Arbaeen (an Arabic word meaning “forty”) is a religious observation. It stands for the 40th day after the Day of Ashura, the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hossein Ibn Ali (as), the grandson of the noblest Messenger of God, Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH). It falls on the 20th day of the second month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar called Safar.
Imam Hossein Ibn Ali (as) and 72 supporters were martyred in the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (680 CE). A forty-day period of mourning is the usual length of mourning ceremonies in many Islamic cultures.
Arbaeen marks an important turning point in the movement of Karbala. On this day, a first pilgrim braved the threats and intimidation of the anti-justice rulers of the time and made pilgrimage to the grave of Imam Hossein.
The pilgrim was Jabir ibne Abdullah al-Ansari, a companion of the Messenger of God, Hazrate Mohammad, who made pilgrimage to Karbala along with his assistant, Atiyya bin Saad.
They made the trek from Madina to the place of martyrdom of their Imam, Hossein Ibn Ali (AS).
Jabir ibne Abdullah al-Ansari (RA) called out to his Imam, “I testify that you are the son of the Seal of the Messengers of God, the son of the Master of the Faithful, the son of the inseparable ally of piety, the descendant of guidance.”
Every year, Muslims across the Middle East and Asia are marking the Arbaeen. Millions of Shiis are making the pilgrimage to the southern Iraqi city of Karbala.