Mosque Name: Shrine of Kazmiyya

Country: Iraq

City: Baghdad

Year of construction (AH): 183 AH

Year of construction (AD): 799 AD

GPS: 33°22’47.20"N 44°20’17.08"E


Original Qibla: unknown

Rebuilt facing Mecca: unknown


Before the foundation of Baghdad was drawn out, the place where the Kazimiyyah shrine now stands was the location Shunayziyyah cemetery. (You can see the many tombs that surround the shrine above) After the establishment of Baghdad, al-Mansur used this cemetery as the burial ground for the caliph’s family. In 799 Imam Musa, the seventh imam, died and was buried at the actual spot of the shrine. The shrine then became a pilgrimage site for the Shi’ite community, a status later reinforced by the subsequent burial in 835 of the ninth Imam who died in Baghdad.

Under the Buwaihid Shi’ite dynasty, several restoration and addition works were executed. Abd ud-Dawlah first restored the sanctuary after the flood of 978 according to a contemporary description of the structure, the two tombs were described as topped by wooden domes and surrounded by an enclosure. In 1052 the building was described as having a large dome in the middle and minarets on the sides. Several restorations followed in 1097, 1159 and 1154. At that time the sanctuary was used as a madrasa and an orphanage.

During the Abbasid caliphate of al-Zahir the dome caught fire and was restored by al-Mustansir. From that time on the shrine was called al Maqbarah al Jadidah meaning the new tomb. It acquired greater significance as it was considered one of Baghdad’s principal monuments from the thirteenth century onward. It is described as having a large dome, a library and an orphanage. The sanctuary was preceded by a wide courtyard probably surrounded by rooms and a façade with a large iwan similar to other Seljuq monuments of that same period. It was sufficiently damaged during the Mongol invasion and its first reconstruction dates back to Imad al-Din al-Qazwini. Ibn Battuta describes it in the fourteenth century as having a big enclosure and the tombs being of wood with a silver coating. In 1356, a second flood caused big damages to the shrine. It was then restored according to the previous plan layout with two minarets domes that are probably quite close in design to its current form.

In 1508 when the Safavid Shah Ismail entered the city he ordered a total reconstruction of the shrine. The rawdah was enlarged, marble was laid on the floor of the shrine, the sarcophagi were rebuilt of wood, and a Quranic inscription was carved on the outer walls. The minarets were increased to four in number in a way to resemble mosques of that period.

This shrine does not appear to have any qibla direction. If it did, it appears that it faces the Grand Mosque in Kufa.

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