On the Arbaeen Walk, I felt like every step that I took, every action that I did to move towards Karbala — everything around me, on a physical level and on a soul level — had a clear goal and was truly for the Imam. I don’t mean that I was sincere, and I’m not sure that I was (though insha’Allah that is the case or becomes the case). It’s something else.

No matter where we are in the world, we are always in doubt about whether the thing that we are doing is truly for the sake of the Imam? We say that we love Imam Husayn alayhissalam a lot, but we never have yaqeen, certainty, that what we are doing is truly for their sake and is something that they truly like. But on that walk, anything that happens, with all the exhaustion, we would think, “It’s okay, because this is for Imam Husayn (a.s.).”

This is not limited to those folks who have 100% pure souls. Even if in my heart there is sin, even then, while on the walk, I feel that I can do everything for Imam Husayn alayhissalam.

The moment I left, I started to miss that feeling. In the airport, I looked around at everyone walking to their gates. We’re always in movement, but our destination is not always the same, our destination is not always Imam Husayn (a.s.).

The walk had its challenges. A friend of mine shared that she didn’t want to brush her hair out of respect for Hazrate Zaynab (sa) or Hazrate Roqayah (sa). As hostages, they did not have the luxury of brushing their hair. And yet, here we were refusing to forgo brushing our teeth so that we could at minimum feel clean and good. At the end of the night, we’d promise each other not to complain. We felt tired, sure, but think about when the family of the Ahlul Bayt was taken hostage… Next to them, we are nothing and our tribulations are nothing compared to theirs. They were perfect human beings, and so any difficulty imposed on them is oppression; Whereas for us, it serves to rectify and develop our souls.

This feeling also goes back to the first part. You feel like each step is for the Imam, and any difficulty that you experience is something you’re doing for the Imam. There is a sense of momentum, where you’re falling forward. Those difficulties feel like a way of telling Hazrate Zaynab (sa) that “We are here, and we are thinking of you. We tread this path with the hope that you become proud of us, look towards us so that we can feel like you are our goal.”

There’s a lot to say. In these two major ways, it was impactful for me. Because it is a big question for me: Are the things that I am doing — school, life choices, work, etc — are they truly for the Imam or is it just something that we tell ourselves to feel better? At that moment, on the Arbaeen Walk, a special sense of calm would sometimes come to me, that no, here all of our actions are for the Imam. Even if I am struggling, even if I wasn’t acting it perfectly; I could see the goal with clear vision. The goal itself was pure and you feel in that moment that you can reach it.

It’s hard to explain the dynamics of it, insha’Allah we can all go together! Insha’Allah Allah swt each time and in every moment removes another veil from over our eyes so that we can better understand what is happening and what we are doing. That little which we can understand thus far has been sweet and beautiful, but I know that it is much deeper than what I have said or what I have experienced.

Eltemaase dua. Insha’Allah see you on the streets of Karbala.