Islamic History and Thought Lecture Series, The Institute of Ismaili Studies

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December 16, 2021
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Arabic History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Middle East History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies

Hosted by the Institute of Ismaili Studies (London, UK), the Islamic History and Thought Lecture Series is designed to invite scholars of various international academic institutions, specialising in intellectual, social and political aspects of medieval and early modern Islamic societies, to present and discuss their research.

Please find below the information on the next lecture of the series, which will be delivered online by Dr George Warner (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), and will be followed by a discussion with Dr Fârès Gillon (IIS, London) and Prof. Marion H. Katz (New York University).


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

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.

Thursday 16 December 2021

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (London time)

To attend the online lecture, please register here

Please note that the preceding sessions of the lecture series have been recorded and are now available on the YouTube channel of the Institute of Ismaili Studies:  


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