For the classroom 11-16

Shi‘a Muslim pilgrimages: journeys of the heart

In Islamic spirituality, the heart, not the brain, is responsible for deep understanding, and the place where true knowledge is kept. In Arabic, the word for heart is ‘qalb’, which literally means ‘that which changes/turns’; our feelings and thoughts always change. This is why perhaps Dr Ali Shariati, an Iranian thinker and Shi‘a Muslim, discusses in his book on Hajj1 that a pilgrimage should not be described as a journey. This is because journeys come to an end. Instead, a pilgrimage should be seen as a constant movement, evolution toward God that always continues.

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