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From wikishia
Coordinate32°02′00″N 44°24′00″E / 32.03333°N 44.40000°E / 32.03333; 44.40000
FeatureCapital of Imam Ali (a) and Imam al-Mahdi's (a) government
Total population+300000
Historical Information
Year of foundation15/636-7, 17/638-9, or 19/640
Shi'a background1st/7th century
Important eventsGovernment of Imam Ali (a) • uprisings of Tawwabunal-MukhtarZayd
Historical placesMosque of KufaAl-Sahla Mosque
ShrinesShrines of Imam Ali (a)Maytham al-TammarMuslim b. AqilHani b. 'Urwaal-Mukhtar
MosquesMosque of Kufaal-Sahla MosqueMosque of Sa'sa'a b. Sawhan
Famous people
ReligiousZurara b. A'yanAbu Hamza al-ThumaliAli b. Abi Hamza al-Bata'ini
PoliticalAbu Musa al-Ash'ari • al-Mukhtar • Ziyad b. Abih

Kūfa (Arabic: الکوفة), also spelled Kufah, is located in the south of Iraq, ten Kilometers northeast of Imam Ali's shrine in Najaf and it is the second city built by Muslims. It was chosen as the capital by Imam 'Ali (a) in 36/656-7, where he was martyred. Most of Shi'a Muslims were inhabitants of Kufa in the 1st/7th century. The great Mosque of Kufa and al-Sahla Mosque are among the main historical buildings of the city. Sciences such as fiqh, hadith, and Arabic syntax were prominent and routinely taught in this city.

Kufa played a role in the Battle of Karbala; Imam al-Husayn (a) headed toward this city following the invitation letters sent by its residents. A large portion of the army who fought with Imam al-Husayn (a) was also from Kufa. At the beginning of Abbasid rule, Imam al-Sadiq (a) traveled to this city a few times and provided lessons.

A great position has been depicted for Kufa in Shi'a hadiths. It is considered as the center of Imam al-Mahdi's (a) government after his reappearance.

The importance of Kufa is mostly related to the first and second century of Islam, because once the Imam Ali's (a) grave was revealed to the shias, and Najaf was expanded, Kufa gradually lost its importance and position, while Najaf gained the prominence instead.


According to hadiths, people lived in Kufa in the pre-Islamic era, but it was later destroyed. According to a narration, Prophet Noah (a) (Nuh) has built his arch in Kufa[1] where his people were worshiping idols.[2]

Its reconstruction is attributed to Muslims. Basra and Kufa are regarded as the first cities which Muslims built. It is said that Kufa was a permanent military camp of the Muslim army at the time of their conquests. In 15/636-7, 17/638-9, or 19/640 when the Muslim army was getting depressed, 'Umar b. al-Khattab ordered Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas to find an appropriate place for Arab soldiers to settle in.[3] Sa'd chose a region by the bank of the Euphrates River near Al-Hirah.[4] Sa'd ordered to build a mosque and Dar al-'Imara on the high hills of Kufa.[5]

The establishment of Kufa was a strategic necessity for Muslims' conquests in the time of the Second Caliph. On their way to conquer Iran, Arab soldiers, led by Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas, needed to settle in a place near the battlefields. Therefore, Second Caliph ordered to build a military base in Kufa for the Muslim army.[6] Gradually, Arab and Persian families, mostly military forces, have migrated to Kufa, which made the city increasingly expand and flourish. Arab and Persian people were settling in Kufa, Arabs were the people who established the city and Persian were regarded as the second important element for establishing the city.[7]

Kufa was the first city with a large population of Shi'as. According to a number of hadiths, living in Kufa is preferred to living in Mecca and Medina.


Unlike Mecca and Medina which originally have Arab settlers, Kufa contained a variety of different races.[8] After Kufa was founded, about fifteen to twenty thousand people emigrated there from other regions. 'Umar b. Sa'd has categorized the population of Kufa in seven groups:

Such mixture of tribes existed in Kufa until the time of Imam 'Ali (a); afterward, it was changed by Imam. Ziyad b. Abih was the last one who changed the arrangement of tribes in Kufa in 50/670-1.

In the time of the conquests of Arabs, most Arab tribes migrated to Kufa were from Yemen. Most Yemeni tribes, especially Hamdan, were Shi'a and followers of 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a). As reported, Hamdan was a dominant and leading tribe of Yemen who were faithful followers of Imam 'Ali (a).[10] Also the tribe of Tay who fought alongside 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) in the Battle of Jamal and Siffin, were another influential supporting tribe of Imam.[11]

Asha'riyyun was another immigrant tribe from Yemen, who supported Imam 'Ali (a). However, when al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf came to power, he prosecuted Shi'a Muslims, then Asha'riyyun migrated to Qom, where they settled and developed Shi'ism in Iran.[12]

Dar al-Imara

During the of building Kufa, Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas ordered to build a palace southeast of the city on high hills. It was later used as the house of caliphs, Emirs, and governors.[13]

Muslim b. 'Aqil was taken to the roof of this palace by order of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, where he was executed and was thrown down to the ground.[14]

After the Battle of Karbala, the captives and the head of Imam al-Husayn (a) were taken to Dar al-Imara (the house of emir) for 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad. Lady Zaynab (a) and Imam al-Sajjad (a) both had debates with 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad.[15]

Moreover, al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi settled in Dar al-Imara of Kufa, where the heads of the murderers of the Battle of Karbala were brought to him.

Dar al-Imara of Kufa was destroyed in 71/690-1 by order of 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan.

In the Time of Imam Ali (a)

In 36/656-7, 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a), set out for Kufa with one thousand soldiers from Medina, while twelve thousand soldiers from Kufa came to welcome him.[16] Also in the Battle of Jamal, the majority of people of Kufa supported Imam 'Ali (a); the city became the capital of Imam 'Ali's caliphate.[17]

Reasons of the Appointment as the Capital

  • Financially Medina or Hijaz could not afford to challenge Iraq or Syria, while Iraq was enjoying its rich sources of income.
  • Regarding the number of people, Medina could not afford to face a massive battle; while Kufa was a crowded city, it was even near other teeming regions, so they could easily face a battle.
  • Several people of Medina, particularly several companions, were not keen on supporting 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a), as they considered themselves in the same level as Imam. On the other hand, the people of Kufa cherished Imam 'Ali (a).
  • People of Medina got used to welfare under the caliphate of the previous caliphs so much that they had lost their passion and hunger to fight for Islam; only twenty-five years after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (s). Gradually people sidestepped the spiritual and otherworldly teachings of Prophet (s).
  • Compared to other cities, most of Companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) were settling in Kufa.
  • Kufa was located in the heart of Islamic territories, where it was overseeing Iran, Hijaz, Syria, and Egypt.[18]

In the Time of Umayyads

With the victories made in Iran and Transoxiana in the Umayyad period, Kufa became the political and military capital of Umayyad in Mesopotamia and the center for controlling different regions so that the ruler of Iraqayn (Basra and Kufa) was also considered the true ruler of Iran. Therefore, the political and military significance and thus the economic growth of Kufa increased. The influence of this economic development was greatly seen at the time of Khalid b. 'Abd Allah al-Qusari so that by his order, many markets were built and there were shops allocated for every branch of traders and the rent revenue of these financial centers was used for soldiers' affairs, because at that time, ten thousand soldiers were in Kufa.[19]

Event of Karbala

After the death of Mu'awiya, many Shi'a nobles and common people sent letters to Imam al-Husayn (a) and invited him to rule Kufa and promised to support him.[20] So Imam al-Husayn (a) departed Mecca toward Kufa. 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, governor of Barsa, was appointed as governor of Kufa by Yazid. Muslim b. 'Aqil tried to hide in the house of Hani b. 'Urwa. But spies of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad found him and he tortured and imprisoned Hani. When Muslim b. 'Aqil learned about the incident, he tried to attack 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad with the people who took the oath of allegiance to him, but they gradually left Muslim b 'Aqil alone and he was killed by order of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad.[21]

When 'Umar b. Sa'd was appointed as the leader of the army by 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad. He marched toward Karbala with four thousand soldiers to fight against Imam al-Husayn's army. Gradually, waves of soldiers joined 'Umar b. Sa'd so that in the sixth of Muharram he had an army of twenty thousand soldiers against Imam al-Husayn (a).

People of Kufa were in different groups in the time of the Battle of Karbala:

  • Shi'a: Shi'a had a significant population of Kufa but the harsh treatment of Ziyad and his son, 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, had frightened them so they wouldn't participate in an event unless they were sure of the victory.
  • Supporters of Banu Umayya: 'Amr b. al-Hajjaj, Yazid b. al-Harith al-Shaybani, 'Amr b. Hurayth, 'Abd Allah b. Muslim, and 'Umar b. Sa'd were the main leaders of Banu Umayya supporters in Kufa. After twenty years, they were financially and socially the superior group among other tribes in Kufa.
  • Doubters: They were influenced by the beliefs of Kharijites. Although they did not join them, they were doubtful and cynical about religion.
  • Al-Hamra': As al-Tabari said, they were twenty thousand fighters from different races, who were living during the time of Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a). They would create bloodbath for money and rewards.
  • Neutrals: Those people of Kufa were hugely interested in worldly benefits, gained most in the Battle of Karbala. As they were sure the army of Imam al-Husayn (a) would lose the battle, they joined 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad and fought against Imam (a).[22]

Shi'a Uprisings

In the most difficult conditions of the Umayyad period, one-fourth to one-third of the people of Kufa have been Shia. This made the Umayyad government increase its surveillance over this city and was always ready to suppress any possible uprising.[23] In that period, some Shia uprisings were made against Umayyads.

Governors from the Foundation to al-Mukhtar's Uprising

  • Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas: He was appointed as the governor of Kufa by 'Umar b. al-Khattab. He was also in charge of Kufa in the time of 'Uthman b. 'Affan, but he was removed from office by him later.
  • 'Ammar b. Yasir: He was appointed by 'Umar b. al-Khattab.
  • Al-Mughira b. Shu'ba: He was appointed by 'Umar b. al-Khattab but 'Uthman b. 'Affan replaced him. In the time of Mu'awiya, he was appointed as the governor of Kufa again, where he died in 50/670-1.
  • Al-Walid b. 'Uqba: 'Uthman replaced Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas with al-Walid b. 'Uqba.
  • Sa'id b. al-A's: He was appointed in charge of Kufa in place of al-Walid b. 'Uqba by 'Uthman. Later people of Kufa expelled him out of Kufa in 34/654-5. They sent a letter to 'Uthman requesting Abu Musa al-Ash'ari as their governor. Finally 'Uthman agreed with their request.
  • Abu Musa al-Ash'ari: He was appointed as the governor of Basra by 'Umar b. al-Khattab in 17/638-9. Then he was discharged by 'Uthman. After Sa'd b. al-A'as was eliminated from his palace by the people of Kufa. They sent a letter and asked 'Uthman to appoint Abu Musa as the governor and he consequently agreed. When 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) came to power, Abu Musa was appointed in charge again. However, in the time of the Battle of Jamal, Imam 'Ali (a), asked people of Kufa to attend the battle, but Abu Musa prevented them from doing so, then Abu Musa was removed from his office by Imam 'Ali (a).
  • 'Uqba b. 'Amr: 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) appointed him as his deputy in the time of the Battle of Siffin.
  • 'Ammar b. Shihab: He was Imam 'Ali's governor in Kufa in 36/656-7.
  • Ziyad b. Abih: Mu'awiya has appointed him as the governor of Basra and Kufa, where he was in charge until he died in 53/672-3.
  • Al-Dahhak b. Qays: After the death of Ziyad b. Abih, Mu'awiya has appointed al-Dahhak in charge of Kufa. He invited people to take an oath of allegiance to 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr. He fought against Marwan b. al-Hakam and finally was killed in 65/684-5.
  • 'Abd Allah b. Khalid: He was appointed as the governor by Mu'awiya.
  • Sa'd b. Zayd: He was a member of the Khuza'a tribe and was appointed as the governor by Mu'awiya.
  • 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Abd Allah: He was the son of Umm al-Hakam, the sister of Mu'awiya. 'Abd al-Rahman was appointed as the governor by his uncle, Mu'awiya. People of Kufa banished him due to his misconduct.
  • Nu'man b. Bashir: He was the last one appointed by Mu'awiya as the governor of Kufa.
  • 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad: He was appointed as the governor by Yazid b. Mu'awiya. At that time Muslim b. 'Aqil came to Kufa to invite people to support al-Husayn b. 'Ali (a) in 60/679-80.
  • 'Amr b. al-Hurayth: He was appointed as the representative by Ziyad b. Abih in the time of his absence in the city. Later he was also the representative of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad.
  • 'Amir b. Mas'ud: After the death of Yazid b. Mu'awiya, Amir b. Mas'ud was chosen as governor of Kufa by its people. When 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr came to power, he retained him as the governor.
  • 'Abd Allah b. Yazid: 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr appointed him as the governor of Mecca, later he became the governor of Kufa.
  • 'Abd Allah b. Muti': He was appointed as the governor by 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr. In the uprising of al-Mukhtar, he was defeated and came back to Mecca.
  • Al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi: After defeating 'Abd Allah b. Muti', al-Mukhtar became the governor of Kufa. When al-Mukhtar went to al-Mada'in, he left Sa'ib b. Malik al-Asha'ri in charge of his palace.
  • Musa'b b. al-Zubayr: He was appointed as the governor of Basra by 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr in 67/686-7, later he defeated al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi and became the ruler of Kufa.[27]

In the Time of Abbasids

It is said that in the first years of the Abbasid government, Imam al-Sadiq (a) was summoned to Iraq by al-Saffah and al-Mansur and, for a while stayed in Kufa. In that period, he (a) taught and explained Islamic teachings and fought the opinions of Ghulat (exaggerators).[28]

In the Abbasids period, Kufa gradually lost its political and military and then economic significance. At the time of the second Abbasid caliph, the political power of Abbasids was lost, and Kufa was seriously damaged and destroyed following the attacks of Bedouin tribes from the Arabian Peninsula, especially Qaramita and the tribes of Shimr and Khafaja. Ibn Jubayr, the Muslim travel logger who visited Kufa in 580/1184-5, described it as following,

Kufa is a big old city which has suffered many destructions and its destructions are more than its buildings. One of the causes of the destruction of Kufa was the Khafaja tribe in the neighborhood of Kufa, who always attacked the city.[29]

Governments like Buyids and Seljuk did not want to reconstruct and develop the city, especially because its political, military, economic, and even religious significance was moved to Baghdad, which was built in 145/762-3 by al-Mansur, the Abbasid ruler.[30]

Shi'a Uprisings

  • Uprising of Ibn Tabataba: Muhammad b. Ibrahim b. Tabataba was among the descendants of Imam al-Hasan (a) who went from Medina to Kufa and collected an army with the help of Abu l-Saraya, who was one of the rebellious commanders of Abbasids and an agent of Harthama b. A'yan. In 199/814-5, they attacked Kufa and took over the city.[31]
  • Uprisings of Ali b. Zayd and 'Isa b. Ja'far: These two people who were among the descendants of Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a) made an uprising in Kufa in 255/868-9. Al-Mu'tazz sent a great army led by Sa'id b. Salih and suppressed their uprising.[32]
  • Uprising of Ali b. Zayd b. al-Hasan: He was among the descendants of Imam al-Husayn (a) and made an uprising in Kufa at the time of al-Muhtadi. Shah b. Miykal went to fight him with a great army, but he was defeated. When al-Mu'tamid reached power, he sent Kayjur al-Turki to fight him. After chasing and escaping for a while, Ali b. Zayd was killed in 257/870-1.[33]
  • Emergence of Qaramita: Most historical reports mention the emergence of Qaramita to the activities of an inviter following Isma'ilis called Hamdan b. al-Ash'ath known as Qarmat who began his preaching in Kufa.[34] In 317/929-30, Qaramita attacked Mecca and took al-Hajar al-Aswad with them. In 339/950-1, when they brought it back to Mecca, first they took it to Kufa and hung it to the seventh pillar of the mosque of Kufa so that people see it.[35]


Great Mosque of Kufa

Great Mosque of Kufa

The mosque of Kufa was among the first buildings founded by Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas in Kufa. 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) delivered his speeches and made judgments there; it is currently named Dakkat al-Qada'. Also Imam 'Ali (a) was martyred there by Ibn Muljam al-Muradi.

The Mosque of Kufa is regarded superior to all other mosques save for Masjid al-Haram and al-Masjid al-Nabawi,[36] since Imam al-Mahdi (a) will make judgments there.[37] Travelers are allowed to say their prayers normally or in travelers' prayer fashion (salat al-qasr).[38]

Al-Sahla Mosque

This mosque was built in the first/seventh century by Arab tribes of Kufa, about two kilometers northwest of the mosque of Kufa. This mosque is one of the oldest mosques attributed to the twelfth Imam (a) and thus, according to some narrations, the place he (a) will live after re-appearance will be there.

Islamic Sciences and Arts in Kufa

'Ilm al-Nahw

'Ilm al-Nahw (Arabic syntax) and 'Ilm al-Sarf (Arabic Morphology) have two main schools of thought: School of Basra and School of Kufa. Their prominent figures had numerous disagreements from the early stages. Al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin in the first volume of A'yan al-Shi'a says, Shi'ite scholars of Kufa and Basra were the founders of 'Ilm al-Nahw and they spread and promoted it through Basra and Kufa.

Instructions of Arabic syntax were invented and arranged for the first time in Basra while a century later another school of thought was founded in Kufa and disagreed with Basra school of thought.

Khalil b. Ahmad al-Farahidi, the author of the book al-'Ayn, was the prominent figure of Basra school of thought on 'Ilm al-Nahw. He was the master of Sibawayh in 'Ilm al-Nahw, who described and expanded this knowledge. Al-Kasa'i was the main figure of Arabic syntax and Lughat (lexicography) in the school of thought of Kufa; he was the most knowledgeable person on Arabic syntax.

The people of Kufa supported Banu 'Abbas in their rebellion against Banu Umayya, so Banu 'Abbas supported them against the people of Basra. They invited scholars from Kufa to train and educate their children.


In the last years of Imam al-Sadiq (a) lifetime, Shi'ite fiqh school moved from Medina to Kufa and revived fiqh in the city. Al-Buraqi wrote in his book Tarikh al-Kufa (The History of Kufa): "One hundred forty-eight companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) migrated to Kufa, also about thousand men from Tabi'un and faqihs have moved there. In the meantime, Imam al-Sadiq (a) migrated to Kufa in the time of al-Saffah and he lived there for some years. Meanwhile, the Umayyads were in a decline and 'Abbasids were trying to come to power. The situation was appropriate for Imam al-Sadiq (a) to preach Shi'ism and its fiqh." As al-Hasan al-Washa' said that he visited the mosque of Kufa in which about nine hundred hadith narrators were speaking of hadiths they heard from Ja'far b. Muhammad (a)."

Aban b. Taghlib, a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a) has narrated about thirty thousand hadiths from him, also Muhammad b. Muslim has narrated about forty thousand hadiths from Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). Hafiz Abu 'Abbas al-Kufi (b. 333/944-5) has written a book on Rijal in which he has mentioned the names of four thousand narrators, all narrated hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a). All of these activities were based on Imam al-Sadiq (a). As a result, Mansur al-Dawaniqi was fearful of faqihs and people; he ordered Imam (a) to move to Baghdad.[39]

Characteristics of Kufa School of Fiqh

  • Inscription of hadiths was regarded highly important in this era, which was started in the time of Imam al-Baqir (a) and reached its peak in the time of Imam al-Sadiq (a), as he eagerly encouraged his companions to record and inscribe hadiths. As Abu Basir quoted from Imam al-Sadiq (a): "Inscribe (hadiths and knowledge), as you are not able to memorize knowledge unless you write it down."
  • In addition, some new ideas and topics have been raised which were not answered in the Holy Qur'an. They were not answered by narrations and hadiths collected by Sunni scholars also and people were not able to refer and ask them from Ahl al-Bayt (a) due to the situation of society. As a result, Sunni scholars clung on Qiyas (deductive analogy), istihsan (juristic preference), ra'y (opinion) and conjecture (guess).
  • Narrators were reporting hadiths differently and a large number of hadiths were narrated from Shi'a Imams. Even hadiths were narrated in opposite fashion, on the same subjects. Therefore, several narrators asked Imams how to differentiate authentic hadiths. 'Alajiyya hadiths are stated in order to solve such debatable hadiths.
  • Different schools of fiqh such as Hanbali, Shafi'i, Maliki, and Hanafi appeared. On the other hand, Ahl al-Bayt (a) school of fiqh were the minority among others and due to the situation of society they were forced to practice taqiyya (religious dissimulation).
  • Qualifications of ijtihad and conclusion of Shari'a laws such as istishab (presumption of continuity), bara'a, ihtiyat (precaution), takhyir, etc. were introduced in this era. Sometimes narrators had to travel long distances, and they could not visit Imams to ask them the raised questions; as a result, they were obligated to practice ijtihad and reach an answer from Shari'a laws according to principles of fiqh.[40]


Sunni school of Hadith founded in Kufa in the time of territory expansions of Muslims by the second caliph, 'Umar b. al-Khattab. When Kufa was founded and a number of Companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) migrated there, hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (s) have spread and interpreted. The school of hadith of Kufa is regarded as important as the school of hadith of Medina, while opposing each other.

Characteristics of Kufa School of Hadith

  • Dynamism and rationalism: As Shi'a Muslims dealt with oppositions in disputes regarding fiqh and kalam, it made the school dynamic and active.
  • The large number of hadith narrators and the role of Shi'a Imams: According to narrations, a significant number of Shi'a hadiths narrators have lived in Kufa. Shi'a Muslims of Kufa were the first group of Imam al-Baqir (a)'s students led by Al A'yan. They made efforts in preaching and spreading Ahl al-Bayt (a)'s teachings in Kufa. In addition, Shi'a Muslims of Kufa regularly visited Imam al-Sadiq (a), and hadith narrators learned and narrated hadiths from him individually or in groups. As stated in the book Rijal of Al-Shaykh al-Tusi, the main hadith narrators of Imam al-Sadiq (a) were from Kufa.
  • The presence of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and agents of Imams in Kufa: The two years in which Imam al-Sadiq (a) migrated to Kufa in the time of Abu l-'Abbas al-Saffah was massively fruitful for Shi'ism and also non-Shi'a hadith narrators and also in teaching students. As 'Abbasids were having their early years in power, they were focused on the permanence of their government, as a result, they were not able to concentrate on activities of Imam al-Sadiq (a). As quoted, Abu Hanifa said about himself: "If those two years had not been I would have perished."
  • Codification and inscription of books on hadiths: Codification and writing qualitative and quantitative noteworthy hadiths sources is a prominent feature of hadiths narrators of Kufa. The majority parts of 6600 books which are mentioned in Wasa'il al-Shi'a by al-Hurr al-'Amili were written by hadith narrators of Kufa; they were mostly arranged by early Twelver Shi'a scholars who were living in the time of Shi'a Imams. All these books resulted in the famous books called al-Usul al-Araba'ami'a.[41]

Kufic Script

Beginning of sura al-Fatir in Kufic script, written in late 2/8 century.

Square and geometric Kufic script has a rectangular style with angles and straight lines. It was used as the main script of Arabs for many years in writing letters and Qur'ans. It was also seen on Dirham and Dinar coins. In the beginning, Kufic script did not have dots and diacritics. Since early Islam, Muslims have memorized the Holy Qur'an and they learned it from Prophet Muhammad (s), as a result, it was transmitted to other generations via learning from teachers orally. However, after the first half of the first century, Arabs were mixed with other races and minorities which caused mispronunciations and misunderstandings in reading and memorizing the Holy Qur'an. As a result Abu l-Aswad al-Du'ali was the first person to appoint Arabic diacritics to ease the process of writing and memorizing the Qur'an.[42]

Emergence of Religious Sects

Kharijites, Kaysanites and Zaydiyya first emerged in Kufa.

In Hadiths

The hadiths which have described Kufa are categorized in different groups:

  • Hadiths which introduced Kufa as Qubbat al-Islam (Tower of Islam).
  • Hadiths which described the features and blessings of mosques of Kufa, especially the Great Mosque of Kufa.
  • Hadiths which mentioned the significance of living in Kufa rather than living in Mecca and Medina.
  • Hadiths which mentioned the significance of the soil of Kufa and the people of Kufa.
  • Hadiths which mentioned the elimination of misery from Kufa.
  • Hadiths stating those who enter Kufa with evil intentions will be avenged by God.
  • Hadiths which introduced Kufa as the city of Imam 'Ali (a).
  • Hadiths which claimed God created Shi'a Muslims by the soil of Kufa and Kufa is a city settled by Shi'a Muslims.
  • Hadiths which introduced Kufa as a garden that is part of Heaven's gardens.
  • Hadiths in which Kufa is cherished by Prophet Muhammad (s) and Imams (a).

Shi'ite Knowledgeable Families in Kufa

Knowledgeable families of Kufa were:[43]

In the Era of Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a)

According to a number of narrations, Kufa will be the capital of caliphate of Imam al-Mahdi (a) which will be the center of attention of the whole world. Imam al-Sadiq (a) was asked about the place that Imam al-Mahdi (a) will settle in and also the place that Muslims will gather around in the time of reappearance, he expressed: "Kufa will be the capital of his caliphate, the Mosque of Kufa will be the place for judgment, the al-Sahla Mosque will be the treasury house while hills of Najaf will be the place for worshiping and praying."

Imam al-Baqir (a): "Imam al-Mahdi (a) will re-emerge in a time when three groups are fighting each other in Kufa, he will easily enter the city and deliver his speech, while people are crying out of joy so that they would not understand Imam's speech."

'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) explained about Imam al-Mahdi (a) in a hadith: "He will set out for Kufa and he will settle there."

After the Time of Reappearance

In the time of reappearance, when Imam al-Mahdi (a) will found a worldwide government based on justice and freedom, he will choose Kufa as his capital, which will expand with a 110-kilometer diameter.

Also Imam al-Sadiq (a) said: "When Imam al-Mahdi (a) reemerge, he will build a mosque behind a mountain (in Najaf) which has a thousand doors and houses in Kufa will reach both rivers of Karbala."

When Kufa become the capital of the Imam's government, all Muslims will gather around there as it is described in hadiths:

  • "There will be a day in which all Muslims are gathered in Kufa or they desire it". "All Muslims will gather around Kufa before the Judgment Day."
  • According to Raj'a (return) narrations, Kufa will be the capital of descendants of Ahl al-Bayt (a) in the government of Imam al-Mahdi (a). As al-Mufaddal narrated a lengthy hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) on the departure of Imam al-Husayn (a): "Imam al-Husayn (a) has set out for Kufa with his army and flags when the majority of people gather around in Kufa and it is chosen as the military base of Imam."
  • In other hadiths regarding different ways of the Raj'a of 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) especially in the time of Imam al-Husayn's governance. It is said Imam 'Ali (a) will meet Siffin companions about one hundred thousand companions in Siffin, thirty thousand of them are from Kufa. It is mentioned that Najaf will be the capital of the government of Imam 'Ali (a) in Raj'a era.

A number of hadiths have mentioned predictions of Shi'a Imams (a) on the situation of Kufa in the time of reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a):

  • When Euphrates' water is split to reach Kufa's allies, Shi'a Muslims are prepared for reappearance.
  • Oh, Jabir, reappearance will not take place before a massacre between Hira and Kufa did not happen yet.
  • Sufyani army will enter Kufa and kill everybody. Then they leave Kufa in order to slay all descendants of Ahl al-Bayt (a) and all Shi'a Muslims. So they will send an army toward Kufa and they will slay and hang a large number of Shi'a Muslims.


  1. Maqdisī, Aḥsan al-taqāsīm, vol. 1, p. 181.
  2. Majlisī, Ḥayāt al-qulūb, vol. 1, p. 271.
  3. Dīnawarī, al-Akhbār al-ṭiwāl, p. 123-124.
  4. Ṣafarī Furūshānī, Kufa az piydāyish tā ʿĀshūrā, p. 34-35.
  5. Barāqī, Tārīkh-i Kūfa, p. 119.
  6. Dīnawarī, al-Akhbār al-ṭiwāl, p. 124.
  7. Jaʿfarī, Tashayyuʿ dar masīr-i tārīkh, p. 142.
  8. Jaʿfarī, Tashayyuʿ dar masīr-i tārīkh, p. 127.
  9. Jaʿfarī, Tashayyuʿ dar masīr-i tārīkh, p. 128-131.
  10. Fayyāḍ, Piydāyish wa gostarish-i Shīʿa, p. 80.
  11. Jaʿfarī, Tashayyuʿ dar masīr-i tārīkh, p. 142.
  12. Barāqī, Tārīkh-i Kūfa, p. 261.
  13. Karīmān, "Kūfa", vol. 14, p. 245.
  14. Karīmān, "Kūfa", vol. 14, p. 245.
  15. Sayyid b. Ṭāwūs, al-Luhūf, p. 190-193.
  16. Balādhurī, Anasāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 235.
  17. Jaʿfarī, Tashayyuʿ dar masīr-i tārīkh, p. 107.
  18. [Naṣiḥ Sutūdih, ʿIlal antikhāb Kūfa. http://library.tebyan.net/fa/Viewer/Text/63914/1]
  19. Yaʿqūbī, al-Buldān, p. 149.
  20. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 37-39.
  21. Balādhurī, Anasāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 80-81.
  22. Shaykhīyān, "Raftār shināsī mardum-i Kūfa", p. 456-457.
  23. Jaʿfarīyān, Aṭlas-i Shīʿa, p. 361.
  24. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 6, p. 66.
  25. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 6, p. 20-23.
  26. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 171.
  27. Barāqī, Tārīkh-i Kūfa, p. 308-311.
  28. Thaqafī, al-Ghārāt, vol. 2, p. 850-856.
  29. Ibn Jubayr, Safar nāmih Ibn Jubayr, p. 259.
  30. Iīzadī, "Jughrāfīyā-yi tārīkhī-yi Kūfa", p. 82.
  31. Ibm al-Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 7, p. 302.
  32. Masʿūdī, Murūj al-dhahab, vol. 4, p. 94.
  33. Ibm al-Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 7, p. 239-240.
  34. Ibد al-Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 7, p. 447.
  35. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 11, p. 223.
  36. Ṭabāṭabāʾī Yazdī, ʿUrwat al-wuthqā, p. 201.
  37. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 53, p. 11.
  38. Ṭabāṭabāʾī Yazdī, ʿUrwat al-wuthqā, p. 347.
  39. Barāqī, Tārīkh-i Kūfa, p. 466.
  40. Karīmī nīyā, "Tārīkh-i fiqih wa ḥuqūq", p. 46.
  41. Jabbārī, "Nigāhī bi makātib ḥadīthī-yi Shīʿa", p. 59.
  42. Ṣafarī Furūshānī, Kūfa az piydāyish tā ʿĀshūrā, p. 327-330.
  43. Rajabī, Kūfa wa naqsh-i ān dar qurūn-i nukhustīn, p. 475-486.


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