Baraka Besieged

David Damrel

in Muslims and Others in Sacred Space

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199925049
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980468 | DOI:

Series: AAR Religion, Culture, and History

Baraka Besieged

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This chapter surveys the idea of sacred space in the context of Muslim religious sites in South Asia. Careful attention is paid to conceptualizing sacred space in a Muslim milieu. With a special focus on Sufi shrines that attract Muslims and non-Muslims, the chapter first explores the many uses, functions and configurations of these sites and examines them in a range of historical and social contexts. These shrines often contain prominent mystics but other sites—of unknown pious men and women, of prophetic relics, or sites related to Shi'i praxis—are also addressed. The chapter also investigates the religious controversies regarding shrine practices and uses, with special focus on the political and religious discourses involving shrines from the nineteenth century to current times. It details certain elements of the contemporary Islamist discourse that rejects and militates against traditional Muslim attitudes toward sacred space in South Asia.

Keywords: Sufi shrines; South Asia; Shi'i praxis; Islam; historical context; social context; prophetic relics; pious people

Chapter.  10554 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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