TEHRAN (Basirat) : Millions of Muslims are heading to the holy city of Karbala in Iraq to observe Arbaeen, which marks the anniversary of the 40th day since the martyrdom of the third Shia Imam, Imam Hussein (AS).
The occasion is commemorated all over the Muslim world, but it is most
impressively honored in Karbala, which is home to the shrine of Imam Hussein
(AS). It is the largest annual gathering of people anywhere on earth.
The journey mostly on foot is a sign of devotion to the ideals of Imam Hussein
(AS) and his 72 companions, who were martyred in an unequal battle with the
massive army of the tyrant of the time more than a dozen centuries ago.
The Battle of Karbala resonates strongly with the Muslim faithful due to the
sacrifices made by Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions in order to keep Islam
and the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) alive.
The event will culminate on Karbala when millions of mourners, traveling from as
far as Iran, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait, Europe and America,
a will descend on Karbala.
In their splendor, the ceremonies are regarded by the faithful as a unique
display of unity in the face of attempts by the West and its reactionary allies
in the region to sow discord among Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Walking in long columns stretching back unbroken for as much as 50 miles,
sleeping and eating in tents erected by supporters beside the road, the event
has become an overwhelmingly powerful manifestation of belief and solidarity.
Thousands of security forces have been deployed along the routes leading to
Karbala to protect pilgrims against terrorist attacks which have targeted them
in the past.
The Arbaeen has provided many modern-day martyrs, murdered by former Iraqi
dictator Saddam Hussein, Al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists. On Monday, Leader of the
Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that if it were for the
sacrifices of the defenders of holy shrines, the Arbaeen march would not be
Cities, towns and villages all over Iraq empty out during a 20-day period as
their people take to the roads in an elaborately organized and well protected
mass movement not seen anywhere else in the world. Estimates vary of the total
attending, reaching as high as 17 million, including more than 2 million
Around 1.5 million Iranians have so far headed out of the country via three
border crossings, Iran’s police chief Brigadier General Hussein Ashtari told
Tasnim News Agency on Friday.
Ashtari, who was visiting the Mehran border crossing in the western Iranian Ilam
Province, said 65 percent of those had crossed into Iraq through the land
He hailed that continuous vigilance by security forces at the exit routes had
successfully ensured security there, forestalling any incident.