Issue No.
74, June 2004 Latest update 9 of July 2007, at 6.25 am
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Shrines (Maqamat)

Those travelling through Palestine will be astounded by the number of shrines they will come across. Shrines are not only those places where prophets or leaders are buried. They could be any tomb, tree, cave, stream, well or rock that bears some religious reverence, even if that reverence were based on mythology.

The phenomenon of revering saints of all religious beliefs is universal. It is very common to see a Buddhist woman burning incense in front of a statue of Buddha, a Christian woman lighting an oil lamp in front of a saint’s picture or icon, a Jewish woman keeping a candle lit at some rabbi’s or prophet’s tomb or a Moslem woman visiting a nabi’s (prophet’s) shrine every Thursday and Monday afternoon, smearing henna on its walls and lighting candles in the openings made especially for this purpose.

Palestinians "Moslems, Christians or Jews" are no different. After all, Palestine has been a bridge between many continents and a meeting place for many civilisations, each of which left behind its own religious practices. The statistics on the number of shrines vary but they all concur that they exceed 2,500 sites.

Maqam Al Qatrawani
Photo by: Majdi Hadid

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