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Ziyarah al-Arba'in

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This article is an introduction to the Ziyarah al-Arba'in; to read its text see text:Ziyarah al-Arba'in.

Ziyārah al-Arbaʿīn (Arabic: زيارَة الأربَعين) is ziyarah of the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a) on the day of Arba'in of Imam al-Husayn (a). According to the recommendation of Imams (a), Shi'as have a special attention about performing it. Shi'as in Iraq take all the efforts to reach Karbala on the Arba'in day. The procession of Arba'in is one of the largest gatherings of people in the world.


The Arba'in of Imam al-Husayn (a) is the 20th of Safar. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi in his books Tahdhib and Misbah narrates from Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a) that the signs of a believer are five:

  • Praying 51 rak'as each day, (17 rak'as are the obligatory prayers, and 34 are the nafila prayers)
  • Ziyarah of Arba'in
  • Wearing a ring on the right hand
  • Performing sajda on soil
  • Saying "Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim" (In the name of Allah the all beneficent the all merciful) aloud in prayer.

Method of Ziyarah of Arba'in

The methods of ziyarah of Imam al-Husayn (a) on the day of Arba'in are transmitted in two ways:

First Method of Ziyarah of Arba'in

It is a ziyarah al-Shaykh al-Tusi has transmitted from Safwan al-Jammal in al-Tahdhib:

"About ziyarah of Arba'in, my master Imam al-Sadiq (a) told me, 'when a part of the day is passed, recite this ziyarah, then perform two rak'as of prayer and supplicate for what you want.'"

The Content of Ziyarah

  • The first sentences of this ziyarah include greeting Imam al-Husayn (a) and mentioning his martyrdom and hardships.
  • In next sentences, the reciter gives testimony about some Shi'a beliefs such as wilaya of Imams (a), that the heritage of Imamate is with Imam al-Husayn (a) and that he (a) is the proof of God upon people.
  • This ziyarah mentions saving the servants of God from ignorance and deviation as the philosophy of the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a).
  • In next sentences, the characteristics of those who killed Sayyid al-Shuhada (a) are mentioned and they are cursed.
  • In next sentences, characteristics of Imam al-Husayn (a) such as being away from polytheism and his pure birth are mentioned and it is emphasized that he (a) made jihad in the way of God and that he (a) and his progeny are the proofs of God on earth.
  • In this ziyarah, the reciter introduces himself submitted to the orders of Imams (a) and ready to help them and oppose their enemies.

Second Method of Ziyarah of Arba'in

It is a ziyarah which is transmitted from 'Ata who is apparently 'Atiyya al-'Awfi, the companion of Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari in his ziyarah of Imam al-Husayn (a) on Arba'in:

"On Safar 20th, I was with Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari. When we arrived in al-Ghadiriyya, he performed ghusl in Euphrates and wore the clean shirt he had with himself. Then, he asked me, 'do you have perfume with you?' I said, 'I have su'd.' He took some of it and poured some of it on his head and body and continued walking bare-footed until he stood by the pure grave of Imam al-Husayn (a). He recited Allah Akbar three times and fell to the ground unconscious. When he became conscious, I heard that he said, 'Peace be upon you o people of God,…' which is the ziyarah for the middle of the month of Rajab."

Procession of Arba'in

Main article: Procession of Arba'in

Shi'as, especially in Iraq, every year move toward Karbala, because of the recommendation to the ziyarah of Arba'in . The movement is usually performed on foot and is one of the largest gathering of people in world. According to some reports, there were 15 million people present in the procession of Arba'in in 2013.

According to Qadi Tabataba'i, the movement to Karbala in Arba'in, have always been common among Shi'as, even in the time of Umayyad and Abbasids.

See Also