Do this if you wish to meet Imams: Ayatollah Khamenei's recommendations for pilgrims
This is the meaning of making a pilgrimage; a pilgrimage is a meeting. When I visit you in your home, we have actually come to meet; the same is true when visiting the Imams (pbut). One should greet them and salute them; such a spirit should also be upheld when visiting Infallible and the friends of God; one should offer greetings and salute them.
Today is the 23rd of Dhu'l-Qi'dah on the Islamic lunar claendar which marks the day of making pilgrimage to Imam Redha (as). On this occasion, Khamenei.ir publishes Ayatollah Khamenei's statements on how to visit the shrine of the Imams:
When a pilgrimage has been accepted a pilgrim receives the blessings that one would achieve upon meeting the Infallible (pbut). If you aim to achieve such a blessing, the first condition is to “meet” with the Imam (as); that is to say, it should not only be through entering and exiting the shrine; you should be aware of the noble spirit, of the lofty person who is there. It does not matter that you cannot see him with your own eyes--to meet a person, does not require sight. He (as) is there, he hears you and sees you; so, talk to him. This is the meaning of making a pilgrimage; a pilgrimage is a meeting. When I visit you in your home, we have actually come to meet; the same is true when visiting the Imams (pbut). One should greet them and salute them; such a spirit should also be upheld when visiting Infallible and the friends of God; one should offer greetings and salute them.
Furthermore, one can meet them and greet them in any language; you can simply talk in your own language: Farsi, Azeri, Guilaki—any language you speak, this is how you can observe the etiquettes of making a pilgrimage. Of course, if we like to talk to them in an eloquent manner, with deeply meaningful words, then we can recite ones that our Imams (pbut) have recommended. For instance, Ziarat Amin-Allah, which is mainly a supplication and has words for Ziarat and greetings only in the first few lines; or the Ziarat of Jami’a Kabira, which is a greatly meaningful and eloquent. If you read these Ziarats, paying close attention and understanding to the meaning, then it is fine; it is like you want to meet a great person that you are visiting in a group and one of you prepares a beautiful salutation for him on behalf of the group. But, if you cannot understand the meaning of the words, since the translations are often not complete or very proper—then you can speak to him in your own words. This exchange of words can also be made in silence; you can speak from your heart. Certainly, your heart must be present and focused on the one you are addressing. If you are distracted by some other issue or by the mirror works in the shrine, then you cannot connect with your heart. Try to free your mind and heart—even if for only two to five minutes—from any other preoccupations, and connect your heart with the spirituality that exists, then open up to him (as).
March 26, 2003