Islamic Observation Paper

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For this ritual project, I decided to observe the ritual of going to mosque and performing their prayers. The reason I decided to choose an Islamic practice for this project was in part because of the recent increase in Islamophobia both in the States and in Canada. I was also very interested to maybe observe some of the differences and similarities in Islamic practices compared to Christian practices as I have grown up in a very traditional Christian (Pentecostal) household and have never really had the opportunity to experience, first-hand, a religious ceremony foreign to my own. Additionally, when going to the mosque for this ritual, I had my best friend, Kimia, come with me as she grew up in a Muslim household and has attended mosque…show more content…
Regarding performativity, the first thing in this ritual that I both observed and had to take part in was the wearing of the scarf over my head. This could be seen as a costume required by this ritual which was followed by only the women. There were also specific musical cues spoken that indicated what position had to be assumed and when. In terms of performativity, this could possibly be referred to as a performative speech act if the words have the power to change something in the current state. There was almost a role that was taken on by all the people engaging in the ritual. As soon as they walked in the room, and even after the ritual was over, there was a sense of solemnness and reverence that people exhibited while in that space. When it comes to liminality, this whole ritual exhibited a process that could be categorized under the three stages of liminality; separation, transition and incorporation. From the very beginning the ritual began with two distinct forms of separation. As we entered the building we were separating ourselves from society and entering a space in which people of a shared community came to participate in a ritual. Not only were we separated from society by entering the building, but we were also separated from the men that were a part of this ritual. Additionally, this stage of separation was also seen and experienced physically through the process of putting on the scarf on our heads. This scarf magnified the weight of the separation of sexes because now there was a tangible marker of what we signified in this process. While the men resided in a larger room, the women were kept in a much smaller room in the back. The process of transition is a bit harder to solidify because there does not seem to be a set point in the ritual where a profound change occurs, but rather the process of the movements itself works together as part of
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