Najaf

Najaf

Najaf or An-Najaf or Al-Najaf (Arabic: ٱلنَّجَف) or An-Najaf al-Ashraf (Arabic: ٱلنَّجَف ٱلْأَشْرَف), is the capital city of Najaf Governorate in central Iraq about 160 km (99 mi) south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2024 is about 1.41 million people.[1] It is widely considered amongst the holiest cities of Shia Islam and one of its spiritual capitals, as well as the center of Shia political power in Iraq.[7] It is the burial place of Muhammad's son in law and cousin, ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib. It is also the location of the largest cemetery in the world, (Wadi-us-Salaam), of one of the most important seminaries in the Shi'i Islamic world (Hawza of Najaf), and a major pilgrimage destination for Shia Muslims. According to Ibn al-Manzur, the word, "najaf" (نجف), literally means a high and rectangular place around which water is accumulated, although the water does not go above its level.[8] Al-Shaykh al-Saduq appeals to a hadith from Ja'far al-Sadiq, claiming that "Najaf" comes from the phrase, "nay jaff" which means "the nay sea has dried" which gradually changed into "Najaf".[9] "Najaf" is usually accompanied with the adjective "al-Ashraf" (dignified).[full citation needed] According to the author of al-Hawza al-'ilmiyya fi l-Najaf al-ashraf, this is because 'Ali, one of the most dignified persons, is buried in the city.