Harms of Arbaeen Hosayni Walk: A Sociological Study

Document Type : Original Article


Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Ayatollah Boroujerdi University, Boroujerd, Iran


The Arbaeen Hosayni Walk is a transnational, historical, multidimensional, trans-religious, and interdisciplinary phenomenon with various functions and consequences, which has long been of special importance and prestige and has been considered a super event. Pilgrimage rituals with such a large population from different countries and cultures certainly face different harms. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a sociological study of the harms that threaten the Arbaeen Hosayni Walk so that by accurately identifying and eliminating them, we can prevent their consequences and destructive effects. Using a theoretical and purposeful sampling method, 20 Iranian and Iraqi pilgrims were interviewed on the Arbaeen footpath from Najaf to Karbala in September 2017. The data of this qualitative study were collected through a combined method of observation and semi-structured interviews. The findings show that the harms that threaten the Arbaeen Walk are as follows: cultural differences and conflicts, competition between Iranian mawakeb (tents) and the destruction of the traditional pattern of Iraqi Arbaeen ritual, social harms, secularization, extravagance, waste and environmental pollution, lack of attention to the duties of religion, the existence of deviant sects, the Sunni-Shiite divide, and the governmentalization of the ritual.  Findings show that improving the status quo, deepening religious knowledge, and raising awareness about the philosophy of the Arbaeen Walk should be given priority.


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