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Najaf
Najaf
(Arabic: اَلـنَّـجَـف‎; BGN: An-Najaf) or An Najaf Al Ashraf (Arabic: النّجف الأشرف‎) is a city in central-south Iraq
Iraq
about 160 km (100 mi) south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2013 was 1,000,000 people.[2] It is the capital of Najaf
Najaf
Governorate. It is widely considered the third holiest city of Shia Islam, the Shi'ite world's spiritual capital, and the center of Shi'ite political power in Iraq.[8]

Contents

1 Religious significance 2 Geography

2.1 Climate

3 History

3.1 Prehistoric and ancient times 3.2 Medieval and modern history 3.3 Post–Saddam Hussein period

4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Religious significance[edit] Further information: Iraq
Iraq
in the Qur’an An- Najaf
Najaf
is considered sacred by Shi'a
Shi'a
Muslims. An- Najaf
Najaf
is renowned as the site of the tomb of Caliph
Caliph
‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib. Sunnis consider ‘ Ali
Ali
the fourth Rashidun
Rashidun
(rightly guided Caliphs). The city is now a center of pilgrimage throughout the Shi'ite Islamic world. It is estimated that only Mecca
Mecca
and Medina
Medina
receive more Muslim pilgrims. As the burial site of Shi'i Islam's second most important figure,[9] the Imam Ali Mosque
Imam Ali Mosque
is considered by Shiites as the third holiest Islamic site.[18][excessive citations] The Imam ‘ Ali
Ali
Mosque is housed in a grand structure with a gold gilded dome and many precious objects in the walls. Nearby is the Wadi-us-Salaam
Wadi-us-Salaam
cemetery, the largest in the world.[19] It contains the tombs of several prophets and many of the devout from around the world aspire to be buried there, to be raised from the dead with Imām ‘Alī on Judgement Day. Over the centuries, numerous hospices, schools, libraries and Sufi
Sufi
convents were built around the shrine to make the city the center of Shīʻa learning and theology. The Najaf
Najaf
seminary is one of the most important teaching centres in the Islamic world. Ayatollah Khomeini lectured there from 1964 to 1978.[2] Many of the leading figures of the new Islamic movement that emerged in Iraq, Iran
Iran
and Lebanon in the 1970s had studied at Najaf.[20] Geography[edit] Climate[edit] Najaf
Najaf
has a desert climate. This climate is considered to be BWh according to the Köppen climate classification. The average annual temperature is 23.6 °C. The rainfall here averages 97 mm.

Climate data for An Najaf

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Average high °C (°F) 14 (58) 18 (65) 23 (74) 30 (86) 36 (97) 41 (105) 42 (108) 42 (107) 39 (102) 33 (91) 23 (74) 17 (62) 30 (86)

Average low °C (°F) 7 (44) 9 (49) 13 (56) 19 (66) 23 (74) 28 (82) 29 (85) 29 (84) 27 (80) 21 (70) 13 (55) 8 (47) 19 (66)

Record low °C (°F) −7.2 (19) −4.5 (23.9) 2.2 (36) 7.0 (44.6) 13.0 (55.4) 17.8 (64) 19.4 (66.9) 22.2 (72) 18.3 (64.9) 7.0 (44.6) 0.2 (32.4) −2.5 (27.5) −7.2 (19)

Average precipitation cm (inches) 3 (1) 1.3 (0.5) 1.3 (0.5) 1.3 (0.5) 0.5 (0.2) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0.5 (0.2) 1 (0.4) 1 (0.4) 6.9 (2.7)

Source #1: Weatherbase[21]

Source #2: [22]

History[edit] The area of An- Najaf
Najaf
is located 30 km south of the ancient city of Babylon, and 400 km north of the ancient city of Ur. The city itself was reputedly founded in 791 [AD], by the Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliph
Caliph
Harūn ar-Rashīd, as a shrine to ‘Alī bin Abī Ṭālib.[23] Prehistoric and ancient times[edit]

View of the city of Najaf, ca. 1914

Men at Najaf, some with self-inflicted wounds, during a religious festival, ca. 1914

Masjid al-Imam ‘Ali
Masjid al-Imam ‘Ali
in 1932.

Archaeological discoveries show the existence of a populace dating back to the times of Jesus. Najaf
Najaf
possesses one of the largest burial grounds in the vicinity for Christians. The centuries following have proven this to also be a city with a multicultural and religious folk. Mohammed al-Mayali, director of Inspectorate Effects of the province of Najaf, states "the excavation on the graves, which we have been working on for years, confirm that the Najaf
Najaf
contains the largest Christian cemetery in Iraq, with a cemetery area of 1416 acres. We have found indications of Christianity on the graves through representations of crosses and stones with Christ-like engravings. There are also relics that date back to the Sassanid period. Also discovered in the excavation was proof of a thriving glass industry. Pots were decorated with the cross. as well as Hebrew writings, indicating a community of religious coexistence."[citation needed] In Islam, the city is considered to have started with ‘Ali, who instructed that his burial place should remain a secret, as he had many enemies and he feared that his body might be subjected to some indignity. According to legend, the body of ‘ Ali
Ali
was placed on a camel which was driven from Kufah. The camel stopped a few miles west of the city where the body was secretly buried.[24] No tomb was raised and nobody knew of the burial place except for a few trusted people. It is narrated that more than a hundred years later the Abbasid Caliph, Harun al-Rashid, went deer hunting outside Kufah, and the deer sought sanctuary at a place where the hounds would not pursue it. On inquiry as to why the place was a sanctuary Harūn ar-Rashīd, he was told that it was the burial place of ‘Ali. Harūn ar-Rashīd ordered a mausoleum to be built on the spot and in due course the town of Najaf
Najaf
grew around the mausoleum.[citation needed] Medieval and modern history[edit] In early 14th century Sheikh Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
got the opportunity to visit the burial site of Ali
Ali
ibn Abi Talib during his travel to the land of Iraq
Iraq
after his pilgrimage to Makkah. During this period Najaf
Najaf
was relatively a very small town with only few people and was called Meshhed Ali. Rev. Samuel Lee in his translation of Ibn Battuta's Arabic Rihla mentions the following: "We then entered the territory of Nejd, and proceeded on in it till we reached El Kadisia, the place where the remarkable event happened,, by which the fire worship of Persia
Persia
was extinguished, and the interest of Islam
Islam
advanced. We next proceeded to a town called Meshhed Ali
Ali
where the grave of Ali
Ali
is thought to be. It is a handsome place and well peopled; all the inhabitants are of the Shiah sect. There is no governor here, except a sort of tribune. The inhabitants consist chiefly of rich and brave merchants. About the gardens are plastered walls adorned with paintings, and within them are carpets, couches and lamps of gold and silver. Within the city is a large treasury kept by the tribune, which arises from the votive offerings arrived from different places: for when anyone happens to be ill, or suffer under any infirmity, he will make a vow, and thence receive relief. The garden is also famous for its miracles; and hence its believed that the grave of Ali
Ali
is there. Of these miracles the "night of revival" is one: for, on the 17th day of month Rajab, cripples come from different parts of Fars, Room, Khorasaan, Irak, and other places, assemble in companies from twenty to thirty in number. They are placed over the grave soon after sunset. People then, some praying, some reciting the Quran, and others prostrating themselves, wait expecting their recovery and rising, when about night, they all get up sound and right. This is a matter well known among them: I heard it from a creditable person, but was not present at one of those nights. I saw, however, several such afflicted persons, who had not yet received, but were looking forwards for the advantages of this 'night of revival'.[25] In the 16th century, Najaf
Najaf
was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
of Iran
Iran
maintained continuous interest to this Shia site. During the Ottoman–Safavid War (1623–39), they were twice able to capture the city, but lost it again to the Ottomans in 1638. Under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Najaf
Najaf
experienced severe difficulties as the result of repeated raids by Arab desert tribes and the Persian army with acute water shortages causing lack of a reliable water supply. The number of inhabited houses in the city had plummeted from 3,000 to just 30 by the start of the 16th century.[citation needed] When the Portuguese traveller Pedro Texeira
Pedro Texeira
passed through Najaf
Najaf
in 1604, he found the city in ruins, inhabited by little more than 500 people.[26] This was largely the result of a change in the course of the Euphrates
Euphrates
river eastwards in the direction of Hilla, leaving Najaf and Kufa
Kufa
high and dry, leading to the destruction of the local formerly rich agriculture, demise of the palm groves and orchards, followed by the salinization of the underground water due to evaporation. During the 18th century the scholarly life of Najaf
Najaf
came to be dominated by Farsi-speaking ‘Ulema’ (Arabic: عُـلـمـاء‎, Scholars) from Iran.[27] The water shortages were finally resolved in 1803 when the Euphrates made its way to the city once again. The shift in the river's flow was the product of a century-long effort by the Ottomans to shift the flow of the river, so as to deprive marsh-dwelling tribes like the Khaza'il of the watery environment that allowed them to evade state control. These long-term efforts rendered successful the construction of the Hindiyya Canal in 1793, which further shifted the flow of the Euphrates. These hydrological shifts were to have religious implications. Most notable was the consolidation and spread of Shi'ism. As the shrine city of Najaf
Najaf
gained access to water again, its notables and holy men began to wield considerable power in the area.[28] The Ottomans were expelled in an uprising in 1915, following which the city fell under the rule of the British Empire. The sheikhs of Najaf rebelled in 1918, killing the British governor of the city, that is Sayyed Mahdi Al-Awadi, and cutting off grain supplies to the Anaza, a tribe allied with the British. In retaliation the British besieged the city and cut off its water supply. The rebellion was put down and the rule of the sheikhs was forcibly ended. A great number of the Shi‘i ‘Ulema’ were expelled into Persia, where they set the foundations for the rise of the city of Qom
Qom
as the center of the Shi‘ite learning and authority, in lieu of Najaf. Najaf
Najaf
lost its religious primacy to Qom, and was not to regain it until the 21st century, during the establishment of a Shī‘ī-majority government in Iraq after 2003. Post–Saddam Hussein period[edit] During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Najaf
Najaf
was a key target of the invading United States forces. The city was encircled during heavy fighting on March 26, 2003 and was captured on April 3, 2003. The clerical authorities of the Shī‘ī enclave of Sadr City
Sadr City
in Baghdad, which claimed autonomy in April 2003, after the fall of Baghdad, claimed to be taking their orders from senior clerics in Najaf. On April 4, 2004, the Mahdi Army attacked the Spanish-Salvadoran-ALARNG base (Camp Golf, later renamed Camp Baker) in An Najaf, part of a coordinated uprising across central and southern Iraq
Iraq
in an apparent attempt to seize control of the country ahead of the June 30, 2004 handover of power to a new Iraqi government. This uprising led to the American troops arriving in the city in the wake of the Spanish withdrawal. In August 2004, heavy fighting broke out again between US forces and Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. The battle, lasted three weeks and ended when senior Iraqi cleric Grand Ayatollah ‘Alī Al-Sīstānī negotiated an end to the fighting.[citation needed] See also[edit]

Battle of Najaf
Najaf
(2003) Battle of Najaf
Najaf
(2004) Battle of Najaf
Najaf
(2007) Big Four (Najaf) Al Najaf
Najaf
International Airport Al-Hannanah mosque Karbala’ and other places in Iraq

References[edit]

^ http://www.citypopulation.de/Iraq.html ^ a b c Ring, Trudy (1996). "Najaf". Global Security. Retrieved 2009-09-13.  ^ Anthony H. Cordesman; Sam Khazai (4 Jun 2014). Iraq
Iraq
in Crisis. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 319. ISBN 9781442228566.  ^ Patrick Cockburn (8 Apr 2008). Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq
Iraq
(illustrated ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 146. ISBN 9781416593744.  ^ Kenneth M. Pollack; Raad Alkadiri; J. Scott Carpenter; Frederick W. Kagan; Sean Kane (2011). Unfinished Business: An American Strategy for Iraq
Iraq
Moving Forward. Brookings Institution Press. p. 103. ISBN 9780815721666.  ^ Linda Robinson (2005). Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special
Special
Forces (illustrated, reprint ed.). PublicAffairs. p. 260. ISBN 9781586483524.  ^ " Ali
Ali
al-Sistani is Iraq's best hope of curbing Iranian influence. But he is 85 and has no obvious successor". The Economist. 5 December 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2015.  ^ [3][4][5][6][7] ^ a b Never Again! ShiaNews.com ^ Iran
Iran
Diary, Part 2: Knocking on heaven's door Asia Times Online ^ Muslim Shiites Saint Imam Ali
Ali
Holy Shrine - 16 Images Archived 2010-09-05 at the Wayback Machine. Cultural Heritage Photo Agency ^ The tragic martyrdom of Ayatollah Al Hakim calls for a stance Archived 2010-09-18 at the Wayback Machine. Modarresi News, September 4, 2003 ^ Zaman Online, August 13, 2004 Archived October 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Why 2003 is not 1991 The Guardian, April 1, 2003 ^ Iraqi forces in Najaf
Najaf
take cover in important Shia shrine, The Boston Globe, April 2, 2003. "For the world's nearly 120 million Muslim Shiites, Najaf
Najaf
is the third holiest city behind Mecca
Mecca
and Medina
Medina
in Saudi Arabia." ^ Religious rivalries and political overtones in Iraq
Iraq
CNN.com, April 23, 2003] ^ "Miscellaneous Relevant Links" Muslims, Islam, and Iraq] ^ [9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] ^ Hala Mundhir Fattah; Frank Caso (2009). A brief history of Iraq. Infobase Publishing. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-8160-5767-2. Retrieved 2010-10-18.  ^ Mallat, Chibli (2004). The Renewal of Islamic Law: Muhammad Baqer As-Sadr, Najaf
Najaf
and the Shi'i International. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2009-09-13.  ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for An Najaf, Iraq". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 24, 2011. ^ http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/data_rescue_iraq.html#o48577960 ^ Ring, Trudy (1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places: Middle East and Africa. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved 2009-09-13.  ^ George Farag (2007). Diaspora and Transitional Administration: Shiite Iraqi Diaspora and the Administration of Post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. ProQuest. pp. 133–4. ISBN 9780549410034.  ^ https://archive.org/stream/bub_gb_22IbAQAAMAAJ#page/n1/mode/2up ^ Nakash, Yitzhak (2003). The Shi'is of Iraq. Princeton University Press. Retrieved 2009-09-13.  ^ Yitzhak Nakash, The Shi'as of Iraq
Iraq
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994) p. 16 ^ Husain, Faisal (October 2014). "In the Bellies of the Marshes: Water and Power in the Countryside of Ottoman Baghdad". Environmental History. 

Further reading[edit]

Published in the 19th-20th centuries

Charles Wilson, ed. (1895), "Nejef", Handbook for Travellers in Asia Minor, Transcaucasia, Persia, etc., London: John Murray, OCLC 8979039  "Nejef", Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.), New York: Encyclopædia Britannica Co., 1910, OCLC 14782424 

Published in the 21st century

C. Edmund Bosworth, ed. (2007). "Najaf". Historic Cities of the Islamic World. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill. ISBN 9004153888.  Michael R. T. Dumper; Bruce E. Stanley, eds. (2008), "Najaf", Cities of the Middle East and North Africa, Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, ISBN 1576079198 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Najaf.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Najaf.

Miracles in Najaf The Holy City of Najaf
Najaf
(Iraq)[permanent dead link] Interactive Guide: Najaf
Najaf
- The Guardian

v t e

Districts of Iraq
Iraq
and their capitals

al-Anbar Governorate

Anah District (Anah) Falluja District (Fallujah) Haditha District (Haditha) Hīt District (Hīt) al-Qa'im District (Al-Ka'im) Ramadi District (Ramadi) Rawah District (Rawah) ar-Rutba District (Al-Rutba)

Babil Governorate

Hashimiya District
Hashimiya District
(Al Hashimiyah) Hilla
Hilla
District (Hilla) al-Mahawil District (Al-Mahawil) al-Musayab District (Al-Musayab)

Baghdad
Baghdad
Governorate

Abu Ghraib District al-Istiqlal District al-Mada'in District Mahmudiya District (Mahmudiya) Taji District al-Tarmia District

Baghdad: 9 Nissan Adhamiyah Kadhimyah Karadah Karkh Mansour Al Rashid Rusafa Sadr City

Basra Governorate

Abu Al-Khaseeb District
Abu Al-Khaseeb District
(Abu Al-Khaseeb) Basrah District (Basrah) al-Faw District (al-Faw) al-Midaina District (Al-Midaina) al-Qurna District (Al-Qurna) Shatt Al-Arab District
Shatt Al-Arab District
(Shatt Al-Arab) al-Zubair District (Al-Zubair)

Dhi Qar Governorate

al-Chibayish District (Al-Chibayish) Nasiriyah District (Nasiriyah) al-Rifa'i District (Al-Rifa'i) al-Shatrah District (Al-Shatrah) Suq Al-Shoyokh District (Suq Al-Shoyokh)

Diyala Governorate

Baladrooz District (Baladrooz) Ba'quba District (Ba'quba) al-Khalis District (Al-Khalis) Khanaqin District
Khanaqin District
(Khanaqin) Kifri District
Kifri District
(Kifri) al-Miqdadiya District (Al-Miqdadiya)

Dohuk
Dohuk
Governorate

Amadiya District
Amadiya District
(Amadiya) Dohuk District
Dohuk District
(Dohuk) Sumel District
Sumel District
(Sumel) Zakho District
Zakho District
(Zakho)

Erbil
Erbil
Governorate

Choman District Erbil District
Erbil District
(Erbil) Koisanjaq District
Koisanjaq District
(Koisanjaq) Makhmur District
Makhmur District
(Makhmur) Mergasur District Shaqlawa District
Shaqlawa District
(Shaqlawa) Soran District

Halabja
Halabja
Governorate

Byara District (Byara) Halabja Khurmal Sirwan

Karbala
Karbala
Governorate

Ain Al-Tamur District
Ain Al-Tamur District
(Ain Al-Tamur) al-Hindiya District (Al-Hindiya) Kerbala District (Kerbala)

Kirkuk
Kirkuk
Governorate

Daquq District
Daquq District
(Daquq) Dibis District
Dibis District
(Dibis) al- Hawija
Hawija
District (Hawija) Kirkuk District
Kirkuk District
(Kirkuk)

Maysan Governorate

Ali
Ali
Al-Gharbi District ( Ali
Ali
Al-Gharbi) Amara District (Amarah) al-Kahla District (Al-Kahla) al-Maimouna District (Al-Maimouna) al-Mejar Al-Kabi District (Al-Mejar Al-Kabi) Qal'at Saleh District (Qal'at Saleh)

Muthanna Governorate

al-Khidhir District (Al-Khidhir) al-Rumaitha District (Al-Rumaitha) al-Salman District (Al-Salman) al- Samawa
Samawa
District (Samawa)

Najaf
Najaf
Governorate

Kufa
Kufa
District (Kufa) al-Manathera District (Al-Manathera) al-Meshkhab district (Al-Meshkhab) Najaf District (Najaf)

Nineveh Governorate

Aqrah District
Aqrah District
(Aqrah) al-Ba'aj District (Al-Ba'aj) al-Hamdaniya District (Bakhdida) Hatra District (Hatra) Mosul District
Mosul District
(Mosul) Shekhan District
Shekhan District
(Ain Sifni) Sinjar District
Sinjar District
(Sinjar) Tel Afar District
Tel Afar District
(Tel Afar) Tel Keppe District
Tel Keppe District
(Tel Keppe)

al-Qādisiyyah Governorate

Afak District
Afak District
(Afak) Diwaniya District (Al Diwaniyah) Hamza District (Hamza) al-Shamiya District (Al-Shamiya )

Saladin Governorate

Baiji District
Baiji District
(Baiji) Balad District (Balad) al-Daur District (Al-Daur) Dujail District
Dujail District
(Dujail) Samarra District
Samarra District
(Samarra) al-Shirqat District (Al-Shirqat) Tikrit District
Tikrit District
(Tikrit) Tooz District
Tooz District
(Tooz)

Sulaymaniyah Governorate

Chamchamal District
Chamchamal District
(Chamchamal) Darbandokeh District
Darbandokeh District
(Darbandikhan) Dokan District
Dokan District
(Dokan) Kalar District
Kalar District
(Kalar) Mawat District
Mawat District
(Mawat) Penjwin District
Penjwin District
(Penjwin) Pshdar District
Pshdar District
(Qaladiza) Qaradagh District
Qaradagh District
(Qaradagh) Ranya District
Ranya District
(Ranya) Saidsadiq District
Saidsadiq District
(Said Sadiq) Sharazoor District
Sharazoor District
(Zarayan) Sharbazher District
Sharbazher District
(Sharbazher) Sulaymaniya District
Sulaymaniya District
(Sulaymaniya)

Wasit Governorate

Badra District (Badra) al-Hai District (Al-Hai) Kut District (Kut) al-Nu'maniya District (Al-Nu'maniya) al-Suwaira District (Al-Suwaira)

Coordinates: 32°00′N 44°20′E / 32.00°N 44.33°E

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