Arbaeen: Number of Visitors


Arbaeen: Number of Visitors

The following article about the Arbaeen was originally written in Arabic by Ahmad Al-Hasani, but was translated for Even though our website does not often deal with such topics, however, we have made an exception this time around in order to expose scholars like Mahdi Modarrassi who is either dishonest to his followers, or is too gullible for his turban.

The official governmental resources, the Shia Institutions, and two-faced media and of the Shia Persian Government proclaim and assure that the number of visitors (to Karbala’a) in this year’s Arbaeen anniversary reached seventeen million people! Of course, many ignorant people happily accepted this figure!

Let’s take a deep look on these claims logically.

All statistics agree that the Iraqi population is around 29 million (taking into consideration that one million were killed in military fight from 2003 till now). And when we take into consideration that three million Iraqi are refugees outside Iraq, the real number decreases to 26 million. And when we extract the number of non-Muslims, like Christians, Yazeedis, and Sabians, we reach the number of 25 million Muslim.

Now, let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Shias represent 60% of the Iraqi population and the Sunni’s represent 40%. Actually, let’s say the Shias represent 65% and Sunnis represent 35%; then, this means that the number of Shias in Iraq is 16.25 million.

Based on this number, there are three categories of Shias who cannot visit karbala’a on the Arbaeen: Young kids, the elderly, and sick people. The international figures state that 38% of Iraqis are under 14 years old; while 3% are above 64 years old. Thus, we can presume that 15% of the Shia Iraqis are under 14 meaning that they will not be able to attend this ceremony. Their number is 2.4 million. The mothers of these children will not visit the city as they have to look after them. Hypothetically speaking, there are two kids under five years old per family, then 1.2 million women were not able to make it. Let’s also assume that 2% (of Iraqis) are from the elderly, which constitute 325,000 people at least. Furthermore, there is the number of sick people in hospitals and houses, and the total number is around 4.5 million Shias who are prevented from attending. In addition, we have to add a number of 750,000 Shias that represents the Shias in different security sectors (i.e the army, police, and other institutions, etc…); this increases the number to 5.25 million. Also,if we add pregnant, menstruating, and confined women, then the number ups to 6 million.

This means that if every adult Shia, capable of walking, goes to Karbala to celebrate the Arbaeen; the number will be 10.5 million. If we then add a number of 300,000 foreign Arab visitors, according to the official Iraqi departments; the total number will be 11 million. Now, where did that extra six million visitors come from?

As for the hotels, the official resources assure that the number of hotels that were able to receive clients is 400 hotels. Hypothetically speaking, the average capacity of each hotel is 100 people; the overall number is 40,000 people. Where did the rest go? 50 schools were opened to receive visitors. Around 500 people in each school, the number is 25,000 people. Let’s also assume that 1000 family received visitors in their own houses; 10 people in each. The number is 10,000 people. The overall number is 75,000 people. Let’s say 100,000 visitors had a residence. Where did the other millions reside?

Regarding the sewage and sanitary drainage, we all know that Karbala was sunk in water the last time it rained, which means that the sewage infrastructure has not been rehabilitated since the toppling of the previous regime. Let’s assume that 17 million people have to urinate three times per day, and that every individual urinates around one liter of fluids. That would mean that there is fifty million liters of fluids that pass by Karbala’s sewage every day. This number is five times more than the amount of water that passed by the sewage during rainy days. Shall we continue and discuss the eight million kilograms of other bodily excrements as well?

Below is some photos of the rubbish & waste “management system” in Karbala. If the city can’t even provide acceptable standard of service for their own residents which is less than 2 millions people, then how on earth can they provide better service to tens of millions more people? This photos are taken from “The Abandoned: The Forgotten Orphans of Karbala” (mins 43:25)

Speaking of the ceremonies of the Arbaeen, visitors have to reside in Karbala in a specific day next to al-Husayn grave may Allah be pleased with him. The engineer Ibrahim al-Zoubaydi provided us with an illustrated map in which he explains, in an intellectual manner, the capacity of the area that surrounds al-Husayn’s grave. We can see, based on this map, that the total area filled by visitors does not exceed 500 thousand m2; let’s presume that each person needs a space of 0.5m to stand, let alone lay down, this mean that this area cannot be filled with more than one million people if we placed people in rows one after the other. Anyway, we already know that Karbala is not a plain land, but that it is settled. This means that this city cannot, in its best conditions, have capacity for more than 500,000 people from the visitors who came from outside Karbala to perform the ceremonies of the Arbaeen visit. Since we haven’t seen any long queues or a large number of crowds in the city’s entry sides because there is no place to stand on near to the grave, nor have we seen a state of confusion and disturbance due to the over-crowdedness, then we can say that the real number of visitors did not reach more than half a million people.    

Let’s be more rational please. The entire area of settled Mecca is 88 km2, while the central area that surrounds the Mosque is of 6km2. This area is ten times more the area of Karbala. We all know the crowdedness in Mecca when it welcomes around two million pilgrims in this area though it is equipped with a huge number of hotels and apartment buildings. Now the question is: How can we put 17 million people in an area that constitutes 1/6th the area of Mecca? And here, we are not trying to compare Mecca, this holy city, with any other place on the earth. According to retired and sick minds only, you can put 100 million people per 1 m2

Karbala Area
700m x 700m Area of Karbala

The research team of has looked into the website in order to verify some of the criticisms mentioned by the author of the article and we suggest that readers do the same. We have found that Karbala only has twelve listed properties, while Makkah has 127 listed properties. Furthermore, hotels in Makkah like the Pullman Zamzam have a total of 1315 rooms for guests, while the Hotel Karbala Rayhaan, while seems to be the most popular hotel in Karbala on the website only includes 185 rooms.

Hotels/Properties in Karbala

Somebody either needs to be telling the hotel tycoons that they are under-investing in Karbala, or someone should tell the Shia statisticians to stop lying through their teeth.

If it’s still unclear to some of our more stubborn visitors, let’s show them some visual evidence of the gigantic difference between the two locations, hopefully their intellect will be able to process these comparative images.

Two images taken on the same eye-level altitude of 1.5 km.


Makkah hosts a big number of pilgrims annually, it reaches its maximum capacity estimated at about 2 to 5 million visitors both Sunni & Shia, (remember that Makkah has several floors/layers that are all filled). On the other hand, Karbala is supposed to have contained 10 million to 17 million Shia visitors (in Arbaeen) according to Shiite authorities just in one day! How does that make sense when it’s a significantly smaller area!? You judge!


Next, we use advanced software to figure out an accurate number for the areas in question. Below data are taken from area calculator at

Thus we find that al-Haram in Makkah which is completely full at Hajj, is about five times bigger than both Shia shrines and whatever is between them. Therefore, if Makkah can reach its full capacity of 2.5 to 3 million during Hajj, how can we believe that the Karbala’ shrines held 20-22 million in the Arbaeen of 2014, 15-18 million in 2013 or 10 million in 2015. They even claimed 12 million visitors to Kadhimiyyah (Musa al-Kadhim’s shrine) in 2015 which is half the area of the 2 shrines in Karbala’!

The following video compares two events, the Jumu`ah prayer in Jakarta in Indonesia, an area which is much bigger than the 2 Shrines in Karbala’, the area is completely full as one can clearly see yet the honest and professional media estimated the number of people to be at 2 million. The video then shows the visitors of the two shrines at Arbaeen, a much smaller area than the square at Jakarta, it’s not even filled with people yet Shia media will claim the visitors are 14 million.

After watching a couple of Drone footage from Iraqi and Shia YT channels on Arbaeen as well as aerial images posted by them online, the TS team estimates that the true number of Shia visitors to Karbala’ on Arbaeen is less than 1 million. Most likely, they number around 300,000 to 500,000 and God knows the true number. So when you read on Shia propaganda outlets like “The Shia Post” titles like these “Number of Arbaeen pilgrims in Iraq exceeds 26 Million” Then know O dear reader that these folks are shameless liars who live in delusions.


After cornering the Shia with clear evidence, they shifted their arguments and began to say:

A- No, we don’t mean that 20 million people were gathered in Arbaeen at once. Rather, it is during the period of all 40 days.

We respond: In that case you’re dividing the alleged 20 million by a 40 days and thus we’re ending up with around 500,000 people in the city at one time. Hardly, the “largest gathering in the world” as you exaggerators claim.

B- No, the 20 million were not all in the city at once. Rather, most of them were on the road between Najaf and Karbala’.

We respond: Similar to the above, this means the people were not gathered in the city. Thus by default your claim of “largest gathering in the world” is refuted. However, we will go a step beyond as always and calculate the numbers for you to show you that this lie is a mathematical impossibility.

Below are images of the Najaf-Karbala’ entrances and the Karbala’-Najaf entrance on the day of Arbaeen:



Najaf to Karbala’ is a 75 km long road, this road is about 10 m long in its width, giving a total area of 750.000 m2. If we take a crowd density of 1 person per m2 (which is too generous), it produces 0.75 million people. Let’s also factor in the road from Baghdad, which is 100 km to Karbala’ thus giving another million. Add the road from Hilla to it too, which gives another 50 km and an additional half a million people, you still get only a total of 2.25 million people.

Additionally, if we take the area of two shrines and whatever is between, that area is about 85,000 m2. Regarding crowd densities, it is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to get a crowd density of over 9 people per square meter, which is what you see sometimes in Japan when they squeeze people into a full train. So if we remove the two shrines and all the trees and obstacles then level everything and pack the people on those two squares and between you would end up with another 0.75 million people. Unless these shrines have ten floors (they don’t) you could physically speaking never even reach a million on the gathering place itself.

You see dear reader, with even the most ridiculous assumptions, filling from the north the entire road from Baghdad to Karbala, from the east the entire road from Hilla to Karbala, and filling from the south the entire road from Najaf to Karbala and absolutely packing the area of the two shrines with people and we still can’t get past the 3 million! Refer to the satellite images above to see that the road from Najaf’s side leading to Karbala’ is almost empty. Whereas the entrance to Karbala’ from Najaf seems active but is nowhere near being fully packed (large gaps between crowd).

Keep in mind, Karbala has less than ten entrances to the city. That means that if you want to accommodate an influx of 23 million people on a day, then assuming ten entrances, through EACH ENTRANCE would have to pass more than 25 people EVERY SINGLE SECOND for the ENTIRE 24 HOURS of that day!!

May God further expose the extremists and exaggerator.


  1. Another preposterous attempt to depreciate what is the world’s largest gathering.

    Are you blind? The three categories of Shia are visiting Karbala without any complaints.

    Those other millions can sleep, eat and pray on the muddy ground if you like. The Quran says: “The servants of (ALLAH) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, Peace (25:63)” We don’t need any hotels because they are a symbol of extravagance.

    What is with this pathetic argument about residences and hotels. When you visit a sacred holy city, it is obligatory to practice humility, selflessness and generosity. Unlike Mecca, which has been usurped by forces of greed, evil and capitalism and devoid it of its spiritual sanctity perhaps you scumbags should learn a lesson from Karbala on how to administer a holy place. There was a time when Mecca was not 88 sq. km. it was a small yet a significant city. But the evil Wahhabi forces captured it and turned it into a Las Vegas. We don’t need those 127 useless properties when they are occupied only five days in a year and are a waste of space and money.

    Perhaps you forgot about those hundreds of makeshift tents and stalls called mawkeb which are set up by local Iraqis to serve the pilgrims. They too are a part of the Arabeen pilgrimage so include their numbers as well. Unlike Mecca, which has been contaminated with McDonalds and Starbucks, here we are served food made by locals for free.

    This goes to show you ignoramus have never been to Karbala and you are not an expert in tourism, hospitality and statistics! Yes I have also never been there but I have seen on television. Log on to Ahlul bayt TV or Karbala TV and see the images for yourself.

    According to this report, 11 million should have made it to Karbala and not 17 million. That is still 5 times greater than the number of pilgrims to Mecca so your attempt to degrade this gathering has miserably failed! Keep your rational, capitalistic and materialistic thoughts to yourself. You want to play the numbers game! According to your logic, Muslims should have lost the Battle of Badr because let’s be rational! Does a military force of 313 stand a chance against a force of 1100?

    Assalam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah!

    • It is your argument which is illogical and makes no sense.

      Your first nonsense is that you claimed all three categories, (women, babies and elders) have all visited, so technically you just claimed that all of Iraq was in Karbala and that if we had gone to any Shia city in Iraq we’d find it empty as everybody was out in Karbala? That’s a low-class illogical argument but so is all of Tashayyu`.

      Secondly, you say that the people are so many but we wouldn’t know of it because they’re all sleeping in the mud and the dirt, I seriously doubt they are and that remains an empty claim with nothing to back it.

      You say that Makkah can learn from Karbala? Learn what? Dirtiness? Maybe you should ask the residents of Karbala and Qum about how dirty, disorganized and rundown they are. Streets are literally filled with garbage.

      Then you say that the visitors were 11 million and you say “you forgot about those hundreds of makeshift tents and stalls” No sane academic who has self respect will claim that millions were all stationed in a couple of hundred tents. I’d love to see visual evidence of these thousands of tents that can hold so many millions of human beings.

      Pictures speak more than a thousand words no? burn in your rage.

    • Excellent reply to the most illiterate people who know not what is ISLAM?
      Go next year & see with your own eyes, Sorry to say but in Saudi Hotels
      I have seen with our own eyes the misuse of islamic place for their lesure.
      1 Km near the mosque and i was in Ehram.

      Please do you homework properly bad boys.

      • What is ISLAM? Twelver Shia ideology and writings are the furthest from true and pure Islam. You’d have to be very blessed to be a Shia and still know what is Islam, if you were blessed you wouldn’t be a Twelver in the first place.

        I leave you with this image of the northern entrance to Karbala’:

        Also, what will going there accomplish? We have clear aerial images and satellite scans of the location as well as accurate numbers for the total area of the two shrines, why do you want us to go there ourselves? Scientifically speaking, going there is not helpful at all. Unless you Shia can fly in space or have huge stadiums underground, there’s no way the numbers mentioned by your leaders are accurate, so you can go dream about your 17 million and 22 million, you Shia have been living in a dream since your 11th Imam died.

    • Oh and by the way, you kept claiming that Karbala does not promote extravagance and that Makkah is occupied by forces of greed who waste money whereas Karbala requires humility etc…

      Your argument would make a little bit of sense if your Shia Shrine wasn’t made of SOLID GOLD!!! Are you mentally deficient!? Criticizing the extravagance in Makkah when we’re discussing your golden shrine!?

      Here, let me remind you of the history of your shrine:

      1384 ce The two minarets were reconstructed of gold by Sultan Ahmad ibn `Uways. The courtyard was also extended.

      1796 ce Aghā Muhammad Shāh Qājār covered the dome with gold. He also decorated the Min’ar and gold plated it.

      1817 ce Fat’h ‘Alī Shāh Qājār reconstructed the screens by plating with silver. He also replated the dome with gold and therefore repaired the damage caused by the Wahhabis.

      1939 ce Syedna Taher Saifuddin, of the Dawoodi Bohra community presented a set of solid silver screens with gold which were attached to the shrine. This set is made of 500 gold coins (each coin consisted 12 grams weight) and 200 thousand coins of silver, beautified with precious gems.

      1941 ce The western minaret was rebuilt by Dr Syedna Taher Saifuddin. He spent a considerable amount gold plating all the Min’ar.

      So The first dome is 27 meters high and completely covered with gold.

      Please, have some shame before you start criticizing other governments for their mistakes.

  2. Thank you for such a great information. I really did not know about all these gold stuff. Seriously I start believing in miracles. If Karbla cannot accommodate even a million people then how is it possible that every year the number of pilgrims are more then 5 million on Ashoura and more the 20 million on Arbaen. It is such a miracle.
    Secondly, you mentioned about shrines are made up of GOLD!! Seriously? Wallahi I want to visit Karbla Again.
    Labaik Ya Hussain (a.s)
    Seriously if anyone wants to see miracles on earth should visit KARBLA.
    Thank you for telling us all these miracles.
    And Alhamdulillah I was part of ASHOURA 2017, and next year I will be a part of Arbaen. So next year the number of Arbaens will be 20 million and “1”.

  3. Dear all

    Message of Islam and all school of thoughts is “salam” peace. I think its a great discussion but do we really need to call each other, dumb, blind etc.

    its 1 million or 10 million or 100 million. At the end its a great ceberation of what imam Hussain did for the religion. He does not belong to shia or sunni. Its one the greatest story of human dignity and steadfastness for doing the right thing.

    We should all base our evaluations on fact and no matter what pls lets debate with respect and humility.

  4. By Allah Shais lies and deception have no limits. They deliberately lies and know that they are lying yet the will CONTINUE to lie and would be stubborn in their false claims too.
    Well explained and exposed.
    Thank you TSN team….May Allah reward you for exposing the deviants.Ameen

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