Ziyarat al-Arba'in

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Ziyarat al-Arba'in
SubjectReligious visit to the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a) on the Arba'in day
Issued byImam al-Sadiq (a)
NarratorSafwan b. Mihran
Shi'a sourcesTahdhib al-ahkam
TimeDay of Arba'in

Ziyārat al-Arbaʿīn (Arabic: زيارة الأربعين) is religious visit to the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a) on the Arba'in day (Safar 20). According to the recommendation of Imams (a), Shi'as have special attention about performing it. Shi'as in Iraq and other countries take all their efforts to reach Karbala on the Arba'in day. The procession of Arba'in is one of the largest gatherings of people worldwide.


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

  • Praying fifty-one rak'as each day, (Seventeen rak'as are the obligatory prayers, and 34 rak'as are the nafila prayers)
  • Ziyarat al-Arba'in
  • Wearing a ring on the right hand
  • Performing sujud on soil
  • Saying "Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim" (In the name of God the all-beneficent the all-merciful) aloud in prayer.[1]

Method of Ziyara

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi has transmitted from Safwan al-Jammal in al-Tahdhib"[2]

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

The Method of Jabir

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

"On Safar twentieth, 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 cyperus.' 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 mid-Rajab ziyara to Imam al-Husayn's shrine."[3]

Content of Ziyara

  • The first sentences of this ziyara 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 (guardianship) 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 ziyara mentions saving the servants of God from ignorance and deviation as the philosophy of the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a).
  • In the next sentences, the characteristics of those who killed Imam al-Husayn (a) are mentioned, and they are cursed.
  • In the next sentences, characteristics of Imam al-Husayn (a) such as being away from polytheism and his pure birth are mentioned. 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 ziyara, the reciter introduces himself submitted to the orders of Imams (a) and ready to help them and oppose their enemies.

Procession of Arba'in

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

According to Qadi Tabataba'i,[4] the movement to Karbala in Arba'in, have always been common among Shi'as, even in the time of Umayyad and Abbasids.

See Also


  1. Ṭūsī, Tahḍīb al-aḥkām, vol. 6, p. 52.
  2. Ṭūsī, Tahḍīb al-aḥkām, vol. 6, p. 113.
  3. Qummī, Mafātīḥ al-jinān, under the "Zīyāra of Imam al-Ḥusayn dar arbaʿīn".
  4. Qāḍī Ṭabāṭabāyī, Taḥqīq darbāra-yi awal-i abaʿīn, p. 2.


  • Qāḍī Ṭabāṭabāyī, Sayyid Muḥammad ʿAlī. Taḥqīq darbāra-yi awal-i abaʿīn. Qom: Bunyād-i ʿIlmī wa Farhangī-yi Shahīd Qāḍī Ṭabāṭabāyī, 1368 Sh.
  • Qummī, Shaykh ʿAbbās. Mafātīḥ al-jinān. Translated by Ḥusayn Anṣārīyān. Qom: Dār al-ʿIrfān, 1388 Sh.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Tahḍīb al-aḥkām. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1407 Sh.