Peace is coming for all: My journey to Arbaeen
Last October I had the honor of participating in the largest annual peaceful human gathering on Earth. It is called Arbaeen.
During a two-week period, fifteen million people (some estimates are as high as 20-30 million) visit the shrine of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, in Karbala, Iraq. People walk from Najaf to Karbala, a fifty-mile walk, and have all their needs met, food, water, a place to sleep at night, anything they might need to make a successful visit.
I came as a Christian pastor from America to show my respect for Hussain and for his sacrifice on behalf of justice and truth. I made a film about the trip that you can find on YouTube called “For Love of Hussain (A.S.)”
I walked the fifty miles over two-and-one-half days and touched the shrine of Hussain. I participated in the rituals of mourning and made friends with people from Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, just a few of the over 60 nations represented. These faithful Muslims heeding the call of Hussain to stand with the oppressed of the world opened my mind and my heart. What I came away with was a renewed sense of hope for humankind.
When a Christian Pastor from America is showered with love and hospitality from Shia Muslims in Iraq and Iran, you can’t help but be hopeful. I wish all Americans could share this experience of unity. A just peace is coming for all of Earth. People get ready.
By John Shuck, Minister, Southminster Presbyterian Church, 12250 SW Denney Road, Beaverton, www.southmin.org