On December 30 2014, IIIS was host to a group of students from Australia, who had come for a visit to Iran and the Shrines. Dr. Shomali welcomed them and after introducing the institute, delivered a lecture on Lady Masuma (s) whose shrine is in Qom.
Dr. Shomali started by explaining the verse 34 of Surah Nur, where God makes an analogy of Himself to light.
His reference was to verse 35 of Surah Nur (light):
اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونِةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ نُّورٌعَلَى نُورٍ
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp —the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star— lit from a blessed olive tree, neither eastern nor western, whose oil almost lights up, though fire should not touch it. Light upon light.
Upon clarifying various dimensions of this verse and that it expresses maximum exposure.
He said that this light of God can be found in places which God has allowed to be elevated; special places which have become places for God’s remembrance.
Dr. Shomali explained that for a place to become special, the inhabitants must be special, and the house of the Prophet (s) is this mentioned place. He then narrated the question which the second caliph asked the Prophet (s) after the Prophet (s) explained this, about whether the house of Ali (a) is one of them, to which the Prophet (s) replied, “yes, and it is one of the best of them.”
Dr. Shomali concluded that the houses of the Ahlul Bayt (a) are like the house of the Prophet (s), both are special houses which God has permitted to be elevated.
After describing the significance of Qom according to the Hadith, and its proven accuracy through history, Dr. Shomali narrated the story of how Lady Masuma (s) came to Qom. He then gave a brief introduction to Lady Masuma (s), her name, and the value of visiting her shrine, for Imam Reza (a) has said that visiting Lady Masuma (s) is like visiting him, in the sense that you should expect anything you would have expected from Imam Reza (a), from Lady Masuma (s) too.