Here is the English abstract of Dr. Ahmad Sadri's (Art Researcher) speech at the first series of scientific lectures of the international conference on Theology of Pilgrimage titled " Theology of Pilgrimage and Art" which was held online on Monday, July 10, 2023.
The Relationship between the Theology of Pilgrimage and the Iranian Music
The pilgrimage, due to its significant intellectual, cultural, and religious aspects, can be the subject of study from both theological and musical perspectives. In this study, the most important aspects of the relationship between the theology of pilgrimage and music in Iranian-Islamic culture are enumerated. Firstly, the pilgrimage journey and music are discussed. Musical melodies composed for welcoming or bidding farewell to pilgrims, particularly the Chavoushi chants, are considered enduring musical works within this culture. However, in addition to their musicality, their lyrics generally contain theological messages for the general public. These works, employing the imaginative elements of poetry and music, serve various theological purposes such as evoking spiritual fervor, reminding the purpose of pilgrimage, and paying continuous attention to God. The imaginative impact of music provides it with an advantage over purely rational teachings, as it leaves a lasting impression on the pilgrims' memories and evokes a greater emotional engagement. The second part of this study is dedicated to the relationship between pilgrimage sites and music. Each pilgrimage site has its own unique musical identity, including melodies of the call to prayer (ʾAzān) or the rhythmic beats of the drum (Naqāre Khāni), etc. While each site possesses its distinct musical identity, there is an inherent unity among the music of all sacred places. This point holds true for the music performed during various pilgrimage ceremonies, including holy feasts, mourning rituals, and celebrations of births. Recitation of pilgrimage supplications (Ziāratnāmeh), whether individually or collectively, and the recitation of specific invocations, such as Talbīyah or special prayers (Ṣalawāt-e Khāṣṣeh), are other forms of expression aided by musical instruments that reflect the spiritual journey and fervor of the pilgrims.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi