The office of the Supreme Religious Authority Sayed. Ali Al-Hussayni Al-Sistani has issued a number of recommendations and directives for the visitors travelling to perform the Ziyarat Arba'een of Imam Al-Hussayn (peace be upon him), answering a number of believers who have asked fatherly advice on this great occasion, to be spread across all segments of the community. The text of these directives is as follows:
“... It is befitting for the believers whom Allah has granted success to perform this sacred Zyarat, to note that Allah, the Exalted, selected prophets and their noble successors from amongst His servants to be divine proofs and authority over people and that whose teachings people should follow to be guided aright. Allah has encouraged people to visit the sacred sites so that those infallible leaders are continuously remembered and held in reverence. Since those nobles are the best examples of servitude to Allah, the Glorified and jihad in His way and sacrifice for the cause of His everlasting religion, visiting their shrines, commemorating them and narrating their stories will remind the believers of Allah, the Exalted, His doctrines and injunctions.
Hence, it is one of the essentials of this Ziyarat that the visitor (pilgrim), in addition to remembering Imam Al-Hussayn's sacrifices and devotion in the way of Allah, the Exalted, observes the teachings of Islam including those relating to prayer, Hijab, self-reform, selflessness and moral etiquettes etc. so that his Ziyarat may be a step towards developing and training the soul for accepting these and consolidating their effects until the next Zyarat. It is only by so doing that attending these ceremonies will be practically the same as attending the lessons of the Imam, peace be upon him.
In fact, we have not been in the time of the Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them) to learn from them directly and be educated by them, but Allah, the Exalted, has preserved their conducts for us and has persuaded us to visit them as our role models. As the contemporaries of the Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them) lived with them and were put to test, Allah also wants to test us as to how far we are sincere in our desire to live with them and follow their teachings. Hence, we must be careful lest we should not falsely desire to see them.
We must know that if we act as per their advice, it is hoped that we shall be resurrected along with those who were with them. As it has been reported that Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said in the Battle of Jamal (the camel): "Today we are accompanied by those who are still in the loins of their fathers and wombs of their mothers." Therefore, it is not difficult for each of us who cherishes the hope to act according to the teachings of the Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them) and obey them to be educated in accord with their educational methods and benefit from their manners.
Fear Allah in relation to your prayers. As stated in the narration, the prayer is the pillar of your religion and the ascension of the believers, if it is accepted, all other acts will be accepted and if it is rejected, all other acts of worship will also be rejected.
It is befitting for believers to perform their prayers on time because Allah loves those who rush to prayer as soon as they hear the call for it. It is not appropriate for a believer to engage in any other acts of worship in the prime for prayer because prayer is the best form of obedience to Allah. It is has been narrated from the Ahl Al-Bayt, peace be upon them, that they said: "Our intercession (with Allah) will not be won or attained by the person who depreciates or undervalues the prayer".
And, about Imam Al-Hussayn's special attention to prayer on the Day of Ashura, it has been reported that he told his companion who reminded him of the prime time for the prayer: "You reminded me of prayer, may Allah include you amongst the observers of prayer and are always remembering Allah." And then, he performed prayer in the battlefield despite the rain of arrows on him and his companions.
Fear Allah in devotion inasmuch as the value and blessings of one's deeds depends on how far he is devoted in performing them for Allah's sake. Because Allah will not accept any deeds which are not purely for Him. It has been narrated from the Holy Prophet (Prayers and Allah's peace be upon him and his holy Household) that he said during Muslims' emigration from Mecca to Medina: "Whoever migrates for the sake of Allah and His Messenger, he has migrated to Him and whoever migrates to make worldly gains, he has migrated to the world. Allah will reward devoted deeds to the extent that it will increase to seven hundred folds and He doubles the rewards for whomsoever He wants."
Hence, it is necessary on the visitors (pilgrims) to remember Allah and recite Dhikr of Allah and be mindful of every step and every deed to be for Allah's sake. They should know that Allah has not bestowed anyone with a blessing so precious as sincerity and devotion in belief, sayings and conducts. An act which is devoid of sincerity and devotion ends with the end of life in this world whereas a since act will be lasting and blessed in this world and the hereafter.
Fear Allah in observing Hijab and modest clothing which is amongst the most important thing that the Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them) heeded to even in the most difficult circumstances and they were the best role models in terms of observing Hijab and modest clothing. Imam Al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) was not hurt as much as he was hurt by the enemy due to violation of his dignity and respect. It is, therefore, necessary for all visitors (pilgrims) especially ladies to observe modesty in their conducts, clothing and appearance and to avoid whatever is deemed a violation of this e.g. wearing close-fitting clothes, mixing up in an abominable way with members of the opposite gender and wearing inadmissible jewellery. In fact, it is befitting for believers that in order for them to keep the sacred ritual untainted, they have to, as far as possible, adhere to the highest levels of modesty.
We pray to Almighty Allah to elevate the position of Prophet Muhammad (prayers and Allah's peace be upon him and his holy Household) and his pure family (peace be upon them), due to the sacrifices they made in the way of Allah and their efforts to guide His creatures. May He increase His prayer on them as He has done to previous prophets especially Ibrahim and his family.
We also pray to Allah to bestow His blessings upon the visitors of Imam Al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) and accept their Ziyarat in the best way as He accepts the deeds of His noble servants so that they may, through their lifestyle and deeds in this Ziyarat, be a role model for others for the rest of their lives and be rewarded for their love of and obedience to the household of the Prophet (prayers and Allah's peace be upon him and his holy Household) and for preaching his mission.
Let's hope that on the Day of Judgement when everyone is called with his Imam, they (visitors) are called with the Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them) and that those who are martyred in this way, they will be, due to their sacrifices and the sufferings which they have gone through, gathered with Imam Al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) and his companions. Verily, He is all Hearing, Ever Responsive.