Mankind is a social creature, which gets acquainted on his alike and starts to develop social relation. Visiting each other comes with desire and compassion of mankind towards each other and it is rooted in nature of humans. Therefore, seeing one another is a natural need. This need will continue even when a loved one passes away. Despite the fact that this natural need may diminish. For this reason, visiting family, loved ones and their graves is still a common practice among all nations.
As Islam is a religion rooted in human’s nature, it has paid a particular attention to the subject of visiting and pilgrimage. There are many narrations that provide guidance on pilgrimage. Based on this, visiting the family, other believers, and scholars and in particular the Prophet and his Progeny (Peace be upon them) in their lifetime and after demise is highly recommended.
Visiting the believers is so constructive in the social and intellectual life that in some narration it has been marked as visiting Allah (SWT) or the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP). For instance, the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) has said: “Whosoever visits his brother, not with the intention of a fulfilling a need, but with the intention of seeing him and goes to his home, he will be amongst those who visited Allah and it is upon Allah to appreciate His visitors.”
From the Islamic view, mankind has a purgatory life after death. Thus, visiting the grave of those who passed away is not simply visiting dead bodies without life. It is in fact visiting the souls that live in purgatory and they become very happy when we visit them. The best student of the Last Prophet (PBUH&HP), Amir alMumenin Imam Ali (PBUH) has said in a narration about the blessings of visiting the graves of dead: “Visit those who have passed away; as they become happy when you visit them. One must ask for his requests from the Lord besides the grave of his/her parents after having prayed for them.”2
As connection with the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) and his Progeny has the most effect on one’s life, visiting them during their life and after demise has been recommended much more than any other. Imam Hussein asks his grandfather the messenger of Allah: dear father, what does he receive, he who visits you?
The messenger of Allah replies back: whosoever visits me or your father or your brother or you in our lifetime or after death, then it is upon me it visit him on the Day of Judgment and relieve (intercede) him from his sins.
Also it is narrated from Imam Sadiq (PBUH) whosoever visits us after our death it is as if he has visited us in our lifetime.
Visiting the prophet and his progeny has traditions on the surface and also deep within and amongst which are reciting the pilgrimage script; the visitor/pilgrim will recite certain sentences to the Prophet’s or one of his progeny. This script is primarily comprised of phrases that will help in getting to know the visited and ultimately deeper knowledge about the Great Prophet and his Progeny (PBUT).
Moreover, one of the companions of Imam Hadi (PBUH) asked the Imam to teach him a pilgrimage script. He put his request fort in the following manner: “O Son of the Messenger of Allah, please teach me a comprehensive and eloquent words where I can recite it whenever I visit any one you.” Imam Hadi (PBUH) in response to his request who was Musa Ibn Abdullah Nakha’ee composed the Ziarat Jame’e Kabireh.
It seems that Imam Hadi’s (PBUH) aim of such cultural action was to form the pilgrimage sites for Muslims to a center of learning about the status of Prophet’s progeny and true Islam. This priceless effort is both against enemies who tried to destruct the true Islam in the light of Prophet’s progeny (PBUT) as well as those who exaggerated about their status for achieving separation of Islamic society from the Prophet’s progeny (PBUT). Therefore, there’s a comprehensive pilgrim scripts from this Imam that are both educational and invaluable amongst which the most authentic and popular one is Ziarat Jame’eh Kabireh.
This Pilgrim script is in fact one of the most complete written forms about knowing the Imams with clear lines between Oneness of Allah and belief in the Prophets and Imams (who were their successors) explained without any exaggerations. It defines the exceptional status of Prophet Muhammad’s Progeny (PBUT).
Selection from: Tafsir Quran Natigh by Reyshahri
1. Rasail shahid thani, pg. 331 – Bihar alAnwar, vol. 77, pg. 192
2. al-Khisal pg. 618 narration#10
3. al-Kafi, vol. 4, pg. 548, narration#4
4. al-Mazar Mufid, pg. 201, narration#3
5. Man La Yahzar al-Faqih, vol. 2, pg. 609
6. Please refer to the text of Ziarat al-Jame’ah al-Kabirah