Sayyida Nafisah was the great grant-daughter of Imam Hasan (A. S) the son of Hazrat Ali (R. Z), and was among the first of the family of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to leave the Arabian Peninsula and resettle in what is now the outskirts of modern Cairo in Egypt. She was a woman who was renowned for her piety, asceticism, night vigils and prayers (Tahajjad prayers), and widely reputed for her saintliness and mystical powers. Hazrat Imam Shafi’i (R. Z), the Sunni jurist and founder of one of the four famous schools of Sunni jurist and founder of one of the four famous schools of Sunni Islamic Law, was only one of the many religious scholars of his day to discuss spiritual matters with her. When he died in 820, his body was taken to her house so that she might recite prayers for him over it.
When Sayyida Nafisah died in 824, her husband, the son of Imam Ja’afar as-Sadiq (R. Z), wanted to take her body back to Medina to bury her there. However the people of her village, which was called Fustat, begged her husband to let her be buried there so that they would continue to benefit from her blessing and grace. She was laid to rest in her house in a grave which she had dug with her own hands many years earlier. It is reported that among her many devotional acts which she performed during her lifetime, was the reading of six thousand complete recitations of the Holy Quran while sitting in that grave. The spot on which her house stood is now occupied by mausoleum and mosque. This tomb has a great reputation, since experience has shown that supplications which are made to Allah near it are answered. Streams of visitors make their way to her shrine every day, and especially on Fridays, filling the mosque and the surrounding courtyards.