Defying terrorists, Muslims from many regional countries and beyond continue to descend on the holy city of Karbala in Iraq for the culmination of a 40-day mourning period for an infallible Shia imam.
Tens of thousands from Iraq, Pakistan, India, Iran, Bahrain, Lebanon, Azerbaijan and Turkey on Wednesday were trekking a key road between Najaf – another holy city in Iraq – and Karbala on foot in a sign of devotion.
The occasion, known as Arba’een, has invariably served as a driving force for Muslim unity in the face of attempts to create divergence, animosity, and misunderstanding.
Each year, followers of other religious groups such as Christians and Sunni Muslims join the journey to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad and the third Imam of Shia Muslims.
The occasion has found additional significance in recent years as it become a rallying point for the campaign against Takfiri terrorists who have frequently targeted the pilgrims.
On Monday, Daesh terrorists targeted the pilgrims in Karbala and security forces in Fallujah, another central city, killing at least six people in each attack.
The occasion falls on Sunday and marks the final day of the mourning rituals held in memory of the suffering which Imam Hussein and his family as well as his companions were subjected to at the hands of the tyrant of the time, Yazid I, an Umayyad caliph, back in the seventh century.
Another important event in the lunar calendar is the 10th day of the Muslim month of Muharram, traditionally known as Ashura, when the Imam and 72 of his companions were martyred after refusing allegiance to Yazid.
The event equally draws millions of pilgrims in the face of Takfiri terrorists stalking everywhere.