Ritial Analysis

1114 words - 5 pages

Isaiah Valdez; imv233 Ritual Analysis
The Salah is one of the 5 Pillars of Islam, signifying it as a key element of Islam. It is practiced throughout the Muslim world in various contexts (alone, in a group, various countries). The Salah is a very ridged and structured ritual that Muslims do multiple times a day. The Salah is a vital ritual in Islam; the layers of meaning that I will be discussing are integrating worship into daily life, submission to God, establishing a community of followers, and finally the implications Salah has when practiced in foreign environments where people are less familiar with the ritual.
As the Salah is performed 5 times a day, it effectively incorporates ...view middle of the document...

Because of the scope of Islam geographically, borders, language, or cultural differences do not bind this community. The rigid procedure of the Salah paired with the Arabic prayers unites Muslims today with Muslims of the past that have practiced the same ritual in the same language for centuries before them. This heritage and solidarity of the Islamic community is very powerful. The idea of connectedness is not only conveyed on the level of connection with God, but as fellow men too. When I observed the Salah, a sense of community was conveyed because of the group the ritual was performed in. I think this highlights its importance because it establishes the Salah as a ritual important to the individual and the group. Perhaps this group setting also helps reinforce the popular belief among Muslims that prayer strengthens one’s belief (Henkel 500). Henkel discusses the umma and remarks; “the sala ̄t offers practitioners the opportunity to enact their membership in the Muslim community [umma] in an immediate and unambiguous way.” However, Henkel further comments that this participation is dependent on social and cultural contexts (Henkel 502).
In America, outwards expressions of religiosity are often not accepted. We are encouraged to keep our beliefs to ourselves and to worship in private. However, the students I observed openly worship in public places where other individuals are present. It is also important to note the age of the practitioners; these university students choose to worship in the sight of others, most of who have different personal beliefs. It is not unreasonable to assume that these students may experience some backlash and ridicule from less tolerant individuals, but proclaiming submission to God is more important for them. The world continues to globalize, and as different ideas diffuse into a foreign cultural context, problems can sometimes arise. The Salah is a good example of a practice coming from a religious society making its way into a different, less religiously associated society like America. From this, problems like worship in the workplace begin to arise. How does one follow the righteous path while living in an increasingly modern and secular society?
As the world becomes increasingly globalized, peoples of different backgrounds and cultural traditions begin to make their way into mainstream American and Western culture. With the actions of radical fundamentalist groups like Al-Qaeda and...

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