Here is the English abstract of Dr. Abbas Ashrafi’s presentation in the 2nd pre-con meeting of the conference “Theology of Pilgrimage" which was held by Astan Quds Razavi’s Foundation of Islamic Researches on June 14, 2023, at Mashhad, Iran.
Women's Pilgrimage Sites in the Theologies of Different Religions
In religious studies, pilgrimage sites are symbols of the beliefs of each religion. These shrines usually have common features and are open to both men and women, regardless of gender. However, among them, there are a few shrines that are somehow dedicated to women; for example, they are exclusively for women to visit, or these shrines have some functions and achievements exclusively for women, or even though these shrines are primarily built by men, they are managed and overseen by women, forming a kind of women's administration that has also made the pilgrimage rituals somewhat specific to them. This exclusivity has a special meaning. Of course, the motivations for this exclusivity can vary in each religion, but by evaluating the narratives about these pilgrimages in different religions, some similarities and commonalities can be found. For example, in almost all of them, the prominence of feminine identity in contrast to men and a male-dominated society is very vivid. Moreover, some matters are exclusively dedicated to women and the object of pilgrimage is usually a woman who is venerated because of her suffering, virginity, etc. Examining evidence from various religions, this research primarily focuses on women's shrines in Iran, such as Bibi Shahrbanu Shrine in Shahr-e Rey, Bibi Dokhtaran in Shiraz, Bibi Doost in Sistan, etc.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi