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  Updated: July 03, 2012

Millions march to Karbala for Zyarah Ash-Shabania

By: Ismail Zabeeh

HOLY KARBALA, Iraq: Despite scorching sun and spate of terror blasts, hundreds of thousands are flooding to the holy shrine of Al-Imam al-Hussein bin Ali bin Abi Talib (AS) in the holy city of Karbala to celebrate 15 Sha’ban marking the birth anniversary of the Imam of Era Al-Imam Al-Mehdi Al-Montadar (AS).

Atmosphere in the holy city is filled with further spirituality, bliss and happiness.

Figures show millions of devotees are reaching this beautifully bedecked holy city to observe Zyarah Ash-Shabaniyah, which is the best amal (deed) of the blessed night of 15 Sha’ban.

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 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 is the best after the night of Qadr. The birth of Prophet Muhammad (SW)’s last descendant Al-Imam Al-Hujjah bin Al-Hassan Al-Mehdi Al-Montadar (AS) in Sorra Mann Ra’a, Iraq, in 255 AH, increased the honor and excellence of this night.
According to a saying of Chief of Prophets (SW), Al-Imam Al-Mehdi (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-Mehdi – Imam of the Era (AS) - on a river in Holy Karbala at 15 Sha’ban pre-dawn.

Karbala residents 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 pilgrim
According to the Iraq governor Engineer Amal al-Din al-Hurr over five million visitors are expected to commemorate Zyarah Ash-Shabania.

On Tuesday, market blasts and other bombings across Iraq martyred at least 33 people and wounded nearly 100.

Tuesday's attacks come as hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims head to the holy city of Karbala this week for religious ceremonies that will peak on Friday Shaban 15.


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