Muslim saints, dreams, and veneration of shrines 
Iain Edgar (Durham University)
Pedram Khosronejad (Powerhouse Museum)
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Friday 13 July, 11:30-13:15 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

This workshop will study the phenomena of true dreams being experienced at Muslim saints' shrines, involving the convergence of personal pilgrimage and intention, cultural context, and external and internal geographies of dreaming.

Long Abstract

Throughout the history of Islam, the night dream is thought to offer a way to metaphysical and divinatory knowledge, to be a practical, alternative and potentially accessible source of imaginative inspiration and guidance, and to offer ethical clarity concerning action in this world. Moreover dreaming seems to be similarly important across all Islamic groups, Sunni, Shia, Salafi and particularly amongst the various Sufi orders.

Such an ethical mandate for the occasional divine significance of dreams however does not explain why Muslims often practice pilgrimage to Saints' tombs to facilitate the phenomena of a true dream. Why then this historical and contemporary regard for spatial and geographical convergence of the outer body and self with the enhanced possibility of inner dream vision? This workshop will consider at least the following questions:

- The historical and contemporary extent of dream pilgrimage to Saints' shrines,

- Perceptions of hierognosis within reported dream imagery at Saints' tombs,

- Comparisons between pilgrimage and hajj per se and dream quests to Saints' tombs,

- Interior and exterior geographies of Baraka as experienced in dreams and through pilgrimage,

- Experiencing and defining the sites of selfhood and Sainthood,

- Anthropological typologies and ethnographies of such performances,

- The psychology and cultural context of the dream vision quest: the preparation for, experience of, and interpretation of dream events at saints' tombs,

- Islamic accounting for wisdom transmission across the visibly alive: visibly dead binary opposition,

Accepted papers: