Winners of the 2016 Self-Enhancement Competition pose for a group photo in the sacred compound of Imam Ali (p) in the holy city of Najaf

All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Universe.

With the return of our winning contestants from their spiritual journey to Iraq, the Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.), in partnership with the Administration of the Imam Hussain (p) Holy Shrine, is pleased to announce the successful completion of its first ever Self-Enhancement Competition during the holy month of Ramadhan, 1437 A.H. / 2016.

The 2016 Self-Enhancement Competition was opened to individuals between the ages of 14-34, with entrants participating from all over the United States and Canada. As part of the competition, contestants were required to read “God’s Emissaries: Adam to Jesus” during the holy month of Ramadhan and answer 100 multiple choice questions, all for a chance to win one of 10 grand prizes. Top prizes included a spiritual journey to visit the six infallible Imams in Iraq, and a $500 Gift Card toward a new iPad, Smartphone, or other electronic device. After an energetic contest, which resulted in a second, time-limited round, 10 winners were announced and grand prizes were awarded.

The group stands before the sacred Shrine of Imam al-Hussain (p) in the holy city of Karbala

In December of 2016, grand prize winners, from different cities in the United States, formed the first ever I.M.A.M. Ziyarat group and traveled together to the holy cities of Najaf, Karbala, and Kadhimiyyah, in Iraq. This was, in fact, the first time many of the participants had ever traveled to Iraq and therefore created an air of great excitement and anticipation. This sentiment was especially so upon landing at Najaf International Airport and being received by representatives of the Administration of the Imam Hussain (p) Holy Shrine.

The group, led by Dr. Mehdi Hazari, visited the Holy shrines of Imam Ali (p), Imam Hussain (p), Abu Fadl al-Abbas (p), Imam Musa al-Kadhim (p), and Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (p). (Visitation to Imam Ali al-Hadi (p) and Imam Hassan al-Askari (p) in Samarra were not possible in this trip due to safety concerns.) Additionally, the group also had the special privilege to meet with, H.E. Sheikh Abul Mahdi al-Karbalai, the administrator general of the Holy Shrine of Imam Hussain (p). Other activities included touring some of the Holy Shrine’s ongoing projects, as well as attending a special lecture on the role of the Shia community in the West.

Dr. Mahdi Hazari, leader of the I.M.A.M. Ziyarat group, and his children sit for a photo with His Excellency, Sheikh Abul Mahdi al-Karbalai, administrator general of the Imam Hussain (p) Holy Shrine.

After a tremendous and spiritually enriching visitation, the group concluded their trip and were seen off once more by the Administration of the Imam Hussain (p) Holy Shrine from the holy city of Najaf. As the final contestants have returned home, the activities of the 2016 Self-Enhancement Competition have finally come to a most successful end.

I.M.A.M. and the Administration of the Imam Hussain (p) Holy Shrine would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all participants of the 2016 Self-Enhancement Competition for their hard work and excellent participation in this noble contest.

Additionally, I.M.A.M. expresses its thanks to the gracious hospitality provided by the Administration of the Holy Imam Hussain (p) Holy Shrine. I.M.A.M. would also like to recognize and thank Dr. Mehdi Hazari for his tireless efforts as the group’s spiritual guide and liaison.

Although activities of the 2016 competition have now ended, I.M.A.M. and the Administration of the Imam Hussain (p) Holy Shrine are pleased to announce the next Self-Enhancement Competition for 2017, coming this holy month of Ramadhan, 1438 A.H. Details of the upcoming contests will be made available in the month of Rajab.