Arbain – the 20th day of the month of Safar

Mourning for Imam Hussein (a) and his companions begins on the 10th of the month of Muharram (the day of Ashura) and ends after the 40th day (on the day of Arba’in). Translated from the Arabic language, “arbayin” means exactly “forty”. The history of the tradition of 40-day mourning for the martyrs of Karbala is associated with the 61st year of the Hijra (680th year according to the Gregorian calendar), when the event of Ashura took place. After the killing of Imam Hussain (a) and his faithful companions, all their property in the tents was looted. The wives and children of the martyrs were captured. The caravan of captives, consisting of members of the Ahl al-Bayt, women and children, was first taken from Karbala to Kufa, to the mayor Ibn Ziyad, and from there they were already sent to the capital of the caliphate, Damascus, to the palace of Yazid. Imam Zeynulabidin (a) was among the prisoners and survived the tragic events of Karbala. On the day of Ashura, he was seriously ill, so he did not join the battle.

When the news of the events in Karbala reached Madinah, unprecedented excitement began in the city. Everyone mourned the death of the beloved grandson of the Prophet (pbuh) and the small group that accompanied him. The funeral ceremony in Medina was led by the most authoritative personalities of the city – some wives of the Prophet (pbuh) and his old companions. In this situation, the famous companion Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari left Medina and went to Karbala to visit the graves of the martyrs. During this journey, he is accompanied by another companion – Atiyya ibn Sad ibn Junada Owfa. At that time, Jabir was 75 years old, he had lost his sight and Atiyyah was his guide. According to narrations, after arriving in Karbala (in those days these areas were deserts), Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari performed ghusl in the Firat River, changed into clean clothes that he had brought with the oboe, put on perfume, and then set off barefoot to visit the grave of the Imam Hussein (a) and his relatives. Atiyyah narrated that when Jabir first went to the grave of Imam Husayn (a), he cried until he lost consciousness. And when he came to his senses, he said: “Why does the habib (beloved, i.e. Imam Husain (a)) not respond to his habib (i.e. Jabir)?” Then Jabir saluted the graves and other martyrs, and when he returned, he said to Atiyeh: “Love those who love the family of Muhammad (i.e. the Ahl al-Bayt) and be at enmity with those who are at enmity with them. Even if they perform Salat and fast.”

Thus, Jabir ibn Abdullah was the first to visit the graves of the martyrs of Karbala. Moreover, this visit took place 40 days after the tragedy, that is, on Arbain Day. According to some traditions, prisoners returning from Damascus to Medina took part in it. In general, there are reliable reports about the visit of Karbala on the day of Arba’in by the women of Ahl al-Bayt and Imam Zeynulabidin (a).

Visiting the grave of Imam Hussain (a) on the day of Arba’in and reading “Ziyaratnameh Arba’in” is considered a God-pleasing act. Imam Hasan Askera (a) rated reading “Ziyaratnameh Arba’in” even as one of the five qualities of a mumin. Those who cannot be in Karbala on that day can read it at home. There are two versions of “Ziyaratnameh Arbain”. The first common version was narrated from Jafar Sadiq (a) by his companion named Safwani-jammal. The second version is narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah. This is the ziyaratname that he recited on the day of Arba’in. This version is now most often recited in the middle of the month of Rajab as the ziyaratname of Imam Husain (a). Both options are given in the famous religious book of prayers “Mafatikhul-jinan”.

We would like to remind you that, despite the completion of the mourning ceremony with the martyrs of Karbala on the day of Arba’in, it is considered better to refrain from merrymaking for the next 9-10 days. Because on the 28th day of the month of Safar, the death day of His Eminence Muhammad (pbuh) and Imam Hasan (a) is celebrated, and on the last day of the month of Safar (29th or 30th) – Imam Riza (a). As a sign of respect for these holy persons, it is recommended to continue mourning until the end of the month of Safar.