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A'zam Mosque

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Aʿzam mosque (Persian: مسجد اعظم) in Qom is one the greatest mosque of Shi'ite Muslims which is located near the holy shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a). The most crowded classes of seminary of Qom are held in this mosque. A'zam mosque was built by the support of Ayatollah Burujirdi and Husayn Lurzadeh was the architect of the mosque.

A number of significant political events took place in A'zam mosque including the speech of Imam Khomeini in 1964. This mosque is regarded as an important place where Islamic teachings are taught and marja's hold their sessions there. In addition, congregational prayers, important religious ceremonies and funeral ceremonies of grand religious scholars are generally held in A'zam mosque.

This mosque covers twelve thousand square meters, it has four large space, a courtyard and a library. Ayatollah Burujirdi is buried in one of the entrances of this mosque.


Ayatullah Burujirdi told Muhammad Taqi Falsafi that he had planned to buy the houses neighboring west and southwest of the holy shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) to build a huge mosque. Seminary of Qom, Astane square and a courtyard were situated around the holy shrine, which left only one side of the shrine with dark and old buildings which worried people. In addition, there was not a suitable place for performing congregational prayers and holding religious ceremonies in the shrine; therefore, Ayatullah Burujirdi decided to prepare the situation for building a grand mosque next to the shrine. As Muhammad Fadil Lankarni quoted, Ayatullah Burujirdi wanted to build a great mosque similar to Goharshad Mosque in Mashhad as he predicted Seminary of Qom would expand hugely, and it would be a better to have the required space near the holy shrine as a mosque. On 11th of Dhu al-Qi'da 1373/12th July 1954, concurrent with the anniversary of birthday of Imam al-Rida (a) the building of A'zam Mosque started and it took six years to finish the building the mosque. Ayatullah Burujirdi paid a part of expenses and the rest was paid by people's charities.

Structural Features

A'zam Mosque covers about twelve thousand square meters and its building is made by reinforced concrete which is among the most firmly strong Islamic religious buildings. It has four large seraglios, the one in the center covers 400 square meters and the lateral seraglios are each 900 square meters, also there is another seraglio in northern side which is 300 square meters; the height of its ceiling is 10 meters. The lavatories and servants' room are located on its western side. A library with two halls and a storage is located on its western side as well.

The mosque is built according to Islamic architecture. It has a giant dome with a diameter of thirty meters and its height from the roof is fifteen meters and from the ground is thirty five meters. The mosque has also two tall minarets with the height of twenty five meters from the ground. A tower watch is located on the northern side which can be seen from all the angles.

In the aspect of decoration and tiling of Islamic artistic features, A'zam mosque is quiet an amazing example in recent century. All the carpets in the mosque are made in Kerman particularly for A'zam mosque. The expenses of this mosque are paid by people and businessmen. It is estimated that it cost sixty to one hundred billion Rials to build the mosque.


Manuscripts in the library of A'zam Mosques

At first, Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi planned to build an independent library in Qom which was not successful. After the building of A'zam Mosque was finished, religious scholars of Qom proposed Ayatullah Burujirdi to build a library for the mosque. Then he asked Husayn Lorzadeh, the architect of the mosque, to build a great public library for the mosque. The library as built in western side of the mosque which contains 7096 manuscripts, 8000 lithography, 200 typography and over 660 graphical books as well as Risalas and Seminary books of Qajar era. Today Sayyid Muhammad Jawad 'Alawi Burujirdi, a descendant of Ayatullah Burujirdi, is holding the trusteeship of the library which is administrated by Seminary of Qom.

The Burial Place of Ayatullah Burujirdi

The grave of Ayatullah Burujirdi is located on the western side of A'zam mosque. According to Muhammad Jawad 'Alawi Burujirdi, it was previously a sixty square meter house bought by Ayatullah Burujirdi; he specified his burial place and the rest of the house was dedicated to A'zam Mosque. He wanted to be buried in the hallway were pilgrims would pass to enter the holy shrine so that the dust of their shoes would lay on his grave.


According to Waqf (endowment) document of the mosque, the trusteeship of A'zam Mosque and other endowed properties were held by the founder, Ayatullah Burujirdi. After the demise of Ayatullah Burujirdi, Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Tabataba'i was holding the trusteeship 1340-1356/1961-1972; in that time some construction deficiencies were repaired. Then Sayyid Sadiq Tabataba'i Burujirdi was holding the trusteeship for 27 years. During that time, there were disagreements on the management of A'zam Mosque. Since 2004 the trusteeship was given to Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Tabataba'i who held meeting with descendants of Ayatullah Burujirdi and the trusteeship was given to, Sayyid Muhammad Jawad 'Alawi Burujirdi.

Significant Historical Events

Imam al-Khumayni gave a speech in A'zam Mosque in 1343/1964.

Meeting of Muhammad Reza Pahlavi and Ayatullah Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi in 1958.

The critical speech of Muhammad Sadiq Tihrani against Muhammad Reza Pahlavi in anniversary of demise of Ayatullah Burujirdi in 1962.

Conflicts between supporters of Imam al-Khumayni and Ayatullah Sayyid Kazim Shari'tmadari in 1966.

Speech of Ayatullah 'Abd Allah Jawadi Amuli in rejecting Ayatullah Husayn 'Ali Muntaziri's speech.

Strike of a number of clergymen in A'zam Mosque against the cultural policies of the government in 1999.

Collective demonstration of Marja's and religious scholars of Seminary of Qom in A'zam Mosque to condemn the destruction of holy shrine of Imam 'Ali b. Muhammad (a) and Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari in 2005.

Seminary classes of Marja's

A'zam Mosque is regarded among the important places where classes of Seminary of Qom are held. Husayn Wahid Khurasani, Naris Makarim Shirazi, Ja'far Subhani, Sayyid Musa Shubayri Zanjani, Husayn Nuri Hamadani, 'Abd Allah Jawadi Amuli hold their seminary sessions in this mosque. Previously a number of other Marja's were holding their classes as well.


Today A'zm Mosque is the most important place where political and religious ceremonies are held in Qom; also the funeral ceremonies of religious scholars are held here. Every year I'tikaf is performed in A'zam mosque in Rajab and Ramadan months.


The content of this article is mainly adopted from مسجد اعظم قم in Farsi WikiShia.