The annual presence of more than 200,000 foreign pilgrims of Imam Rida’s (AS) purified tomb is provided us with the opportunity to have a conversation with some of them and ask them their viewpoints and opinions about the effects of this spiritual journey. Thus, the following are the results of our interview with two Muslim pilgrims from Saudi Arabia. Abdullah Ali, is 40-year-old teacher. He says: “I am from Qatif in Saudi Arabia, and it is for the 3rd time that I am honored to visit Mashhad.”
Abdullah Ali believes that it is obligatory for a Muslim to go on a pilgrimage of the Infallible Imams (AS) as much as one has the ability, especially the purified tomb of Imam Rida (AS), since it has been emphasized many times in different narrations and discourses.” He continues: “Whenever I meet Iranian pilgrims in Mecca or Medina, I remember Mashhad and the holy sanctuary.”
-- Please describe Imam Rida’s (AS) sanctuary in one sentence!
A piece of Paradise and the lovers’ city.
-- What is the main difficulty of the journey?
There is no particular problem on this spiritual journey. Everything went ahead as planned.
-- Please tell us about the many changes that you notice in this purified sanctuary!
The expansive courtyard of Razavi and the beautiful and wonderful architecture of the porches of Dar al- Ejabah, are really fantastic and worth seeing.
-- Please tell us about one of your requests that you asked of Imam Rida (AS)!
I don’t know what to say, but I believe that when one’s heartfelt relationship with Allah and the Imams (AS) is severed, one will be prone to destruction. I asked Imam Rida (AS) to make this relation more amorously and long lasting!
-- In your opinion who is the real pilgrim?
The one who sincerely embarks upon the pilgrimage and increases his knowledge and insight about the etiquettes of pilgrimage. On the other hand, he understands that he is in need of pilgrimage.
-- What spiritual souvenirs or gifts will you take with yourselves from this journey?
Surely I’ll tell my friends about the religious and spiritual benefits which I have gained by such a spiritual atmosphere as the holy sanctuary.
-- Would you like to live in Mashhad and serve at the holy sanctuary?
O Certainly! It is an honor for me to serve at the sanctuary and all the believers also wish to be able to do so.
-- Do you have any interesting memories from the different trips which you had made to Mashhad?
On my last trip to Mashhad, I became familiar with someone from Mashhad who has been on the pilgrimage. He spoke Arabic very well and we talked about different subjects. His kind and friendly behavior, became my best memory of this trip which I can never forget. He was an M.A student in history.
-- Finally, if you have any comments to add feel free.
This interview will remain forever in my mind. I ask you, who are near to the sanctuary to remember your Shi’a brothers when you go on pilgrimage. Also if it is possible, please increase the activities of the magazines and publications in connection with the foreign pilgrims.
The second pilgrim is a 23-year-old Arab pilgrim and a student of religious studies. His name is Muhammad Hassan Seif. He says: “This is the 2nd time that I’m honored to come for this pilgrimage. I count the pilgrimage to Mashhad as an obligatory rule of religion and I believe that love and sincerity are the keys for its acceptance.
-- Please tell us about any problem that you had on the trip to Mashhad!
There was no main problem. Though if it was nothing, would be able to be an obstacle for us in this spiritual trip.
-- The first moments in the purified sanctuary are so great and interesting especially for a foreign pilgrim. What were your feelings at that moment?
At that moment there was only silence and tears of delight which caused me to reach out to my dear master.
-- What main changes have you noticed in the purified sanctuary compared to what you had noticed on your first trip?
The new burial chamber (Zarih) is so beautiful and indescribable that I was amazed.
-- What feelings does the new burial chamber provoke in you?
A feeling of familiarity and proximity. I felt I have seen and touched it many times before.
-- What request did you make of Imam Rida (AS)?
I am certain that Imam Rida’s grace will be bestowed on all of his pilgrims. I asked Imam Rida (AS) to seek for me Allah’s pleasure.
-- What did you pray while on the pilgrimage?
I prayed for all Muslim nations to defeat their enemies, for all parents, and all Muslims.
-- What are the effects of the pilgrimage?
The observation and touching of the tombs of the purified Imams (AS) is a source of Divine grace and one can strengthen himself for continuing life by drinking from this fountain.
-- Mashhad is known because of the purified sanctuary of Imam Rida (AS). How much would you like to be a resident of this city and to be near him?
Mashhad is for all Muslims. Though we aren’t present here physically, our hearts and spirits are always here. I wish I would be able to get the chance to live near my master.
-- Has it ever happened that you remembered the purified sanctuary of Imam Rida (AS) and resorted to him while you were far away in your own city?
Yes, many times while I was studying my religious studies which are related to the purified Imams (AS), suddenly I remembered Mashhad and would feel myself being there by closing my eyes.
-- What messages do you have for the pilgrims of the purified sanctuary?
I want them to know about the sanctity of this honorable place, to use the possible opportunities as much as they can, and to pray for other Muslims and those who have problems.
-- What are your last words?
I hope all those who are responsible and involved in the running and upkeep of the sanctuary are successful and also I hope that all those who long to make the pilgrimage of the holy shrine of Imam Rida (AS) will be favored by Allah and be able to make this blessed journey.
* imamRida.net .Translated by: Sareh Yadegari