One Thousand ḥijaj Ritualization and the Margins of the Law in Early Twelver Shiʿi ziyāra Literature

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George Warner



This article is a study of the earliest Twelver Shiʿi literature on pilgrimage (ziyāra) to the tombs of the Prophet Muḥammad and his revered descendants. Such tombs had been visited since the first centuries of Islam, holding especial importance for Shiʿis, but the associated pilgrimage rites were not discussed in early Islamic legal literature. This had changed by the mid-fourth/tenth century, as Twelver scholars sought to codify ziyāra alongside long-established rites like prayer and ḥajj. As they did so, these scholars had to mediate between the accustomed texts and tools of legal discourse and a world of practice, identity, and devotion that lay beyond the usual purview of the law. Ziyāra might be just another voluntary piety, but it might also be more important than the ḥajj itself.

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