HOLY CITY OF KARBALA, Iraq: An estimated six million
worshippers gathered at the holy shrine of Al-Imam Al-Hussein (AS) and
site of Imam al-Mahdi in the holy city of Karbala on 15th night of
Sha'aban (night between Thursday and Friday, August 6-7) honoring the
birthday of Al-Imam al-Mahdi al-Montadhar (AS).
"I'm very happy I'm here today, thanks to God," said Halima Naeem ,
60, a pilgrim from Basra. "The security is present and effective.
Iraqis are able, and sparing no effort."
Traffic began backing up for hours outside Karbala in all
directions Thursday night. Inside the city, dense crowds circled the
shrine of Imam Hussein (AS). It took as long as two hours to walk the
250 yards around the shrine.
Some revelers clapped to songs on the street under tent-like ribbons
of colored lights.
"It's very secure. With the presence of Prophet Muhammad
and his grandsons" — the imams — "Iraqis are up to the task," said
Ahmed Kamal, 30, who walked for two days to Karbala from the city of
Thursday’s A’maal culminated with the floating of
hundreds of candles and letters to Imam Al-Mahdi – Imam of the Era
(may Allah hasten his reappearance) - on a river in Holy Karbala at
Friday pre-dawn (Sha’ban 15, August 7).