In an interview with Tasnim, Muslim theology researcher and cleric Seyed Javad Beheshti said the promotion of Shiite Islam in Nigeria has been significantly affected by the effulgence of Arbaeen, which marks the 40th day of mourning after martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS).
The Iranian cleric added that Arbaeen, as a movement, has enlightened many people across the world in recent years, including the Shiite Muslims in Nigeria.
He also lauded top Shiite cleric and leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Zakzaky for his unwavering efforts over the past four decades to promote Shiite Islam in the African nation.
The number of Nigerian Shiite Muslims has grown from some 1,000 people more than forty years ago to over 20 million at present, Beheshti added, paying tribute to Sheikh Zakzaky for years of endeavor.
In the year that Sheikh Zakzaky was arrested in Nigeria, more than 10 million Shiite Nigerians had attended the Arbaeen processions in the country, he stated.Sheikh Zakzaky has been held in detention since December 2015 and was charged just in April 2018 with murder, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace and other accusations. He has pleaded not guilty.
The top cleric, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight in a raid which was carried out by the Nigerian army on his residence in the northern town of Zaria in December 2015.
During the raid, Zakzaky’s wife sustained serious wounds too and more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were killed. Zakzaky, his wife, and a large number of the cleric’s followers have since been in custody.