Cleric hails far-reaching effects of Arba’een on Nigerian Shia Muslims
An Iranian cleric and researcher lauded the Arba’een religious ceremony as a momentous event that has captured the hearts of people across the world, including the Shia Muslims in Nigeria whose population has grown exponentially through the efforts of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky.
In an interview with Tasnim news agency, Muslim Theology Researcher and Cleric Seyed Javad Beheshti said the promotion of Shia Islam in Nigeria has been significantly affected by the effulgence of Arba’een, which marks the 40th day of mourning after martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shias’ Imam.
The Iranian cleric added that Arba’een, as a movement, has enlightened many people across the world in recent years, including the Shia Muslims in Nigeria.
He also lauded top Shia Cleric and Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky for his unwavering efforts over the past four decades to promote Shia Islam in the African nation.
The number of Nigerian Shia Muslims has grown from some 1,000 people more than forty years ago to over 20 million at present, Beheshti added, paying tribute to Sheikh Zakzaky for years of endeavor.
In the year that Sheikh Zakzaky was arrested in Nigeria, more than 10 million Shia Nigerians had attended the Arba’een mourning processions in the country, he stated.
Sheikh Zakzaky has been held in detention since December 2015 and was charged just in April 2018 with murder, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace and other accusations. He has pleaded not guilty.
The top cleric, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight in a raid which was carried out by the Nigerian army on his residence in the northern town of Zaria in December 2015.
During the raid, Zakzaky’s wife sustained serious wounds too and more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were martyred. Zakzaky, his wife, and a large number of the cleric’s followers have since been in custody.