Pilgrimage in Islam: Traditional and Modern Practices

Sophia Rose Arjana. Oneworld, $24.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-78607-116-3
Arjana, a researcher and former professor of Islamic studies at the University of Denver, provides an account of the different modes of pilgrimages in Islam. The book covers the contemporary dynamics of hajj to Mecca and the many prominent Shia holy sites with visiting traditions as well as more local pilgrimage traditions, such as visiting the graves of revered religious figures in Senegal, India, and Java. Arjana’s research adds new perspective to even the most prominent example of Muslim pilgrimages, the hajj, such as the observation that Jerusalem was originally a pilgrimage site with greater prestige than Mecca, or that local traditions often mimic and replicate the requirements of the hajj on smaller scales, making the basic experiences available to a wider range of Muslims. The writing is lucid and engaging, and the research is thorough and sensitive to complexity, such as in outlining the challenge of defining Sufism. This work, though slim, meets the high standards of academics while being accessible to the layperson interested in the diversity of Islamic thought and practice. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 07/04/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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