Thousands of Iranians are marching toward the Iraqi holy city of Karbala to perform the rituals of Arba’een, one of the most revered religious occasions on the Islamic calendar.
On Thursday, Iranian pilgrims gathered at Mehran border crossing to pass into Karbala to honor the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam.
Arba’een occurs 40 days after Ashura, the tenth day of the lunar calendar month of Muharram when the grandson of Prophet Muhammad was martyred at the hands of the tyrant of the time, Yazid I, back in the seventh century.
Imam Hussein is a highly-venerated figure not only among Shias but also Sunni Muslims. Even some groups of Iraqi Christians join the march to Karbala.
Large numbers of Iranians travel to Iraq each year, walking the distance between the Iraqi holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, which houses the Imam’s holy shrine, so as to be able to be there by Arba’een, which falls on November 10 this year.
The devotees are joined by their fellow Muslims from other countries as well as followers of other religious groups such as Christians on the course.