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Arbaeen: a pilgrimage of tolerance and togetherness -Part II-

08:15 AM | 2022-02-20 318
جانب من تشيع الشهيد زكي غنام
تحميل الصورة

“Every year lovers of freedom travel long distances, each according to his own way of understanding Hussein’s cause,” researcher Ali Abdul Jalil Shaabeth told Amwaj.media.


“These crowds gather under the banner of the freedom that Imam Hussein invoked in his call to ‘be free in your world’ which was addressed to all human beings,” Shaabeth said. “It is a message of love, sincerity, and valor.”


According to Shaabeth, this approach reminds us of our humanitarian responsibilities and how we must translate these duties into action through our behavior, our shared humanity, and our adherence to the principles of Hussein ibn Ali’s revolution in Karbala.


Hazem Eden Oğlu, an Iraqi Turkmen living in Babylon Governorate, participates annually in the Arbaeen observances, providing food, drink, and lodging to pilgrims from around the world. Eden Oğlu is a member of the Turkmen Front, which opens its doors every year on 60th Street, which is the main road for visitors traveling to Karbala.


Eden Oğlu, who has lived in Babylon since 1999 and met his wife there, says that what makes Karbala special is the constant contact he has with the members and elders of other religious groups. Karbala, for him, is a city that welcomes visitors with open arms, helping them feel at home. This, of course, includes the millions of visitors who arrive during Arbaeen.


The annual pilgrimage and the open-arms welcome of the city of Karbala to its visitors have helped to close gaps and forge links between communities. Local residents regularly open their homes to visitors from other cities and keep in touch with their guests long after the event, often visiting them in their home cities. These bonds promote the strong foundations of Iraqi society and the peaceful co-existence of its diverse religious communities.


“It gives us hope and pleasure,” Shiite cleric Sheikh Khodr Al-Hilli told Amwaj.media, “It is a clear indication of the depth of fraternal kinship among the people and the cohesion of communities based on respect and human nobility that people have always shown each other.”


“Allah Almighty has instructed us on the need to preserve unity and not to be divided,” Sheikh Hilli continued quoting from the Holy Quran, “‘And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. [3:103]”


“Allah has also asked us to stick to human morals, cooperation, love, communication, and hard work in order to maintain the social fabric and stay together in unity. Imam Ali bin Abi Talib [the father of Hussein] said, ‘People are of two types, they are either your brothers in faith or your equals in humanity.”


Mahmoud Hassan Abbas, a 27-year-old member of Iraq’s Shabak ethnic and linguistic minority who lives in Mosul, participates annually in the Nashitoun fi Hob Al-Hussein (Activists for the love of Hussein), which is a civil society campaign bringing together young people from many different religious groups and from all over Iraq in support of the annual pilgrimage to Karbala. Christians, Mandaeans, Sunni Muslims as well as Kurds, Turkmen, Shabaks, Syrians, Chaldeans, and Kakais all take part in the campaign which coordinates its activities with the administrative and security authorities in Karbala Governorate.


“We participate as civilian activists motivated by humanitarian motives and religious responsibilities in accordance with the teachings of the higher religious authorities,” Abbas said, adding that the campaign is entirely independent and not affiliated with any political figure or party.


“We offer our services to ensure the success of the Arbaeen pilgrimage welcoming both male and female visitors in a fraternal spirit since we believe in the cause of Imam Hussein, peace be upon him.”


Togetherness and cooperation of communities are very much in evidence on the roads leading to Karbala during Arbaeen. Witnessing millions of people, regardless of their religious or national background, participating in and contributing to the security and the success of the observances, Arbaeen offers an ideal image of coexistence and the language of brotherhood and human fraternity.



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