A Guide for Walking to Imam Hussain (Peace & Blessings be Upon Him)
Millions of people are heading towards Karbala to visit Imam Hussain (as) by walk! Would you like to join too? Read on to know how you can also take this journey of a lifetime from Najaf to Karbala…
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) said:
“If one of our Shia goes for Imam Husain’s (as) Ziarat, 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 a 1,000 degrees”.
(Biharul Anwar, Vol 101, pg 25, Tradition 26)
Total distance 80 km
Total poles 1452 poles
Distance between each pole 50 metrers (20 poles = 1km)
Walking time required 20 to 25 hours
Estimated time for journey 2 to 3 days
Ideal start time 16th Safar
Expected completion time 18th Safar
Who can do this? Anyone (Male/Female/Children/Families)
Exit from Imam Ali’s (as) shrine from Bab ul Sa’ah (Clock Gate) and start walking straight on Imam Zain ul Abideen (as) street or Imam Jaffer Sadiq (as) street. Keep walking straight and it will lead you to the highway.
Turn left, where hundreds of thousands of pedestrians will be walking towards Karbala. Join them and you will reach the shrine of Hazrat Abbas (as) after about 75 km at pole # 1452.
• Start walking after Fajr and stop walking at Maghrib.
• Spend the 1st night in one of the Mawakib (Camps or Hussainiyas) near pole # 500 and the 2nd night near pole # 1000.
• Stop walking every 100 or so poles to re-group with family/friends and take a rest of 5-10 minutes.
• Don’t over stretch yourself during the walk. Take rest whenever required.
• At Maghrib time get a place to sleep in one of the Mawakib (Camps or Hussainiyas) There are hundreds of them, so you don’t need to worry.
• Missing persons centres are located at pole # 72, 335, 602, 1103 & Shrine of Hazrat Abbas (as). Reporting points are also located at every 3 km.
What to Carry?
• Try not to carry too much weight with you. Don’t take anything to eat or drink, there is plenty available on the way.
• Take required medicines for the 2-3 days’ walk. However there are number of small clinics & medical camps all along the way.
• Prefer a lightweight backpack instead of a shopper or hand bag to carry stuff.
• Proper clothes to avoid the cold; socks, hand gloves, cap, ear cover, jacket etc
• Any suitable cream for rashes, if you normally get them.
• You can carry a pocket size Quran/Dua/Ziyarat book. However, it is best to download them in your mobile to read/listen while walking.
• Do not wear packed/new shoes. Try to wear something comfortable & open instead.
• Passport, Mobile Charger.
• All services including stay, drinks, meals, even massage is provided free of charge. You don’t need to carry much cash unless you want to donate to these Mawakib (Camps or Hussainiyas).
• Washrooms are available throughout the way and some of these Mawakib also have western toilets.
• You don’t have to worry about completing the distance. If at any point you think that you cannot continue, you can take a van/car/bus to reach Karbala, there are hundreds everywhere.
• An average male/female above the age of 10 years is 99.99% likely to complete it on the 3rd day without any issues.
• Make sure you know the name & address of your hotel in Karbala.
• If you want to make a phone call, make it before Fajr, as they normally don’t go through during the day due to high network traffic.
Directives of Grand Ayatullah Sheikh Bashir Hussain Najafi
• Those who wish to serve Imam Hussain (as) must serve purely for attaining proximity to ALLAH.
• Observe prayers on time because they are the main obligations for which Imam Hussain (as) sacrificed his life. And obligatory tasks take priority over recommended tasks.
• Maintain the atmosphere of sorrow and grief by not laughing and giggling.
• Keep reciting Subhan Allah, La ilaha illallah and Allahu Akbar during your walk, as it is the best of dhikr,
“So make provision for yourselves (Hereafter); for surely the provision is the guarding of oneself”, (Al Baqara, 2:197) like reciting Quran, Duas and Ziyarats.
• Avoid wasting food and drinks. Owners of Mawakib must pay attention to this and so should respected pedestrians.
• Observe cleanliness in the holy cities and at public places.
• Remember to recite Ziyarah on behalf of Imam al Mahdi (atf) and to pray for his early re appearance.
-Walking to Imam Hussain