By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
The world’s largest annual pilgrimage yet again proved that faith, spiritual values, and devotion to Divine injunctions, which in the previous years could not be hampered by terrorist threats, was neither restricted this year by fears of a pandemic nor by political ploys to dampen the enthusiasm.
According to figures released by authorities in the holy city of Karbala, around 14 million pilgrims, almost all of them Iraqis, converged on the holy shrine of Imam Husain (AS) last Thursday for his Arba’een or the traditional 40th day of his martyrdom anniversary to renew their allegiance to the ideals immortalized by Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) Younger Grandson and 3rd Infallible Heir.
Although the number was less when compared to the 20 million-plus gatherings Karbala has been witnessing over the past few years, the figure was still impressive. It proved to the whole world that the liberating message of Imam Husain (AS), which has withstood the tyranny of the Omayyads, the Abbasids, the Ba’thists, and the macabrely murderous takfiri terrorists, transcends the barriers of time, geography, and politics, let alone epidemics.
In other words, to the horror of mischief-maker US and the few secular elements trying in vain to turn Iraq into a client state of western powers, the Islamic faith of the Iraqi people and their devotion to the path of the Prophet and his Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (Blessed Household) far outweigh the risks posed by Covid-19 or any other pandemic.
The intention here is not to belittle the earnest advices of medical experts and genetic scientists who have yet to discover any potent antidote to the multifaceted monster manufactured in the laboratories of Godless powers, which have also been severely afflicted with their own creation.
True, precautions, including masks, sanitization, and social distancing, are necessary for all and everyone, including the religious masses, but it should be pointed out that spiritual values which may be beyond the ken of the blind materialists, have more preventive and healing power than medicines that are still in their experimental stages.
It was indeed a magnificent spectacle to see the pilgrims, mostly marching on foot towards Karbala from the different directions of Iraq, especially from the holy city of Najaf where reposes in eternal peace, the Prophet’s Divinely-designated Vicegerent, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb – the Immaculate Father of Imam Husain (AS).
As usual, the pilgrims were treated with the same hospitality of the past years by the local villagers and townspeople, who provided them with free food, fruits, beverages, medical services, and even accommodation, through strict observation of the precautions suggested by physicians.
The large presence of ulema, religious authorities, and seminary students, in their traditional robes, also indicated the fact that faith triumphs over undue fears.
This means, the Arba’een ceremony could have easily accommodated many more millions without any risk to health, if the stopgap cabinet in Baghdad had not closed the air, sea, and land borders, especially from neighbouring Iran.
We pray to God Almighty to deliver not just Muslims but all mankind from the Coronavirus and all other pandemics, as well as the satanic elements in human form.
Hopefully, next year’s Arba’een in Karbala will be on a grander scale, whether the enemies of humanity, such as the US, the Saudis, the tafkiri terrorists, like it or not.
One parting word for the political authorities in Baghdad is that Karbala, Najaf and the other pilgrimage centres in Iraq are the heritage of humanity, and non- Iraqi pilgrims should on no account be barred or restricted in numbers, as the Wahhabi occupiers of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, do in violation of the tents of Islam.
It is the duty of the ‘Marjaiyat’, whether in Iraq or Iran, to ensure the orderly administration of the Arba’een and other pilgrimages, without the pressures of the US or the shortsightedness of the elected governments.