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Published on 23 Dec 2008 | over 8 years ago

Ziyarat means visitation. In the Islamic sense, this term is primarily used for the visitation of the graves of the vice-regents of Allah who include Allahs messengers, prophets, and their executors. Ziyarat literature is a formal liturgical expression used by the faithful while visiting the shrines of Prophet Muhammad [p] and his Ahl al-Bait [a], and can also be recited to address them from afar. Much of the Ziyarat literature was recited and transmitted by the infallible Imams [a] and was recorded in the books of traditions.

Of the several prescribed Ziyarat of Imam al-Husain [a], one was recited by Imam al-Mahdi [a] and reached us through one of his four special deputies. For that reason, it is known as the Ziyarat that was issued from the sacred side. One of the most important features of this Ziyarat is that in different phrases, Imam al-Mahdi [a] graphically describes the events of Ashura and the agony that Imam al-Husain [a] and his family faced on that horrific and ominous day.

The text of the Ziyarat al-Nahiya is found in some early Ziyarat collections such as al-Mazar al-Kabir, by Muhammad Ibn Jafar al-Mashhadi, pp. 496-513. It is also reported in al-Mazar, by al-Mufid as mentioned in Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 98, pp. 318-329.

It is noteworthy that Sayyid Ibn Tawus (d. 664 AH) in his Misbah al-Zair reports another Ziyarat, which has some common parts with Ziyarat al-Nahiya. However, this Ziyarat has not been attributed to the Imam [a], and has been only ascribed to Sayyid Murtadha (d. 436 AH). As al-Majlisi mentioned in Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 98, p. 251, although these variations might have been due to different narrations, yet this Ziyarat is apparently the composition of Sayyid Murtadha (RA) who used a part of original Ziyarat al-Nahiya, made some changes to it, added some phrases from other Ziyarats, and used to recite it as his own Ziyarat.

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