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Maqam Mahmud

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The calligraphy of "Maqam Mahmud", verse 79 of Sura Isra

Maqām Maḥmūd, (Arabic: مقام مَحمود) or the Praiseworthy Station, is a position given by God to the Prophet (s) because of his vigilance. In their interpretations of verse 79 of Qur'an 17, Quranic exegetes have construed the position as that of the Prophet’s ability to intercede for people.

Some Quranic exegetes believe that the “Praiseworthy Station” is the Prophet’s ability to monitor all the creatures and his utmost proximity to God, which include the position of intercession as well. According to part of Ziyara Ashura, Imam al-Husayn (a) has the Praiseworthy Station as well.

A Praiseworthy Station for the Prophet (s)

Muslim scholars and exegetes believe that the Praiseworthy Station is an exalted position given by God to the Prophet (s) because of his vigilance and his performance of Night Prayers.

There are different accounts of the Praiseworthy Station means, but they all agree that it involves a position of intercession:

  • The position of intercession: many Shiite and Sunni exegetes of the Quran draw on hadiths to show that the Praiseworthy Station is the position of intercession. For example, there is a hadith to the effect that “maqam Mahmud” in verse 79 of Qur'an 17 is that in which he intercedes for his people, or a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a) or Imam al-Sadiq (a) in the interpretation of the same verse, according to which the Praiseworthy Station is the position of intercession. A number of Quranic exegetes have referred to the position as the “major intercession.” Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tihrani (d. 1416/1995) suggests that the position of intercession given by God to the Prophet (s) is because of his Praiseworthy Station. In his view, all divine beauty and perfection are in the Praiseworthy Station, which is given to the Prophet (s) in an absolute unqualified manner; that is, any praise from any person to any person belongs to the Prophet (s).
  • Monitoring the creatures: A number of Quranic exegetes believe that the Praiseworthy Station is one in which the prophet (s) monitors all the creatures, and in which God gives him whatever he wants, including intercession for his people.
  • Utmost proximity to God: In Tafsir-i nimuna, the possibility is proposed that the Praiseworthy Station is the utmost proximity to God, which implies major intercession as well.

The Praiseworthy Station for the Imams (a)

In some Ziyarats (salutatory supplications), Imam 'Ali (a), Imam al-Husayn (a), and Imam al-Rida (a) are also described as having the Praiseworthy Station. One part of Ziyara Ashura reads: “I beseech Allah … to include me with you in this world and in the Hereafter … I also beseech Him to make me attain the praiseworthy status that you enjoy with Allah.”

According to Nasir Makarim Shirazi, a Shiite exegete of the Quran, although verse 79 of Qur'an 17 is about the Prophet (s), it can probably include others as well, in the sense that a believer who keeps vigilant at nights and performs Night Prayers can enjoy part of the Praiseworthy Station and intercede for others, to the extent to his or her closeness to God.

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