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24 April 2024 / 15. Shawal 1445

Reflections on my trip to Iraq

Updated on 23/12/2013

This year, over two million people around the world will InshAllah flock to Iraq to commemorate Arbaeen. We share below reflections from one of the zawaars who will be going to Iraq this year and inshAllah undertake the walk from the Holy City of Najaf to the land of Karbala:

“In a day’s time, I’ll be leaving with a group of my family and friends, leaving behind everything familiar, to make this amazing trip to the land of my Imams (AS).

I cast my mind back remembering another time, another family who left their hometown, and everything they loved, to venture out into an unknown future. Except their fate was different. For Husayn and his family (AS), only the women and children were to return back. And this drives me on..

I think of the walk ahead of me,- 3 days, 90 kilometres. From personal experience, the 20 minute walk home from the station has me stumbling through the front door, reaching for the nearest sofa, chair, stair-step to fall on to. And yet a small courageous voice from deep within me tells me that it was the same Ali (AS) who found it difficult to break his bread, who lifted the door at Khaybar. The same Taqi (AS) who at the age of nine could stand in a court and silence scholars’ doubts. And the reason they gave? Both Khaybar and our 9th Imam’s wisdom represented a mission with a greater purpose. The strength and power was from somewhere higher than themselves.

In this walk, each step removes shackles of sins from my soul, each step brings me closer to taqwa, to contentment and purity, to Allah. The strength I require will no doubt come from Him, and ‘there is no Strength or Power except from Allah.’ And this drives me on..

I feel so honoured to be reciting Dua Nudba with Imam Ali (AS) this Friday morning, to be in the vicinity of my Imam (AS) on the day of Arbaeen! But a fear courses through my veins. What if on the day of Arbaeen it is so packed that I can’t make it into the shrine to pray my namaaz? 

How amazing would it feel to find a moment’s peace within the chaos to sit by the embodiment of courage, generosity and self-sacrifice and to pour out my thoughts to him and Allah, to my soul’s content? But from the stories of those who have been before, the rush is so much that to be able to fulfil these dreams is exactly that- a dream.

So I look to my Imams (AS), my masters for peace, and there are the shining examples of al- Kadhim, An-Naqi and Al-Askari (AS), who spent so much of their lives either in prison, under house arrest or simply not being able to preach their thoughts publicly and in peace. I can’t help but admire that eloquence of the Ahlulbayt (AS), as I remember the words of our 7th Imam (AS), whispered to his Lord in the darkness of his prison cell. "O my Lord, You know that I had been asking you to spare me time to devote myself to Your service. You have done that. Praise be to You."

And my heart becomes tranquil, like my mawla al- Kadhim (AS). I am content that through this trip where I’ll leave behind everything familiar to visit such a pure and sacred place, Allah is giving me time with Him alone.”

As part of the walk, the N2k team will also be using this as an opportunity to fundraise for a Community Upliftment Project in North East Kenya.

To donate towards this project, please visit the Justgiving team page or through The World Federation website.

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