The Blue Masjid
in Mazari Sharif
Ali ibn Abi Talib was an early
Islamic leader. He is seen by Sunni Muslims as the last of the four Rightly Guided
Caliphs. Shi'a Muslims consider him the First Imam appointed by the Prophet Muhammad
and the first rightful caliph. Ali was the cousin of Prophert Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon him),
and after marriage to Fatima Zahra, he also became Muhammad's son-in-law.
Rawze-e-Sharif, also known as the Blue Masjid was founded in the year
1512 and has been restored and renovated over 200 times. The Masjid covers hundreds
of acres; it is located in Mazari Sharif in the province of Balkh, Afghanistan.
is said by some to be the resting place of the Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph
and the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He is revered as
the first Shi'a imam by Shi'a Muslims. It is said that bandits stole his body
and buried it in Mazari Sharif. Most Shi'a now believe that Ali is buried in Najaf,
in Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan, Rawze-e-Sharif, also known as The Blue Masjid,
is believed by a minority of Muslims, mainly Afghans, to be the resting place
of Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon him).
Stories of Imam ALI...
IMAM ALI (A.S.) AND THE CANDLE A candle burnt by his side, as he sat
down meticulously recording all the revenue and the expenses of the treasury.
Just then Talha and Zubair appeared.
They aspired to some positions of
authority in Imam Ali's (A.S.) rule and had come to strike a deal. If Imam Ali's
(A.S.) gave them a place of distinction, they would in turn pledge their full
support. Imam Ali's (A.S.) knew of this. Just as they sat down, Imam Ali's (A.S.)
puts out the candle and lit another one.
Talha and Zubair exchanged a
glance of surprise and then one of them said:
"O Ali, we have come on
some important business. But why did you extinguish the first candle?"
Imam Ali's (A.S.) replied: "That was a candle bought of Treasury funds.
As long as I worked for the Treasury, I used it. Now you have come for some personal
work, so I use the candle bought of my personal fund." Talha and Zubair left
him without saying another word.
THE FIVE LOAVES Zarr Bin Hobeish relates this story: Two travelers
sat together on the way to their destination to have a meal. One had five loaves
of bread. The other had three. A third traveler was passing by and at the request
of the two joined in the meal.
The travelers cut each of the loaf of
bread in three equal parts. Each of the travelers ate eight broken pieces of the
loaf. At the time of leaving the third traveler took out eight dirhams and gave
to the first two men who had offered him the meal, and went away. On receiving
the money the two travelers started quarrelling as to who should have how much
of the money.
The five-loaf-man demanded five dirhams. The three-loaf-man
insisted on dividing the money in two equal parts.
The dispute was brought
to Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (the Caliph of the time in Arabia) to be decided.
Imam Ali (A.S.) requested the three-loaf-man to accept three dirhams. The
man refused and said that he would take only four dirhams. At this Imam Ali (A.S.)
returned, "You can have only one dirham. You had eight loaves between yourselves.
Each loaf was broken in three parts. Therefore, you had 24 equal parts. Your three
loaves made nine parts out of which you have eaten eight portions, leaving just
one to the third traveler. Your friend had five loaves which divided into three
made fifteen pieces. He ate eight pieces and gave seven pieces to the guest. As
such the guest shared one part from your loaves and seven from those of your friend.
So you should get one dirham and your friend should receive seven dirhams.
A father and a son were once guests of Imam Ali
(A.S.). As they arrived, Imam (A.S.) received them warmly and arranged for their
comfortable accommodation. In a room where they were seated, Imam (A.S.) sat opposite
to them, engaging them in a friendly conversation. And then it was time for the
meal. After food had been served and eaten, Qambar, Imam's servant, brought a
basin and a pitcher full of water for washing the guest's hands. Imam (A.S.) took
the pitcher himself and asked the father to extend his hands so that he would
pour the water.
"How is it possible that my Imam serves me? It should
be other way," the guest said.
Imam Ali (A.S.) said: "Here
is your brother in faith, eager to serve his brother and to earn the pleasure
of Allah. Why do you prevent him?"
But the guest hesitated. Finally
Imam (A.S.) said: "As your Imam, I request that you allow me the honor of
And when the guest complied, Imam (A.S.) said: "Let
your hands be washed thoroughly. Do not hasten, thinking that I should be relieved
of this duty early."
When it was the son's turn, Imam (A.S.) instructed
his own son Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah, to hold the pitcher and wash the guest's
hands. Looking at his son, Imam (A.S.) said: I washed your father's hands. My
son washed your hands. If your father had not been my guest today, I would have
washed your hands myself. But Allah loves to see that when a father and a son
are present in a place, the father enjoys a privilege and a priority.
a scant three kilometers away and as you approach it across
a plateau you see the two famous gumbad or domes of Chisht on the opposite plateau.
The town with its meandering bazaar street sits in the ravine between these plateaux.
Winding down and up, you will find an avenue of pine trees leading directly to
two ruined buildings now standing in the middle of an extensive graveyard.
is so often the case, experts argue as to the purpose of these buildings. Some
speak of them as mausoleums. Others see them as parts of a grand complex of buildings,
a madrassa (religious school), perhaps, with its Masjid. The mutilated molded
terracotta brick decoration can only speak softly of their former magnificence.
The dome to the east bears a Kufic inscription in which the shafts of the script
are purposefully bent in order to create a regular series of squares along the
top which are filled with floral arabesques.
inscription is bordered by a plain, yet nevertheless complicated, meandering braid.
Inside, the south arch is decorated with a band of interlacing polygons; the north
arch with a stylized floral band.
western building has a more ornate and monumental façade consisting of
a triple band of geometries beside the doorway; next to it there is a columned
and arched recess composed of two square panels filled with interlaced polygons
banded by a simple braid, and a rectangular panel containing a cursive inscription
with flowers scattered on the background.
decorative style has led some scholars to conjecture that this building may be
earlier than the one to the east. Inside, there is a stucco Kufic inscription
running across the tops of the pointed arches in the iwans. Here the brambly
style found in one panel in the Masjid at Herat has been used.
of learned and pious teachers, philosophers and saints have lived and died at
Chisht-i-Sharif. Many scores of others have travelled far, spreading the fame
of Chisht by bearing the name Chishti. A Sufi brotherhood called Chishtiya founded
by Muinuddin Mohammad Chishti (RA)who was born in Seistan in 1142 spread widely
throughout India. One of its more famous members was Salim Chishti, a contemporary
of the Moghul Emperor Akbar (15561605 A.D.). His ornate marble mausoleum
in the Masjid at Fatipur Sikri, not far from Agra in India, is a popular place
of pilgrimage today.
On the eastern side of the pine grove there is a large Masjid shrine built during
the reign of Zahir Shah (19331973) to replace an older mud-brick building.
It marks the resting place of Maulana Sultan Maudud Chishti who died in 1132 A.D.
Each year pilgrims come to pay homage here, many of them from as far away as Pakistan
Gate to the shrine of Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, Herat
Khwajah Abdullah Ansari
Abu Ismaïl Abdullah ibn Abi-Mansour Mohammad or Khwajah Abdullah Ansari (1006-1088)was
a famous Persian poet and Sufi. He
was born and died in Herat (then Khorasan, now one of the cities of Afghanistan),
and that is why he is known as Pious of Herat. He is also known as "Shaikul
Mashayekh" [Master of (Sufi) Masters] and his title was "Shaikhul Islam".
was the disciple of Shaikh Abul Hassan Kharaqani. He had deep respect and faith
for him, as he has said: "Abdullah was a hidden treasure, and its key was
in the hands of Abul Hassan Kharaqani."
Friday Masjid in Herat
wrote several books on Islamic mysticism and philosophy in Persian and Arabic.
His most famous work is "Munajat Namah" (literally; litanies), which
is considered a masterpiece in Persian literature. After his death, his students
and disciples compiled what he taught about the Tafsir of holy Quran, and named
it "Kashful Asrar". Kashful Asrar is the best and lengthiest Sufi Tafsir
of Quran, being published several times in 10 volumes.
practiced Hanbali sect, a school of Sunni Islam. His shrine is a respective pilgrimage
for Afghans, and was built during the Timurid Dynasty.
Khwaja 'Abd Allah Ansari shrine is a funerary compound (hazira) that houses the
tomb of the Sufi mystic and saint Khwajah Abdullah Ansari, also known as the guardian
pir (wise man) of Herat. After his death in 1098, his tomb became a major Sunni
pilgrimage center. The shrine enclosing the tomb was commissioned by Timurid ruler
Shah Rukh bin Timur (1405-1447).
Herat is a city in western Afghanistan,
in the province also known as Her?t. It is situated just north of, and in the
valley of, the Hari Rud, a river flowing from the mountains of central Afghanistan
to the Kara-Kum Desert in Turkmenistan
Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa
Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa
(d. 1460) was a spiritual leader of the Naqshbandi order of Sufism, and a theological
lecturer in Herat, Afghanistan. His tomb is believed to be located in his shrine
shrine of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa is located in Balkh, Afghanistan. Khwaja Abu Nasr
Parsa was a spiritual leader of the Naqshbandi order and a theological lecturer
in Herat. Although there is no epigraphical evidence identifying the shrine as
the site of his tomb, art historians Golombek and Wilber have identified an unmarked
tombstone in front of the portal as the Khwaja's grave marker.
Mawlana FaizaniMawalana Faizani was born 17 April 1923 (the twenty-first
day of Ramadan of that year) in Herat, Afghanistan to a family of miagan (religious
scholars descended from a great Islamic saint). Mawlana Faizani's full name is
Mawlana Muhammad Atta-ullah Faizani. Faizani is an honorific bestowed upon him
by the imam of the Kaaba during his Hajj. Faizani is a derivation of an Arabic
word which denotes something that overflows with God's light (blessings).
1 Early education and profession
2 Spiritual retreat
3 The Mazari
Sharif sermons and his first imprisonment
4 Becoming a sheikh
move to Kabul
6 Final imprisonment
8 Body of work
9 Hagiographical quotes
10 Additional References and External Links
Early education and profession
As a child, Mawlana Faizani was home-schooled
in the traditional Afghani manner. Entering his teens, Mawalana Faizani studied
at a High School in Herat and finally at Kabul University, where he graduated
in 1941. For eight years following his graduation, he served as a High School
principal in his hometown until a passion for God overcame him. At this time Mawlana
Faizani left home and traveled widely throughout the Islamic world of the mid-20th
century seeking knowledge of Islam and its various practices.
As this period of traveling drew to a close, there came
an intensification of his spiritual rigor and practices. He returned to Herat
and secluded himself within a cave at a local Masjid. There he remained for five
years performing ascetic practices including long periods of fasting, Zhikr, and
fikr (also called taffakkur or deep contemplation). Taffakkur is a technique by
which the practictioner "contemplates the Magnificence and Perfection of
Glorious God in the creation."
The Mazari Sharif sermons and his first imprisonment
After a spiritual
incident at the end of his ascetic practices, he began wandering again and wound
up in Mazari Sharif. Upon arriving in the city, Mawlana Faizani was overcome by
the overt materialism of the elite and their unIslamic practices, based more upon
tribalism and traditional power structures than upon brotherhood and religious
sentiment. In response, Mawlana Faizani began preaching, filling his sermons with
the fire of moral and spiritual discontent. His critical sermons addressed the
corrupt political practices that surrounded the people of Mazar-i-Sharif and he
spared neither cleric, nor government official, nor the landlords who participated
in the crude feudalism of their country of that time. However, as is the norm
when spiritual luminaries criticize established authorities in "developing"
nations, Mawlana Faizani quickly became a target for men of great power who did
not want to upset the status quo.
was arrested and put in prison.
Becoming a sheikh
After his first imprisonment, his public life consisted
of good works (charity, teaching, and spreading Islam), exercising public responsibility,
and suffering short prison sentences for upsetting the secular authorities. Between
these incarcerations, Mawlana Faizani was able to create a library in Pul-i-Khumri
(Baghlan Province). It was here that Mawlana Faizani attracted a large following
of professionals (teachers and government officials), military personnel, and
students. In time, his followers encompassed both Sunni and Shiite Muslims, an
accomplishment not repeated by other groups in Afghanistan. To this day, the school
of Islam that he initiated, the Madrassa-e Tawheed consists of both sunnis and
philosophy of the Madrassa-e Tawheed was unique in Afghanistan and promulgated
the fusion of modern science and religion, hence its attraction amongst the young
university students of that time who required more from Islam than just interpretations
and fatwas given by the established, traditional mullahs out of touch with modern
developments in science, technology, and politics. Additionally, the madrassa
developed an intensive program of Zhikr (remembrance of Allah) and Fikr (tafakkur),
which was also well-suited to military personnel stationed in far-flung and out
of the way locales (a common occurrence in Afghanistan).
The move to Kabul
In 1969, Mawlana Faizani organized the Religious Scholars'
Uprising at the Pul-i Khisti Masjid in Kabul. Although the authorities thought
that this protest would dissipate after a short while, the protest grew in numbers
and persisted for weeks. To halt the demonstrations, the government cracked down
on the restive demonstrators and imprisoned many of the protest's leaders, including
Mawlana Faizani. This was to be Mawlana Faizani's fifth stint in prison and lasted
a year and a half.
his release, Mawlana Faizani purchased a building next to the Pul-i Khisti Masjid
and started a library and book business selling only those books that he had actually
read himself. At this time, Mawlana Faizani also organized and managed zikr circles
and invited members of the government, military, and scholastic institutions.
The intention being to transform society by first transforming the self. It was
through these meetings that Mawlana Faizani eventually formed the political party
Mawlana Faizani In JailTo eliminate Mawlana
Faizani's strong influence amongst the upper echelons of Afghani society (especially
amongst the military elites), in 1973 President Daoud of Afghanistan and his Communist
advisors falsely accused the Hizb-i Tawheed of organizing a coup d'etat. This
accusation led to the final imprisonment of Mawlana Faizani and hundreds of his
disciples. It was during this last imprisonment that he suffered the cruelest
tortures, including having his beard plucked out one hair at a time, being continually
whipped, electrocuted, and having his teeth crushed.
through this time, Mawlana Faizani continually wrote books to his followers and
would have each page secretly spirited out by his visitors. These pages would
later be collected and the books published. In total, he is credited with having
written 52 books on topics as diverse as taffakkur (fikr), Zikr, Fiqh, conditional
and unconditional worships, etc.
Faizani disappeared from prison in 1979 shortly after the communist Khalqis came
to power. It is believed by some that he was martyred (executed) by this regime.
continuation of his work and teachings since then, has always been strongly supported
in established schools in Afghanistan and in other countries by his students,
led by his son, Ustad Mazhabi Sahib. The Madrassa-e Tawheed continues to this
day and has established schools in various Western nations including large numbers
in Germany, France, Canada, and the United States.
mausoleum of Baba Hatim is located outside the town of Emam Sahib, near Mazari
Sharif, Afghanistan. It was restored between 1978 and 1979 by the Délégation