The Day of Arbaeen marks forty days after the Day of Ashura, the day Hussain ibn Ali was martyred in the Battle of Karbala.
The Arbaeen Pilgrimage is the world’s largest public gathering that is held every year in Iraq. This Ziyarah (pilgrimage) is held at the end of the 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual for the commemoration of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Husayn ibn Ali’s martyrdom in 680. Arba’een marks a “pivotal event in history” in which the pilgrims make their journey to Karbala on foot, where Husayn ibn Ali, the third Imam of Shia, and his companions were killed and beheaded by the army of Yazid I. Some of the pilgrims make their journey from cities as far as Basra, about 500 km away by road.
The arabic word Arbaeen (pronounced Arr-ba-een) translates to forty (The fortieth day).
The traditional period of mourning in Islamic culture is forty days. Millions of people around the world mark the Day of Arbaeen by mourning the tragedy that befell Hussain ibn Ali, his family and his companions.
The menu typically includes soup, falafel (served best with a tangy orange sauce), rice dishes and plenty of fruit. Water is in endless supply, and every minute you will find a stand serving the renowned “chai abu Ali” – fresh, sweet, hot tea to keep energy levels high (it’s really a case of how much tea you want to take with your sugar, rather than the other way around!). Furthermore, there are people on hand to massage your feet and legs, buildings where you can rest and charge up your phone, people to fix your pram or Zimmer frame, fresh clothes provided if needed, places to shower and, of course, lots of public toilets. Once sunset nears, the ‘people-motorway’ quietens down, and there are numerous tents to sleep in. At these hostels you are provided with a mattress, pillow and very cozy blankets.
In Arbaeen you will not forced to pay for food and places to sleep and rest, In these days of year Iraqi people will welcome you and are your hosts.
There is a great walk between Najaf and Karbala that millions of people walk the 80 km road on foot thanks to their love to Hussain ibn Ali, you can see all kind of people, there.
The story about third muslim’s Imam, who was martyred on the day of Ashura, is a very famous story and many people have heard of it at least once. Karbala is his place of burial, the shrine is in a magnificent mosque where unfortunately there are no phone or cameras allowed in.
The beauty manifolds when the lights come on and you are allowed to pray and contemplate in the mosque.
It is a special filling that is worth trying, at least once.
How do you feel about Arbaeen walk tour? Have you tried it before? Share your ideas or memories with us in comments.