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A Brief Look at the Arbaeen of Imam Hussain (as)

This article concludes with the Arabic text of Ziyarat Arba‘een with full English translation and a brief exposition on certain passages of this powerful and moving visitation.

What follows in this piece is a brief look at the “Arba‘een” [the commemoration of 40 days after the tragic events of Karbala] of Imam al-Husayn, peace be upon him. The article concludes with the Arabic text of Ziyarat Arba‘een with full English translation and a brief exposition on certain passages of this powerful and moving visitation. Insha-Allah, a more comprehensive understanding of this ziyarat will be presented in the future.

There are very few mass gatherings in the world today which are entire peaceful and which do not result in the loss of life, and in fact, according to Wikipedia – “the Free Encyclopedia” – of the five gatherings globally seeing over 10 million people, four were in Karbala:

  1. An estimated 21 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba’een on 14 January 2012.
  2. An estimated 15 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba’een in 2011.
  3. An estimated 15 million people attended the funeral of C. N. Annadurai in Tamil Nadu, India in 1969.
  4. An estimated 10 to 14 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba’een in 2010.
  5. An estimated 10 to 14 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba’een in 2009

Why is there such a fervent desire for millions to flock to what would have been an otherwise unknown land and for millions to journey there by foot from all parts of the world? This brief article will touch upon the spiritual significance of Arba‘een as seen in the Noble Qur’an and Islamic narratives as well as a short commentary on the Ziyarat of Arba‘een.

The sayings of the Infallibles, peace be upon them all, have emphatically guided the believers to be present in Karbala to mark the 40th day after the tragedy of Karbala and in fact, the 11th successor to the Noble Prophet of Islam, Imam Hasan al-Askari, peace be upon him, has actually considered this act as being one of the clear and apparent signs of a true believer when he said:

علامات المؤمن خمس : صلاة إحدى وخمسين (أي الفرائض اليوميّة وهى سبع عشرة ركعة والنوافل اليومية وهي أربع وثلاثون ركعة) ، وزيارة الأربعين والتختم باليمين وتعفير الجبين بالسجود والجهر ببسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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