Ziyarat al-Nahiya al-Muqaddasa

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Ziyarat al-Nahiya al-Muqaddasa
Other namesZiyarat al-Nahiya
SubjectZiyara for Imam al-Husayn (a)
Issued byAttributed to Imam al-Mahdi (a)
NarratorOne of the four special deputies of Imam al-Mahdi (a)
Shi'a sourcesAl-Mazar al-kabir
TimeOn the day of 'Ashura and also on other occasions

This article is an introduction to the Ziyarat al-Nahiya al-Muqaddasa; to read its text see text:Ziyarat al-Nahiya al-Muqaddasa.

Zīyārat al-Nāhīya al-Mūqaddasa (Arabic:زیارَة النّاحِیَة المُقَدَّسَة) (ziyara of the Sacred Person) is a ziyara for Imam al-Husayn (a) which is recited on the day of 'Ashura and also on other occasions. Two ziyaras are known with this title; one of them is the famous one, and the other is Ziyarat al-Shuhada' in which the names of the companions of Imam al-Husayn (a) along with those who killed them are mentioned.

The famous ziyara begins with expressing salutations to divine Prophets and the infallible Imams, it continues with expressing salutations to Imam al-Husayn (a) and his companions. Then, it follows with some of the characteristics and virtues of the Imam (a), the background of his uprising, description of his martyrdom and passions, and the sorrow of the whole universe, heavenly and earthly beings, because of his passions. The ziyara ends with making Tawassul to the infallible Imams and supplication to God.

Whether this ziyara has been issued by Imam al-Mahdi (a) or the previous Imams, is a matter of disagreement among scholars.

Al-Nahiya al-Muqaddasa

Since early 3rd/9th century and due to difficult social conditions and political prosecution, Imamiyya Shi'a used the secretive title, Al-Nahiya al-Muqaddasa (النّاحِیَة المُقَدَّسَة ; literally: The Sacred Zone), instead of the names of Imam al-Hadi (a), Imam al-'Askari (a) and Imam al-Mahdi (a), when talking about them or quoting their sayings. However, this title is mostly used to refer to Imam al-Mahdi (a).

Definite and Indefinite Versions

Among the ziyaras for Imam al-Husayn (a), two ziyarahs are known as al-Nahiya al-Muqaddasa:

  1. The famous one, which has been reported through one of the four special deputies of Imam al-Mahdi (a). the following sources have reported this ziyara: al-Mazar (manuscript) by al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Mazar al-kabir, Bihar al-anwar, Kitab al-du'a wa l-ziyarah, Ramz al-musiba, al-Sahifa al-hadiya, al-Sahifa al-mahdawiyya, Kalimat al-Imam al-Mahdi peace be upon him.
  2. Another ziyara which is commonly known as the ziyara of the Martyrs ("Ziyart al-Shuhada") and was narrated by Shaykh Muhammad b. Ghalib al-Isfahani to Abu Mansur b. 'Abd al-Mun'im b. Nu'man al-Baghdadi in 252 hijri. It contains the names of 80 companions of Imam al-Husayn (a) along with the names of those who killed them. Based on the time of its report, which predates the birth of Imam al-Mahdi (a), this ziyara has been issued either by Imam al-Hadi (a) or Imam al-'Askari (a). However, there's a possibility of a mistake in its date of narration. The text of this ziyara has been reported in the following sources: Iqbal al-'Amal, Bihar al-anwar, 'Awalim, Nasikh al-tawarikh, Kitab al-du'a wa l-ziyara, Ramz al-musiba and Ansar al-Husayn (a).

Text and Content

The ziyara begins with expressing salutations to the divine Prophets, the Ahlulbayt (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a) and his companions in Karbala: “peace be upon Adam, Allah's chosen one from among his creation …” then it follows with reporting activities of Imam al-Husayn (a) before the war, the background of his uprising, description the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a) and his companions, the sorrow of all heavenly and earthly beings because of that tragedy. The ziyara ends with making Tawassul to the Ahlulbayt (a) and supplication to God.

An Excerpt from the Ziarat al-Nahiya al-Muqaddasa

Peace be upon the parched lips.

assalāmu alash-shifāhidh-dhābilāt,

،اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الشِّفاهِ الذّابِلاتِ

Peace be upon the plucked souls.

assalāmu alan-nufūsil mušţalamāt,

،اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى النُّفُوسِ الْمُصْطَلَماتِ

Peace be upon the snatched spirits.

assalāmu alal 'arwāħil mukhtalasāt,

،اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الأرْواحِ الْمُخْتَلَساتِ

Peace be upon the stripped corpses.

assalāmu alal 'ajsādil ariyāt,

،اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الأجْسادِ الْعارِياتِ

Peace be upon the pallid bodies.

assalāmu alal jusūmish-shāħibāt,

،اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الْجُسُومِ الشّاحِباتِ

Peace be upon the gushing bloods.

asslāmu alad-dimā'is-sā'ilāt,

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الدِّماءِ السّائِلاتِ


At the beginning of the ziyara, 22 divine Prophets are mentioned by name and salutations have been expressed to each one individually. Then the names of Ashab al-Kisa (members of the cloak) are mentioned along with some of their characteristics.

In this ziyara, salutations to Imam al-Husayn (a) are expressed sometimes with his name, his titles, his virtues; and sometimes salutations are directed to the wounds and the injured parts of his blessed body. Then, salutations are expressed to his companions.

Description of the Religious and Social Status of the Imam

After expressing salutations, some of the virtuous characteristics of Imam al-Husayn (a) and his position are described and some of the reasons for his uprising are pointed out: “when the situation was suitable, you raised the banner of opposition, and battled the deniers, setting off along your children, relatives, followers, companions and friends, and you invited (people) to God with wisdom and kind advice, and you commanded to upright the limits and the obedience to God, and you prohibited from indecency and disobedience, and you confronted oppression and injustice.”

Description of the Battle of 'Ashura

An Excerpt from the Ziarat al-Nahiya al-Muqaddasa

Peace be upon the defender who had no helper.

assalāmu alal muħāmī bilā muīn,

،اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الْمُحامي بِلا مُعين

Peace be upon the gray hair that was dyed (with blood).

assalāmu alash-shaybil khađhīb,

،اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الشَّيْبِ الْخَضيبِ

Peace be upon the cheek that struck the dust.

assalāmu alal khaddit-tarīb,

،اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الْخَدِّ التَّريبِ

Peace be upon the butchered body.

assalāmu alal badanis-salīb,

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَى الْبَدَنِ السَّليبِ

In this part, the ziyara describes some aspects of the Battle of 'Ashura: after you had prohibited them from their actions and emphatically showed them the evidence, they broke their allegiance with you and caused the wrath of your Lord and your grandfather and launched a war against you, and that cursed person commanded his army, and they prevented you from the water and drinking it, they threw arrows and stones toward you and opened their criminal hands to destroy you, they surrounded you from every angle and stabbed you causing deep wounds …, then you fell from your horse, injured, horses ran over you, and oppressors stroke their sharp swords upon you, and Shimr was sitting on your chest, moving his sword on your throat, holding your beard in his hand, trying to cut your head with his sword.”

Description of the Following Tragedies

Then, the ziyara displays the tragedies that took place after the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a): “your head was on the spear, and your family members were in shackles like the captives, their faces burnt by sun heat, and they were directed in deserts, their hands around their necks and they would be led through marketplaces.”

The ziyara considers this tragedy as equal to the destruction of Islam: “Woe to the sinful tyrants, by killing you, they in fact killed Islam, and canceled the prayer and fasting, they transgressed the traditions and the laws and destroyed the foundations of faith and misinterpreted the verses of the Qur'an and persisted on corruption and hostility, … the scripture of God was abandoned and the truth was betrayed. With your departure, La ilah illa Allah (the word of Tawhid; doctrinal beliefs), Haram (forbidden) and Halal (permissible) (practical laws), al-Tanzil (revelation) and al-Ta'wil (interpretation) disappeared; after you, distortion, change, irreligiousness, atheism, carnal desires, misguidance, unrests, inefficacies, and falsehood appeared.”

Universal Consequences of this Tragedy

The greatness of this tragedy is to the point that it caused deep sorrow for the whole universe: “the Prophet (a) was sad and his heart cried, and because of you, angels and other Prophets expressed condolences to him. Because of you, your mother, al-Zahra' (a) was in grief, and archangels would go to your father, the commander of the faithfuls (a), to express their condolences, mourning session was held in the highest heavens for you, heaven and its inhabitants, paradise and its treasurers, earth and the mountains upon it, oceans and their fish, Jinn and their offspring, the Ka'ba and the Maqam Ibrahim (a), Mash'ar al-Haram and al-Haram, all cried for you.”

The finishing part of the ziyara is dedicated to Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from God) supplications for the reciter of the ziyara and all the believers, and it ends with the prayer of the ziyara.


The oldest surviving source that contains this ziyara is al-Mazar al-kabir by Ibn al-Mashhadi (d.595 h). He reports this ziyara, without including its chain of transmission, he explicitly states, at the beginning of his book, that this ziyara as been narrated to him through a successive chain of transmission, however, since he was certain that the origin of this ziyara had been an infallible Imam, and for the sake of the brevity of his book, he omitted its chain of transmission. The book and its author are deemed authentic and trustworthy by most of other scholars, including: al-Muhaddith al-Nuri (in al-Mustadrak al-wasa'il), Al-Majlisi (in Bihar al-anwar), Shaykh Abbas al-Qummi, al-Shaykh Hurr al-'Amili, al-Shahid al-Awwal, al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin and Agha Buzurg Tihrani. However, Ayatullah Khoei believes that al-Mashhadi, the author of al-Mazar al-Kabir is unknown, and thus the book is unauthentic.

Some older sources are also mentioned for this ziyara.

See Also