Welfare Facilities Provided in the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.)
After the victory of the glorious Islamic Revolution in Iran, Astan Quds Razavi –under the efficient and successful management of Ayatullah Waiz Tabasi –the reverend chief custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, paid specific attention to the pilgrims' welfare and service affairs. By establishing the development project of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza(A.S.) and "The Assistance Office of the Sacred Places and Ceremonies", Astan Quds Razavi, with a round-the-clock effort, began to provide a calm and desirable atmosphere filled with spirituality for different pilgrims from various parts of the world.
Development project of the Holy Shrine is responsible for preservation and repair of present buildings as well as providing new spaces apt to perform pilgrimage and prayers. This organization is extending the Holy Shrine area with an extraordinary effort. "The Bureau of Pilgrims' Welfare and Services", pertaining to the deputy office of the sacred places in the Holy Shrine consists of lost property section and caretakers' section, each of which performs its duties devotedly to give services to the respectable pilgrims.
Those duties performed by service industry are as follows: offering pilgrims invitations to have meals at Mihmansara by calling on their places of residence, such as hotels, lodging houses or their homes; managing telephone connections inside or outside the Holy Shrine complex of Imam Reza(A.S.), changing or repairing the clocks, and making preparations for the dead's burials. The deposit and lost property section is responsible for taking care of the respectable pilgrims' gold and precious belongings till they return from their pilgrimage. This section also collects pilgrims' lost properties from all over the holy places and deliver them to their real owners.
The bureau of pilgrims' welfare and service, pertaining to the deputy office has another section for the pilgrims' outreach. It is called "Investigating Missing People's Affairs" Which gives special services to all pilgrims from different classes. This section investigates the problems of missing boys, girls, men and women, and helps them to find their relatives. The International Relations Office also guides and receives over six thousand foreign pilgrims from different parts of the world each month. Still, the bureau in charge of the healed pilgrims follows the healed patients' affairs. Necessary health measures such as spraying disinfectants, personnel's vaccination, perfuming different places and… are the duties of Health Bureau.
Pilgrims' outreach bureau also helps the pilgrims in such issues as guiding the needy ones to return to their hometowns, paying their travel expenses, giving clothes to some pilgrims, introducing them to good lodging houses, delivering wheelchairs to old handicapped pilgrims and guiding them, so that they are taken to the Holy Shrine and sent back home by Astan Quds Razavi personnel and vehicles.
Those interested in getting more information about the role of Astan Quds Razavi Bureau of Pilgrims' welfare can call 0098-511-2258001 in Mashhad.
The office of Khadamah (servants or attendants) is another section which offers considerable and valuable services generously, being provided by more than four thousand individuals including Darban (door keeper), Farrash (Carpet spreader) and Kafshdar (shoe keeper). This office is active all through the year without even a day off, trying hard for the pilgrims' welfare.
Disciplinary section, controlled by the deputy office of the sacred places of Astan Quds Razavi has employed faithful, devoted and efficient persons to provide safety inside and outside the Holy Shrine with great efforts.
With the assistance of four thousand individuals including Khadim (attendant), Darban (door keeper), Farrash (carpet spreader) and Kafshdar (shoe-keeper), Astan Quds Razavi offers it best guidance to respectable pilgrims of Imam Reza(A.S.) in sacred places complex among which are the holy tomb chamber, porticos, courtyards, and sanctuaries. Moreover, there are several signs, maps and placards set up by Astan Quds Razavi at the entrances for the pilgrims. In this connection, the pilgrims are guided by attendants or personnel of this holy complex.
One of the most important centers to guide and to receive pilgrims is the International Relations Office. Furthermore this office guides and receives respectable foreign pilgrims with the aid of different interpreters and guidebooks.
Management of cultural affairs, assisted by special serving groups, also plays a remarkable role in this regard and guides the beloved devotees of Imam Reza (A.S.).
It is noticeable that General Office of the Public Relations Affairs also prints books and different pamphlets in different languages with large circulations all through the year to guide and direct pilgrims of the Holy Shrine. In addition, the General Office of the Public Relations Affairs provides direct connection between those in charge of the Holy Shrine complex and pilgrims of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) or Mashhad residents through two radio programs: Nida–e–Haram (Voice of the Shrine) and Sida-e-Za'ir (Voice of the Pilgrim). The two programs give information to the pilgrims and answer their questions.
Giving services to the respectable pilgrims of the Eighth Imam in the Shi'te world, Imam Reza (A.S.) is the basis of the attempts and activities in the Holy Shrine. Therefore, after the victory of the glorious Islamic Revolution, Astan Quds Razavi has always tried to provide pilgrims' welfare and invest a great deal of capital to satisfy cultural needs and provide necessary spaces.
As satisfying cultural needs of pilgrims and residents is the essential aim in Astan Quds Razavi, this Holy complex have founded 18 grand cultural institutes around the holy shrine and elsewhere in Mashhad during last 25 years, which provide direct and indirect remarkable cultural services.
Furthermore, Astan Quds Razavi's great attempt has been to accomplish the grand project for constructing and developing the area around Holy Shrine of Imam Reza(A.S.). With round-the-clock effort of the authorities and devoted personnel, these places have been established or expanded greatly: several porticos, different courtyards, underpass for vehicles, various sanctuaries, several roundabouts, new buildings of Central Library and Archives Center, equipped sanitary facilities, Dar al-Shafa Imam (The Holy Shrine's Hospital), Mihmansara of Imam Reza(A.S.), museums and other social, health and welfare facilities… so that the present area of the Holy Places, compared with that of pre – Islamic Revolution, had 400 per cent increase and appropriate places such as Razavi Grand Courtyard with an area of 57 thousand square meters and a capacity of hundred thousand people have been put into operation. Moreover, eleven great projects were also accomplished recently, for the welfare and convenience of respectable pilgrims to enjoy a suitable atmosphere and a calm prayer.
It is worth noticing that Astan Quds Razavi began to equip and extend the tomb of Hadrat Hussein ibn Musa al-Kazim(A.S.) in Tabas and constructed two considerably equipped, eye-catching building units for residence and recreation in the south of Khurasan Province. It is helpful for pilgrims traveling along this route. Astan Quds Razavi also gives public services in other cities of Islamic Iran to people from all walks of life.
Moreover, many industrial companies and productive institutions of Astan Quds Razavi, such as Shahab Khudro Company, Quds Razavi bread-baking factory, Razavi canned food and cold storage factory, sugar factories, dairy company, agricultural and animal husbandry complexes etc… produce the best and cheapest products to serve both the pilgrims of the Holy Shrine and the local residents.
Among some other welfare activities for the convenience of the respectable pilgrims, Astan Quds Razavi has established several health centers in the holy city of Mashhad, about thirty libraries, as well as consulting and research institutes, ready to assist pilgrims of Imam Reza (A.S.).
Furthermore, Astan Quds Razavi bookstores in the precincts Holy Shrine and other parts of the Holy city of Mashhad and Tehran can provide the pilgrims and others with their favorite books.
1) Imam Reza (A.S.) Hospital (Dar-al-Shifa).
Imam Reza (A.S.) Hospital known as Dar al-Shifa-e- Imam (A.S.) renders medical services to the pilgrims on non-profit basis. It is located on the southern side of the Bast Shaykh Hur Ameli (Lower Bast) and opposite to the Astan Quds Razavi Inn. This two floored hospital occupies an area of 22000 square meters and was inaugurated in 1981.Recently a new hospital has been inaugurated at the entrance of the holy shrine adjoined to Shaykh Toosi sanctuary at the Ayatullah Shirazi Avenue.
It offers day and night medical services to the pilgrims and is equipped with various medical departments like cardiology, internal medicine, E.N.T, pediatrics, dentistry, injection, ophthalmology and neurology. Every year nearly one million patients are treated in this hospital by highly qualified medical staff and the medicine is provided freely to the patients. It is also equipped with sophisticated laboratory, pharmacy, radiology, hygiene and nutrition departments.
On the southern side of the Imam Reza (A.S.) Hospital, a big pharmacy center is located which occupies an area of 1200 square meters. The pharmacy not only renders services to the general public but also provides medicine free of cost to the poor and the needy persons.
The Managing Director of the Medical Institution of Astan Quds Razavi said : " About 460 thousand of pilgrims , and Mashhad's citizens have benefited from the medical , and medicinal services granted by the medical units of this institution , during seven months of year 2002" .
Doctor Mahdi Toofani said: " 105 thousand of people have benefited from the wards of Children , Neurology , Cardiology , Dermatology , Urology , E.N.T., Ophthalmology , Gynecology , and Infectious Diseases in the Imam Reza (A.S) hospital.
.Furthermore, 112 thousand of people have also benefited from the wards of Laboratory ,Radiology , Sonography , Dentistry , Medical Emergencies , Optometry , and Cardiography in the other medical units of this centre" .
He added : " In addition to these services ,more than 11 thousand of people have taken advantage of the facilities of the Radiography Centre including Radiology , Sonography , C.T Scan , Cephalography , and Mammography" .
Dr Toofani stated : " The greatest number of people have taken advantage of the ward of Sonography , and the least number have used the medical services of Cephalography Ward" .
He added : " Dentistry polyclinic , enjoying various wards including Medical Examination , Tooth Extraction , Root Canal therapy, Reparative, Scaling , Oral Surgery and Radiography wards, have succeeded to grant medical services to about 9560 people" .
According to the report drew up by the General Office of Public Relations of Astan Quds Razavi , more than 230 thousand of people have taken advantage of the medicinal services of this Medical Centre . Some of these people have also obtained necessary drugs free of charge.
Astan Quds Razavi's Inn:
The foreign and local pilgrims are served lunch at the Mihmansara(Inn) free of charge. To be the guest of Imam Reza (A.S.) at the Inn the "Foreign Pilgrims" should take their passports to the International Relations Office located in the Jumhuri Islami(Islamic Republic) Courtyard and obtain the necessary coupons.
The Holy Shrine's Mihmansara has always been considered greatly by respectable pilgrims, so that they all wish to have a meal there, as a blessing. Thus, each day, about five thousand pilgrims and attendants have their blessing meals in Mihmansara, as guests of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza(A.S.). It is worth mentioning that invitation slips are mostly distributed among pilgrims through hotels, lodging houses and gathering places where pilgrims can directly get the slips.
Mihmansara with several hundred year background, serves pilgrims of Imam Reza(A.S.) according to the decision making of authorities using the related endowment income. Yet, it made considerable progress after the victory of glorious Islamic Revolution.
Special endowments have been allocated to this place to be spent totally in pilgrims' reception. All pilgrims and devotees of His Holiness who travel to the holy city of Mashhad are interested in having a meal at Mihmansara of Imam Reza (A.S.). Considering the yearly presence of over fifteen million people, however, as pilgrims from all over the Islamic world and the possibility of receiving just one and a half million guests at Mihmansara, not all pilgrims can benefit from the blessing meals. Therefore, Astan Quds Razavi is constructing a new Mihmansara in the development project of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) in coming years to give much more services than before.