For those interested, the videos and abstracts of the English session of the conference, accompanied by the presentation files, are uploaded:
*Presentation Title: The Metaphor of “Pilgrimage” in Persian Mystical Poetry
*Presenter: Rasoul RAHBARI GHAZANI (Ph. D. Candidate, Department of Philosophy of Religion, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Türkiye)
This study critically explores the metaphorical use of “pilgrimage” (zīārat) in Persian mystical poetry, particularly in the works of Ḥāfeẓ Shīrāzī, Shaykh Maḥmūd Shabistarī, and Ṣāʾib Tabrīzī. The poets transcend the term’s traditional religious implications, imbuing it with a profound spiritual and philosophical resonance. Ḥāfeẓ Shīrāzī employs the metaphor of “pilgrimage” in association with the “tavern” and “wine house,” using “wine” as a symbol of divine love and knowledge, thus revealing a spiritual journey surpassing literal religious adherence. The paper further delves into the usage of “pilgrimage” as a spiritual journey towards the divine shrine: the human “heart.” Shabistarī and Ṣāʾib Tabrīzī’s works conceptualize the heart as an object of pilgrimage, reflecting humans’ inherent sacredness and divinity. This interpretation expands the notion of pilgrimage beyond a physical journey to a metaphorical quest for self-understanding and compassion. Moreover, the research identifies the dual role of metaphoric language in Shīrāzī’s work: a protective strategy and a critique of formalistic religious practice. The use of metaphor serves not as a rejection of religion but as a nuanced challenge to rigid religious interpretations. Remarkably, the metaphorical interpretation of “pilgrimage” extends beyond the confines of literature and has integrated into Iranian vernacular, adopting a new meaning to imply “visiting” individuals. The humans’ divine nature underpins this linguistic transformation; thus, interacting with someone is interpreted as a spiritual journey to their heart. Nevertheless, potential critiques arise from these interpretations. While poetically compelling, they may offer an overly romanticized view of the spiritual journey and may not resonate with all due to cultural, religious, or personal constraints. The paper offers insight into the transformative power of language in Persian mystical poetry, emphasizing the metaphorical use of “pilgrimage” despite potential limitations and criticisms. It demonstrates poetry’s ability to push boundaries, provoke thought, and invite deeper spiritual exploration.