The Holy City of Qum
Qum is the smallest province in Iran. It was previously a district belonging to the state of Arak, and then it was attached to Tehran until it was finally certified as an independent province.
It is bounded by Tehran and Saweh to the north, Deligan and Kashan to the south, and the Salt Lake and Tafresh to the east. The province includes one city, four regions, nine rural districts and 256 villages. Since it connects the central desert, Qum has a semi-desert climate.
The population of Qum had reached about 400,000. After the revolution, the city undergo fast 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 support and in the blessed presence of Lady Fatima Masuma.
other than being a world-renowned centre of Islamic knowledge, Qum 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.
A slight disadvantage of Qum’s location is that its main water supply is through the salty rivers that come from the mountains around it.
In the period just before the advent of Islam, Qum was populated by Zoroastrians. The city was conquered by the Muslims in 23 A.H.
In 66 A.H, after the uprising of Mukhtar (who was seeking revenge for the murder of Imam Husain in Karbalā), a group of his Shi`a followers from the Bani Asad tribe travelled from Kufa to Qum, and took refuge in the area of Jamkaran.
In the year 83 A.H, a great number of Arabs belonging to the Ash`arī tribe of Yemen, migrated and settled in this region and repopulated the city.
From the beginning of its Islamic history, the city of Qum became the centre of the Shi`a in the area, and by the end of the first Islamic century, more than 6000 Shi`a had settled in the city.
The Shi a of this city revolted against the Umayyad caliphs and after the inception of the Abbasid caliphate in 132 A.H, they also remained at odds with the Abbasid caliphs.
In the year 201 A.H, Lady Fatima Masuma came to the city, and after a brief illness, she died and was buried there. Her sacred grave became a pilgrimage site for the Shi`a, and the city of Qum was thereafter popularly called “Qum-e Muqaddas.
Over the centuries, Qum emerged as a Shi`a learning centre. The Islamic Seminaries Qum became particularly popular after the Islamic Revolution in Iran and also due to the decline of the seminaries in Najaf, following the persecution of the hostile regime in Iraq.
Museum of the holy shrine
The museum, which is called “the Astane Museum”, is attached to the Madrasah Faydiyah, abutting the new courtyard. It contains the gifts and bequests that have made to Lady Fatima Masuma over the years by various well-wishers.
Prior to the establishment of the museum in the endowed treasures of the sanctuary which are now on display were stored in what was termed "the treasury". The treasury was deemed necessary by the custodians of the sanctuary after a rash of thefts at the end of the Safavid period.
This mosque was built in 293 A.H, during the Minor Occultation of Imam Mahdi and according to his recommendation.
The Mosque of Jamkaran
This mosque was established from the earliest days of the Ghaybah Imam al-Mahdi has been continuously seen at this mosque since that time.Shaykh Saduq enlarged the mosque and during the Safavid era it was repaired several times..I personally have witnessed numerous miraculous events at this mosque.In short, there is no doubt that this mosque is one of the regular places of Imam Mahdi and, after Masjid-e Sahlah in Kufa, it is the most probable site for a viewing of the Imam
The mosque is situated six kilometers to the south-east of Qum, and draws large crowds of pilgrims, especially on Tuesday nights. According to many reports, this is the night on which the Imam visits this mosque.
The huge silver coloured dome of this beautiful mosque, which is currently under construction, is a familiar landmark in Qum.
Various shrines of children of the Imams
Migrated to Iran a various members of the family of after Imam al-Rida moved to Khurasan . After the martyrdom of the Imam many of them came to settle in Qum, the major Shi`i centre at the time. It is estimated that there are over 400 graves of these members of the family of the Imams in Qum.
Some of these graves are within the holy shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma They are located at different locations in the shrine, some with small domes of their own. These days, the chambers in which their graves are situated also serve as administrative offices for the various departments in charge of the shrine.