Arbaeen: Highlights of Sheikh Zakzaky's Speech.

The Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky delivered speech on Ar’abeen to hundreds of thousands of people at Race Course close to Baqiyatullah Husainiyyah Zaria on Friday the 20th of Safar 1433 (4/1/13)

He started his lecture by expressing condolence to the mourners - “ Aazamallahu ujoorana bi-musabina bil Hussain(a.s.) wa ja-alna wa iyyakum minat talibeena bi-sa'rihi ma-a walee-yehil Imamil Mahdi(a.s.) min Aali Muhammadin alaihimus salam”


He further expressed that the purpose of the gathering is to commemorate Ar’baeen of Imam Husain(AS) who was killed in the year 61AH. After his martyrdom, his family members comparising of women and children, were then taken to Yazid in Damascus barefooted passing through villages and towns while being ridiculed along the way. Afterwards, they were allowed to go. They went back to Madina enroute Karbala where the first Arbaeen Ziyara was held. Before their arrival at the desert of Karbala Jabir bn Abdullahi Al-Ansari(RA) was the first to arrive there for the ziyara of Arbaeen.

The heinous crime of Karbala exposed Yazid and Mu’awiyyah. Mu’awiyyah claimed to be Ahulbayt(AS) and when people came to know that Yazid is not member of Ahulbayt(AS), they started invoking the wrath of Allah upon him for killing the real Ahlulbayt(AS)- a crime which Yazid took pride in. He even wished his grandparents were alive to see how he settled scores against the holy Prophet(AS). As people continued to curse Yazid he tried to find ways to thwart it.

He asked Imam Ali Bin Husain Zainul Abidin(AS) to say his requests; Yazid accepted all the requests of the Imam such as returning the Hijab of Sayyidah Fatimah(SA), the head of Imam Husain(AS) and the heads of his companions with which Imam Zainul Abidin(AS) took along with him to Karbala.

Before the arrival of Imam Ali bn Husain and his family members, Jabir bn Abdullah Al-Ansari was already in Karbala. He was the first to visit Imam Husain in Karbala, he addressed the Imam’ Yu Husain’ three times to the extent he fainted. He is one of the greatest companions of the Prophet(SAWA) , so Jabir should be emulated by those who claim to be followers of companions, if their claim is genuine. The Prophet(SAW) has said “ He who loves a people will be raised among them( on the Day of Judgement)”. Jabir’s father Abdullah Al-ansari is a great companion, he played a big role during the battle of Uhud, he obeyed the order of the Prophet(SAWA) when others left, as the Prophet ordered them to remain at a place in Uhud to protect against any attack from behind.

So, those who emulate the Sahabas should consider Jabir as worthy of emulation. He called ‘Ya Husain’ at karbala when he visited him, Jabir further attested that he was sure the Imam heard his call. Imam Zainul Abidin(AS) met Jabir at the holy grave of Imam Husain(AS).

Yazid’s Motive

The aim of the killers of Imam Husain is to extinguish the light of Islam completely. The siege of the Imam at plain of Karbala- a desert with no sign of living- is a testimony to this as Yazid was advised by his men to siege Imam Husain at a distant desert so that nobody would know or hear about his eventual killing. It was when Yazid heard that Imam Husain was on his way to Kufa.

Imam Husain was never given option except to pay allegiance, however the holy Imam chose to die in dignity and honour- what an honourable sacrifice!

A Desert changed to city of Millions.

Alas, Karbala- a desert- now became a city inhibited by millions of lovers of Imam Husain (AS). It was recorded in history that even visiting Imam in Karbala was banned and attracted death penalty. Many were killed as a result. There was a time when an Abbasid ruler, seeing the number of visitors kept increasing, changed death penalty to amputation of limbs. Many limbs were cut, yet people kept on visiting. A story of woman must be mentioned here when she visited Imam and her limb was cut off. She visited again and the second arm was also amputated. Moreover, all villages surrounding Karbala were destroyed at different time.

It was also recorded that even weeping for Imam Husain(AS) attracted death penalty. However, this did not stop his lovers from visiting him. Different crimes continued upto the time of Saddam Husain at-tikriti who was dethroned by US. America took pride in doing a good work!. Since the fall of Saddam people are trooping to Karbala yearly. The issue of Ashura is growing in a geometric progression. It was estimated that this year about 16 million people will visit Karbala. One should not surprise if the figure reaches 30 million. It is the largest peaceful gathering in the world, much greater than Hajj.

It is our pride that there are also visitors of the Imam from Nigeria- the greatest country in Africa. In the same vain today we are having Arba’een gathering- the largest gathering in Nigeria greater than any gathering in Africa.

We also had a symbolic trek just like the trek from Najaf to Karbla. Najaf to karbala is about 100km. Here we trekked a symbolic trek, just like the trek to karbala, from Kano and other places to Zaria. The Trek from Kano is the biggest distance- about 150km. This trek has meaning; it means’ we wished we were with those trekking to Karbala, so that we be among them”.

How we wished Karbala is located in areas such Niger or Libyan desert, we will trek there.

The trek carried out by Muslims here in Nigeria is more difficult due to nature of our roads and due to reckless driving by some drivers which lead to accident. Unlike Karbala in which the road to Karbala is not used by motorists and cars, here in Nigeria we trekked on roads used by commuters too, to the extent that trekkers even had an accident when a reckless driver ram over 17 people. Two of them have already died.

We have to commend the the kind gesture of those who assisted the trekkers in different ways such as providing of drinking water, resting places etc. This kind of help raises the status of those who do it. During the symbolic journey good news were heard- such as bypassers, passengers and villagers presented gifts to the trekkers. The People of Farakwai village even left their houses for trekkers to pass a night; and such gesture was also examplified by the people of Noma village along Kano road.

One man was heard saying’ only Imam can bring together hearts like this’.

On the other hand, the opponents of Ashura who say ‘why celebrating a dead who died long ago over 1000 years and will not come back’ we said to them ‘ it’s none of your business, the matter concerns us only; it is our feet and body we beat’ ‘ it is our concern and not anyone else’s’.

As to those who say we block road we say to them we neither cause discomfort nor prevent road usage. Everyone has right to use road. There is one thing which cast fears in the opponent of Ashura- that is the Islamic awakening.

So, our symbolic trek is meant to send our message to Karbala that we are coming. We want to be among those who sacrificed; the Hadeeth of the prophet says he who loves a people will be raised among them. Even as Im talking to you some of our brothers have already arrived in Karbala. Nigeria is among the 136 countries who went to karbala.

Our gathering today is to show solidarity, support and our participation in deeds and works of Karbala pilgrims. Today we are saying ‘had it been we were with you Ya Husain in Karbala we would be killed together with you’ .

Signs of believers.

A hadeeth from Imam Hasan Al-askary (AS) says the signs of believers are five- 51 rakaats of both compulsory and superegatory prayers, 40th Ziyara of Imam Husain(AS), wearing of ring on the right hand finger, ta’afir(putting of forehead on ground), and expressing basmala in the opening Surah during day prayers.

On the issue of Ar’baeen Ziyara as mentioned by the Imam only a few could grasp its meaning. As people troop to Karbala in millions, it shows that time is getting closer of the re-emergence of the one whose emergence all sorrows and difficulties shall vanish. One can see how in small time millions of hearts are coming together- the awakening moves so fast.

So for this, we express our gratitude to Allah for his favour upon all of us. We are seeing massive awakening to which people expressed their surprise. We too are surprised at it.

The fear of Ashura

Transgressors are afraid of Ashura, however, we are now telling them not to panic. Their end is coming because they prepared it for themselves. Only little effort is required to accomplish it. Their system is just a mansion built of ash, just collapsible with a little blow. Their system has a specified term. Whatever plots they may hatch will only hasten their end. So let them not desist from hatching such plots as we know they will not desist.

The quick change of hearts and minds is a sign of re-emergence of Imam Mahid(AJ). Hearts which are harder than stone, iron and even diamond are reverting to the Truth and submitting to it!!

Use of force cannot work as it failed with regard to Almizan Newspaper crackdown recently- where it’s staff were abducted and released without charges. No body has the power to control people’s hearts except Allah as mentioned in the holy Qur’an. So any time one sees hearts of people coming together, and getting united, it is the work of God. We don’t mean coming of heads together for selfish interest.

Whosoever thinks that our gathering today is for personal interest is a fool. Look at Karbala an inhabitable desert now become a city of Millions of lovers of the holy Imam. It is now a city being visited by millions, people even go there on foot. There was a time someone saw Ashura gathering and asked what they do. He was answered ‘ They commemorate Imam Husain’s martyrdom’. ‘When was he killed?’ he asked. He was answered ‘over 100 years ago’. He then said” he is really a noble and great personality”.

For over 1200 years Imam is remembered. The Prophet is reported to have said: “Surely, there exists in the hearts of the Mu' mineen, with respect to the martyrdom of Husain (A.S.), a heat that never subsides”

Imam’s martyrdom symbolises all the sufferings ever met on Alhulbayt(AS). Our gathering is to commemorate Imam’s sacrifice. It is not organized by way of trick and should anyone thinks so let him also do it (for his personal ambition).

We pray to God to accept our trekking effort. May He reward those who help towards having a successful Ar’abeen. May it be source of Allah’s favour, forgiveness and acceptance of our deeds.

Transcribed with notes by Khalid Isa