Arbaeen or Chehlum is the day of observance that occurs after forty (40) days of martyrdom of Imam Hussain as. It recalls the day when Imam Hussain as was martyred along with his 72 companions on the land of Karbala in 61 HJ. People from all over the world visit Karbala for observing the day of Chehlum (arbaeen).
Arbaeen e Imam Hussain as has huge significance in Islam. Number of hadiths are narrated from Aima’e Masomeen as for arbaeen. According to history, the first arbaeen was held when one of the companion of Holy Prophet SAWW, namely Jabir Bin Abdullah Ansari visited the grave of Imam Hussain as. He was companied by Atiya bin Saad because of his blindness (1). His visit was on same day as of ladies of Karbala who survived but were kept as captives in prison of Syria.
Arbaeen was ban for some time by rulers of Iraq in 80’s and 90’s. Nearly for 30 years no one was allowed to visit shrines of Imam Hussain as and Mola Abbas as in Karbala. But today Arbaeen hold the largest gathering around the globe.
The city of Karbala in Iraq is the centre of proceedings in which pilgrims walk hundreds of miles to reach. Many foreigners from Asian, American and African countries visit Iraq especially in the days of Arbaeen. The journey starts for the city of Najaf, where the shrine of Imam Ali as is present. This journey is called Mishi in which arbaeen walk is done from Najaf to Karbala.
Millions of people join this walk. Hundreds of camp are present on the way to serve the zaireen of Imam Hussain as. Last year (2018) over 17 million people from 40 countries attended the arbaeen of Imam Hussain as in Karbala. This year, this figure may cross more than 20 million.
Ziyarat of Arbaeen
Ziarat of arbaeen is prayed which is done in Karbala, but if you are not in Karbala you may practice it from where ever you are. It is narrated by Safwan bin Jamal from Imam Jaffer Sadiq as. Imam Sadiq as instructed to recite the ziarat of Arbaeen and visit the shrine of Imam Hussain as especially on the day of Arbaeen. This prayer is a text which indicates the inheritance of Imam Hussain as to prophets Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
Peace be on the favorite of Allah, Peace be on the beloved friend of Allah, His distinguished hero! Peace be on the choicest confidant of Allah, sincerely attached precisely like his father! Peace be on Hussain, who gave his life in the way of Allah, a martyr, underwent untold hardships Peace be on the hostage surrounded by the-tightening circle of sorrow and grief, killed by a horde of savages.
He met with deadly dangers, acted justly and fairly, made use of everything belonging to him to pay full attention to give sincere advice, took pains, made every effort and put his heart, mind, soul and life at the disposal of Thy mission to liberate the people from the yoke of ignorance and evil of bewilderment, but an evildoer, deceived with empty hopes of mean and worthless worldly gains, had pressed heavily on him, and sold out his share (eternal bliss) for the meanest and lowest bargain, betrayed his “day of judgment” for a vulgar return, took pride in insolence, fell into the fathom- well of silly stupid follies, provoked Thee and Thy Prophet to anger, did as the harsh discordant, the hypocrite, the heavily burdened bearers of sin, condemned to Hellfire, advised to him, however, he (the Holy lmam), steadily, rightly and justly coped With them, till, in Thy obedience, gave his life after which his family was set adrift.
Why forty days? Because the number 40 holds tremendous spiritual significance in the realm of transformation. Jesus wandered in the desert for forty days in order to experience purification and come to a greater understanding of himself and his mission. Moses and his people traveled through the desert for forty years before arriving at their home in the holy land. Noah preserved the sacredness of life by sailing his ark for forty days and forty nights. According to the Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mystical text, it takes forty days to ingrain any new way of being into our system….
Reciting particular duas for a period of 40 days is highly recommended in our practices as well. The unit 40 (forty) is said to be very effective. If a particular Duaa is recited 40 times, or 40 people gather to recite it, or it is recited for 40 days then its effectiveness is highly increased. (Duas.org)
It is reported from Imam Ja’fer Sadiq (a.s.) that whoever recites Dua-e-Ahad for forty days, after morning prayers will be amongst the helpers of the 12th Imam (a). Visitation of the shrine of Imam Hussain (a.s.) as well as Masjid-e-Sahla for 40 consecutive Thursdays is also very highly recommended and is one of the acts that promises a visit from the 12th Imam (ajtf). (3)
Thus, as we perform the Ziyarat of Arba’een and commemorate the Arba’een, 40 days of mourning of Imam Hussain (a.s.), we hope and pray that this forty days of remembrance of Imam Hussain (a.s.), brings about a transformation in us by which we can continue to follow the path of Imam Hussain (a.s.) and carry on his message of upholding justice with true faith and a strong sense of sacrifice!
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