Recreating the Najaf to Kerbala Arbaeen Walk with children
This amazing idea is PERFECT right now!
With millions walking from Najaf to Kerbala, one Madressa re-created the walk for the children…here are the planning details (with some pictures of the final outcome) for those of you who would like to recrate this in your own centres:
“This day we will commemorate Arbaeen and the importance of the ziyarah of Imam Husayn (as). We will simulate the walk from Najaf to Karbala and the format will be similar to the one we used for our practical Hajj event. There will be stations and young students, chaperoned by girls/boys from the senior classes will visit the stations, till they arrive in Karbala (assembly room). Here we will have a presentation for all the students about the importance of Ziyarah of this great Imam, the special etiquette of the visit, and how honorable that part of the earth is – All through ahadith and ziyarat Waritha.
Children will go to the stations in batches. There will be signs along the way (pole numbers) indicating how far along the journey students are. The anticipation will increase at every station. To those who are waiting to walk or have walked already, we will show personal testimonies from youtube on the projector so students can get an idea of what the experience has been like for those who have done the actual walk. We hope that in batches we will be able to compete the walk in a more or less cascaded fashion.
The main focus of this event will be on the preparation, anticipation and etiquette of ziyarat. The preparation part will be discussed in assembly before the walk commences so that students know that this journey is to be made in a somber mood.
Walk is to be followed by a play based on a real life experience by a group of zaereen. Theme of the play revolves around the value and status if the zawwar of Imam Husayn(as). The play is to be short but impactful. Needs 6 actors and a narrator.
End with Salaah.
1. Introductory talk
2. Walk to ‘Karbala’
3. Presentation on the importance of the ziyarah of Imam Husayn(as)
Focus on the preparation and etiquette of this special visitation before commencing
Explain the route: Najaf to Karbala over a distance of 80km
Highlight some choose to walk from their own towns within Iraq such as Basra despite longer distance.
Hadith on the importance and reward of ziyarah
Walk to ‘Karbala’
Divide the students into groups consisting of a mixture of age groups (3 students form each class) with one of the senior students acting as the group leader. Group leaders will be responsible for group members guiding the group through the stations to ‘Karbala’. All groups start and end at the same points but do not visit all stations together.
Throughout the walk one can have latmiyah playing in different languages to enhance the atmosphere and feeling. Maybe better to have these playing on mobiles/ipods/ipads placed at different points along the walk rather than one loud sound.
Examples of latmiyah:
12 minutes allocated to each station.
Display road signs and poles numbers along the way to show the students how far along they are… milestones of 20, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80km for example.
• Dates (enough for all kids)
• Tea- room temperature sweet Iraqi tea on display in small istekans for show and if students want to taste they can be served in small disposable cups from large thermos
• Rice, curry and khubus- Rice in a platter for show with some curry on the side?
Khubus/ Arabic flat bread cut into pieces to serve
Give out rice & curry in foil containers to take away & eat for lunch?
• Students can select their massage partners (girl with girl and boy with boy). Teacher can demonstrate how the feet are massaged using pressure points. After one round they can switch over and masseur can receive the massage next.
• Props include: creams, oils, massage rollers
• Using large cushions, pillows and bed sheets create cushioned areas within the mawkib for resting with blankets as covers. The students can use to this time for contemplation and reflection. Teachers can discuss the purpose of the walk with the students, reflecting on the journey passed and the internal excitement for the remainder.
• Students can pair up to assist one another
• Props include: plasters, alcohol wipes, swabs, needle less syringes, stethoscope, gloves, masks, torch, optical equipment for eye examinations etc
• Conduct general health check on students
• Flu, aches, pains, cuts, bruises, broken noses
• Remind students that Doctors and other healthcare professionals also volunteer their time and efforts out of love of Imam Husayn(as) expecting nothing in return.
• By counting snack/lunch/break, as a station within the event itself will ensure that time is saved and walk not disrupted. Teachers may need to monitor the flow of students here and increase time allocation as required.
• At this station, students will watch videos that depict the actual walk to Karbala.
Videos that show men, women, children of all ages and health conditions; elderly in wheelchairs, with walking sticks, ladies carrying babies (point out difficult to walk long distance carrying a baby in arms), people on crutches, walking barefoot.. etc. Individuals of all nationalities and walks of life. How this reflects situation in Karbala, where Imam Husayn(as) had men, women and children of all ages.
Some great videos are available at www.the40th.com
7. Additional services provided to the zawwar include: shoe repairs, bag repairs, wheelchair/pushchair repairs and phone chargers! These can be incorporated into above stations or expanded upon.
At each step can emphasise that the services provided to the zawwar of Imam Husayn(as) are purely out of his love.
Highlight at each point that all the people on this journey have a giving attitude a complete reverse of human psychology under circumstances where there is some element of competition for resources. This clip demonstrates that perfectly:
When the zawwar return with so much of awe and the excitement and are asked what impressed them the most. They remember the true love of Imam Husayn (as), the sincere respect of the pilgrims that love translates into and the unparalleled enthusiasm and desire these Iraqis have in their hearts to serve the pilgrims. After all no one opens the doors of their houses to welcome strangers who come from distant lands and don’t speak the same language. To this the most appropriate poster I took a picture of was that of the flags of many nations bordering the words: “Al Husayn Yajmaoona”. “Husayn brings us together”
Presentation on the importance of Ziyarah of Imam Hussayn (as)
The following points were covered during the presentation:
Importance and reward of this visitation during Arbaeen but through out the year as well.
-Hadith that states for every step you take towards the grave of Al-Husayn(as) angels accompany you: “Whoever visits the grave of Imam Husayn (a.s.) thrice a year shall remain safe from indigence. It is emphasized that one should visit his grave with sincerity and eagerness. Then the one who goes to his grave with eagerness, he is among the favored slaves (of Allah) and will remain under the standard of Husayn bin Ali (a.s.). And the one who visits him for the sake of Allah, Allah will forgive his sins similar to a newly born, and the Angels will accompany him in his journey”- Imam Hassan (as)
“If one of our Shia goes for Imam Husayn (a.s.) Ziyarat, then he will not return but all his sins will be forgiven. For every step that he or his mount takes, 1,000 virtues are written for him, 1,000 sins are forgiven and his status is elevated by 1,000 degrees” Imam Jaffer Sadiq (as) (Reference Kamil al-Ziyarat, pg 134)
– Visiting the grave of Imam Husayn (a.s.) is obligatory upon every believer
Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.) told Muhammad bin Muslim that, “Direct our Shi’ah to visit the grave of Husayn bin Ali (a.s.), for it has been made obligatory by Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, upon every believer who considers Husayn (a.s.) to be his Imam”.
Why do we perform this pilgrimage to Karbala during Arbaeen? How did this tradition start? What about those than cannot travel to Iraq? How can they perform ziyarat?
Reciting Ziyarat from home
Which Ziyarats are attributed to Imam Husayn (as)?
Heartfelt narration by our 12th Imam Muhammad Mahdi(as) on the events of the tragedy of Karbala
“But as I have been hindered by the course of time, and (Allah’s) decree has prevented me from helping you, and as I could not fight those who fought you, and was not able to show hostility to those who showed hostility to you, I will, therefore, lament you morning and evening, and will weep blood in place of tears, out of my anguish for you and my sorrow for all that befell you…” Imam Muhammad Mahdi(as)
How is this ziyarat linked with Imam Husayn(as)?
Inheritance in the form of blood lineage but also in the form of a vicegerent of Allah(swt)
Prophet Adam (as)- Father of Humanity and Imam Husayn(as) stood for humanity at each step of his mission
Prophet Nuh (as) – Imam Husayn(as) wiped evil off the earth, his revolution lives on today
Prophet Ibrahim(as)- Imam Husayn (as) showed us how to break the idols within us, that come between us and Allah (swt) affecting our relationship with Him.
Prophet Musa (as)- Imam Husayn (as) toppled the Firaun of his time.
Karbala is a piece of heaven on earth
-The angel Gabriel narrated to Prophet Muhammad (saw):
“Karbala, where your grandson and his family will be martyred, is the one of the most blessed and the most sacred land on Earth and it is one of the valleys of Paradise” (Reference: Kamill al-Ziyarat. pg. 545)
-“Between the grave of Husayn and heaven is a passage of angels”- Imam Jaffer Sadiq (as) (Reference: Biharul Anwar 52, 325, 40)