A Journey to the Islamic Republic

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ImageTrent Carl is a contributor for Islamic Insights who recently undertook a trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran.  He has kindly agreed to share his experiences with our readers.

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This is a shrine of a body that was found years after the Iran-Iraq war.  It lies below the Masjid of Kidhr, which is built atop a mountain.  It is such a beautiful thing to see the way in which the Iranian people honor their dead, even if their dead may be unrecognizable.  Although it is a simple, very modest little shrine, the meaning behind it is vast. 



This shows the spirit of many of the Iranian people and the foundation of the philosophy of the government in its purest form.  You see this quite often on vehicles in Iran. 



This photo was at Masjid Jamkaran.  The kids saw Shaikh Ahmed Haneef (left) and Brother Husayn (right) and immediately figured they were from America because of their skin tone.  It was amusing to see how much they wanted to talk to these brothers, just because they don't see the likes of them much in Iran.  They also were bewildered to find out that Shaikh Haneef could speak Farsi to them!



It was a true blessing to be able to visit Masjid Jamkaran with some of my favourite brothers. They actually had a section of the masjid sectioned off for us in which we held a lecture with Sheikh Usama Abdulghani and afterwards Dhor prayers were performed. A beautiful experience.



We had a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi, one of the most revered scholars of our time. He gave us four duties as Muslims in the West: (1) we must learn more about Islam; (2) we must apply more of what we learn; (3) we must propagate much, much more; and (4) we are never allowed to be satisfied with just being Muslim.  He strongly disagrees with those who feel like they should not or will not tell others about Islam.  He said, "Some people can swim and save themselves but we must be life savers!"



The Fountain at Imam Square in Isfahan.  In the background you can see a large dome.  That dome is attributed to Sheikh Baha'i.  If you stand underneath the dome within the mosque on a particular tile and make a sound, it will echo seven times: this was designed to call the Adhan underneath and produce that beautiful reverberating sound.



Of course, this is the dome of the shrine for Imam Ridha (peace be upon him) in Mashhad. Our hotel was located about ten minutes by foot from the shrine, so we could travel there often.  My favorite memory of Mashhad was sitting in the sun in the courtyard on a rug facing the dome and simply meditating



This is Ayatollah Razi Shirazi – the Head of Judiciary under Imam Khomeini.  He spoke to us on such topics as propagating Islam and racism in our Islamic centers.  He mentioned that the word for racism in Farsi literally means Race Worship and implied that this could be similar to a low-level form of idol worship.  He said that we are certainly failing if we don't step up and propagate Islam and if we do not eradicate racist and nationalist tendencies in our Islamic centers.



This is where Imam Khomeini gave many of his famous speeches and had many meetings with top heads of state and religious leaders – an extremely historic spot.



This is the grave of Shaheed Ayatollah Beheshti, who was martyred along with 72 others by a bomb blast in an attempt to take down the leaders of the Revolution. 



These are the graves of the nameless. These martyrs are either those who removed their identification tags to die without a name like Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her) or those who were so mutilated and burnt that they were beyond recognition. 



The damp, perfumed grave. The story behind this grave is that it has the scent of perfume and is always damp.  It is the grave of a man who they say always gave up his water to other soldiers during the Iran-Iraq war and that this is a blessing from God for such an unselfish man.  There was definitely the smell of fragrance surrounding the area.



This is the grandson of Imam Khomeini. He was extremely friendly and always had a smile on his face.  He answered any questions we had and wanted to make sure that our stay had been completely comfortable and beautiful.



The Shrine of Imam Khomeini.  We visited this on our last night of the trip.



The grave of Imam Khomeini and his son.  Continue the line of Khomeini and press for Unity and Justice.

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