The Basis for the Arbaeen Pilgrimage
What is the evidence for the recommendation of visiting Imam Hussain (PBUH) on the day of Arbaeen? Some claim that there’s no established basis for the Arbaeen visitation.
Visiting Imam Hussain (PBUH) is firmly established and encouraged on any day of the year due to the recurrent narrations from the Household of the Prophet (Ahl al-Bayt) which explicitly emphasize this. Therefore, the specific recommendation of visiting Imam Hussain (PBUH) on the day coinciding with the Arbaeen (40th day after his martyrdom) falls under the general advisability of visiting him throughout the year. This is in addition to particular endorsements for visiting him on this specific day, reinforcing its significance not just for Arbaeen but emphasizing its particular prominence on this day.
A relevant reference to consider is what Sheikh Abu Ja’far al-Tusi (may God have mercy on him) mentioned in his book, al-Tahdhib. He states, “A group of our associates narrated from Abu Muhammad Harun bin Musa bin Ahmad al-Tal’akbari, who said he was told by Muhammad bin Ali bin Ma’mar, who himself was informed by Abu al-Hassan Ali bin Muhammad bin Mus’ada and al-Hassan bin Ali bin Faddal from Sa’dan bin Muslim from Safwan bin Mihran al-Jammal, that my master al-Sadiq (blessings be upon him) stated regarding the Arbaeen visitation: ‘You visit at midday and say: (Peace be upon the friend and beloved of God, Peace be upon God’s confidant and the chosen one, Peace be upon God’s pure one and his son, Peace be upon Hussain, the oppressed martyr…)’ Then, you pray two units (Rak’ahs) and make any supplication you desire before departing.“
قال لي مولاي الصادقُ (صلوات الله عليه) في زيارة الأربعين: “تزورُ عند ارتفاعِ النهار وتقولُ: (السلامُ على وليِّ اللهِ وحبيبِه، السلامُ على خليلِ الله ونجيبِه، السلامُ على صفيِّ الله وابن صفيِّه، السلامُ على الحسينِ المظلومِ الشهيدِ، السلام على أسيرِ الكُربات وقتيلِ العبَرات .. وتُصلِّي ركعتين وتدعو بما أحببتَ وتنصرف”
This narration is authenticated through the chain of Al-Hassan bin Ali bin Faddal. As for Muhammad bin Ali bin Ma’mar, he is known as Abu Al-Hussain bin Ma’mar Al-Kufi. Sheikh Al-Tusi mentioned him in ‘Al-Fihrist’, indicating that he authored several books, including the book ‘Qurb Al-Isnad'. He was also mentioned in ‘Al-Rijal’ under the title ‘Muhammad bin Ali bin Ma’mar Al-Kufi’, and it was said about him: ‘He is also known as Abu Al-Hussain, the associate of Al-Sabihy. He learned from Al-Tal’akbari in the year 329, and he has a license from him'. Ibn Al-Nadim Al-Baghdadi also referred to him in his documentation of Shia jurists, narrators, and scholars, calling him ‘Abu Al-Hussain bin Ma’mar Al-Kufi’, noting that he wrote the book ‘Qurb Al-Isnad'. Hence, the man is evidently well-regarded. There’s no criticism found about him, making him a reliable source.
As for Sa’dan bin Muslim, he is notably recognized and is among the proponents of foundational principles. He is one of the elders of Safwan bin Yahya Al-Bajali, who only narrates and transmits from trusted sources. Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Qummi has affirmed his reliability in his interpretation, as part of his general authentication of the men in his chain of narration. As for the remaining narrators in the chain, they are distinguished and trustworthy individuals. Therefore, the narration is deemed credible in its chain.
From its indications, it’s explicit that the day of Arba’een holds a special visitation by which Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) is visited at midday. This suggests a strong recommendation, given that the foundational principle of its favorability is established throughout the year. When a specific day, such as the day of Arafah, is distinctly emphasized, it becomes evidently clear that this day possesses a unique characteristic that solidifies its recommendation. Similarly, fasting is recommended on any day of the year. Yet, when a specific day is highlighted, this strengthens its preferability. The same applies to prayers, deemed the best act – as conveyed by the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). It is preferable to engage in them at any time. However, when a specific time is underscored, it emphasizes the heightened recommendation of performing the prayer at that moment.
In support of the emphasized recommendation for the visitation of Hussain (peace be upon him) on the day of Arba’een, Sheikh Abu Ja’far al-Tusi (may God have mercy on him) narrated in ‘Al-Misbah’ and ‘Al-Tahdhib’, drawing from Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Askari (peace be upon him), who stated: “The signs of a believer are five: the fifty prayers, the Arba’een visitation, wearing a ring on the right hand, placing dust on the forehead, and pronouncing aloud ‘Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim”.
1- ‘Tahdhib al-Ahkam’ by Sheikh al-Tusi – Vol. 6, pp. 113-114; ‘Misbah al-Mutahajjid’ by Sheikh al-Tusi, pp. 788-790.
2- ‘Al-Fihrist’ by Sheikh al-Tusi – p. 277.
3- ‘Al-Abwab (Rijal al-Tusi)’ by Sheikh al-Tusi – p. 442.
4- Abu al-Faraj Muhammad bin Ishaq al-Nadim al-Warraq, who passed away in the year 384 AH.
5- ‘Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim’ by Ibn al-Nadim al-Baghdadi – p. 278.
6- ‘Tahdhib al-Ahkam’ by Sheikh al-Tusi – Vol. 6, p. 52; ‘Misbah al-Mutahajjid’ by Sheikh al-Tusi, p. 788.
credited to Sheikh Muhammad Sanqour