Millions throng Hazrat Imam Hussain's (RA) shrine for Arbaeen

Published December 5, 2015
Shia pilgrims march to Karbala during the Arbaeen ritual in Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday. The Shia ritual of Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for the killing of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)'s grandson Imam Husain 13 centuries ago. —AP
Shia pilgrims march to Karbala during the Arbaeen ritual in Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday. The Shia ritual of Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for the killing of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)'s grandson Imam Husain 13 centuries ago. —AP
Shias pilgrims wait to board a train at Baghdad central station. Thousands of Shia faithful heading to and returning from the holy city of Karbala have been massing in central Baghdad station in the days running up to the culmination of Arbaeen. —AFP
Shias pilgrims wait to board a train at Baghdad central station. Thousands of Shia faithful heading to and returning from the holy city of Karbala have been massing in central Baghdad station in the days running up to the culmination of Arbaeen. —AFP
Most of the millions of pilgrims that flock to Karbala each year walk and take buses to the holy shrine city. The train fare is only three US dollars/350 Pakistani Rupees, and avoids the many checkpoints that dot the road to Karbala but it stops in every station on the way and takes at least five hours to cover the 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Baghdad. —AFP
Most of the millions of pilgrims that flock to Karbala each year walk and take buses to the holy shrine city. The train fare is only three US dollars/350 Pakistani Rupees, and avoids the many checkpoints that dot the road to Karbala but it stops in every station on the way and takes at least five hours to cover the 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Baghdad. —AFP
Iraqi security forces use a sniffer dog to inspect the luggage of Shias pilgrims at Baghdad central train station. Iraqi officials say security was stepped up this year for the millions of pilgrims who descended on the holy city of Karbala to mark the commemoration of Arbaeen Wednesday. Operations were coordinated between the interior ministry, an umbrella group of militia volunteers and Iranian advisers. —AFP
Iraqi security forces use a sniffer dog to inspect the luggage of Shias pilgrims at Baghdad central train station. Iraqi officials say security was stepped up this year for the millions of pilgrims who descended on the holy city of Karbala to mark the commemoration of Arbaeen Wednesday. Operations were coordinated between the interior ministry, an umbrella group of militia volunteers and Iranian advisers. —AFP
Shia pilgrims walk to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the ritual of Arbaeen, in Najaf. Government run Iraqi state media said Wednesday the total number of pilgrims who have visited Karbala is more than 22 million. —Reuters
Shia pilgrims walk to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the ritual of Arbaeen, in Najaf. Government run Iraqi state media said Wednesday the total number of pilgrims who have visited Karbala is more than 22 million. —Reuters
An aerial view taken shows Iraqi Shia pilgrims gathering at the shrine of Imam Abbas ibn Ali, the brother of Imam Husain. —AFP
An aerial view taken shows Iraqi Shia pilgrims gathering at the shrine of Imam Abbas ibn Ali, the brother of Imam Husain. —AFP
An aerial view taken on shows Iraqi Shia pilgrims gathering at the shrines of Imam Abbas ibn Ali (front) and Imam Husain (background). —AFP
An aerial view taken on shows Iraqi Shia pilgrims gathering at the shrines of Imam Abbas ibn Ali (front) and Imam Husain (background). —AFP
Iraqi Shia pilgrims gather at the Imam Abbas shrine in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, 120 kms south of the capital Baghdad, on the eve of the Arbaeen religious festival which marks the 40th day after Ashura. —AFP
Iraqi Shia pilgrims gather at the Imam Abbas shrine in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, 120 kms south of the capital Baghdad, on the eve of the Arbaeen religious festival which marks the 40th day after Ashura. —AFP
Iraqi Shia pilgrims gather at the Imam Abbas shrine in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, 120 kms south of the capital Baghdad, on the eve of the Arbaeen religious festival which marks the 40th day after Ashura.  —AFP
Iraqi Shia pilgrims gather at the Imam Abbas shrine in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, 120 kms south of the capital Baghdad, on the eve of the Arbaeen religious festival which marks the 40th day after Ashura. —AFP
Shia pilgrims march to Karbala during the Arbaeen ritual in Baghdad, Iraq. The total number of pilgrims who have visited Karbala is more than 22 million.  —AP
Shia pilgrims march to Karbala during the Arbaeen ritual in Baghdad, Iraq. The total number of pilgrims who have visited Karbala is more than 22 million. —AP
Iraqi Shia pilgrims participate in the Arbaeen ritual in Baghdad, Iraq,  —AP
Iraqi Shia pilgrims participate in the Arbaeen ritual in Baghdad, Iraq, —AP

Millions of Shias, packed the city of Karbala on Thursday for the culmination of one of the world's largest religious events. The faithful have for days been streaming through the golden-domed mausoleum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) grandson who was killed in 680 AD by the armies of Yazid, despite the threat of militant attacks. Many in the sea of black-clad devotees swarming the shrine walked days to reach Karbala, sometimes from cities as far afield as Basra, about 500 kilometres away by road.

Thousands of “mawakeb”, spots where tents are erected by volunteers, are set up along the way to serve the pilgrims food and beverages. Baghdad and much of the country south of the capital come to a standstill in the days preceding Arbaeen, as several major motorways are reserved for pilgrims on foot on one side and authorised vehicles on the other. Over 20 million pilgrims, among them five million Arabs and foreigners, took part in the pilgrimage this year.

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