Mausoleum of Kusam ibn Abbas in Samarkand

Mausoleum of Kusam ibn Abbas in Samarkand
Mausoleum of Kusam ibn Abbas in Samarkand

On the northern outskirts of Samarkand, among the vast ancient cemetery of Shakhi Zinda, there are groups of mausoleums, among which the grave of Kusam ibn Abbas (1334), the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, is the most famous.

Kusam ibn Abbas was one of the first preachers of Islam in Central Asia. Kusam ibn Abbas brought to Maverannahr faith in one God, and the laws of Shariah.

The name of this “warrior for the faith” Kusam ibn Abbas is shrouded in legends and stories. However, this person is quite historically real, as shown by various sources, including written evidence from the 9th century. Before the final conquest of cities by the Arab troops, he came to Samarkand and died here. Legends tell that Kusam ibn Abbas was killed during the prayer. Folk fiction is miraculously intertwined with real events.
Probably this highly esteemed Muslim with his kinship with the prophet Ghazi (a fighter for the faith) fell "martyred" during his sermons or prayers at the hands of Samarkand people who were irreconcilable with Islam at that time. The guardians of the sight will surely tell the ancient legend about Kusam ibn Abbas, who once finished his sermon, removed his own head from his shoulders, took it under his arm and disappeared through a narrow slot in the cave, where he still allegedly continues to live today. Hence the name "Shakhi Zinda", which means "Living King".

Description of the tomb of Qusam ibn Abbas

The exterior of the grave of Qusam ibn-Abbas, on a par with the interior, has greatly changed since its foundation. This can be observed by the description of the interior decoration made in the XIV century.

Now the grave of Kusam ibn Abbas is adorned with a gravestone of irrigated tiles, replacing the medieval ones, which were made of ebony and decorated with precious metals and gems.

The grave is blessed. A quadrangular structure with a dome was erected above it. At each corner there is a pair of marble columns of green, black, white and red colors.

The walling of Kusam-ibn-Abbas mausoleum is also made of multicolored marble with golden ornaments; the roof is made of lead. The tomb is covered with ebony, adorned with precious stones; its corners are covered with silver.

The tombstone at that time was different than it is now, and it could only be seen through a special window. Inside the mazar, there are remains of a mural of a geometrical ornament (alternation of stars and crosses) made in white, blue and gold.

In the Mausoleum of Kusam ibn Abbas there was a stepped gravestone on the floor, usually covered with burial bedspreads. In the second half of the 14th century it was faced with beautiful tiles. In a small utility room there is a descent to the memorial mosque and “chillya khan” room- a chamber for a 40-day fast.

In the 15th century the memorial mosque was rebuilt, and therefore its art of building is different from the architecture of the previous century. The mosque, oblong in plan, has a 3-dome ceiling. Its interior is free and light. At the base of the walls there is a panel of bright blue drafts, sometimes animated by mosaic medallions.

In turn, Peopletravel Company recommends to visit the Mausoleum of Kusam ibn Abbas in Samarkand during the Uzbekistan tours.

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