In a meeting with the planners of the Lady Ma’sumah Mawkib, Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi said that the Arba’in pilgrimage is a form of passionate propagation which is useful for Islam and deeply rooted in the world of Islam and Shi’ism such that that non-Muslims consider this a great event for Islam and Muslims consider this great movement for Shi’ism.
“Both consider Arba’in an honourable and glorious event for Islam which not seen in other religions or sects despite the relatively small number of Shi’ahs compared to other religions in the world,” he explained.
The revered source of emulation said over 50 years ago, he went to Iraq to study and was able to participate in the walk from Najaf to Karbala twice and in those days, no more than 100 people participated in the pilgrimage and nobody could imagine the participation of over 25 million people that we see today.
Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi added that if we had said to Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari about the number of people who would one day participate in the pilgrimage that he began, it would not be imaginable to him because despite the long distance and the fact that the roads between Najaf and Karbala are full of people, there are a multitude of mawkibs [tents providing necessities], medical and other assistance and the offering of hundreds of various cultural and social services.
He said that even a few years ago if we said that the Arba’in pilgrimage would take place in such a manner, it would be unthinkable for us and just as we are unaware of the future and what will occur on the road from Najaf to Karbala, all this grandeur is due to the greatness of Imam Husayn and the majesty of God and His divine actions are beyond our imagination.
His Eminence said that legal limits are necessary and everyone must be vigilant and added that Imam Husayn belongs to the entire world and thus, it is natural that all groups and classes, including Sunnis and non-Muslims, will participate in this great gathering and for this reason we must observe appropriate behaviour which is consistent with our religious values and leave a good impression in the minds of the non-Muslims participants.
“In this manner it will become clear that Daesh and Takfiris are not Muslims but that rather, Muslims are very affectionate and friendly,” he said.
Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi stressed that respect for our Sunni brethren and their sanctities is another important issue which must be observed during the pilgrimage because this will lead to greater unity and solidarity among Muslims and we must not aggravate matters of conflict because it leads to dissension in the Islamic ummah.