HOLY CITY OF KARBALA, Iraq: Authorities estimated that
more than six million Iraqi pilgrims along with 150,000 foreign
pilgrims commemorated the birth of Al-Imam Al-Mehdi Al-Montadhar (the
awaited Imam) on Friday morning Shaban 15, July 6 under heavy security
measures after a series of recent attacks targeting worshippers.
They gathered at the holy shrine of Al-Imam Al-Hussein (AS) in the
holy city of Karbala to observe Zyarah Ash-Sha’baniyah, with children
lighting 1,176 candles, representing the number of years since the
birth of 12th imam.
Worshippers also marched to a holy site once visited by the imam,
which lies around one kilometre (0.6 miles) away from the centre of
Karbala. They also chanted religious poems and shared foods and sweets
with each other.
"The Shabaniyah visit ceremonies ended successfully
without any security violations," Karbala provincial Governor Amal
al-Din al-Har said.
Some 38,000 soldiers and police were helping secure the city, with
measures including 2,000 policewomen for women-only checkpoints,
sniffer dogs and explosives detecting devices, officials said.
Atmosphere in the holy Karbala was overflowing with further
spirituality, bliss and happiness as festivals and a’maal marking
fifteenth Sha’ban (night between 14-15 Sha’ban Thursday-Friday) began
at the holy Shrine of Al-Imam Abi Abdellah Al-Hussein (AS) on
Thursday, eve of Sha’ban 15.
Zyarah Ash-Sha`baniyah, or the mid Sha`ban visit to Al-Imam Al-Hussein
(pbuh), is one of the most important zyaraat and the best amal (deed)
of this blessed night of Sha’ban 15, according to narrations.
As various narrations urge this visit, flocks of
believers had been in practice of heading to this holy city for the
visit of Al-Imam Al-Hussein (AS) shrine every year despite strict
measures taken by the ousted despot Saddam regime which was used to
commit atrocities against the pilgrims preventing them from going to
holy Karbala this day. The devotees were used to defy tyrannical rule
and persevered in performance of rituals of this visit sacrificing for
this expensive and precious things subjecting themselves for security
pursuit and detention many times.
In 1991 on this occasion, large number of pilgrims was martyred, went
missing and detained at the hands of Baathist regime as a punishment
for heading to Holy Karbala for visit of the holy Husseini Shrine.
Narrations from A’immah Ahlul Bayt (pbut) say that fifteenth night of
Sha’ban is the best after the night of Qadr.
It has been narrated from holy Prophet (S)’s fifth
infallible descendant Al-Imam Al-Baqer (AS) that: “This is the best
night after the Night of Qadr. In this night, Allah grants the
servants His favor and forgives them with His blessing, so spare no
effort in nearing Allah therein. This is a night wherein Allah has
made obligatory for Him He would not send one, who asks him, empty
handed… and this is the night which Allah has made for Us - the
Prophet's progeny (Ahlul Bayt) - as He made the Night of Qadr for our
The birth of Prophet Muhammad (S)’s last descendant Savior of Humanity
Al-Imam Al-Hojjah bin Al-Hassan Al-Mehdi Al-Montadhar (AS) in Sorra
Mann Ra’a (Samarra), Iraq in 255 AH increased the honor and excellence
of this night.
According to the sayings of holy Prophet (S), Imam 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.
Thursday’s A’maal culminated with the floating of hundreds of candles
and letters to Imam Al-Mehdi – Imam of the Era (may Allah hasten his
reappearance) - on a river in Holy Karbala at Friday pre-dawn (Sha’ban
15, July 6).