Shrine of Imam Ali (AS) is located in Najaf, Iraq and is the place where he has been buried. For many years after his demise, the location of his grave was a secret. Imam al-Sadiq (AS) revealed it in 135/752. Different structures have been built in different eras. Adud al-Dawla al-Daylami and Shah Safi are among the figures who have built magnificent structures for this shrine.
Currently there is a magnificent structure which is comprised of four gates, five porches, a large courtyards and a darih. Following the collapse of Saddam Hossein and presence of Iranians, the shrine is being expanded. Recently a large courtyard is being been built in the western section of the shrine, and it has been named after the Lady Fatima (AS). It will increase the total area of the shrine to 140,000 square meters. Many faqihs and scholars are buried in this section.
The sons of Imam Ali (AS), i.e. Imam al-Hasan (AS), Imam al-Husayn (AS), and Muhammad b. Hanafiyya, along with Imam Ali’s (AS) cousin Abd Allah b. Ja’far, buried Imam Ali (AS) secretly at night in a region known as Ghariyyayn (present-day Najaf) and hid his grave. Ibn Tawus writes:
“The concealment [of the grave and its location] was due to fear of their enemies, like the Umayyads and the Kharijites. This is because it was possible that they would try to find his grave and exhume his body, which would inevitably lead to a conflict with the Hashimite tribe. Through this, several people would be killed and it would cause a large fitna (conflict) in the Muslim community. The Imam (AS) was extremely concerned with the well-being of the Muslim nation during his lifetime, and made constant efforts to extinguish the fires of fitna. As such, it was to be expected that he would encourage the same line of thought and actions that he embodied throughout his life, to continue after his death, and that he would want his family and followers to abandon what could be a source of conflict.”
The shrine of Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (AS) has been expanded and renovated considerably in more recent years. The western section of the haram in its developmental plans, has been named after the Lady Fatima al-Zahra (AS). This courtyard includes much of the western section of the shrine complex up until the Maqam Imam al-Sajjad (AS). It is being designed and built by Iranian architects. Upon completion of these developmental plans, the total area for the shrine complex will span 140,000 square meters.