Here is the English abstract of Dr. S. Mohammad Mousavi Baigi’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.
Philosophical Foundations of Pilgrimage
One of the customs emphasized in almost all divine religions is the presence of believers in specific places to perform rituals. Due to the connection of this matter with prophethood, it can also be discussed from a philosophical perspective. In this research, seven philosophical foundations regarding the pilgrimage and how it affects the souls of believers have been enumerated: 1. Based on principles of Islamic philosophy, creation occurs in a specific order and through the mediation of angels of Divine Proximity. , 2. Causality is dependent on the cognation between cause and effect, which can be conceived in two ways: one in terms of bringing into existence, and the other in terms of bestowing secondary perfections, 3. Bestowing perfection is in accordance with the individual’s capability, as the Almighty (the Absolute Bestower) does not deprive anyone of any goodness unless they lack the capability to receive it, 4. Human souls differ in their acceptance of spiritual perfections. A few individuals, without the need for teachers, have the capability for completeness (holy souls), and if they reach the rank of intellects or higher, they show the same effects as those manifested by angels of Divine Proximity, 5. The purpose of pilgrimage is to acquire perfection for the pilgrim’s soul, which is also dependent upon his/her capability, 6. Physical matters are influenced by spiritual matters. For example, a place that has a connection to the body of a divine human (such as his/her burial place or the place of his/her residence), obtains a certain degree of real eminence. This place-related perfection brings about perfection for other bodies which are in contact with that place, 7. The gathering and multitude of physical bodies is also important because the greater number of pilgrims indicates the greater attention to the divine person. Based on these foundations, it can be concluded that the influence of a divine human is greater than that of the intellects, as their cognation to humans is greater than that of angels of Divine Proximity. On the other hand, the perfection of a divine human is equal to or greater than that of the angels. Therefore, paying attention to the divine humans, or visiting places related to them, or any other action that strengthens the aspects of resemblance, harmony, and capability to attain perfection, leads to an increase in perfection for the human soul.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi