Millions of Shiite Muslims visit Iraq for Ashura Pilgrimage

Published September 9th, 2019 - 07:13 GMT

Ashura is one of the most important festivals for Shiite Muslims, and falls on the 10th day of Muharram, which is the mourning period for the seventh-century killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

Tens of millions of Shiite Muslims from around the world will visit Iraq  to see the shrines of Hussain, grandson of Prophet Mohammed, and his brother Abbas on the day of “Ashura.”

This annual pilgrimage marks the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic new year. As the Islamic calendar is a lunar one, the day of Ashura changes from year to year.

This history is reenacted throughout the world on the day of Ashura.

In Iraq, millions of pilgrims fill the streets to visit the shrines, chanting poems of lamentation, and witness a reenactment of violence in Karbala and the capture of the women and children.
 

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An Iraqi Shiite Muslim covered with blood takes part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura , in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP

An Iraqi Shiite Muslim covered with blood takes part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura , in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP

Iraqi Shiite Muslims take part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura, in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP

Iraqi Shiite Muslims take part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura, in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP

Turkish Shiite men walk during the Shi'ite Tasoua religious event, a day ahead of Ashura on September 8, 2019, in Istanbul. Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP

Turkish Shiite men walk during the Shi'ite Tasoua religious event, a day ahead of Ashura on September 8, 2019, in Istanbul. Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP

Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP

Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP

Muslim women pilgrims of the Dawoodo Bohra community take part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo, in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.  ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP

Muslim women pilgrims of the Dawoodo Bohra community take part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo, in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson. ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP

The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Mohammed SAWAF / AFP

The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Mohammed SAWAF / AFP

Iraqi Shiite men beat their backs with metal chains in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya marking the 8th day of Muharram, ahead of Ashura. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP

Iraqi Shiite men beat their backs with metal chains in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya marking the 8th day of Muharram, ahead of Ashura. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP

Iraqi Shiites in costumes re-enact events of Ashura in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya, marking the 8th day of Muharram.  Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP

Iraqi Shiites in costumes re-enact events of Ashura in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya, marking the 8th day of Muharram. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP

The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP

The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP

The Spiritual leader of Dawoodi Bohra Muslims, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (C) takes part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.  ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP

The Spiritual leader of Dawoodi Bohra Muslims, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (C) takes part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson. ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP

Iraqi Shiite Muslims perform mourning rituals during a ceremony marking the 7th day of Muharram as part of Ashura in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam, commemorates the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein. Haidar HAMDANI / AFP

Iraqi Shiite Muslims perform mourning rituals during a ceremony marking the 7th day of Muharram as part of Ashura in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam, commemorates the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein. Haidar HAMDANI / AFP

An Iraqi Shiite Muslim covered with blood takes part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura , in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP
Iraqi Shiite Muslims take part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura, in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP
Turkish Shiite men walk during the Shi'ite Tasoua religious event, a day ahead of Ashura on September 8, 2019, in Istanbul. Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP
Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP
Muslim women pilgrims of the Dawoodo Bohra community take part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo, in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.  ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP
The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Mohammed SAWAF / AFP
Iraqi Shiite men beat their backs with metal chains in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya marking the 8th day of Muharram, ahead of Ashura. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP
Iraqi Shiites in costumes re-enact events of Ashura in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya, marking the 8th day of Muharram.  Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP
The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP
The Spiritual leader of Dawoodi Bohra Muslims, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (C) takes part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.  ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP
Iraqi Shiite Muslims perform mourning rituals during a ceremony marking the 7th day of Muharram as part of Ashura in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam, commemorates the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein. Haidar HAMDANI / AFP
An Iraqi Shiite Muslim covered with blood takes part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura , in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP
An Iraqi Shiite Muslim covered with blood takes part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura , in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP
Iraqi Shiite Muslims take part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura, in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP
Iraqi Shiite Muslims take part in commemorations marking the 8th day of Muharram ahead of Ashura, in the southern city of Basra. Hussein FALEH / AFP
Turkish Shiite men walk during the Shi'ite Tasoua religious event, a day ahead of Ashura on September 8, 2019, in Istanbul. Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP
Turkish Shiite men walk during the Shi'ite Tasoua religious event, a day ahead of Ashura on September 8, 2019, in Istanbul. Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP
Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP
Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala. Yasin AKGUL / AFP
Muslim women pilgrims of the Dawoodo Bohra community take part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo, in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.  ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP
Muslim women pilgrims of the Dawoodo Bohra community take part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo, in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson. ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP
The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Mohammed SAWAF / AFP
The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Mohammed SAWAF / AFP
Iraqi Shiite men beat their backs with metal chains in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya marking the 8th day of Muharram, ahead of Ashura. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP
Iraqi Shiite men beat their backs with metal chains in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya marking the 8th day of Muharram, ahead of Ashura. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP
Iraqi Shiites in costumes re-enact events of Ashura in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya, marking the 8th day of Muharram.  Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP
Iraqi Shiites in costumes re-enact events of Ashura in the capital Baghdad's mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya, marking the 8th day of Muharram. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP
The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP
The religious commemoration of Ashura, which includes a ten-day mourning period starting on the first day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, commemorates the seventh-century slaying of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in Karbala. Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP
The Spiritual leader of Dawoodi Bohra Muslims, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (C) takes part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.  ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP
The Spiritual leader of Dawoodi Bohra Muslims, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (C) takes part in a Bohra ceremony in Colombo in the run up to Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam and commemorates the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson. ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP
Iraqi Shiite Muslims perform mourning rituals during a ceremony marking the 7th day of Muharram as part of Ashura in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam, commemorates the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein. Haidar HAMDANI / AFP
Iraqi Shiite Muslims perform mourning rituals during a ceremony marking the 7th day of Muharram as part of Ashura in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. Ashura, one of the holiest days in Shiite Islam, commemorates the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein. Haidar HAMDANI / AFP