'The Walk of the Free '   Najaf -to Kerbala

    VIDEOS :- Video Nouri sardar |Video1|Video 2 | Spiritual journey| March to Karbala | Steps to Heaven |ChildrenTunnel of Light | Servants of zawwar

Documentary At your service by ABTV   2   3   4  5  6  7

More Images |  Websites : Walktokarbala.com   Najaftokarbala.info | Humans of Hussain on FB

Tips  | Walking guide -A one pg Factsheet Pdf  ,   ,      ,     |  Iraq Ziarat  page

Most people who have 'walked to kerbala' have mentioned that the experience cannot be described in words. We attempt to capture some details so as to motivate /facilitate more people to undertake this epic journey.

This Walk is usually done, in the days before Arbaeen ( where the worlds largest gathering takes place in kerbala ) .Millions of People walk between he holy cities of Najaf & Kerbala, a distance of aprox 90 km over 2- 3 days with sleeping stops in Mawakib ( temporary camps)

Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (as) 's hadith on visit to Kerbala :-

1. 'If one of our Shia goes for Imam Husain's (a.s.) Ziarat, then he will not return but all his sins will be forgiven. For every step that he or his mount takes, 1,000 virtues are written for him, 1,000 sins are forgiven and his status is elevated by a 1,000 degrees.' (Behaarul Anwar, vol 101, pg 25, tradition 26; Kamiluz Ziaraat, pg 134)

2. When the visitor leaves the house, each and every spot that he steps on, prays for him.(Behaarul Anwar, vol 101, pg 15, tradition 14)

3. When the rays of the sun fall on the visitor of Imam's (a.s.) shrines, it consumes his sins like the fire consumes wooden sticks. The sun does not leave any sin on his body and he returns home sinless. In fact on his return he is granted a status that is not even given to those who shed their blood in Allah's path.(Behaarul Anwar, vol 101, pg 15, tradition 14; Kamiluz Ziaraat, pg 298)

4. When a Shia knows Imam Husain's (a.s.) right over the people and leaves his house for Imam's (a.s.) ziarat in this condition, without any pride and conceit, then a 1,000 angels accompany him from the right, with another 1,000 angels on the left. And he will be rewarded as if he has performed 1,000 Hajj and 1,000 Umrah with a prophet or with the successor (wasi) of a prophet(Behaarul Anwar, vol 101, pg 91, tradition 33)


"Surely there exists in the hearts of the mo'mineen, with respect to the martyrdom of  Husayn [a], a heat that never subsides"   - The Holy Prophet [s]     Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol.10, pg.318

Quotes from some zawwar

�It should be made compulsory for all Momins to undertake this journey at least once �

�If you have not undertaken this journey you have not seen anything here & of the hereafter�

�its amazing how they serve the people who walk , food , Restrooms , Massage , Wheel chair repairs  etc tec �

�You wish for something & its there in front of you �


Halabi Zowwaar Abu Sajjad � Halabi Hom� ( come pilgrim) is the �call� that one hears consistently during the walk from Imam Ali (AS) shrine in Najaf to Abul Fazl (or Abul Faazel as some others call) Abbas (AS) shrine in Karbala! This is actually a sincere invitation for the pilgrims walking to visit Imam Hussain (AS),  to accept their hospitalities of amazingly different natures...


This text is only a means to prepare the eyes to a small extent ,In order to appreciate more details ,also see it in the pictures and videos (linked above)

There are many other sights /scenarios which are either too quick to be captured by a camera or can never be captured by one, the 'feelings' of which & even the scene itself is indescribable...These can only be experienced by the practical experience of walking by one�s self

These scenes, in a way, elevate your soul.


Who ?

There are Men ,Women & Children of ALL ages ,babies in arms ( note its extremely difficult to even walk short distance with a baby in arms !) /prams ,Aged people with bent backs & walking sticks & all health conditions incl wheel chairs , amputated /prosthesis legs & crutches !. Some Barefooted , Most of them are Iraqis & many as far as from Basra entailing a 16 day walk ! So ANYONE can go on this walk without any fear or inhibition .This reflects partially the Epic Kerbala battle where Imam Hussain(as) had with himself Men Women & children of all age groups from different sections of society.

Walking on crutches /Barefoot & The artificial leg & Crutches also resting at a camp !

      Barefoot with ya hussain bag & flags on backserving water w/o hands!


Children in innovative push carts /prams with 'Ya hussain' flags /Shirts & on the shoulders!

       &   101 yr old man from ahwazCarryng mother !



Staggering Numbers !:-It is also very interesting to note comments of different people � for example, in order to estimate the approximate number of people on the road at any time, one of the zawwar said multiply approximately 25people, being the number of people across the width of the road by 1000, being the approximate number of rows of people on a 1Km stretch considering the spacing . This way the maths works out to aprx> 1.0 mn people at any time ,on an approx 90Km stretch.  Note this is about the people ON the road and those who had already completed the journey or hadn�t begun are not included. The total number of people walking over the week can then be estimated to be possibly 5-10 mn ..


Poles !-�I am on pole number�..� is a common terminology while communicating with each other on the walk of the free. The street lighting poles along the path are numbered and are 1452 in total. Twenty poles equals 1Km meaning that the distance between 2 poles is approx 50mtrs. Remember that pole#1 starts after approx 8-9Kms from Imam Ali (AS) Shrine and there is another about the same distance from the last pole to Abul Fazl Abbas (AS) Shrine.


Posters /Messages/ Flags

Along the way are pictures of past Marajae doing the same worshiping act, other posters encourage the maintenance and adoption of the proper Islamic Hijab, yet others portray Habib Ibn Mazahir with a scroll registering the names of the pilgrims, municipality banners welcome the �honoured pilgrims�, few in English stated anti-corruption messages and related corruption to undermining Imam Hussain�s efforts and message, etc. What is striking is the focus on the message rather than the cosmetics and so you could see a message drawing the attention of pilgrims to be conservative with water usage which was simply scribbled on a wall near which taps provided water for wuzu. But the message didn�t omit any opportunity to be as courteous and polite as possible.

On the way are also 3 "Ahad Namas" , I pledge to Hazrat Abbas (as) that a)I will not bribe b)I will not litter c) I will read 10 Ayats of Quran Daily . Many many sign & put their thumbprint ...some ponder & leave ...

Ya Hussain flags (incl on specifically parked extended crane booms !) & country flags & head bands. A camera rests ON the floor in the middle of the road capturing only legs! another recording with Ipad   crane flag Board "We are hussainis & will remain so"

Most of the people are in Black clothes reflecting the 'mourning ' attitude & speakers put up everywhere blare the 'latmiyat' ( mourning verses)


Tea ! In order to provide some perspective of the path, it will help to note that you cannot walk more than about 50steps without encountering a tea stall. The Iraqi tea, typically served in miniature glass �cups� if you can call it so, is truly refreshing � drink it as it is served if you have a sweet tooth or else make sure you take out the sugar before the tea is poured for you since normally half the cup is full of sugar ! Sometimes along the way you can also get lemon tea & lemon tea with honey and saffron.


Hospitality ! /  Food !

You can easily experience the sadness on the faces of those inviters who fail to convince zawwars to visit their mawkibs (temp resting places) and stalls. Eat Daal Chawal, Stew with hot tandoori rotis, falafel sandwiches, hot khubs with cheese, fried chicken with French fries and that�s all about what we could eat � otherwise there were a whole lot of other things on offer. Dates, like tea were available literally at every 50steps and normally kept in the middle of the road so as not to interrupt the cruising speed of the pilgrims and provide an opportunity of a quick pick � something like the marathon runners who pick up water without pausing.

Small Children are involved in this service as much as the elders .It appears that all normal activity is shut down during these days & families simply devote themselves to this service.


An alim pouring tea for the pilgrims, a man replacing a table with himself and sitting in the middle of the road holding a �thaal� ( large flat vessel) on his head with food on it, an army soldier massaging the legs of pilgrims, another one distributing plastic spoons to facilitate eating, one man simply waving to the pilgrims with a pleasant smile and calling out the Islamic greetings of salaam, yet another training his 3-4year old son the importance of the pilgrims and their status by making the kid distribute tissue paper to the walkers are some of the other scenes that actually get embossed  forever and yet  there are so many other observations one can enumerate but there comes a moment where the zawar feels that justice is absolutely not possible anymore in describing the events... .

Tons of Food gets cooked & consumed at millions of dollars/dinars ..smoothly


Children in service! .. Waiter ,Tissue giver,Water dispenser  ,Reporter  Perfumer,Street cleaner!

Try getting children to work & here w/o supervision each child performing his role



Free Services ! In addition to the food water & tea services ..

-Rest chairs & Massage outlets ( incl automated foot massagers)

Tired LEGS need massage !

      Mother massaging childs leg

-Dates in Peanut butter sauce in the middle of streets to pick up on the go

-Tissue paper availability on the go ,Perfuming ..

-Phone charging kiosks

-A long trailer distributes free Gas cylinders to the people serving .. another distributes fuel to associated vehicles

-Baby Pram & Wheel Chair repairing stalls

-Shoe Polishing/repairing

     Bag repair   shoes     pram repair  

fuel distr   Phone chg       

-Medicine out of a slotted box on the move & Medical clinics to attend to foot sores


Teaching correct Quran/Sura for Salat !One unique service is teaching correct recitation of Quran( basic Hamd & Sura for Salat) On the Road to those resting on chairs !. An institute in Kerbala has deployed its teachers to meet the zawar & use a printed paper pad to ask people to recite, point out mistakes & hand over the idenitified mistake paper to the zawar

Stopping to recite Quran for Martyrs



All the people on this journey have a 'GIVING' attitude a complete reverse of human psychology under circumstances where there is some element of competition for resources.

There is NO FRIVOLITY observed .In any such gathering there will be sights where there is some element of frivoillty / chatting /laughing /youth gatherings /music / playing cards etc etc None of this is observed despite availability of significant opportunity also after dark say 5 pm where temporary camps get occupied  .Hijab of women is near perfect

Yes people have blisters are tired BUT continue to walk even like penguins at the end of journey if youre tired say Ya hussian as this bag says walking with father w/o hands!

When the zawar return with so much of awe and the excitement to offload all observations to receptive listeners, they are asked �.�what impressed you most�. a short question but one whose answer is so difficult. .... . So after a brief pause, he answers�.. It�s the true love of Imam Hussain(AS), the sincere respect of the pilgrims that love translates into and the unparalleled enthusiasm and desire these Iraqis have in their hearts to serve the pilgrims. Afterall no one opens the doors of their houses to welcome strangers who come from distant lands and don�t speak the same language. To this the most appropriate poster I took a picture of was that of the flags of many many nations bordering the words �Al Hussain Yajmaoona�. "Hussain brings us together"


As mentioned by some on the road ,...

-The 'water' from the foot sores is a cure for some diseases !

-The Sheep which walks on this road cannot be eaten, as its meat does not get cooked!



If you want to get some feeling of what the answer to Imam Hussain�s call on the day of Ashoora should have been like��������� go to THE WALK OF THE FREE !!!!! Labbaik Ya Hussain Labbaik Ya Hussain �



Some Tips for smooth journey

This walk should be completed by walking for 3 days and resting for the 2 nights in between � this way the physical challenge is well accepted by the body and one is able to perform the required prayers, ziaraat and duas without problems in Karbala upon reaching there.

It is better to stop walking at sunset & locate a constructed ( vs tent type)  mowkib (a hussania turned camp) so that the cold is partially reduced

The weather may be cold & you will need good insulation especially at night in non permanent camps .

Western washrooms are available at certain Poles ( list here ) 

It is VERY important to have proper footwear , special Walking shoes or Open chappals /sandals with thick socks (Preventing Blisters | Blisters Treatment)


Provisions  .Be light. ANY weight /bag on you will be a bother . It is not an exaggeration to state that you need nothing more than what you are wearing from head to toe already. Food, shelter, sanitation facilities, mobile phone charging, local and international calls, medical care, body & leg massage, tailoring facilities, shoe polishing service, laundry and Allah knows what else is free!!! In fact you could get into trouble for offering to pay and if you didn�t physically challenge your service provider seriously, he would forcefully put you on a massage session.  Basic 'chappal' footwear & bags you can buy if you would ever need one.If you must carry a bag take a backpack or a small strolley with wheels which you can drag



Walking guide one pg Factsheet Pdf  ,              


Total Distance
80 Km
Total Number of Poles
1452 Poles
Distance Between Each Poles
50 meters [20 Poles = 1 Km]
Approx. Walking Time Required
20 to 25 hours
Estimated Time to Reach the Destination
2-3 Days
Preferred Start Time
17th Safar  - After Fajr � 6:45 AM
Expected Completion Time (InshaAllah)
19th Safar � Dhuhr � 12 PM
Who Can Do This?
Anyone (Male/Female/Families)


Also at 15 shaban , Arafat, Ashura


Take an Exit from Imam Ali (AS) Haram from Bab-e-Tousi (Opposite to Bab-e-Qibla) and start walking straight on Shahra-e-Tousi - After about 500 meters, Wadi-us-Salam Cemetry will start - Keep walking straight and you will eventually get to the Highway, turn left, where hundreds of thousands of people will be walking towards Karbala � Join them and you will reach Haram of Hazrat Abbas (A.S) after about 75 Km. at Pole # 1452.
Landmarks (Poles):
Poles Starts After
10 Km.
Pole # 1
Ministry Office on Left side of the Road
Pole # 345
Concrete Walls - Temporary Checkposts
Pole # 578
City of Haidariya - Haidariya Hospital
Pole # 647
Proper Permanent Washrooms
Pole # 960
Large Checkposts
Pole # 1183
Pole # 1237
Imam Ali (AS) City - Washrooms, Mosque, Rest Area etc.
Pole # 1252
Ministry of Import/Export - Office
Pole # 1285
Checking Checkpost - Entrance of Karbala
Pole # 1294
[Optional] Turn Right - Shortcut � After about 4 Km - Poles will again start from 1404 (Most People Do Take this Shortcut)
Pole # 1404
First Sight to Rosa e Hazrat Abbas (A.S) - People who Have Turn Right at 1294 will Join here (Note: Remove your Shoes in Respect to Haram)
Pole # 1452
End of Poles
50 Meters
Bab-e-Qibla - Rosa-e-Hazrat Abbas (A.S)
Recommended Stops/Milestones:
  • Keep on walking until the poles start - Preferably don't stop before the poles' starts.
  • Spend the 1st Night in a Moukkab somewhere between 400-500 Poles.
  • Spend the 2nd Night in a Moukkab somewhere between 1000-1100 Poles.
  • You should take stops after every 100 or so poles to re-group with family/friends and take a rest of 5-10 minutes to ease your muscles.
Walking Notes:
?      Start walking after Fajr and stop walking at Maghrib.
?      Don�t over-stretch yourself during the walk. Take a rest, when required.
?      After Namaz e Maghrib, get a place to sleep in one of the Camps or Hussainiyah - There are thousands, so you don't have to worry much.
Belongings' Notes:
  • Try not to get too much weight with you. Don't take anything to eat or drink, there is already too much on the way.
  • Take any regular medicines that would be required during the 2-3 days� walk.
  • Prefer a Lightweight backpack instead of a Shopper to carry stuff during your journey.
  • Proper Clothes to Avoid the Cold - Socks, Hand Gloves, Cap, Ear-cover Jacket & preferably a shawl.
  • Any suitable Cream for Rashes, if you normally get them.
  • You can get a small pocket Quran/Duas/Ziyarat in your mobile (if possible) to pass your time while walking.
  • Don't wear packed shoes - Try to wear something comfortable and open instead.
  • Passport, Mobile Charger (if you are carrying a mobile).
 Important Notes:
  • You don't have to worry much about doing it completely. If you ever think, that you cannot continue at any point, you can take a van to reach Karbala, there are hundreds everywhere. An average male/female above the age of 10 years is 99.99% likely to complete it on the 3rd day without any issues. You should at least give it a try � it is definitely worth it!!
  • Make sure you know the name of the Hotel; you are intended to stay in Karbala.
  • If you want to make a phone call, make it before Fajr to get your calls through, as they normally don't go through rest of the day due to high network traffic. You can use GPRS to communicate though. GPRS Settings can be found on asiacell.com and/or zain.com [based on your mobile network]
Landmarks/Re-Grouping Stops:
Pole # 72
Moukkab Aal-e Abi-Talib (A.S.)
Pole # 297
Moukkab Al-Abrar
Pole # 458
Moukkab Imam Zain-ul-Abedin (A.S.)
Pole # 602
Moukkab Aal-e-Fakhruddin
Pole # 795
Moukkab Muzeef-al-Hussain (A.S.)
Pole # 1086
Moukkab By Pakistanis
Pole # 1237
Imam Ali (A.S.) City
Note: There are literally thousands of Moukkab (Camps/Buildings) and you can stay anywhere, you want - this detail is just handy, if you are travelling with family/friends to set a re-grouping point.
Anyone can join the walk.. Forward to people, who are going to Iraq for Arbaeen.


Directives of Grand Ayatullah Sheikh Bashir Hussain Najafi

    Those who wish to serve Imam Hussain (as) must serve purely for attaining proximity to ALLAH.

    Observe prayers on time because they are the main obligations for which Imam Hussain (as) sacrificed his life. And obligatory tasks take priority over recommended tasks.

    Maintain the atmosphere of sorrow and grief by not laughing and giggling.

    Keep reciting Subhan Allah, La ilaha illallah and Allahu Akbar during your walk, as it is the best of dhikr, �So make provision for yourselves (Hereafter); for surely the provision is the guarding of oneself�, (Al Baqara:197) like reciting Quran, Duas and Ziyarats.

    Avoid wasting food and drinks. Owners of Mawakib must pay attention to this and so should respected pedestrians.

    Observe cleanliness in the holy cities and at public places.

    Remember to recite Ziyarah on behalf of Imam al Mahdi (atf) and to pray for his early re appearance.


Important Contacts:

Emergency:                 104

Missing Persons:         0780 13 00 561

Religious Queries:       0781 46 51 353

Central Office:             0780 10 04 758


Ahlulbayt tv coverage


Arbaeen Walk 2012 Day6 - EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE


Arbaeen Walk 2012 Day5 - EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE


Arbaeen Walk 2012 Day4 - EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE


Arbaeen Walk 2012 Day3 - EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE


Arbaeen Walk 2012 Day2 - EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE


Arbaeen Walk 2012 Day1 - EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE









List of Camps /pole nos which have western washrooms installed

رقم العمود

اسم الموكب


حسينية النور


ابو الفضل العباس


حسينية الشهيد صاحب


طرف الحويش/ال شربة


حسينية الحسن المجتبى


حسينية شباب احمد وائل


حسينية عبد الله الرضيع


حسينية الطفل الرضيع


شباب السجاد


ابو الشهداء


طرف السعد والمثنى


وليد الكعبه


شباب السجاد


حسينية قباء


شيخ الانصار حبيب بن مظاهر


هبه وادي السلام


شباب المنتظر


شباب حيدر الكرار


الرسول الاعظم


شباب الكرار


حسينية السعداء


خدمه اهل البيت


الساده الصوافي


سعود لن حبيب


الامام موسى بن جعفر


ثقل النبوة


شباب المرتضى


اولاد علي


شباب الخدمة


خدام اهل البيت


انصار علي الاكبر


ابناء الحسن


حسينية جعفر الطيار


شباب ابو الفضل العباس


شباب النجف الاشرف


شباب غريب الغرباء


فاطمة الزهراء


شهداء الطف


مخيم الانصار


ابو الفضل العباس


حسينية ال الصائغ


احباب المشتبى


مضيف المصطفى


اريج اهل البيت


عزاء ام البنين


حسينية اولاد علي


حسينية الشهداء


حسينية الامام الحجة


حسينية وجامع الحسان


حسينية الشهيد المحراب


حسينية فخر الدين


حسينية شباب القاسم


حسينية الرسول


حسينية ال قاسم


الامام علي


ذبيح كربلاء


شباب علي الاكبر


خدام الامام الحسين


حسينية ابو جنان عبد الناصر


شباب الزوية


فاطمه العليله




النبأ العظيم


صاحب رحيم ابو كلل


جنة الحسين


حسينية السبطين




رزاق عبد الامير


حسينية عباس




حسينية ام ابيها


حسينية جبرائيل




سيد الساجدين




حسينية الصحابي ميثم التمار


احباب الزهراء


شباب المصطفى


هيئة شباب القاسم


الامام الباقر


شباب القاسم


سيد الشهداء


الامام الكاظم


حسينية الامام علي


حسينية شباب داعيه الحسين


سيد الشهداء


ابو تراب


ولايه علي


حسينية انصار الحسين


حسينية انصار الحسين




شباب الامام الحسن


المذبوح عبد الله الرضيع


مشاه المشخاب


جمعية النور


جابر الانصاري


سليب الطف


انصار الحجة


احباب الزهراء


الصديق الطاهر




شباب الحسين


فاطمة الزهراء


انصار الحسين

No. Name column procession

17 Hussienieh light

72 Abou El Fadl Abbas

86 of Hussein, the martyr owner

100 party Ahoiesh / the drink

110 of Hussein, Hassan Mujtaba

131 Hussienieh youth Ahmed Wael

140 of Hussein, Abdullah baby

157 Hussienieh baby

163 youth carpet

172 Abu martyrs

184 party-Saad and Al-Muthanna

185 Walid Kaaba

211 youth carpet

217 Hussienieh Quba

228 Ansar Sheikh Habib Ben manifestations

230 gift of the Valley of Peace

232 young people are expected

249 youth Haider Karar

266 Great Prophet

270 youth Karar

288 Hussienieh happy

300 household servants

309 Gentlemen Sawafi

321 Saud will not Habib

328 of Imam Musa Bin Jaafar

341 weight of prophecy

356 youth Murtada

365 Awlad Ali

379 youth service

383 servants of Ahl al-Bayt

399 supporters of the biggest

405 sons Hassan

414 Hussienieh Jafar Tayar

430 youth Abou El Fadl Abbas

439 youth Najaf

444 young stranger strangers

460 Fatima Zahra

459 Martyrs tuff

468 Ansar camp

473 Abou El Fadl Abbas

472 of Hussein, the jeweler

488 Ahbab Almchtby

490 host Mustafa

503 Areej household

523 consolation or boys

539 Hussienieh Awlad Ali

547 Hussienieh martyrs

568 Shiite shrine of Imam argument

591 Shiite shrine and mosque Hassan

596 of Hussein, the martyr of the mihrab

602 Hussienieh Fakhruddin

612 Hussienieh youth denominator

619 of Hussein, the Prophet

630 of Hussein, the denominator

638 Imam Ali

642 Dhabihullah Karbala

650 youth on the biggest

655 servants of Imam Hussein

611 of Hussein, Abu Janan Abdel Nasser

672 youth Azwaip

683 Fatima ailing


705 great news

His 717 Rahim Abu tirelessly

721 Commission Hussein

738 of Hussein, grandsons

747 Iahasin

758 Prince Abdul Razak

760 of Hussein, Abbas

767 Hassan

781 of Hussein, or her father

807 Hussienieh Gabriel

751 Mohammed

824 master worship

840 Jawadain

855 Hussienieh companion Maitham Tamar

869 Ahbab Zahra

886 young Mustafa

890 Youth Commission denominator

906 Imam Baqir

918 youth denominator

941 martyrs

942 of Imam Kadhim

964 Shiite shrine of Imam Ali

920 Hussienieh young propagandist Hussein

941 martyrs

987 Abu Turab

994 jurisdiction over

1000 supporters of Hussein, Hussein

1011 supporters of Hussein, Hussein

1031 Hassan

1047 Young Imam Hassan

1058 slaughtered Abdullah baby

1080 pedestrian Mashkhab

1091 Noor Association

1116 Jaber Ansari

1125 Sleep tuff

1148 supporters of the argument

1156 Ahbab Zahra

Tahir Siddiq 1195

1216 Zainabieh

1263 Shabab Al Hussein

1222 Fatima Zahra