Religion for Revolution: Shifting Perceptions of Bodily Ritual in the Lebanese Shi‘a Community

Savannah Danielle Dodd

Abstract


This paper applies Cartesian and Weberian theories of rationalization and Leslie Sharp’s concept of bodily commodification to the transition in the observance of Ashura from practices of bodily mortification to blood donation among the Shi‘a community in Lebanon. The author argues that this shift politicizes salvation and sacralises revolution through a process of rationalization, made possible through the invocation of the Karbala Paradigm, in order to facilitate the commodification of blood for political activism. This shift in ritual practice for the commodification of blood has occurred as a result of three key transitions: (i) from body/self-unity to body/self-dualism; (ii) from salvation in the next world to salvation in this world; and (iii) from personal salvation to societal salvation.
[Dengan merujuk teori rasionalisasi model Descartes dan Weber serta konsep komodifikasi tubuh dari Leslie Sharp, tulisan ini menelusur pergeseran yang terjadi pada ritual Ashura dari praktik melukai diri menjadi kegiatan donor darah di kalangan Syiah di Lebanon. Proses ini, menurut penulis, telah mengubah konsep penyelamatan dan revolusi sakral melalui proses rasionali­sasi. Hal ini terjadi dengan memakai Paradigma Karbala sebagai media komodifikasi darah untuk aktivisme politik. Pergeseran komodifikasi darah dalam praktik ritual ini terjadi melalui tiga transisi utama: (i) dari kesatuan diri menjadi dualisme diri; (ii) dari keselamatan akhirat menjadi keselamatan dunia; dan (iii) dari penyelamatan pribadi menjadi penyelamatan sosial].


Keywords


Twelver Shi‘a; Karbala; Ashura; Husayn ibn Ali; salvation

Full Text:

PDF

References


“Ashura, Celebrations in India and Elsewhere”, Cairo Post, 14 Nov 2013, http://www.thecairopost.com/news/36501/albums/ashura-celebrations-india-elsawhere, accessed 20 Jul 2014.

Ayoub, Mahmoud M., Redemptive Suffering in Islam: A Study of the Devotional Aspects of Ashura in Twelver Shi’ism, The Hague: Netherlands, 1978.

“Cupping Therapy (Al-Hijama) A Cure For Every Disease, Pain and Ailment (By Allah’s Permission)”, Mission Islam, http://www.missionislam.com/health/cuppingtherapy.html, accessed 9 Feb 2014.

Deeb, L., “Living Ashura in Lebanon: Mourning Transformed to Sacrifice”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 25, no. 1, 2005, pp. 122–37 [http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-25-1-122].

Esposito, John L., “Marja Al-Taqlid”, Oxford Islamic Student Online, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e1437?_hi=0&_pos=13, accessed 7 Jan 2014.

Foucault, Michel, “The Subject and Power”, Critical Inquiry, vol. 8, no. 4, 1982, pp. 777–95, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1343197.

Kalberg, Stephen, “The Rationalization of Action in Max Weber’s Sociology of Religion”, Sociological Theory, vol. 8, no. 1, 1990, pp. 58–84 [http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/202195].

“Lebanese Shiites fear Salafist terrorism during Ashoura - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East”, Al-Monitor, 10 Sep 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/11/lebanon-suicide-bombing-fears-shiite-ashura.html, accessed 10 Sep 2014.

“Lebanon Shia in Bloody Ritual on Ashoura: Thousands of Shia Muslims Injured Themselves in A Ceremony of Self-Harm and Mourning”, Al Jazeera, 27 Nov 2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2012/11/201211271842890427.html, accessed 9 Feb 2014.

Melton, J. Gordon and Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 2nd edition, Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2010.

Norton, Augustus Richard, “Ritual, Blood, and Shiite Identity: Ashura in Nabatiyya, Lebanon”, TDR: The Drama Review, vol. 49, no. 4, 2005, pp. 140–55 [http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/105420405774762880].

Ram, Haggay, “Mythology of Rage: Representations of the ‘Self’ and the ‘Other’ in Revolutionary Iran”, History and Memory, vol. 8, no. 1, 1996, pp. 67–87, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25618698.

Shaery-Eisenlohr, Roschanack, Shi’ite Lebanon: Transnational Religion and the Making of National Identities, New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.

Sharp, Lesley A., “The Commodification of the Body and Its Parts”, Annual Review of Anthropology, vol. 29, no. 1, 2000, pp. 287–328 [http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.anthro.29.1.287].

Szanto, Edith, “Following Sayyida Zaynab: Twelver Shi‘ism in Contemporary Syria”, Thesis, Canada: University of Toronto, 2012, https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/34935, accessed 19 Jan 2014.

----, “Beyond the Karbala Paradigm: Rethinking Revolution and Redemption in Twelver Shi‘a Mourning Rituals”, Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies, vol. 6, no. 1, 2013, pp. 75–91 [http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/isl.2013.0007].

----, “Contesting Fragile Saintly Traditions: Miraculous Healing among Twelver Shi‘is in Contemporary Syria”, in Politics of Worship in the Contemporary Middle East: Sainthood in Fragile States, ed. by Andreas Bandak and Mikkel Bille, Leiden: Brill, 2013, pp. 33–52.

“What is Ashura?”, BBC News, 12 Jun 2011, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-16047713, accessed 9 Feb 2014.

Zaatari, Mohammed, “Ashura Sees Many Shunning Slicing Ritual to Donate Blood Instead”, The Daily Star, 18 Dec 2013, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2010/Dec-18/61543-ashura-sees-many-shunning-slicing-ritual-to-donate-blood-instead.ashx, accessed 7 Jan 2014.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14421/ajis.2014.522.375-389

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Copyright (c) 2014 Savannah Danielle Dodd