The Holy City of Qom
The Holy city of Qom is the smallest province in Iran. It was previously a district belonging to the state of Arak, then it was attached to Tehran until it was finally certified as an independent province.
The province has an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometers. The province includes one city, four regions, nine rural districts and 256 villages. Since it adjoins the central desert, Qom has a semi-desert climate.
In 1947 C.E, its population was no more than 150,000 but by the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 CE, the population of Qom had reached about 400,000. After the revolution, the city underwent rapid growth and its current population approaches 1,000,000, a large number of whom are religious students coming from all over the world to study in this great Centre of Islamic Learning, under the holy patronage and in the blessed presence of Lady Fatima Masumah (as).
Aside from being a world-renowned Centre of Islamic knowledge, Qom is also:
An agricultural city, producing wheat, cotton, pomegranate, fig, pistachio and melon.
An industrial city, manufacturing carpets, pottery, plastic products and building materials.
A commercial city, due to its location at the crossroads that connects northern Iran to its south, and the vast number of pilgrims.
The Islamic Seminaries of Qom
Qom is well known for its many religious seminaries and institutes that offer advanced religious studies. These collectively make up the Hawzah (a short form of al-Hawzah al-`Ilmiyah), which presently consists of over 200 education and research centers and organizations, catering for over 40,000 scholars and students from over 80 countries of the world.
From the earliest arrival of the Shi`a in the first Islamic century, schools and Madrasahs were set up for learning and propagating the teachings of the Prophet (saww) and his household (as).
The first of these Madrasahs is attributed to the Ash`arī family, who settled in Qom towards the end of the first century and set up a Hawzah. When Imam al-Sadiq (as) heard about this establishment, he gave the good tidings of the future greatness of Qom.
The Hawzah gained strength and was further blessed with a visit by Imam al-Redha (as) at the beginning of the third century. The house in which Imam (as) resided was later converted to a Madrasah, known as “al-Radawīyah”.
However, it was after Lady Fatima Masumah (as) was buried in Qom, that Shi`a scholars began to gather around her shrine and Qom gained a reputation as a Centre of higher religious learning.
Her sacred grave became a pilgrimage site for the Shi’a, and the city of Qom was thereafter popularly called “Qom-e Muqaddas” (the Holy Qom).
The Mosque of Jamkaran
This mosque was built in 293 A.H, during the Minor Occultation (al-Ghaybat al-Sughra) of Imam Mahdi (as), and according to his recommendation.
There is no doubt that this mosque is one of the frequenting places of Imam Mahdi (as), and, after Masjid-e Sahlah in Kufa, it is the most probable site for a viewing of the Imam (as).
This is a large mosque situated near Safa’iyeh Square in Qom and is the location for the weekly Friday prayers.
The huge silver-colored dome of this beautiful mosque, is a familiar landmark in Qom.
Virtues of Qom
– Affan Basri narrates that Imam al-Sadiq (A) asked him:
“Do you know why Qom has been named ‘Qom’?”
I answered: ‘God, the Prophet (S) and you are more knowledgeable.’ Imam (as) replied:
“Qom has been named so because the people of Qom will gather around the Steadfast Imam of the household of the Prophet (Saww) [Qa’im-e Al-e Muhammad; Imam Mahdi (as)]; they will make a stand (Qiyam) under his banner, stay loyal to him and be helpers for him”
– The Prophet (Saww) narrates that at the time of his Mi’raj [Ascension to the Heavens], his attention was drawn to a land which stood out [Qom]. He asked Jibra’il about it and Jibra’il answered:
“This is the land of your Shi’a and the Shi’a of your successor, Ali.”
In the beginning of this tradition, it is narrated that the Prophet (Saww) banished Satan from this area, saying to him:
“Get away, Oh cursed one!”
And this is how the name of Qom came about.