What is Ziyārah?

- views2 min read

Ziyārah or pilgrimage is a religious act which means to attend before religious leaders or their graves in order to express and show love and reverence and acquire spiritual blessings. Visiting religious personalities and their graves have always been among recommended acts in Islām and during history, Muslims have paid attention to it and followed it. However, ziyārah of the Prophet(s) and Imāms(a) has had a great importance among Shīʿa and many spiritual benefits and rewards have been mentioned for them. Since ziyārah is greatly important in Shīʿa culture, it has been regarded among the characteristics of Shīʿa.

In Shīʿa belief, ziyārah means the connection with the infallible Imām(a) and admitting his wilāyah, ziyārah has a tight relation with the issue of the love of the Ahl al-Bayt(a), Tawallī1 and Tabarrī2. Ziyārah of the Infallible(a) is among the signs and requirements of loyalty towards them and doing justice to their rights of wilāyah over their followers; since, in the view of Shīʿa, the Prophet(s) and Imāms(a) have wilāyah and even after they pass away, their positions are preserved.

One of the fruits of Imām’s wilāyah is his control over the hearts, meaning that Imām has control over souls and hearts of people. In most ziyārah texts, such a Wilāyah and Imāmate is admitted; for example, it is mentioned in texts for ziyārah of Imāms(a), "I attest that you see my place and hear my word and answer my salutation." In Shīʿa view, the soul of the Imām becomes aware about his visitor with Allāh’s permission and this has made ziyārah for Shīʿa a meeting filled with love and spirituality, the influence of which can obviously be seen in Shīʿa prose and poetry. Ziyārah and the holy shrines of the Ahl al-Bayt(a) have had great roles in Shīʿa history and paying great attention to these is considered among significant cultural symbols of Shīʿa.


  1. Tawallī means to love and associate oneself with the Imams(a) and the leaders of religion and to submit to their Wilāyah (guardianship).

  2. Tabarrī is to dissociate oneself from the enemies of God and the enemies of religion's authorities.