Arbaeen 2015: World’s Largest Gathering in Picture

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The Arbaeen Pilgrimage is one of the largest annual religious gatherings of Shia Muslims. The pilgrimage is held once the 40-day mourning period has ended following Ashura; it is a religious ritual amongst Shia Muslims for the commemoration of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, Imam Hussain Ibn Ali’s death in the year 680 AD.

Millions of pilgrims gathered in the holy city of Karbala, Iraq in order to mark the sacred Shia Muslim act, Arbaeen. Hazrat Imam Hussain’s martyrdom is a defining occurrence in the split between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Over 22 million pilgrims have paid a visit to Karbala, making a new record for the yearly pilgrimage, said the Iraqi state-run media. According to official sources, Arbaeen drew 17 million pilgrims to Karbala. The number of visitors to Karbala during Arbaeen, supersede the two million people who visit Makkah during Hajj.

View the images from Arbaeen, the greatest annual religious gathering below.

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The shrines of Imam Abbas ibn Ali (front) and Imam Hussein during Arbaeen
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An aerial shot of pilgrims gathering at the shrine of Imam Abbas ibn Ali, brother of Imam Hussein, in Karbala
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Pilgrims try to touch the tomb inside the Imam al-Abbas shrine
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Pilgrims from Basra on camels walk through Najaf towards Karbala
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Shia Muslims touching the tomb of Imam al-Abbas
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Shia Muslim pilgrims walk to the holy city of Kerbala
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A woman pilgrim touching the portrait of Imam Hussein in Najaf
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Pilgrims walking to the holy city of Kerbala, for the Arbaeen ritual
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Shia Muslim pilgrims gather in Karbala for the Arbaeen religious pilgrimage
Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims travel to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shi'ite ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad
Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims travel to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shi’ite ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad
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Security staff searching pilgrims on entrance to Karbala
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The shadow of Iraqi security forces helicopters seen beside the truck transporting pilgrims in Karbala
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Member of the Iraqi presidential guard standing on foot at Baghdad’s Dora district since pilgrims head on foot towards Karbala
An Iraqi security forces guards as Shi'ite pilgrims walk to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shi'ite ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad,
An Iraqi security forces guards as Shi’ite pilgrims walk to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shi’ite ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad.

Several did the pilgrimage on foot from Baghdad, walking for days as the journey is 80km long. Some pilgrims even walked till Basra in southern Iraq, a journey of 700km.

Image Courtesy: International Business Times

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