Al-Askari Shrine

Al ‘Askarī Shrine
Arabic: مرقد الامامين علي الهادي والحسن العسكري‎, romanizedMarqad al-Imāmayn ‘Alī al-Hādī wal-Ḥasan al-‘Askarī
Al-Asakari Mosque 4.jpg
Al Askari shrine in Samarra, Iraq
RiteShia (Twelver)
Ecclesiastical or organisational statusMosque and shrine
LocationSamarra, Iraq
Al-Askari Shrine is located in Iraq
Al-Askari Shrine
Location in Iraq
Geographic coordinates34°11′56″N 43°52′24″E / 34°11′56″N 43°52′24″E / 34.19878; 43.87338

Al ‘Askarī Shrine, the ‘Askariyya Shrine (Arabic: مرقد الامامين علي الهادي والحسن العسكري‎, romanizedMarqad al-Imāmayn ‘Alī al-Hādī wal-Ḥasan al-‘Askarī "Resting Place of the Two Imams 'Ali the Calming and Hassan the Camp-Dweller") or the Al-Askari Mosque is a Shi'ite Muslim mosque and mausoleum in the Iraqi city of Samarra 125 km (78 mi) from Baghdad. It is one of the most important Shia shrines in the world, built in 944.[1] The dome was destroyed in a bombing by extremists in February 2006 and its two remaining minarets were destroyed in another bombing in June 2007, causing widespread anger among Shias. The remaining clock tower was also destroyed in July 2007.[2] The dome and minarets were repaired and the mosque reopened in April 2009.[3]

The 10th and 11th Shī'ite Imams, ‘Alī al-Hādī ("an-Naqī") and his son Hasan al-‘Askarī, known as al-‘Askariyyayn ("the two ‘Askarīs"), are buried in the shrine.[4] Housed in the mosque are also the tombs of Hakimah Khātūn, sister of ‘Alī al-Hādī; and Narjis Khātūn, the mother of Muħammad al-Mahdī.[5] Adjacent to the mosque is another domed commemorative building, the Serdab ("cistern"), built over the cistern where the Twelfth Imam, Muħammad al-Mahdī, first entered the Minor Occultation or "hidden from the view"—whence the other title of the Mahdi, the Hidden Imam.


The Imams ‘Alī al-Hādī ("an-Naqī") and Hassan al-‘Askarī lived under house arrest in the part of Samarra that had been Caliph al-Mu'tasim's military camp (‘Askar al-Mu‘tasim, hence an inmate of the camp was called an ‘Askarī). As a result, they are known as the ‘Askariyyayn. They died and were buried in their house on Abī Ahmad Street near the mosque built by Mu'tasim.[5] 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 (66 ft) in diameter by 68 m (223 ft) high.