- Mounia Chekhab-AbudayaMounia Chekhab-AbudayaSenior Curator, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
Pilgrimage in Islam encompasses several kinds of practices. The hajj and the ‘umrah, both performed in Mecca and its surroundings, are mentioned in the Qur’an and are considered primary and mandatory pilgrimage practices. However, the pious visitation (ziyarah) to sites considered holy or sacred also holds a relevant place in the regional history of the Islamic world. Large religious processions and gatherings inherent to various forms of devotional rituals have been common practice since pre-Islamic times. Such visits include those to major precincts in Medina, Jerusalem, Najaf, Karbala, and other regional sites linked to venerable figures and the development of Sufism in the Islamic world after the 12th century. The practice of pilgrimage also involves other forms of shared piety and sanctity between the believers of the three Abrahamic traditions, especially across the Mediterranean. All of these numerous and diverse religious acts of worship have influenced the production of specific artifacts associated with the holy sites in Islamic visual culture. Such images and objects not only connect the believer to the pilgrimage practice but also symbolically enact a mental visit to the holy sites by physically interacting with their beholders.
- Islamic Studies