SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- Arba’een, is the traditional 40th day of mourning for Imam Husain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and his 3rd Infallible Successor.
It is the 20th of Safar, the anniversary of the 1st Arba’een in 61 AH, when the Prophet’s aged companion, Jaber Ibn Abdullah al-Ansari had arrived in Karbala to pay his respects at the grave of the Master of Martyrs, on learning of the heartrending tragedy that befell Imam Husain (AS) on the epic day of Ashura, the 10th of Moharram. It is also said that on this day, the Imam’s son, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) and the Imam sister, Hazrat Zainab (SA), along with the noble ladies and children of the Prophet’s Household, who were taken as captives to Damascus after the tragedy of Ashura, arrived in Karbala on their release, before returning to Medina. Arba’een is thus, the day of wailing and lamentation in memory of history’s most bloodcurdling tragedy, and is the day of renewal of allegiance to the ideals of Imam Husain (AS).
The points to ponder is that whether the uprising of the Prophet’s grandson and his tragic martyrdom jolt the conscience of the Muslim ummah, or whether the Godless Omayyad regime was able to suppress any consequences of the event? The answers are obvious. The Omayyads, through threats and intimidation, tried to prevent the spread of news of the facts and realities, and even imprisoned the devotees of the Ahl al-Bayt in order to distort the accounts of the event. However, despite the official propaganda, it was the patience and prudence of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) and his aunt, Hazrat Zainab (SA) that universalized and immortalized the message of the Martyr of Karbala. Among the impacts of the uprising and martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) was that the people, especially of Kufa, soon realized their folly in having deserted the Prophet’s grandson after having him invited to Iraq and Kufa, to deliver them from the tyranny of Yazid and the Omayyads. The sermon delivered in Kufa by the 4th Imam Imam, while still an enchained as a captive youth, had its desired effect. Part of it reads: “O people! I charge you in the Name of Allah that you are same people that had written letters of invitation to my father and then deceived him. You made empty promises to him and then rose to fight against him. May Allah destroy you, may you reap the harvest of your misdeeds in both the worlds, and may you be disgraced for your treachery. How will you face the Prophet of Allah when you are brought before him on the Day of Judgment and with which eyes will you look at him? At that time the Prophet will tell you: “You have killed my children and behaved towards me dishonorably. You are not my followers”.
The effect of the sermons of the 4th Imam and his aunt inspired Muslims to rise against the ungodly Omayyads. This is evident by the uprising of the Tawwabeen or Penitents, who launched their uprising to avenge the blood of Imam Husain (AS). At the same time, Mukhtar ibn Abi Obaidah, launched his own uprising to bring to justice the killers of Imam Husain (AS). Earlier, in Medina, after the tragedy of Karbala, the people refused to obey Yazid and were subjected to slaughter, pillage and rape. Professor Adel Adib, who is an authority on the history of the Ahl al-Bayt, says: The martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) made people feel guilty because of their misconstrued indifference. They realized that they could have helped the Imam but they did not. This sense of guilt had two aspects. On the one hand, it aroused the feeling to compensate for this sin, and on the other hand it increased the people’s hatred towards the Omayyad regime. This is ample proof of the dignity that the Martyred Imam restored to the Muslim masses by giving his lifeblood at a time when moral values had sunk to rock-bottom level. Another important impact of Karbala was to give to posterity a lasting example to sift truth from falsehood. In other words, blood had triumphed over evil. Or to be more precise, the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS), molded minds and hearts into a powerful force that is more formidable than military might.
The refusal of Imam Husain (AS) to give allegiance to the libertine Yazid, inspired the masses to strive towards social justice. Ashura and Arba’een refreshes our minds towards the famous Hadith Thaqalyan, in which God had ordered the Prophet to tell Muslims that if they wish to be on the right path without going astray, they should hold steadfast to the holy Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt, as the inseparable united centre of guidance. The Prophet, as per God’s commandment was leaving behind an immortal legacy, which Imam Husain (AS) salvaged through his martyrdom. For this reason, the more time passes, the better the people begin to realize the righteousness of Imam Husain (AS). Commemoration of Arba’een is an opportunity to revive the memory of Karbala uprising. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in one of his speeches has stressed the commemoration of Arba’een said: He says: “The lesson which Arba’een grants to us is the fact that one should keep the memory of martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions against the enemy’s propagandas. The oppressive apparatus of Yazid with its propaganda ploys tried to depict Imam Husain (AS) as rebel against authority. Some may have believed these lies. The majority, however, knows the righteousness of Imam Husain (AS). It was indeed a victory of Islam. On Arb’aeen, the memory of Imam Husain’s martyrdom is revived and this is very important thing.”
No wonder, this Arba’een as many as 16 million faithful from all over the world are gathering in Karbala to pay their homage to the person who salvaged Islam and all humanitarian values by offering the Greatest-Ever Sacrifice (Zibhin Azeem).
So intense are the consciousness of God and the love of the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet of God in their hearts that the pilgrims are unfazed by the terrorists trying to waylay them and take their life. The devotees of Imam Husain (AS) know that no modern day Yazidis will be able to dampen their spirits or obstruct their journey to the shrine of the Leader of the Youth of Paradise. They know the importance of performing the ziyarath of the day of Arba’een, which according to a famous hadith by Imam Hasan Askari (AS), the 11th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), is one of the five characteristics of a true believer. The other four are: reciting Bismillah-hir-Rahman-nir-Rahim in a raised voice during the obligatory ritual prayers, prostrating on sand during the prayer, wearing ring in the right hand finger and reciting every day 51 rak’at of Salat – 17 obligatory and 34 recommended.
Peace upon you O Aba Abdullah! Indeed, you are not only the Heir of your martyred father, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS) and your grandfather Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), but the heir of all Prophets of God, beginning from the Father of the human race, Adam.
Here we present you a tribute in verse on Imam Husain (AS) by Iran’s English language editor Dr. Najafi: On the sands of Karbala the truth of Islam lies.
The tempest of truth gathers here all around Down with tyrants, down to the ground, Blood has served here the cause just The Prophet’s grandson was killed here, lick the dust.
Short-sighted seditionists of Saqifa! Have not you all Beheld at Ali’s hand the idols’ fall?
In Karbala lies Abbas whose bravery was such; We scarcely can praise; if at all it is not much.
Here lies Ali Akbar who was in the Prophet’s mould An attractive youth of eighteen years, in blood rolled.
In these sands forlorn and lost as I tread I see tyranny how immeasurably spread The beasts didn’t even spare the infant Ali Asghar Shot arrow through his throat that made the sky shudder Arba’een is a vengeful storm Unmasks the tyrants in their hideous form, Their own Prophet’s son how they betray!
Who can wash their guilt away?
The martyrs to the world are known.
Each year their tale is told, their endeavours shown.
Husain – Heavens with him allied As the Leader of Martyrs over paradise will preside, The hearts of the pilgrims receive the sand’s heat Zahra herself is a pilgrim, her presence makes the call complete.
The breezy air and the sands in the desert deep Clotted in blood, layer after layer weep.
By turns each shifting view she views And gazes long the sands’ mirror which new images gives.
More than 20 millions of mourners mark Arbaeen in Karbala
On Tuesday, 24 December 2013, more than 20 millions of mourners from Iraq and 1.3 million foreign pilgrims from different parts of the world converged in Karbala on the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of the 3rd Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), Imam Hussein (PBUH), known as Arbaeen, and a rise in the number of Muslims, who want to pilgrimage the Holy Shrine of Imam Hussein (PBUH) in the holy city of Karbala, the terrorist operations are taking place against these Shiites pilgrims and senior Iraqi army officers in different parts of Iraq. These attacks have led to martyrdom of at least 25 people.
Meanwhile, despite the unprecedented bouts of violence in Iraq, the Iraqi officials have reported on the entry of over 1.3 million foreign pilgrims into Iraq via the border crossings. In continuation of attacks, targeting Shiite pilgrims bound for the holy city of Karbala, a mortar attack against the Shiite mourners left at least two people martyred and seven others injured. Based on incoming reports, terrorist outfits staged mortar attacks against pilgrims, destined for Karbala, in the early hours of Saturday. Meanwhile, the Iraqi security forces have discovered hundreds of missiles and missile launchers at the hideouts of terrorist outfits in the past few days.
Despite the intense security arrangements in Iraq to counter terrorist operations against Shiite pilgrims in the recent days, operatives have carried out several attacks in different regions of Iraq, which continue to this day. Based on latest figures, in the current month, at least 352 people have been martyred in Iraq, while terrorist operations in the current year have claimed the lives of at least 7,500 Iraqi civilians, marking the deadliest year for the Iraqi civilians as of the year 2008.
Despite the wide-scale attacks of terrorists, more than 20 millions of Shiite mourners have attended Arbaeen ceremonies in the holy city of Karbala. This goes to show that even the new wave of terrorist attacks have failed to hinder the participation of pilgrims in Arbaeen ceremonies.