The Divine Invitation (25)
The blessed month of Ramazan is very interesting and glorious but it becomes more interesting and glorious in cities like Mashhad due to the existence of the shrine of Imam Reza (AS).
Mashhad is the sanctuary of the lovers of God and Ahl al-Bayt. It is the mausoleum of the 8th infallible successor of the Prophet, Imam Reza, who is famous as Imam al-Ra’oof, or the kind and compassionate Imam. In the month of Ramazan, every morning you can see the huge gathering of pilgrims and lovers of the Ahl al-Bayt after the Fajr prayer who are sitting in orderly rows and reciting the part of the noble Qur’an related to each day of the month.
If you are in Mashhad, you will see a variety of programs for pilgrims including exegesis of the Qur’an, different speeches and gatherings on Islamic lifestyle, marital relations, child and parents relations, women’s issues, pre-marriage skills, etc. The program, “Lessons of Qur’an from the Huge Razawi Courtyard” has turned into a site for attendance of people from all walks of life to be more acquainted with the Book of Revelation. Here you can sense the bond of the Ahl al-Bayt and the Qur’an easily. This reminds you of the Prophet’s eternal remark, “Indeed, I leave behind among you two weighty things: the Book of God and my progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt. They will never part from each other till they come to me at the pond of Kawsar. As long as you cling to them you will never go astray nor will you slip.”
The Daar al-Qur’an of Astan-e Quds-e Razawi holds 10 Qur’anic circles in 10 parts of the shrine and Gowhar Shad Mosque for recitation of the Qur’an. These circles are held with the aim of specialized enjoyment of the spiritual climate in the blessed month of Ramazan. They include circles for ladies and teenagers, too. Every day before the time of Iftar (breaking the fast) the Maqsooreh Porch of Gowhar Shad Mosque hosts acclaimed reciters of the Qur’an from Iran and abroad.
Javad Suleimani, an outstanding reciter says, “Recitation of the ayahs of God’s Word is a great favor for the pilgrims of Imam Reza, and that in the month of Ramazan. In my opinion the highest degree that I have obtained in the field of Qur’an was the recitation of the Qur’an at the radiant mausoleum of Imam Reza (AS). Recitation of the Qur’an in this sacred place gives double energy and spirit to the reciter because the pilgrims participate in this gathering more fervently. We are duty-bound to recite the ayahs of the Qur’an in the most beautiful way for the lovers of the Word of God.”
This renowned reciter of the noble Qur’an, continues, “Human being’s life is blended with the Qur’an in this month and one of the messages of this blessed month for human beings is that they should live with the Qur’an; and besides the month of Ramazan they should pay attention to recitation of the Qur’an so that their life is blessed by the ayahs of the Qur’an."
One of the pilgrims of Imam Reza (AS), who has attended the circle of recitation, says, “While entering the holy shrine, I noticed that Qur’anic circles are being held here. I felt that a kind of spirituality engulfed my entire being. The choral recitation of the ayahs of the Qur’an fills your soul with spirituality. Meanwhile, when I pay attention to the meaning of the ayahs it impacts me a lot.”
The Holy city of Mashhad is also host to thousands of pilgrims at the time of Iftar. The generous tablecloths of Imam Reza are spread in the city and every day more than 13,000 invitation cards are handed out among pilgrims. The invitees refer to the Hedayat Courtyard and are served from the bounteous banquet of Imam Reza. Distribution of 100,000 simple foods for Iftar in the courtyards and porches of the shrine is another program in these days.
Perhaps, one of the most beautiful scenes in the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) is the moment when a man or woman embraces Islam. A group of neo-Muslims had come to Iran from Algeria and South Korea. One of the Korean youths said that he was a Christian but the concept of Trinity couldn’t convince him. So, he went to a Wahhabi mosque. But since Wahhabism is devoid of any argument and reasoning, he was not convinced, either. Thus, he researched about Shia school and when he came to the shrine of Imam Reza (AS) he became Muslim. He believes that the Shia school is the most reasonable and rational denomination.
Olka Onstovich, the 26-year-old lady, is a graduate of foreign languages from Belorussia. She embraced Islam after two visits to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS). She changed her name to Hadith. She says, “I learnt the Arabic language and studied the noble Qur’an. I found Islam the religion of peace and friendship and tried to choose it as my permanent religion. I am very happy that God has granted me this lofty bounty, especially being present in this sacred shrine and enjoying its various services was a very beautiful memory for me.
Dear listeners, you may have experienced the indescribable atmosphere of the dawn and Azaan for Morning Prayer in the shrine of Imam Reza (AS). But this is sweeter during the blessed month of Ramazan. Seeing the huge number of pilgrims who are standing in orderly rows for congregational prayer is very nice. As it was said earlier, after the prayer the routine program is the recitation of one part of the Qur’an pertaining to that day of the blessed month of Ramazan. May God help us be the pilgrim of Imam Reza (AS) in the blessed month of Ramazan. Amen!