Thursday, April 28, 2011

On the lighter side-Travel- Iraq-7

We knew that we had to take showers so we did take one but I knew that one shower would not be enough so the next day I woke up again to take another shower to make sure I had no sand in my hair. After that I went to again pray at the Imam Ali (A.S) mosque and then came back ate my breakfast and then went out again to a cemetery near our hotel which is considered as the biggest in the world. It also holds the graves of Prophet Hood and Saleh. It is said by our guide that wherever the good people are buried in the world, their souls come here to get buried again and wherever bad people are buried, their souls are taken to a cemetery in Yemen. After paying our respect to the respective prophets, we came back, ate lunch and then went out again to visit the house of Imam Ali (A.S.) and the place where he was martyred. His house was very small considering the fact that his three sons’ and his wives and other household people lived there. We also saw the place where his last rites were done. It was a very intense and emotional moment to witness and feel the earth where the household of Prophet Mohammed used to live and he used to visit them almost daily.
Then we went to the mosque where Imam Ali (A.S.) use to pray and where he was martyred. This is the same place where Prophet Noah built his ark and Prophet Abraham also prayed and where Prophet Adam and Eve came down and ask for God’s forgiveness for several years. It is also the place where almost every Prophet has prayed there. We also saw the exact place where Imam Ali (A.S.) was struck while praying his morning prayers and paid our respects. You really don’t want to leave that place since it is so peaceful, but being with a group with limited time, you had to follow their lead and left that Mosque with a heavy heart. Before leaving Najaf, I went back in the morning to pray and pay my last respect to Imam Ali (A.S.) vowing and promising to come back again with my family and my son.
After that we were ready to leave Najaf for our last stop of the journey to another holy city of Karbala (located about 90 kilometers from Najaf). Again we had to carry our carryovers to the bus stop. I had already exchanged some of my dollars into Iraqi Currency so I was fine with dealing with Iraqi shop keepers and vendors. After making our selves comfortable in the bus, the journey started which was a just a straight road.My eyes ventured outside to see how Iraq looks like during the day and it was just empty desert and nothing else. This country has more area than population and has great potential to be industrial power house if only their religious and ethnic differences can be solved and they can work together above that. But as we were moving closer to Karbala, the hot weather started to pick up. We encountered few check points during our way to the Karbala and finally we entered the city and encountered the traffic. Our bus stopped about a mile away from the shrines and our guide told us that in order to experience the true nature of the sacrifices rendered by our Imams, we will start walking bare foot towards the shrine. Although it was not mandatory but apart from some weak and old members of our group, everybody including children decided to experience.

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