chapter  XXXIX
Najaf
WithEdmund Candler
Pages 13

The great Shiah shrines of Kerbela, Najaf and Kadhimain, the resting-place of Ali, Hussein, and the seventh and ninth Imams, lie on the edge of the desert in the country the author and team occupy. Kadhimain, the burial-place of Musa-bin-Tafar, the seventh Imam, and of Mohammed-bin-Ali, the ninth Imam, is on the Tigris, four miles upstream of Baghdad, and there is passenger traffic to the shrines from Baghdad by tram, suburban fashion. Pilgrims from north-west Persia, crossing the frontier at Khanikin, and those from southern Persia, India and the Gulf, arriving at Basra by sea and coming up the Tigris to Baghdad, ordinarily pay their first ziyaret at Kadhimain. Thence they journey on to Kerbela and Najaf, whence those in whom the flame burns strongest continue over the desert to Mecca. The passion for burial in holy ground is peculiar to the Shiahs.