jaata hoon Lahadme Shabe Awwalko main so Baar

Marte Hai jo Zawwar Meri raahmein Aake

Detaa hoon unhe ghusl o Kafan aap mein aake

Preface By Printer & Publisher

With Due respects to our respected brothers-in-faith this humble man Haji Gulam Ali Ismail, (Printer & Publisher) submits that by the grace of Allah Almighty and with the blessings of Hazrat Imam Raza (A.S.) Dawood Haji Nasser Haji Mavji of Bombay was fortunate to get the great benefit to present himself in the Haram Mubarak of Hazrat (A.S.) and to recite Ziyarat there. In order to commemorate the great event he has written a detailed description of his pilgrimage and named it BOMBAY TO MASHHAD. He got 1500 copies printed at my Press and gifted the same to brothers-in-faith so that it can serve as a guide for those who may intend to go for Ziyarat.

May ALLAH ALMIGHTY bestow upon this brother the best rewards in both this world and in the hereafter Ameen

This Imam-e-gareebul guraba is our eighth Imam. Accordingly below published are eight ahadis to encourage the faithful to undertake his Ziyarat. These Ahadis have been taken from the farsi book Tohfatur Razviyyah:--

1. Janaab Shaikh Tusi (A.M.) in Tehzeebul Ahkaam and Janaab Saduq in Oyunul Akhbaare Raza (A.S.) have narrated that Imaame Moosiye Kaazim (A.S.) said : Whoever will perform the Ziyarat of my son Ali will get the Sawaab of Seventy Haj from Allah Taala! The narrator inquired : Seventy Haj? He said Yes rather Seventy Thousand Haj. There are Haj Pilgrimages that are not accepted by Allah but the Haj mentioned by me are those that are accepted. Thereafter he said : Whomsoever performs the Ziyarat of my son and stays there overnight will be like the one who makes the Ziyarat of Allah on arsh. Becoming more astonished ,the narrator asked : Oh Hazrat : How is it possible to make a Ziyarat of Allah on arsh? He replied On Qiyaamat Allah Taala will call four great men from the former and four from the latter on his Arsh; The former Four will be 1.Hazrat Nooh 2.Hazrat Ebrahim 3.Hazrat Moosa and 4.Hazrat Isa, whereas the latter four will be 1.Hazrat Mohammed (SAWA) 2.Hazrat Ali (A.S.) 3.Hazrat Hasan (A.S.) and 4.Hazrat Husain (A.S). May peace and mercy of Allah be upon all of them. A dining cloth will be spread for their feast and eatables will be put thereon. The aimma-e-Tahereen (rest of the Imams) as well as their Zawwars will also be invited there (All of them will have a feast).This is the Ziyarat of Allah. The highest in rank of all the Zawwars will be the Zawwars of Imam Raza (A.S) and they will be deserving the best of rewards.

2. It is proved by these traditions that the sawaab (reward) of Ziyarat of Imam Raza (A.S.) is more than any other Ziyarat. Specially the sawaab of Imam Huseins (A.S.) Ziyarat is very great. About it there is a separate book NAJAATUL KHAFEKAYAN FI ZIYARATIL HUSAIN which contains about 300 ahaadees regarding the sawaab of Ziyarat. The details regarding the time and date etc. are also mentioned therein to such an extent that some ulemaas consider this Ziyarat Waajib (compulsory).Yet I did not find any tradition that shows any Ziyarat, Sawaab of which is like sawaab of Imam Raza (A.S.)s. Many wise people wonder how much esteem Hazrat has before God that his zawaars sins will be forgiven even if they are more than all men and Jinns.(ALLAHUMMA SALLE ALAA MOHAMMED VA AALE MOHAMMED)

3. Hazrat Rasool-e-Khuda has said : Shortly one of my limbs will be buried in Khorasaans soil, so if any grief-stricken performs his Ziyarat Allah will relieve his grief and also forgive all his sins.

4. Hazrat Ameerul Moameneen said : one of my progeny will be martyred through persecution and poisoning on the earth of the Khorasaan. He will have my name. His fathers name will be the same as Imrans son Moosa. Be it known that those who will go so far and perform his Ziyarat, Allah will forgive his sins gone by and those to come be they as many in number as the stars and raindrops and the tree leaves.

5. Hazrat Imam-e-Jaafer-e-Saadiq (A.S.) said: A piece of my liver will be killed and buried at toos in the district of Khoraasaan. So if anyone becomes aware of his position and performs his Ziyarat will attain salvation even if he had indulged in big sins (Gunaahe Kabeerah),I will on the day of Judgement hold his hand and lead him to the heaven. Some one asked How to attain the awareness of his position? He replied : Know with certainty of faith that he is such an Imam whose obedience is Waajib and who was martyred while away from home.

6. The same Hazrat has said : Whoever even realises the maarefat of that Hazrat and Performs his Ziyarat ,will earn from Allah Almighty the sawaab that was bestowed upon seventy persons while fighting the holy war along with Gods Prophet (SAWA)

7. Hazrat Imam Raza (A.S) said: In my lifetime there will be a man who will kill me with poison and bury me far from my native place. So whoever will come for my Ziyarat from his far off native land, will earn from Allah Almighty the reward equal to the reward of 1,00,000 martyrs and 1,00,000 siddeeqs and 1,00,000 Haj and he will enter our group and will get admission to the high Heavenly status and be our companion in Jannat (Paradise)

8. The same Hazrat said: The area of my grave is one of the Heavenly land, so whosoever will perform my Ziyarat will get the reward of making a Ziyarat of Gods Prophet (SAWA) and he will earn the reward of performing 1,00,000 accepted Umrahs and 1,00,000 accepted Haj and my forefathers will make recommendations for his salvation (shafaat) on the day of Judgement (Qiyaamat).

Departure from Bombay

It was a pleasant day. It was the day of the fulfillment of months ,rather years of old earnest desire and hope. It was a memorable day of my life and it was Friday, the 18th of Moharram 1385 A.H.(corresponding to 30th July 1926).On that day I started at 8:30 PM by Gujrat Mail from Colaba Station with prayers and good wishes from my relatives and well-wishers. My Beloved destination was the holy city of Mashhad-e-Muqaddas. We were, in all, 17 persons that included my wife, my seven children aged 12 (Sakina), 11 (Zehra), 9 (Mohammedali), 8 (Roshanali), 5 (Hyderali), 3 (Razaali), and 1 (Narjis); in addition to 5 other ladies and a female servant and a cook. We had purchased tickets for Duzdaab (Zahedan) via Ahmedabaad and Hyderabad Sind. The second class fare from Colaba to Duzdaab (Zahedan) was rupees 105-75 and for third class fare was rupees 36-00.We had reserved two compartments of seven seats each. In order to get this facility at every station of changing we had sent a telegram through the Station Master of Colaba and he gave us a copy of the same. At that time fifty inches of rain had already fallen in Bombay. It was raining throughout the night after our departure.

We reached Ahmedabad at 7:30 AM the following morning. The train for Sind Hyderabad was scheduled to start from here at 8:05 AM. We hurriedly transported our luggage engaging 2 coolies, went to the other platform and boarded the already reserved compartments in the Hyderabad bound train. We had ordered our breakfast from Bombay from a Muslim caterer who had brought Paya (Pacha), Cream, Maalpura, bread, eggs, etc. But as there was no time to take the breakfast on the station we took it into utensils and ate it in the train. One second class and one third class bogie is added to this train at Ahmedabad that takes us directly to Hyderabad. It is marked Ahmedabad Hyderabad. Everyone should board this bogie otherwise one would require to change bogies at Marvad station, which is troublesome. When the train left Ahmedabad we could see continuous greenery on both sides that gave a nice cooling effect to our eyes. Now we shall see how long this green blanket spread by nature continues.

The train reached Mehsana at 9:47 AM. We took tea there as no time was available at the Ahmedabad Station.

We arrived at Aboo road station at One Oclock after noon. Here tea, bread, gravy (salun), kabaabs were available. We had it along with the food we had brought with us. Proceeding further, the train entered Marvaar junction at 5:21 in the evening. Here tea, bread etc. prepared by a muslim caterer was available. The behavior of the station master was also very nice. With a view to make advance arrangements beyond Hyderabad requested him to send a telegram and give us a copy of the same. Though this instruction was telegraphed from Colaba, we did it again to be on the safe side. As we were going for a Pilgrimage he expressed his pleasure and also hoped that we would meet him in our return journey. Here it is necessary to carry drinking water upto next afternoon as only salty water was available upto Hyderabad. Water had to be carried in mashqs. We filled 12 such jute mashqs that were with us.

We reached Luni at 8:16 in the night. Here Muslim caterers tea, bread and mutton were available. As we had brought our eatables and since the servants bogie was adjacent to our second class compartment we were preparing items like tea ourselves. After taking food we went to sleep.

We arrived at Gadraa road 5:30 A.M. on Sunday, 1st August. The station was big and the train halted for ten minutes, but neither tea nor water was available.

Thereafter we arrived at Chhor at 8:30 A.M. Here muslim caterers tea was available. Sometimes mutton too could be had. Water was very sweet but I do not know if its quality was good too. Here I recollect that the green carpet of nature had disappeared. Instead a white carpet of sand was spread. There was no sign of any vegetation except scantily scattered trees like babool or aak. Mountains were also of sand. Our cook had prepared breakfast of tea, bread, omelet etc. From here to Duzdaab (Zahedan) we were cooking our food in the train as we had brought stoves and eatables etc. with us.

Finally we reached Meerpur Khaas at 10:45 A.M. Tea, bread, mutton, fruit etc. was available at this station. Many Sindhi gentlemen were seen here. The civil Hospital is near the station. The place is large and beautiful. Proceeding further we could see a number of canals and their branches. Even in the midst of the sandy land we can observe fields and gardens. Is there anything that this black headed man cannot do with the resources and means provided by nature? The prosperity of Punjab and Sind has thus been very much increased with the help of these canals that have turned millions hectares of desert lands into fertile fields. We saw such canals almost everywhere. Today a lot of dust is blowing on the way since morning. Hence it will be better to wear green glass spectacles. It will also prove useful during the car journey from Duzdaab (Zahedan) to Mashhad

At last we arrived at Hyderabad (Sind) at 12:30 in the afternoon. Here we had one and a half hour at our disposal since the Quetta bound train coming from Karachi was to leave this station at 2:19 PM. A little distance from here is the holy place where the footprints of Hazrat Ali (A.S.) have been imprinted. We wanted to visit that place but since we had no time we decided to put it off till we returned from Mashhad. Fifteen minutes were spent in alighting and keeping our luggage aside. We had no difficulty as the Quetta mail was to arrive at the same platform. We accommodated ladies and children by taking them across the over bridge to the ladies waiting room. Thereafter we went to a small refreshment room of Muslim caterer on the station to dine. Immediately after alighting we inquired about our reservation of our accommodation from Karachi but the station master had informed us that on that day army had demanded 2-3 bogies. Yet they had arranged for us a complete small bogie having two five seat compartments on both the sides plus a servants compartment in the middle. The availability of the said special bogie had helped us in our onward journey as it had enabled us to cook the said vegetables (which we purchased from Ahmedabad) on our primus stoves. Thus besides getting hot dishes, we did not have to depend on the low quality market food. Before the departure of the train we again requested the station master to get our seats reserved from Spezand (near Quetta) through a telegram. We started at 2:30 PM. The train that was running at the speed of 30 miles per hour on the narrow gauge between Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, was now running at the speed of 40-45 mph on the broad gauge line. It was speeding on the plains as if it had realized our infelt desires to reach our destination as soon as possible. The temperature was cool ever since we left Bombay and we thought it would continue but now contrary to our expectations, it was getting warmer. The temperature at Bombay was 80-85F when we left. Here it was 95 Fahrenheit.

When we reached Shahdadpur at 4 Oclock the temperature was 100Fahrenheit. Tea was available here.

We reached Rohri junction at 8:10 at night. It is a big city and there is a lot of din and rush here. Here on the platform tea, bread was being sold as well as hot salun, kabab, seekh prepared before our eyes. It is like a reversing station. The train pushed forward in another direction with the engine at the rear.

At 8:50 PM we arrived at Sakker, barrage of which is well known for big canal projects. This city is situated on the bank of the famous Indus river. Here the railway bridge is worth seeing. We ate wheat and bajra chapati with salun (gravy), thanking ALLAH. It was still very hot. When I saw the barometer the mercury stood at 96 Fahrenheit though the electric fans were on.

We reached Sibi that is in Baluchistan at 4 AM where we were fast asleep. The Baluchistan authorities check passports at this place. They do not wake second class passengers but they awake third class travellers. The passport officials who embark here remain here till the border of Baluchistan. So far in Sind the land was 2000-4000 feet above sea level. Hereforth the train began to climb up the mountains. Sibi is situated 433 feet above sea level. We had already passed through 10 to 15 tunnels before we woke up at 5:30 in the morning. Our train was climbing between the mountains. It was noteworthy that whereas the hills on the way to Poona remains green even in hot seasons (due to the trees), the hills and vales here were barren and desolate. There was no sign of vegetation. On inquiring we found out that there is rainfall of hardly 1 to 2 inches in a year.

At 6:17 A.M. we reached Aab-e-Goom, which is 2157 feet above sea level. Temperature was 82 Fahrenheit. Air was very pleasant. Only water was available here. Two engines, one in front and one at the back, are joined to the train here, the train climbs above. We passed through tunnels every now and then.

We reached Mach at seven in the morning. It is at a height of 3246 feet above sea level. Temperature is 84 Fahrenheit. Here we get biscuits, tea, etc. for break-fast. Water here is cold, sweet and tasty. It is recommended that water should be filled here in ample quantity. Baluchi people are seen at stations and on the way.

The train arrived at Spezand at 9:51 in the morning. It then proceeds to Quetta. The trains bound for Duzdaab (now known as Zahedan) take another route from here. The train for Duzdaab (Zahedan) leaves here twice a week i.e. on Mondays and Thursdays. Spezand is at a distance of 16 miles from Quetta. The train that leaves Quetta at 8 A.M. reaches here at 9:44 A.M. and leaves from here at 10:14. We had left Bombay in such a way that we arrive here at 9:51 A.M. and got into the waiting train that had come from Quetta and was going to Duzdaab (Zahedan). Thus we were spared the trouble of going to Quetta and the extra expense. Our separate compartment was detached from the Hyderabad train and was attached to the Duzdaab (Zahedan) train. In that way we also saved the trouble of getting in and out of the train with all our luggage again. It may be remembered that Spezand is merely a transfer station; nothing is available here; not even water. There is no platform on this station. There is a shortage of coolies. Enough food should be carried to last until reaching Duzdaab (Zahedan) as there is no guarantee of getting it on the way. We had, before leaving Bombay, sent a telegram through Faiz-e-Panjetani to arrange for food from Quetta to Spezand. Their representative had come with biryaani, chicken, chapati (bread) and fruits. We paid the bill of rupees nineteen and six annas. I empathetically advise every brother who wishes to go to Mashhad-e-Muqaddas that instead of going to Quetta, he should get transferred from Spezand but he should arrange the time of his departure from Bombay according to railway schedule explained earlier. Spezand is 5858 feet above sea level. That is, if we consider the Rajabai Tower of Bombay (Bombay University) to be 200 feet high, we were at a height equal to 30 times of Rajabai Tower. The climate is very dry. There is no sign of any greenery. In the mornings the temperature is 86 Fahrenheit. It should be remembered that after Sibi tea is not available at any station because very few people drink tea in this area. Moreover on every station one or two soldiers with open bayonets are on guard as the stations are in desolate places and the construction is such that if robbers etc. enter the only iron gate is closed. The walls have holes on every side so that the guns can be used safely from within. As there is an acute shortage of water upto Duzdaab (Zahedan), I strongly recommend that enough quantity of water should be taken from whichever station available. Passports of second class passengers are checked here. The passport officer also travels in the train. He makes the necessary entries and returns these after two or three stations. A few police officers remain in the train upto Duzdaab (Zahedan). Henceforth the train starts descending.

We reached Mastung Road Station at 12:30 afternoon. Water is available here and sometimes also some fruits.

This Masjid and its Sahn, adjacent to the Haram-Mubarak of Imam Raza (A.S.) was built by a lady named Goharshaad about 700 years ago. As she did not have any children, she had kept a Mannat of building a Sahn here. By the Sadaqaa of the Imam she got a son but he was blind. So being disappointed, she did another Mannat whereby the grace of Allah his eyes became all right and he could see.

Mostly Namaz and majalis are being recited in this Masjid and its Sahn. Passing through this Sahn we came to the Haram-Mubarak of the Hazrat. The first big portal for entrance is made of silver. There are 10 such silver portals around the Haram. After the entrance there is a big hall (Aivaan). Ziyarat is recited here. Around the Zari Mubarak (Wherein lies the MARQAD OF HAZRAT) there are 10 such grand halls. After reciting Ziyarat we can go to another hall. Its door is made of silver but the portion upto four feet on two sides of the door and about 10 feet above is gold plated. There is precious gold and diamond work around the Zari Mubarak. On 2 sides above the Qabr-e-Mubarak there are 2 jewel studded-golden crowns. Afterwards we enter the hall where there is Zari Mubarak at the two ends of which there are two big portals of gold. There is a two and a half feet bowl full of diamonds and other jewels. There is also a glass encasement on the wall towards the Imams head which contains jewellery estimated worth over 10 lack rupees. The scene of the Zari Mubarak is very solemn. It was heart rendering. There are a lot of engravings on the walls and ceilings of the halls. Glass work worth lacks of rupees covers them. There is gold work on the walls around the silver door of the old Sahn. It is about 30 feet wide and approximately 45 feet high. This has been done by Irans famous emperor Nadeershah. Moreover, a stream is flowing in the midst of this Sahn and there are five hauzes (tanks) too. All this is provided by Shah Abbas. There is, in the middle of the Sahn, a sabeel made of stone having a golden Gumbaz (dome) thereon built by an anonymous doner (Ummeedvaar). Like the old Sahn, there is a gold plated wall around the silver door of the new Sahn also. It is built by Irans Shahenshah Fatehalishah. Above the mausoleum is a very large Golden Dome. Its circumference is about 50 feet and its height, from the over head terrace, is about 75 feet. It is visible from a distance of several miles. This dome has been made with additions and alterations by emperor Shah Abbas. This Shahenshah was very fond of Ziyarat, having come to Mashhad thrice. On the last occasion, that is Hijri 1010, when Isfahaan was the capital of Iran, he had, for the sake of reverence, walked all the twelve hundred miles from there and back. This was due to respect for the Imam. During this journey he was building caravans and solid roads on every halt. Moreover, he had stayed in the Haram Mubarak as a khaadim (servant) for some time. There is a hall (aywaan) around the Mausoleum of the Imam. It is said that in about 1000 Hijri Irans King Shah Abbas gifted his sword to a blind fakir (beggar) named Alavardikhan. The Fakir did not know that the donor was the king, moved his hand over the sword and having appreciated the precious engraving said You seem to have stolen this sword with other valuables from the Kings treasury and now you are handing it over to me to implicate me in the theft, so I will not accept it. Observing the cleverness of the blind fakir, the King asked him as to how long he has been begging at the Grave. He replied that it was since the last 20 years. The King said How is it that even though you are begging near this grave for 20 years your eyesight has not been restored? Now I am going inside the tomb and returning after reciting Ziyarat. If your eyes do not become all right by that time, this sword will divide you into two parts, which will be hung on both sides of the door. The fakir became frightened and began to cry at the Zarih and prayed. With the barkat of Hazrat and the power of Almighty Allah, he got his sight back (Salawaat). When the King came out he saw that the fakirs eyes could see, so he became very glad and offered him a big prize. Thereafter the said Alavardikhan became a big businessman, amassed a lot of wealth and built a big hall near the Haram Mubarak. He also kept some place for his own burial, so after his demise he has been buried there. There are over 1500 khuddam (servants) for the entire Haram. They, by turn, sweep the Sahn, clean it, recite the Holy Quran and perform various other duties.

Every new Zawwar is being hosted for one meal on behalf of Hazrat, i.e. one time food is being given free to them. The annual income of the Hazrat Haram Mubarak, accruing from properties etc. was about one and a half lack Tomans which is equivalent to about four and a half lack rupees. It is spent for employees and other works of the mausoleum as well as for religious education and a hospital. There is a committee for its management. The chief authority is every Shah ascending the throne of Iran. The employees get annually about 10,000 Tomans (Rs. 35,000). Moreover, the Shah sends his representative from Tehran for management work. The mausoleum Mubarak opens one hour before the Azaan for Namaz-e-Fajr. It closes at 10 Oclock in the night. It remains open throughout the night on Thursdays and other important days. 3-4 Jamaat Namaz are held in the morning. Various maulvis discuss different religious problems (masaail) over there. After midday upto Asr time, intermittent Jamaat Namaz are held by different Pesh-Imams so that all people may be able to join in at the time of their convenience. Before Maghrib, Majalis and Masaails are being preached from different Mimbers (Pulpits). As people become free from their occupations at this hour, there is a huge mass gathering and the place is full. Immediately after Azaan-e-Maghrib, 8-10 Jamaat Namaz are held within the mausoleum and Masjid-e-Goharshaad. Women also pray with veils in the last line (Saff). They also sit in large numbers to hear Majalis and Masaail. Electric lights are on in the Haram at night. Its generator has been gifted by the mother of Agakhan. On every Thursday, the army men residing in the nearby camp come from their barracks with full military grandeur at 3:00 P.M., from various routes to perform Ziyarat. They line up in the Sahn and offer salute. One of the khuddam climbs up a mimbar (pulpit) and recites the Ziyarat for the army men. Thereafter, the men bow towards the Qabr-e-Mubarak and depart. The Chehloom day of Imam Husain (A.S.) is observed very solemnly and serenely here. Even more solemnly is the observance of Imam Raza (A.S.)s day of death (Wafaat). It is on the 29th of Safar. Thousands of people gather in the vast old Sahn on that night. All doors are closed at 9 P.M. sharp to avoid crowding and chaos. After about 30 minutes the Mulla recites again from the high Minaret. Inspite of its height the silence below makes the voice of the Mulla audible. Then all around the Sahn, the Khuddam stand in Saffs (lines). Other Khuddam stand at a distance of about 50 feet facing the former ones. This makes a 50 feet wide path around the Sahn. About 150 Khuddam stand in the middle. There are in all 1500 Khuddam. Instantly getting a signal, they light a wax candle which is with them. It looks like hundreds of bulbs lit on simultaneously like an electric switch. Immediately thereafter those 150 khuddam who were in the middle, with lighted candles in hand, simultaneously recite Nauhaas in Farsi and Turkish language and move around between aforesaid two lines facing each other. They make three rounds. This scene is indeed worth seeing. We seldom in life get a chance to see such an incident. Then, after Majalis thousands of men and women disperse for their homes with a deep impression on their minds and hearts. A similar gathering is held on the date of Imam Raza (A.S.) date of birth which is celebrated by the people of Khuraasan on the 13th of Zilkad. Another observance is held on the night of Ashura (10th Moharram). Therefore I strongly recommend that the Zawwars should try their best to make benefit of any of the said days.

An Iranian poet has rightly said about the Goharshaad Masjid:



Meaning: The heaven on the surface of the earth is Masjid-e-Goharshaad because wherever I see the doors of Allahs mercy are wide open.

There is a time difference of 2 hours between Bombay and Mashhad. Therefore when it is noon in Mashhad, it is 9:30 A.M. in Bombay. Here Arabic time is in Vogue. That means when it is 6 P.M. it is 12 here. Thus, there is a difference of six hours. Just as English day begins after 12 midnight, here as per Islamic rules, the old day ends and a new day begins at 6 P.M. In the month of August the sun rises at 8 A.M. and sets at 6 P.M. It is not so hot in summer. August is the hottest month. The maximum temperature is 100 Fahrenheit. We felt that the weather was very pleasant then. Snowfall begins from November and starts melting from March. The cold becomes less from April Zawwars are recommended to visit thereafter. They may return before November since it is very cold then. The most suitable time to visit Khurasaan is July, August or September which is considered a hot season there yet for us it is cool. A lot of fruits grow in this season and are very cheap. The cold from December to April is unbearably severe.

On three sides of the Mausoleum are bazaars. The merchants have shops and residences here. In one line there are restaurants, butchers shops, fruit sellers,cloth shops etc. The bread shops and eating houses are separate. A variety of meat dishes are available. On Fridays the bazaars and banks are closed.

Iranian currency is Tumaan, one Tumaan is ten Karaans. One Karaan is ten Annar and one Annar is two Shaahi. At present, hundred rupees are equivalent to 400 Karaans. Annar and Shaahi are like nickel. Four Karaans is about one Indian rupee. Karaan is made of silver and resembles our eight anna coin. Tumaan had no coins, only paper notes of one, two, five, ten, twenty, fifty and hundred. The latter are different in different towns. The towns name is imprinted on each note. From town to town the notes pertaining to other places have to be exchanged, the currency notes are issued by a British bank namely Imperial Bank of Persia, which is surprising. Houses are mostly of earthen bricks. In the middle of the houses on the ground floor there are squares. In the center of the squares is a Huaz. The narrow streets are of stone. The Municipality is responsible for cleanliness of the streets and houses as also general improvements. New houses are at a distance from one another allowing streets to become broader. Private carriers bring water from nearby spring outside the town and levy charges from each house according to area. Water for domestic use is from bore wells.

Bombay has one horse drawn Victoria carriages. Here the carriages are slightly bigger and are drawn from a pair of horses. There are about 100 such vehicles. These were used to go for sight-seeing. For a 2 mile journey the rate is 2 Karans (i.e. eight annas of India). The travellers are either all male or all female, howsoever closely related they are. Unlike India the driving is on the right side.

In August there are fruits like grapes, peaches, shetoots, apricots, watermelons and melons. They are very luscious, fresh and cheap and are brought daily from the nearby gardens. The sweetness and taste of Iranian fruits cannot be compared with anywhere else in the world. To give an idea to the readers given below are the rates of different fruits. Here one Mun (maund) is of 40 seers of less weight. About 6 seers make a pound. This means 1 mound of this place is equal to about quarter mound of Indian.

Watermelons, grapes and apples cost one Karaan i.e. anna per one pound. Peaches and dudhi costs 2.5 Karaans i.e. 1 & anna.

There are 8-10 qualities of grapes. The white kismis are long and round, the black and red are very sweet. Grapes are so cheap and even beggars and labourers could eat them to their hearts content. Daily thousands of Muns of grapes are sold. Peaches are also very sweet, tasty and cheap. One piece is bigger than our sweetlime (mosambi). They are so soft that they melt in our mouth. If we put it in our mouth it can be swallowed without chewing. Good quality peaches cost only 6 annas per dozen whereas such fruits would not even available in Bombay for rupees five. Apples are equally sweet and tasty. We once purchased 28 pieces for 4.5 annas. Melons and watermelons were sold by weight. These are very sweet and cheap. In short fruits are very cheap, tasty but newcomers may eat less to start with otherwise there is a fear of loose motions. They may eat as required after about a week.

There are 2 gardens in Mashhad. The big one is Baag-e-Milli. Many tress are planted therein and many benches are provided for sitting. Moreover, there is a refreshment stall. Tea, falooda and many kinds of sharbat (sweet drinks) are available here. People come here in big numbers for a walk. This garden is situated near Arak. The other garden is called Baagh-e-Naadiri. The famous emperor Nadir Shah, who had invaded India is buried in this garden.

There are many small gardens on the outskirts of Mashhad. Big red roses grow there. Their fragnance is very pleasant. Both rich and poor of the city are very fond of keeping roses with them.

Good quality grains like wheat, rice, moong, masoor, gram,vaal etc. can be had here cheaper than in India. Rice is small and of a very high quality, even better than Delhis high quality Basmati rice. It expands a lot after cooking. I have not seen such good quality rice in India. This rice comes from Resht province. People do not eat Bajra (Millet) here. Flour of wheat, rice and gram is also here.

Vegetables like brinjal, ladies finger, potato, onions, tomatoes, suvaa and methi are available here. These are fresh tasty and cheap. Sour lime is not available here.

Mail for India and other countries close twice a week on Saturday and Wednesday at one in the afternoon. Letters from Bombay take 25-28 days to reach here. They have to be sent 1731 miles by rail from Bombay to Duzdaab. 325 miles on camel from Duzdaab to Birjand, 144 miles on horseback from Birjand to Gunabaad and 170 miles in horse drawn carriages from Gunahbaad to Mashhad. In winter it takes longer as roads are covered with snow. As horses cannot travel on snow satisfactorily, mail is carried on ponies from Birjand to Mashhad. Government stamps are affixed on postal articles. Telegram charges for foreign countries are like in India. Within Iran it is 5 Karan for 10 words. Telegrams are accepted in Farsi and English languages. There are no printed forms for sending telegrams. We have to write it on plain paper and sign.

There are three main hospitals here. One is being mantained with the money of Imam Raza (A.S.) which is called Daarus Shifaa-e-Hazrat, in which all and specially Zawwars are treated. The other is run by the British Government and is in charge of a Parsi doctor, Mrs. Damri MD. Daily 300 patients are treated free of charge in this hospital. In addition to these two, there is an American missionary hospital in which fees are charged for treatment. Then there is a small free hospital of an Iranian which is called Shifaa Khana-e-Muntasariya.

There are no hotels here like in Bombay and in other big cities, with lodging, boarding and dining facilities, but restaurants serve cooked food including rice, mutton, brinjal, kabab, seekh etc. Bread is sold in separate shops where tandoori (tanoor) chappati rotis are also available. These are different from those in Bombay. Usually, these are one to one and a half feet wide and 5 to 6 feet long. Comparative rate is half that of Bombay.

There are innumerable samll roads in the city in addition to the big ones. All kinds of shops are situated on the Baalaa (upper) as well as Paaeen (lower) Khayaabaan (roads). Both these main roads start from the two opposite gates of the Haram Sharif. There is an area called Arak. Mainly foreigners reside here. British and foreign consulates and British hospitals are also here. Post and telegraph departments, army camp and government ammunition godown is situated here.

Mashhad is the capital city of Irans Khorasaan District. Its population is nearly one lack. Many nearby villages are dependant upon this city. Therefore the business was brisk. Main imports included tea, sugar, silk cloth, glassware, etc. The Silk and glassware came from Russia in large quantities. Sign boards on shops are more in Russian language and less in English. Amongst foreigners, Englishmen are very few, others are Russians, Armenians, Turks etc. Main trade is in the hands of the Iranians. In local produce, hand-woven silk, silken handkerchiefs and carpets are very famous. Exports include wool, fruits, silk carpets etc. Moreover warm cloth is also made with wool which is mainly used by poor people. Unfortunately industry in Iran is almost nil. Otherwise if an adventurous businessman ventures he can manufactures Jam, jelly, murabba etc. from the cheap and good fruits, thus adding to the wealth and progress of the country. In our country (India) such fruit based articles arrive from Armenia, Australia and England while this industry awaits development in our neighborhood.

Iran has an area of about 6 lack square miles. Yet its railway line is only 52 miles from Mirjawa to Duzdaab (Zahedaan) and 4 miles from Tehran to Shah Abdul-Azeem. Totally 52 miles long railway looks tiny in comparison with her neighboring country India. Indias area is thrice that of Iran, that is, nearly 17 lack square miles and has a railway line 27,000 miles long. Fortunately the authorities have taken up this matter on hand. They have levied import duties on tea and sugar so that the money thus collected will be spent for railways. Now surveys are being made from Mohamara (Khorramshahr) to Tehran, Tehran to Mashhad and Mashhad to Duzdaab (Zahedaan). Survey is also being made at other places. Let us see when the future of Iran will get higher.

1. Saiyad Ahmed Kabir (A.M). It is heard from some aalimedeen that some Sunnis carry his flag with pomp in India.

2. Janab Shaikh Bahauddin Aameli (A.M.) who was a famous Mujtahid. He is buried near the new Sahn of Hazrat at Aivaan-e-Tilaa Naasiri. His father and his son are also buried there.

3. Hurre Aameli. He is also a well known aalim and is also buried opposite the above place in the old Sahn.

4. There is a big graveyard (Qabrastaan) behind the old Sahn. It is called Qatlagaah. The reason behind this name can be known only there. Originally there was a very green garden and a house. In that house, there are three stones named Sang-e-Mahag, Sang-e-Mahmood and Sang-e-Muraad. The Mujawar says that when Hazrat Imam Raza was poisoned he was feeling much pain so he took a stone and started moving it upon his belly. Whenever that stone was being pressed that particular side of that stone became soft as kneaded flour. Therefore there are several depressions on the surface of that stone.

5. Besides what is written about the above three stones there is also a white stone. The Mujawar says that when a devout religious person named Haji Nazar Ali was returning from his Haj Pilgrimage, he saw that stone somewhere in possession of a Jew. He purchased it at a high price, built a house and placed the stone therein. He also willed that he should be buried therein. He is buried there. It is well known that in order to show a miracle to the Jews, Hazrat Ali (A.S.) had put his foot in goats milk, that froze and became like a marble stone. His footprint is also there.

6. There is a dome (Qubbah) at the other end of the graveyard. Hazrats brother is buried there. He is called Sultan Mohammed Sahib. People go there too for Ziyarat.

7. The grave of Hazrats special Khadim Khwaaja Abussalt who remained with Hazrat till the end, is at a distance of 12 miles from Mashhad. The fare of horse carriage to reach there is 15 Karaans.

8. At a distance of 4 miles from Mashhad is a big vast tomb of Khwaaja Rabia and there is a big garden having mostly rose plants. He was a great vali (friend of Allah). The fare of the horse carriage to reach here is eight Karaans.

We stayed in Mashhad-e-Muqadas for about 35 days in complete comfort. Temperature those days was 85 Fahrenheit in the day and 70 Fahrenheit at night, even though it was summer. On Sunday, September 12, 1926 we started from Mashhad for Bombay. Even though we were there for so much time we were not willing to leave this glorious place. At last with a heavy heart, we began our return journey. As long as it was visible we did not move our eyes away from the shining gold dome. The cars and lorries used earlier were again hired for Rupees 975. The average per passenger came upto Rupees 78. Lengthy descriptions will not be necessary now as we would be passing through the same places described earlier. We went past Sharifabaad after 2 hours of travelling. After 15 minutes we came across 2 paths, one going to Duzdaab (Zahedan) and the other going to Tehran. A canal flows here beneath trees where travellers sit for rest if need be. We sat here for lunch. Temperature then was 72 Fahrenheit. We left the place at 2:30 P.M. and by evening we had entered hilly terrain. Subsequently temperature fell to 65 Fahrenheit. Roads were good so we entered Turbat-e-Hayderi at 8:00 P.M. We proceeded without halt here and reached Meena at 10:00 P.M. dined and slept. Next morning (September 13, 1926) at 7:00 A.M. We left for Gunabaad and reached there at 10:15 A.M. There was no water between Meena and Gunabaad. Here we rested for half an hour by a flowing and reached Khizri at 1:00 P.M. After our meal at 2:15 P.M., we started for Kaaen which we crossed at 5:00 P.M., driving through the mountains we arrived at Sandeh at 9:00 P.M. The temperature was 55 Fahrenheit but pleasant. We purchased some eggs here, priced at 1 Karaan for 20 eggs (4 annas Indian).

The next morning we left at 7:30 A.M. and reached Birjand at 10:30 A.M.. We purchased from a restaurant rice, curry, curd, etc., lunched and reached Sardbeesha at 5:30 P.M..

We camped at Sardbeesha overnight. As said earlier this village is situated in a valley. Temperature was 70 Fahrenheit in the evening and it came down to 52 Fahrenheit next morning. After breakfast we took cooked meals with us and started at 5:30 A.M. on Wednesday and by 11:00 we reached Sushp.

Here pomegranates were also available at the rate of one Mun (mound) for one Karaan. We bought three muns. They were very tasty. We ate and restarted at 1:00 when the temperature was 35 Fahrenheit. We passed by Khunak at 3:00 P.M.. Here we collected water from a flowing stream. We arrived at Sufedabad after Maghrib. We ate and left the same night because hereafter we enter an arid region which is preferably crossed during night or in the cool of dawn. Moreover, since the train from Duzdaab (Zahedan) was to leave on Saturday morning, we were eager to reach Duzdaab (Zahedan) by Thursday morning so that we may purchase the needed food for the onward journey. We had also to obtain Iranian and Britsih Government stamps on our passports. We reached Hurmuk at 2:00 A.M., rested and then restarted to arrive at Duzdaab (Zahedan) at 7:15 A.M on 16/9/1926. As before, we had informed the station master (before leaving Mashhad) for arranging a special bogie. Since such bogies are not always available, they were sent from Quetta which was 450 miles away. We obtained the signature of the Britsih Consul on our passports, arranged for eatables etc. and started at 11:30 Saturday morning. Trains for Quetta leave twice a week from here on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

We arrived at Spezand at two next afternoon. We got our compartment disconnected for being joined with the waiting train bound for Hyderabad. The train started at 00:25. On Monday, September 20, 1926 at 1:00 P.M. we reached Hyderabad.

We had to change trains here and to take the narrow gauge train of the Marwad line. As this train was to leave at 3:00 we had two hours at our disposal. Accomodation was already reserved in advance. We kept our luggage in the train and went to the town for the Ziyarat of Hazrat Alis (A.S.) Qadamgaah (footprints). On foot it took us 5 to 7 minutes. We recited ziyarat. There are in all 7 very clear impressions of Hazrats two feet, two knees, two palms and forehead on the marble like hard stone. After returning from there we called for bread, rice, kabab, etc. from a restaurant outside the station and ate. The train started as per schedule.water should be collected either from here or from Mirpur Khaas station which comes after about one and a half hour, as there is a shortage of water upto Marwad.

We arrived Maarwaad at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, 21/9/1926 and by 8:00 P.M. we reached Ahmedabad. Gujrat Mail bound for Bombay leaves Ahmedabad at 8:50 P.M. Our seats were reserved.

Alhamdolillah. Safe and sound, we arrived at Bombays Grant Road Station at 7:15 in the morning of Wednesday 22nd of September 1926. The total journey was about 57 days. During this period by the grace of Allah, we did not face any trouble. Now comfort is increasing day by day. So it is hoped that brothers will, henceforth, benefit by the Ziyarat of Shah-e-Khorasaan in greater numbers Inshaallah.























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