Millions of people from across the world continue to pour into Iraq’s holy city of Karbala to commemorate Arba’een, a religious mourning ceremony observed by Shia Muslims.
Arba’een marks 40 days after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Imam Hussein and 72 of his loyal companions, including family members, were martyred on Ashura, the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram, in the battle of Karbala against the second Umayyad caliph, Yazid I, in 680 A.D. Imam Hussein was killed after he refused to pledge allegiance to the tyrant ruler.
Pictures coming out of Iraq show mourners dressed in black, walking towards Karbala where they will take part in the world’s largest human gathering, around Imam Hussein’s shrine this weekend.
Iraqi forces have tightened security to protect pilgrims against terrorist attacks ahead of the mourning rituals.