News — September 17, 2022

The Arba'een Pilgrimage, is the world's largest annual public gathering

There are unique religious symbols that serve as unbreakable bonds uniting their adherents to form cohesive communities comprised of various ethnicities and cultures.

The Arba'een Pilgrimage, is the world's largest annual public gathering. Arbaeen is an Arabic word and it means “the fortieth.”

The Arbaeen annual march has attracted millions of people from all over the globe, inspired by the lofty objectives of Imam Hussain and his heavenly and sublime character. As a matter of fact, the pilgrims who attend the Arbaeen procession are of diverse socioeconomic, ideological, and political leanings.

By trekking hundreds of kilometres along the dusty roads leading to Karbala, Muslims and non-Muslims demonstrate their unity in the quest for genuine freedom and ultimate truth.

The spiritual influence of Ashura and Arbaeen and their philosophy of sacrifice, charity, and martyrdom transcends geography, languages, and ethnicities.

He(Imam Hussain) is believed to transcend all cultural boundaries and be a symbol of universal freedom, compassion and social justice. the pilgrims make their journey to Karbala on foot, where Husayn and his companions were betrayed by the very people who invited him to Kufa, Iraq, and then subsequently martyred and beheaded by the army of Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad in the Battle of Karbala.
One of the most important features of Arbaeen Walk is the presence of people from different countries and five continents of the world in this ceremony, which has added to its importance.
Some Sunnis, Christians, Yazidis and people of other religions also participate in this ceremony.
On the way to Karbala, the people of this region read poems that express heroism and courage and are used to motivate men to do hard and great things. After the poet sings, the audience repeats a verse from it and moves in a circle
Without any doubt, the attraction which the Arbaʿīn ceremonies hold is so great that every year, many people congregate in Karbala to participate in them. During the past few years, these ceremonies have reached the point where they have turned into the largest congregational gatherings in human history thus far. It is interesting to note that people oftentimes walk to Karbala on foot, attempting to recreate some of the difficulties which their Imam (ʿa) underwent. They do all of these things in spite of the very real dangers which they face in Iraq due to the instability which the country is currently in.
The number of participants in the annual pilgrimage reached 50 million or more by 2022.On the routes of the pilgrimage, food, accommodation and other services are provided for free by volunteers.Some of the pilgrims make their journey from cities as far as Basra, about 500 kilometres (310 mi) away by road.
During the pilgrimage "copious supplies of food, small clinics and even dentists are available for pilgrims and they all work for free. The care of pilgrims is regarded as a religious duty." Along the roads to Karbala, many mawakibs (tents) are devised with the aim of providing "accommodation, food and beverage and medical services", and practically anything else the pilgrims need for free.

The pilgrims carry flags of different color but the black flag of mourning for Imam Hussein is by far the most common. They also decorate "permanent brick buildings and temporary tents which are used for praying, eating and sleeping along the three main routes leading to Kerbala". Seven thousand of such mawakeb were set up in city of Karbala in 2014. Besides Iraqi mawakibs, which are unofficially organized, there are some ian ones which are less "specifically targeted" but pilgrims are from various regions.

This Walk serves several purposes:
The Arbaeen Walk offers a model for a desirable human life to the world. In these few days of life, humans give up all their worldly belongings, and instead of harmful rivalries, brotherhood, empathy, and helping each other are valued. People are not in search of accumulating worldly wealth and everyone is trying to gain more spirituality. People love to serve each other, and even compete to help others. In fact, it can be said that the Arbaeen Walk gives people a new identity. In the Arbaeen Walk, each of the participants has his/her solitude with God and a special spiritual experience.

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