Our first trip to Iraq

Our first trip to Iraq

Eid e Nawrooz mubarak bashe! Nawrooz is a big deal here. The beginning of spring and the wonderful weather that ushers in with the new season. It is definitely welcomed here, especially after the dreary winter weather.

This Nawrooz break our family was blessed to have the opportunity to travel for ziyarat to Iraq. We went with a group of talabe and their families who have come from the West. It was a really nice experience.

Although our journey was a little rough in that we traveled by bus, alhamdulillah that was the most hardest part, in my opinion. Naturally no one likes to wait, and we had to wait – a looong time at the border city of Mehran for entrance into Iraq. By the end of this part of trip, my eldest FZ was ready to just go home.

Karbala

After crossing the border, we first went to Karbala to visit Imam Hussain (as) and Hazrat Abal Fazl Abbas (as). It was our first time going to Iraq, and I was just speechless in Karbala. All those years of hearing nauhas and masaaib just hit me at once. I was immediately transported back in time to the Battle of Karbala with visions of those horrible moments experienced by our Imam and his family and companions.

We were able to see the site of the khaimagah, or the tents of the Imam and his family. We also saw the place where Hazrat Ali Akbar and Hazrat Ali Asghar were martyred.

Bainolharamain is also a very special place. It is the area between the zareehs of Imam Hussain and Hazrat Abbas. Interestingly, the distance is also the same distance we travel between Safa and Marwa when we go for Hajj and Umrah.

Visiting Karbala was like visiting a place I had already gone before. I was really surprised to feel that way. I kept expecting this huge emotional rush from seeing these places for the first time, but everything was so familiar.

Kadhimain

From Karbala we went to Kadhimain, to visit the tombs of Imam Musa Kazim (as) and Imam Mohammad Taqi (as). It was a really beautiful shrine. I remember sitting outside in the sehan, or courtyard, and feeling really peaceful. Even though all around Kadhimain it seems like a war is still going on.

Najaf

Finally we went to Najaf al-Ashraf, to visit our dear Imam Ali ibne Abu Talib (as). The day we got there coincided with the day of the shahadat of Lady Fatima Zahra (sa) so there was a black drape over the top of the tomb of Imam Ali. It was also very crowded at the haram. But it was a beautiful experience to say salaam to our Imam.

We also visited Masjid-e-Kufa where Imam Ali (as) was martyred by Ibne Muljim. What I liked about Masjid-e-Kufa was they have lots of sites in the actual masjid of different other events, like the time when the Holy Prophet went to Mairaj. Buried in the masjid are also Hazrat Muslim ibne Aqeel, Imam Ali’s nephew, and Hazrat Mukhtar, a companion of Imam Ali.

While in Masjid-e-Kufa we were blessed to sit and pray behind Ayatollah Misbah Yazdi, who was also visiting the masjid at the time. His simplicity and calm demeanor is truly awe-inspiring.

Our group was also able to visit Wadi us Salaam in Najaf, the largest cemetery in the world.

We feel very grateful to have had the chance to visit our Imams and holy personalities with our children. Although they naturally did not understand much of what we did, I hope they will see the importance of these trips and will cherish these opportunities as they get older.

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