Under the reign of Saddam Hussein, openly celebrating Arba’een was illegal. Since his fall from power, hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims head to Karbala, a city south of Baghdad, to mark the religious rite. The event marks the end of a 40-day period of mourning after the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad, who was killed in the seventh century. The continued tensions between Shia and Sunni Muslims in Iraq have resulted in terrorist cells planning bombings during the religious pilgrimage in recent years.
Photo caption: Thousands of Shia Muslims gather around the Husayn Mosque in Karbala after making the Pilgrimage on foot during Arba'een. Credit: Public Domain
» BBC.. "In pictures: Arbaeen in Karbala" February 16, 2009.
» Al Jazeera. "Shia pilgrims pour into Karbala." February 4, 2010.