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(1) Gravesites of Twelver Shii imams. All twelve imams were either murdered, persecuted, or poisoned, rendering them all martyrs. Their tombs have become sites of annual pilgrimage for Shiis. Shiis believe that devotion to martyred imams will win them forgiveness of sins and allow them to share in the final victory of the Mahdi (messianic imam). Pious Shiis also look on shrines as places where they can share in the imams' sanctity. The mashhads of all imams have been richly endowed and have received lavish gifts from Muslim rulers, particularly Shii dynasties. Towns, schools, and extensive cemeteries grew up around them. (2) City in Iran.

Subjects: Islam.

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