Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (pbuh) ‘s Hadith on visit to Karbala :
- ‘If one of our Shia goes for Imam Hussein’s (a.s.) Ziarat, then he will not return but all his sins will be forgiven. For every step that he or his mount takes, 1,000 virtues are written for him, 1,000 sins are forgiven and his status is elevated by a 1,000 degrees.’ (Behaarul Anwar, vol 101, pg 25, tradition 26; Kamiluz Ziaraat, pg 134)
- When the visitor leaves the house, each and every spot that he steps on, prays for him.(Behaarul Anwar, vol 101, pg 15, tradition 14)
- When the rays of the sun fall on the visitor of Imam’s (a.s.) shrines, it consumes his sins like the fire consumes wooden sticks. The sun does not leave any sin on his body and he returns home sinless. In fact on his return he is granted a status that is not even given to those who shed their blood in Allah’s path.(Behaarul Anwar, vol 101, pg 15, tradition 14; Kamiluz Ziaraat, pg 298)
- When a Shia knows Imam Hussein’s (a.s.) right over the people and leaves his house for Imam’s (a.s.) ziarat in this condition, without any pride and conceit, then a 1,000 angels accompany him from the right, with another 1,000 angels on the left. And he will be rewarded as if he has performed 1,000 Hajj and 1,000 Umrah with a prophet or with the successor (wasi) of a prophet. (Behaarul Anwar, vol 101, pg 91, tradition 33)
One of the biggest pilgrimages in the world is underway, with millions of Shia Muslims risking their lives to travel through Iraq.
They are making their way to the city of Karbala, 62 miles south-west of Baghdad, for the holy day of Arbaeen on 12 December – a journey that has previously been the target of numerous terrorist attacks.
Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual that commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein in 680.
Shia Muslims revere him as their third imam and mourn his defeat at the battle of Karbala, when he and his companions were killed and beheaded by Caliph Yazid’s army.
The city holds the Imam Hussein Shrine, which was the destination of an estimated 20 million people from 40 countries in 2013.
The Hindu pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela, often held to be the largest in the world, sees more pilgrims but is only held every third year, while the Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca sees approximately 2 million people arrive every year.
Security is being increased around Karbala ahead of the pilgrims’ arrival but many choose to make the 55-mile journey on foot from Najaf, near Isis-controlled areas.
Writing for the Huffington Post, theology lecturer Sayed Mahdi al-Modarresi described his experience of Arbaeen as a “tumultuous, yet peaceful gathering”.
“An avalanche of men, women and children, but most visibly black-veiled women, fill the eye from one end of the horizon to the other,” he wrote. “The crowds were so huge that they caused a blockade for hundreds of miles.”
Some pilgrims chose to walk the entire 425 miles from Basra and Karbala over two weeks, he said, braving scorching sun in the day and cold at night, through terrorist strongholds.
“Arbaeen should be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in several categories,” he wrote.
“The biggest annual gathering, longest continuous dining table, largest number of people fed for free, largest group of volunteers serving a single event, all under the imminent threat of suicide bombings.”