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MASHHAD. An Arabic word meaning "a place where a martyr died," mashhad is the gravesite of an imam of Ithna `Ashari Shiism believed to have suffered shahddah (martyrdom). The Qur'an attests that a martyr is granted special heavenly privileges, and the concept of exalting divine purposes by suffering violent death played an important role in the development of the belief in the sanctity of the imams' gravesites. The imam as shahid (martyr) will be called on to bear witness on the Day of judgment ...more

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