Arba’een Pilgrimage in photos of the sociologist and associate professor of University of Tehran

“Pilgrimage to Love” is the name of an exhibition of photos by Masoud Kosari, sociologist and associate professor of the University of Tehran which he took from the 2017 Arba’een Pilgrimage. The exhibition was held from Monday, December 4, 2017, for 10 days at the Faculty of World Studies. We had an interview with Dr. Kosari in the last days of the exhibition.

What is the most important point in your photos?

It is the diversity of the pilgrims. You can see every kind of people. They were all there for the love of Imam Hussain. I took many photos. This is only a small part of those photos.

Which photo is your favorite one?

It is very difficult to choose one. However, I prefer the one with the Coca-Cola umbrella in the background and the photo of Hazrat Abolfazl on a heart-shaped balloon. I believe there is a beautiful meaning in this photo and the conflict of globalization and Islam are present here.

Art, in your belief, can be influential in promoting Ashura values?

We in the Department of Communication and Sociology try to talk and influence the student by our lecture. However, one look at the photos is like hundreds of words. Art can be very expressive.

How do you analyze this huge pilgrimage as a sociologist?

After Hajj, this is the largest Muslim movement. I saw people in the pilgrimage whom you can’t force to do something they wouldn’t like. It means that everybody was there because they wanted to be there. Photos are expressive. Arba’een is the most important event where Islamic society’s moral purification.

The internationalism of the pilgrims is quite obvious in the photos. Why is Ashura able to attract this diversity of people and nationalities?

Imam Hussain is a revolutionary. He is a global figure. It is free of racial, religious, and regional boundaries and has turned into a global message.

Do you have anything to add about your experience?

People in Iraq loved to be photographed. I have not seen this among Iranians. This is some issue which could be studied. There were a lot of people who loved the camera and asked me to take their photos.