Treading the Path to Paradise; the Meshaya

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Every year, as the weeks and days close in on the blessed day of Arba’een, the fortieth day of mourning of Imam al-Husayn’s (as) martyrdom, millions of visitors flock to his shrine to pay their respects. The city is turned into a spiritual and physical embodiment of love, dedication, and faith–some of the same traits embodied on the day of Karbala. Many arrived by bus, car, or even plane–but amongst the city are a different type of visitor. This special visitor is amongst those who have come to Imam al-Husayn (as) by foot.

These visitors are part of a special phenomena referred to as the meshaya, or the walk.

It is narrated by Imam al-Sadiq (as) that “Allah will register one thousand good deeds and erase one thousand bad deeds for every step taken by those who go to the visitation of the grave of Husayn (as) on foot. He will also increase their status one thousand times for every step taken.” [1]

“The walk from Najaf (or any other place) to Karbala can be likened to the journey of life: as one leaves al-Najaf al-Ashraf purified by the ziyarah (visitation) of Amir ulMomineen, Imam Ali (as) there are plenty of distractions on the walk to Karbala, some of which may even be essentials for the journey. However, the one who is able to focus on their purpose, on their destination, on the hereafter of this journey which is Sayyid al Shuhada, Imam al-Husayn himself, without being distracted by the glitter and glamour of the walk, will be ones who will be most successful in this journey, insha’Allah (God-willing),” said Sayyid Ali Zaidi.

“Perhaps one of the things that each believer can try to do on the walk is try to put their life in perspective and try to figure out what the missing pieces of the puzzle are because as Imam al-Sadiq (as) said: ‘We are all arks of salvation, however, the ark of my grandfather al-Husayn is the most encompassing and fastest,’ if our desires are going to be answered, Karbala is one of the best places for it,” continued Sayyid Ali Zaidi.

Amongst those desires of the visitors should be closeness and pleasure of Allah (swt) and His vicegerents on this earth. This walk is a journey to the third Imam and essentially–what all the Imams stood for– “think (as if) you’re walking to pledge allegiance to the Imam (as) after his martyrdom pledging to continue on his path. Think the pledge is in blood and you’re willing to give everything for his path,” Sheikh Hamza Sodagar said. This is what the walk means–to renew our pledge to the Imam (as) that pledged his life to Islam.

“When a Shia knows Imam al-Husayn’s (as) right over the people and leaves his house for Imam’s visitor in this condition, without any pride and conceit, then a 1,000 angels accompany him from the right, with another 1,000 angels on the left. And he will be rewarded as if he has performed 1,000 Hajj and 1,000 Umrah with a prophet or with the successor of a prophet.” [2]

As the days of Arba’een near us, it is important to remember the above advice from our scholars and keep in mind the end goal. The journey to Karbala is a means of closeness to Allah (swt) and His vicegerants, amongst them Imam al-Husayn (as), but also our current leader, Imam al-Mahdi (aj). “With every spiritual step you traverse the earth following close in footsteps of the companions of the Prince of Martyrs (as), you take one step closer to reaffirming your position in the ranks of The Awaited Savior (aj). So journey to success and fulfill the covenant, and return to your lands with hearts of benevolence,” said Sheikh Husayn Mekki. May our ziyarah (visitation) both spiritual in physical, both in Karbala and in our homes, reaffirm our belief and dedication to Imam al-Husayn and the Husayn of our time–Imam al-Mahdi, may Allah (swt) hasten his reappearance.

A special thanks to the scholars quoted for providing their insights and advice, may Allah (swt) reward them with statuses near our beloved masoomeen.

[1] Kaamil al Ziyaraat, Ch. 49, Hadith 4
[2] Behaarul Anwar, Volume 101, pg 91, tradition 33



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