Pilgrimage in Islam
Pilgrimage to Mecca - the hajj, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It should be attempted at least once in the lifetime of all able-bodied Muslims.
Bahá'u'lláh decreed pilgrimage in His Motherbook (Kitáb-i-Aqdas) to two places: the House of Baha'u'llah in Baghdad, Iraq and the House of the Báb in Shiraz, Iran. In two separate Tablets, known as Suriy-i-Hajj, He prescribed specific rites for each of these pilgrimages (lifting the injunction regarding the shaving of one's head for pilgrimage in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas). It is obligatory to make the pilgrimage, "if one can afford it and is able to do so, and if no obstacle stands in one's way". Baha'is are free to choose between the two Houses, as either has been deemed sufficient. And although women are not bound to perform pilgrimage, they are certainly not prohibited to do so.
Later, Abdul'Baha designated the Shrine of Baha'u'llah at Bahji (the Qiblih) as a site of pilgrimage also. No rites have been prescribed for this pilgrimage.
Pilgrimage in the Ancient World
Many ancient religions had holy sites, temples and groves, where pilgrimages were made.
- Karnak, Egypt.
- Thebes, Egypt. Oracle.
- Delphi, Greece. Oracle.
- Ephesus Temple of Diana.
- Baalbek Syria.
Pilgrimage in Mesoamerica
The concept of pilgrimage was also found in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. Important pilgrimage sites included:
- Teotihuacan (still visited centuries after its buildings fell to ruin), said to be where the gods gathered to plan the creation of mankind
- Chichen Itza, especially the sacred cenote, a natural well sacred to the rain god Chac, into which sacrifices were thrown.
- Izamal, sacred to the creator god Itzamna
- Cozumel, sacred to Ix Chel, goddess of the moon and childbirth.