Qom, the capital of Qom province, is located 125 kilometers south of Tehran. It’s one of the holiest cities in Iran and the middle East and is entrenched in centuries of history. Qom is considered holy by Shiʿa Islam, as it is the site of the shrine of Fatimah bint Musa, sister of Imam `Ali ibn Musa Rida (Persian Imam Reza, 789–816 AD). The city is the largest center for Shiʿa scholarship in the world, and is a significant destination of pilgrimage. Qom is famous for a Persian brittle toffee known as Sohan considered a souvenir of the city and sold by 2,000 to 2,500 “Sohan” shops.
The modern city has the largest madrasah (theological college) in the country, where students can specialize in Islamic law, philosophy, theology, and logic. It was at Qom that the Iranian army surrendered to Islamic revolutionary militia in 1979. Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran early in 1979, the revolution’s principal figure, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, again took up residence in Qom, whence he had been exiled by the shah, and made the town his seat.