Records believed to be broken for the world’s largest peace gathering

Around 22 million people are thought to have gathered for Arbayeen. Credit: ITV News

By Roohi Hasan, ITV News Senior Producer

History has been made in Iraq and globally tonight as the world’s largest gathering has recorded its highest ever attendance. 

Around 22 million people are estimated to have travelled to Karbala in Iraq to commemorate the event of Arbaeen, double the numbers of 2016 and many more than the 2 to 3 million who attended this year’s Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. 

Arbaeen marks the fortieth day after the death anniversary of Prophet Mohammed’s family. His grandson Hussain, along with his family and companions, including his baby son, were slaughtered in 680AD in what is now the city of Karbala, Iraq. 

It has been reported that the number of pilgrims coming for Arbaeen this year has exceeded 22 million. Credit: ITV News

Today the date is marked by a peaceful walk from the city of Najaf to Karbala, where Shia Muslim pilgrims of all ages, races, physical abilities and nationalities come together to travel between the shrines of the Prophet’s son in law Ali and the Prophet’s grandson Hussain.

It is a time of year when showing kindness is key and Iraq is being a shining example of this according to one businessman from Texas making the pilgrimage, Hyder Younus, told ITV News:  “To see a country which is still in poverty come together to take care of millions, by offering them food, water, a place to stay and transportation for free is beyond unbelievable.  This event has gone beyond faith to become the identity of the post war Iraq story”. 

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