Carpet Washers - Symbolic Carpet Washing Rituals in Mashhad-e Ardehal

Home » Archives » Vol. 15, No. 30, 2012 » Carpet Washers - Symbolic Carpet Washing Rituals in Mashhad-e Ardehal

Ismail Amin Moghadam

Author(s): Ismail Amin Moghadam

Page No: 8

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Geographical Location

Ardehal or Mashhad-e Ardehal is a village in Naragh town, a town which is part of Delijan city. Deligan City is one of the cities of MarkaziProvince, a province in Iran. Mashhad-e Ardahal is located west north of Ghamsar town, 49 Km west of Kashan city, 42 Km south of Qom city, and it is on the Delijan to Kashan Road. This village is located in a valley and plain which is stretched from the west north to the west south. It is 16 Km in length and 3 to 4 Km in width, and it is irrigated through a stream falling down the valley and plain and through some series of Kanats and scattered natural springs .Since this village is with mountain climate, its winter is very cold and its summer is quite mild and cooler. Therefore, Mashhad-e Ardahal is a summer resort for the people of Kashan city, especially people of Fin, a village in Kashan city.

Mashhad-e Carpet

Since Imam Soltan Ali (AS), a descendent of Imam Muhammad Bagir (AS), was martyred in  Ardehal, this village is called Mashhad-e sultan Ali or Mashhad-e Ardehal. Furthermore, because of the ritual of carpet washing symbolizing a funeral for Soltan Ali (AS) held in Ardehal, this city is also called Mashhad-e carpet or Mashhad-e Carpet washers.

Oral Narrative


At that time, Arehal was ruled by ‘Hareth’ bearing the title ‘Golden shoes of Bari Karasf’; he lived in a fortress located in Ardehal’s Mountain. Through using deceptive behaviors and friendliness, this ruler, Golden Shoes, invited Soltan Ali (AS) to Bari Karasf, one of the oldest villages of the region which is now a village of Niasar town in Kashan city; Mashhad-e Ardehal, a village where the shrine of Soltan Ali (AS) is located, is approximately 1 Km of Bari Karasf village. Soltan Ali (AS) accepted Hareth’s invitation and with a group of his followers he headed for Bari Karasf. This descendent of Imam Muhammad Bagher (AS) and his followers raised their tents out of the village near a hill where now the shrine of Soltan Ali (As) is located. After a few days the servant and cook of Soltan Ali found that Soltan Ali’s and his follower’s place of residence was surround by a group of armed forces. This cook discovered the evil intention of Hareth: he was going to kill Soltan Ali and his followers. Therefore, this cook made his wife to go to the village secretly and to inform people of the village of the evil intention of Golden shoes, i.e.  Hareth.

According to an account, a war occurred between Hareth’s forces and Soltan Ali’s followers in an area called Darband-e Aznave, and it lasted 10 days .In this war, Soltan Ali (As) and his followers were martyred. Two days later, people of Fin became aware of this news that Soltan Ali (As) and his followers were martyred, and they headed for the plain of Ardehal on foot and on horseback; they also had spades, canes, and clubs with them .Arriving there, they were faced with the cut bodies of Soltan Ali (AS) and his followers. Soltan Ali’s (As) ablution was performed by people of Fin on the third day following his martyrdom and based on his will he was buried on top of a hill near the place of his martyrdom.

There are two widespread accounts among the people concerning how his ablution was performed and how he was buried. According to one account ,people of Fin put the body of Imam Bagher’s descendent on a carpet and  carried  it to a stream , which is  today  known as  ‘Shazde Hussein Stream’,   and  performed his ablution. Then, they accompanied Soltan Ali’s Body to the top of the present hill and gave the body to the people from Khaveh to bury it.

According to another account, since Soltan Ali(AS)  was beheaded ,and since  his body was cut and was covered with blood , without performing his ablution his body was put on the carpet and was carried to the top of the hill and was then buried. Following his burial, the blood-covered carpet was washed by the water of the stream, which is today known as ‘Shazde Hussein Stream’.

Following this event, people of Fin made a solemn promise to go to Mashhad-e Ardehal every year; in other words, they promised to go to Mahhad-e Ardehal 13 days following the beginning of autumn   In Iran or on the second Friday of autumn in Iran, which coincides with Soltan Ali’s burial ceremony, so they would visit the shrine of Soltan Ali (AS) and remember his martyrdom and burial ceremony through holding the carpet washing ritual in the anniversary of his martyrdom.

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