Lament of Arba'in

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Lament of Arbaʿīn (Rawḍah Arbaʿīn) is among Shi'a lamentations and tragedy reports for mourning given on the eve, day and night of Arba'in and mostly refers to the return of the captives of the family of Imam al-Husayn (a) to Karbala to the graves of the martyrs of Karbala and their mourning. It also refers to Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari and 'Atiyya al-'Awfi's visit of the graves of the martyrs on Arba'in.

Historical Report

Return of the Captives

About the time of the return of the captives of the family of Imam al-Husayn (a) to Karbala and visiting the graves of martyrs, some believe that it did not happen in the first year and going from Kufa to Syria and returning to Karbala would not be possible for the caravan of the captives of Karbala in 40 days. Muhaddith Nuri[1] and Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi[2] supported this theory. Moreover, there is no authentic report to prove that.[3]

Some people such as Sayyid b. Tawus in Luhuf[4] believed that the captives of Karbala went from Syria to Iraq and on the day of Arba'in, i.e. 40 days after the event of 'Ashura, arrived in Karbala and there they met Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari and some of Banu Hashim and after visiting the grave of Imam al-Husayn (a) went to Medina. They believe that this return was possible and mention authentic hadiths in this regard.[5] One of the books to prove this theory and the answer to critics is Tahqiq darbarei-y-i awwal Arba'in-i Hadrat-i Sayyid al-Shuhada (a) (An inquiry about the first Arba'in of Imam al-Husayn (a)) written by Sayyid Muhammad Ali Qadi Tabataba'i.

Jabir's Visit

Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari was among the companions of the Prophet (s) and is known as the first pilgrim and visitor of Imam al-Husayn (a). According to hadiths, he and 'Atiyya al-'Awfi went to Karbala on the first Arba'in, (40 days) after the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a) in 61/680 and visited his grave.[6]

The Lament

In the lament of Arba'in, the story of returning of the captives of the family of Imam al-Husayn (a) from Syria to Karbala is narrated by the lament reciter. According to this lament, when the caravan of the captives arrives at the fork junction of Karbala and Medina, Bashir b. Jadhlam asks Imam al-Sajjad (a), "Should we go to Karbala or Medina?" Imam leaves the decision to Lady Zaynab (a) and she (a) chooses Karbala.[7] When the caravan arrives in Karbala, each of the captives goes to a grave and begins mourning near it. Usually, according to this rawda, Lady Zaynab (a) and Sukayna (a) went to the graves of Imam al-Husayn (a), Umm Kulthum went to the grave of Abbas (a), Layla went to the grave of Ali al-Akbar (a), Rabab went to the grave of Ali al-Asghar (a) and Sukayna, newly wed wife of Qasim (a) went to Qasim's (a) grave. However, according to historical references, Layla was not in Karbala and also the story of the wedding of Qasim (a) was among the fake reprots in the Event of 'Ashura. In this lament, Lady Zaynab (a) reports to Imam al-Husayn (a) what happened in Karbala and Kufa and speaks about her speech against Ibn Ziyad and Yazid.[8]

Also sometimes, it is said that in this meeting, Lady Zaynab (a) asks Imam al-Husayn (a) not to count the children, because she is ashamed about what happened to Ruqayya (a).

Another issue mentioned in this lament is the conversation between Imam al-Sajjad (a) and Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari.


  1. Nūrī, Luʾluʾ wa marjān, p. 208-209.
  2. Qummī, Muntahā l-āmāl, p. 524-525.
  3. Ranjbar, "Pazhuhishī dar arbaʿīn", p. 168-172.
  4. Ibn Ṭāwūs, Luhūf, p. 225.
  5. Ranjbar, "Pazhuhishī dar arbaʿīn", p. 172-187.
  6. Qummī, Safīnat al-biḥār, vol. 8, p. 383.
  7. Ashʿarī, 72 Majlis dar ʿazāy-i maẓlūm, p. 247.
  8. Ashʿarī, 72 Majlis dar ʿazāy-i maẓlūm, p. 247.


  • Ashʿarī, ʿAbd al-Ḥusayn. 72 Majlis dar ʿazāy-i maẓlūm. Qom: Anṣār al-Mahdī, 1377 Sh.
  • Ibn Ṭāwūs, ʿAlī b. Musā. Luhūf. Qom: Uswa, 1414 AH.
  • Nūrī, Mīrzā Ḥusayn al-. Luʾluʾ wa marjān. Tehran: Nashr-i Āfāq, 1388 Sh.
  • Qummī, Shaykh ʿAbbās. Muntahā l-āmāl. Tehran: Maṭbūʿātī Ḥusaynī, 1372 Sh.
  • Qummī, Shaykh ʿAbbās. Safīnat al-biḥār. Qom: Nashr-i Uswa, 1414 AH.
  • Ranjbar, Muḥsin. "Pazhuhishī dar arbaʿīn." Tārīkh dar Āyīna-yi Pazhūhish 5:157-192.