The rules and conditions necessary for Ziarat

As explained by Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.)

The Kerbala diaries 

Ziarat Rules







Let us examine the rules and conditions necessary for Ziarat as explained by Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) so that we may not be prone to exceed their boundaries.

Mohammed Ibne Muslim the narrator of this tradition says that he asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.), "Master! Is a visitor to your grandfather [Imam Husain (a.s.)] the same as a pilgrim of Mecca (Hajj)." Imam (a.s.) replied, "Yes." The narrator further questioned, "Are the conditions that are binding upon a Haji also binding upon a visitor of your grandfather [Imam Husain (a.s.)]?” "From which point of view have you asked this question?" The narrator replied "those require­ments that are especially for the Hajis during the time of Hajj." Imam (a.s.) taught the following thirteen rules:

(I) One of the duties of a Zaaer is that he must behave amicably with his companions during the journey because they are also Zaaer like him. And this act of kindness enhances the character and personality of the person. Gradually this behavior moulds his character and begins to consider all the people as his family members. As his attachment with the abode of Imam (a.s.) has made him sensitive to the difficulties of others, he is not affected by the temporal injuries and is absolutely safe.

A narration from Behaarul Anwaar says that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) saw Janabe Fatema Zahra (s.a.) wiping her tears. He told her that the reward of the one who performs the Ziarat of her sons is that, "... throughout his journey, the divine blessings will be showered continuously upon him and he remains in the refuge of Allah. And if he dies on the way he is given the reward of a martyr."

(2) It is necessary for a Zaaer that he talks less and does not speak anything but well. By speaking to the minimum, a person preserves his capacities and his mental ability increases. He learns the skill of living a prudent life in this world. And when he moves his tongue to utter good words, they are effective. His less talking enables his mind to acquire knowledge and his internal thoughts are well-regulated. When his mind is purified from all vain thoughts he visits Imam Husain (a.s.) and thus he is easily able to grasp the greatness and the lofty position of the martyrs of Karbala.

(3) The third commandment for the Zaaer is that along with supplication (dua), he must incessantly implore Allah for forgiveness of his sins. It has been ordered to supplicate to Allah as much as possible because Shaitan is always busy creating corruption in the minds so that they may deviate to a path of jealousy and malice. This will cause all the rewards of the Ziarat to come to naught. He will thus derive no benefits from the springs of the blessings of Imam (a.s.).

Hence by more and more Istighfar (seeking forgiveness) one can remove the obstructions that prevent the acceptance of supplications. "O Allah! Forgive those sins of mine that prevent the acceptance of Dua!"

(4) When a person goes for Ziarat, he must wear clean and purified dress because he is to visit those holy personalities who are so pure that any type of impurity cannot be associated with them. They are celebrities whose chastity and purity has been mentioned in the Verse of Purification in the Holy Quran (Surah Ahzaab: 33) The same point is mentioned in 'Ziarat-e-Warisa': "I witness that you were light (Nur) in the loins of esteemed generations (ancestors) and in the wombs of chaste mothers. Ignorance failed in defiling you despite its efforts. Neither was ignorance able to make you wear its dark, tattered dress. Your fathers and mothers as opposed to the idolators' customs followed the practice of Ibrahim (a.s.) during the period of ignorance."

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) clearly explains that one must be dressed decently while performing the Ziarat of Imam Husain (a.s.). The same sort of cleanliness and purity that is required for the acts of worship is also applicable here. That is, both external and internal purity.

(5) According to the poet Iqbal, when the Kalima of 'La Ilaha. Illallah' was about to be obliterated by the tyranny of Yazid, it was Imam Husain (a.s.) who, with his blood painted the Kalima 'La Ilaha Illallah ' on the arid sands of Karbala. This inscription not only acquired eternity but also became a channel of our salvation.

It is must for a Zaaer to perform Ghusl (cer­emonial bath) before entering the sanctum. It should be with the intention that. "I perform this Ghusl for entering the Haram of Imam Husain (a.s.) for seeking nearness to Allah."

A companion of Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.), Safwaan Jamali asked, "Master! what is the reward if one performs Ghusl in Euphrates and then enters the shrine for Ziarat?" Imam (a.s.) replied, "The Almighty Allah forgives all his sins and takes him in His refuge."

(Kamiluz Ziarat)

(6) One of the duties of the Zaaer is to be humble and sincere. This rule is noteworthy. The same conditions are required for a valid and acceptable Namaz. This is one of the ways of praying for the unseen help of Allah. Hence Allah the Almighty says, "Seek (ask) with fasting and Salat (prayers). It is difficult except for those who are humble."

The same condition applies to the Zaaereen (Plural of Zaaer = visitor).

If the visitor is not humble and sincere, Ziarat will not serve any purpose. A point to be noted is that one whose birth restored the wings of Fitroos (the punished angel), his martyrdom can provide anything. But all this is only for the humble and sincere ones. The more one is humble the higher his grade. He can achieve perfection only by being absolutely humble. It is for this, that the sixth Imam (a.s.) states in the eighth point.

(8) It is necessary that when you enter the shrine you must perform as much Namaz as possible and send more and more Salawat (salutation) upon Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and his purified progeny. Namaz prevents one from all sins, "Salat prevents from the indecencies and evil (acts)" (Holy Quran).

(9) One must not see any type of sinful things. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has stressed upon the training of the eyes after the training of the tongue. Controlling one's eyes is very important. During a journey, the eyes are responsible for the awakening of the desires. Slowly the eyes lead one to prohibited things. This leads to the committing of a greater sin. Hence it is neces­sary to control the eyes so that the rewards earned by Ziarat are not wasted.

(10) It is necessary to be generous to those Zaaereen who have been robbed. One must not be miserly in helping them. Now it would have been difficult to understand this rule and con­dition if this writer himself had not witnessed an incident while performing Ziarat. The writer had gone for Ziarat and saw that a lady who had come from Punjab was robbed of her entire amount of twenty thousand rupees. Her agony and fury was non descript. Thus one under­stands this point as explained by Imam (a.s.) at a time when such occurrences were rare. It is a miracle of the infallible (Masoom). He (a.s.) had been cognizant of the times to come. And it also holds good for the future.

(11) One of the conditions for the acceptance of Ziarat is that the Zaaer must practice Taqaiyya (dissimulation) if it is required by the prevailing circumstances.

This only means that if between the Zaaer and Ziarat the ruling power or the government is a hurdle, he must act in a prudent way so as not to endanger his own life as well as of his companions or the co-religionists.

(12) Ziarat also requires that one must abstain from the prohibited acts of the Islamic shariat. If he does not refrain from them, it means that he considers the Shariat insignificant and unim­portant. It is obvious that the Ziarat of such a person would be meaningless. He has no regard for the sacrifices of the chief of the martyrs (a.s.). Neither does he wish to please Imam (a.s.). He is merely following his desires.

(13) It is prohibited for a Zaaer to swear or take an oath in order to make others believe his assertions. It may be due to some enmity or a controversy.

It is seen that some people swear with every utterance. Some people who are unable to defend themselves stoop to this method. Others are so much emotionally excited that they begin swear­ing. They do not even realize upon what they have sworn. Actually he himself does not believe in what he says. In this way he swears time and again and becomes unreliable not only before other people but even before his own self. This loss of confidence affects all his abilities. As a result he has to face defeat in every field. By prohibiting such an act for a Zaaer Imam (a.s.) saved him from a great risk. Otherwise he may have lost faith even in the esteemed per­sonality he has gone to visit.

In the end Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) said, "Those who fulfill all the above conditions, their Ziarat will be equal to a Hajj or Umra (lesser pilgrim­age)."

A visitor who performs the circumambulation of the Zarih (grill), stands at the head-side of Imam Husain (a.s.)'s grave and performs two rakats of Namaz, according to traditions, whatever he supplicates is granted provided that his wish is legitimate.

It is reported in 'Kamiluz Ziaraat' that when Imam (a.s.) was asked as to what should be the diet of a Zaaer, he said "Milk and bread."

Abul Muzaa was a companion of Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.). He says, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) asked me, "Have you been to the Ziarat of my grandfather?" "Yes! O son of the Messenger of Allah?", I replied, "I have been." Then Imam (a.s.) asked, "When you were there did you see delicious foods and partook them?" When I replied in the affirmative, Imam (a.s.) said "Do you follow these elaborate arrangements while you visit the grave of your parents? " Actually Imam (a.s.) wished to convey that one must abstain from rich foods while at the 'shrine’.

At the end, let us see what is that requisite special for Ziarat and it is not to be found for the pilgrimage of Hajj and Umra. It is the suppli­cation for. seeking the permission for entering the sanctum (haram).

A companion asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.), "How does one know that the Chief of Martyrs has accorded the permission?" He (a.s.) replied, "If tears begin to flow, deem that permission has been granted."

May my parent be sacrificed for you! O son of the Messenger (s.a.w.a.). O the beloved of Fatema (s.a.). O the light of Ali's (a.s.) eyes. O the thirsty one of Karbala! O the great martyr slaughtered in a strange land. The owner of a contented self. Bestow the opportunity to your slaves to perform your Ziarat and do not neglect us in the realm of Barzakh and on the day of reckoning.

Extracts taken from