Here is the English abstract of Mr. Seyyed Mohammad Kazem Tabataba'i's (Associate Professor at the University of Quran and Hadith; Chancellor of the Research Center of Hadith Sciences and Teachings) 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.
The Essence of Pilgrimage; the Emphasis on Monotheism in Visitation of the Holy Shrines of Shiite Imams; Case Studies: "Ziyārat al-Jāmiaʿah al-Kabīrah" and "Ziyārat ʾAmīn ʾAllāh"
"Ziyarat" (Pilgrimage), when examined through linguistic and terminological lenses, reveals itself to possess layers and hierarchies. Its core semantic essence is the "will" - a transcendent and metaphysical inclination that subsequently evolves into intention. Hence, it can be stated that the first and inaugural level of Pilgrimage is this "will," signifying the heartfelt connection between the pilgrim and the Infallibles. The second level is "intention," which propels the pilgrim towards the act of embarking on a journey to visit the Infallibles. The third level of Pilgrimage involves the "encounter" and meeting with the Infallibles, which is achieved through the physical presence within the shrines. The final and supreme layer of Pilgrimage encompasses the pilgrim's presence and unity with the Infallibles. This level seeks a particular form of knowledge, one that can bring the pilgrim's intellectual horizons closer to the sphere of knowledge possessed by the infallibles. This knowledge is manifested the best in pilgrimage prayers that truly expose the essence of pilgrimage and enhance the pilgrim's knowledge and understanding. The most significant aspect of this cognitive enhancement is the central concept of monotheism, which is more prominent and evident in pilgrimage prayers such as "Ziyārat al-Jāmiaʿah al-Kabīrah" and "Ziyārat ʾAmīn ʾAllāh". Ziyārat al-Jāmiaʿah al-Kabīrah, for example, enumerates over 200 exalted attributes of the Imams, accompanied by the mention of God 318 times. Ziyārat ʾAmīn ʾAllāh, on the other hand, consists of 66 invocations and praises of the Almighty, commencing with the description of the virtues of the Infallible Imam and concluding with attention to the Creator. In essence, Pilgrimage begins with the heartfelt desire and intention of the pilgrim towards the Infallible Imams and ultimately leads the pilgrim to a profound knowledge of God and monotheism.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi