Kufa in History
Kufa is a medieval city of Iraq that was a centre of Arab culture and learning from the 8th to the 10th century. It was founded in 638 ce as a garrison town by ʿUmar I, the second caliph. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates river. Kufa soon rivalled Basra in size. The Arab governor of Iraq resided there until 702. For a time, Kufa was the seat of the Abbasid caliphate, and Imam Ali, the fourth caliph, Kufa considered the 2nd capital city after Medina. Kufa served for a period of time as the administrative centre in Iraq for the caliphate.
The Kufa city owes its importance to the fact that it shelters the second oldest mosque in Iraq, after that of Basra; but it was of greater importance from the architectural point of view, and owing to the fact that it has the most famous Muslim Minbar from which Imam Ali made his speeches Its importance is also due to the Msalla (prayer room) of Imam Ali and the Mihrab in which he was martyred at dawn in 40 H. The city also shelters the remains of the Palace of Emirate(The Government House),South side of the Great mosque. The the palace of al-Imara which was excavated by the Iraqi Heritage Authority.
The Great Mosque of Kufa
The city contains the great mosque of Kufa , constructed in the middle of the 7th century after the Caliph Omar established the city . The mosque has been redeveloped in various phases over the years and today it features an elegant gold dome and Saffavid tile work from the 17th and 18th centuries. Twenty-eight semi-circular towers support the exterior wall; it is speculated that they date to the early Islamic period. During excavation, the Iraqi Department of Antiquities learned that although these towers stretched two meters into the ground, they were being stabilized by another set of differently sized towers beneath them, that at one point belonged to an earlier mosque on the site. Furthermore, these excavations provided evidence that the qibla side of the mosque is structurally connected to the west wall of the Dar al-Imara.
To the south of the Great Mosque is the ruin of Dar al-Imara which was excavated by the Iraqi Antiquities Authority. The palace is enclosed by a square enclosure 170 meters per side with walls 4 m wide supported by twenty semi-circular buttress towers and four round corner buttresses. In the centre of the palace there is a square (domed?) chamber approached by a vaulted hall which was probably the throne room.
In early Islamic architecture, the Governor’s Palace was usually located at the qibla end of the mosque (i.e. behind the mihrab). This was a safety measure to enable the governor (or caliph) to enter the mosque without having to pass through other worshippers.
The Mosque is revered for many reasons
- It was the place where ‘Alī was fatally struck on the head while in Sujood
- Contains the tombs of Muslim ibn ‘Aqīl, Hānī ibn ‘Urwa, and Mukhtār al-Thaqafī
- There are markers within the mosque indicating the locations for where the court of ‘Alī used to preside, where he was claimed to perform miracles, and where ‘Alī ibn Husayn and Ja‘far as-Sādiq used to perform Salah
- Islamic traditions relate that Adam established the mosque, that it was later the dwelling place of Noah and that this was the place where he built the Ark
- Traditions say that 12,000 Prophets had performed Salah within this mosque, including Abraham, Noah, and Muhammad on the Night of Ascension – all are marked within the mosque[clarification needed]
- According to Shia belief. it was from this mosque that the diluvium of Noah started submerging earth, as well as being the place from where the water was re-absorbed – also marked within the Mosque
- Imām Ja‘far as-Sādiq said that up to twelve miles of land in all directions from the mosque are blessed by its holiness.
- Ja’far al-Sadiq was also recorded as remarking that the “mosque in Kufa is superior to that of Jerusalem” and that “performing two prostrations of prayer here would be better for me than ten others at any mosque.”
- There are also traditions which state that performing one prayer in this mosque is the same as having performed one thousand prayers elsewhere, and performing one obligatory prayer here is equal to having performed an accepted Hajj
- The secretariat of Al-Kufa Mosque and its shrines describes the mosque as being one of the sole four dignified mosques to which Muslims must travel, and that it comes in third place after the Kaaba and the mosque of Prophet.”
Najaf is a holy city in Iraq, where the shrine of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH). Najaf is located in southern Iraq near the historic city of Kufa, it is the capital of the province of Najaf. Najaf is away from Baghdad about 160km in southern direction and away from Karbala about 80 km. in the direction of the north west . On the other hand, Al-Rawdaa Alhaidariya or the shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH) or Hazrat Ali, it is a religious shrine which is located in the holy city of Najaf, where the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH) the first Imam of the twelves Imams peace be upon them, followed by Al-rawdaa Alhaidariya a library which includes many of the treasures and ancient manuscripts. When the martyrdom of Imam Ali (PBUH) in 40 AH .It became a source of science ,cultural and religious radiation to all Arab and Islamic countries, this sacred spot witnesses during its long history and facts of construction after the discovery of the burial of Imam Ali (PBUH) and this became Al-Rawdaa Alhaidariya topped with golden dome as befitting the status of this sacred place, this dome became a source of satisfaction in the hearts of Muslims in the East and West of the world when they visit the shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH).
Al-Najaf governorate is a flat region extending from the Euphrates River in the northeast to the Saudi Arabian border in the southwest. Except for the area near the river, the region is sparsely populated. The governorate was created in 1976 from the western part of Al-Qādisiyyah and the eastern part of Karbalāʾ governorates. Area governorate, 11,129 square miles .