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Abstract

Despite the rich Shi’i literature, the Arbaeen Walk as a collective ritual remains a rather newly-emerged phenomenon. Without a recognized ritual for the Arbaeen Pilgrimage, the principal hypothesis of this paper is founded on ritualization in a social and intersubjective process. This research studies the experience of pilgrimage in the Arbaeen Walk using the thematic analysis and deep semi-structured interviews with 25 female Iranian pilgrims. The five main issues discussed in these narratives include the pilgrim’s body in the dichotomy of imposed and deliberate suffering, identification with the historical suffering of the Shia and hope toward the promised future, overlapping with everyday life and contradicting with the anti-everydayness, from being sought to being left behind and the feeling of sin, and Arbaeen as an incomplete pilgrimage and feeling of nostalgia. In general, the ritual avoidance and anti-cliché nature of the Arbaeen Walk is a pleasant experience for the pilgrim; however, to recompensate for the feeling of the incompleteness of pilgrimage and the lack of experiencing religious conducts, the deeds of pilgrimage and the fixed time and place will be gradually established as a part of the Arbaeen ritual.

In: Sociology of Islam
In: Sociology of Islam
In: Sociology of Islam
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In: Sociology of Islam

Abstract

The current study will evaluate the role of ‘irfān [the inner perception of knowledge; combining elements of philosophy, theosophy, mysticism and Shi‘i thought] within the Islamic Republic of Iran as a significant component of Iran’s cultural heritage. It will focus on several prominent clerics and intellectuals who represent the regime’s diverse political factions. This article will demonstrate that under the Islamic Republic, ‘irfān evolved from a marginalized area to a central phenomenon and became a tool to debate the political direction of the state and the relationship between its revolutionary and republican elements. While mysticism in the service of politics was more wide-spread among the reformist camp, ardent supporters of the regime resorted to ‘irfān to enhance an exclusive perception of authority based on the rule of the Supreme Jurist. It also created a shared spiritual basis among the Islamic State’s diverse voices. The result was a new blend between mysticism, philosophy, Western thought, politics, Islamic law, and even messianism, within an inter-connectivity between the mystical path and the Shari‘a. Consequently, a complex understanding of ‘irfān has to take into consideration the multiple fusions between Islamic mysticism and other trends and evaluate the result in a specific socio-political context.

In: Sociology of Islam

Abstract

Recently, there have been heated debates in Türkiye as a result of the legal action taken by the Presidency of Religious Affairs (pra) to ban the translations of the Qur'an on the grounds that it contains “objectionable” interpretations of passages contrary to “the fundamentals” of Islam. This study argues that, throughout history, the sacred text has been of symbolic importance and thus the authorities have sought to exert control over it. After a review of the recent cases, a conclusion is drawn that the political views as well as the unconventional religious interpretations may have been the driving factors in the decision to ban meâls. Moreover, there is the distinct possibility that the spread of modernist Islamic interpretations via the Internet, particularly Qur’anism, which has been directly targeted by the pra in official sermons, may be another contributing factor in translation bans.

In: Sociology of Islam
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Abstract

The rise of the brics block has contributed to the emergence of a “multiplex world”. This shift in power dynamics has revealed the crisis of the existing liberal international order, a relative decline in the U.S. power, and a gradual transition towards a post-American order. This article examines the dynamics of Sino-mena relations in a “multiplex world” where both the U.S. and the mena states have chosen “The Look East” policy. The U.S.-China geopolitical rivalry explains a shift in the U.S. foreign policy from the Middle East toward the Far East. The Middle East’s “Look East Policy”, however, is largely due to the needs for an alternative global partner. This article examines three pillars of the Sino-mena relations: the first pillar pertains to a broad category of energy, trade, investment, arms deal, security and geostrategic significance. The second pillar is centred around the Chinese policy of no military intervention and respecting the state sovereignty. The third pillar is pertinent to the “Chinese Model of Development” and what it means for the mena. It examines whether such relations might consolidate autocratic capitalism and neoliberalism without democracy and, or benefit mena civil societies’ quest for a grassroots and egalitarian development and democracy.

In: Sociology of Islam
Author:

Abstract

This article offers a comparative analysis of Tel Aviv and Izmir based on their urban identities grounded on a secular modernist ideological outlook and a Mediterranean way of life based on egalitarian and democratic norms. These criteria will be operationalized by analyzing the ideological preferences as well possibilities for alternative lifestyles for the residents of both cities. Due to the policies of right-wing governments in both countries, there has been an increasingly overbearing impact of religion in the daily lives of the people and have been undergoing a redefinition of their national identities at the expense of the secular aspects of their national attributes. While a significant number of citizens in both countries have been leaning towards an ethnoreligious worldview, Tel Aviv in Israel and Izmir in Turkey resist such attempts and remain bastions of secularism with their Mediterranean way of life. This study purports to present the similarities and differences between the two cities within their larger conservative setting.

In: Sociology of Islam

Abstract

Senegal is a country that values diplomacy. It is a predominantly-Muslim populated, constitutionally secular, nonaligned state having relations with most countries in the world. Senegal has maintained a stable political system with peaceful transfers of power despite being located in a region of Africa witnessing unstable conditions in recent years. Its leadership is well regarded by countries with different political systems and through that reputation has been able to receive needed technical and economic assistance while maintaining an independent foreign policy. Senegal has exercised influence on the continent, and even beyond, greater than a number of African countries larger in size, since its independence from France in June 1960. Therefore, it has attracted the attention of outside powers, including those in the Middle East of middle size. Those countries, namely Saudi Arabia (together with Morocco and its allies in the Gulf), Türkiye, Iran and Israel, have regarded Senegal as a “gateway” to West Africa and the Sahel region. Yet while Senegal’s ties especially with France and its neighbors in Africa have received much scholarly attention, academics have only recently begun to investigate Senegal’s connections with the Middle East; it is indeed one important aspect for anyone wishing to study Senegal’s foreign relations in a more comprehensive fashion and to have a better understanding of how this country is quite successful in balancing those ties.

In: Sociology of Islam