Advice from Syed Sistani to the pilgrims of Arbaeen – The Ziyara of Imam Hussain forty days after the massacre of Karbala

In a series of speeches given on behalf of Syed Sistani in the Friday sermons and letters written by his eminence, Syed Sistani has given the pilgrims some timely and everlasting advice that should be considered for those who are performing the Arbaeen pilgrimage this year… rather, that should always be considered .

A summary of these recommendations, and summary of answers to some questions asked of the office regarding this event, have been compiled below:

  1. Maintain the principles of Islamic Teachings.
    1. Obedience to the Islamic Laws and performing the religious duties and avoiding that which is forbidden.
    2. To take advantage of the scholars along the way to inquire and question them regarding their duty.
    3. Joining congregational prayers, and praying on time with out delay, for prayers are the most important part of our self-building and soul elevating worships. Do not let anything get in the way of your prayers.
    4. “By Allah, by Allah, pay attention to your prayers” – for it has been narrated that the prayer is the pillar of your religion and the ascension of the believer, if it is accepted, all other deeds will be accepted and if it is rejected, all other deeds will be rejected, and in another narration – “Our intercession will not be attained by those who take the prayers lightly”.


  1. Sacrifice
    1. The followers of Imam Hussein peace be upon him, and his lovers are to be committed, even in the darkest and difficult of circumstances, to sacrificing oneself, wealth, and children to protect the Islamic values and principles without change or distortion, as well as the altruism, courage, patience, steadfastness, determination and solid will in this path.
    2. The battle against the Takfiris is an important part of this sacrifice, we must support the fight and the fighters against ISIS and the likes of ISIS.
    3. Remember the martyrs of today by naming them and having their pictures posted for them to be remembered so that the images and names of the martyrs remain in the fore-front of the minds of the pilgrims and the masses remember their sacrifices and blood to allow the pilgrims to take this journey in safety.


  1. Morals and Etiquettes
    1. Both guests and hosts of this magnificent event must ensure they protect and behave in the manners and etiquettes of the Purified Household, Peace Be Upon Them.
    2. Protect and respect both public and private property.
    3. Do not obstruct transportation paths, cars, trucks, bikes and paths of the walkers.
    4. Maintain cleanliness. Avoid extravagance in food.  This particular blessed act of feeding the visitors can turn to an unpraiseworthy deed if combined with extravagance and waste.
    5. Good cohabitation between visitors without scrambling and shoving.
    6. Respect and obey the security forces.
    7. In a speech given on 20th November 2015 held in the holy shrine of Imam Hussain (peace be upon him), Sheikh Abd Al-Mahdi Al-Karbalai said “And we recommend our visiting sisters to pay a high level of attention and importance to observing modesty in their conduct and appearance and avoid mixing in an abominable way.” And in advice written by Syed Sistani to those who are visiting – “By Allah, by Allah, observe modesty in clothing and hijab which is amongst the most important thing that the Ahlul-Bayt, peace be upon them, heeded to even in the most difficult circumstances on the day of Karbala and they were the best role models in terms of observing modest clothing.”
      1. This includes special attention to appearance for both men and women, boys and girls.
      2. Observes the teachings of Islam including those relating to prayer, hijab, self-reform, selflessness, modesty and moral etiquette.
    8. Consider the Ahlul AlBayet your role models for all aspects of life.
    9. Stay away from some modern and recent practices that have appeared and are not consistent with the sanctity of this Hussaini occasion


  1. Sincerity
    1. Have a sincere desire to be a follower of their teachings. It is necessary on the pilgrims to remember Allah and recite remembrance of Allah in abundance and be mindful of every step and every deed to be for Allah’s sake.  An act which is devoid of sincerity ends with the end of life in this world whereas a sincere act for Allahﷻ will be lasting and blessed in this world and the hereafter.
    2. Understand the importance of loyalty to Allah Almighty, His messenger and the Purified Imams (peace be upon them), their pious representatives, and disassociating from their enemies.
      1. It has been narrated that Imam Al-Baqir (peace be upon him) has said to Jaber Al-Ju’fi: “Whoever is obedient to Allah they are our associates and who ever is disobedient to Allah is to us an enemy, and our association is only achieved through action and piety.”


  1. To the speakers on the pilgrims.
    1. This event inspires the people- young and old. And the speakers will have a significant influence during this time.
    2. This is an opportunity to try to invest it in the best ways to increase our faith and prefect ourselves, as the reform project drawn by Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) continues in to infinity and which aims primarily to reform the human being.
    3. Ensure that the correct and strong references are used in providing information to pilgrims.
    4. This is the best occasion to educate people in matters of religion and to enlighten them about the matters of the time.
    5. Discuss suitable solutions for intellectual problems.
    6. It is necessary to rely on reliable sources.
    7. Pay attention to the need to avoid differences and schisms within the ranks of the faithful, and to not exploit this sad occasion to promote a point of view, be it religious, political or any other.


  1. Advice from Questions and Answers:
    1. Donating funds to help purchase material to clean up during and after the event is a recommended act and is an example of spending in the way of the pilgrimage of Arbaeen.
    2. The removal of obstacles and nuisances from the path of Muslims is considered a recommended act, and those who are charged with cleaning up the path of the believers and their places of rest in the Pilgrimage of Arbaeen to the path of Imam Hussain peace be upon him, are rewarded even more.
    3. The leaving of food on the side of the roads is not recommended, and if considered a nuisance to the pilgrims and/or extravagance (israaf), it is then forbidden by Islamic Law.
    4. Cleanliness is from the faith – so guests and hosts must both ensure cleanliness and not to be the cause of uncleanliness.

English Translation links of full text: