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Procession of Arba'in

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Procession of Arba'in
In 2014
Time Safar 20th, Arba'in of Imam al-Husayn
Place Roads leading to Karbala, the most popular one is the Najaf to Karbala.
Shi'a of neighbor countries of Iraq
Origin Hadith from Imam al-'Askari
Answering the call of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the day of 'Ashura

Procession of Arbaʿīn (Arabic: مسيرة الأربعين) is a great march of Shi'as in Iraq from different parts of the country towards Karbala on the occasion of Arba'in for performing the ziyarah of Arba'in.

Millions of people participate in this annual procession.

Many people from other countries travel to attend this procession as well.

Procession of Arba'in

Enjoining the Ziyarah of Arba'in

In a hadith from Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a), the faithful are said to have five signs and attributes. One of those signs is ziyarah of Arba'in.

There is also a ziyarah narrated for the day of Arba'in from Imam al-Sadiq (a). Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi mentioned it with the title of ziyarah of Arba'in in the third chapter of his Mafatih al-jinan.


Qadi Tabataba'i wrote that procession towards Karbala on the day of Arba'in has been common among Shiites since the time of the Infallible Imams (a) and Shiites practiced this tradition even at the times of Umayyads and 'Abbasids. He considered this action a permanent conduct of Shi'a during history.

The author of Adab al-Taff, published in 1388/1967, reported the gathering of Shiites in Arba'in in Karbala and likened it to gathering of Muslims in Mecca and mentioned the attendance of groups of mourners who recited poems in Turkish, Arabic, Persian, and Urdu. He said that it would not be exaggerating saying that more than a million people attended the pilgrimage of Arba'in at that time.

After the fall of Ba'th regime in Iraq which banned any mourning ceremony, Shiites moved towards Karbala for the first time in 2003. In the first years of procession, they were only 2-3 million people. In the next years, the number of pilgrims reached more than 10 million people.

In 2013, some reports mentioned the number of 15 million pilgrims attending Karbala.

Iraq's ministry of internal affairs gave the statistics showing that in 2013, at least 1 million and 300 thousand foreign pilgrims came from Arabic and Islamic countries as well as from among Muslim minorities in European countries to Iraq and all of them moved towards Karbala to attend the ceremonies and renew their allegiance with Imam al-Husayn (a).