Salvation is the main concern not only for theistic religions but also for atheistic ones, therefore, all of them try to offer doctrines for achieving both salvation and redemption in this world or in another world. Followers of the Twelver Shiism strongly believe in salvation through the Imam. Imamat and Imam, do not just refer to a special person, more than that, they involve a spiritual / worldly doctrine toward a complete and multilateral salvation, and also socio-political leadership. One of the important parts of this doctrine that involves spiritual / worldly salvation is intercession via religious rituals like praying, pilgrimage, mourning and so on.
This article considers the impacts of these dual functions of Shiite Imams on the Shiites' viewpoint about pilgrimage in the framework of social constructionism as a suitable case study in the sociology of religion. According to the Shiite's belief system, Imams and some of their offspring are divinely chosen people who endured many sufferings in the path of Allah. Moreover, they own the divine knowledge which allows them to lead society in a correct way. They are, therefore, worthy of leadership; they also have spiritual intercession in their power. This meaning system has constructed a strong belief and behaviour with a double face: Shiites expect to fulfil, (through their Imams and pilgrimage), their immaterial and material wishes simultaneously - Spiritual prayer, demand for intercession in the hereafter, vows (as deals), and prayers for absolute material wishes all come together inseparably in pilgrimage.
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Khoshk jan, Zahra
"Pilgrimage and its Dual Functions in Iranian Shiitsm,"
International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage:
5, Article 2.
Available at: http://arrow.dit.ie/ijrtp/vol4/iss5/2