|Iran: Coming home to a place I’ve never been before - Part 5||
Part 5: Isfahan to Tehran
En route Isfahan to Qom (319 km)
On Tuesday, we left Isfahan and headed north to the holy city of Qom via Natanz and Kashan, visiting the Friday Mosque and the tomb of Sheikh Abd-us-Samad in Natanz. We ate lunch in the charming Golshan Restaurant in Kashan after which we visited the Fin Garden (Bagh-e Fin), wherein Qajar Prime Minister Amir Kabir was executed by order of Nasser ad-Din Shah in 1852. We then headed north towards Qom (120 km south of Tehran), arriving at the Qom International Hotel on Helal Ahmar Street, Motahhari Square, in late afternoon.
Imam al-Jawad (AS) said, “Whoever visits the grave of my aunt in Qom is guaranteed Paradise.” Wednesday morning, we had an early breakfast at the hotel then headed out for a ziarat to the Shrine of Hazrat Fatima Masumeh (SA), the sister of Imam Reza (AS). After a warm welcome in the international visitor’s center and offering our du’as at the mausoleum, we walked over to the home of Ayatollah Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I was awed by the fact that I was standing in the holy city of Qom and in the very home of the founder of the only successful Shia Islamic revolution.
Next, we walked over to Ansarian Publications on Shohada Street to spend some time browsing the vast selection of Islamic books. After ordering enough books to last me a few years, we went to the Alborz Restaurant on Mohammad Amin Street after which we accompanied Miss. Fam to Vadiossalam Cemetery to pay our respects to her grandparents. When asked if visiting the grave of someone unrelated is of benefit, Imam Sadiq (AS) replied, “Yes, verily they receive it [the visit] as one would receive a gift and it makes them happy.” Afterwards, we walked with Miss Fam through the bazaar near the hotel to do some shopping, for the Prophet (S) said, “When you go away on a journey, upon your return to your family you should bring them back a gift or a novelty, even if it be a mere stone.”
From Qom back to Tehran (146 km)
On Thursday 17 May, we departed from Qom and, after a stop at Sohan Mohammad Saedinia to buy delicious pastries for gifts, we made our way back toward Tehran and visited the Imam Khomeini Mausoleum south of the city. After offering prayers at Imam Khomeini’s grave, we headed to Behest Zahra Cemetery. For me, to see row after row of the martyrs’ graves along with their pictures was an emotionally shattering experience. Never have I felt such disgust towards the United States and the evilness of its nefarious, misguided foreign policy that is responsible for causing most of these brave young men and women to be laid to rest there. I recalled the words of the Holy Quran, “Do not suppose those who were slain in the way of Allah to be dead; rather they are living and provided for near their Lord.” (Surah Al Imran 3:169).
After entering Tehran and passing by the magnificent Azadi Tower, we once again checked into the Enghelab Hotel and spent the afternoon visiting with colleagues Mostafa Mousavi and Hamid Golpira from the Tehran Times. Later that afternoon, we traveled to the home of another of my colleagues, Gul Jammas Husain, and had a most enjoyable dinner and evening there with his family. After I commented to our gracious host about the hospitality we had experienced in Iran and the warm kindness shown to us by the Iranian people, Gul commented, “I do not think Iranians are capable of hate.” From what my wife and I experienced, we must wholeheartedly agree, which makes the lies being spread by the U.S. about Iran that much more painful to hear.
Friday, 18 May was our last day in Tehran. After breakfast in the now-familiar dining room, we took a ride on the Tehran metro from Vali-e Asr up to the end of Line 1, Qods Square, where we strolled through the Tajrish Bazaar and offered prayers in the shrine of Saleh bin Musa al-Kadhim (AS). Later on, we went to the Sadabad Complex, home of the Qajar rulers, and visited the opulent Green Palace where deposed Reza Shah and his son Mohamed Reza Pahlavi lived at one time.
We returned on the metro to the Enghelab Hotel, had a relaxed dinner there and slowly packed for our return trip. While we did not leave the hotel for our 3:15 a.m. flight until midnight, the hours were filled with a combination of warm moments reflecting about our time in Iran and somber thoughts of returning to “the belly of the beast”, back to America. Miss Fam and Mr. Reza came for us around midnight, and after a quiet ride to Imam Khomeini Airport and tearful goodbyes, we reluctantly boarded our flight.
The fact that Iran has stood firm against the unrelenting U.S.-led economic assault, merciless threats of attack, and ceaseless propaganda spewed out by the Western media is a great tribute to the creativity and resilience of the Iranian people and the robustness of their Islamic form of government. I saw firsthand that Iranians are a proud people united in their love of their Islamic-Iranian heritage and stand ready to defend their nation against any aggressive act by a misguided foreign power. Iran is a very special place, for the Holy Prophet (S) said, “The people who have the greatest portion of Islam are the People of Persia.”
The United States imagines that by its foreign and economic policies, it is isolating Iran from the so-called “international community”, a moniker for those few nations closely allied with America. By building a propaganda wall of lies, distortions, threats and intimidation around Iran, the U.S. envisions it will achieve the ultimate goals of its predatory imperialistic policies when in fact it is only isolating itself. This wall, like the Berlin Wall of the Cold War, is destined to fall. A great American President, John F. Kennedy, once stood by the Berlin Wall and spoke these memorable words that undoubtedly hastened its collapse, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” meaning “I am a Berliner.” Likewise, I stand beside the U.S.-built wall of lies in the hope of seeing its imminent collapse and say, “Man Irani hastam,” meaning, “I am an Iranian.”
My wife and I reluctantly departed, as per our itinerary, at 3:15 a.m. on Saturday May 19, 2012 with much sadness and tears in our eyes having to leave the beautiful and intriguing country with which we had fallen in love. Three weeks was simply not enough time to even to scratch the surface of getting to know this fascinating land. To anyone even casually thinking of visiting Iran, I would say, dare to visit Iran; you will be amazed and not be disappointed! Khoda Hafez, Iran.
“A man from the people of Qom will call the people towards the truth. A group of men will be attracted to him like pieces of iron to a magnet. Strong winds will not shake them. They will not flinch from war and they will not be afraid; they will trust in Allah; and the [good] end belongs to the pious.” – Imam Musa al-Kadhim (AS)
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|Last Updated on 31 July 2012 17:33|