<i>Mushahāra:</i> A Nubian Concept of Supernatural Danger and the Theory of Taboo

John G. Kennedy

in Nubian Ceremonial Life

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9789774249556
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617970955 | DOI:
Mushahāra: A Nubian Concept of Supernatural Danger and the Theory of Taboo

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This chapter focuses on a very narrow set of beliefs within the total spectrum of Nubian religion. The exposition of these beliefs forms a bridge between the concepts and practices of Popular Islam and the surviving non-Islamic elements. Mushahâra beliefs play an important role in all these ceremonies. This chapter discusses these beliefs in detail. Mushahâra is a word derived from the Arabic shahr, meaning “month.” A basic idea of the customs associated with the term is that if certain actions are engaged in before the appearance of the new moon (indicating the beginning of the lunar month), harm will befall an individual undergoing a “crisis” rite. Most of this chapter was presented originally as a paper in The American Anthropologist and the last part of it is a theoretical discussion of the Nubian concepts in the light of anthropological and psychoanalytic concepts concerning the nature of taboos.

Keywords: Mushahâra; Arabic shahr; American Anthropologist; Nubian concepts; taboos

Chapter.  12123 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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