Chehlum of Imam Hussain (A.S.) in Karbala
By Syed Mushtaq Ali Zaidi

The 20th of Safar (Islamic Month) is the 40th day of martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS). He was the son of Imam Ali (AS) and grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAW).
Imam Hussein (AS) along with 72 relatives and friends was martyred in the land of Karbala (Iraq) on 10th of Muharram in the year 61 Hijra by the Yazidi army. Yazid was the son of Muawiyah, and grandson of Abu Sufiyan. After the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) and his 72 relatives, Yazid’s army took all remaining (ladies, small children and only left one male, Imam Zain-ul-Abdeen A.S), chained and took them to his Durbar in Damascus in Syria where they were imprisoned for several months.
Imam Hussain (AS) was born on the third of Shaban, Hijra 21. It is believed that when he was born Rasool(SAW) took him in his hand, first he smiled and then he wept. Daughter Bibi Fatima asked her the reason for smiling and weeping. Prophet Mohammad replied just now Jibreel has informed him that this son will be martyred in order to save the religion of Islam in the land of Karbala. Bibi Fatima asked who will cry for my son? Rasool (SAW) replied God will create a nation whose people will weep for him and his companions.
God has allowed us to weep for the victims of cruelty in the Qur’an. (Surah 4 verses 1) As the Qur’an also mentions Prophet Yakoob cried on the separation of his son Youssef for 12 years while Youssef was alive, not martyred. As Prophet Mohammad (SAW) at the Battle of Ohad cried for the martyrdom of Hazrat Hamza whose posthumous title was Sayyid-ush-Shuhda (Chief of the Martyrs), he said that anyone can do the Matam of my uncle. The women of Medina got together and performed this ceremony. And the Prophet prayed for these ladies. So crying for Imam Hussain is following the Sunnah of the prophet.
THE STORY OF GHADIR: Upon returning from his last Haj, the Prophet (SAW) announced Imam Ali (AS) as his successor with the words “Whomsoever to I am leader, Ali is also their leader”. From then onwards followers of Imam Ali are called Shian-e-Ali and the first Shia was Mohammad-bin-Abu Bakar (the Khalifa of Muslimeen).Shia are those who believe in one ness of God (Allah) and the Prophet hood (last Prophet Mohammad), Adal (Justice of God), Qiyamat (Believe in the day of judgement, Imamat (12 Successors of Prophet), First Imam Ali (AS) and last Imam Medhi (AS).
DEEN: - Shias believe and practice daily 5 prayers, fasting in the month of Ramzan, Haj (once in a life time), Zakat, and even Khums (Tax on savings). They perform Azadari (mourning) during the month of Muharram to remember the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS). They also perform 10 days of Majlis for Imam Hussain (AS). In their Majlis, they recite the Qur’an, then Soaz (lamentation) followed by lectures by renowned speakers on various topics, and they close with recitation of Nohas, Mattam and Ziarat. The same way Azadari, Matam, Majlis, Jaloos are the signs of worship. Remembrance of sacrifice of Syed-us-Shuda Imam Hussain (AS) is performed by both Shia and Sunni sects within their different traditions. May Allah accept them all.
The Arbaeen (Chehlum) of Imam Hussain (AS) is celebrated throughout the world. In Karbala (Iraq) the Arabaeen/Chehlum walk starts from Najaf three to four days before and concludes in Karbala on the day of Arbaeen. This is the largest such gathering in the whole world. This year over 10 million visitors walked on foot from Najaf to Karbala. This Arbaeen walk from Najaf to Karbala is unique. No one arranges anything from his/her own resources. Everything is provided by the Iraqis free like breakfast, lunch, dinner, fruits, beds to rest in, tents alongside the road, massage, toilets, bath places etc. To provide this facility free of charge some Iraqi people save money for a whole year and spend it during these four days. There are 1460 Pillars between Najaf and Karbala. The distance between each Pillar is 50 Meter. The walking Ziyareen use these Pillars as their meeting points. There is no age limit for this walk as you will find men women, children, young and old, all walking on foot. You will also see some very old persons who cannot walk, with relatives who take them on wheelchairs. Throughout the way you will find different sized tents and temporary erected buildings for sleeping/resting or getting the massage facility. These are built by various anjumans/organizations of the world as well as the local Iraqi people. Every type of facility (even to charge cell phones) is provided for free and everything is very neat and clean.
As Dr Iqbal said:
Islam Ke Daman Men Bas Is Ke Siva Kya Hai
EkZarb-E Yadulla Hi EkSajda-E Shabbiri



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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