So I decided to revisit my experience in Mashad during my trip to the mausoleum (haram). I visited the haram twice while I was in Mashad. I went for Namaz Zuhr ( prayer) and did the congregational prayer. At this time the haram was packed with people. Inside the haram there are multiple prayer halls which were filled almost to capacity. After prayers my friend Sajjad advised against going to the zarih (grave) at that time because it would be much too difficult to get close to it.
We returned shortly after namaz sob (morning prayer) which was at about . We entered the area containing the zarih and there were still hundreds of people crowding around it and praying. Sajjad, who is about 6’2” 230 pounds pushed me into the crowd to help me get closer to the zarih. After about 10 minutes I had one hand grabbing the zarih. I said some prayers but was eventually knocked off by an old man trying to get out of the crowd. I stepped back from the crowd and read my full list of prayers including names of friends and family who I was reminding myself to pray for. While I was there I saw two babies who were lifted up high to touch the zarih. One infant that I saw being raised up to touch the zarih looked like he knew exactly what to do. He reached out and kissed the zarih as if he were like any of the other pilgrims who came to see their leader. After finishing reading my prayers I went in again for a second time to be close to my Imam. Grabbing the zarih with one hand was not enough for me. It took about 25 minutes to swim through the crowd before I got a spot directly on the zarih. Once there, I felt as if the crowd of people behind me was gone and it was only me and my Imam. I have never felt so secure in my faith than I was in that moment of being so close to him. His relationship with God has allowed me to see that light, that love.