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Al-Askari Mosque

Al-Askari Mosque

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Al ‘Askarī Mosque or the ‘Askariyya Mosque/Shrine is a Shī‘ah Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 holy site located in the Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i city of Sāmarrā
Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, north of Baghdad and, in 2003, had an estimated population of 348,700....

 125 km (77.7 mi) from Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. It is one of the most important Shī‘ah mosques in the world, built in 944. Its dome was destroyed in a bombing by Sunni extremists in February 2006 and its two remaining minarets were destroyed in another bombing in June 2007, causing widespread anger amongst Shī‘ah Muslims. The remaining clock tower was also destroyed in July 2007.

The remains of the 10th and 11th Shī‘ah Imāms, ‘Alī al-Hādī
Ali al-Hadi
‘Alī al-Hādī , also known as ‘Alī an-Naqī was the tenth of the Twelve Imams. His full name is ‘Alī ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Alī. The exact date of his birth and death are unknown, but it is generally accepted that he was born between 827–830 CE and he died in 868 CE.- Early years :‘Alī al-Hādī was born...

 ("an-Naqī") and his son Hasan al-‘Askarī
Hasan al-Askari
Hasan al-‘Askarī was the eleventh of the Twelve Imams. His given name was Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Muhammad...

, known as: al-‘Askariyyain ("the two ‘Askarīs"), rest at the shrine. Also buried within the Mosque are: Hakimah Khātūn, sister of ‘Alī al-Hādī; and Narjis Khātūn
Narjis was the mother of Muhammad al-Mahdi the twelfth and last Imam of Shi'a Islam and the grand-daughter of Bardas .There are two traditions regarding her ancestry, one saying that she is African while the other saying she is Greek ....

, the mother of Muħammad al-Mahdī
Muhammad al-Mahdi
Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Mahdī is believed by Twelver Shī‘a Muslims to be the Mahdī, an ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imām of the Twelve Imams...

. Adjacent to this shrine is another mosque, built over the location where the Twelfth or "Hidden" Imām, Muħammad al-Mahdī
Muhammad al-Mahdi
Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Mahdī is believed by Twelver Shī‘a Muslims to be the Mahdī, an ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imām of the Twelve Imams...

 first entered the Minor Occultation.

The ‘Askariyya Shrine is also known as the "Tomb or Mausoleum of the Two Imāms", "the Tomb of Imāms ‘Alī al-Hādī and Hasan al-‘Askarī
Hasan al-Askari
Hasan al-‘Askarī was the eleventh of the Twelve Imams. His given name was Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Muhammad...

" and "al-Hadhratu l-‘Askariyya".

Time magazine
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 reported at the time of the 2006 bombing that:


The Imāms ‘Alī al-Hādī ("an-Naqī") and Hassan al-‘Askarī lived under house arrest in the part of Samarra that had been Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

Abu Ishaq 'Abbas al-Mu'tasim ibn Harun was an Abbasid caliph . He succeeded his half-brother al-Ma'mun...

's military camp (‘Askaru l-Mu‘tasim). As a result, they are known as the ‘Askariyyain "Dwellers in the Camp". They died and were buried in their house on Abī Ahmad Street near the mosque built by Mu‘tasim. A later tradition attributes their deaths to poison.

Nasir ad-Din Shah Qajar undertook the latest remodelling of the shrine in 1868, with the golden dome added in 1905. Covered in 72,000 gold pieces and surrounded by walls of light blue tiles, the dome was a dominant feature of the Samarra skyline. It was approximately 20 m (65.6 ft) in diameter by 68 m (223.1 ft) high.

2006 attack

On February 22, 2006, at 6:55 A.M. local time (0355 UTC
Coordinated Universal Time
Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose...

) explosions occurred at the mosque, effectively destroying its golden dome and severely damaging the mosque. Several men belonging to Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups affiliated with Al-Qaida, one wearing a military uniform, had earlier entered the mosque, tied up the guards there and set explosives, resulting in the blast. Two bombs were set off by five to seven men dressed as personnel of the Iraqi Special forces
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

 who entered the shrine during the morning.

2007 attack

At around 8 a.m. on 13 June 2007, operatives belonging to al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 destroyed the two remaining 36 m (118.1 ft)-high golden minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s flanking the dome's ruins. No fatalities were reported. Iraqi police have reported hearing "two nearly simultaneous explosions coming from inside the mosque compound at around 8 a.m." A report from state run Iraqiya Television
Al Iraqiya
Al Iraqiya is a satellite and terrestrial public broadcaster and television network in Iraq that was set up after the fall of Sadaam Hussein. It is an Arabic language network that serves upwards of 85% of Iraq's population, and is viewed by a significant percentage .The channel began under the...

 stated that "local officials said that two mortar rounds were fired at the two minarets."


As of April 2009, the golden dome and the minarets have been restored and the shrine reopened to visitors.

See also

  • Bab Saghir
    Bab Saghir
    Bāb Saghīr , also called "Goristan-e-Ghariban", is an ancient cemetery and street in Damascus, Syria, with tombs on either side of the road...

  • Destruction of sites associated with early Islam
    Destruction of sites associated with early Islam
    The destruction of sites associated with early Islam is an on-going phenomenon that has occurred mainly in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, particularly around the holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

  • Damage to Baghdad during the 2003 Iraq War
  • Holiest sites in Islam (Shia)
    Holiest sites in Islam (Shia)
    In addition to the three Mosques accepted by all Muslims as holy sites, Shī'ah Muslims consider sites associated with Muhammad, his family members and descendants , their companions, and the Prophets as holy places...

  • Jannatul Baqee'
  • Jannatul Mualla
    Jannatul Mualla
    Jannatul Mualla also known as Al-Hajun, is a famous cemetery located in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.-History:...

Further reading

Abstract (characteristic of Smithsonian feature articles): "In 2006, sectarian violence engulfed Iraq after terrorists destroyed the Mosque of the Golden Dome, built on a site sacred to Shiites for 1,100 years. Today, Sunnis and Shiites are working together to restore the shrine and the war-torn city."

External links