Journey of a billion miles.
By: Saif Saifuddin Kuvawala
As I was trying to pick a heading to write my experience during "Arbaeen Walk", I thought of the fact that I was travelling from the earth, full of sins, to the Heaven full of purity and forgiveness and while no one knows for sure, how far the heaven is in physical travelling distance, I assume it could easily be more than a billion miles from this earth. It is my faith and my Moula Husain's ehsan that this distance was shortened by mere 100km.
I would like to reflect here with some of my experience through this spiritual journey "the walk of Arbaeen". Although my limited vocabulary fails to describe the sentimental emotions combined with the ultimate joy of being at The PLACE where dreams dare. It was beyond anything I had imagined.
One thought that kept coming to my mind that from the prophet Adam (as) to Khatem-un-Nabeeien (saw), all th Awsiyaa and Awliyaa, we never celebrate their chehlum in such a proportion, axcept Moula Husain and in such a high standard that the number of zaeerin coming to Karbala on Arbaeen will soon surpass the numbers going for Hajj.
Husain sajda-e-akhir mey jab they masroof
Khuda ko fikr thi key badley mey kiya diyaa jaey
It was my life long dream to walk from Najaf to Karbala on Arbaeen, from one Babul Hawaij to the other Babul Hawaij, with my head bowed and my kashkol stretched out.
The crowd at the shrine of the Moula-e-Kaenaat was really humbling. The beleivers were pouring in, all with their hands stretched out asking for something, all begging for something. The streets were filled with flocks of zaereen, trying to reach the baab, the doorway to the hajaat, Babul hawaij, the door where all your wishes come true even before you enter. I bowed my head in suplication, a sajda to the king of kings, my moula, the moula-e-kaenaat. As I was in sajda at the doorway to the heaven on earth, knowing that my dream was about to be realized, my empty kaskol is about to be filled, tears found their way from my heart to my eyes, the flood gate of my heart flew open and the tears started to pour out. I raised my head. I was content to just sit there at the doorway, as I always considered myself a begger of that doorway and as the beggers never cross the doorways.
Mey to bhikary hoon Moula, tery dehleez ki mittee kaa
Yeh kahaan mery auqaat key tery zareeh choom sakoon
BUT then the door was already open and I saw other beggers and fakeers and sawalis entering and so did I. The reach towards the zareeh was truly humbling. Never imagined so many sawaalis trying to just touched the zareeh. There were those, who probably had the world at their feet and those who had nothing but the empty kashkol asking for the world of wishes. Some had the rugged faces weathered and hardened by the desrt sun and the years of war and hardship and theree were those who had the skin softer than the baby's bottom. There were those who were built like an ox and a physique that would put a mountain to shame and then there were those who would make a man beleiving in peity and humbleness. They All had one thing in common, they were all crying out loud. Ever want to see a mountain of the men who would put the goliath to shame, cry like an infant, not one or two or ten but the hundreds and thousands. They were all begging for something, some wanted to share their pain as knowing there is no one who would listen accept the man laying in there. Who is known to be true "Mushkil Kushaa" and some who had nothing but doaas and hajjats to be fullfilled knowing that they have come to a "Babulhawaij".
Ashhado annaka tasma-ul-kalam wa tarudduljawaab.
I stood in one corner, talking to the man laying in there. Tears flew like the water without the bridge. My eyes closed, just asking and crying with my hands joined together, a huge, gorilla of a man, out of the crowd, came near me and wiped my tears from my face with his hands and wiped them on his own face. I could not believe. The floodgate of my tears just flew open wide. Another man came to me and did the same and then the third and fourth. (It reminded me of the yawm-e-Ashura, when a lady came to me and wiped the blood from my kurta and wiped on her hand). My knees buckled, I could not believe my eyes. I cried, O Moula, I am nobody. I am a sinner, I am a begger and fakeer, I am a slave of your slaves. O Moula outside I was nobody and you brought this begger, this fakeer, this sawali in to your home and raised him so high that others treat my tears and blood as "tabarruk" Moula. Who am I O Moula, who am I. O Moula, I am nobody. O Moula I am nobody.
I realized, there were two doorways, one to enter and other to exit and then the reality sank in. When you enter, you live your pride, envy, sins and all your worldly kingdom behind. Pass infront of the King of Kings laying there, walk with humility, grace and gratitude and leave with purity and sinless passion through the second doorway.
Next day, I started the walk, the walk that I craved for. 100 kms. Would I be able to? Knowing that mere 8 years ago, I could not even go to the bathroom with partly paralized body and doctors insisting, i will spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. Would I be able to do it? All I know is that I went to Moula Ali and asked for one thing, O Moula, I am walking away from you with only one wish to reach to your son and do the sajda at his doorstep. I will do what a servent and ghulam does and O Moula you do what "Mushkil Kushaa" does.
And I walked and I walked and I walked.
Looking around, thinking and remembering how my mazloom imam would have walked, with chains in his feet and touq in his neck, bare feet on the unpaved desert of burning sand full of thorns and if ever stopped to pull the splinters out from his feet, he was treated with lashes. How the saidaaniyas would have crossed this distance from Karbala to Shaam on the bare backs of the camels, with only their hair to cover their faces. Once someone asked my moula, when was the most painfull moment and the SayedusSajedeen, Ali ibne Husain ibne Ali ibne Abi Talib, replied, the moment when the tatheer-e-risalat was without veil and the muslemeen's ghaleez eyes were focused on them.
Ees shaan sey chali thee bint-e-la fatah
chadar na thi tou haibat-e-Abbas aurh lee.
I was thinking of the Zainab-e-Kubra, having 18 brothers, one of them being Abbas, but none of the brothers having seen her face without veil. I was thinking of the little girl, merely 4-6 years old, always slept on her father's chest, having to walk on the burning sand under the spear carrying her father's head. I was thinking of the mother riding on the bare back of the camel, hiding her face with her hair, staring at the empty cradle which once was filled with her 6 months old. I was thinking of the lady, once a princess of Qasra, on a bare back of a camel now watching her ill son, the Imam of the time, bearing all the pain and torture and husband's head carried around beside her on the spear. I was thinking of a mother through her hair covering her face, staring at her 18 year old son's head on the spear..............
AND I kept thinking and weeping every step of the way. The road kept folding beneath my feet. Every step became heavier then the previous ones. Was it because of the swelling in my feet were increasing or was it the thought of the beemar-e-Karbala walking with touq in his neck and chains in his feet were more painfull then my imagination. The thoughts of the masaeeb that ahl-e-bait had to bear through the journey were beyond my comprehension. I would like to think that later was true. I kept weeping and kept walking. Every step made me more and more humble. Every step brought me closer to the land of the qarb and balaa.
The journey, the walk was beyond my wildest dreams. I had heard a lot about the hospitality of the people but believe me untill you are in the thick and thin of it yourself, you haven't seen nothing. The love, respect and appreciations of the people for the zaereen was beyond any words can describe. The humility and faith and determination of the walkers were beyond comprehension. The women with toddlers, infants in their arms and in the baby carraiges, the young children from 5-12 years, some bare feet some with just a cheap slippers. some walking from Najaf, a mere 100 km distance (in their words) some from Qum and some from Basra and they all walked, putting this old man (myself), with his expensive orthotics and trippled jelled fancy shoes, questioning his own faith if it has gone weaker.
If you ever have doubts that "faith can move mountains" come to walk of Arbaeen.
So I kept walking and weeping, remembering my mazloom Imam and ahl-e-bait's masaaebs. the pole numbers kept rising, the distance kept shrinking. Every step brought this fakeer to his Moula Husain and Moula abbas. The second Babul Hawaij where the angels wait at the doorway to greet the zaereen, to say O you who have suffered the pain and difficulties reaching here in memory of your mazloom Imam's masaaeeb, come and claim your place in heaven. Come and show us the list of your wishes and doaas so we can carry them to Moula Husain.
So I reached the second babulhawaij.
As I reached the door step to my Moula, my knees buckled, my body weakened, i went into sajda at the doorstep. O Moula you brought me here. Me and my fragile faith and physical limitations, how could I have managed without your will and help. O ibne Mushkil Kushaa Moula, if it is a dream, please don't let me wake up Moula. I couldn't have done it Moula without your help.
So I entered the doorways to the heaven, pure and humble as a sole can be. The rush of beggers were beyond imagination. I stood there in awe. Just trying to have the reality sink in. Trying to convince myself that I am standing infront of the Moula, who had given a begger seven son's, Fitrus his wings, Hur bin Riyahi his final wish. I was standing infron of the Moula, who since birth have been a waseela of us gunahgaars, us beggers, who would otherwise never have a reach to Allah-o-buzurg-o-bartar due to the burdon of the mountains of sins we are burried under.
I could not stop thinking, been to Umrah few years ago and having seen those Saudi men in their milky white robes preaching, near Jannat-ul-Baqeeh, of not to ask anyone else but Allah (swt). What if Allah said that you could not have it because of your sins and because it is not in your fate. What would you do? You would come to Karbala on your hands and knees in the presence of the Mazloom Imam and hold his zareeh and beg till your hearts content. Like that beggar did who was granted seven sons or Fitrus or Hur. Because sometimes the sinners like us need the waseela of imam-e-mazloom- o-masoom for qabool-e-doaa.
Maanaa ke mere gunaah heyn pahaaron sey buland
Yaa Allah! merey gunah buland yaa meraa waseela buland
With a humble request for doaa
Saif Saifuddin Kuvawala - Canada
Oct 30, 2018
It is better to have heart without words then the words without heart.