Religious tourism: Prophet Habakkuk and his tomb tower in Iran

February 19, 2020 - 19:52

TEHRAN – As you know religious tourism, which marks one of the oldest forms of traveling, is exclusively or strongly-motivated by spiritual reasons. It can also be referred to as faith tourism or spiritual tourism.

Iran is a country rich in spiritual tourism. For instance, the holy shrine of Imam Reza (As), the eighth Imam of the Shia Muslims, annually attracts millions of domestic and foreign pilgrims to Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan Razavi province.

The country hosts hundreds of shrines, Imamzadehs, mausoleums, churches and even fire temples amongst other religious destinations which are dedicated to different faiths.

Amongst the lesser-known ones is tomb of the prophet Habakkuk, who lived probably between 605–597 BC. He was a prophet whose oracles and prayer are recorded in the Book of Habakkuk, the eighth of the collected twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. He is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

The brick tomb tower, which is capped by a conical dome in an octagonal pattern, stands tall near Tuyserkan, a historical city in Hamedan province, west-central Iran.

The antiquity of the tower dates back to Seljuk era (1037–1194). The structure is lavishly decorated by the means of tile and brick works painted by the famous Jewish star.

It’s a destination for the faithful, sightseers, anthropologists, holidaymakers and pilgrims of the Jewish faith.

Sources quite unanimously assert that almost nothing is known about Habakkuk, aside from what is stated within the book of the Bible bearing his name, or those inferences that may be drawn from that book.

For almost every other prophet, more information is given, such as the name of the prophet's hometown, his occupation, or information concerning his parentage or tribe. For Habakkuk, however, there is no reliable account of any of these. Although his home is not identified, scholars conclude that Habakkuk lived in Jerusalem at the time he wrote his prophecy. Further analysis has provided an approximate date for his prophecy and possibilities concerning his activities and background.

Narratives say that Habakkuk's main prophecy was directed against the kingdoms of Babylon, Persia and Media, which were later to grow into world powers, conquering some Mediterranean lands and the rest of the ancient world.

AFM/MG

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