Ziyarah texts (Persian: زیارتنامه; Arabic: نصوص الزيارة) or Visitation Supplication is a text recited when visiting the holy shrine of an Infallible (a), an Imamzada or some prominent religious figures. The text is in the form of a supplication involving tributes to the person buried in the shrine or the mausoleum. The texts of ziyaratnamas which are transmitted from the Infallibles (a) count as sources of Shiite teachings.
Ziyarah is a kind of worship consisting in the visiting of religious leaders or their graves or a sacred place to show one's respect and gain some spiritual achievements. While visiting the graves of the Infallibles (a), Imamzadas and other religious figures, a text is recited which is called "ziyaratnama" or "visitation supplication".
Transmitted and Non-Transmitted
If the chain of the transmission of a ziyaratnama traces back to one of the Infallibles (a), such as Ziyarah Amin Allah, al-Jami'a al-Kabira, Ziyarah al-Warith, Ziyarah al-Arba'in, it counts as a transmitted (ma'thūra) ziyaratnama. Otherwise, it is called non-transmitted.
Time and Place
The recitation of some ziyaratnamas is restricted to particular times. For example, Ziyarah al-Arba'in, which is a visitation supplication of Imam al-Husayn (a), should only be recited on Arba'in. Other ziyaratnamas, such as Ziyarah 'Ashura, are not restricted to a specific time and could be recited from distance. There are some ziyaratnamas which are specific to particular times and places, but they can be recited in every time and place. One such example is Ziyarah Amin Allah, which is a visitation supplication of Imam 'Ali (a) on Eid al-Ghadir, but it can be recited when visiting the graves of any Imam (a).
Some ziyaratnamas which are transmitted from the Infallibles are specific to some Imams (a), and others are common and can be recited when visiting any Imams (a), such as Ziyarat al-Jami'a al-Kabira.
Ziyaratnamas usually begin with sending regards and peace to the person buried in the grave and other religious leaders. They point to the position of the visited person and to notions such as love of Ahl al-Bayt (a), friendship with them, obedience, intercession, tawassul, loyalty, call, surrender, testimony, al-amr bi l-ma'ruf wa l-nahy 'an al-munkar (enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong), jihad, tawalli, tabarri, and cursing the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (a).
Ziyarah texts received from Imams (a) are two types; some are special to one Imam (a) and some are common and they can be recited upon visiting every Imam (a). Some issues can be found common in all or most of ziyarah texts:
- Teaching divine and religious teachings: In ziyarah texts, God and His attributes are correctly introduced; also the Wilaya of the Prophet (s) and Imams (a) are explained and this is a kind of teaching correct beliefs and teachings to Shi'a.
- There are points teaching the visitor what to say, what to ask and how.
- Saying that, "I have sought refuge before you from the burden of my sins"
- Wishing the company of Imam (a)
- Making Du'a to benefit from intercession of Imam (a)
- Explaining virtues and vices: In ziyarah texts, the principles of correct decision-making are mentioned as virtue (in describing Imams (a)) and vices (in describing the enemies of Imams (a)) so that the right path is known from the wrong path. Some of such values are mentioned below:
- Establishing prayer; "I attest that you have established prayer"
- Zakat; "I attest that you have given Zakat"
- Enjoining to the good and forbidding the evil; "I attest that you have enjoined to the good and have forbidden the evil"
- Making Jihad on the way of God; "I attest that you have made Jihad"
- Following the conduct of the Prophet (s); "you have followed the conducts of your prophet"
- Inviting to God; "Peace be with the inviters to God"
- Some vices mentioned in the ziyarah 'Ashura are:
- Oppressing the Ahl al-Bayt (a); helping those who oppressed the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and even being satisfied with making oppression towards the Ahl al-Bayt (a)
- Accompanying and associating with the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (a)
The importance of ziyarah and great range of its manners has made the discussion of Ziyarat text as an important religious issue, to be the subject for many works. Ibn Qulawayh al-Qummi's Kamil al-Ziyarat is among the most authentic such references. Other such works are al-Shaykh al-Mufid's al-Mazar, al-Shaykh al-Tusi's Misbah al-mutahajjid, Sayyid b. Tawus's Muhaj al-da'awat, Ibn al-Mashhadi's al-Mazar al-kabir, al-Allama al-Majlisi's Tuhfat al-za'ir and Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi's Mafatih al-jinan.
The following books are sources of ziyaratnamas:
- Kamil al-ziyarat (4th/10th century)
- Al-Mazar by al-Shaykh al-Mufid (5th/11th century)
- Misbah al-mutahajjid (5th/11th century)
- Mazar Ibn al-Mashhadi (7th/13th century)
- Misbah al-za'ir (7th/13th century)
- Balad al-amin (10th/16th century)
- Volume 101 of Bihar al-anwar under "Kitab fi l-mazar"(a book on visitation) (11th/17th century). It cites ziyaratnamas transmitted from the Infallibles (a) within 64 parts.
- Zad al-ma'ad (12th/18th century): the book consists of 14 parts where part 11 is devoted to visitation supplications of the Prophet (s) and Shiite Imams (a).
- Mafatih al-jinan (14th/20th century): the third part of this book is devoted to ziyaras and ziyaratnamas of the Infallibles, Imamzadas and some Shiite figures and scholars. It cites visitation supplications for Hamza b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, Fatima al-Ma'suma (a), Muslim b. 'Aqil and Hani b. 'Urwa as well.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from زیارتنامه in Farsi WikiShia.
- See: Āqā Buzurg, al-Dharīʿa, vol. 12, p. 77-80.