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The city of Najaf in Iraq has been a religious center of the Shi'i branch of Islam since the eighth century. A popular destination for pilgrims, Najaf is located south of Baghdad and 6 miles west of Kufa (1 mile = 1.609 kilometers). It is the site of the mausoleum of the first Shi'a imam, Alī ibn Abī Talīb, whose gravesite was revealed to the public in the early ‚Abbāsid period by Ja'far al-Ṣādiq (d. 765) during one of his visits to Kufa. Under al-Sādiq and his disciples, Najaf also became heir to the Shi'a learning that had flourished in Kufa, where, in the grand mosque, al-Ṣädiq's narrations were disseminated among some 900 teachers of traditions.

Muslim armies entered the Najaf region in the year 633. ...

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