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A Shi’ite Pilgrimage to Mecca, 1885-1886

A Shiʿite Pilgrimage to Mecca is taken from the original nineteenth-century Persian manuscript of the Safarnâmeh of Mirzâ Moḥammad Ḥosayn Farâhâni, a well-educated, keenly observant, Iranian Shiʿite gentleman.

Western accounts of the Hajj, the ritual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, are rare, since access to Mecca is forbidden to non-Muslims. In the Muslim world, however, pilgrimage literature is a well-established genre, dating back to the earliest centuries of the Islamic era. A Shiʿite Pilgrimage to Mecca is taken from the original nineteenth-century Persian manuscript of the Safarnâmeh of Mirzâ Moḥammad Ḥosayn Farâhâni, a well-educated, keenly observant, Iranian Shiʿite gentleman.

This memoir holds a wealth of social and economic information about Czarist Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, Northern Iran, and Arabia. The author is a meticulous observer, recording details of distances, currencies, accommodations, modes of travel, and so on. He records the experiences encountered by pilgrims of his day: physical hardships, disease, generosity and compassion, banditry, hospitality, comradeship, and exaltation. And, without prejudice, he discusses the tensions between the Shiʿites and the Sunnites in the holy places—tensions that still exist and have erupted in bloody clashes during recent pilgrimages.

A Shiʿite Pilgrimage to Mecca will appeal to a wide audience of general readers, Middle Eastern scholars, anthropologists, and historians.

About the Authors

Mirzâ Mohammed Hosayn Farâhâni (1847–1912) was a Persian diplomat.

Hafez F. Farmayan, a descendant of the Qājār Dynasty of Iran, is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Elton L. Daniel was Professor of History at the University of Hawaii.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Part One. From Tehran to the Caspian
  • Part Two. From Baku to Batum
  • Part Three. The Ottoman Empire
  • Part Four. From Alexandria to Jedda
  • Part Five. The Pilgrimage to Mecca
  • Part Six. The Visit to Medina
  • Part Seven. The Return to Iran
  • Appendix
    • Farâhâni’s Map of the Masjed ol-Ḥarâm
    • Gates of the Masjed ol-Ḥarâm according to Various Authorities
    • Plan of Medina
    • Plan of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina
  • Glossary
  • Select Bibliography
  • Table Of Subject Headings
  • Index

Bibliographic Information

Title: A Shi’ite Pilgrimage to Mecca, 1885-1886

Author (s):  Mirzâ Mohammed Hosayn Farâhâni

Translator: Hafez Farmayan & Elton L. Daniel

Publisher: University of Texas Press

Length: 432 pages

ISBN:‎  978-0292776227

Pub. Date: October 1, 1990

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About Ali Teymoori

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