Visiting and Offering Prayers in Masjid Buratha
Situated on the road between al-Kazimiyyah and Baghdad, Buratha Mosque (Masjid Buratha) is one of the most famous and blessed mosques. Although the visitors of the holy shrines pass by this mosque, they are unfortunately unaware of this holy place and the great standing and merit that it enjoys.
In his book of Mu`jam al-Buldan, al-Hamawi, one of the historians of the fifth century, says:
Buratha is a district situated in the Karkh side of Baghdad to the south of Bab Mihwal. It had one mosque in which the Shi`ah used to offer prayers. However, this mosque was demolished to the ground. Before the reign of al-Radi billah the `Abbasid ruler, a group of the Shi`ah used to meet in this mosque and revile at the Sahabah (the companions of the Prophet)!! So, al-Radi attacked this mosque, arrested those whom he found there, put them in prison, and demolished the mosque to the ground. The Shi`ah informed the Emir-in-chief of Baghdad of this matter. So, he ordered to rebuild, expand, and strengthen the building of this mosque. He also inscribed the name of al-Radi on the front part of the mosque. Prayers were performed and offered in this mosque up to the year 450 or after that. However, this mosque was deserted up to now.
Before the construction of Baghdad, Buratha was a village by which (Imam) `Ali is claimed to have passed by on his way to fighting the Haruriyyah (i.e. al-Khawarij) in the famous battle of al-Nahrawan. It is also claimed that he offered a prayer in that mosque and entered a public bath in that village.
To this village, Abu-Shu`ayb al-Burathi is ascribed. A famous worshipper, this man was the first to reside in Buratha in a cottage, which he used for doing acts of worship. One day, a daughter of rich and worldly people who was brought up in palaces passed by him and liked his lifestyle. So, she became fond of him and offered him to accept her as a servant. He accepted on condition that she would deprive herself of her appearance, leave her previous lifestyle, and dress herself with the costume of ascetics so that she would be fit enough to imitate his lifestyle. She therefore dispossessed herself of everything, put on the costume of ascetics, and came to him. He married her, but when she entered his cottage, she noticed a leaf of a tree on which he would sit to prevent him from dew. She said, “I will not live with you before you take this leaf out, because I heard you saying, ‘The earth says to the son of Adam (i.e. human being): You set up a screen between you and me; but in the morrow, you will find yourself in my interior.’” So, Abu-Shu`ayb threw out that leaf and his wife remained with him for years sharing him in the best acts of worship. They both kept on this manner until they passed away.
Excellencies of Masjid Buratha
In my book of Hadiyyat al-Za'ir, I have written a few lines on the characteristics of Masjid Buratha. I have said that this mosque, as inferred from traditions, has many excellencies each one of which, if enjoyed by any other mosque, is sufficient to make one prepare oneself and cover long distances to visit it, seeking the pleasure of Almighty Allah through praying and supplicating Him therein.
First Excellency: Almighty Allah has decided that no army reside at this mosque except armies commanded by a Prophet or a Prophet’s successor.
Second Excellency: Masjid Buratha was the house of Virgin Mary (`a).
Third Excellency: It was the residence of Prophet Jesus (`a).
Fourth Excellency: The spring that pour out for Virgin Mary (`a) is found in that mosque.
Fifth Excellency: Imam `Ali the Commander of the Faithful (`a) showed that spring by way of miracle.
Sixth Excellency: In that place, there is a white, blessed rock on which Virgin Mary (`a) put Prophet Jesus (`a) down from her shoulder.
Seventh Excellency: By way of miracle too, Imam `Ali the Commander of the Faithful (`a) showed that rock and set it up to the kiblah direction and then offered a prayer behind it.
Eighth Excellency: Imam `Ali (`a) and his two son, Imam al-Hasan the Divinely well-chosen and Imam al-Husayn the chief of martyrs (`a), offered prayers in this mosque.
Ninth Excellency: Imam `Ali the Commander of the Faithful (`a) resided in this mosque for four days.
Tenth Excellency: All Prophets, especially Prophet Abraham (`a) the Friend of the All-beneficent Lord, offered prayers in this mosque.
Eleventh Excellency: This mosque contains the grave of a Prophet, most probably Prophet Joshua. On the word of the Shaykh (may Allah have mercy upon him), the tomb of Prophet Joshua is in the yard opposite to Masjid Buratha.
Twelfth Excellency: It was the place where the sun was recoursed for Imam `Ali the Commander of the Faithful (`a).
The Visitors’ Inattention to Masjid Buratha
Unfortunately and strangely, the majority of visitors of the holy shrines in Iraq have been inattentive to visiting this holy mosque despite its sublime status and merits and its being the place where Divine signs and miracles of Imam `Ali (`a) were shown. Actually, this mosque is not situated in an isolated place where it is difficult to reach; rather, it is situated on the way that visitors take frequently on their way to the holy shrines. Perhaps, one of one thousand visitors may visit this place. It also happened that when a visitor comes to this mosque seeking the great reward of Almighty Allah that is decided for its visitors and finds its gate closed in his face unless he pays some money, he (the visitor) may be annoyed to pay, thus depriving himself of the great reward of the Lord. On the other hand, such visitor may pay much money for visiting the city of Baghdad and the edifices of the tyrants there or pay much more money for purchasing unnecessary means of living and dealing with the Jews of Baghdad to purchase their ill-omened and filthy goods, which have unfortunately been regarded as perfective parts of the journeys of the majority of visitors.
White stone on which Prophet Jesus (as) was kept by Lady Marium