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Imam Ali Mosque
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Old 15-03-2019
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Imam Ali Mosque


The Sanctuary of Imam 'Ali (Arabic: حَـرَم ٱلْإِمَـام عَـلِي‎, romanized: Ḥaram al-Imām ‘Alī), also known as the Mosque of 'Ali (Arabic: مَـسْـجِـد عَـلِي‎, romanized: Masjid ‘Alī), located in Najaf, Iraq, is a Shi'ite Muslim mosque housing the tomb of 'Alī ibn Abī Tālib, the cousin of Muhammad and the first Shi'ite Imam after him, and the fourth Sunni Rashid Caliph. According to Shi'ite belief,[1] buried next to Ali within this mosque are the remains of Adam and Nuh (Noah). Each year millions of pilgrims visit the Shrine and pay tribute to Imam Ali.

The Abassid Caliph Harun al-Rashid built the first structure over the tomb of Imam 'Ali in 786, which included a green dome. The Caliph Al-Mutawakkil flooded the site in 850, but Abu'l-Hayja, the Hamdanid ruler of Mosul and Aleppo, rebuilt the shrine in 923, which included a large dome. In 979-980, the Buyid dynasty Shi'i sovereign 'Adud al-Dawla, expanded the shrine, which included a cenotaph over the burial site and a new dome. This included hanging textiles and carpets. He also protected Najaf with a wall and citadel, while providing water from the Euphrates via a qanat. Seljuq Sultan Malik-Shah I contributed large gifts to the shrine in 1086, as did Caliph Al-Nasir. The vizier Shams al-Din Juvayni added facilities to serve the pilgrims in 1267, and Sultan Ghazan Khan added the Dar al-Siyada wing for the sayyids in 1303. A fire destroyed the shrine in 1354 but was rebuilt around 1358 by Jalairid Sultan Shaikh Awais Jalayir. He also interred his father's remains, Hasan Buzurg in the courtyard. Timur ordered the restoration of the shrine after a visit to Najaf. Suleiman the Magnificent also offered gifts, which probably helped restore the shrine, after a visit in 1534. The Safavid Shah Ismail I visited in 1508, but it was Abbas I who visited Najaf twice and commissioned 500 men to rebuild the shrine in 1623. The restoration was completed by his grandson Shah Safi al-Din in 1632. This restoration included a new dome, expanded courtyard, a hospital, kitchen, and hospice, so as to accommodate the numerous pilgrims. The cenotaph was restored in 1713 and the dome stabilized in 1716. Nader Shah gilded the dome and minaret from 1742-1743, while his wife paid for the walls and courtyard to be rebuilt and the retiling of the iwan faience. In 1745, the iwan was rebuilt as a gilt muqarnas of nine tiers. In 1791, a raised stone floor covered the tombs in the courtyard, creating a cellar space for them. The Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz rebuilt the Clock Portal (Bab al-Sa'a) and the Portal of Muslim Ibn 'Aqil in 1863 and the former gilded in 1888 by Qajar Sultan Naser al-Din Shah Qajar.

Ibn Battuta visited the shrine in 1326, noting that it was "carpeted with various sorts of carpets of silk and other materials, and contains candelabra of gold and silver, large and small." Between the three tombs, "are dishes of gold and silver, containing rose-water, musk and various kinds of perfumes. The visitor dips his hand in this and anoints his face with it for a blessing."

The first European visitors included Carsten Niebuhr in 1765, William Loftus in 1853, and Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1864.:79


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