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Negotiating between Shi’a and Catholic Rituals in Iran

A Case Study of Filipina Converts and Their Adult Children

Ashraf Zahedi

Religious rituals, while comforting for believers, may be uncomfortable for those who do not share their manifold meanings. Catholic Filipinas who marry Muslim Iranian men face mandatory conversion to Islam, necessitating ongoing negotiations between Christianity and Islam. My research suggests that these Filipinas held their first religion dear while participating in – for them – unpleasant Shi’a Muslims rituals. Their Filipino/Iranian children, familiar from birth with Shi’a Islam, felt at home with both religions, no matter which one they chose for themselves. The discussion of converts’ perceptions of Shi’a rituals contributes to the literature on transnational marriages and marriage migration.

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The Perceptibility of the Invisible Cosmology

Religious Rituals and Embodied Spirituality among the Bahraini Shi‘a

El-Sayed El-Aswad

This article analyses the relationship between the seen and the unseen in the cosmology and practices of Bahraini Shi'a. Rather than contrasting the visible and the invisible, the study delineates the hierarchical relations between them, within a whole or cosmology, as reflected in various discursive and non-discursive actions that are supported by the religious beliefs of Bahraini Shi'a. Issues of the Hidden Imam, concealment, dissimulation and other unseen dimensions of the cosmos are discussed. The article finds that the Shi'a construct the invisible in their social world by using visible ways of creatively enacting their hidden thoughts and beliefs, as represented in their religious discourses, rituals and body symbolism. Their belief in a divine higher power provides a source of emotional, spiritual and socio-political empowerment.

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Babak Rezvani

The Fereydani Georgians are Shi'a Muslims, while the Georgians of Georgia are predominantly Orthodox Christians. This article deals with the mechanism by which Fereydani Georgians reaffirm their Shi'a identity in harmony with the Iranian Georgians' role in the Iranian history. After discussing the theoretical foundation of the relationship between history and ethnic (and national) self-identification, the article describes how Fereydani Georgian identity is represented today and how important historical events are narrated in order to create a cohesive and coherent image of self - an outcome that is called 'emic coherence'. The concept of historical peak experience is introduced on an ethnic level.

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Erika Friedl and Reinhold Loeffler

This article is an ethnographic dissection of ideas pertaining to eschatology in a Shi’a Muslim tribal area in Iran that reveals the syncretistic possibilities in lived Islam, the generosity of the local culture regarding matters of religion, and individuals’ motivations for selecting certain possibilities to think about death and the afterlife. A common theme is for people to look at religious tenets as they pertain to this-worldly relations and can be approached with empirical experiences, all within the general frame of a regulated universe created by a merciful, understanding God. Research for this discussion stretched across 50 years in Iran.

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Interfaith Marriages

The Tâlesh Solution

Christian Bromberger

The Tâlesh population is divided between Twelver Shi'a and Shafi'ite Sunnis. Here, the relations between the two 'communities' are harmonious and interfaith marriage is frequent. Family descent in Tâlesh is patrilineal (property, name and social status are transmitted along paternal lines) but the transmission of religious affiliation differs from that of property and social status and is governed, in the words of Meyer Fortes, by 'complementary descent': boys will adopt the religious affiliation of the father and girls that of the mother. So confessional affiliation is bilinear. However, there are exceptions that are as often linked to specific context as they may be to personal 'choice'.

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Yagoub Yousif Al-Kandari

The rate of consanguineous marriage in Kuwait is considered to be high. Several research studies have shown that marriage among relatives is one of the major factors leading to health problems because it increases homozygosis. This article deals with both cultural and physical aspects by examining the health consequences of consanguineous marriages in Kuwait. Variables such as reproductive wastage, health problems in the offspring and infant mortality are included and measured in relation to other socio-cultural variables. Cultural variables such as the respondents' roots (Bedouin and non-Bedouin) and beliefs (Muslim Sunni and Muslim Shi'a) are also examined. The results show that there is no significant association between consanguineous and non-consanguineous marriages in the rate of abortion or the mortality of infants and children up to five years old. Finally, the data reveal significant differences between the genetic and genetic-environmental diseases in consanguineous couples' offspring and those of non-consanguineous couples. Since some of these findings contradict those of other studies, more research is needed.

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From the Throes of Anguished Mourning

Shi‘i Ritual Lamentation and the Pious Publics of Lebanon

Fouad Gehad Marei

and confessional underpinnings. This reorganization involved the invention of ‘the Shi‘a’, a modern social category and form of political organization deeply intertwined with the organizational manifestations and institutional clusterings of Lebanese

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Abdulla Al Sayyari, Fayez Hejaili, and Faissal Shaheen

opinion of his or her local imam, the trusted leader of the nearby mosque. This local imam may have a different view ( fatwâ ) on transplantation. There is some difference here between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. In the Sunni line of thought, the hierarchical

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Othello in Oman

Aḥmad al-Izkī’s Fusion of Shakespeare and Classical Arab Epic

Katherine Hennessey

being Muslim (and following a particular madhhab of Sunni Islam at that) and vice versa, relegating groups like Shi‘a Arabs or African Muslims to secondary status, or writing them out of official accounts of national tradition and identity, as Lawrence

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Katherine Hennessey and Margaret Litvin

); the wellsprings of political repression and revolt (his The Speaker’s Progress , 2011–12); Sunni-Shi‘a sectarian strife in Iraq and the rise of extremist Sunni movements (Monadhil Daood’s Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad , 2012); and the threat of