Despite the pandemic, an estimated 20 million pilgrims from some 40 countries completed the walk from Najaf to Karbala in Iraq this year.
It included not only Muslims of different schools of thought but also followers of other faiths such as Christians and Zoroastrians.
In keeping with this tradition, thousands of Muslims in Toronto also participated in the Arbaeen walk on September 26.
The solemn ceremony began with Salatul Zuhrain followed by a formal program with recitation from the noble Qur’an.
Young children recited Nasheeds and marsiyas to honour the memory of Imam Husayn, the grandson of the noble Messenger (peace and blessings be upon them both).
Speeches were delivered by both Shia and Sunni scholars to honour Imam Husayn (as) and his great sacrifice.
In the year 680 CE, Imam Husayn left Madinah for Makkah to perform Hajj.
This was the time when Yazid, a drunkard and person of immoral character had usurped power and demanded ba‘yah at the point of the sword.
Yazid’s spies were also present in Makkah and would have caused bloodshed because Imam Husayn had refused to give ba‘yah.
Sensing the gravity of the situation and to avoid bloodshed in the noble Sanctuary, Imam Husayn decided to leave the city without completing the performance of Hajj.
Accompanied by members of his family and a small group of dedicated followers, he headed for Kufa in Iraq but they were intercepted by the Yazidi army of many thousands in the parched sands of Karbala.
The Yazidi army demanded allegiance to the tyrannical ruler. Imam Husayn refused.
The grandson of the noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh) could not surrender to tyranny and injustice even if it cost him his life and that of his family and companions.
Imam Husayn and his supporters bravely stood their ground until they were brutally massacred.
Then in a reversion to the practice of the days of jahiliyyah, their heads were severed, and their bodies trampled upon.
The noble Messenger (pbuh) had expressly forbidden the cutting of heads and desecration of bodies of the dead.
The women and children were chained, taken captive, and dragged to Damascus to be presented to the tyrant Yazid.
Imam Husayn’s brave stand, noble character and supreme sacrifice for the sake of truth and justice earned him the title as the greatest martyr in history.
He is remembered as the saviour of the true teachings of Islam.
The Arbaeen Walk is undertaken by tens of millions of pilgrims every year to honour his memory and sacrifice.
Arbaeen means the 40th day in Arabic and it marks 40 days after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn.
Karbala is where Imam Husayn is buried.
In Toronto, thousands gathered at 1 Strachan Ave close to Lake Ontario and then walked several kilometres to 361 University Avenue opposite the US Consulate.
In addition to a number of little Yazids worldwide, the US and Zionist Israel epitomize tyranny and oppression today.
It was therefore fitting that the Arbaeen Walk would end at the US Consulate.
By joining the Arbaeen Walk, Muslims and non-Muslims alike revive the spirit of self-sacrifice, perseverance and nobility to uphold truth and justice.
Imam Husayn’s sacrifice gives hope to the oppressed and to those enduring suffering in the torture chambers of the tyrants be they prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay or in the dungeons of the tyrannical Saudi regime.
Imam Husayn's voice will forever echo in the torture chambers in defiance of tyranny, oppression and injustice.