Shia Rituals: The Impact of Shia Rituals on Shia Socio-Political Character
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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This thesis argues that Ashura rituals do not represent the embodiment of a culture of death they represent a spiritual awakening, strengthening faith by condensing and intensifying religious events, unifying and empowering the Shia identity. Secondly, it argues that Ashura rituals are not merely rituals of lamentation or a source of salvation and redemption, but represent an inspiring force with dynamic principles used as a popular platform to effect changes in the socio-political sphere. This research probes into the historical evolution in form and content of Ashura rituals. It reveals three major stages Ashura rituals that have passed through. This research uses a model derived from Emile Durkheims social ritual theory to explain how rituals transform knowledge into belief and membership into belonging. It reveals how Ashura rituals are constructed, embraced, and evolved as well as how they are shaping Shia identity and communal sense. The discussion also centers around important Shia leaders who were instrumental in shifting the meanings of Ashura from the soteriological to the revolutionary meanings as well as leaders who have operationalized such meanings. It compares current ritual practice in Iran and Lebanon. Lastly, the research concludes by discussing the political implication of such shift.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History