Posts Tagged ‘religion’

The Divisive Nature of the Concept “Religious Violence”

[src]“The struggle of powers constituted for the management of  the same socio-economic system is disseminated as the official contradiction but is in fact part of the real unity—on a world scale as well as within every nation.”[1] In Society of the Spectacle Guy Debord discusses the spectacular nature of modern life; he posits that life is no longer directly lived but is, instead, lived through representations and images. The Western philosophical project of empiricism has led to living life based on observation instead of experience. The quote used above is related to the spectacle of the constructed concept of “religious violence”. Religious violence has been researched, discussed, analyzed, written about, spoken about and pondered upon in great detail, especially since the multiple airplane attacks that occurred on September 11th. However, religious violence is nothing more than an ill-defined concept that is used to create a “different” type of violence in contradistinction to so-called secular or state violence. I contend that the notion of religious violence is essentially divisive and spectacular; the violent acts that some try to relegate to the religious realm are really just part and parcel of the earthly struggle for power and agency.

Religious violence has been heavily studied in universities in the past two decades. This study and analysis has largely focused upon and revolved around violence related to Muslims for various reasons and through various lenses, ranging from political considerations (see Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations) to cosmological notions (see Alastair Crooke’s Resistance). Juergensmeyer states that “jihad is fundamentally a concept of struggle, an image that abounds in the rhetoric of violent religious activists in both Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic faiths.”[2] This example of the connection of religion and violence as a particularly strange phenomenon is rather unconvincing because struggle is part and parcel of daily life and part and parcel of war in any circumstance, between religious people or not. Juergensmeyer also poses questions that inextricably connect violence with religion at an essential level (deeper than the attributive level related to jihad): “Why does religion seem to need violence, and violence religion and why is a divine mandate for destruction accepted with such certainty by some believers?”[3]

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03 2011

Travelers of this World: Spiritual and Physical

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ إِنَّكَ كَادِحٌ  إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ كَدْحًا فَمُلَاقِيهِ

O man! surely you must strive (to attain) to your Lord, a hard striving until you meet Him. (Quran 84:6)

There are two types of traveling in this world: the spiritual and material. The material travel would be defined as the physical transportation of a person from one location to the next, similar to when one takes a vacation. The spiritual travel is the traveling of a person’s soul, and as a consequence, the spiritual growth they attain throughout their life.

1. Destination: For any type of traveling, there needs to be a starting and ending location. When a person goes on a vacation, they leave their hometown for another place. In the spiritual journey, one is traveling from Allah and returning back to Him: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return” (Quran 2:156).

2. Items: In both trips you need to go prepared- so you pack and take your necessities with you. In a physical journey, this entails taking some basic things such as clothing and food. In the spiritual journey, one only takes their actions. As Imam Ali (as) states: What a long way this is and how little are my provisions.

3.  Perishable items: When a person is taking a road trip, they usually don’t take perishable items, such as meat. They know it will rot. In the spiritual journey be careful not to take someone along who will destroy your soul and leave it diseased.

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10 2010