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  Updated: July 26, 2010

Shabaniyah festival … millions descending to Holy Karbala

By: Ismail Zabeeh

HOLY CITY OF KARBALA, Iraq: Ziyarah Ash-Shabaniyah or the Shabaniyah festival, which climaxes on Wednesday Shaban 15 July 28, marks the birth anniversary of the Imam of Era Al-Imam Mohammed Al-Mahdi (A), the 12th infallible descendant of Prophet Mohammed (S) and the Last Proof of Allah, who disappeared in the 9th century.

Amid tight security, millions of devotees are flooding to the holy shrine of Al-Imam al-Hussein bin Ali bin Abi Talib (AS) in the holy city of Karbala to observe Ziyarah Ash-Shabaniyah, which is the best amal (deed) of the blessed night of 15 Sha’ban.

Atmosphere in the holy city is filled with further spirituality, bliss and happiness. Wholecity is beautifully bedecked with lights, colorful buntings and flowers.

Since the beginning of the month of Shaban, devotees from across the country and other parts of the world – young and old, men and women, mostly on foot, some individually, some in caravans -, carrying white, green and red banners inscribed with ‘Al-Ajal Ya Imam Al-Asr (AS)’ were heading to the holy city to achieve the honor of visiting Imam Al-Hussein (AS) marking 15 Sha’ban.

Narrations from A’immah Ahlul Bayt (AS) tell that fifteenth night of Sha’ban (night between 14 and 15 Sha’ban) is the best after the night of Qadr. The birth of Prophet Muhammad (S)’s last descendant Al-Imam Al-Hujjah bin Al-Hassan Al-Mahdi Al-Montadhar (AS) in Sorra Mann Ra’a, Iraq, in 255 AH, further increased the honor and excellence of this night.

According to a saying of Chief of Prophets Prophet Muhammad (S), Al-Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) will return to deliver humanity from darkness and strife, and he will fill the earth with justice and equity as it would have been filled with oppression and injustice.

The fifteenth Sha’ban A’maal will culminate with the floating of thousands of candles and scented letters to Imam Al-Mahdi – Imam of the Era (AS) - on a river in Holy Karbala at 15 Sha’ban pre-dawn.

Residents of holy Karbala cook unique meals in giant pots at open places for the devotees outside the Al-Imam Al-Hussein (AS) shrine. Food and drink stands have been set up for the pilgrims.


 
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