For centuries, Shi’ite Muslims from across the globe have requested to be buried in the Wadi as-Salaam cemetery in Najaf, Iraq. The cemetery holds the grave of Imam Ali, the son-in-law of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, who Shi’ite Muslims consider to be the prophet’s rightful successor.
It’s estimated that Wadi as-Salaam now contains up to five million graves. With an upsurge in deaths from ISIL, the number of bodies being buried in the cemetery daily has increased. Space is becoming scarce, and the price of a grave at the cemetery has doubled since 2014.