A Glance At The Holy Shrine of Hadrat Fatima Masoumah (A.S.)
When Hadrat Fatima Masoumah (A.S.) was
buried in Qum there was a shade made of straw on the holy grave built by Musa
bin Khajraj. The first dome which was in the form of a tower, was built by
Hadrat Zainab (A.S.), the daughter of Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad (A.S.) in the
middle of third century hijrah. Stone, bricks and stucco were used as
construction material for this dome.
With the burial of the ladies from the
Holy Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) beside the grave of Hadrat Fatima Masoumah (A.S.) during
later period two other domes were constructed beside the already existing dome.
These three domes were existing till
the year 447 A.H./1055 A.D., when during that year Mir Abul Fazl Iraqi, the
minister of Tughril the Great, at the insistence of Shaykh Toosi (R.A.)
constructed a big dome without a balcony or chamber, in the place of the three
existing domes which totally covered all the graves of all the divine ladies
buried in that place. This dome was decorated by colourful bricks and tiles.
In the year 925 A.H/1519 A.D.., this
dome was decorated and renovated with glazed tiles by the orders of Shah Baigi
Begum, the daughter of Shah Ismail Safavi. A towering balcony with two minarets
was constructed in the Atiq courtyard.
In the year 1218 A.H./1803 A.D., Fath
Ali Shah Qajar decorated the dome with golden tiles. In the year 2000 these golden
tiles were removed from the dome to carry out the major repairs in the dome by
the orders of the reverend custodian of the holy shrineHadrat Ayatullah Masoodi Khomeini. After
completing the major repairs in the dome the golden tiles are being once again
fixed on the dome. This grand project's
cost is more than 25 billions Iranian Rials.
The Holy Grave of Hadrat Masoumah (A.S.)
In the year 605 A.H./1208 A.D., Ameer
Muzaffar Ahmad bin Ismail, the doyen of the Aal Muzaffar family ordered the
master craftsman Muhammad bin Abu Taher Qummi, to make variegated glazed tiles
for the holy grave of Hadrat Masoumah (A.S.). After eight years of incessant
endeavour the master craftsman completed constructing the beautiful tiles for
the grave of Hadrat Masoumah (A.S.) and in the year 613 A.H./1216 A.D., it were
fixed on the holy grave. In the year 1998, the holy grave have once again been
decorated with glazed tiles and beautiful stones and the internal walls of the
burial chamber were ornamented with beautiful green marble stones.
The Holy Zarih (Burial Chamber)
In the year 965 A.H./1557 A.D., Shah
Tahmasab Safavi made a Zarih (burial chamber) made of bricks which were covered
with seven-colours tiles with glazed epigraphs. On all the four sides of the
zarih there were openings through which the holy grave was seen and the
pilgrims poured their offerings through them.
After some years Shah Tahmasab Safavi
ordered for the construction of a zarih made of white and clear iron which was
fixed to the zarih made of bricks.
In the year 1230 A.H./1814 A.D., Fath
Ali Shah Qajar covered that iron zarih with silver. This zarih was corroded
with the lapse of time. Thus, in the year 1280 A.H./1863 A.D., a new zarih was
made of silver from the existing zarih and the silver preserved in the treasury
of the holy shrine and placed on the grave.
That zarih was renovated
many times and in the year 1969, a new zarih
which is considered as a masterpiece of Islamic art was placed on the grave and
that zarih exists till now. In the year 2001, basic renovation and repairs on
the present zarih were carried out.
The Balconies in the Holy Shrine
The Golden Balcony
The golden balcony along with its two
smaller balconies were constructed in the year 925 A.H./1519 A.D., when the
dome was renovated and the Atiq courtyard and its minarets were constructed. At
the top of the balcony an epigraph in blue background can be found on its
circumference and in this epigraph the glorious hadith " Those who die
with the love of the Family of Muhammad (S.AW.), die like the martyrs" is
inscribed in thulth script.
After this epigraph the balcony's two
metres circumference is covered with intrinsic glazed tiles. After that, there
is another epigraph on the circumference. Above it there is honeycomb network
attached to the roof of the balcony which are covered with golden tiles.
There are two smaller balconies on its
both sides and are covered with beautiful glazed tiles.
The Aineh (Mirror)
In the east of the holy shrine there is
a big balcony and because of the mirror work carried out it has become known as
the Aineh (Mirror) balcony. One metre of the wall from the floor is covered
with marble stones and above it till the roof it is completely covered with
intrinsic mirror work.
In the circumference of the balcony
there is epigraph inscribed in thulth script on marble stones and the verse
from the Holy Qur'an "Allah is the light of the heavens and the
earth" is inscribed on it.
Between the balcony and the eastern
porch of the holy shrine there is a small balcony which is completely covered
with mirror work and on its entrance an inscription in Nastaliq script is
engraved reading the holy hadith "Those who perform the ziyarah of Fatima
(Masoumah) in Qum will be granted heaven." This wonderful artistic complex
is the distinguished work of the famous master craftsman of the Qajari period
Ustad Hasan Memar Qummi. This complex was built simultaneously with the construction
of the new courtyard by the orders of
the Prime Minister of that period Mirza Ali Asghar Khan Atabeg.
The Minarets in the Holy Shrine
Atiq Courtyard's Minarets In the Atiq courtyard two minarets are
located on the Golden (Tila) balcony. The surface of the minarets is covered by
knotted tiles in zigzag form and the holy names Allah (SWT), Muhammad (S.A.W.)
and Ali (A.S.)' are inscribed in between these knotted tiles.
These minarets were built on the orders
of Muhammad Husain Khan Shahsavan Shihab al-Mulk in the year 1285 A.H./1868
A.D., and its domes were covered with golden tiles in 1301 A.H./1883 A.D.
The Minarets of the Mirror Balcony
On both the sides of the bases of the
balcony two minarets are located which are considered as the highest building
in the holy shrine.
At the top of the minarets there are
two inscriptions written on an epigraphs with a breadth of one meters. Both
these minarets are fully covered by knotted tiles and in between them the Holy
Names of Allah (SWT) are written.
The Minarets of the Grand Courtyard
Two minarets are also found in the
grand courtyard of the holy shrine which is also famous as Atabeg or Nau
courtyard. They are located opposite to the mirror balcony. Till recently the
A'zaan and Supplications were recited from the top of the minarets. These
minarets are decorated and has given special beauty to this courtyard.
The Mosques in the Holy Shrine
Balasar mosque is considered as the
most beautiful portico in the holy shrine where religious functions and
congregational prayers are performed. During the Safavid era it was the inn of
the holy shrine but during the Qajar period it was developed into a mosque with
two big domes. This portico is also considered as the largest roofed building
of the holy shrine.
In the year 1338 A.H./1919 A.D., the
land lying on the western side of the mosque was included in the mosque thus
increasing the area of the mosque.
After the construction of the Masjid-i
Azam the Balasar mosque was positioned
between the holy burial chamber and the Masjid-i Azam. The old structure of the
mosque was renovated completely and the present mosque was constructed. The present
building of the mosque was built based
on special patterns of Islamic architecture and is considered as one of the
grand buildings of the holy shrine.
Tabatabai mosque has a dome placed on
fifty columns. It was built in the place of the old Zenana courtyard in the
southern part of the holy shrine.
The founder of this mosque which
consists of a grand dome was Hojjat al-Islam Haj Agha Muhammad Tabatabai, the
son of late Ayatullah Haj Agha Husain Qummi and was constructed between the
years 1360-1370 A.H./1941-1950 A.D.
Shaheed Mutahhari Mosque
This mosque was built in the place of
the former museum of the holy shrine. The building of the mosque is beautifully
decorated with intrinsic tiles and most of the religious functions are held in
These buildings which are called as
mosques are mosque only in name and the laws of the mosques are not applicable
to them. Thus many grand Ulama, Marajah and other people are buried in these
In the holy shrine the below-mentioned
two places have the status of a mosque.
1. The area in front of the mihrab (niche) of Tabatabai mosque.
2. The area attached to the upper side of the burial chamber of Hadrat Masoumah (A.S.).
Afterwards the whole area around these two places was called as mosques.
The covered buildings attached to the
holy burial chamber are called as portico (riwaq).
It is located between the Balasar
mosque and the holy burial chamber. This building is decorated with beautiful
mirror and stucco work. It is the place of the ziyarah for the pilgrims.
Dar al-Huffaz Portico
It is located between the golden
balcony and the holy burial chamber. In the past the attendants and reciters
used to perform special functions in this place. At present the attendants
recite the sermon daily in this portico in the evening.
Shaheed Behesti (Mirror) Portico
It is located at the lower part of the
holy burial chamber. With the expansion and renovation of this portico it has
been made an exclusive place for the women pilgrims to perform the ziyarah.
It is located between the Tabatabai
mosque and the holy burial chamber. Since past till the present time the
tradition of morning sermon recitation is performed daily by the attendants and
the officials of the holy shrine in this portico.
The Courtyards of the Holy Shrine
Atabegi or Nau Courtyard
This courtyard consists of four
balconies. The northern balcony of the courtyard is the entrance into the holy
shrine from the Astane Square, the southern balcony is the entrance into the
shrine from the Qiblah side, the eastern balcony is the entrance into the holy
shrine from Iram avenue and the western balcony is the mirror balcony of the holy
shrine. All these four balconies are decorated in traditional Islamic
architectural styles and its beauty and elegance attracts the attention of
The presence of a big pool with
different angles in the middle of the courtyard and the mirror balcony in its
western side has multiplied the beauty of the courtyard.
This courtyard was built on the orders
of then Prime Minister Mirza Ali Asghar Khan Atabeg between the years 1295-1303
Atiq (Old) Courtyard
The Atiq (Old) courtyard is located in
the north of the holy shrine and was the first courtyard built within the
precincts of the holy shrine. It has four balconies.
The grand balcony in the south of the
courtyard is the golden balcony which is the place of entrance to the holy
burial chamber. The balcony in the north of the courtyard is linked to the
historical Madrasa Faiziyah. The western balcony is the place of entrance to
Masjid-i Azam. The eastern balcony of this courtyard connects to the Atabeg
This courtyard is small but the
presence of beautifully decorated balconies and chambers have made it
This courtyard and its balconies were
constructed in the year 925 A.H./1519 A.D., on the orders of Shah Begi Begum,
the daughter of Shah Ismail Safavi.
On the orders of the reverend custodian
of the holy shrine renovation of this courtyard commenced in the year 1998 and
the courtyard have been beautifully decorated with different intrinsic styles
of Islamic architecture.
Expansion of the Holy Shrine
In the year 1999, the scheme for the
expansion of the holy shrine have been approved
as a national plan by the government of Islamic Republic of Iran.In this
extensive expansion project which is under implementation by the Housing
Ministry two new grand courtyards and two big prayer halls and other facilities
are being constructed within the precincts of the holy shrine.