EFEQom, Iran

All mosques serve as a meeting point with God but at the Jamkaran mosque in the holy city of Qom in Iran, pilgrims and worshipers also gather to find closeness with the Mahdi, the final imam in the Shia belief and the redeemer of Islam.

The sprawling mosque complex on the outskirts of the city, located to the south of Tehran, is imposing with its large turquoise domes and tiled minarets. At night, it is illuminated by green neon lighting, which is typical of large mosques in Iran.

Thousands of Shia pilgrims flock to the mosque each year to deliver their wishes to the Mahdi, who they believe appeared at the site of the mosque in the year 984.

Adherents of the Shia faith, a minority in Islam globally but the dominant branch in Iran, regard Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Mahdi, who they believe is the Mahdi, to be the last of the 12 imams and the eventual redeemer of Islam who will return to the world with Isa (Jesus Christ) to bring peace.