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ATABAT

ATABAT. The Shi`i shrine cities of Iraq, Najaf, Karbala, Kazimayn, and Samarra-comprising the tombs of six of the imams-are important centers of devotion, pilgrimage, scholarship, and political activism known as `atabat ("thresholds"). Primacy among the `atabat is held by Najaf, 15o kilometers to the south of Baghdad; it is generally held to be the site of burial of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, first of the imams, the origins of whose shrine go back to the late ninth century. Karbala, 90 kilometers so ...more

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