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Gender, Sainthood, & Everyday Practice in South Asian Shiʿism$
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Karen G. Ruffle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834756

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877975_ruffle

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Who Could Marry at a Time Like This?

Who Could Marry at a Time Like This?

Debating the Mehndī Kī Majlis in Hyderabad

(p.145) Chapter Five Who Could Marry at a Time Like This?
Gender, Sainthood, & Everyday Practice in South Asian Shiʿism

Karen G. Ruffle

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter tells the story of the author's visit to the tomb of the eighth Shi'i Imam, Reza. It was the middle of the fasting month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage scene in the city was quiet, unlike most of the rest of the year, when the bazaars, hotels, and restaurants surrounding the shrine or tomb complex burgeon with pilgrims from all over the Shi'i world. It was much quieter in Mashhad than it had been when the author went to Qom to visit the tomb of Imam Reza's sister, Fatimah Ma'sumeh, Iran's second-holiest site. In 925 A.H./1519 ce, Shah Begum, the daughter of the first Safavid king, Shah Isma'il I, commissioned the construction of a large shrine and tomb dedicated to Fatimah Ma'sumeh. At the shrine, the author was caught up in the wave of elderly Iranian women pilgrims who travel from their villages to pay their respects to this holy woman.

Keywords:   eighth Shi'i Imam, Reza, fasting month, Ramadan, pilgrimage scene, Shi'i world

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