|Feature||Burial city of Imam Ali (a)|
|Local name||Najaf al-Ashraf|
|Year of foundation||Before Islam|
|Shi'a background||2nd century|
|Shrines||Holy Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a)|
|Seminary||Seminary of Najaf|
|Mosques||al-Shaykh al-Ansari, Al-Hannana, al-Khadra'|
|Institutes||Haydariyya Library and Print House, Bahr al-'Ulum Library, and Murtadawiyya Print House|
|Religious||Prophet Adam (a), Nuh (a), Hud (a) and Salih (a), al-Shaykh al-Tusi|
Najaf or al-Najf al-Ashraf (Arabic: النَّجَف الاَشرَف) (Dignified Najaf) is a Shiite pilgrimage city in Iraq, where the Holy Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a) is located. The city was residential before the emergence of Islam, but after the construction of Imam 'Ali's mausoleum and shrine in 2nd century, it turned into a thriving city to which many Shi'as immigrated. Some kings, including 'Adud al-Dawla al-Daylami, Shah Isma'il, and Shah Tahmasp, as well as certain Qajar kings, contributed to the construction of Najaf.
The Islamic Seminary of Najaf is one of the oldest Islamic seminaries. According to historical accounts, it was founded by al-Shaykh al-Tusi in the 5th century. Many scholars and jurisprudents studied in the Seminary of Najaf, including Al-Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari, Muhammad Kazim Akhund Khurasani, Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Tabataba'i Yazdi, Sayyid Muhsin Hakim, Al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei, and Sayyid 'Ali Sistani.
The Mosque of al-Shaykh al-Ansari, the Hannana Mosque, and Masjid al-Khadra' are well-known mosques in Najaf. There are many libraries and publication institutes in Najaf, including Haydariyya Library and Print House, Bahr al-'Ulum Library, and Murtadawiyya Print House.
According to 2017 statistics, the population of the city of Najaf amounts to around 800,000, almost all of whom are Muslims and Shi'as.
- 1 Geographical Location
- 2 Name
- 3 Weather
- 4 History
- 5 Shi'a Seminary of Najaf
- 6 Historical Sites
- 7 Merits and Status
- 8 Shrines
- 9 Mosques
- 10 Schools
- 11 Libraries
- 12 Population
- 13 Old Neighborhoods
- 14 See Also
- 15 References
Najaf is located 165 km southwest of Baghdad, 77 km southeast of Karbala and 10 km south of Kufa. Before the establishment of the Najaf Province in 1976, the city of Najaf was part of the Karbala Province.
Najaf is geographically located at the border between Kufa and the desert. The city always faced problems about its water supply. However, in the 7th century, it could supply water for 20,000 palm trees. Sources of its water are Euphrates and Najaf Sea. Najaf Sea is in fact a swamp, and is located in southwestern Najaf.
According to ibn al-Manzur, the word, "najaf", literally means a high and rectangular place around which water is accumulated, although the water does not go above its level. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq appeals to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), claiming that "Najaf" comes from the phrase, "nay jaff" which means "the nay sea has dried" which gradually changed into "Najaf".
"Najaf" is usually accompanied with the adjective, "al-Ashraf" (dignified). According to the author of al-Hawza al-'ilmiyya fi l-Najaf al-ashraf, this is because Imam 'Ali (a), one of the most dignified persons, is buried in the city.
Al-Ghari or al-Ghariyyan, Hadd al-'Adhra', al-Hiwar, al-Judi, Wadi l-Salam, al-Zahr, Zahr al-Kufa (behind Kufa), al-Rabwa, Baniqiya, and Mashhad are other names for this land.
Located between the city of Kufa and deserts, Najaf is a very windy and hot city. At times the temperature reaches 50 degrees centigrade. Although Najaf was always in lack of water, at some periods, such as 7th/13th century, 20 thousand date palms were irrigated by its water resources.
According to historical accounts and hadiths, Najaf is a very old city where many well-known people lived. The city was residential before the emergence of Islam. However, it flourished only after the burial of Imam 'Ali and the construction of his shrine in the city.
Before Islam, there were two Najafs: the Najaf of Kufa and the Najaf of Hira. Today's Najaf is the Najaf of Kufa which is part of the old Najaf and encompasses a number of towns and villages, including Hira.
Before the Islamic Conquests, there were many Christian monasteries in Najaf. When the city was conquered by Muslims, it was an Arab area with gardens, palm groves, and many streams.
After Imam 'Ali's Burial
Imam 'Ali (a) was buried in an area called "Thawiyya" near Najaf. Later, Thawiyya became part of Najaf. The account has been confirmed by certain historical sources, such as al-Buldan, Tarikh al-umam wa l-muluk, and al-Kamil fi l-tarikh.
The burial place of Imam 'Ali was hidden for 90 years except to a few of the companions of the Imams (a). However, in 135 AH, Imam al-Sadiq (a) exposed 'Ali's burial place, and since then, Najaf turned into a pilgrimage destination for lovers of Ahl al-Bayt.
After the Construction of the Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a)
In 170 AH, Harun al-'Abbasi commanded the construction of the Shrine of Imam 'Ali, and because of certain obstacles, the Shi'as mostly visited the Shrine of Imam 'Ali. Since then, constructions began around the Shrine and a number of Shi'as resided in the area. The city was then expanded and Shi'as continued to migrate to Najf. In the 4th century, in addition to other Shi'as, 1900 'Alawi Sadat inhabited the city.
In 370 AH, 'Adud al-Dawla al-Daylami gathered a number of architects in Najaf and asked them to construct a new city. 'Adud al-Dawla supported them with money and workers. When the construction of the city by the architects was accomplished, 'Adud al-Dawla held a huge celebration in which he opened the new city of Najaf. Since then, he invited scholars to live in the city and employed servants for the Shrine of Imam 'Ali. Moreover, he recruited a number of physicians in the city and paid them monthly salaries.
In the middle of the 5th century, al-Shaykh al-Tusi left Baghdad and migrated to Najaf. After his migration to Najaf, the city turned into a scholarly center for Shiite jurisprudents, although a number of Shiite scholars had chosen to live in Najaf before al-Shaykh al-Tusi.
In the 7th and 8th centuries (the period of Shiite Ilkhanate and Jalairid rulers), Najaf underwent a remarkable progress in its construction and scholarly activities and was host to a large population of people, because these governments spent a considerable amount of money for the expansion of Shiite schools and mosques in the city.
In the Safavid Era, Shah Isma'il and Shah Tahmasp commanded the construction of water streams to move the water of Euphrates to the city in order to solve the water supply problem. "Nahr-shah" (literally: the king's stream) which was constructed at the command of Shah Isma'il has still remained from that period. In that period, Suleiman the Magnificent, a Sunni Ottoman king, helped the construction of Najaf because of his close relationships with Shiite Safavid kings. In the period of Qajar and in 1217AH, a solid impenetrable wall was built around Najaf in order to prevent Wahhabi attacks. The wall existed until 1385 AH.
Shi'a Seminary of Najaf
- Main article: Shi'a Seminary of Najaf
In the early 5th/11th century, al-Shaykh al-Tusi emigrated to Najaf. By holding teaching sessions in Najaf, he transformed the city into one of the most important cultural and scholarly Shi'a centers. The seminary of Najaf had its ups and downs in the course of history, the scholarly center of Shi'a has moved to other cities, yet it returned to Najaf after a while. As an example in 12th/18th century, as al-Wahid al-Bihbahani moved from Najaf to Karbala, the seminary of Najaf lost its prosperity. However, it gained its centrality in 13th/19th century due to the existence of great scholars such as Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita', Bahr al-'Ulum, and Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari.
The scholarly position of Najaf have always been important for governments. When in his negotiations with Ottoman, Shah 'Abbas wanted to conjoin Najaf to Iran; the Ottoman vizier told him "For us, stones of Najaf is equal to one thousand people."
Seminary of Najaf was influential over other countries. As during the Iranian constitutional revolution, mujtahids in Najaf, such as al-Akhud al-Khurasani and Muhammad Husayn Na'ini, led and supported the revolutionists intellectually and religiously.
During the Ba'ath regime, seminary of Najaf was under a lot of pressure; nonetheless, it managed to continue its path. Nowadays it is regarded as one of the scholarly Shi'a centers in the world.
- Khuwarnagh palace: Nu'man b. Imru' al-Qays, one of the Lakhmid rulers, built this palace for Yazdgird or Bahram at a distance of two kilometers from Najaf. Not so long ago there were some foundations of the palace; however nothing have remained these days.
- Najaf Fortress: Ottoman empire built many strong fortresses. Muhammad Husayn Khan Sadr Isfahani reconstructed its walls and installed two gates for it. The gate of Najaf was next to the wall of the fortress and there were bazaars around it. There was also a gate in the fortress that opened to the courtyard of Imam Ali's holy shrine. However, due to the development of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a) the fortress was demolished.
- Suffat al-Safi Safa: In the far west of the city there is tomb and a Maqam (shrine) known as Suffat al-Safa. Presently, Safi Safa is located next to Maqam al-Imam al-Sajjad (a).
- Takiyya Baktashiyya: Ottomans build a Takiyya for Baktashiyya Sufi sect, where their Shaykhs and disciples would stay, next to Imam Ali's holy shrine. This Takiyya was demolished for holy shrine developments.
- Tomb of Dhu l-Kifl: At 40th kilometer of Najaf-Hilla road, next to the Euphrates, there is a village called Dhu l-Kifl, in which the Israelite prophet Dhu l-Kifl has been buried. As this prophet was surety (Kafil) of Jews he was called Dhu l-Kifl (owner of suretyship). His tomb is situated in a small brick fortress in the village. In the last century Jews have built some buildings in that region. The residents of that region were Arab Jews and immigrated to Palestine later. Every year, Jew pilgrims from all over the world would come to this place and stay for one month. There is a mosque on the other side of the tomb which is said that four Disciples and Dhu l-Kifl's daughter are buried there.
- Nimrod Tower: Next to the Euphrates after the village of Dhu l-Kifl, there is a hill on which a brick tower has been built. It is said the prophet Ibrahim (a) was thrown to fire from this place. This tower and hill are remnants of the ancient city of Babylon.
Merits and Status
Many merits have been reported for Najaf such as:
- It is narrated from Imam 'Ali (a): "The first land in which God was worshiped is the back of Kufa (Najaf) because at that land angels prostrated to Adam by the order of God."
- It is said that the Prophet Ibrahim (a) stayed in this area and therefore the blessings and the grace of God was sent down to this land.
- It is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a): "70 thousand martyrs will be resurrected from this land without reckoning."
- It is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a): "Imam 'Ali announced Kufa (Najaf) as a sacred shrine as Ibrahim did for Ka'ba and prophet Muhammad did for Medina."
- It is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a): "I advise you to [visit] the back of Kufa (Najaf). There is a tomb that whoever sick person goes to it God will cure him."
- It is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a): "There is a garden of Heaven's gardens on the east of Kufa."
- It is narrated from Imam 'Ali (a): "If the veil was removed from you[r eyes], you would see the spirits of believers in this land (Najaf) in groups visiting each other and talking to each other. The spirit of all believers is here and those of non-believers are in a deserted wasteland."
In addition to the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a) there are other pilgrimage sites in Najaf.
Wadi l-Salam Cemetery
- Main article: Wadi l-Salam Cemetery
Wadi l-Salam cemetery is an ancient and historical cemetery in Najaf. It is located in the northeast of the city and is 20 square kilometers. Tombs of the prophets: Hud (a) and Salih (a) and graves of many scholars and great Sayyids and also Maqam al-Imam al-Mahdi (a), Maqam al-Imam al-Sadiq (a), and Maqam Imam al-Sajjad (a) are situated in this cemetery.
Many merits have been reported for the cemetery, such as what is quoted from Imam Ali (a): "In this land the spirits of believers talk to each other in groups, and whoever believer passes away wherever on the earth, he would be told: 'Go to Wadi l-Salam as it is a part of Heaven.'"
Sahaba and Tabi'un
Some Sahaba (the prophet Muhammad's companions), [Tabi'un]] (the Followers), companions of Imam Ali (a) and descendants of the infallible Imams are entombed in Najaf. Many of whom are buried in Thuwayya, a place located 3 kilometers away from Najaf on the route of Masjid al-Hannana to Masjid al-Kufa. They are:
Some great Shi'a scholars who are entombed in Najaf are:
- Al-Shaykh al-Tusi: His tomb is located in "Shari' al-Tusi" (al-Tusi street) next to "Bab al-Tusi" (al-Tusi gate) of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a).
- Al-'Allama al-Hilli: He is entombed in a room in the golden Iwan of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a).
- Al-Sayyid b. Tawus
- Al-Muqaddas al-Ardabili: He is entombed in a room next to the southern minaret in the gold Iwan of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a),
- Al-Shaykh Muhammad Hasan al-Najafi: He is entombeed in al-'Imara neighborhood.
- Al-Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi Bahr al-'Ulum: Al-Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi al-Tabataba'i, known as Bahr al-'Ulum, and some of his descendants are buried next to the tomb of al-Shaykh al-Tusi.
- Al-Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari: He is entombed in the corridor of "Bab al-Qibla" (Qibla gate), which is located in the south of the courtyard of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a).
- Mulla Mahdi al-Naraqi and his son, Mulla Ahamd: They are entombed next to the big northern Iwan of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a),
- Mirza Shirazi: Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Shirazi -the son of Mirza Mahmud- who is known by his famous fatwa about forbidding tobacco, is entombed in a room out of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a) on the east of Bab al-Tusi,
- Mirza Husayn Nuri: He is buried in the third eastern Iwan from Bab al-Qibla in the courtyard of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a),
- Sayyid Asad Allah Shafti: He is buried in the first eastern Iwan from Bab al-Qibla in the courtyard of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a).
- Shaykh 'Abbas Qumi: the author of Mafatih al-jinan, is buried next to his teacher, Mirza Husyan Nuri.
- Mirza Na'ini: He is entombed in the fifth southern room of the Bazaar gate of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a). He was one of the great religious scholars and political thinkers during the constitutional revolution in Iran. His book Tanbih al-ummah wa tanzih al-milla contains his political ideas about the Iranian constitutional revolution.
- Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani,
- Muhammad Husayn Gharawi Isfahani,
- Shaykh Ja'far Tustari,
- Akhund Khurasani,
- Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi,
- Shaykh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita
- Sayyid Abu l-Qasim Khoei
- Fakhr al-Din al-Turayhi, the author of Majma' al-Bahrayn
- Miqdad b. 'Abd Allah al-Hilli,
- 'Abd al-'Al al-Karaki, known as Muhaqqiq al-Thani and al-Shahid al-Thalith,
- Sayyid Mustafa Khomeini, the son of Imam Khomeini,
- Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, buried in Wadi l-Salam.
Rulers and Statesmen
- 'Adud al-Dawla al-Daylami, one of the greatest rulers of Buyids
- Al Hamdan were Shi'a rulers in the 5th/11th and 6th/12th centuries in Syria. They played a significant rule in the movement of resistance and fighting against the invasion of Byzantine forces. Sayf al-Dawla al-Hamdani and Nasir al-Dawla are two famous rulers of this dynasty. According to Shaykh Ali Al Kashif al-Ghita', Al Hamdan transferred the dead form Damascus, Aleppo and Mosul to Najaf and buried them there.
- Mongol Ilkhanate is one of the Shi'a governments in Iran who also ruled in Iraq in the 8th/14th and 9th/15th centuries. Some rulers and statesmen of Ilkhanate, Jalayirid and Timurid were buried in the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a); but the exact location of their grave is unknown. Hibat al-Din al-Shahristani reported that he had seen the grave of Timur the Lame, the founder of Timurid dynasty, next to the tomb of al-Shaykh al-Tusi in the Sardab (hypogeum).
- Agha Muhammad Khan Qajar
- Sultan Muhammad Hasan Khan Qajar
- Aqa Khan Mahallati, the leader of Isma'ilis.
There are many mosques in Najaf, some of which are very important:
- Masjid al-Hannana: It is narrated that the site of this mosque lamented for the Ahl al-Bayt (a) two times: when the coffin of Imam 'Ali (a) was being carried and after the incident of Karbala. That is why it has been given the name Hannana ("The Lamenting").
- Masjid al-Shaykh al-Tusi: At beginning it was his house. He made this will to bury him in this place and turn it into a mosque. Nowadays this mosque is very well-known in Najaf. It is located in "al-Mishraq" neighborhood on the north of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a).
- Masjid al-Hindi: It is one of the biggest mosques in Najaf. It was reconstructed in 1323/1905-1906, and has a strong and solid construction. Mourning sessions of Muharram are held in this mosque every year. Al-'Allama al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim developed its building in the current century.
- Masjid al-Shaykh al-Ansari: This mosque is located in "al-Huwaysh" neighborhood and was built by support and under supervision of al-Shaykh al-Ansari. Some elites and scholars of Hawzat al-'Ilmiyya of Najaf held their teaching sessions in this mosque. Al-Sayyid Muhammad Kazim al-Yazdi, the great scholar in Qajar era, and Imam Khomeini held their lectures in this mosque.
- Masjid al-Shaykh al-Turayhi: This mosque is attributed to Al-Muhaqqiq al-Karaki, a great scholar of Safavid era. It was reconstructed in 1376/1956-1957.
- Masjid 'Imran b. Shahin: This mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Najaf and is attributed to 'Imran b. Shahin, a ruler of Buyid dynasty in 4th/10th century. It is located at the entrance of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a) at Bab al-Tusi.
- Masjid al-Khadra': It is located on the east of the courtyard of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a). It is the mosque where Ayatollah Khoei held his teaching sessions. This mosque is very old and attributed to Ali b. Muzaffar. It was reconstructed by Shaykh Ahmad Ansari Qummi in 1380/1960-1961.
Other famous mosques in Najaf are: Masjid Al Kashif al-Ghita', Masjid al-Jawahiri, Masjid al-Ra's, Masjid al-Haydari.
- Madrasat Miqdad al-Suywuri: built in the second half of 9th/15th century, is one of the very old and famous schools in Najaf.
- Madrasat Mulla 'Abd Allah: built in the second half of the 10th/16th century by Mulla 'Abd Allah al-Yazdi who was a great scholar and "Naqib" of Najaf.
- Madrast al-Sahn al-Sharif: also known as Madrast al-Gharawiyya is built by Shah 'Abbas Safavi on the north of the courtyard of Imam Ali's holy shrine. It was used as a school until the 14th/20th century; but after that, as the cleric students left the school, it was used as a place for storing and keeping the properties of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a). Therefore, its name was changed to "Dar al-Diyafa."
- Madrasat al-Sadr: is one of the biggest and most extensive schools in Najaf. It is located in "al-Suq al-Kabir" (big bazaar) which leads to the holy shrine of Imam Ali (a).
- Madrasat al-Mu'tamid: also known as Madrasat al-Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita', the school is situated in al-'Imara neighborhood. It was built by a Qajar vizier named Mu'tamid al-Dawla with the support and help of Shaykh Musa Kashif al-Ghita' the son of 'Allama Shaykh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita'.
- Madrasat al-Mahdiyya: also known as Madrasat al-Shaykh Mahdi), the school is located in "al-Mishraq" neighborhood, across from the tombs of al-Sayyid Mahdi Bahr al-'Ulum and al-Shaykh al-Tusi, next to Madrasat al-Qawam.
- Madrasat al-Qawam: built in 1300/1882-1883, is a big and famous school which is also known as Madrasat al-Fathiyya.
- Madrasat al-Irawani: built in 1307/1889-1890, the school was destroyed during Sadam's rule.
- Madrasat Mirza Hasan Shirazi: This small school is built next to Bab al-Tusi.
- Madrasat Mirza Husayn Khalili: It was a big school located in al-'Imara neighborhood. It was destroyed by Ba'ath regime in 1367/1947-1948 and its properties and endowments were confiscated.
- Madrasat al-Bukhari: It was built by al-Shaykh Kazim al-Bukhari. It is located in "al-Huwaysh" neighborhood next to Madrasat Akhund Khurasani.
- Madrasat Sharabyani: It is one the famous schools in Najaf. It is located in "al-Huwaysh" neighborhood.
- Madrasat Akhud Khurasani (the greater): It is a very extensive school located in "al-Huwaysh" neighborhood.
- Madrasat Akhud Khurasani: built in 1328/1910, is located in al-Buraq neighborhood.
- Madrasat al-Qazwini: This school is located in al-'Imara neighborhood near Masjid al-Hindi. It was built in 1324/1906-1907 and reconstructed in 1384/1964-1965. In 1441/1991 uprising in Iraq (al-Intifadat al-Sha'baniyya) Ba'ath forces exploded the school by dynamite and set its library on fire.
- Madrasat Badkubi'i: This school is located in al-Mishraq neighborhood.
- Madrasat al-Sayyid Kazim al-Yazdi: It is one of the best, most famous and extensive schools in Najaf. This school is located in "al-Huwaysh" neighborhood.
- Madrasat al-Hindi: built in 1328/1910, is located in al-Mishraq neighborhood.
- Madrasat Sayyid 'Abd Allah Shirazi: built in 1372/1952-1953.
- Madrasat Burujirdi: This school was built by Ayatollah Burujirdi's order and superintendence of Shaykh Nasr Allah Khalkhali. This school is located in al-Buraq neighborhood.
- Madrasat Dar al-Hikma: This school was built by Ayatollah al-Hakim's order. Ba'ath forces destroyed this school after the 1991 uprising in Iraq (al-Intifadat al-Sha'baniyya). However, it was rebuilt after Saddam and reopened in 1392 Sh/2013.
- Madrasat Dar al-'Ilm: This school was built by Ayatollah Kho'i's order. Ba'ath forces destroyed this school after the 1991 uprising in Iraq (al-Intifadat al-Sha'baniyya).
- Madrasat al-'Allama al-Balaghi: This school was built by Ayatollah Sistani's order.
- Madrasat al-Jami'at al-Najaf al-Diniyya (religious university of Najaf): This school is located in "al-Sa'd" neighborhood on Kufa-Najaf route. Al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Kalantar founded this scholarly institute. Having a precisely scheduled curriculum is one of the most important features of this school. Currently, it is the biggest and the most important religious school in Najaf.
Some other schools in Najaf are: al-Tahiriyya, Rahbawi, Jawharji, 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Baghdadi, Kalbasi, 'Alawiyya, Murtadawiyya and Muntada al-Nashr.
- Maktabat al-'Alawi ('Alawi library): It is also called "al-Haydariyya", "al-Khizanat al-Gharawiyya", and "Maktabat al-Sahn." It was founded in 4th/10th century or earlier. 'Adud al-Dawla al-Daylami played an important role in foundation and development of this library. In 755/1345-1355 the library caught fire; many books including a handwritten 3-volume Qur'an by Imam Ali (a) burned away. However, by the effort of the scholars, the library was revived again. But afterward, due to inattention, the library lost its importance and many of its books were lost or damaged. Nowadays, except for very few books, nothing has remained from that precious repository.
- Maktabat al-Imam Imam 'Ali (a): was founded by the effort of 'Allama Amini and was opened on Eid al-Ghadir 1373/1954. It is one of the richest and most reliable libraries in Najaf.
- Maktabat Ayatollah al-Hakim.
- Maktabat Husayniyyat al-Shushtariyyn: This library is one of the oldest libraries in Najaf. It was founded by Hajj Mirza Ali Muhammad Najaf Abadi in the late 13th/20th century.
- Maktabat al-Shaykh Aqa Buzurg al-Tihrani: During several years of research about Shi'a authors and their books, Aqa Buzurg Tihrani gathered many valuable books from all over the world, especially from Iran and Egypt, in his personal library. In 1375/1955-1956 he endowed (Waqf) all his books to public. There were about 5000 volumes including 100 rare manuscripts.
- Maktabat Madrasat al-Sadr: This library was founded in the early 13th/19th century by Muhammad Husayn Khan Sadr. It was one of the most famous libraries in Najaf at that time; but due to inattentions many of its books disappeared. Nowadays, this library is not noteworthy.
- Maktabat al-Imam al-Hasan (a): This library, which has a beautiful building, is located at the end of "Shari' al-Rasul". It was founded by al-Shaykh Baqir al-Sharif al-Qurashi.
Other important libraries in Najaf are: Maktabat al-'Allama Shyakh Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita', Maktabat Madrasat al-Qawam, Maktabat Madrasat Akhund Khurasani, Maktabat Madrasat al-Khalili, Maktabat Madrasat Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi and Maktabat Ayatollah Burujirdi.
According to the 2017 statistics, the population of the Najaf Province amounts to one and a half millions, 800,000 of whom live in the city of Najaf. Because of the Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a) in the city, almost all people in Najaf are Muslims and Shi'as. Some residents of Najaf are attributed to Bedouin tribes of Hijaz and some others are attributed to Iraqi clans.
According to statistics, 50,000 pilgrims visit the city on ordinary days. On religious occasions, the pilgrims amount to one and a half millions a day. Many migrants from different parts of the world move to Najaf. Since Najaf counts as a religious city, it does not have movie theaters.
The best-known neighborhoods in Najaf are al-Mishraq, al-'Imara, al-Buraq, and al-Huwaysh.
Al-Mishraq neighborhood: this is the oldest residential neighborhood in Najaf. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi's house was located in al-Mishraq. Since many seminary students and clergies reside in this neighborhood it used to be called "Hayy al-'Ulama'".
Al-'Imara neighborhood: houses and mausoleums of many Shiite families of scholars are located in this neighborhood, such as Kashif al-Ghita' Family, al-Shaykh al-Radi Family, and al-Qazwini Family. The neighborhood is located on the western side of the Shrine of Imam 'Ali.
Al-Buraq neighborhood: it is located on the southern and southeastern sides of the Shrine of Imam 'Ali.
Al-Huwaysh neighborhood: this is newer than the other three neighborhoods and is more distant from the Shrine. It is located on southern and southwestern sides of the Shrine.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from نجف in Farsi Wikishia.