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The pilgrimage to the mausoleums of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas in Karbala , example of a Shiite ziyāra

The Arabic term ziyāra ( Arabic زيارة, DMG ziyāra  'visit') refers to a visit to a holy place in Islam , which, however, is not identical with the holy mosque in Mecca (cf. Hajj ). If longer distances are covered for this, one can speak of a pilgrimage . Often, however, the Ziyāra places are also in the immediate vicinity of the people concerned, so that they do not have to travel to get there. The places and buildings that are the subject of a ziyāra become Arabic مزار, DMG mazār  , place of visit, place of pilgrimage ', Persian زيارتگاه, DMG ziyārat-gāh , 'place of pilgrimage' and in Turkish called ziyaret . Accordingly, the term often appears in toponyms in Islamic countries .

Ziyāra goals and customs

The aim of these pious visits are mostly graves, which is why the custom is usually referred to in Arabic scholarly literature under the keyword زيارة القبور, DMG ziyārat al-qubūr ' visit to the tomb', but in some cases the worship also applies to caves, mountains or trees or places that Chidr should visit regularly . Visitors to these places usually bring offerings with them; conversely, by visiting these places, they try to obtain their baraka (power of blessing).


Customs of visiting graves first emerged in Shiite Islam. Hussain's grave in Karbala has been visited since the seventh century . After ʿAlī's grave was found in Najaf in the late 8th century , this place also became a destination for Shiite pilgrimages. The Shiite scholar Abū l-Qāsim Jafar Ibn Qulawaih (d. 979) from Qom wrote a comprehensive hadith work in the 10th century on the benefits of pilgrimages to the holy places of the Shiites. In the early 11th century, the Shiite Fatimids in Egypt built mausoleums over the graves of members of the prophetic family (e.g. Saiyida Nafīsa and Saiyida Ruqaiya in the south of Cairo ), which also led to the development of Ziyāra customs.

"Anyone who has visited my grave and my minbar will one day be entitled to my intercession", the prophetic saying handed down by ad-Dārāqutnī in a slightly modified form in the private house of an Egyptian pilgrim to Medina.

From the 10th century, the custom of visiting graves spread increasingly in the area of ​​Sunni Islam, for example it became customary to combine the Hajj to Mecca with a ziyāra of the Prophet's grave in Medina . An alleged prophetic saying passed down by the Iraqi hadith scholar ad-Dārāqutnī (d. 995) emphasizes the otherworldly benefit of this ziyāra: "Whoever visits my grave will one day be entitled to my intercession" ( man zāra qabrī waǧabat la-hū šafāʿatī ). The ziyāra of the tomb of the prophets in Medina became the subject of several special treatises in the late Middle Ages and early modern times. For example, in the 16th century, the Meccan scholar ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Fākihī (d. 1574) wrote a treatise on the rules ( ādāb ) to be observed in this pilgrimage rite . He has the title Ḥusn at-tawassul fī ādāb ziyārat afḍal ar-rusul .

In the 11th century, Sunni rulers also began to expand the graves of personalities of Sunni Islam into mausoleums, such as those of Abū Hanīfa in Baghdad and of ash-Shāfiʿī in Cairo, so that Ziyāra customs also developed there. Scholars also began to write pilgrimage guides specifically for Sunni believers who wanted to visit graves. The best known is the "Book of Pointers to Know the Pilgrimage Places " ( Kitāb al-Išārāt ilā maʿrifat az-ziyārāt ) by ʿAlī ibn Abī Bakr al-Harawī (d. 1215), which filled the area of ​​Syria and Palestine as a sacred landscape Describes places of pilgrimage. In the 13th and 14th centuries, as the worship of saints flourished in Sunni Islam, pilgrimage sites of national importance emerged in several places, such as the grave shrine of the miraculous Sufi Ahmad al-Badawī (d. 1276) in Tanta , the grave shrine of Muʿīn ad-Dīn Tschischī (d. 1230) in Ajmer and the mausoleum of Ahmed Yesevi (d. 1166) in Turkistan .

Criticism of ziyāra customs

Criticism of the Ziyāra customs came as early as the 10th and 11th centuries from various members of the Hanbali school of teaching, such as al-Barbahārī and Ibn ʿAqīl . Ibn Taimīya and his disciple Ibn Qaiyim al-Jschauzīya also criticized these customs particularly harshly . They said that most of them represented an unauthorized innovation or should be viewed as shirk . With reference to this teaching tradition, the Deobandis , the Wahhabis and the other followers of Salafism later condemned these customs.

See also


Arabic Ziyāra literature
  • Abū l-Qāsim Ǧaʿfar ibn Muḥammad Ibn Qulawaih: Kāmil az-ziyārāt . Ed. Ǧawād al-Qaiyūmī al-Iṣfahānī. Našr al-Faqāha, [Qum], 1996. Digitized
  • Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Abī Bakr al-Harawī: Kitāb al-Išārāt ilā maʿrifat az-ziyārāt . Ed. ʿAlī ʿUmar. Maktabat aṯ-Ṯaqāfa ad-dīnīya, Cairo, 2002. Digitized
  • Ibn-Tamīm al-Maqdisī: Muṯīr al-ġarām ilā ziyārat al-Quds wa-š-Šām . Ed. Aḥmad al-Ḫuṭāimī. Dār al-Ǧīl, Beirut, 1994. Digitized
Secondary literature
  • Mahmoud Ayoub: Redemptive suffering in Islām: a study of the devotional aspects of "Ashūrā" in twelver Shī'sm. Mouton, Den Haag 1978, pp. 180-197 and 254-259.
  • Marcel Behrens: "A Garden of Paradise". The Medina Prophet's Mosque. Ergon, Würzburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-89913-572-5 , pp. 227-276.
  • Harald Einzmann: Ziarat and Pir-e-Muridi: Golra Sharif, Nurpur Shahan and Pir Baba. Three Muslim pilgrimage sites in Northern Pakistan. Steiner-Verlag, Stuttgart 1988 (= contributions to research on South Asia. Volume 120), ISBN 3-515-04801-4 .
  • Marianus Hundhammer: Adoration of the prophets in Ḥaḍramaut: the Ziyāra according to Qabr Hūd from a diachronic and synchronous perspective. Klaus Schwarz Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-87997-381-1 .
  • Robert Langer: Pīrān and Zeyāratgāh: Shrines and pilgrimage sites of the Zoroastrians in modern Iran. Peeters Publishers, Löwen 2008, ISBN 978-90-429-2193-1 , pp. 132-138.
  • Laila Prager: Alawi Ziyara Tradition and Its Interreligious Dimensions. Sacred Places and their Contested Meanings among Christians, Alawi and Sunni Muslims in Contemporary Hatay (Turkey). In: The Muslim World. Volume 103, No. 1, 2013, pp. 41-61.
  • Nancy Tapper: "Ziyaret": gender, movement, and exchange in a Turkish community. In: Dale F. Eickelman, James Piscatori (eds.): Muslim Travelers: Pilgrimage, Migration and the Religious Imagination. Routledge, London 1990. pp. 236-255.
  • Christopher S. Taylor: In the vicinity of the righteous. Ziyāra and the veneration of Muslim Saints in late medieval Egypt. Leiden 1999.
  • Article Ziyāra in The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition . Volume 11, pp. 524-539 (various authors).

Individual evidence

  1. Cf. Irute Schober: The sanctuary ʿAlī ibn Abī Tālibs ​​in Naǧaf. Burial place and pilgrimage . Frankfurt / Main u. a. 1990.
  2. ad-Dārāqutnī: Kitāb as-Sunan. Kitāb al-Ḥaǧǧ. Bāb al-Mawāqīt. No. 2658.
  3. Cf. Carl Brockelmann : History of Arabic Literature. Supplementary volume II. Leiden 1938. p. 529.
  4. See the Engl. Translation by Josef W. Meri : Lonely Wayfarer's Guide to Pilgrimage: ʿAlī ibn Abī Bakr al-Harawī's Kitāb al-Ishārāt ilā Maʿrifat al-Ziyārāt . Princeton 2004.
  5. See Niels Hendrik Olesen: Culte des saints et pèlerinages chez Ibn Taymiyya (661/1263 - 728/1328). Paris 1991.