• 16 Dec 2021
  • Online
  • Talks and Lectures

Pilgrimages of the Heart: Remote Ziyara and the Articulation of Interiority in Twelver Shi'i Devotion - Online Lecture

Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, Iraq.

The practice of remote ziyāra, whereby a devotee visits an imām’s tomb not through physical pilgrimage but by reciting a pilgrimage litany, appears in the earliest Twelver literature on ziyāra. Conversely, the ritual consequences of this practice, whereby visiting the imām can be performed as regularly as any other pious recitation, affixed to daily prayer alongside dhikr, tasbīḥ and duʿāʾ, are only gradually realised over many centuries. This lecture will offer a historical outline of this development, and in so doing will explore the profound changes it signals in Twelver devotional life. The entrenchment of remote ziyāra anchored fealty to the imām in personal devotion rather than societal action, and this required new kinds of spiritual guidance from the fuqahāʾ who regulated such matters. As well as delineating remote ziyāra as a ritual form, scholars increasingly sought to direct the emotional and imaginative states by which these encounters with the imām should be accompanied.

Date: 16 December 2021
Time: 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm GMT
Location: Online (Zoom)

Q&A: At any time during the lecture, attendees can submit questions to the speaker through the Q&A option at the bottom of the control panel. As time allows, the speaker will address as many questions as they can during the Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

Discussants: Prof. Marion H. Katz (New York University), Dr Fârès Gillon (The Institute of Ismaili Studies, UK).


Dr George Warner

George Warner completed his PhD at SOAS in 2017, and is currently Research Associate in West Asian Religions at Ruhr-Universistät Bochum in Germany. His first book, The Words of the Imams: al-Shaykh al-Ṣadūq and the Development of Twelver Shīʿī Hadith Literature is published in December 2021 with I.B. Tauris.