In a statement released by the office of Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi, his eminence said: “The ceremony of Arba’in is a valuable treasure for us, for it has protected the grandeur of Islam and that of the Shi’ite school of thought. Therefore, it must be appreciated as magnificent as possible.
The letter as published by the official website of Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi is as follows:
In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
The procession and the ceremonies held to mark Arba’in are such majestic rituals, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere in the world. It is a procession in which around twenty million Shi’ite Muslims take part to pay tribute to the martyrs of Karbala, who rose up some fourteen centuries ago against tyranny, oppression, and cruelty, and in order to protect their dignity and honour.
Many people amongst them even some disabled individuals, from far away countries and cities, individuals, set out on this journey to visit the holy tombs of those pure men. We pray for them all, so that may God watch over them and may they make the trip and return home safely, and may God the Almighty accept all their prayers and pilgrimage, and deliver all Muslims from oppression for the sake of their prayers.
At this point, it is befitting to point out a number of issues to all the respectable pilgrims and those who provide services to them:
First, try to make this trip with sincere intentions; to do so try to avoid any kind of publicity in favor of either individuals or some political parties, for such actions are in contrast with the sacred purpose of the martyrs of Karbala.
Second, try to help one another, and in particular, try to help those who are facing difficulty to continue their journey and try to solve their problem.
Third, try to avoid any kind of haste that would disturb the lines of the traveling people and which might, God forbid, lead to tragic incidents such as the one that occurred in Mina. Thus, travel calmly and try to maintain order amongst you at all times.
Forth, refrain from lingering in the holy shrines for a long time and, after a short pilgrimage, leave the holy shrines for other pilgrims to enter and make their pilgrimage.
Fifth, the managers of the accommodations that are prepared for the pilgrims on the way to Karbala must be extra attentive to cultural issues; thus, they must use the blessings of this great religious ritual towards their own spiritual growth. Hence, they are advised to say their prayers on time, and the ladies should try to wear complete hijab, and all must avoid any kind of superstition that would undermine the grandeur of this majestic religious procession.
Sixth, all must obey the rules and regulations put in place to maintain order among the pilgrims, and everyone must strictly avoid polluting the environment.
Seventh, all pilgrims should sincerely pray for the problems of the Muslim world to be solved, for all the oppressed to be delivered from oppression, the seditions of the enemies of Islam to be eradicated, for unity to be restored among all Muslims of the world, and for the needs of all Muslims to be granted to them by God the Almighty.
Finally, let us be reminded that the ceremony of Arba’in is a valuable treasure for us all, for it has helped protect the grandeur of Islam and that of the Shi’ite school of thought. Therefore, it must be appreciated as magnificent as possible.
May God watch over us all and help us all throughout our lives.
Naser Makarem Shirazi
November 20, 2015