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It is also often defined as a stereotyped behavior that may not have a logical value but performed merely because of its symbolic value, though this fact does not apply to religious rituals…
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Rituals A ritual is defined as a custom or practice set by a religion or, more commonly, by the traditions of a society. A ritual is an action thatpeople of a community do frequently for a particular motive. It is also often defined as a stereotyped behavior that may not have a logical value but performed merely because of its symbolic value, though this fact does not apply to religious rituals. Or it may be “anything we do that is inscribed with meaning” (Renaissance, 2009). People observe rituals in many practices, most of which are religious. Rituals are practiced in everyday life as well as on specific occasions and may be performed by a single person or a group of people. If we talk about religious practices, then rituals may not be a command by the Almighty but only a spiritual satisfaction for those performing these. However, in worldly terms, performing rituals may be a means of reinforcing societal connections and showing reverence or attachment to the other members of the community. People may be performing rituals so as to get themselves socially compatible with their contemporaries.
In a Muslim society like ours, the religious rituals that are followed by Muslims are the five basic pillars of Islam (Zahid, 2009) namely confession of faith (shahadat), five times prayers a day, fasting in the month of Ramazan, Alms tax (Zakat), and pilgrimage (Hajj). Along with these, some people have created many rituals that have nothing to do with religion. For example, cooking food in the name of Allah and distributing it (commonly known as khatam shareef) with the purpose of reward thwab, is a common ritual. It has no logical significance but is being practiced widely. As far as social rituals are concerned, along with some which might be good, there are many which are actually harmful in many cases. For example, the concept of dowry is totally misunderstood in today’s society. Dowry has become a ritual that the bride’s family has to practice, which is totally different from what the Almighty has ordered. Dowry (Meher) is, in fact, the sum of money or any gift given from the bridegroom to the bride as per Allah’s laws. But nowadays, dowry is understood as that sum of money or gifts that the bride’s family is liable to give to the bridegroom (jahez). This has become a common ritual which is not at all within the boundaries of religion, and in fact, reverses a command of religion and, in many cases, becomes a curse for the innocent bride.
A religious ritual that is observed in my family is getting together of family members at every Thursday after somebody’s death, and also after forty days of death, for the purpose of reading the Holy Book and transferring thwab to the dead. However, there are other rituals that are performed just for the sake of fun, such as, after the bride comes to the bridegroom’s house, the latter carries her and takes her to the room. This is fun and as long as it does not harm anybody, it is okay. There is another ritual according to which, when a woman gives birth to a child, gets money from the visitors who give it with pleasure. Another ritual is getting money, termed as eidi, on the day of Eid, which the elders give to the younger ones. And the list continues.
All of these rituals are prevalent in today’s society along with others such as celebrating birthday parties, funeral rituals in the American society (Browne, 1980), getting money as gift when one passes his examination, sprinkling oil in the house so as to get rid of evil affects, giving salami to the married couple, celebrating baby showers, wearing stones that are thought to protect one from bad influence, so on and so forth.
A ritual that I would like for develop for my society is the celebration when a new neighbor shifts to the neighborhood. I would love to introduce this ritual as neighbors are given too many rights according to my religion.
References
Browne, R. (1980). The contemporary American funeral ritual. Rituals and Ceremonies in Popular Culture. United States, US: Bowling Green University Popular Press.
Renaissance. (2009, May18). What is a ritual? And how can it help you achieve your desires? Keen Blogs. Retrieved from http://www.keen.com/CommunityServer/UserBlogPosts/Renaissance/What-is-a-Ritual--And-How-Can-it-Help-You-Achieve-Your-Desires/462653.aspx
Zahid, I. (2009). Five pillars. Islam101. Retrieved from http://www.islam101.com/dawah/pillars.html Read More
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