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The 20th of the month of Safar 1438 AH marks the 40th day after the Shahada (martyrdom) of Imam Hussain (AS), grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) alongside his family and loyal companions, who were martyred by the forces of the despotic Umayyad Caliph Yazid, in the year 61 AH in Karbala, Iraq.
People from different Muslim countries embark on mass trek or march to Karbala to pay homage and respect to Imam Hussain (AH). According to Wikipedia, Arba’een is one of the largest gatherings on earth.
By commemorating the Arba’een, we pledge that we will continue to follow the path of justice and righteousness and will reject injustice and speak up against the oppressors of the time. In essence, we make a promise to continue to mould our lives according to the teachings of Imam Hussain (AS) as we await the emergence of Imam Mahdi (AS).
The Purpose of the Arbaeen
The purpose of this symbolic march here at home is to pay our respects to Imam Hussain’s (AS) holy shrine in Karbala. It is the way of showing our internal and external mourning for the loss of Imam Hussain (AS) and all those brutally killed with him.
The Pioneers of Arbaeen Trek
The first Arba’een trek and gathering took place in the year 61 AH. Jabir ibn Abd-Allah Al-Ansari, a companion of the Holy Prophet (SAWA), was one of the people who performed the trek to the burial site of Imam Hussain (AS). His visit coincided with that of the surviving members of the Prophet’s family under the leadership of Imam Hussain’s (AS) son and heir, Imam Ali Zain-ul-Abideen (AS), whom Yazid had held captive in Damascus.
Arba’een is a continuation of Ashura mourning. As we embark on this symbolic trek from various locations and towns such as: Kawo-Kaduna, Kano, Funtua, Pambeguwa, Malumfashi, etc, we are re-enacting the historic severity of Imam Hussain’s (AH) suffering in the plain of Karbala, the subsequent capture of his household and the enforced bare foot trek in the severe scorching sun of the desert to Damascus. Through this occasion, we remind the Muslim faithful of the core message behind Hussain’s (AS) martyrdom, as Sayyidah Zainab (AS) did from one city and village to the other, while as captive by evil forces of Yazid.
Imam Husain (AS)
Imam Hussein is the grandson of the Holy Prophet (SAWA), son of Imam Ali (AS) and son of daughter of the Holy Prophet, Sayyidah Fatimah (AS). He is one of the Five Luminaries under the Cloak in Hadith Al-Kisa. Imam Hussain (AS) is among the Prophet’s Pure Progeny in whose honour we read: “… Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying.” He is the one of the Holy Prophet’s household, whose love and allegiance is commanded by Allah to all humanity in Ayat al-Mawaddah (Qur’an 42:23): “Say (O Muhammad), "I do not ask any recompense for it (my work as a messenger), except the love of my near relatives (Ahlul Bayt)."And whosoever earns good; We (Alláh) increase for him good therein. Verily, Alláh is Most Forgiving, Most Grateful.”
The great trek to Zaria
Our illegally detained Leader in one of his admonitions said “Ours is actually the 16th episode, though we started with few people and confined ourselves to a particular place and recited supplications. Now we trek in millions, and this is just the beginning. We will continue on this path until the world knows who Husain is and place him in his proper divine perspective”.
And he added, “Those who oppose the trek should have come and asked us why we do what we, and not to pass judgment on us over what they do not know. If you don’t like what we are doing, then keep your mouth shut, it is our legs we use to trek with, not your. If you don’t like the black attire we wear, it put it on our bodies, not your. We will never force you to trek or wear black clothes, until we do that keep your mouth shut”.
We will like to assure the public that this trek is peaceful and not a threat to anybody judging from the year it was started five years ago. If at all any violence is witnessed during our trek, it must have come from our detractors who we are aware have plotted to thwart our great spiritual trek. Last year we lost 23 people mostly young and children from a bomb attacked claimed by Boko Haram, so whoever attacks us this year is just working in tandem with them.
As we re-enact the symbolic trek to Karbala, we are in deep sorrow, mourning the killing of over one thousand of our brothers and sisters by the Nigerian Army in Zaria last year. What happened to us in Zaria was a massacre that can never be justified. We, therefore insist that our Leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife, and all those in detention since then should be released unconditionally. We are also at the same time, answering the call of Imam Hussain (AS) when he stood alone facing the evil forces, while calling out: “Hal min nasirin yansuruna (Is there any helper to help us)?” We say in unison with unreserved allegiance, LABBAYKA YA HUSSAIN! LABBAYKA YA HUSSAIN!! LABBAYKA YA HUSSAIN!!!
AbdulHamid Bello
Safar 1438 (20/11/2016)