Part 6 – Samarra to Karbala

Samarra not everyone gets to go to, so being invited to the Shrine of Imam Hadi and Askari, Lady Nargis and Lady Hakima is a great honor.

There were many checkpoints with snipers, and despite the potential danger of going, we were all really happy we got to go.
You cannot park near the Shrine so you have a bit of a distance to walk. On this journey by foot, I was told something that I thought was quite profound. When we mention Ayatollah Sistani’s name, we often refer to him as Sistani and so can easily be used in a derogatory manner. Yet, as soon as you add the Ayatollah, to Ayatollah Sistani, how can you say anything derogatory. Really we should say it like the scholars: “His Eminence Ayatollah Sistani”
I had only seen the destruction of the Askarain Shrines only on tv and usually it is an areal view. I’ve never seen the destruction of the walls, and it was quite heart-wrenching to see, despite your beliefs, it is a place of worship.
Inside the zarih doesn’t have an outside frame or case, it was covered in black cloth because there is no zarih -it got destroyed.
However, despite the destruction, they rebuilt then done and seeing if (the inside – above the zarih) was just beautiful. I cannot quite explain, the decor, the art, the scale of it, the aura just made it incredibly beautiful.
In the combined ziyarat mutlaq, there is an awesome line:
“May Allah let me live in your love and die as your follower”
And in Ziyarat of Lady Hakima, we are invoking through her:
“O Hakima, advocate my case for a place in Paradise, because you enjoy a high position in the court of Allah”
I went into the sardar, which was the cellar of where the 12th Imam disappeared, I didn’t realise how deep underground it was. Also, when the doing the Ziyarat a valid point wasr raised, which face the actual place where he disappear, surely you face Qibla because the Imam isn’t here.
Originally, the plan was to spend approximately an hour in Samarra, it ended up nearing 3, and the group leader wasn’t fussed at all. He let us spend time – as much as was reasonable possible, until we had to go, because it was another 4-5 hours until we would reach Karbala.
I realised just before writing this, I am on the way to Karbala!
We are not far from Karbala, and different people are reciting noha and there is a certain atmosphere in the coach. Rather sombre and an understanding that we are going to visit the Master of the Martyrs.

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