Here is the English abstract of Dr. Ahmad Karimi's (Associate Professor, Department of Islamic Theology, The University of Quran and Hadith) presentation at the 4th pre-con meeting of the conference “Theology of Pilgrimage" which was held by The University and Research Institute of Quran and Hadith on September 27, 2023, at The University of Quran and Hadith, Rey, Iran.
Phenomenology of the Trans-spatial Dimensions of the Theology of Pilgrimage in Imāmiyya’s Hadiths
Phenomenology is a method aimed at understanding what has transpired within the consciousness and comprehension of the human creator of a work/phenomenon. In this method, the researcher endeavors, through an emic perspective, to identify the creator’s comprehension, without affirmation or denial of the work’s propositions and judgments. When Imamiyyah narrations (hadiths) are reinterpreted through a phenomenological lens, new descriptions and elements related to the concept of pilgrimage can be uncovered. A phenomenological analysis of the narrations in the book "Kāmil al-Ziyārāt" suggests that pilgrimage has trans-spatial dimensions. In other words, pilgrimage does not entail physical presence within the pilgrimage sites. These trans-spatial aspects are linked to two spheres: epistemic and existential. From an epistemic perspective, a true knowledge of the one being visited and their position is considered one of the fundamental components of pilgrimage, and a separate section in the book "Kāmil al-Ziyārāt" is dedicated to the epistemic understanding of the Imams and the Ahl al-Bayt. The pilgrim's existential connection with the one being visited is another core element of pilgrimage. The narrations employ various expressions and forms to describe this connection and existential relationship, including concepts such as love for the one being visited, aversion to their adversaries, attention and focus on the one being visited, and empathy with the one being visited for their sufferings. Additionally, the issue of believing that the one being visited is present is also addressed in this context, which has a special section in "Kāmil al-Ziyārāt".
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi