Here is the English abstract of Dr. Mahdi Soltani's (Faculty Member, Baqir al-Olum University, Iran) speech at the second series of scientific lectures of the international conference on Theology of Pilgrimage titled "Theology of Pilgrimage and Social Sciences" which was held online on July 18, 2023.
Pilgrimage and the World of Life Based on Transcendent Theosophy
Some researchers in the field of pilgrimage have made a dichotomy by setting daily interactions from the social communications of pilgrimage. In other words, they have described social communications of pilgrimage as something completely different from everyday life interactions. The beginning of this dichotomy can be traced back to the Christian world. Since the time of Augustine, dichotomies such as the City of God and the Earthly City have prevailed. According to Augustine, progress is pilgrimage itself, and as a pilgrim of the City of God, humans progress during this pilgrimage. However, Shiite theology and the transcendent theosophy, which is a re-explanation of Shiite theology, reject these dichotomies and argue that life is always a pilgrimage. Life is a journey, and human beings are pilgrims of this life. The existential subsistence of life is on Shiite theology, which is fully manifested in the Imam. The Imam is the complete manifestation of God and possesses the attributes of both elegance (Jamāl) and majesty (Jalāl). In the journey of life, human beings strive to ascertain these qualities. The substantial motion (al-Ḥarakah al-Jawhariyyah) that flows throughout the existence of life creates various forms on the individual as the latest species (al-Nawʿ al-Akhīr). In this journey, human beings are pilgrims of the Imam in the journey of life, either towards the elegance attributes of the Imam or the majesty attributes of the Imam. Interestingly, in the 14th century AD, Europeans also interpreted pilgrimage as a journey of life, just as in transcendent theosophy, in which the pilgrimage means the journey of life, a life whose existential subsistence is on the Imam. Although human beings are pilgrims throughout life and cannot be separated from the Sacred, according to the dichotomy of reality (Ḥaqīqat) and flimsiness (Raqīqat) in transcendent theosophy, the presence of the Sacred in some places and times (such as holy shrines or some special hours and days) is true (bi al-Ḥaqīqat), and in other places and times, is gradationally flimsy (bi al-Raqīqat).
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi