The aim of my revolution is to reform the society and revive the true teachings of Islam
(Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.243)
If you don’t believe in any religion, at least be free-spirited and honest in your actions
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 45, P. 51)
I never revolted in vain, as a rebel or as a tyrant; rather, I rose seeking reformation for the nation of Islam
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 44, P. 329)
On the Day of Ashura, he addressed his companions:
“Be patient, you noble ones. Death is only a bridge which takes you from misery and loss to the vast Paradise and the eternal graces”.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 44, P. 297)
O’ people! Listen to my words and don’t hasten to start a war, so that I clarify the reason behind my revolution
(al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p.253)
On the night of Ashura, he gathered his followers in his tent, put out the light and said:
“Beware that I give you permission to leave this place; there is no obligation on you anymore, and you can all leave.”
However, not even one of them left his side….
(al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p. 250)
joBe steadfast and firm in the way toward what is right, even if your journey is full of pain and challenges.
(Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 28)
Death with dignity is better than a life of abasement.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 44, P. 192)
By God, I will never surrender to my enemies like a humiliated person and never pledge allegiance to them like slaves
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 45, P. 7)
To me, death for the sake of what is right, is nothing but happiness, and living under tyrants nothing but living in a hell
(Tuhaf-al- Uqoul, P. 245)
The most incapable person is the one who can’t pray.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.81, p.257)
The most generous person is the one who gives to those who do not expect his help.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.30)
Try to compete with one another in good deeds and hurry to seize the opportunities, and forget the good deeds that you haven’t hastened to do.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.57, p.121)
People are slaves of this world. Religion is just what they say. They use it as long as it provides them with their living. When they are tested, there remain only a few true religious ones.
(Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.245)
If you worship Allah the way He deserves to be worshipped, He will fulfill all your wishes, and bless you much more than what you deserve.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p.184)
God will help the person who cares about other people’s needs, both in this world and the hereafter.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.75, p.121)
17. Having Faith in Allah
O’ Allah! What has gained the one who has not found You, and what has lost the one who has found You?
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.95, p.226)
Avoid oppressing the one who does not have any supporter against you, other than the Almighty God.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 118)
When Allah chooses to favor someone, makes him/her the source of satisfying other people's needs.
(Bihar al-Anwar, vol.74, p.205.)
Beware! Do not be among those who are concerned about the sins of others while neglectful of their own sins.
(al-Kafi, vol.8, p.49, Hadith #9)
One who reveals your faults to you like a mirror is your true friend, and one who flatters you and covers up your faults is your enemy.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 128)
Whoever seeks the satisfaction of people through disobedience of Allah; Then Allah subjects him to people.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 126)
Wisdom will not be gained, unless through following the right path.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 127)
Say what you like to be said about you, in the absence of your fellow believer.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 127)
Avoid doing things that would make you apologize; since a believer won’t commit a wrong action that would make him/her sorry.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 120)
If you lead your actions through committing sins and disobeying Allah, your intentions won’t be fulfilled and will be caught in what you fear most.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 120)
Kindness elevates human beings, and faithfulness is the sign of decency.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 122)
Extremism is like going down in a swamp, and keeping company with abject and corrupt ones will bring evil and misery for you.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.30)
Seeking knowledge will lead you toward wisdom and elevation.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 128)
Visiting relatives and keeping in touch with them will bring you a longer and more substantial life.
(Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Oyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.44)
The most generous person is the one who forgives while in power.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.29)
The best way of maintaining family ties is through visiting the ones who have cut ties with you and haven’t visited you for a while.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.29)
Whoever helps his/her fellow in religion for the sake of Allah, He will compensate for him/her and eliminate the hardships from his/her life. Also, whoever relieves a believer’s grief, Allah will free him/her of his/her pains and sufferings in this world and the other world.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 121)
Only trust those who believe in Allah and are afraid of His questioning on the Day of Judgement.
(Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Jameh al- Akhbar, p.97)
While on his way to Karbala, Imam Hussain (AS) said: “I cannot have whoever owes a debt in my company. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) used to say: ‘whoever dies while owing to other people, his/her good deeds will be void in the hereafter.’”
(Kalimat al-Imam al-Hussain (AS) (Words of Imam Hussain), p.417)
Gain people’s praise with your efforts and successes, and do not expose yourself to people’s blames through laziness and lethargy.
(Kashf al-ghumma, vol.2, p.29)
Long and numerous experiences strengthens your mind.
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 75, P. 128)
(Bihar-al- Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 119)
Do not say something which would undermine your self-worth.
(Muhammad Baqer al-Majlisi, Jala’a al-Oyoun, vol.2, p.205)
Observe your physical health in your lifetime.
(Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.239)
Every year on the 20th of Safar, the second month in Hijri Calendar, a huge number of people from all over the world, Muslim or even non-Muslim, gather in Iraq to take part in a symbolic walk. People of Iraq for months before this day, eagerly prepare themselves to welcome the visitor of Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine. They find it a great honor to serve those who are participating in this event and are paying a visit to Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine. Iraq on this period becomes the site of the purest and most humane manifestations.
But, one might wonder what is the reason behind all these efforts? Why would someone walk a long distance, bearing all the difficulties on his/her way, to reach a shrine? What is it that drives this huge number of people here?
In what follows, you will find out about Arbaeen and the ceremonial walk on this day.
Arbaeen is the Arabic word for forty, and it marks the 20th of Safar, the fortieth day after Imam Hussain’s (AS) martyrdom on the day of Ashura, who was martyred in the event of Karbala along with his companions in the cruelest and most inhumane way possible.
After the event of Karbala, Imam Hussain’s (AS) family including his sister Lady Zainab (AS) and his son Imam Sajjad (AS), were taken as prisoners to Sham (Damascus) to Yazid’s court. Imam Hussain’s (AS) head was also sent to Yazid’s court along with his family .
According to some historical accounts , some of the members of Imam Hussain’s (AS) family after being released from the bondage of Yazid forces, returned to Karbala from Sham (Today’s Damascus) to visit Imam Hussain’s (AS) grave. Also, some believe that Imam Hussain’s (AS) head which was taken to Sham by Yazid’s army was brought back to Karbala on this day and buried with his body  & .
But these are not the only reasons behind the commemoration of Arbaeen every year. Visiting Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine is one of the recommended deeds at any time of the year, especially in Arbaeen [i]. Also, Imam Baqer (AS) enumerates the several benefits of this action. These include the increase in wealth, acceptance of prayers by Allah, longer life, and pardoning of the sins .
But, why would visiting Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine be of such importance? It is not where we are visiting, but who we are visiting and what he taught us that makes this action so worthy of attention. In fact, in paying a visit to Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine, we try to remind ourselves of these two messages:
1. To never surrender to injustice and oppression, as Imam Hussain (AS) did not yield to the tyrant of his time.
2. To always be eager in improving and reforming ourselves and our society, as Imam Hussain (AS) answered people’s call for improvement and did his best to help them, despite the fact that his will remained unfulfilled due to his enemies’ deception.
Now, we can better understand the Prophet’s (AS) conviction that Imam Hussain’s (AS) personality would forever guide the humanity toward everlasting peace and success. And ignoring the values he emphasized would cause eternal distress and calamity .
Visiting Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine is more recommended on some occasions, especially Arbaeen which could be because of the history of this day. Yet, this does not mean that this action cannot be done on any other days of the year.
But, this is not the only reason for this huge number of people to gather together on this day. In fact, they are all driven by the lasting message that Imam Hussain (AS) left for us through his courageous and rightful movement. That is the urge to stand against injustice, oppression and to strive in the way of improving their situation socially or individually. Arbaeen walk is where people reunite to commemorate these lessons of Imam Hussain’s (AS) revolution together.
The journey on foot from Najaf to Karbala which is called Arbaeen walk takes almost three days. But, everything is ready for those who want to take part in this life-changing walk. Many camps (Mawkib) are prepared on this way by people voluntarily which provide free food and accommodations for the respected pilgrims of Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine.
Muslim or non-Muslim, a large number of people take part on this journey. According to the Independent: “Nusayyef al-Khattabi, who heads the Karbala provincial council, said he expected the total number of visitors over several days to range ‘between 17 million and 20 million’” .
While Arbaeen Walk is one of the greatest Muslim gatherings, it is not an obligatory ritual. In other words, it cannot be considered as one of the practical principles of Islam (e.g., prayer (Salat), fasting (Sawm), Khums, Hajj, etc.) which a Muslim is required to perform. Participating in this journey is totally up to your choice, decision, and interest. Yet, Arba’een walk is a recommended ritual which carries many spiritual benefits for the one who takes part in it.
Anyone, from any nationality, religion or any age, can join this walk. This is a gathering of those who respect humanity and peace, are after making changes for the better and do not surrender to injustice. As Imam Hussain (AS) believed being free-spirited and honest is what guarantees human dignity . So, as long as you believe in these values, you are most welcomed on this journey.
It only takes your decision. And you might need to prepare some necessary things to carry with you in this walk. Also, it is better to be both physically and spiritually ready for this experience. Since, like many other life-changing experiences, it has its own hardships and challenges.
Note that the walk starts three days before Arba’een so that you will reach Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine on Karbala on this day. So, you should start your journey from the 17th of Safar and finish it on 20th.
While visiting Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine on Arba’een is a recommended deed, what matters most is to be aware of the philosophy behind this action. Imam Hussain’s (AS) universal and all-encompassing message, is not limited to an especial location or a specific time .
We can declare our commitment to Imam Hussain’s (AS) cause anywhere and at any time. So, if you couldn't manage to take part in Arba’een’s ceremony, there are some actions that would help you benefit from this occasion spiritually, such as reciting the Ziarat al-Arba’en or Ziarat al-Ashura. The least you can do is to send your peace and salutations to Imam Hussain (AS) wherever you may be:
Peace be upon Hussain (AS) and Ali ib al-Hussain and Hussain’s children and Hussain’s companions 
[i] Imam Hassan al-Askari (AS) told in a hadith that, among the signs of a faithful person, is visiting Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine .
- for more information see Salam Islam’s ebook: 40 Points about Imam Hussain (AS) and the Event of Karbala
- Ibn Tawus, 'Ali b. Musa, Al-Luhuf 'ala qatla l-tufuf, Uswi, Qom, 1414 AH.
- Al-Biruni, Abu Rayhan, The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries, p.331.
- Qazi al-Tabataii, Muhammad Ali, A Research on the first Arba’een of the Leader of Martyrs (Imam Hussain (AS)), vol.3, p.304.
- Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol.10, p.239.
- Hashim al Bahrani, Al-Burhan Fi Tafsir al-Quran, vol.3, p.232.
- Shaykh Tusi, Tahdhib al-Ahkam , vol.6, p.52.
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 45, p.49.
- Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol.10, p.309.
- Ziarat al-Ashura
The Holy Quran is replete with examples of men who stood for the truth and those who opposed it. The former sacrificed everything they had to defend the truth and the latter was ready to destroy everything around them to satiate their greed and selfishness.
The Book of Allah invites us to reflect upon personalities, nations, and events of the past. Whether it is pure men like Prophet Ibrahim (AS), Prophet Musa (AS) and Prophet Isa (AS) or evil men who opposed them and their mission like Nimrood, Firon (Pharoah), or Bani Israil, all of them have a lesson for us. These are not just stories to read and move on, they contain messages for our lives. And rightly so, we read in the Holy Quran:
"There is certainly a moral in their accounts for those who possess intellect. This [Quran] is not a fabricated discourse; rather, it is a confirmation of what was [revealed] before it, and an elaboration of all things, and a guidance and mercy for a people who have faith. (12:111)
Similarly, Imam Ali (AS) says: Learn lessons from past events for future events, because they are similar to one another. (Nahjul Balagha Letter 69)
One such incident of the past that changed the history of Islam forever, is the event of Karbala. No mention of Karbala is complete without Hurr ibn Yazid Ar-Riyahi. He is an example for those who reflect upon his journey, his actions and his martyrdom. He encourages, inspires and motivates the believers through his actions in Karbala.
Hurr literally means a freeman in Arabic, and truly so he lived up to his name.
Hurr Ibn Yazid Ar-Riyahi was the general of the Ummayad army dispatched from Kufa, (Iraq) to intercept Imam Al-Hussain (AS), the third infallible Imam. Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, the newly appointed governor of Kufa issued the command to guard all entrances and exits to Kufa in order to intercept al-Hussain for an oath of allegiance to Yazid. Hurr was ordered along with his 1,000 soldiers to intercept Imam Hussain(AS) and his followers before they reached Kufa.
When he intercepted Imam Hussain (AS) at Dhu Hussam, Hurr and his men had ran out of water. The Imam(AS) ordered his companions to satiate Hurr and his army, including the cavalry. Hurr and his men offered their prayers with the Imam and listened to his sermons. However, on subsequent orders from the tyrant governor of Kufa, Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad, Imam Hussain and his family were forced to encamp in Karbala. Hurr was of the notion that the Imam (AS) will not be killed in Karbala, he would somehow persuade him to go elsewhere. But he was perturbed when he realized that Umar Ibn Sa'ad who was sent by Ubaidullah had come with orders to kill Imam Hussain. On one hand was his position, family and wealth and on the other hand was the grandson of the Holy Prophet(PBUH&HP) and the son of Imam Ali (AS) and Lady Fatima (SA), supporting whom meant a certain death. These were the two options left for Hurr, just as the Holy Quran says:
"Indeed We have guided him to the way, be he grateful or ungrateful." (76:3).
Despite all odds, Hurr left the Army of Yazid, joined Imam Hussain (AS) and won the honor of being the first martyr of Karbala. All the glitter of the world, his power, rank, wealth and children did not stop him from joining his master Hussain(AS).
Ashura and Karbala were not be bound by time or geographical location. Almost 14 centuries have passes by but human beings from different parts of the world, belonging to different races and religions continue to mourn for Imam Hussain(AS) and take inspiration from him and his mission.
Just as Karbala continues to inspire us, the magnanimous personality of Hurr continues to inspire and guide us. Hurr chose good over bad, truth over falsehood, hereafter over the transient world. If we claim to be followers and lovers of Imam Hussain(AS) we need to turn towards the Hussain of our time and follow the teachings of Imam Hussain(AS). Imam Hussain(AS) gave everything he had to protect and preserve the teachings of Islam and by helping Hussain(AS) in his cause, Hurr achieved this lofty position of being Imam Hussain's(AS) helper. Thus, if Hurr truly motivates us, we need to mend our ways and make ourselves capable of helping Imam Mahdi (AJ) the true inheritor of Imam Hussain's (AS) legacy.
The Hurr of Karbala teaches us that true love is incomplete without sacrifice.
But, is the Hurr inside us ready to listen?
- A Probe into the History of Ashura, Ibrahim Ayati