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11/14/2010

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Patrick S. O'Donnell

My friend and former teacher, Professor Juan E. Campo, is working on a book on pilgrimages. An article he wrote (not available online) might be of some interest: “American Pilgrimage Landscapes,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 558 (1998): 40-56. (An overview of the variety of pilgrimage traditions and practices found in the U.S. during the late 20th century, and of their local and global significance.)

Here's some titles on the Hajj:

·Peters, Francis E. Jerusalem and Mecca: The Typology of the Holy City in the Near East. New York: New York University Press, 1986.
·Peters, Francis E. The Hajj: The Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca and the Holy Places. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.
·Wolfe, Michael. The Hadj: An American’s Pilgrimage to Mecca. New York: Grove Press, 1993.
·Wolfe, Michael, ed. One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing about the Muslim Pilgrimage. New York: Grove Press, 1997.

Finally, although Sufis are often quite scrupulous in observing the Five Pillars and other orthodox rules and rituals in Islam, Abu Sa`id Fadlullah ibn Abi’l-Khayr (357-440/967-1049), or Abu Sa`id, proved a notorious exception. Here’s an excerpt from my biography of him:

In the person of Abu Sa`id there is a complex intertwining, hence reconciliation, of three distinct Khurasanian religious currents that were not always compatible: the jawanmardi (ethical chivalry; futuwwa), qalandariyya (wherein God-intoxication or mystical states sanction antinomian behavior), and malamatiyya (‘path of blame’) spiritual paths. Abu Sa`id's preference for sama` (for which the heart must be alive and the passions dead) as definitive of collective dhikr; the wearing of silk garments; instructing students who longed to take the hajj to rather circumambulate the tomb of his beloved teacher, Abu’l-Fadl; his own decision not to undertake the hajj (for which he proffered several reasons: Kharaqani (d. 426/1034) told him that he would serve as the Ka`ba around which the devout would circumambulate and, in any case, ‘the true man of God sits where he is and the Bayt al-Ma`mur [heavenly archetype of the Ka`ba] comes several times in a day and night to visit him and perform the circumambulation above his head’); the giving up of (at least conspicuous) asceticism in favor of comparatively luxurious living; his reputed ecstatic utterance that ‘there is nothing inside this coat except Allah’; the not infrequent use of telepathic powers; and the preaching in poetry rather than Qur’anic verses and litanies; all find ample justification in what has been termed the ‘divine right of the saint’, or in what for Abu Sa`id was the unadulterated love of God, meaning ‘no anxiety or fear concerning what befalls you…[nor] worry about incurring blame or reproach from others.’ [most diacritics and references omitted]


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