Ziyārah, at its core, is a spiritual journey towards the Imām(a) marked by reverence, well-wishing, and a profound spiritual connection.
To optimise the benefits gained from ziyārah, and considering it as an occasion to present oneself before the Imām(a), several recommended practices are outlined:
Initiate with a ritual bath(ghusl), before proceeding with ziyārah.
Perform ablution (wuḍūʾ) to ensure purity.
Dress in clean attire and use perfume1.
Refrain from engaging in frivolous talk.
Recite the permission for entrance (idhn al-dukhūl).
Approach the grave until you reach the chamber (ḍarīḥ), ensuring not to disrupt others.
Speak gently and offer your supplications or ziyārah in a soft voice.
Perform a two-unit (raka'at) prayer and dedicate its merit to the Imām(a).
Recite supplications (duʿāʾ) and the Qurʾān, gifting its reward to the Imām(a).
Show reverence by kissing the doorstep.
Seek repentance (tawbah), as these sacred places are optimal for acceptance of repentance.
Embrace the Imām's Presence
An essential part of a successful ziyārah lies in recognising the spiritual presence of the esteemed Imām(a). More than just a visit to a location, it's about feeling the encompassing spiritual aura. Remember, you're in the company of a transcendent soul - acknowledge this presence.
Engage With the Imām(a)
To commune with the Imām(a), physical sight isn't necessary. His presence surrounds you; he hears your words, notes your presence, and watches over you. The ziyārah, in this context, evolves into a meaningful encounter.
Extend Greetings to the Imām(a)
When you meet someone, it's natural to offer greetings. The same courtesy extends to the hallowed souls of the Imāms(a)and Divine Saints (awliyāʾ). Greet them with respect and express your respect and admiration.
Conduct the Ziyārah in Any Language
Ziyārah is not bound by language constraints. Conduct your ziyārah in the language you're most comfortable with, respecting the necessary etiquette, and your devotion will be recognised.
Invoke the Imāms(a)Through Established Texts
If you seek to converse with the Imāms(a)in a profound and noble manner, consider reciting established ziyārah texts like Zīyārat Amīn Allah or Zīyārah Jāmiʿa Kabīra.
Speak From Your Heart
Unleash your emotions and communicate from the very core of your heart. Let go of worldly concerns, even if just for a few minutes. Engage with the palpable spirituality that envelops the shrine and share your thoughts freely with the Imām(a).
Recite Zīyārah Jāmiʿa Kabīra
Zīyārah Jāmiʿa Kabīra, about six to seven pages long, is a profound text to recite. If time permits, read it in its entirety; if not, even half a page can suffice.
Remember Who You're Addressing
As you recite the ziyārah, be mindful of who you are addressing, even if the meaning isn't fully known to you. Achieving this mindfulness signifies a successful ziyārah.
Cultivate a Deep Connection with the Imām(a)
Physical proximity to the chamber (ḍarīḥ) isn't the sole criterion for establishing a connection with the Imām(a). Rather, the real connection forms in the heart. One might be physically distant yet feel a profound spiritual closeness to the Imām(a)- this is the true way to connect.
Pray and Recite Dhikr at the Shrine
Inside the shrine, perform your prayers - missed (qaḍā'), obligatory (wājib), and recommended (mustaḥabb) - and pray for your parents. Recite "lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh" (there is no god, besides Allah) and Tasbīhāt Arba'a2, ensuring that your heart remains closely connected.
Except for ziyārah of Imām Ḥusayn(a), for which wearing perfume is not recommended. ↩
Al-Tasbīhāt al-Arba'a (Arabic: التَسْبیحات الأرْبَعَة) consists of four dhikrs recited in daily prayers. The four dhikrs are: "Subḥān Allāh, wa l-ḥamd li-llāh, wa lā ilāh-a illā Allāh, wa Allah Akbar" (Exalted is Allah, and praise is for Allāh, and there is no god except Allāh, and God is the greatest). ↩