The Importance of Pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (A.S.)
This is based on traditions from the other Imams. There is a saying attributed to the Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq, “whoever visits this tomb of his own free will and believing in the right of Ali—that he was the Imam to whom obedience was required and the true Caliph—for such a pilgrim the Most High will register very great merit.” And when a visitor came in person to visit Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq and remarked that he had neglected to go to the tomb of Ali, the Imam rebuked him: “You have done badly, surely if it were not that you are one of our community, I would certainly not look towards you: Do you neglect to make the pilgrimage to the grave of one whom God and the angels visit, whom the prophets visit, and the believers visit?”
The pilgrim replied, “I did not know.” The Imam continued, “Understand that the Amir-uI-Momineen is in the sight of God better than all the Imams, and to him belong the merit of the works of all the Imams, in addition to which he has the merit of his own works.”’
SALUTATIONS TO HAZRAT ALI ALAIHIS SALAAM-1
Before making the visit to the Shrine, according to Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq, the pilgrim should first bathe and put on clean clothing and afterwards anoint himself with perfume. The formal prayer of salutation that is given by al-Kulaini, and which is very similar to that given by Ibn Babawaihi, begins as follows
Peace be unto thee, O Friend of God
Peace be unto thee, O Proof of God
Peace be unto thee, O Caliph of God
Peace be unto thee, O Support of Religion
Peace be unto thee, O Heir of the Prophets
Peace be unto thee, O Guardian of the Fire and Paradise
Peace be unto thee, O Master of the Cudgel and the brand-iron
Peace be unto thee, O Prince of the Believers
I testify that thou art the Word of piety, the Door of Guidance, the Firm Root, the Solid Mountain, and the Right Road
I testify that thou art the Proof of God to his creation, His witness to His Servants, His Trustee for His Knowledge, a Repository of His Secrets, the place of His Wisdom, and a Brother of His Apostle and I testify that thou art you wert the first choice of the Holy Prophet. May the favor of God be upon thee, O Prince of Believers, upon thy spirit, and upon thy body.
In his manual for pilgrimage, Majlisi gives eight long prayers that are appropriate at the time of pilgrimage at Najaf, and the most of these prayers are attributed to different Imams and have been handed down for centuries, and has been used over and over again by hundreds of thousands of trustful pilgrims who go to the shrine of Ali at Najaf.
SALUTATIONS TO HAZRAT ALI ALAIHIS SALAAM - 2
As-Salaamo alaika aiyyo-hal wasee-yul barrut taqee.
As-Salaarno alaika aiyyo-han naba-ul-azeem.
As-Salaamo alaika aiyyo-has siddee-kur rasheed.
As-Salaamo alaika aiyyo-hal barrooz-zakee.
As-Salaamo alaika yaa waseeya Rasooley Rabbil Aalemeen.
As-Salaamo alaika yaa khay-a-ratallahey alal khalqey ajma-een.
Ash-hado annaka habeebullahey wa khas-satullahey wa khaley-satuh.
As-Salaamo alaika yaa walee-Allahey wa mauzey-aa seerreyhee Wa aibata ilhneyhee wa haazeyna wah-eebee bey abee anta wa oommee yaa Amir-al-Momeeneena bey abee anta wa oommee yaa Hujjatallahey alal anaamey bey abee anta wa oommee yaa baabal maqaamey bey abee anta wa oommee.
ash-hado,annaka qad ballagta anillahey wa an Rasoolleyhee sallallaaho alaihcy wa aaleyhee maa hoommilta wa ra-aita mastohfizta wa hafizta mastoo deyta wa hallaa-lallahey wa harramta haraamallahey wa atmamta ahkamallahcy wa lam tata-adda hoodoodallahey abadtallaha rnookhleysan hatta atakal yaqeen wa sallallaho alaika wa alal aa imrnatey mm baadeyka.
Salutations be unto thee, O Successor of the Prophet, and O one Holy and Selected.
Salutations be unto thee, O Support of Religion.
Salutations be unto thee, O Heir of the Prophets, and the Repository of His Knowledge.
Salutations be unto thee, O Pious and Purified.
Salutations be unto thee, O Successor of the Prophet of Allah—the Creator of all the worlds.
Salutations be unto thee, O Proof of Allah for all His creation.
I bear witness that thou art the Chosen of Allah and one very near to Him.
Salutations be unto thee, O Saint of Allah, and O one who understands the Secrets of Allah, the Knower of His Commands, and the Treasurer of His Divine Knowledge.
My parents be sacrificed upon thee, O Commander of the faithful,
My parents be sacrificed upon thee, O Trustee of Allah for His creatures,
My parents be sacrificed upon thee, O Gateway to Paradise,
My parents be sacrificed upon thee, O Light of Allah.
I bear witness that thou didst preach the Code of Allah and His Prophet (the Blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny), and thou didst shoulder the responsibility to guide the people—to safeguard the Faith and to propagate His Religion, and thou didst summon men to goodness and thou didst forbid what was evil, and thou didst conduct for Allah, the kind of steadfastness that needs to be maintained, and thou didst never transgress the limits of Allah, and thou didst pray to Allah with a firm sincerity and wonderous Faith, and may Allah shower His blessings upon thee and the Imams after thee.
SALUTATION TO ANY OF THE IMAMS (ZIARAT-E-JAMIA)
A prayer for the use of pilgrims to the shrines of any of the Imams is attributed by Ibn Babawaihi to the Imam Ali an-Naqi. Someone asked him, “O Descendant of the Prophet of Allah, teach me the good and perfect word, that I may repeat it whenever I visit the tomb of any of the Imams.” He replied, “When you enter the court of one of these tombs, stand and say:
“I bear witness that there is no god but the one Allah, and He has no partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, blessing be upon him and his descendants, is the servant of Allah and was sent by Him.
The Imam then added these instructions, “It is necessary that you should have bathed, and when you enter the court and see the tomb, stand and repeat thirty times, ‘Allah is great.’ Proceed, then pause and repeat again thirty times, ‘Allah is great.’ Afterwards you may go close to the tomb and repeat forty times, ‘Allah is great.’ When the one hundredth time will have been completed then pray as follows
“Peace be upon thee, O ye of the Household of the Prophet, of the place of the Prophet, the place frequented by the angels, where revelation was given, where mercy was shown, where learning is kept and wisdom is complete; the place of guidance and where forgiveness is perfect. You are the Lords of all Bounty, the Elements of all Goodness, the Pillars of Virtue, the Governors of the Servants of God, the Supporters of the Cities, the Doors of the Faith, the Trusted of Allah, the Progeny of the Prophets, the Choicest of those sent, the Descendants of the Best of Allah’s Creation-—may the mercy and blessing of Allah be upon you.”
“Peace be upon the true Imams, upon the Lights in Darkness, upon the Manifestations of Piety, the Possessors of Reason, the Masters of Sagacity, the Caves of Refuge, the Heirs of the Prophets, the Exalted Examples (from Allah) those who summon men to goodness, who are the Proofs of Allah upon the Earth, at beginning and at the end—may the mercy and blessing of Allah be upon you.
“I testify that there is no god but the one Allah, and He has no partner. He has given witness to Himself, and so have the angels and the learned of those whom He has created borne witness to Him. There is no god except Allah who is mighty and wise, and I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant, the Chosen servant, and the Apostle who has pleased Him, and whom He sent with the true Faith, that he should make it prevail over all religions, notwithstanding the opposition of those who associate partners with Allah.”
“I bear witness that you are indeed the Imams, who indicate the true way, the ones who have found Guidance, who are Sinless, the Noble, the Near to Allah, the Pious, the Upright, the Elect, the Obedient to Allah, who are firm adherents to His commands. You are those who fulfill His will, and who are saved by His goodness, for God chose to impart His learning to you, chose you to understand what is not revealed and to know His secrets; and God has appointed you to exercise His authority, and has made you victorious by His guidance. He has given you His own Proof, His Light, and has helped you with His Spirit. He has designated you to be His Representatives, His Caliphs and the Guardians of His mysteries; the Repositories of His learning: the Trusted with His wisdom; the Interpreters of His revelation; the Standards for His servants; the Minarets for His cities; and the Proofs of His way. Allah has chosen to keep you from errors and rebellion. He has kept you from pollution and impurity (Surah xxxiii 33). Therefore you have exalted Allah’s glory and have dignified His name and praised His goodness. You have constantly thought of Him and have kept His covenant. In your obedience to Him you have received counsel in your outer and inner lives. Thus you have summoned men to Allah by wisdom and good preaching (Surah xvi 126). You have given your lives to please Him and have endured what has happened to you for His sake. You have established the Prayers and the Alms, have commanded the good and forbidden the evil, and you have conducted for Allah the kind of Holy War that needs to be carried on.”
When the pilgrim has finished his prayers at the appointed places in the shrine of an Imam and is ready to say “Farewell”, he should pray as follows
“Peace be upon thee, the peace invoked by those who say farewell, not wishing you evil, not deprecating you and not with envy; may the mercy and blessing of Allah be upon thee, O Household of the Prophet, for He is the Glorious and the Accepted. Peace be upon, thee, the peace of the friend who does not try to offer anything to thee, and who does not approach thee indirectly, and who does not come reluctantly. May Allah not let this visit to thee be my last, this coming to the place of your martyrdom, the place of your burial. Peace be unto thee, and May Allah, include me among your adherents and cause me to arrive at the Hauz-i-Kausar (the “Pond of Abundance” in Paradise), and appoint me among your followers. May you cause Allah to be pleased with me and give me a place in your bounty. Let me live at the time of your returning and have part in your government. Accept my efforts on your behalf, and may my sins be forgiven because of your intercession. Overlook my faults by your friendship and grant me progress by your favor. Let me attain nobility through obedience to thee, and become dear to Allah through your guidance. Appoint me among those whose hearts are changed and saved. Grant that I may prosper, and may be forgiven and favored, having found grace in Allah’s goodness, having been fortunate in receiving the best of things that are attained by pilgrims who are your friends and followers. Grant that I may have something worthwhile to bring.
May Allah grant me the opportunity to make the pilgrimage again, and the opportunity to return to eternal life by true purposes—by faith, by discipline, by humility. And may Allah grant that I may have daily food that is plentiful and permitted and clean.”
“O Allah do not decree that this is to be my last pilgrimage. But wilt Thou keep the Imams reminded of me, and send blessing upon them, and make necessary the forgiveness of my sins! And I may enjoy that mercy and goodness and blessing, self control, salvation, light, faith and high favor—such as Thou hast appointed for those who are their friends, those of whom Thou hast required obedience to the Imams, those who are eager to maker pilgrimages to their tombs, and those who are near to Thee and to them.”
And then, as he prays directly for the Imams, the pilgrim becomes himself an intercessor on behalf of the several members of the Prophet’s family
“My father, my mother, my life and all that I have are dedicated to thee. Keep me in your regard and cherish me among your followers. Let me profit by your intercession and mention me before your Preserver. O Allah, grants Thy blessing to Muhammad and his family, and cause my greeting to reach their spirits and their bodies. Peace be upon thee and upon all the Imams, with Allah’s blessing and mercy. And may the mercy of Allah be upon the Prophet and his family, peace and great mercy, for surely Allah is enough, and what a sufficiency!”
After giving this prayer, Majlisi adds as a personal observation that “this is the best of the general prayers of pilgrimage, both in its text and its authority, and it should be read at every feast of mourning and on every visit to a sacred tomb.”
A SHORTER SALUTATION TO ANY OF THE IMAMS
A shorter form of Salutation for the use of pilgrims to the shrines of any of the lmams is attributed by Majlisi to Imam Ali Reza. Majlisi quotes “By this salutation which is appropriate for each and every Imam, their help sought, needs may be made known to them, and blessings may be solicited.”
Peace be to the friends of the chosen ones of Allah;
Peace be to the Trusted and Favored of Allah;
Peace be to the Helpers and Representatives of Allah;
Peace be to the places where Allah has been made known;
Peace be to the places where Allah is remembered;
Peace be to those who have revealed Allah’s commands;
Peace be to those who call upon Allah;
Peace be to those who obey what Allah has approved;
Peace be to the tested followers of Allah’s will;
Peace be to those who are Proofs for Allah (the Imams);
Peace be upon their friends, for they are the friends of Allah;
As likewise their enemies are the enemies of Allah;
Those who have known them have surely known Allah;
And those ignorant of them are ignorant of Allah;
Those who take them by the hand, and commit them selves to them,
Have given their hands to Allah;
But those who abandon them have truly abandoned Allah,
I bear witness before Allah that I am loyal to whoever is loyal to thee, and I am ready to fight those who are not loyal to thee.”
PILGRIMAGE BY PROXY
Definite instructions for the pilgrimage by proxy are given by Sheikh Tusi as follows
“Anyone who goes on a pilgrimage as a proxy for a believing brother should say (after he has performed his ablutions and attended to the necessary requirements of the pilgrimage), ‘O Allah, keep me from weariness or illness or disorder or weakness, and reward*------ the son of **------ for this pilgrimage, and reward me for completing it.’ And after he has made the pilgrimage, at the end he should say, ‘Peace be on thee, O my master from*------ the son of**------ I have come to thee as a pilgrim on his account, so intercede for him with Allah.”
Then he may offer Salutations on his account, or he may offer any of the set Salutations that are written to meet this situation.
* Here name the person
* Here name the father of the person.
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