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Opening the Doors of WonderReflections on Religious Rites of Passage$
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Arthur Magida

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520245457

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520245457.001.0001

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Allah is One

Allah is One

(p.223) 20 Allah is One
Opening the Doors of Wonder

Arthur J. Magida

University of California Press

This chapter explores the rites of passages in Islam, which has the fewest life cycle events and the most minimally decorated houses of worship. This minimalism is spiritually functional, with no intermediary between Muslims and God and no images of God in which to take refuge or that might trigger speculations about personality quirks of Allah. However, Islam is not void of rites of passage. During the aqiqah ceremony, the head of a two-week-old baby is shaved, and the equivalent weight in silver or gold is given to charity. For some Muslims, another event could plausibly be called a rite of passage: leading services at their mosque, often at a young age. Everyone goes through a rite of passage differently in Islam, and at different times in their lives. It's all very fluid, but it almost always involves going to the mosque and feeling that you are part of the umma, the world community; learning the Qur'an; and speaking the language.

Keywords:   Islam, Muslims and God, aqiqah ceremony, Allah, umma, Qur'an

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