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28 June 2017 / 3. Shawal 1438

The Significance of the Day of Arba’een: commemorating 40 days after martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as)

Posted on Mon, 2014-02-17 22:35

Updated on 23/12/2013

It is estimated that over 20 million people will converge on the holy city of Karbala this year. They travel there to gain closeness to Allah through mourning and grieving for Imam Husayn (as) and his followers, and by renewing their pledges of loyalty to him and his cause of truth over falsehood.


The number 40

According to the teachings of the Ahlul Bayt, the number 40 holds a special spiritual significance that impacts the soul and the hidden spiritual dimensions:

• Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) states that the heavens wept over Imam Hussain (A) for forty mornings, rising red and setting red.

• The Holy Prophet (saw) has said: “The earth mourns the death of a believer for forty mornings.”

• The Holy Prophet (saw) also states: “Whoever remains sincere [as a servant] for Allah for forty days, Allah will cause springs of wisdom to flow from his heart onto his tongue.”

The day of Arba’een

Imam Hasan Al-Askari (A) has said: The signs of a believer are five:

•    Performing fifty-one rakats of salaat daily,
•    Reciting Ziyarah of Arba'een,
•    Wearing a ring in the right hand,
•    Placing the forehead on dust [during sajda], and
•    Saying "Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim" aloud in salaat.

Therefore, a paramount duty of every believer is to recite the Arba’een ziyarat of Imam Husayn (as).

The Significance of the Day of Arba’een: commemorating 40 days after martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as)

It is estimated that over 20 million people will converge on the holy city of Karbala this year. They travel there to gain closeness to Allah through mourning and grieving for Imam Husayn (as) and his followers, and by renewing their pledges of loyalty to him and his cause of truth over falsehood.

What happened on that day

History narrates that the Ahlul Bayt returned to Karbala on the day of Arba’een and performed the ziyarat of Imam Husayn (as) and the other martyrs. Although, the historians differ on which year this event transpired: some say it was in the same year as the massacre in Karbala, i.e. 61 AH, whilst others say it was in the following year.

As the Ahlul Bayt were approaching Karbala, there was already someone at the grave, marking his martyrdom with tears and sorrow. This individual was the famous companion of the Prophet and the first 5 Imams, Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari, who, along with his assistant, had made the journey from Madinah to Karbala.

Jabir called out: “I testify that you are the son of the Seal of the Prophets, the son of the Master of the Faithful, the son of the inseparable ally of piety, the descendant of guidance…” His servant noted to him that he could see a caravan of people in the distance and they were approaching this sacred site. As they approached, they realised that this was none other than the caravan of the present Imam, Imam Zaynul Abideen (as), and Bibi Zaynab (sa).
The historians note that at this point, Jabir and his assistant, Atiyyah, moved out of the way so that the women of the Ahlul Bayt and the others could show their grief at the sacred grave in privacy. According to some reports the heads of the martyrs were also buried with their bodies at this time.

Our duties as true mourners

1. It only makes sense to follow the other 4 things that Imam Askari (as) has advised us to do as signs of believers, namely:

•    Performing fifty-one rakats of salaa daily
•    Wearing a ring in the right hand,
•    Placing the forehead on dust [during sajda], and
•    Saying "Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim" aloud in salaa.

2. Use the ziyarat to connect with Imam Husayn (as) and make him a role model

3. Be at peace with others that are lovers of Imam Husayn (as). In the ziyarat we state: “I am at peace with whomsoever is at peace with you…”

4. Speak out against oppression and help the oppressed
“I am at war with whoever is at war with you…”

5. Renew our pledge, love and bond with the Ahlul Bayt and all that they stood for. “Labbayk Ya Husayn!”


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