Thursday, November 9th, 2017, marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussain ibn Ali (p), 20th…
There are many blessings and rewards associated with doing the ziyarah of Imam Hussain (p) in Karbala, especially on Arbaeen. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (p) is reported to have said, “Do not abandon visiting him [Imam Hussain (p)] for [unjustifiable] fear of anything. Verily, whoever shuns visiting Imam al-Hussain’s (p) tomb for [unjustified] fear of anything shall feel extreme regret that they shall wish if they were to stay there until they would be buried next to that tomb.”1
Unfortunately, not all of us are able to make this journey. We may not be able to afford it or may be unable to take time off from work or school. So, when we find ourselves at home on the Arbaeen of Imam Hussain (p), what can we do?
Connection with Imam Hussain (p)
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hp) is reported to have said,
“Man is not considered a believer until I am dearer to him than his own self, my household is dearer to him than his own Household, and my family is dearer to him than his own family” 2
Developing a connection with the Ahl al-Bayt (pbut), specifically Imam al-Hussain (p) for Arbaeen, is an important starting point. Throughout the months of mourning, our parents ask us to go the mosque more and participate in gatherings of sorrow (majalis) there and at people’s homes. We see their genuine pain and tears when they hear of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (p), his family, his loyal companions, and those who were taken as captives. Without having a connection to the Ahl al-Bayt (pbut) there are no tears or true remembrances of Imam Hussain (p).
Sometimes, when our parents want us to do things, we often want to do the opposite. But, next time you feel this way, think about what you have to gain or lose. Developing a relationship with Imam Hussain (p) has no downside. On the contrary, it will only benefit you. All it takes is some effort on your part. Open a book about Imam Hussain (p). When you are on your phone or laptop, read about Karbala, or watch YouTube videos about the life of the Imam (p). Developing that connection with Imam Hussain (p) will change how you commemorate the event of Arbaeen. You will then understand why millions leave their homes and families behind to travel to Iraq, to walk almost 50 miles from Najaf to Karbala, and flock to visit Imam Hussain’s (p) tomb.
Self-Reflection & Repentance
An important part of faith and worship is thinking and reflecting on your actions, which is a blessing to be able to do while walking to Karbala. And although the atmosphere here is not the same as that on ziyarah, introspection and reflection are not things that are limited by geography. We can find our own special place of thought and meditation, whether it be sitting in our backyards, walking in the woods, or even sitting on our prayer mats in our homes.
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (p) is reported to have said,
“A thought is the mirror of merits and the penance for vices.”3
Thinking deeply and reflecting on things you want to change about yourself is an important part of Imam Hussain’s (p) revival. Where would we have been when the call came from Imam Hussain’s (p) camp? Hurr al-Riyahi’s introspection caused him to abandon Yazid’s army and join Imam Hussain (p). So, there is a great reward and benefit in transforming yourself to be a better person so that you too can picture yourself by Imam Hussain’s (p) side. All of us may have our vices, whether it be telling the occasional lie, gossiping with our friends about someone who annoys us, not respecting our parents, or not keeping our word. Whatever it may be, think and reflect on it, ask for God’s forgiveness, and use your power of reason and intellect to help you avoid doing such things again.
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (p) is reported to have said,
“God, the Exalted, revealed to Prophet David (p), ‘O David! When My believing servant commits a sin and then returns [to Me] and repents for that sin and is ashamed in My presence every time he/she remembers it, I will forgive [them] and cause the recording angels to forget it and change it to count as a good deed, and I will not care about it further, for I am the most Merciful.”4
Acts of Kindness
Without question, the generosity and love of the Iraqi people during Arbaeen for the pilgrims of Imam Hussain (p) is tantamount to the beauty of his mission for the revival of Islam and humanity. Although there really is no comparison to being there in person, we can emulate this collective love of Imam Hussain’s (p) message through our own acts of kindness.
Many organize Arbaeen processions in honor of Imam Hussain (p). And recently, thanks to the efforts of many nonprofit Islamic organizations, information about Imam Hussain (p) is being distributed to non-Muslims. I.M.A.M. has also published an informational booklet on ‘Who is Hussain?’ written for those who do not know him. This kind of outreach spreads the beauty of Imam Hussain’s (p) message
Feeding the homeless on Arbaeen or donating money to feed those holding majalis of Imam Hussain (p) are other ways we can participate in acts of giving.
There are many things we can do to participate in the Arbaeen of Imam Hussain (p) from home. His revival was not meant to be contained in one era, religion, or geographical location. Find your connection and relationship with him (p); reflect on your actions so if he called you, you would be on his side; and fully participate in acts of kindness in Imam Hussain’s (p) name.
1. Shaykh Abbas al-Qummi, Mafatihu al-jinan, p. 372.
2. A’mali al-saduq.
3. Bihar al-anwar.
4. Thawab al-a’mal.