The holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) hosts a large number of foreign pilgrims every year from across the borders of Islamic Iran, especially from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
By an indescribable enthusiasm, they step into the shrine and pray. Sayyid Khoshnoud Hassan Naqvi is one of the foreign pilgrims, who through his benevolence, valuable medical services were provided for Urdu-speaking pilgrims. In this opportunity, we will take a glance at this Pakistani pilgrim’s vow, and the view of foreign pilgrims over the good practice of vows in the Astan Quds Razavi establishment.
Compassion of a pilgrim from Karachi
Astan Quds Razavi pays special attention to the variety of audiences in its cultural and promotional planning, so as special programs for pilgrims of different countries are held at the holy shrine by the efforts of the AQR Office for Foreign Pilgrims’ Affairs.
Najaf Ali Saadati, a guide and translator for foreign pilgrims, says, “Last year, when I was performing programs for pilgrims in Kowsar portico, a Pakistani pilgrim named Sayyid Khoshnoud Hassan Naqvi came to me. He first told me about his trip to Karbala during Arbaeen and some shortcomings of Pakistani pilgrims along the way, and then shared his wish with me. The pilgrim from Karachi lived alone and wanted to use his wealth to serve the Pakistani and Hindi pilgrims. Therefore, I introduced him to the AQR Center for International Affairs. Since he was on a trip, he was able to donate only the amount of money he had on him to the holy shrine for the cost of free treatment, but insisted that he would take further steps to serve the Urdu-speaking pilgrims in the near future.”
The Pakistani pilgrim’s vow was exchanged from the US dollar to rial last fall, and was made available to the AQR Medical Institute for the cost of mass treatment of Urdu-speaking pilgrims.
Providing diverse health services
Dar al-Shafa of Imam Reza has a long history, providing round-the-clock medical services to pilgrims and neighbors in the vicinity of the holy shrine. Foreign patients, such as Arab and Urdu-speaking pilgrims can use the center’s varied medical services according to tourism tariffs. Of course, these pilgrims, like Iranian pilgrims, can benefit from the services of Razavi shrine emergency medical bases, which are open only to emergency patients in the courtyards and porticos of the shrine.
Dr. Nasser Sargolzayi, the CEO of AQR Medical Institute stated that the institute has allocated the amount of the vow to purchase medicines and to provide medical services to a large number of Pakistani pilgrims who in the last ten days of Safar this year were settled in Mashhad’s Toroq house of pilgrims.
“Furthermore, by this vow, about 200 Urdu-speaking and needy (mostly Pakistani) pilgrims have been offered free services during last year, such as visits to specialist and general practitioners, laboratories and medical ultrasound of Dar al-Shafa. Part of it also was spent on surgeries of Urdu-speaking pilgrims at Imam Reza Hospital in Mashhad.”
Foreign pilgrims’ attention to vow
AQR establishment, through the support of endowments and vows, fulfills its mission to preserve the greatness of the holy shrine and to promote services to pilgrims, and is always striving to spend the endowments and offerings in accordance with the request and order of the donors.
Alireza Esmaeilzadeh, the head of AQR Center for Development and Monitoring of Endowments and Vows commented that nearly 15,000 foreign pilgrims in the first eight months of 2019, referring to the vows’ offices, donated in foreign currencies such as dollar, rupee, dinar, lira, pound, euro and so on.
“The construction of the holy shrine, Hazrat Guesthouse, carpeting of the holy shrine, preparation of prayer books and Qurans and relief of the flood-stricken in Iran, etc., are among the expenses that these donors intended,” he noted.
Foreign pilgrims can donate their vows directly to the vows’ offices or seek guidance from AQR Center for International Affairs.