World, Middle East

Iranians flock to Iraq’s Karbala for Shia holy day

Arbaeen marks end of 40-day mourning period for Prophet Mohammad's martyred grandson, Hussein

Iranians flock to Iraq’s Karbala for Shia holy day FILE PHOTO - Imam Abbas Shrine during the Arbaeen ceremony in the Iraqi city of Karbala

By Murat Karadag


More than two million Iranian Shias on Wednesday flocked into Iraq for Arbaeen, the last day of the 40-day mourning period that follows the anniversary of the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad's grandson, Hussein, in the seventh century. 

According to Iranian officials, almost 2.2 million Iranian Shias crossed the border on Wednesday, converging on Iraq’s city of Karbala to mark the occasion. 

A total of 30,000 Iraqi policemen were deployed to provide security at the border, Hussein Sacidiniya, a police officer in Karbala, told Anadolu Agency. 

Throngs of Shia pilgrims -- from Iraq, Iran and other states in the region -- converged on central Karbala on Wednesday to pray at the shrine of the prophet’s martyred grandson.

Hussein, along with 72 loyal companions, was killed at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD (year 61 on the Islamic calendar) by the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph.

The incident prompted Islam’s “great schism”, which ended up splitting the Muslim world into Sunni and Shia camps.

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