The number of pilgrims to the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS), third Ahlul Bait Imam, exceeded three million yesterday, the day before Ashura (tenth day of the lunar month of Muharran).
However, local officials of Karbala have anticipated that the figure will rise to five million until Ashura noon.
Iranian pilgrims have already entered the holy city on Friday or are entering through four borders.
Since hotels were packed with pilgrims last night, the Iraqis themselves were forced to sleep on the streets leading to the holy shrine.
According to Iraq’s Interior Ministry on Thursday, the number of Iranian pilgrims attending Karbala is 20,000 but certain news resources say that the figure is higher.
Pilgrims from other countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and other foreign countries are also participating in the ongoing ceremony in Imam Hussein (AS) mausoleum.
This year’s mourning ceremony has not yet faced any security problem and no report to that effect has so far been received.
Iraqi officials have announced that they have deployed over 20,000 security forces for implementing Ashura security project.
The Day of Ashura is on the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram. Shiite commemorations of the Day of Ashura have traditionally included rituals which gather millions of Muslims all over the world.
It is commemorated by Shi’a Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of the Grand Prophet of Islam (PBUH) at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH ( October 10, 680 CE). The massacre of Hussain with small group of his companions and family members had great impact on the religious conscience of Muslims. Muslims have ever remembered it with sorrow and passion.