Ten rules of etiquette for visiting the holy shrine of Imam Ridha (as) as offered by Ayatollah al-Uzma Khamenei
“Acceptance of Ziarat (pilgrimage) occurs when you are bestowed with the blessing of meeting God’s Wali (pbut).” Ayatollah Khamenei
The recommendations were offered by Ayatollah Khamenei while meeting a group belonging to the Guardians of IRGC, for the Protection of Wali Amr on August 23, 2003.
- Pay attention to the presence of the Imam (as):
The prime condition for a pilgrimage to be accepted is to meet with his Majesty, the Imam (as); in other words, visiting the shrine is not simply limited to entering or existing in one place. You have to bear in mind the spiritual presence that surrounds you: there is a lofty soul present, pay attention to this presence.
- Talk to the Imam (as):
To meet the Imam (as) you don’t have to see him with your own eyes. He surrounds you, he hears your words, he observes your attendance and he watches you: talk to him. This particular pilgrimage becomes a valuable meeting in this manner.
- Greet the Imam (as) with Salam:
When one meets a person, he or she, naturally, greets the other. This is also required when meeting the purified souls of the Imams (pbut) and the Divine Auliya–those close to God. One should go up to them, greet them with Salam, and convey his respect and admiration towards them.
- Perform the pilgrimage using any language:
A pilgrimage can be accomplished no matter what language is spoken: if we speak in our own simple language, etiquette observed while performing ziarat will be met.
- Recite the Ziarats (pilgrimage supplications) of the Imams (pbut):
If we wish to talk to the Imams (pbut), eloquently and with noble intentions, we should recite the available Ziarats: like that of the special Ziarat Imam Ridha (as), Ziarat Amin-Allah or Ziarat Jami’ah.
- Speak from the depths of your heart:
Communicate from deep within your heart. Aim to free your heart from any worldly concerns, even if for two or five minutes. Establish a connection with the spirituality that fills up the shrine, and then speak freely to the Imam (as).
- Recite the Ziarat Jami’eh Kabira:
The Ziarat Jami’eh Kabira is, for instance, six or seven pages long–if you have the available time read through it all, and if you do not, recite only a page to half a page.
- When doing Ziarat, remember whom you’re addressing:
When you are reciting the Ziarat, even if you do not know the meaning of it, remember who you are addressing the Ziarat to. If you accomplish that, then you’ve accomplished a true pilgrimage.
- Establish a firm connection between your heart and that of the Imam (as):
Some people believe it is only necessary to reach out and touch the chamber (dharih); because they don’t know how to establish a connection through the their hearts: they only care to connect physically with the shrine. What’s the purpose? On the contrary, there are people who might be further away, but their hearts are better connected; this is the desired manner to make contact with the Imam (as).
- Perform prayers, and recite Zikr in the shrine:
Inside the shrine perform prayers: Qadha (missed prayers), obligatory salat (obligatory prayers), recommended prayers and pray for you parents. Recite Zikr, “La ilaha illalah” (there is no god, besides Allah) and the Tasbihat Arba’a—provided that the heart is firmly connected.