Arba’een: inside the world’s biggest annual pilgrimage

This photographic series documents the world’s largest annual pilgrimage: Arba’een. An event that commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali (the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, who was killed by Yazīd on the 10th day of the month of Muharram), and takes place in Karbala, Iraq. This year, over 15-million Shi’a Muslims from all corners of the globe journeyed to the small city of Karbala, Iraq to pay their respects. Every single pilgrim is fed, watered, and sheltered completely for free by the generosity of local and international people throughout Arba’een. The event, which is not organised or facilitated by any official body or government, happens without shortages, any major incident, or terror attack. Pilgrims pass through two holy shrines to complete their journeys. They wave flags and banners and some reenact scenes, while others slap their faces and bodies, but almost everyone weeps – men, women and children alike.