PHOTOS: The Shiite pilgrimage Arbaeen

Muslim pilgrims walk to the holy city of Karbala ahead of the Shiite ritual of Arbaeen, in Najaf, Iraq, on Nov. 30, 2015. Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for the killing of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson Hussein 13 centuries ago. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-ARBAEEN-PILGRIMAGE, originally transmitted on Dec. 3, 2015.

(RNS) It’s described as one of the world’s largest pilgrimages. Drawing an estimated 17 million Muslims to the Iraqi city of Karbala, the Shiite ritual known as Arbaeen dwarfs even the hajj in Mecca. Arbaeen marks the end of the 40-day mourning period after the anniversary of the seventh-century slaying of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein, which engendered the Sunni-Shiite schism.  All photos courtesy of Reuters

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About the author

Jerome Socolovsky

About the author

Sally Morrow

Sally Morrow joined Religion News Service in March 2012 as Photo/Multimedia Editor. She is a photographer and editor based in Kansas City. Morrow has worked as a multimedia editor and photographer at Newsday, The Des Moines Register, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.