I have been blessed to make ziyara to the graves of many righteous Muslims. Ziyara is an act of worship which both Sunni and Shi’i ‘ulama agree brings spiritual benefit and openings. The only dissenters are people like ISIS, who instead of asking God to bless them in the presence of the righteous, would prefer to detonate explosives.
I have visited the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him and his family), as well as the first three caliphs who are also buried in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. But I have yet to visit the fourth caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib, in Najaf, Iraq. It is my firm intention, relying upon Allah, to make ziyara to him.
In a time when men with guns openly proclaim their intention to destroy the tomb of Ali, as well as to massacre Muslims who believe in the efficacy of doing ziyara to him, this post is a public act of defiance. I have changed the pictures on this blog and on my related Twitter account to continuously remind me of Najaf until the time comes when Allah blesses me to walk upon its soil.
Ali ibn Abi Talib is unanimously agreed upon by both Sunni and Shi’i ‘ulama to be one of the denizens of Paradise, and an example to be followed. They agree that the Prophet said about him, “Whoever has me as his master, then so too is Ali his master,” although they differ on the interpretation of its meaning. From Ali come the spiritual lineages of all the Sufi communities except one. And so he is not a divisive figure, as some would have it. He is a actually a centralizing figure whose depth is so great that from him hundreds of millions draw inspiration, guidance, and spiritual unveiling.
So the ziyara to Najaf is the heritage of the entire Ummah of Muhammad, may blessings and peace be upon him and his family. And at a time when there are people who want to completely destroy this heritage, it is important to state so boldly and loudly.
May Allah accept this from me, count it amongst the righteous deeds I have done for His sake, bring benefit to humanity through it, correct my mistakes, forgive my sins, and guide me to the path of righteous, ameen.