The Holy Shrine
The holy shrine of Hazrat Abdul Azim Hasani(A.S.) along with the sacred tombs of Hazrat Imamzadeh Hamzeh ibn Imam Musa al-Kazim (A.S) and Imamzadeh Taher ibn Imam Ali ibn Husayn (A.S.) in Ray city has been one of the most famous sacred places and tourist attractions in Iran. Millions of the lovers of the Holy Ahlul Bayt (house hold of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) from all parts of the world every year visit this holy shrine.
In spite of its sanctity and importance this holy place as a cultural, religious and social site was always mismanaged and was devoid of any proper organization.
Previously the Qajar and Pahlavi rulers due to their evil intentions and dishonest considerations, directly or indirectly took actions to impair and isolate this holy shrine and to show them just as cemetery. In ther early years after the victory of the Islamic revolution some limited activities such as foundation of Hawzah Ilmiyyah(Islamic Seminary) of Hazrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) on the previous location of Raza Khan's grave was carried out. But the required facilities were not available for the pilgrims and cultural and moral atmosphere was also not suitable for such a sacred site.
As a result the Supreme Leader of the Islamic revolution Ayatullah al-Uzma Khamnaee appointed Hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Rayshahri as the Chief Custodion of the holy shrine of Hazrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) and the sacred tombs of Imamzadeh Hamzeh(A.S) and Imamzadeh Taher(A.S). In the part of the superme leader's appointment order it is stated:
"It is neccesary that you(Hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Rayshahri,the Chief Custodion) carefully and seriously take action to protect and utilize the endowed properties,funds and incomes of the shrine securely and utilize them in development of the holy shrine,giving services to pilgrims and the people of Ray city,publication and propagation of the sciences of the Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.) and also providing services to all the poverty stricken people."
After taking the charge the new management conducted preliminary studies and research and the following measures were taken as the first step:
1)Creating a sophisticated and active administrative organizational set up.
2) Providing the legal executive mechanism for the organization such as legal registration of the letters of association and endowments.
3) Employing experienced and expert engineering consultants to provide a comprehensive national level massive development plan for the holy shrine of Hazrat Abdul Azim(A.S.).
The national development plan for the expansion of the holy shrine of Hazrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) closely coordinated its efforts with various others organizations in Iran.These steps were a starting point in the reformation of the organization of the holy shrine in all its aspects. The shrine expansion and development started in 1992 with 20 full-scale welfare,cultural and religious projects.(for further information,refer to the section on architecture and building).
At the present the holy shrine of Hazrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) as an autonomous organization works under supervision of the Superme Leader of the Revolution with 700 staff members active in the financical, developmental,commercial,cultural; international, public-relations divisions and renders various kind of services to pilgrims of the holy shrine.
Hadrat Abdul Azim Hasani(A.S.):
The Great Shi'ite Traditionist and Theologian
Hadrat Abdul Azim Hasani(A.S.) was born in 173(A.H.) in the sacred city of Madinah and 79 years of his fruitful life was simultaneous with the periods of four infallible Holy Imams(A.S.) i.e Imam Musa al-Kazim(A.S.),Imam Reza(A.S.),Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad(A.S) and Imam Ali un-Naqi al-Hadi(A.S.).He enjoyed the holy presence of these Imams and narrated numerous hadiths(traditions) from them.
He was the great grandson of Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba(A.S.),the second holy Imam of the Shi'ites.He possessed complete knowledge of the religious sciences and the Holy Qur'an.He is considered as one of the leading Shi'ite theologian and the narrator of the traditions of the Infallible Imams(A.S).
The Infallible Imams(A.S.) has complemented and appreciated the scientific and trustworthy character of Hazrat Abdul Azim Hasani(A.S.).
The tenth holy Imam Hadrat Imam al-Hadi(A.S.) some times referred those who had questions and problems to Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) who was known and introduced as a real friend and follower by His Holiness.
In the scientific works of prominent Shi'ite Ulama(theologians and traditionists) there are many complements and admirations about him.They addressed him as a devouted worshipper,a gnostic,pious and trusted personality who possessed clear beliefs and an illuminated heart and was one of the greatest narrator(Muhaddith) in the Shi'ite history.
In a tradition from Imam Ali un-Naqi al-Hadi(A.S.) it is stated by the Holy Imam(A.S.) that pilgrimage(Ziyarah) to the grave of Hadrat Abdul Azim Hasani(A.S.) in Ray has the heavenly reward as much as the Ziyarah of the holy grave of Hadrat Sayyid al-Shuhada Imam Husayn(A.S.).
The grounds for which Hazrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) had to take a flight from Madinah to Ray is to be figured out in political and social conditions of that era. The Abbasid caliphs were excessively cruel to the Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.) and the Shi'ites of the Holy Imams(A.S.). Mutawakkel, the cruel Abbasid caliph had an intense enimity and hostility towards the Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.) and during his period the holy shrine of Imam Husayn(A.S.) was entirely demolished and the pilgrimage to his holy shrine was completely banned.
The Sadaat[the descendants of the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.)] and the Shi'ites were in the worst situation during that era.Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) was not safe in this situation either. The Abbasids attempted to kill him several times.At this critical condition Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) visited Hadrat Imam Hadi(A.S.) and presented his beliefs and doctrines to him.His Holiness(A.S.) approved his beliefs and said:''You are a friend of ours''.
His visit to Samarrah was reported to Abbasid caliph and he ordered to arrest Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.).He decided to remain hidden for sometime.So he traveled to different cities.
The city of Ray was a important Muslim city since the arrival of Islam in Iran. Ray is endowed with such a fertile and rich land that Omar ibn Saad martyred Hadrat Imam Husayn(A.S.) in the tragic event of Karbala because he was promised to be appointed as the governor of Ray.
Both the Sunnis and the Shi'ites lived in Ray during that period.The southern and south-western parts were mainly resided by the Shi'ites. Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) arrived in Ray as an unknown traveler and went to a Shi'ite's house in Sarebanan neighborhood.He lived in a basement for a while and rarely came out of his house.He fasted during the days and prayed at nights.
Only a few of the Shi'ites were informed of his presence in Ray and visited him secretly.They tried not to disclose this matter so that his life should not be endangered.After a while,more people came to know about him and his house became the center of Shi'ites, who took the advantage.of his knowledge and narrations and smelled the fragrance of Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.) from his holiness.
Hazrat Abdul Azim was very popular among the Shi'ites in Ray and replied to their religious queries and solved their problems. This shows the outstanding role of Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) and his responsibility on behalf of Hadrat Imam Hadi(A.S) as the Holy Imam's representative.The Shi'ites accepted his sayings because he was the representative of the Holy Imam(A.S.)and the disciples of Holy Ahlul Bayt(A.S.) gathered around him.
In the last days of his fruitful life he suffered a serious illness which made him so weak that he was unable to meet the public.The constant sufferings of the Shi'ites enhanced his unbearable pain.
One of the faithful Shi'ite in Rayy had a dream in which he saw Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.) revealing to him that''Tomorrow one of my sons will die in Sakeh al-Mowla [in Rayy] and the Shi'ites will bury him near the apple tree in the garden". Early morning he went to the garden and bought that piece of land and that garden was endowed as a burial place for the Shi'ites.
Abdul Jabbar who had the dream, found out the secret of the two dreams.In order to share this honor he endowed the whole garden and the apple tree as a grave-yard for Shi'ites and noble people. His holiness died the same day and the people heard of it and wore black clothes and rushed to Hazrat-e-Abdul Azim's premise crying and moaning.
They washed his body ceremoniously.Some of the historians say that there was a piece of a paper with his name with his antecedents. They prayed on the body then lifted and escorted it to the Abdul Jabbar's garden and buried his body close to the same apple tree as the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) predicted in the dream.That was how a member of Etrat(Family) of Hadrat Muhammad Mustafa(S.A.W.) was buried in Rayy as a memorial to spread the light of the Household of the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) to their lovers and followers.
Hazrat Imamzadeh Hamzeh(A.S.)
Hazrat Imamzadeh Hamzeh(A.S.) was one of Hazrat Imam Musa ibn Jafar's sons and his tomb was buried in the same garden before Hazrat Abdul Azim(A.S.).Hazrat Hamzeh(A.S.) is one of the theologians and jurists of Shi'ite,and accompanied Imam Reza(A.S.) during his journey to Toos and was martyred by Mamoon's agents after the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Reza(A.S.).
Hazrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) went on a pilgrimage to his tomb several times to known it for the people and said:This is the tomb of one of the sons of Hazrat Imam Kazem(A.S.).
Hazrat Imamzadeh Taher(A.S.)
Hazrat Imamzadeh Taher(A.S.) was one of Imam Sajjad's grandsons and descends from him after eight generations. He was an renowned theologian whose tomb had been unknown through centuries and during the reconstruction of the cemetery his body was found entirely fresh and safe and he was identified by his tomb stone.During Qajar's era, Dhel al Sultan, the Qajari nobleman, who was blind,resorted to his holiness and was cured,therefore,he rebuilt the sacred tomb and shrine. The holy shrine have been recently renovated and is situated within the precincts of the holy shrine of Hazrat Abdul Azim(A.S.).
The Architecture and Buildings of the Holy Shrine
The holy shrine of Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) like the other great and well known shrines initially consisted of a burial chamber building but gradually during later centuries other buildings and appendices were added and this vast-complex-consisiting of the holy shrines,mosques,and other related buildings such as the two tombs of Imamzadeh Hamzah(A.S.)and Imamzadeh Taher(A.S.) were created.They were renovated by Muhammad son of Zayd Daei Alavi in the mid-third century.The northern side was first renovated by Buwayhids and then was decorated by Majd-ul-Mulk Qummi.
The lower part of the holy shrine is quadrilateral(square) in shape with 8 metres on its each side and like other Seljukian buildings four sloping barrel vaults were created on the four corners forming an octagonal structure in the upper side.In this octagonal part sixteen sided small vaults were made in order to create a cupola(dome).
The interior of the dome is decorated with exquisite mirror works.The dome is completely covered with golden tiles.The dome was previously in conical shape and was modified on the orders of Shah Tahmasab Safavi(ruled 930-984A.H.). In the month of Muharram 944A.H., Shah Tahmasab Safavi ordered the building of the first portico of the holy shrine and the later Safavid monarchs constructed the main courtyard,a mosque in northern part,the veranda,Balasar Mosque and the Women's Mosque in the north-west of the holy shrine.
During the Qajar era between 1211-1250 A.H., the silver zarih was placed on the grave of Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) which was made by master craftsmen Ustad Ghulam Husayn Eglima and Haj Muhammad Sane'i Khatam.In the period between 1299 to1320(Solar Hijrah)during Qajar era glazed tile decoration,mirror works,installing decorated doors,inlaid works and renovation of the holy shrine and its buildings as well as the construction of towering minarets was carried out.
The oldest work found in the present building of the shrine are the bricks over the door which were made in Seljukian era by Majd al-Mulk Qummi in the years 495-498 A.H.With the existence Seljukian era works it can be concluded that the building of the holy burial chamber was built even before the fifth century hijrah and probably it was built in the period between the fourth and the fifth century hijrah.
The old door of the holy burial chamber was made in 945 A.H., and the iron door present in the chamber probably belongs to fifth century hijrah are the other historical works.The date of the building 945 A.H.,is written in Thulth inscription on the mosaic tile in white color in a dark blue background decorated with colourful flowers and bushes of arabesque(Eslimi) pattern.
The building of the bazaar,the new courtyard,the chambers and balconies around the new courtyard,the grand mirror balcony and the two big shoe-keeping chambers around it,the Amin Sultan seminary building were built in the north-eastern side of the courtyard during the Qajar reign.Jerian garden was laid in the west of the holy shrine,Tuti garden in the west of the grand courtyard and finally the burial chamber building and the big dome of Imamzadeh Taher(A.S.) and the basic changes in the shrine of Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) were also accomplished in the Qajar era.
The Imamzadeh Hamzah's tomb along with the shrine is approximately the same size as Hadrat Abdul Azim's holy shrine and is decorated with mirror works.The zarih made of silver was built in the Qajar period.The shrine consists of a big balcony in the eastern side and the Balasar Mosque is located the in south-west of Hadrat Abdul Azim's shrine and were built during the period of Shah Tahmasb Safavi. The main part of the grand courtyard was built in Naser al-Din Shah Qajar's era.
The buildings of the holy shrine of Imamzadeh Taher(A.S.) was built during Muzaffar al-Din Shah Qajar's reign in 1320 A.H.,under the supervision of Zill ul-Sultan and the endeavours of Reza Quli Khan Siraj al-Mulk.
The Recent Grand Expansion Project
After the victory of the Islamic Revolution there has been great increase in the numbers of pilgrims visiting the holy and the need for the creation of more pilgrimage spaces,welfare and cultural facilities for the pilgrims was greatly felt.With the appointment of Hojjat al- Islam Wal Muslimeen Muhammadi Ray Shahri as the chief reverend custodian of the holy shrine,the Grand Expansion Project to greatly expand the pilgrimage spaces in the holy shrine was implemented as a national development plan.This great expansion project have been successfully implemented in an area of 120000 sq.metres.
The College of Hadith Sciences
This college is a non-profit and non governmental higher education institute which have been built on a area of 20000 sq.metrs.The college provides wide range of educational and welfare facilities.
Hadith Sciences faculty,specialization library in hadith sciences,manuscript library,computer centre,language lab, astronomy and observatory center consisting of an educational telescope,seminar halls,sport complex,dormitory,dining halls and cafetaria.The ''Science Hall'' of the college have been built on an area of 500 sq metres and consists of the main display room and waiting hall.The ''Science Hall'' is equipped with a planet arium and the astronomy center.
The Great Mosalla(Public Prayer Place)
This vast building built on an area of 8000 sq metres to provide a suitable and permenant place to hold the Friday and daily congregational prayers and other religious functions and ceremonies.Its architecture is the blend of Islamic and modern architectural styles and enjoys the creativities of the tile-workers,masons,artisans and calligraphers in its decorations.It also consists of two Shabistans(prayer halls) one for men and the other for women.
In order to connect the holy shrine of Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) and Hazrat Hamzah(A.S.) to Imamzadeh Taher's shrine and providing easier accessability to these holy shrines,a veranda as wide as 1266 sq.metres named "Bayn al- Haramyn"(between the two shrines) was built in the eastern part of the holy shrine of Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) in 1995. Administration building housing the office of the the custodian of the holy shrine was also built to centralize the activities of different offices of the holy shrine.Another building was constructed in the south-west of the complex in an area of 5300 sq.metres providing work rooms,parking lots,function and prayer halls,dining rooms,etc.
The project of function halls has been built on a area of 5800 sq.metres in two floors, one in the ground floor known as "Shaikh Sadooq Auditorium" and the one in the basement called "Shaikh Kulaini Auditorium"with the capacity of 600 and 300 persons respectively along with its lateral rooms.
The Public Relations Building
It is located in the eastern side of the complex built in an area of 5000 sq.metres.The Public Relations and International Affairs department is located in this building.There is also a small hall known as Andisheh Chamber where the religious gatherings of the youth are especially conducted.
The Courtyard of Imamzadeh Hamzah(A.S.)
This courtyard with an area of 1600 sq.metres was built in the southern part of the holy shrine in the grand development plan.The buildings such as the Custodians Office and the Shaikh Sadooq Auditorium chamber are attached to it.
The Courtyard of Imamzadeh Taher(A.S.)
This courtyard constructed on an area of 700 sq.metres is located in the eastern side of the holy shrine beside the old courtyard.
Library of the Holy Shrine
The authoroties have established a library with all the needed facilities to preserve the rare manuscripts and provide educational and research facilities to the scholars and students.The library is supervized by expert and exprienced staff.
At present there are 9000 members in the library of the holy shrine and others are allowed to use the facilities of the library.Documents needed for membership in the library.
1-A copy of a certificate place of work or residence
3-2000 Rials membership fee.
Note:Pilgrims and other non-member visitors of the holy shrine can use the library by presenting their identification card for a period of ten day.
Working Hours:The library is open throughout the year from 8 A.M to 8 P.M with no break.
For more information call: 0098-21-5657921 Extentions:399,396 and 547
Museum of the Holy Shrine
Before the year 1994 the precious objects of the holy shrine were preserved in the treasury.In 1995 with the efforts.of the honorable cheif custodian of the holy shrine a hall was created in Bagh i-Tuti (Parrot Garden) adjoined to the holy shrine to display the precious objects for the pilgrims and interested visitors.
In 1996,in the ongoing development plan of the holy shrine this hall was demolished.The new museum building in three floors was constructed in the northern side of Mossalla courtyard and beside the Grand Mossalla occupying an area of 3000 square meters.
The decoration,lighting,identification,selection of the precious objects was carried out by the researchers and experts of the holy shrine and the National Heritage Organization of Iran.This new museum building was opened to the public in the year 2002.
The precious objects exhibited in the new museum are as follows :
1-Coins from the Sassanid to Qajarid period
2-Doors belonging to the Seljukian and the Qajarid periods depicting exquisite wooden and inlaid works
3-Rare Manuscripts belonging to the early Safavid to end of Qajarid period.
4-The vestiges of the window with engraved metals.
5-Textiles belonging to the early Safavid to end of Qajarid period.
6-Calligraphy and painting on canvas and boards belonging to the early Safavid to end of Qajarid period.
7-Documents belonging to the early Safavid to end of Qajarid period.
8-Gold woven cover for the case of the holy grave of Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.) belonging to the Safavid period.
9-Rare Manuscript of the book Majalis al-Mumineen.
10-Handwritten manuscript of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar reappointing Muhammad Hasan Qajar Itemad al-Saltanah as the press superviser.
11-Handwritten scroll in Nastaliq script dated 1140 A.H.
12-A pair of broadcloth curtains of the Qajarid era.
13-Iran gate of Seljukian era.
14-Raised gate of Halagu's mosque
15-Raised gate belonging to the Safavid era dated 918 A.H.
16-Precious wooden gate famous as Meddi dated 944 A.H.
17-Two sided engraved gate of Qajarid era.
18-Handwritten inscription in Nastaliq script dated 1219 A.H.
19-The case of holy grave of Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.)
20-Ziyarah (pilgrimage) script board gilded in Mehrabi design.
21-A exquisite copy of the Holy Qur'an.
22-A piece of metal inscription in Kufic script.
23-The seals of the holy shrine's custodian in different sizes.
The Museum is open to public and the entrance ticket is 500 Rials and 50 percent concession is given to the cultural and educational groups.Photography is allowed only by the permission of the museum aothorities.
The Notables Buried in the Holy Shrine
Famous and great religious and literary personalities buried in the holy shrine
*Shaykh Abul Fatuh Razi,the famous exegetist of the Holy Qur'an and his famous work on interpretation of the Holy Qur'an have been published in Persian in 13 volumes.His tomb is located is eastern side of the holy mausoleum of Hadrat Abdul Azim(A.S.).
Other famous and great religious and literary personalities buried in the holy shrine are :
*Ayatullah Shahabadi *Ayatullah Thaqafi *Ayatullah Dhabiullah Mahallati *Ayatullah Kashani *Ayatullah Mulla Ali Kani *Ayatullah Abdul Nabi Mujtahed Noori *Allamah Mirza Ahmad Ashtiani *Mir Sayyid Khalilullah *Shaykh Muhammad Baque Kamar'ei *Ayatullah Ithna Ashari *Ayatullah Rafi'ei*Allamah Muhammad Qazvini *Allamah Sha'rani *Allamah Abbas Iqbal Ashtiani *Hakim Qa'ani *Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Kazem Assar *Jalal al-Din Muhaddith Armavi *Ustad Abdul Azim Qarib *Ustad Muhammad Taqi Falsafi *Badih az-Zaman Furuzanfar *Amir Firuzkuhi
Tombs of National Figures
*Qaem Maqam Farahani *Sattar Khan *Shaykh Muhammad Khiyabani *Haj Tayeb Reza'ee *Haj Ismail Reza'ee