Islamic Movement in Nigeria marks Arba’een of Imam Hussein
Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) marched for several kilometres along a major road to mark Arba’een of Imam Hussein, which comes up forty days after Ashura.
The Arba’een Walk is a symbolic trek observed at the end of the forty days mourning period of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet of Islam.
The IMN says the mourning has become a rallying social call for equity in the society.
Hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement marched for a long distance in the hot tropical sun wearing black and beating their chests as part of the mourning of Imam Hussein.
Arba’een pilgrimage to Karbala in present day Iraq took place as far back as sixty-one after Hijra and members of the Islamic Movement still performed this annual ritual with zeal.
Members of the IMN here said they have not had the opportunity of traveling to the city of Karbala for pilgrimage to the Imam Hussein holy shrine, but they have peacefully and successfully conducted this symbolic trek in fulfillment of this religious event.
The IMN leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky, was released from detention after being acquitted in July of baseless criminal charges.
Zakzaky and his wife had been in detention since the 2015 Zaria Massacre, when they were arrested after a clash in which the Nigerian army murdered an estimated 350 people at an IMN compound and a nearby mosque and burial ground in the northern state of Kaduna.
Muslims make up about half of Nigeria's population of 200 million. The
overwhelming majority of them are Sunnis, and the small Shi'ite minority
have long complained of discrimination and repression.
The Arbaʽeen Pilgrimage, or the Arbaʽeen Walk, is the world's largest annual public gathering, which takes place in Iraq to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the third Imam in Shia Islam.
The pilgrimage is a culmination of the 40-day mourning period of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him).
Imam Hussein was martyred along with his 72 companions in the Battle of Karbala in southern Iraq in 680 AD after fighting courageously for justice against the much larger army of the Umayyad caliph, Yazid I.
Every year on Arba’een, millions of people from around the world flock to Karbala. Large groups of mourners travel on foot toward the holy city to take part in the largest annual Islamic gathering on earth. The ceremony falls on September 27 this year.
Last year, Iraq banned foreign pilgrims traveling to the country in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Iraqi officials have allowed a limited number of foreign pilgrims to enter their country this year.
Iranian pilgrims have been barred from traveling by land, and are only allowed to travel by air.