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Ritual and daily life : transmission and interpretation of the Ismaili tradition in Vancouver Dossa, Parin Aziz 1985

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RITUAL AND DAILY LIFE: TRANSMISSION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE ISMAILI TRADITION IN VANCOUVER.  by PARIN AZIZ DOSSA B.A., Makerere University,1969 M.A., U n i v e r s i t y Of Edinburgh,1971  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  i n the Department of Anthropology and Sociology  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to 'S/he r e q u i r e d standard  ^rmjMwRSiTY  OF  B R I T I S H COLUMBIA  May,1983. © P a r i n A z i z Dossa, 1985  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of requirements f o r an advanced degree a t the  the  University  o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make it  freely  a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and  study.  I  further  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f t h i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may  be  department o r by h i s o r her  granted by the head o f  representatives.  understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s for financial  gain  s h a l l not be  V6T  DE-6  r^/R'-n  1Y3  Columbia  my  It i s thesis  allowed without my  permission.  The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada  thesis  written  Abstract  This d i s s e r t a t i o n explores, within a framework provided by t r a d i t i o n and change, how I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver, p r i m a r i l y a r e l i g i o u s community, formerly l o c a l i z e d and s p a t i a l l y concentrated i n East A f r i c a , have been affected by migration i n t o a secular state where they are s p a t i a l l y  dispersed.  I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n i s e x p l i c a t e d through h i s t o r y and a recourse t o documentary materials i n c l u d i n g the Qur*an, girians or compositions, firmans or guidances of the Imam ( s p i r i t u a l l e a d e r ) , and the r i t u a l s of the community. The c h i e f feature of t r a d i t i o n may be i d e n t i f i e d as an overarching cosmology dichotomized as z a h i r and b a t i n , glossed r e s p e c t i v e l y  as material  ( m u l t i p l i c i t y and a c t i v i t y ) and s p i r i t u a l (unity and repose) i n s t r i c t complementarity, the parts of which are a c t i v a t e d through a s p a t i a l and a temporal movement from and to e x t e r i o r i t y ( z a h i r ) and i n t e r i o r i t y (ba£in). Daily l i f e , family, k i n , community r i t u a l s and prayers a t Jama*at Khana (place of assembly), and the firmans r e f l e c t the complementarities and mediate them. Change i s examined i n r e l a t i o n to the same features as w e l l as c u l i n a r y practices which, as do the r i t u a l s , f u r t h e r reveal the complementarities between material and s p i r i t u a l and the ways i n which they are mediated. The changing r o l e s and i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s of e l d e r s , men and women, and youth emphasize changes taking  place.  The major f i n d i n g of the study i s that the t r a d i t i o n , which was a complex of s t r i c t complementarities, has now become compartmentalized, d i l u t i n g the force of the complementary r e l a t i o n s h i p .  This appears as a function of  increased p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the " t e c h n i c a l " time (confining s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s ) of external public l i f e as opposed t o the "core c u l t u r e " time  iii (promoting s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s ) of the i n t e r n a l home l i f e of f a m i l i e s , and i n the a t t i t u d e s of I s m a i l i s who are accommodating t o the larger society and are exclusive i n t h e i r community l i f e .  In a d d i t i o n , women's entry i n the public  labour f o r c e , and a growing separation between youth and adults as w e l l as e l d e r s , have s i g n i f i c a n t l y affected community r i t u a l s , attendance i n Jama at t  Khana, and f a m i l i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  While i t might be thought that new s e t s ^  of d i a l e c t i c s are being engaged, t h i s does not i n f a c t appear to be the case. Contraries and c o n t r a d i c t i o n s , which might have been thought to imply a d i a l e c t i c , remain as they were enforcing a further compartmentalization of life  choices.  iv TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter 1 Part I :  The Question And The S e t t i n g .  1.  Cosmology.  Chapter 2  Substantive Features Of I s r a a i l i Cosmology.  35.  A r t i c u l a t i o n Of Enclosed Space In The Jama a t Khana.  63.  Chapter 4  R i t u a l Performances: 'Structure And Communitas'.  93.  Chapter 5  Ghat-pat: Formation And A c t i v a t i o n Of A Cognitive Model.  Part I I :  Ritual.  Chapter 3  t  Part I I I :  131.  Daily L i f e .  Chapter 6  Food And Cosmos.  168.  Chapter 7  Nurturing And Career Roles Of Women.  208.  Chapter 8  Continuity And Change: L i f e Histories'Of I s m a i l i Elders, Adults And Youth.  239.  Chapter 9  Conclusion.  279.  Bibliography Appendix:  289. Fieldwork: Data And Methods  297.  V  LIST OF TABLES Table I.  Jama at Khana Attendance - I n d i v i d u a l s .  74  II.  Jama at Khana Attendance - F a m i l i e s .  74  III.  Background Information On Respondents.  117  IV.  Dietary Habits Of I s m a i l i s .  225  V.  Career Occupations of Women.  233  VI.  R e s i d e n t i a l Patterns Of I s m a i l i s In East A f r i c a And Vancouver.  245  VII.  Major C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s Of E l d e r l y Respondents.  252  VIII.  T r a d i t i o n a l And Modern A t t i t u d e s And P r a c t i c e s .  259  IX.  Attendance In Jama^t Khana.  260  X.  Recreational  262  XI.  Communal Involvement Of Young Adults.  271  XII.  Major C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s Of Respondent Households.  300  1  t  A c t i v i t i e s - Adults And Children.  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Diagrams: 2-1.  H i e r a r c h i c a l Orders Formulated In The Works Of I s m a i l i Writers.  42  2-2.  Man As A Microcosmic Being.  43  2- 3.  Narrative On Creation: Man's Descent On Earth.  49  3- 4. 3-5.  L i f e Cycle Of An I s m a i l i Woman As Depicted In The A t t i r e . Cognitive Model Of I s m a i l i World View As Represented By The Family.  68 71  3-6.  'Journey' To Jama*at Khana.  78  3- 7.  A r t i c u l a t i o n Of Enclosed Space In The Jama*"at Khana.  87  4- 8.  Body Imagery As Encoded In The Ceremony Of Hay-Zinda,  96  Kayam Paya. 4-9.  . Transformation Of S e l f Effected Through Verbal Exchange.  99  4-10. 4-11.  Ceremony Of Di/a Karawi - The S e t t i n g . Ceremony Of Du a Karawi - Progressive Stages Of Movement And Repose.  102 103  4-12.  Verbal Communication In The Ceremony.  105  4-13.  "Movement" Of Nandi.  114  4- 14.  Cosmic Dimension - L i f e Cycle Of An I n d i v i d u a l .  116  5- 15.  Ceremony Of Gha^-Pat - The S e t t i n g .  133  5-16.  Symbol Of White As Encoded In The L i f e Cycle Of Individuals.  135  5-17.  The Arrangement Of Ghat-pat.  142  5-18.  Enactment Of A Primordial Event In The Ceremony Of Ghat-Pat.  147  5-19.  Body Imagery In The Ceremony Of Ghat-Pa^.  150  5- 20.  Formation And A c t i v a t i o n Of The Cognitive Model.  154  6- 21.  T r a d i t i o n a l I s m a i l i Menu.  171  6-22.  Canadian/Traditional  172  c  Menu.  vii. 6-23.  Types Of Light Foods As Included In The T r a d i t i o n a l Menu.  184.  6-24.  Geometrical M o t i f s In The Arrangement  191.  6-25.  Unleavened Bread As Mediator Of Light And Heavy Foods.  194.  6-26.  The Culinary T r i a n g l e .  197.  6-27.  P r i n c i p l e Of Contraries And Mediation As Represented In The Methods Of Cooking.  199.  6-28.  C o r r e l a t i o n Of Mealtimes With M a t e r i a l And S p i r i t u a l Worlds.  204.  6- 29.  Cognitive Framework Perceived In R i t u a l And The Culinary System.  206.  7- 30.  Compartmentalization Between The T r a d i t i o n a l L i f e Of  236.  Of Ghat-Pat.  Women And Work. 8- 31.  Model Of I s m a i l i Cosmos: 'Journey Of Man'.  248.  8-32.  Perception Of Canadian L i f e : E l d e r s , Adults, Youth.  274.  viii  Acknowledgements  The f i e l d research on which t h i s t h e s i s i s based was c a r r i e d out i n Vancouver i n the year 1982-1983.  My greatest debts are to the I s m a i l i s of  Vancouver who were both gracious and generous i n welcoming me to t h e i r homes. I should l i k e them to know that I appreciate t h e i r kindness, patience and understanding  shown to me while I was i n the f i e l d .  In p a r t i c u l a r I would  l i k e to mention the c o n t r i b u t i o n s of S u l t a n a l i N a z a r a l i and A m i r a l i Amlani f o r t h e i r assistance i n providing l i t e r a r y m a t e r i a l s and sharing with me t h e i r views on the r i t u a l t r a d i t i o n of the I s m a i l i s . I would l i k e to express my thanks to my s u p e r v i s o r , Professor Kenelm Burridge whose work and thought have i n f l u e n c e d my t h i n k i n g .  Professor  Burridge's c o n t r i b u t i o n s are absorbed i n t o the general discourse and I acknowledge with g r a t i t u d e h i s help and support.  I have a l s o gained from the  encouragement and i n t e l l e c t u a l i n s i g h t s of other scholars notably, Professor C y r i l Belshaw, Professor Hanna Kassis and Professor Brenda Beck.  I have  benefited a l s o from the discussions with my colleague Dr. Pamela Peck. F i n a l l y , without the c o n t i n u a l support and i n s p i r a t i o n of my husband A z i z , our c h i l d r e n Fahreen and Zahwil, and my parents, t h i s work would not have come to f r u i t i o n ;  ,  ix  Glossary Terms not included are those which appear but once and the meanings of which have been defined i n the t e x t . ab-i  shafa  A Persian term used f o r the r i t u a l of the d r i n k i n g of "sacred water", a l s o known as ghat-pat (q.v.).  barakat  Blessing sent to man by God. Among I s m a i l i s the Imam (q.v.) i s endowed with barakat which can be transmitted t o h i s f o l l o w e r s .  batin  Inner or e s o t e r i c meaning behind that of the l i t e r a l word. Opposite of z a h i r (q.v.).  dl'i  "One who summons". Among I s m a i l i s , one who propagates the f a i t h .  da wah  The i n s t i t u t i o n charged with preaching and propagating the I s m a i l i cause.  du a  Daily r i t u a l prayer.  du a karawi  R i t u a l ceremony performed i n s i d e the Jama *at Khana (q.v.) p r i o r t o or soon a f t e r congregational prayers.  firman  D i r e c t i v e issued only by the Imam.  ghat-pat  A Sanskrit term used f o r the I s m a i l i r i t u a l of the d r i n k i n g of "sacred water". I n Persian, the r i t u a l i s referred t o as a b - i shafa (q.v.).  ginan  Meditative or contemplative knowledge, r e f e r r i n g to the l i t e r a r y corpus of the compositions a t t r i b u t e d to the p i r s (q.v.).  Hay Zinda, Kayam paya  R i t u a l ceremony performed a t the threshold of the Jama at Khana (q.v.).  Imam  Used e x c l u s i v e l y by I s m a i l i s , to denote the descendants of A l i , the f i r s t Imam, son in-law and cousin of the Prophet. The term connotes the idea of a s p i r i t u a l leader who i s present a t a l l times.  Jama a t Khana  Place of congregation, the center of communal, r e l i g i o u s and s o c i a l a c t i v i t y ; "mosque" i n the I s m a i l i sense.  4  l  t  X  Kamadiyah  L i t e r a l l y "treasurer"; a s s i s t a n t of the Mukhi (q.v.).  Kamadiyani  Female a s s i s t a n t of Mukhyani  kumbh  Vessel used i n the ceremony of ghat-pat (q.v.).  Mukhi  Male leader appointed t o conduct prayers and r i t u a l ceremonies i n the Jama a t Khana.  (q.v.).  c  Mukhyani  Female (usually the wife of Mukhi [q.v.]) who conducts ceremonies which require i n d i v i d u a l female p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the Jama*at Khina (q.v.)  nandi  Food o f f e r i n g s taken t o Jama at Khana (q.v.)  niya  " I n t e n t i o n " r e f e r r i n g t o the beginning of r e l i g i o u s acts.  niyaz  "Sacred water".  riur  Light connoting the notion of the Divine; the term i s given c e n t r a l s i g n i f i c a n c e i n I s m a i l i thought.  pat  Low rectangular t a b l e placed i n Jairia^t Khana (q.v.) f o r the purpose of r i t u a l ceremonies.  l  Meaning 'elder'; among I s m a i l i s the term i s used f o r the da^is (q.v.) who propagated the I s m a i l i cause on the Subcontinent. roshni  G u j e r a t i term connoting i l l u m i n a t i o n .  sari  Female a t t i r e (Indian o r i g i n ) covering head/shoulders t o f e e t .  suf i  Mystic.  ShiSi  The branch of Muslims who acknowledge A l i and h i s descendants as s p i r i t u a l leaders (Imams q.v.) of the community.  taqiya  The p r a c t i c e of concealing one's b e l i e f s f o r exigent reasons.  tawhid  "To declare that God i s One".  ta'wil  A l l e g o r i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of r e l i g i o u s doctrines p r i m a r i l y connected with the f u n c t i o n of the Imam (q.v.).  zahir  The external l i t e r a l sense applied t o r e v e l a t i o n . Opposite of b a t i n (q.v.).  xi. Transliteration The t r a n s l i t e r a t i o n used i s that of The Library Of Congress f o r G u j e r a t i . This system was chosen because i t corresponds c l o s e l y with the spoken G u j e r a t i used by the I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver.  %  ka kha  «T  ta  1  da  ya  M  tha  s  s  dha  2,  ra  A  s  na  la  Oi  la  on  va  <\  sa  a.\  M  •  •  ga  0\  da  gha  «l  dha  ca  «  *  ta  na  n  €  tha  9  cha  pa  da  ja  pha  dha  sha  jha  ba  na  sa  ha  ta  ^  bha  tha  I  ma  £  Vowels And Diphthongs a  3*  e  2M  a  Vu  ai  *. On  i  <6  o  i  tf  au  u  6  u  **-  (51  Notes. 1. Terms which have become part of the English language are rendered as they appear i n E n g l i s h , ( f o r example: I s m a i l i f o r I s m a i l i ) . f  2. Terms which appear i n Arabic or Persian have followed the t r a n s l i t e r a t i o n scheme of the Library of Congress.  X Chapter 1 The Question And The Setting  The Question  Defined  This d i s s e r t a t i o n considers t r a d i t i o n and change among I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver.  The I s m a i l i s are Shi'a-Muslims and form a minority group i n the  twenty-five countries where they r e s i d e .  Over the l a s t f i f t e e n years, about  nine thousand I s m a i l i s have s e t t l e d i n the greater Vancouver area, mainly from East A f r i c a .  Given t h i s background, the main question i s : How i s a r e l i g i o u s  community, here the I s m a i l i s , formerly l o c a l i z e d and s p a t i a l l y concentrated, affected by migration t o a secular Western state? In i t s most elementary sense, t r a d i t i o n i s 'anything which i s transmitted or handed down from the past to the present' ( S h i l s 1981:12).  The key word  here i s transmission defined i n terms of a 'two f o l d h i s t o r i c i t y ' : the transmission and sedimentation of t r a d i t i o n and the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t r a d i t i o n (Ricoeur 1978:27).*  Understood i n t h i s way, change forms part of a  process of a dynamic i n t e r p l a y between transmission and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . The t e m p o r a l i t i e s of transmission and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n provide the s e t t i n g for a broader i n q u i r y concerning space and time.  The categories of space and 2  time are i n t e r r e l a t e d as time i s perceived as events i n space.  I t has been  recognized that space and time form important and powerful modes of communication i n a l l c u l t u r e s .  The seminal anthropological studies of  Evans-Pritchard (1940) and Edward H a l l (1959,1966,1976,1983) provide us with u s e f u l i n s i g h t s i n t o the way i n which time, as the 'hidden c u l t u r a l grammer'  2 ( H a l l 1983:6), i s organized d i f f e r e n t l y i n each c u l t u r e .  Ernst C a s s i r e r  writes: Space and time are the framework i n which a l l r e a l i t y i s concerned. We cannot conceive any r e a l t h i n g except under the conditions of space and time. Nothing i n the world, according to H e r a c l i t u s , can exceed i t s measures-and these measures are s p a t i a l and temporal l i m i t a t i o n s . In mythical thought space and time are never considered as pure and empty forms. They are regarded as the great mysterious forces which govern a l l things, which r u l e and determine not only our mortal l i f e but a l s o the l i f e of the gods. To describe and analyse the s p e c i f i c character which space and time assume i n human experience i s one of the most appealing and important tasks of an a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l philosophy we must analyse the forms of human c u l t u r e i n order t o discover the true character of space and time i n our human world (1978:42). In each c u l t u r e the s p a t i a l and temporal experience i s organized i n terms of types.  H a l l d i s t i n g u i s h e s three types of time: formal, informal (core  c u l t u r e ) and t e c h n i c a l out of which one type always dominates (1959:66). Formal time i s the common knowledge shared by members of a c u l t u r e and i s w e l l worked i n t o d a i l y l i f e .  Informal time r e l a t e s to s i t u a t i o n a l or imprecise  references where the p r i n c i p a l model used i s that of i m i t a t i o n .  Informal  (core c u l t u r e ) time provides the b a s i s f o r the transmission of an e n t i r e system of behaviour, and i s made up of 'hundreds and thousands of d e t a i l s ' which are passed on from generation t o generation and i s the foundation on which i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s r e s t . and requires c o n t r o l (1982:177).  Technical time i s e x p l i c i t , concentrated In t h i s context, change i s an i n t e r p l a y of  a r e l a t i o n s h i p between the three types of time.  Therefore, 'the theory of  the nature of these r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s a theory of change' ( i b i d : 8 7 ) .  Cassirer  on the other hand focuses on symbolic space which i s unique t o man as i t leads 'not only t o a new f i e l d of knowledge but to an e n t i r e l y new d i r e c t i o n of h i s c u l t u r a l l i f e ' (1978:43).  According t o C a s s i r e r i t i s only through symbolic  space that man could a r r i v e a t a concept of a cosmic order.  Within t h i s  3 space, time i s a p r o c e s s i n v o l v i n g a c o n t i n u o u s stream of e v e n t s .  Implicit i n  t h i s framework i s the i d e a o f time as a c r e a t i v e and continuous p r o c e s s whereby man  does not o n l y repeat h i s past e x p e r i e n c e but a l s o r e c o n s t r u c t s and  organizes t h i s experience.  Both H a l l ' s and C a s s i r e r ' s c o n c e p t i o n s o f time and space p o i n t t o the importance of dynamism whereby time and space are not c o n c e i v e d as immutable c o n s t a n t s but as  'a c l u s t e r of c o n c e p t s , e v e n t s , and rhythms c o v e r i n g an  extremely wide range o f phenomena' ( H a l l 1983:13). account o f Nuer shows how rhythm  of s o c i a l l i f e  Evans-Pritchard i n h i s  c a t e g o r i e s o f time and space a r e d e r i v e d from the  (1940:94-138).  Time and space as an i n t e r p l a y of  r e l a t i o n s h p s ( c o n c e p t s , e v e n t s , symbols,  f o r m a l , i n f o r m a l , t e c h n i c a l ) can  p r o v i d e u s e f u l i n s i g h t s i n t o the study o f change and m i n o r i t y  communities.  For example, G e e r t z , i n h i s study o f r i t u a l and s o c i a l change among the Javanese, d i s t i n g u i s h e s between c u l t u r e and s o c i a l system, e x p l i c a t i n g c u l t u r e i s an o r d e r e d system of meaning and o f symbols  that  i n terms o f which  s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n takes p l a c e ; s o c i a l system i s the p a t t e r n of s o c i a l interaction i t s e l f  (1973:144).  G e e r t z shows, through the example of a  d i s r u p t e d f u n e r a l , t h a t s o c i a l change can l e a d t o an i n c o n g r u i t y ,  resulting  from the p e r s i s t e n c e o f a r e l i g i o u s symbol system, a d j u s t e d t o peasant s t r u c t u r e , i n an o t h e r w i s e urban environment  (ibid:169).  social  An e q u a l l y p r o m i s i n g  approach would be t o study the d i s r u p t e d f u n e r a l as an i n t e r p l a y of time and space i n the  ' r e l i g i o u s symbol system' and i n the emergent urban  F r e d r i k B a r t h , i n h i s work on: " E t h n i c Groups And (1969:9-38),  environment.  Boundaries"  contends t h a t the p e r s i s t e n c e o f e t h n i c boundaries i s a f u n c t i o n  of s o c i a l p r o c e s s e s of e x c l u s i o n as w e l l as i n c o r p o r a t i o n . the concept of boundary  maintenance,  While  B a r t h advocates a dynamic  emphasising  approach  4 whereby the boundaries need to be expressed and validated c o n t i n u a l l y . s i t u a t i o n i s necessitated  This  by the f a c t that ethnic groups enter i n t o s i t u a t i o n s  of s o c i a l contact with the persons of other c u l t u r e s .  In t h i s respect,  ethnic  groups structure t h e i r i n t e r a c t i o n , leading to an i n t e r p l a y of p r e s c r i p t i o n s , that promote contact i n some sectors of a c t i v i t y , and  proscriptions,  preventing i n t e r - e t h n i c i n t e r a c t i o n i n other sectors ( i b i d : 1 6 ) .  The  s t r u c t u r i n g of i n t e r a c t i o n at two l e v e l s : p r e s c r i p t i o n and p r o s c r i p t i o n can studied through the perspective  of how  be  ethnic groups organize time and space  i n two contexts: i n t e r - e t h n i c s i t u a t i o n s and i n t r a - e t h n i c i n t e r a c t i o n s .  The  space-time approach can y i e l d f u r t h e r i n s i g h t s i n t o the process of boundary maintenance. The a p p l i c a t i o n of the space-time approach to the study of dynamic and even opposing forces i s a l s o advocated i n other studies.  For example, David  Pocock (1967:303-314) shows opposed notions present i n the Indian theory of time reckoning.  In the case of the P a t i d a r , a choice i s made between what  appears to be contradictory notions: conceptual time-reckoning which i s f i x e d , ' r e p e t i t i v e e t e r n a l ' , and r e l a t e d to the order of the caste, and  the  i n d i v i d u a l experiences where time changes, i s p a r t i c u l a r , and r e l a t e d to the doctrine of b h a k t i .  Here, we have an example of a society where time i s given  a complicated recognition w i t h i n the framework of opposition.  Eickelman  (1977:39-56), c i t i n g the example of a Moroccan s o c i e t y , advocates a dynamic approach, showing how  the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the Bni Battu (a t r i b e ) and  urban Moroccans can be perceived on the basis of a l t e r n a t i v e temporal conceptions: l o c a l s o c i a l order and ideas.  L o c a l l y , time i s conceived as  events i n terms of sequences of i r r e g u l a r , ' i s l a n d - l i k e ' concrete experiences; conceptually, the future.  time i s anchored w i t h i n a framework of the past, the present and The conceptual order of time enables the Bni Battu to r e l a t e to  the  larger Moroccan s o c i e t y .  In an i n c i s i v e account on the ethnography of  a c c u l t u r a t i o n among the Fang c u l t u r e of Gabon, Fernandez shows how, i n response to missionary C h r i s t i a n i t y , the B w i t i r e l i g i o n emerges as an achievement of 'a t y i n g together, a time binding of o l d and new' (1982:568). Among other areas, Fernandez focuses on ideas of time and space (ibid:74-124; 345-410).  Fernandez contends that B w i t i r e l i g i o n i s an accomplishment of  coherence, a "oneheartedness" which, among others, i s a function of the l i n k i n g of s p a t i a l experiences: the p h y s i o l o g i c a l , the n a t u r a l , the s o c i a l , and the cosmic and a l s o of temporal experiences: archetypal thought, and archetypal events or personages of the past, manifesting themselves i n the present and expectantly i n the future ( i b i d : 5 7 1 ) . Given the importance of s p a t i a l and temporal categories t o the study of t r a d i t i o n and change ( a c c u l t u r a t i o n ) , I have focused on the I s m a i l i community i n Vancouver because: (a)  The I s m a i l i s form an immigrant community where the process of  transmission ( t r a d i t i o n ) and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n (change) can be observed more poignantly. (b)  Various studies of I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n and h i s t o r y have l a i d great 4  emphasis on the s t r u c t u r a l and c u l t u r a l aspects of community l i f e .  The  idea that i n d i v i d u a l I s m a i l i s r e l a t e t o s p e c i f i c forms of t h e i r t r a d i t i o n and thereby generate a process of flow and feedback between a given s t r u c t u r a l system and i t ' s s u b j e c t i v e understanding has not been explored t o date.  Of s p e c i a l importance would be the incorporation of  new elements from the host s o c i e t y , concerning the everyday l i f e of the Ismailis.  6 The I s m a i l i s have a h i s t o r y of migration f o r over a thousand years, extending w e l l i n t o the twentieth century. The a c c u l t u r a t i v e experience of the I s m a i l i s has included heights of grandeur (Fatimid times) as w e l l as abyss of hardship and persecution (post Alamut period).  Given t h i s experience, the question  which confronts me i s : how does a r e l i g i o u s community deal with and i s a f f e c t e d by migration i n t o a secular state?  In t h i s study, I am not concerned  with a problem or a hypothesis but an e x p l i c a t i o n of the above question. Given the f a c t that the process of s e c u l a r i z a t i o n has had a u n i v e r s a l impact, t h i s question has a broader s i g n i f i c a n c e i n r e l a t i o n to the way i n which a t r a d i t i o n i s transmitted and i n t e r p r e t e d . Among I s m a i l i s notions of space and time are a r t i c u l a t e d through two categories: m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l . daytime.  Temporally, material i s associated with  During t h i s time, I s m a i l i s experience a form of l i f e which e n t a i l s  m u l t i p l i c i t y and a c t i v i t y .  By c o n t r a s t , the s p i r i t u a l i s associated with dawn  and dusk and t h i s mode of l i f e i s defined i n terms of unity and repose. The demarcation between the two categories i s r e f l e c t e d s p a t i a l l y .  Jama^at Khana  (place of congregation) and i t s concomitant, the community, express a t t r i b u t e s of s p i r i t u a l l i f e . material l i f e .  Family, k i n and the outside world evoke a t t r i b u t e s of  As I s h a l l show i n t h i s study, the categories of material and  s p i r i t u a l contain an ambiguity.  The material and s p i r i t u a l are d i a m e t r i c a l l y  opposed; yet they cannot operate i n i s o l a t i o n as each category i s energized i n the presence of i t s opposite. The q u a l i t i e s of unity and repose as embodied by the s p i r i t u a l has meaning i n r e l a t i o n to the m u l t i p l i c i t y and a c t i v i t y of material l i f e .  The opposed but i n t e r r e l a t e d categories of m a t e r i a l and  s p i r i t u a l are formally mediated i n r i t u a l and c u l i n a r y p r a c t i c e .  However, I  show i n t h i s study that the process of mediation i s a function of a s p a t i a l and a temporal movement from the s p i r i t u a l to the m a t e r i a l , generating a  7 complementary r e l a t i o n s h i p between these two c a t e g o r i e s .  Among I s m a i l i s ,  space and time are experienced as an i n t e r p l a y of two opposing but i n t e r r e l a t e d forms: the m a t e r i a l and the s p i r i t u a l .  This i n t e r p l a y brings  i n t o r e l i e f the way i n which a t r a d i t i o n i s transmitted and i n t e r p r e t e d . In t h i s study, I show that the transmission and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n can be appreciated through formal expressions  (ritual,  c u l i n a r y p r a c t i c e ) i n which i t i s embodied and through c u l t u r a l constructions (everyday l i f e s i t u a t i o n s ) where i t i s i n t e r p r e t e d . While I recognize the important impact of the Western environment on the I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver, t h i s study has i t s centre of g r a v i t y i n the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n i t s e l f .  The  c o n t i n u i t y of t h i s t r a d i t i o n and i t s r e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s the main emphasis of my a n a l y s i s . With the advent of the twentieth century, the I s m a i l i s were introduced i n t o what i s r e f e r r e d to as the 'modern period' of t h e i r h i s t o r y . Under the d i r e c t i v e of t h e i r s p i r i t u a l leader (the Imam), a number of changes were introduced i n the economic, a d m i n i s t r a t i v e , educational and s o c i a l  spheres.  I t was the e x p l i c i t purpose of the Imam that while these changes were geared towards making the community modern ('progressive'), the l a t t e r was to be accomplished w i t h i n the p r i n c i p l e s of Islam.  Given the i n t e r p l a y between  formal expressions ( r i t u a l ) and t h e i r informal forms ( d a i l y l i f e ) , i n d i v i d u a l I s m a i l i s are engaged i n 'working out' the i m p l i c a t i o n s of these changes i n specific situations.  I t i s important to note that the I s m a i l i s l i v i n g i n  Western countries f i n d themselves i n the domain of the c u l t u r e to which they were exposed more s e l e c t i v e l y , and i n East A f r i c a .  'at a distance', i n t h e i r o r i g i n a l homeland  In Canada, the process of exposure to the West i s l i k e l y to  be f a r more pervasive, e s p e c i a l l y when the e x c l u s i v e nature of the community  8 i s considerably d i l u t e d as a greater number of I s m a i l i s ( i n c l u d i n g women) are exposed t o the larger society i n the form of work s i t u a t i o n s , school and recreational a c t i v i t i e s .  I examine the i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s encounter i n  terms of t r a d i t i o n and change. In the l i g h t of the above remarks, I have organized my data as f o l l o w s : The study begins with an o u t l i n e o f the substantive features of I s m a i l i cosmology (chapter 2 ) . Here, the categories of m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l are fundamental and t h e i r pervasive presence i n the speculative thought, a f f e c t i v e content and l i v e s of i n d i v i d u a l I s m a i l i s e s t a b l i s h e s a framework f o r the study of r i t u a l and d a i l y l i f e .  Part I I proceeds t o discuss the r i t u a l t r a d i t i o n i n  which these categories are invoked. The a n a l y s i s of the enclosed space i n the Jama^at Khana (chapter 3) reveals a form of s p a t i a l i n t e g r a t i o n achieved through an embodiment of meanings from various contexts: d o c t r i n a l , cosmic, and s o c i a l .  In chapter 4, I show that s p a t i a l i n t e g r a t i o n acquires meaning i n  so f a r as the enclosed space of the Jama *• at Khana points d i r e c t l y t o the space symbolized by the hearts of the p a r t i c i p a n t s as they occupy the 'empty space'. The a n a l y s i s o f three r i t u a l ceremonies image a c o g n i t i v e model whereby a movement, from the outward m a t e r i a l world o f a c t i v i t y and m u l t i p l i c i t y i n t o the inward s p i r i t u a l world o f repose and u n i t y , i s traced through body imagery.  An a n a l y s i s of another ceremony (ghat-pat), i n chapter 5, r e a f f i r m s  t h i s movement through the e x p l i c i t symbol of the heart.  In a d d i t i o n , t h i s  ceremony a l s o reveals the importance of r e l a t i n g the s p i r i t u a l awareness of unity and repose t o the material world of a c t i v i t y .  When the p a r t i c i p a n t s  leave Jama at Khana, they undergo a temporal and a s p a t i a l transference. In t  t h e i r everyday l i v e s , the I s m a i l i s experience space and time through an outward movement, engendering a network of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  9  Part I I I commences with the d a i l y l i f e of the I s m a i l i s .  Here, time and  space are a l s o organized i n r e l a t i o n to m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l categories. The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two categories i s depicted i n the c u l i n a r y p r a c t i c e (chapter 6) where I show how cooking e f f e c t s a transformation, a f f i r m i n g the presence of the s p i r i t u a l i n an otherwise m a t e r i a l context. Chapter 7 e x p l i c a t e s the s p a t i a l p o s i t i o n of women i n the domestic sphere where, i n t h e i r r o l e s as wives and mothers, they embody q u a l i t i e s which are akin to s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  The i n t e r n a l (kitchen) a c t i v i t y of women leads to the  c r e a t i o n of open space as among I s m a i l i s cooking i s an expression of c u l t i v a t i o n of t i e s with the outside world.  The chapter continues to discuss  the i m p l i c a t i o n s of the career and occupational r o l e s assumed by I s m a i l i women, showing t h a t , i n a c t u a l f a c t , women have undergone a s p a t i a l and a temporal transference as they move from an inward space of the home to that of the outward space i n the l a r g e r s o c i e t y .  The d i a m e t r i c a l opposition of these  spaces has l e d to a process of compartmentalization.  I continue to explore  t h i s theme i n chapter 8 i n r e l a t i o n to l i f e c y c l e s of i n d i v i d u a l s , which a l s o include the c o g n i t i v e model of the m a t e r i a l and the s p i r i t u a l .  The e l d e r s ,  the a d u l t s and the youth a l s o experience s p a t i a l and temporal i n c o n g r u i t i e s i n d i f f e r e n t contexts, h i g h l i g h t i n g an i n t e r n a l compartmentalization.  The  r a m i f i c a t i o n s of the two forms of compartmentalizations, the e x t e r n a l and the i n t e r n a l , are examined i n the concluding chapter i n r e l a t i o n to time and space i n two contexts: the t r a d i t i o n a l and the emergent.  10 The Setting  (i)  I s m a i l i History The h i s t o r y of the I s m a i l i s (a S h l a sect) i s best understood through the c  r o l e of the Imam (the community's s p i r i t u a l l e a d e r ) .  As the Shi'as e x p l a i n  i t , the Imam i s a possessor of a s p e c i a l sum of knowledge of r e l i g i o n ( i l m ) f  which includes both the e x o t e r i c and the e s o t e r i c meanings of the Qur'an ( J a f r i 1979:289-312).  The i n t e r p l a y of these two p o l a r i t i e s , t r a n s l a t e d as  zSher (outer) and b a t i n (inner) have been c r i t i c a l i n the development of I s m a i l i h i s t o r y and d o c t r i n e . Below, I give an o u t l i n e , i n c h r o n o l o g i c a l form, of the h i s t o r i c a l background of the I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver and t h e i r doctrine.  This s e c t i o n h i g h l i g h t s the t r a d i t i o n of the Imam who encapsulates  the complementarity between the zaher and the b a t i n and provides the background f o r understanding the emergent process of compartmentalization observable among I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver. The I s m a i l i s i n common with other S h i a groups maintain that the c  Prophet's son in-law A l i and h i s descendants occupied the o f f i c e of the Imam who i s both leader of the f a i t h f u l and s p i r i t u a l c h i e f of the devout.  The  sub-divisions among the Shi^a have r e s u l t e d over disputes concerning the r i g h t f u l successor of the Imam. The I s m a i l i s are the only S h i a sect who c  believe that the presence of the Imam i s necessary a t a l l times. Imam of the I s m a i l i s i s Aga Khan IV - Shah Karim a l - H u s s e i n i .  The present  (a)  Early  Ismailism  Two important developments i n the h i s t o r y of the Shi *a movement took place during the time of Imam J a * f a r a l - S a d i q , who died around 765.  First,  Imam J a * f a r al-Sadiq considerably influenced the c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n of ShiSt thought and that of mystical i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Islam.  Secondly, a f t e r the  death of the Imam a s p l i t occurred over the issue of succession.  Imam J a * f a r  al-Sadiq had designated h i s elder son I s m a i l to be h i s successor: Thus Ismail became the gate t o God, His praying niche, the Abode of His L i g h t , and the l i n k between Him and H i s creations, the Lieutenant of God on earth. (Ivanow t r . 1942:275). However, a body of the Imam's f o l l o w e r s believed that Ismail predeceased h i s father or that h i s appointment had been revoked i n favour of MusS" al-Kazim, Ismail's younger brother, whom they accepted as Imam. This group came t o be known as Ithna ^Asharites.  The l a t t e r continued t o give a l l e g i a n c e t o f i v e  more Imams a f t e r Musa and believe that t h e i r l a s t ( t w e l f t h ) Imam went i n t o hiding (ghayba) and w i l l reappear one day. Others who paid a l l e g i a n c e to the elder son, Ismail came to be known as I s m a i l i s . One of the notable features of the I s m a i l i movement during t h i s period was the c r e a t i o n of an o r g a n i z a t i o n a l network which came t o be known as the da wah (summons). c  In a r e l i g i o u s sense, daStrah i s the summons of the Prophets  to the people to believe i n the true r e l i g i o n , Islam (Canard 1965:11:168). Among I s m a i l i s da wah achieved s p e c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e both i n the complexity of c  i t s organization as w e l l as i n the spread of the f a i t h .  By the end of the  ninth century, the daSrah had emerged as a h i e r a r c h i c a l organization arranged i n a ranked order, the head being r e f e r r e d to as d a i al-du*at c  , 'chief  12 missionary' (Ivanow 1935:37-52).  Various o f f i c i a l s w i t h i n the daSrah worked  i n d i f f e r e n t geographical d i v i s i o n s known as j a z a i r . 3  An i n d i v i d u a l agent of  the da^wah was r e f e r r e d to as the d a * i . From the works of Qadi al-NuSnan ( I s m a i l i w r i t e r and j u r i s t - d. 974), and an I s m a i l i t r e a t i s e ( t r . W. Ivanow 1933), we l e a r n that a d a ^ i was subjected t o vigorous t r a i n i n g and d i s c i p l i n e .  He was expected t o master the  i n t e l l e c t u a l sciences of the day and show a keen i n t e r e s t i n r h e t o r i c and diplomacy.  These s k i l l s together with a keen s e n s i b i l i t y towards s p i r i t u a l  l i f e were considered t o be the mark of an i d e a l d a i . Thus equipped, the d a H c  won converts t o the I s m a i l i cause and spread the f a i t h t o other areas l i k e Yamen, a l - K u f a , Khurasan, Transoxiana, Sind and North A f r i c a .  (b)  The Fatimid Empire  The p o l i t i c o - r e l i g i o u s goal of the da^is achieved f r u i t i o n i n the establishment of the I s m a i l i Fatimid s t a t e i n the tenth century, with i t s centre i n C a i r o , Egypt.  The dynasty of the Imams who r u l e d over the Empire  f o r over two c e n t u r i e s extended i t s a u t h o r i t y to the southern  Mediterranean,  (namely, Crete, C o r s i c a , Malta and S i c i l y ) , the Levant, H i j a z and Sindh with scattered centres on the I r a n i a n plateau.  I t was i n t h i s period that the  I s m a i l i s e s t a b l i s h e d a p o l i t y with court a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and m i l i t a r y command, and a r e l i g i o u s hierarchy comprising I s l a m i c jurisprudence and an e s o t e r i c order. There are s e v e r a l features of the Fatimid period which had a l a s t i n g e f f e c t on the formation of a d i s t i n c t i v e l y I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n .  I t was a period  when the I s m a i l i s synthesized t h e i r d o c t r i n e , e s t a b l i s h e d a form of p o l i t i c a l organization and p r o s e l y t i z e d t h e i r b e l i e f s .  A l l of these strands converged  13 i n the r o l e of the Imam, who stood f o r p o l i t i c a l and j u r i d i c a l authority on the one hand and e s o t e r i c knowledge on the other.  In other words, the Imam's  r o l e was conceived as mediating between s o c i a l and cosmological orders. In the z a h i r he was the guardian of S h a r i a h (Islamic law). c  In the b a t i n he was  the means f o r achieving gnostic r e a l i z a t i o n . The upsurge of i n t e l l e c t u a l a c t i v i t y during the Fatimid period led t o the composition of numerous works.  Of s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t f o r our purposes i s the  development of a conceptual framework whereby the daSrah with i t s h i e r a r c h i c a l structure was anchored i n a cosmic order, with the Imam a t the apex.  The one  underlying p r i n c i p l e which governed the cosmic order, with a l l i t s correspondences i n the a s t r a l as w e l l as t e r r e s t r i a l world, was that the chain of h i e r a r c h i e s e x i s t e d as part of a s i n g l e i n d i v i s i b l e process.  'The  m u l t i p l i c i t y of a l l e x i s t e n t things had meaning only i n as much as i t formed an i n t e g r a l part of the whole system  '(Nanji 1978:106-7).  Among the  ranks and the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s worked out f o r each member of the elaborate hierarchy, those of the r a s u l (Prophet), the Wasi ( s p i r i t u a l successor) and the Imam are of s p e c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e .  The idea which was formulated and given  importance was that the I s m a i l i s have two modes of l i f e : the b a t i n and the z a h i r t r a n s l a t e d as s p i r i t u a l and m a t e r i a l r e s p e c t i v e l y . This d u a l i t y informs the l i f e and thought of the I s m a i l i s today. The other major development of the Fatimid period were the two b i f u r c a t i o n s that took place over the issue of succession.  The f i r s t of these  resulted i n the formation of the Druze movement which occurred a f t e r the r e i g n of Imam al-Hakim (d.1021).  immediately  Hamza, the leader of the movement,  declared Imam al-Hakim as p h y s i c a l manifestation of God, and he and h i s  14adherents broke away from the Fatimid I s m a i l i s . Today, the movement has survived l a r g e l y i n the mountains of the Levant. The second s p l i t occurred over the succession to the Imamat f o l l o w i n g the death of Imam Mustansir b ' i l l a h i n 1094. Following the Imam's death and the r i v a l claims to the o f f i c e of the Imamat of h i s two sons, the Syrian and Iranian section of the Empire followed the elder son N i z a r , while the Egyptian, Yemeni and Sindhi areas followed the younger son M u s t a ' l i . Musta'liyans  The  t r a n s f e r r e d the center of the da wah t o Yemen and then to I n d i a . t  The N i z a r i I s m a i l i s moved to Iran where the f o r t r e s s of Alamut became t h e i r p r i n c i p a l center.  25  (c)  The  I s m a i l i s Of Alamut  The N i z a r i I s m a i l i movement entered a phase of increased vigor i n P e r s i a . Here, the I s m a i l i s established a p o l i t y (1090-1256) c o n s i s t i n g  of a widely  dispersed s e r i e s of f o r t s with a f o c a l point at Alamut, i n the d i s t r i c t of Rudbar i n the Alburz mountains.  Medieval h i s t o r i a n s mention a number of f o r t y  to f i f t y f o r t s (Ivanow 1938b:383).  The  economic base, unlike the Fatimids who (Hodgson 1974:22), and  state did not have an independent had agrarian wealth and seafaring trade  functioned i n the face of the overwhelming m i l i t a r y  strength of the Saljuq government.  The  persistence of the I s m a i l i p o l i t y i s  a t t r i b u t e d to the i n t e r n a l cohesiveness and d i s c i p l i n e of the settlements so that i f one  Ismaili  p a r t i c u l a r center or f o r t r e s s happened to succumb  to h o s t i l e attack, i t s inhabitants could expect to be absorbed i n t o any of other remaining strongholds c o n t r o l l e d  the  by the N i z a r i s (Esmail & Nanji  1977:248). The  person who  played a v i t a l r o l e i n e s t a b l i s h i n g and  the I s m a i l i power i n Alamut was  Hasan-i-Sabbah (d.1124).  consolidating  Hasan-i-Sabbah  was  already a member of the da*wah when he took over the f o r t r e s s of Alamut i n 1090.  In the absence of the Imam, Hasan became the supreme c h i e f occupying  the rank of hujja (representative of the Imam). Hasan brought the Imam secretely  According to I s m a i l i sources,  to Alamut (ibid:248).  Hasan-i- Sabbah  occupies a legendary f i g u r e i n the annals of I s m a i l i h i s t o r y and h i s l i f e h i s t o r y i s often c i t e d by I s m a i l i s today to invoke a model of an i d e a l da^i personifying the q u a l i t i e s of d e d i c a t i o n , s a c r i f i c e and promoting the I s m a i l i cause.  discipline in  16 Emphasis and extension of c e r t a i n elements i n the doctrine of Imamat further invigorated the dispersed I s m a i l i settlements.  Key elements which  received emphasis were the p r i n c i p l e of t a l i m ( a u t h o r i t a t i v e teaching of the Imam) and qiyama, proclamation of the b g t i n given by Imam Hasan a l a d h i k r i h i i  al-salam i n 1164. By claiming the 'dawn of r e s u r r e c t i o n ' , the Imam abolished the e x o t e r i c elements of r e l i g i o n , containing outward acts of devotion.  As  the I s m a i l i s understand i t , qiyama emphasised the inward meaning of r e a l i t y , 'a purely s p i r i t u a l l i f e of inward s t a t e of the s o u l ' (Hodgson 1968:459). The concentration on the e s o t e r i c paved the way f o r the convergence of Ismailism and sufism.  Consequently, a f t e r the d e s t r u c t i o n of Alamut by the Mongols i n  1256, Ismailism survived i n P e r s i a i n the form of sufism.  Corbin suggests  that sufism and Ismailism became i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e (1975:530).  (d)  The Post-Alamut Period  Very l i t t l e information i s a v a i l a b l e on the h i s t o r y of the I s m a i l i s f o r the f i r s t f i v e c e n t u r i e s , f o l l o w i n g the d e s t r u c t i o n of the I s m a i l i p o l i t y i n Persia.  The t r a d i t i o n of the N i z a r i I s m a i l i s presents an uninterrupted  succession of Imams i n d i f f e r e n t parts of P e r s i a among which Azarbayjan and Anjudan were the main centers.  In 1937, Ivanow discovered, i n the v i l l a g e of  Anjudan, the tombs of Imam al-Mustansir I I and Imam al-Mustansir I I I (1938a:52-55).  Throughout t h i s period ( t h i r t e e n t h to seventeenth c e n t u r i e s ) ,  e f f o r t s i n p r o s e l y t i z a t i o n of the I s m a i l i f a i t h continued.  Of s p e c i a l  s i g n i f i c a n c e were the events of the fourteenth century when I s m a i l i da^is_ ( P i r s ) from P e r s i a a r r i v e d i n north-west India and won converts from the middle and lower castes.  The I s m a i l i community i n India maintained  communications with the Imam i n P e r s i a .  Some I s m a i l i s undertook long journeys  11 overland to P e r s i a ' i n order to meet the Imam, pay him homage and receive h i s blessings' (Esmail & Nanji 1977:253). In the eighteenth century, the Imams p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the p o l i t i c a l of I r a n .  life  Imam Abul Hasan Shah and Imam Hasan A l i Shah occupied the  governorship of the c i t y of Kirman.  The I r a n i a n period of the Imamat came t o  an end when Imam Hasan ' A l i Shah migrated t o India and s e t t l e d i n Bombay i n 1848.  This move was a r e s u l t of r i v a l r i e s and i n t r i g u e s i n the Qajar court of  the Shah (Algar 1969:55-81).  The headquarters of the Imam was now t r a n s f e r r e d  to I n d i a .  (e)  The da*wah In India  The growth of Israailism i n India was the work of the da wah which was c  already under way during the Fatimid times.  The e f f o r t s of the da*vah were  i n t e n s i f i e d under N i z a r i I s m a i l i s ; one of the e a r l i e s t d a i s to have come to t  India from Alamut was Nur Satagur, s h o r t l y before 1166 ( H o l l i s t e r 1953:351). He was followed by other da^is among whom the most i n f l u e n t i a l one was Sadr a l din  (d.1470).  Sadr a l din was instrumental i n winning over the Lohana caste  (Sind, Kashmir and the Punjab) t o the I s m a i l i f a i t h .  The converts received  the t i t l e of Khwaja (meaning Lord) from which the name khoja"has been derived. Pir  Sadr a l d i n was appointed the head of the khoja community i n 1430 and he  introduced the f i r s t Jama^at Khana (place of assembly) a t K o t r i , Sind (Nanji 1978:74).  The work of the daSrah i n the Indian subcontinent continued f o r  nearly two hundred years.  The daSrah c a r r i e d out by the P i r s was embodied i n  devotional l i t e r a t u r e c a l l e d the ginans, defined as contemplative or meditative knowledge.  I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note the pattern of conversion  which can be i d e n t i f i e d from the ginahs.  Through the n a r r a t i v e s i n the  18 ginans, Nanji gives the following account of the a c t i v i t i e s of the da i s (1978:55-56): (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)  Anonymous a r r i v a l to a well-known center of r e l i g i o u s activity. Performance of a miracle to draw the a t t e n t i o n of the r u l e r of the place, and winning over a d i s c i p l e . Confrontation with a l o c a l s a i n t . Establishment of the d a i ' s supremacy over the saint. Consequent conversion. Departure. c  The content of the preaching 'seized upon Hindu motifs and myths and transformed these i n t o n a r r a t i v e s r e f l e c t i n g the dawa*h's preaching' (ibid:101).  Although the converts were l e d to a new way of l i f e (Ismailism),  t h e i r indigenous p r a c t i c e s and conceptual framework continued t o p r e v a i l . This i s a t t e s t e d by the f a c t that when the I s m a i l i s migrated to East A f r i c a i n the l a t e nineteenth and e a r l y twentieth c e n t u r i e s , they had maintained A s i a t i c practices. They (the I s m a i l i s ) a r r i v e d there (East A f r i c a ) with A s i a t i c habits and A s i a t i c patterns of existence, but they encountered a s o c i e t y i n process of development which i s , i f anything, Euro-African. To have retained an A s i a t i c outlook i n matters of language, habit and c l o t h i n g would have been f o r them a complication and i n s o c i e t y an archaic dead weight f o r the A f r i c a of the f u t u r e . (Aga Khan I I I 1954:30). There were two d i s t i n c t but simultaneous processes which governed the growth and development of the I s m a i l i community i n East A f r i c a :  modernization  (adaptation to a E u r o - c o l o n i a l form of l i f e ) and gradual but d e f i n i t e d i s a s s o c i a t i o n with the " A s i a t i c " mode of l i f e accompanied by greater i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Islam.  19 (f)  The Modern Period  I t would be beyond the scope of t h i s introductory chapter to discuss the complex process of transformation involved i n a change of m i l i e u from an Indian environment t o that of the Euro-African.  A b r i e f mention of the  formation of the I s m a i l i c o n s t i t u t i o n and r i t u a l s w i l l give us some i n s i g h t s i n t o the process of transformation e f f e c t e d by the settlement of the I s m a i l i s i n East A f r i c a . The I s m a i l i s of East A f r i c a received t h e i r f i r s t c o n s t i t u t i o n i n 1905 which set i n t o motion a 'programme of c o n s t r u c t i n g a community with a highly i n d i v i d u a l and dynamic i d e n t i t y . . . . ' (Nanji 1974:127).  As the community grew  i n numbers due mainly t o economic growth i n the i n t e r i o r , a new c o n s t i t u t i o n was issued i n 1926 which made p r o v i s i o n f o r the establishment  of p r o v i n c i a l  c o u n c i l s i n accordance with the three East A f r i c a n t e r r i t o r i e s : Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika.  Over the years, the c o n s t i t u t i o n was restructured t o create  what eventually became a c l o s e - k n i t and highly organized system.  administrative  The purpose of the system was t o meet the needs of the I s m a i l i s i n  many sectors of l i f e ranging from h e a l t h , education, and finance t o personal matters l i k e marriage and i n h e r i t a n c e .  Two points established i n the  c o n s t i t u t i o n are: ' . . . . f i r s t , that the Rules of Conduct have been conceived w i t h i n the " s p i r i t of Islam", and second that "nothing therein contained  shall  a f f e c t the Absolute Power and Sole Authority of Mowlana Hazar Imam to a l t e r , amend, modify, vary, or annul at any time, or t o grant dispensation from the C o n s t i t u t i o n or any part t h e r e o f "  (ibid:131).  20 The a d m i n i s t r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e of the c o n s t i t u t i o n (revised i n 1962) i s as follows: (a)  P r o v i n c i a l Councils administering l o c a l a f f a i r s organized  under  committees: economics, sports, women's, welfare, and youth. (b)  T e r r i t o r i a l Councils f o r Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda overseeing the  P r o v i n c i a l Councils.  One of the functions of the Councils was to deal  with disputes regarding marriage, divorce and inheritance. (c)  An Executive Council f o r A f r i c a which p r i m a r i l y acted as a f i n a n c i a l  body channeling funds t o various (d)  organizations.  Educational and health administrators f o r each country.  Under them  were appointed the p r o v i n c i a l boards which dealt with l o c a l a c t i v i t i e s under t h e i r j u r i s d i c t i o n . (e)  Mukhi and Kamadiyah, r e l i g i o u s o f f i c i a l s whose main function was to  perform and o f f i c i a t e a l l the ceremonies which took place i n Jama a t c  Khana. (f)  I s m a i l i a Association whose main function was to disseminate and  publish l i t e r a t u r e p e r t a i n i n g to I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n s and values. The c o n s t i t u t i o n a l a f f i r m a t i o n of the Imam as the p i v o t a l f i g u r e was a major f a c t o r leading to the formation of a c e n t r a l l y organized I s m a i l i community i n East A f r i c a . One of the v i s i b l e expressions of the u n i t y of the community i s the Jama ^at Khana of which several were established i n l o c a t i o n s where I s m a i l i s s e t t l e d . Among the r i t u a l s performed i n the Jama^at Khana, the ceremony of ghat-pat (communal d r i n k i n g of sacred water) throws i n t o r e l i e f  21 the process which l e d t o g r e a t e r  i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h Islam.  N a n j i , the ceremony o f ghat-p"at was i n s t i t u t e d d u r i n g were c o n v e r t e d i n t o t h e I s m a i l i f a i t h  According to  t h e time when Hindus  (1982:105). The ceremony  included  c e r t a i n elements from the i n d i g e n o u s environment l i k e language ( G u j e r a t i ) and Hindu m o t i f s which were s y n t h e s i s e d  with I s m a i l i doctrine.  F o r example, the  f o u r t h stage i n t h e l i f e o f a Hindu c o n s i s t s o f j o i n i n g t h e ashram which represents  the a n t i s t r u c t u r a l element t o the s t r u c t u r a l c l o s u r e o f t h e c a s t e  (Nanji:107).  I n the ceremony o f ghat^-pat, t h e d r i n k i n g o f t h e s a c r e d  'the e q u i v a l e n t  water i s  o f t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f u n i t y , when the i n d i v i d u a l s o u l embraces  the l i g h t , riur o f Imama' ( i b i d : 1 0 7 ) . The r i t u a l merges t h e i n d i v i d u a l a t one l e v e l i n t o t h e new community, a t another i t f r e e s him from t h e merely s t r u c t u r a l or z a h e r i ( l i t e r a l l y , " e x t e r i o r " ) a s p e c t s o f r i t u a l and enables him t o e x p e r i e n c e t h e dimension o f b a t i n , t h e i n t e r i o r r e l i g i o n through which h i s i n d i v i d u a l quest f o r s p i r i t u a l knowledge and u n d e r s t a n d i n g i s a t t a i n e d ' ( i b i d : 1 0 7 ) . In E a s t A f r i c a , the p r a y e r s  (forming  were changed i n t o A r a b i c and g r e a t e r ceremony w i t h i n an I s l a m i c c o n t e x t  p a r t o f t h e ceremony) r e c i t e d i n G u j e r a t i emphasis has been p l a c e d  as i n s t a n c e d  i n the l i n k  i n a n c h o r i n g the  established  between t h i s ceremony and t h e i n i t i a t o r y r i t e s performed by Prophet Muhammed for  the i n i t i a l c o n v e r t s  One  t o Islam  (ibid:106).  o f t h e key c o n c e p t s which t h e I s m a i l i s emphasise i s t h a t o f p u r i t y .  C l a s s i c a l I s m a i l i works c o n s i d e r ( a l - Q a d i al-Nu^mah, t r . F y z e e  ' r i t u a l p u r i t y ' ( t a h a r a ) as a p i l l a r o f f a i t h  1974:2).  I n the l i t e r a r y sources,  inward p u r i t y ( ' p u r i t y o f t h e h e a r t ' ) i s c o n s i d e r e d attainment o f s p i r i t u a l enlightenment. r i t u a l , J a l a l u d d i n Ruini s t a t e s : J  Discussing  a state of  t o be e s s e n t i a l f o r t h e t h e symbol o f water i n  22 Next year i t came sweeping proudly along. "Hey, where hast thou been?" "In the sea of the pure. I went from here d i r t y ; I have come (back) clean. I have received a robe of honour, I have come to the earth (again) Hark, come unto me,0 ye polluted ones, f o r my nature hath partaken of the nature of God. I w i l l accept a l l thy foulness: I w i l l bestow on the demon p u r i t y l i k e (that of) the angel. When I become d e f i l e d , I w i l l return t h i t h e r : I w i l l go t o the Source of the source of p u r i t i e s . There I w i l l p u l l the f i l t h y cloak o f f my head: He w i l l give me a clean robe once more." ( t r . R.A. Nicholson 1968:VI:15). Among Hindus, concepts of p u r i t y and p o l l u t i o n have caste connotations. In h i s account of the caste system and i t s i m p l i c a t i o n s , Louis Dumont (1974) e x p l i c a t e s notions of p u r i t y and impurity as functions of a s o c i a l order where castes d i f f e r e n t i a t e themselves h i e r a r c h i c a l l y from one another.  In t h i s  study, I use the concepts of p u r i t y and p o l l u t i o n as defined and understood by the  I s m a i l i s , namely i n the context of m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l l i f e . ^ The steady growth and the s o c i a l and m a t e r i a l transformation of the  I s m a i l i community i n East A f r i c a i s a t t r i b u t e d t o the 48th Imam, S i r Sultan Muhammed Shah.  The Imamat of Sultan Muhammed Shah (1885-1957) covered a  period of h i s t o r y when the Muslim world and the t h i r d world countries were i n c r e a s i n g l y a f f e c t e d by western c u l t u r e and technology. During t h i s time the Imam attempted to bring about an amalgamation of I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n a l values and thought with a western mode of l i f e and organization. The changes i n the community were implemented through the firmans (guidance given by the Imam to h i s f o l l o w e r s ) which a f f e c t e d many facets of the  l i v e s of the I s m a i l i s , i n c l u d i n g h e a l t h , education, occupation, language  and family l i f e .  The firmans were buttressed with an a d m i n i s t r a t i v e system of  c o u n c i l s , health c l i n i c s , welfare organizations and f i n a n c i a l s e r v i c e s .  23 Although the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e system i s geared t o create a mode of organization and s o c i a l l i f e more favourable t o the new environment, i t continues to r e f l e c t the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n of s e r v i c e to the Iniam and to the Jama ''at (community).  The majority of the people administering the system are  voluntary workers. Under the leadership of the present (and f o r t y ninth) Imam, Shah Karim a l - H u s s e i n i , the programmes i n i t i a t e d by h i s predecessor were consolidated, and e f f o r t s were made t o meet new communal and n a t i o n a l challenges. As t r a d e r s , businessmen, and entrepreneurs, the I s m a i l i s had contributed towards the development o f East A f r i c a .  However, i n the eyes of the A f r i c a n s , the  I s m a i l i s and indeed other Asian groups were regarded as economically p r i v i l e g e d , and t h e i r p o s i t i o n i n the emerging nation s t a t e s became ambiguous. The Asians were faced with an issue o f a homeland.  Were they expected to seek  a place of settlement elsewhere, or should they continue l i v i n g i n East A f r i c a with an uncertain future?  The general d i r e c t i v e of the Imam to the I s m a i l i s  was that they should seek to i d e n t i f y t h e i r a s p i r a t i o n s with, and become f u l l c i t i z e n s of, the s t a t e where they were domiciled.  While many of the Asians  l e f t East A f r i c a i n the 1960's, the majority of the I s m a i l i s stayed on and took up c i t i z e n s h i p i n the new independent nations. Under a changed  economic and p o l i t i c a l c l i m a t e , the Imam encouraged the  I s m a i l i s , p a r t i c u l a r l y the younger ones, to acquire higher education and t o broaden t h e i r economic base so as t o i n c l u d e i n d u s t r i a l and p r o f e s s i o n a l fields.  In order t o achieve t h i s aim, e x i s t i n g f a c i l i t i e s were expanded and  new ones created.  Scholarship and bursary programmes have been i n s t i t u t e d t o  encourage young people t o pursue higher education a t i n s t i t u t i o n s i n d i f f e r e n t parts of the world.  S i m i l a r l y , a network o f economic and health i n s t i t u t i o n s ,  21 bringing together modern management and advanced technology, have been developed i n t h i r d world c o u n t r i e s . Under the sponsorship of The Aga Khan Foundation, these f a c i l i t i e s operate on a non-communal basis.  The Aga Khan  Foundation works i n close c o l l a b o r a t i o n with governments and i n t e r n a t i o n a l bodies i n c l u d i n g CIDA (Canadian I n t e r n a t i o n a l Development Agency), WHO  (World  Health Organization) and UNICEF. Apart from the above, some of the recent developments i n c l u d e : - I n s t i t u t e of I s m a i l i studies i n London, (the I n s t i t u e i s a l s o a f f i l i a t e d with the I n s t i t u t e of Islamic Studies at M c G i l l University); - the establishment of the Aga Khan Foundation, concerned w i t h humanitarian and c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t i e s ; - the Aga Khan U n i v e r s i t y and J u b i l e e H o s p i t a l i n Karachi; - the s e t t i n g up of the Aga Khan award f o r Islamic Architecture; - the constructions of Jama''at Khanas i n Vancouver and London. In the l i g h t of the above developments, various w r i t e r s have commented on the v i t a l i t y and progressive s p i r i t of the community (Anderson 1964), as the best organized and most progressive Muslim community (Hollingsworth 1960), as w e l l as the most modernized and f l e x i b l e group w i t h i n the Asian population i n East A f r i c a (Fernando 1972).  I s m a i l i s have responded to modernization so as to  achieve f o r the community standards of l i v i n g , health and education which are generally among the highest i n the Muslim world (Esraail & Nanji 257:1977).  25  (g)  I s m a i l i s In Vancouver  P r i o r to 1972, there were small groups of I s m a i l i f a m i l i e s l i v i n g i n i s o l a t e d centers i n Canada.  The I s m a i l i s who came t o Canada i n the f i f t i e s  were professionals who with t h e i r f a m i l i e s had migrated from parts of A s i a , A f r i c a , Western Europe and the United Kingdom, motivated by a combination of p o l i t i c a l and economic f a c t o r s and a s p i r i t of entrepreneurship.  By the  s i x t i e s , small Jama" ats had emerged and organized themselves as a community <  around Jama^at Dianas set up i n leased l o c a t i o n s .  Up t o about 1970 the  I s m a i l i population of Western Canada numbered about 100 (Fernando:1979) and i n North America about 600 (Nanji:1983).  The I s m a i l i population subsequently  increased as f a m i l i e s became united and a number of I s m a i l i s , i n c l u d i n g those from Tanzania and Kenya joined the growing community.  At present, i t i s  estimated that out of the t o t a l population of about 20,000 I s m a i l i s i n Canada, about 9,000 l i v e i n B r i t i s h Columbia, with the l a r g e s t number located i n the greater Vancouver area. The I s m a i l i s seem t o have adapted w e l l t o the needs of the Canadian environment, and are presently occupationally d i v e r s i f i e d .  One o f the  noticeable changes i n the community i s i n family l i f e , as i n c r e a s i n g numbers of women have joined the Canadian labour f o r c e .  The occupational a d a p t a b i l i t y  of the I s m a i l i s can be a t t r i b u t e d t o the leadership of the Imam, a home environment adapted to the Western i n d u s t r i a l mode of l i f e , and the cohesiveness of the community which i s expressed i n two key areas: the Jama at c  Khana and an a d m i n i s t r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e . As i n the East A f r i c a n case, the Jama^at Khana serves as a focus of the r e l i g i o u s , s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l l i f e  of the community.  As l o c a l groups of  26 I s m a i l i s increased i n Canada, l o c a t i o n s such as school h a l l s served as places where members of the community could congregate f o r the primary purpose of o f f e r i n g prayers accompanied by r i t u a l observances.  At present there are  t h i r t e e n Jama^at Khana l o c a t i o n s i n B r i t i s h Columbia.  Most of the Jama at (  Khanas are open every day i n the e a r l y hours of the mornings as w e l l as evenings.  Attendance v a r i e s from day t o day and the l a r g e s t congregation  takes place on F r i d a y s ^ and ceremonial occasions.  The e a r l y morning dhikr i s  the time of personal meditation and forms an important part of I s m a i l i religious practice. The f i r s t permanent Jama*at Khana i n North America was constructed i n the m u n i c i p a l i t y of Burnaby.  The b u i l d i n g i s designed to r e f l e c t c l a s s i c a l and  contemporary a r c h i t e c t u r a l s t y l e s which ' w i l l blend harmoniously i n t o the l o c a l environment'.  Such a development symbolizes the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n a l  norm which attempts t o ensure c o n t i n u i t y with r e l i g i o u s values i n r e l a t i o n t o the e x i s t i n g s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l  life.  The I s m a i l i s commemorate s e v e r a l r e l i g i o u s occasions which serve t o r e a f f i r m the t i e s between the Imam and the community and emphasise the idea of f r a t e r n i t y w i t h i n the community.  The most important r e l i g i o u s occasions are:  ~ ldd a l adha (commemorating Abrahim's w i l l i n g response t o the c a l l of A l l a h to s a c r i f i c e h i s son); c  - I d d a l f i t r (marking the end of the month of f a s t i n g , Ramadan); c  - I d d Milad an-Nabi (the birthday of the Prophet); C  - Navroz (the new year f e s t i v a l , March 21); - Birthday of Hazrat Imam A l i ; - Birthday of the present Imam; - Mehraj (the s p i r i t u a l journey of the Prophet).  27  - L a i l t u l Qadr ('The Night Of Power', sura x c v i i ) - Imamat Day (commemorates the present Imam's succession t o the o f f i c e of the Imam, J u l y 11). A s p e c i a l occasion which was celebrated (July 1982-July 1983) by the I s m a i l i community throughout the world was the S i l v e r J u b i l e e of the present Imam's twenty f i v e years of Imamat.  During the seventy two years of the  Imamat of the l a t e Aga Khan, the community celebrated h i s Golden, Diamond and Platinum J u b i l e e s r e s p e c t i v e l y . Funds r a i s e d on these occasions were used t o e s t a b l i s h a wide range of programmes of s o c i a l welfare and economic development i n A s i a and A f r i c a .  Following t h i s t r a d i t i o n , during the S i l v e r  J u b i l e e year, e x i s t i n g f a c i l i t i e s r e l a t e d t o h e a l t h , n u t r i t i o n , education, and r u r a l development were expanded and new ones created.  The primary purpose of  these f a c i l i t i e s i s t o enhance the standard of l i v i n g of the various c o u n t r i e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y the developing ones, where the I s m a i l i s are domiciled. One of the bodies which has been a c t i v e l y involved i n d i r e c t i n g the above programmes i s the Aga Khan Foundation with i t s headquarters i n Geneva with a f f i l i a t i o n s i n other parts of the world.  The head o f f i c e of the Aga Khan  Foundation Canada i s i n Vancouver ( e s t a b l i s h e d i n 1980).  The l a r g e s t project  of the Aga Khan Foundation and one of the major S i l v e r J u b i l e e p r o j e c t s i s the Aga Khan H o s p i t a l and Medical College constructed i n Karachi, Pakistan.  The  complex, which includes a school of nursing, has been given the charter of a University. The a d m i n i s t r a t i v e network e s t a b l i s h e d i n East A f r i c a has been extended to Canada i n order to organize the s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t i e s of the community.  I t includes the Supreme Council f o r Canada and r e g i o n a l c o u n c i l s  f o r the provinces.  Each of the c o u n c i l s has a President and a secretary and a  number of members i n charge of s p e c i f i c p o r t f o l i o s which include s o c i a l ,  28 educational, h e a l t h , economic and c u l t u r a l programmes. The a d m i n i s t r a t i v e system as i t has been established i n Canada i s organized as f o l l o w s : (a)  Supreme Council f o r Europe, Canada and the United States;  provides  general guidance under the d i r e c t i o n of the Imam. (b)  National Council f o r Canada makes recommendations and oversees the  work of the r e g i o n a l c o u n c i l s under them. (c)  Regional Councils f o r eastern and western Canada covering major  urban centers of I s m a i l i settlements: Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto. These c o u n c i l s d i r e c t the a c t i v i t i e s of various subcommittees (women's, youth, health,) based on p o l i c i e s determined by the National C o u n c i l . (d)  Grants Council which monitors expenditures of the various  organizations. (e)  I s m a i l i a A s s o c i a t i o n organized n a t i o n a l l y as w e l l as r e g i o n a l l y .  I t s main purpose i s to disseminate r e l i g i o u s education to I s m a i l i s . (f)  Mukhi and Kamadiyah who o f f i c i a t e a l l the ceremonies performed i n  Jama at Khana; each Jama at Khana l o c a t i o n i s under these o f f i c i a l s c  l  are appointed f o r a period of two  who  years.  Another feature of the Islamic heritage given s p e c i a l emphasis i s architecture.  The Aga Khan Awards Foundation e s t a b l i s h e d i n 1978 awards  p r i z e s ($500,000 every three years) f o r projects which demonstrate a r c h i t e c t u r a l excellence i n terms of amalgamation of what i s e s s e n t i a l l y Islamic with a r c h i t e c t u r a l forms appropriate to contemporary l i v i n g .  An  i n t e g r a l part of the Award programme has been the convening of i n t e r n a t i o n a l seminars i n d i f f e r e n t parts of the Muslim world.  In a d d i t i o n , the Aga Khan  29 programme f o r I s l a m i c A r c h i t e c t u r e has been e s t a b l i s h e d w i t h an endowment o f $11.5  m i l l i o n a t Harvard  U n i v e r s i t y and  Technology to promote r e s e a r c h and  the Massachusette I n s t i t u t e of  t e a c h i n g i n I s l a m i c A r t , A r c h i t e c t u r e and  Urbanism.  The  B.C.  I s m a i l i community has p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the Aga  means of d o n a t i o n s ,  and  professional expertise.  Khan p r o j e c t s by  Twenty f a m i l i e s from  Vancouver have gone to P a k i s t a n f o r p e r i o d s of t h r e e t o s i x y e a r s . t h a t , the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e and numerous I s m a i l i s render  Beyond  the i n s t i t u t i o n a l network of the community, where  v o l u n t a r y s e r v i c e s , p r o v i d e s a s t r o n g base f o r  s o l i d a r i t y among i t s members.  The  impact of these programmes l o c a l l y i s to  r e i n f o r c e the e f f o r t s of the community i n B r i t i s h Columbia to adapt to the host environment w i t h r e f e r e n c e t o i t s r e l i g i o u s h e r i t a g e . communal and own  from the  s t r u c t u r a l forms of a d a p t a t i o n , however, i n d i v i d u a l s have t h e i r  s u b j e c t i v e comprehensions of the process  r e - d e f i n i t i o n of t r a d i t i o n a l norms and community and  Apart  the  individual.  of change.  The  consequent  v a l u e s i n v o l v e an i n t e r p l a y between the  30  (ii)  I s m a i l i Doctrine One of the keys to the understanding of the I s m a i l i (Shi*a) doctrine l i e s  i n the way I s m a i l i s view man. Man i s made up of body and s o u l p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n two worlds: the higher world of the F i r s t A q l , an expression of the Divine f  V o l i t i o n , and the lower world of Nafs, which has emanated from A g l and i s the t  p r i n c i p l e of animation from which matter has o r i g i n a t e d .  As man i s f a r  removed from h i s o r i g i n s i n the higher world, he needs to acquire knowledge of the l a t t e r so that he can be motivated t o achieve re-union.  In t h i s task man  receives help from the Imam who i s the embodiment of the Divine V o l i t i o n .  The  Imam i s regarded as a being who i s endowed with the wisdom r e q u i s i t e f o r i n f u s i n g elements from the higher ( s p i r i t u a l ) world i n t o the lower world of matter.  The Imam's knowledge of the s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t i e s i s bestowed by A l l a h  and i s transmitted d i r e c t l y from one Imam t o the other.  The a u t h o r i t y of the  Imam occupies a c e n t r a l place i n Shiism and obedience t o him i s regarded as the p r i n c i p a l index of the b e l i e v e r s attempt to understand the inner core of the Islamic message and the values contained i n the message.  Obedience t o the  Imam e n t a i l s leading a l i f e i n accordance with h i s w i l l which i s expressed i n the firmans (guidance given by the Imam). The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the Imam and h i s f o l l o w e r s can be elucidated through two concepts which are given c e n t r a l importance i n I s m a i l i thought: the z l h i r (outward) and the b a t i n (inward).  Although there e x i s t s a  fundamental d i s t i n c t i o n between the z a h i r and the b a t i n , they are inseparable. The z a h i r i s the l e t t e r of the law as promulgated by the Prophet.  The b a t i n  represents the inner core of the f a i t h and i s contained i n the z a h i r .  In the  z a h i r , the Imam i s the commander of the f a i t h f u l by v i r t u e of h i s having been designated by the Prophet.  In the b a t i n , the Imam holds the key t o the source  of t a w i l , the a l l e g o r i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Qur'an. >  Through such an  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , the Imam enables man to return to h i s o r i g i n s .  Through the  mediating r o l e of the Imam, the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of z a h i r and batin receives a link.  The I s m a i l i s b e l i e v e that once the batjjin i s appreciated, the z a h i r i s  understood as part o f the batfin.  One of the e s s e n t i a l functions of the Imam  i s conceived as that of enabling h i s f o l l o w e r s t o go beyond the understanding of z a h i r and penetrate i n t o the inner meaning and experience  of the b a t i n .  In t h i s way man can be i n the ^ a h e r i world and continue t o s t r i v e f o r the ba^in a t the same time.  Based on t h i s d o c t r i n e , the t r a d i t i o n a l I s m a i l i world  view i s t o achieve both m a t e r i a l progress and s p i r i t u a l s a l v a t i o n . The N i z a r i I s m a i l i s developed and stressed the d o c t r i n e that the Imam i s the bearer of Nur (Divine L i g h t ) .  The concept of Nur-i-Imama s i g n i f i e s the  innermost r e a l i t y of the Imam. The I s m a i l i s maintain that Nur i s passed from one Imam to the other i n d i r e c t succession; a l l the Imams are therefore one i n essence.  I n t h i s way, the r e a l nature of the Imam i s understood as l y i n g  beyond the world of time and space. Comprehension of t h i s r e a l i t y i s regarded as the highest a t t a i n a b l e goal by the b e l i e v e r s .  The importance attached t o  the inward personal v i s i o n of the s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t y of the Imam l e d t o the convergences  of the I s m a i l i and 3 u f i d o c t r i n e s i n Islam.  The Imam i s revered  as the murshid (guide) who provides s p i r i t u a l guidance t o the murid (disciple). illumination.  The Ginah l i t e r a t u r e s t r e s s e s the quest f o r m y s t i c a l  32.  The attainment of the personal v i s i o n of the Imam's s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t y i s regarded as an important goal among I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver.  They maintain that  by Divine grace, such a goal can be achieved through meditation i n the early hours of the morning, good deeds, and inner p u r i f i c a t i o n .  R i t u a l s are  regarded as an important means through which inner p u r i f i c a t i o n can be attained.  33  Footnotes.  1.  Paul Ricoeur i n The C o n f l i c t Of I n t e r p r e t a t i o n s , D. Ihde ed., (Northwestern U n i v e r s i t y : Evanston Press, 1977), emphasises the inner connection between these two t e m p o r a l i t i e s . I n t e r p r e t a t i o n enters i n t o the time of t r a d i t i o n and the t r a d i t i o n i n turn i s l i v e d only i n and through the time of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n .  2.  Kant makes a d i s t i n c t i o n between space and time; space i s the form of our "outer experience," while time i s the form of our "inner experience," (Ernst C a s s i r e r 1978:49).  3.  Edward H a l l i n h i s l a t e r work, The Dance Of L i f e (Garden C i t y , New York: Anchor Press, 1983), expounds on informal time i n r e l a t i o n to t e c h n i c a l l e v e l of c u l t u r e . H a l l contends that informal time (which i s the core c u l t u r e ) i s 'the foundation on which i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s r e s t ' while t e c h n i c a l time i s 'concentrated and which fragments, defines, and requires c o n t r o l . . . ' ( i b i d : 1 7 7 ) .  4.  The modern period of I s m a i l i h i s t o r y i n East A f r i c a i s included i n the f o l l o w i n g studies: J.N.D. Anderson, "The I s m a i l i Khoias Of East A f r i c a : A New C o n s t i t u t i o n And Personal Law For The Community, Middle Eastern Studies, vol.1 (1964), pp.21-39; D.P. Ghai ed., P o r t r a i t Of A M i n o r i t y : Asians In East A f r i c a ( N a i r o b i : Oxford Press, 1975); Azim Nanzi, "The N i z a r i I s m a i l i Muslim Community In North America: Background And Development," E.H. Waugh, B. Abu-Laban & R.B. Qureshi ed., The Muslim Community In North America, ( A l b e r t a : The U n i v e r s i t y Of Alberta Press, 1983), pp.149-164.  5.  Part of the material on the modern period has been included i n : "The S h i ' a - I s m a i l i Muslim Community In B r i t i s h Columbia," C P . Anderson, T. Bose, J . Richardson ed., C i r c l e Of Voices: A^ History Of The R e l i g i o u s Communities Of B r i t i s h Columbia, ( B r i t i s h Columbia: Oolichan Books, 1983), pp.232-239.  6.  Mary Douglas shows that concepts of p u r i t y and p o l l u t i o n are c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to the s t r u c t u r e of the s o c i a l order and cosmological ideas. She argues that p o l l u t i o n b e l i e f s emerge when a system of values which i s expressed i n a given arrangement of things has been v i o l a t e d . These views are expounded i n P u r i t y And Danger: An A n a l y s i s Of Concepts Of P o l l u t i o n And Taboo, (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1966); " P o l l u t i o n , " I n t e r n a t i o n a l Encyclopedia Of The S o c i a l Sciences, vol.12 (1968) pp. 336-341.  7.  Among a l l the other days of the week, the I s m a i l i s consider Friday as auspicious; t h i s day i s associated with the presence of a large congregation, a p r a c t i c e which was introduced during the time of Prophet Muhammed.  34 8.  Speech made by the present Imam on the occasion of the foundation ceremony of Burnaby Jama at Khana, 26th J u l y 1982, Hikmat, vol.2 (1983) p.21. f  A great deal of work and thought has gone i n t o the planning and design of the b u i l d i n g that w i l l r i s e on the s i t e . The underlying o b j e c t i v e has been to develop a r e l i g i o u s and s o c i a l f a c i l i t y f o r the l o c a l I s m a i l i community, which, while blending harmoniously and d i s c r e e t l y with the surrounding environment and making f u l l use of m a t e r i a l s indigenous t o the area, w i l l s t i l l r e f l e c t an Islamic mood and add yet another dimension t o the varied a r c h i t e c t u r e of the Lower Mainland.  35 Part I Cosmology  Chapter 2 Substantive Features Of I s m a i l i Cosmology  Introduction In the varied t e r r a i n of I s m a i l i cosmic formulations, the categories of m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l are fundamental.  In t r a v e l l i n g through the t e r r a i n ,  the range which meets the eye covers as wide an area as speculative peaks of high mountains and  'rose gardens' of m y s t i c a l thought.  In s p i t e of the number  of contours d e f i n i n g the t e r r a i n , there i s one element which appears to be constant and that i s the p o l a r i t y of material and s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  Material  and s p i r i t u a l as opposite categories contain i n t r i n s i c ambiguities.  The  material only e x i s t s by a f f i r m i n g i t s opposite, the s p i r i t u a l . The s p i r i t u a l i s the source of l i f e f o r the m a t e r i a l , yet i n i t s e l f the s p i r i t u a l i s i n f i n i t e and unfathomable.  In t h i s scheme, the opposed tendencies of material  and s p i r i t u a l are contained i n man:  Man  i s confronted with the r e a l i t y of the  human c o n d i t i o n which i s imperfect and temporal and the timeless and s t r u c t u r e of s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  perfect  Man's temporal experience of l i f e presents  him  with continual problems of r e o r i e n t i n g and r e i n t e g r a t i n g himself i n terms of an i d e a l form expressing man's u n i t a r y s t a t e i n the atemporal. Through a recourse to documentary materials and a t t i t u d e s of lay I s m a i l i s , t h i s chapter gives an e x p o s i t i o n of the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n where the i n t e r p l a y between the material and the s p i r i t u a l i s highlighted i n d i f f e r e n t contexts:  36  (a)  Early I s m a i l i Speculation  (conceptual).  (b)  Qur'anic Narrative On The Creation Of Man  (c)  Corpus Of The Giriahic L i t e r a t u r e ( ' i n t e r i o r i z e d ' ) .  (d)  The Firmans  (e)  A t t i t u d e s Of Lay I s m a i l i s (experiencing s e l f ) .  (dramatic).  (atemporal/temporal).  This chapter provides a s e t t i n g f o r understanding  the complementarity  between m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l evoked i n r i t u a l and d a i l y l i f e .  Early I s m a i l i Speculation. Given one thousand four hundred years of Islamic h i s t o r y , i t would be impossible to cover the gamut of thought and speculation which abound concerning man and h i s place i n the universe.  A rose plant i n f u l l bloom  r e f l e c t s the c o n d i t i o n of the s o i l which has nourished i t and beyond that, the numerous f a c t o r s which have governed i t s growth.  S i m i l a r l y , a peak of  speculative development can capture with i n t e n s i t y the r e f l e c t i v e thought of the h i s t o r i c a l period preceding i t as w e l l as the one f o l l o w i n g i t .  In t h i s  category f a l l the w r i t i n g s of I s m a i l i t h i n k e r s who l i v e d during the I s m a i l i Fatimid state (909-1171).  The works of Abu Ya'qub A l - S i j i s t a n i , Abu Hatim  a l - R a z i , Muhammad a l - N a s a f i and Hamid al-Kirmani encompass l i t e r a r y peaks during the time when Greek, Persian and the p h i l o s o p h i c a l thought of the Indus-valley c i v i l i z a t i o n was w e l l known.  Below, I give a summary o u t l i n e of  the work of Abu Ya qub A l - S i j i s t a n i i n so f a r as i t reveals the paradox of l  material and s p i r i t u a l i n a l i t e r a r y s p e c u l a t i v e context.  37 (i)  The Natural Order There are two forms of c r e a t i o n depicted i n the speculative thought of  early I s m a i l i w r i t e r s .  At one l e v e l , the c r e a t i o n has come i n t o being as a  r e s u l t of the c r e a t i v e w i l l of A l l a h ( a l - i b d a ) . f  The verb a b d a implies the c  r a d i c a l coming-to-be of being from what i s not being.  A l l a h i s al-Mubdi* (the  innovator) and the Mubda* (the innovated) i s being i . e . a l l being at once. A l l a h innovates by a command (al-amr): A l - i b d l i s that aspect of c r e a t i o n which i n d i c a t e s i t s non-temporal, n o n - s p a t i a l foundation. The term al-amr says that i t i s God who i s responsible f o r i t s happening. Things come-to-be because God i s (Walker 1974:141). By a s i n g l e a c t of expression of A l l a h ' s W i l l , a l l forms of being o r i g i n a t e a l l at once without A l l a h having thereafter to a l t e r or change anything. At the second l e v e l of c r e a t i o n , the p r i n c i p l e of emanation has l e d to the formation of a h i e r a r c h i c a l order where the major orders comprise a l - a q l c  (the I n t e l l e c t ) , al-Nafs (the Soul) and 'Nature'. simple and p e r f e c t . 'the Quiescent'.  The I n t e l l e c t i s pure,  I t i s defined as 'the F i r s t Innovated', 'the Preceder',  I t has no d i s p a r i t y , l i m i t , q u a l i f i c a t i o n , motion or place.  From the I n t e l l e c t proceeds the Soul which i s n e i t h e r perfect nor imperfect. The Soul can only grasp the i n t e l l e c t through stages i n v o l v i n g a progression from the lower to the higher.  The Soul i s c a l l e d mustafid (the one seeking  i n s t r u c t i o n ) and the I n t e l l e c t i s c a l l e d mufid (the i n s t r u c t o r ) . As the Soul i s seeking p e r f e c t i o n , i t s c h i e f c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i s movement. i d e n t i f i e s four parts of the s o u l . sense.  Al-Sijistani  These are reason, holiness, growth and  The q u a l i t i e s of reason and h o l i n e s s enable the soul to r i s e  progressively to the rank of the I n t e l l e c t from which i t o r i g i n a t e s .  At the  38 same time, the Soul also has close r e l a t i o n s h i p with Nature as the l a t t e r has 'outpoured' from i t and occupies a lower l e v e l than the Soul. The emergence of Nature i s an e f f e c t of the other two q u a l i t i e s of the Soul, namely growth and sense.  The existence of Nature i s v i t a l , f o r the Soul i n i t s 'journey' to  the I n t e l l e c t . Nature comprises the combination of Form and Matter and i s sustained by the elements of f i r e , a i r , water and earth. These elements are the source of physical ( b o d i l y ) beings. world.  The spheres''' come i n t o being w i t h i n the physical  Below the spheres are the kingdoms of mineral, vegetable, animal and  man which form the earthly p h y s i c a l world.  (ii)  The Normative Order  . The n a t u r a l order involves a descending hierarchy beginning with A l l a h . I t c o n s i s t s of Amr, the I n t e l l e c t , the Soul, Nature, the spheres and f i n a l l y the Kingdoms.  Over and above the Natural hierarchy, I s m a i l i thinkers  conceived of a Normative order which a l s o o r i g i n a t e s from the Amr (command) of Allah.  The Normative order comprises three dimensions: jadd, Fath and khayal.  Jadd i s the grace which r a i s e s a c e r t a i n 'pure soul' to a complete and i n t u i t i v e grasp of how things are i n the whole of the c r e a t i o n . jadd makes the chosen soul a 'knower'. grace of Fath, the 'opening'.  The grace of  The knowledge i s acquired through the  Through t h i s grace the chosen soul i s able t o  penetrate i n t o the heart of the matter,  khayal, ('imagination'), enables the  chosen soul to f i n d a successor who w i l l i n h e r i t these graces. Below these three graces there are seven l e t t e r s : kaf, waw, nun, ya, qaf, dal and r]i which form the words kuni qadar.  These are the seven divine  l e t t e r s "by which there gush f o r t h psychic symbols and i n t e l l e c t u a l words from  39 the Two Roots".  They are the "treasury of speech".  By means of them^  " s p i r i t u a l forms" come i n t o being j u s t as by means of Nature bodily forms come into being (ibid:162).  Part of the normative order i s manifested i n the form  of language (based on the above l e t t e r s ) and t h i s sets the stage f o r the r o l e of a Prophet (the N a t i q ) .  There are seven Natiqs corresponding with the seven  divine l e t t e r s . Each Natiq plays a r o l e i n revealing the d i v i n e message (law) and perfecting the normative order.  Once the Natiq has established the law, the  second stage of development requires the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the law.  The Natiq  while he i s a l i v e can perform t h i s task; a f t e r death, he must pass the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o al-wasi (executor).  The l a t t e r i s a l s o al-asas (the  founder) as he employs t a ' w i l (hermeneutics) to i n t e r p r e t the law. he does not l e g i s l a t e .  However,  Below the Wasi, there i s the rank of the Imam. The  Imam's function i s to preserve the moral order as established by the Natiq and h i s Wasi. In sum, there are two h i e r a r c h i e s by which the created universe i s held i n place: the n a t u r a l order and the normative order. These two orders are d i s t i n c t and i n t e r r e l a t e d .  The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two i s mediated by  the Prophet who i s i n s p i r e d by the s p i r i t of h o l i n e s s .  Through the grace of  jadd, the Prophets acquire knowledge of the " s p i r i t u a l s u b t l e t i e s " and "luminous d e l i g h t s " and bear them t o c r e a t i o n (ibid:176). Prophet i s a l s o an h i s t o r i c a l being.  Nevertheless, the  Because of h i s mission of being the  deputy of the I n t e l l e c t i n the P h y s i c a l World, he has to account f o r change and f o r the place and the people where he w i l l f u n c t i o n .  He i s c a l l e d the  'master of time' (sahib al-zaman) and h i s function has to be repeated i n d i f f e r e n t h i s t o r i c a l eras.  Prophets who have been responsible f o r i n i t i a t i n g  40 the h i s t o r i c a l c y c l e s are:  Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammed.  Among these, Muhammed i s regarded as the 'seal' of the 'law' through which r e a l i t i e s from a higher order are revealed on the e a r t h l y plane. In the speculative thought of I s m a i l i w r i t e r s , the doctrine on the Tayjhid ( u n i t y ) of A l l a h , c r e a t i o n through Amr and kuni qadar, the n a t u r a l and the normative orders, and the c y c l e s of the Prophets are l i n k e d t o man. Man i s a unique being i n many respects.  In the Islamic and I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n , man i s  regarded as the summit of c r e a t i o n both i n the n a t u r a l as w e l l as the normative orders.  In the n a t u r a l order, man provides the v i t a l l i n k between  a l l forms of c r e a t i o n . Man contains both body as w e l l as s o u l . The former i s part of the ephemeral changing world of nature. s i m i l a r t o any other being i n the n a t u r a l world.  I t s basic requirements are Also, man's soul i s part of  the U n i v e r s a l Soul but, during i t s existence i n the n a t u r a l world, i t i s ' i n d i v i d u a l ' and ' p a r t i c u l a r ' .  In t h i s state i t l i v e s i n constant tension  between the world of the I n t e l l e c t and that of Nature.  The Soul's struggle i n  the p h y s i c a l world i s described i n terms of a path which i s as narrow as the edge of a sword. The schematic e x p o s i t i o n of the two forms of c r e a t i o n contain the paradox of r e v e l a t i o n and reason explained i n terms of al-amr and the p r i n c i p l e of emanation.  Although the two l e v e l s heighten the mystery of c r e a t i o n (how can  the universe come i n t o being a l l - a t - o n c e and by stages a t the same time?), the speculative framework seems t o contain the mystery  which i s p a r t i a l l y  unfolded i n the forms i n v o l v i n g h i e r a r c h i c a l orders and c y c l i c a l and ends.  beginnings  I n the n a t u r a l h i e r a r c h i c a l order, al-Nafs (soul) by p a r t i c i p a t i n g  i n the m a t e r i a l as w e l l as the s p i r i t u a l , acts as a mediator.  Nevertheless,  the tension and the struggle continues t o e x i s t i n h i s t o r y as al-Nafs i s pulled i n two d i r e c t i o n s . In the normative order, a l s o conceived h i e r a r c h i c a l l y , the mediators are the Prophet and the Imam who, by grasping the s p i r i t u a l world ' a l l at once', impart p a r t i a l knowledge of i t i n the movement of events ( h i s t o r y ) belonging to the m a t e r i a l order.  Both the n a t u r a l and the normative orders e x i s t f o r  the sake of man who i s entrusted with the task of embodying the ambiguity embedded i n the two orders: n a t u r a l and normative.  I n the n a t u r a l order man  i s i n c l i n e d i n two d i r e c t i o n s , towards nature and towards the I n t e l l e c t . In the normative order, man can only acquire p a r t i a l knowledge.  Through such an  embodiment, man, as a microcosmic being, can a s s i s t a l l forms of c r e a t i o n t o reach back to a l - a q l ( i n t e l l e c t ) and u n i t e with the amr (command) of A l l a h .  42. Diagram 1 H i e r a r c h i c a l Orders Formulated In The Works Of I s m a i l i Writers Allah al-Amr Natural Order  Normative Order  Al-*aql (Intellect) (pure & p e r f e c t ; repose)  Cosmic t r i a d of graces (1add, Fath, Khayal)  Al-Nafs (soul) (perfect & imperfect, repose & movement)  Seven Divine L e t t e r s (kuni Qadar)  Nature  Divine Language  Spheres  Natiq, Wasi, Imam (chosen souls)  Kingdoms Man  History  Animals  P h y s i c a l World  Vegetation Minerals  43 Diagram 2 Man As A Microcosmic Being Allah Natural Order  Normative Order S p i r i t u a l World  Ascent i n t o the s p i r i t u a l world  t  Chosen Souls Prophet/Imam  (guides man)  Man  Descent i n t o the m a t e r i a l world to be marked by the presence of s p i r i t u a l elements M a t e r i a l World  (embodies m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l elements)  44 Qur*anic Narrative On The Creation Of  Man  The notion of the soul having to l i v e i n the material world i n order to r e a l i z e i t s f u l l p o t e n t i a l i s of prime importance i n I s m a i l i cosmology.  This  concept receives emphasis not only i n the elaborate framework of speculative thought but i s a l s o r e i t e r a t e d i n the n a r r a t i v e s of the Qur'an.  Below I 9  include a b r i e f expose of the n a r r a t i v e on the c r e a t i o n of Man ( s . i i : 3 0 - 3 9 ) . My purpose here i s to show that the n a r r a t i v e contains a paradox: the mediation of c o n t r a r i e s on one plane leads to t h e i r emergence as opposites another plane leading to a dynamic i n t e r p l a y between synchronic and  on  diachronic  modes.^ (i)  Sequential Pattern.  Among the n a r r a t i v e s i n the Qur'an, the c r e a t i o n of Man as epitomized the story of Adam covers p r i m o r d i a l times.  Preceding  the c r e a t i o n of Man,  in the  only beings who e x i s t are the angels who c o n t i n u a l l y praise and g l o r i f y A l l a h . This i s a s t a t e of s i m p l i c i t y and r e l a t i v e oneness as there i s no t a l k of an a l t e r n a t i v e course of a c t i o n .  When A l l a h reveals to the angels that He i s  going to create His vicegerent on earth, the angels' response i s that ' w i l l make mischief' and  'shed blood'.  Man  A l l a h declares: " I know what you know  not" and r e a f f i r m s at a l a t e r stage: I know the secrets of heaven And earth, and I know what ye reveal And what ye conceal The set of oppositions ( m u l t i p l i c i t y ) which comes i n t o being with the c r e a t i o n of Man i s contained and mediated by the Knowledge of A l l a h :  4-5  A l l a h ' s Knowledge  Angels praise  Man w i l l shed blood  Heavens  Earth  Reveal  Conceal  A l l a h teaches Adam the nature of a l l things. the Angels t o bow t o Adam. Adam.  Following t h i s , A l l a h asks  A l l comply except f o r I b l i s who does not bow t o  I b l i s ' s r o l e i n the mythical drama i s c r u c i a l and ambiguous.  At one  l e v e l , he confirms the s t a t e of c o n t r a r i e s i n the form of d e c i s i v e a c t i o n .  By  h i s act of disobedience, I b l i s i s set i n the opposite camp from that of the other angels. At a second and more complex l e v e l , I b l i s p e r s o n i f i e s the d i f f i c u l t y of being able to choose from two sets of oppositions.  I b l i s i s not  able t o comprehend the notion that Angels who s i n g the praises of A l l a h and therefore can only bow t o Him, are now asked t o bow t o Adam. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n a l sources (Tasawwurat tr.1950:68 and Kalame P i r tr.1935:30-31,99) consider Adam not only as the prototype of humanity but a l s o the f i r s t Prophet of mankind.  Therefore Adam combines i n h i s being not only  the c o n t r a r i e s which c o n s t i t u t e the nature of man but a l s o a medium (Prophethood) through which such c o n t r a r i e s can be mediated. A f t e r I b l i s refuses to bow t o Adam, thereby acknowledging man's contrary nature, Adam and h i s spouse are placed i n the Garden of Eden.  S p a t i a l l y , the  Garden i s a mediating point between the heavens and the earth.  I t contains  the c o n t r a r i e s of gender (Adam and Eve), number ( b o u n t i f u l and one), and categories (forbidden and permissive t h i n g s ) .  4-6  Heavens (up) Garden Adam  Eve  Permissive  Forbidden  Bountiful  One Earth (down)  The second turning point i n the drama i s reached when Adam, prompted by I b l i s , approaches the forbidden t r e e .  E x e g e t i c a l l i t e r a t u r e a t t r i b u t e s the  tree to be that of wheat (Tasawwurat tr.1950:50).  Wheat s i g n i f i e s struggle as  i t has t o go through a s e r i e s of stages i n v o l v i n g s u f f e r i n g and pain before i t reaches maturity.  By approaching the forbidden t r e e , Adam acquires  'knowledge' which cannot be used i n the Garden as the l a t t e r i s f r e e from t o i l and struggle.  Adam i s sent t o the place, which embodies these q u a l i t i e s , with  renewed awareness of the d i f f i c u l t task which faces Man. As Man 'descends' i n t o earth, the s t a t e of m u l t i p l i c i t y comes t o s i g h t . but mankind which w i l l i n h a b i t the e a r t h .  I t i s not Adam and Eve  Here, two kinds of conditions w i l l  p r e v a i l : that of 'enmity' as w e l l as 'unity' achieved through proximity t o God.  Adam repents and learns 'words of i n s p i r a t i o n ' from A l l a h .  Absence of  t h i s act would mean that man could be 'companion of F i r e ' where he w i l l experience g r i e f and f e a r .  4-7 (ii)  Narrative Form:  Contraries - Mediation And J u x t a p o s i t i o n .  The n a r r a t i v e focuses on Man as the subject around whom a l l the developments merge.  The main p r i n c i p l e which shapes the events i s that of  c o n t r a r i e s which are mediated as w e l l as juxtaposed.  This process i s observed  s p a t i a l l y i n the mythical geographical l o c a t i o n s of the Heavens, the Garden and the Earth.  The Garden mediates between heavens and earth as i t captures  primordial times j u s t a f t e r Adam was created and j u s t before he leaves t o dwell on earth.  In each of these l o c a t i o n s , the c o n t r a r i e s are mediated as  w e l l as juxtaposed.  The n a r r a t i v e genre begins with a dialogue pertaining t o  man's contrary nature.  Man can be both angelic as w e l l as d i a b o l i c a l .  c o n t r a r i e s are conceptually juxtaposed i n I b l i s .  These  mediated through the 'Knowledge' of A l l a h and are  Paradoxically, I b l i s ' s f a l l i s attributed to his 4  knowledge as an angel of high status as w e l l as t o h i s ignorance.  Iblis s  decision not t o bow t o Adam generates a second set of c o n t r a r i e s : disobedience/obedience.  Adam i s placed i n the Garden t o resolve these  c o n t r a r i e s : b o u n t i f u l things (permissible) and the forbidden t r e e . f a i l u r e t o mediate t h i s opposition leads t o h i s descent on earth.  Adam's Here man  faces the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of e i t h e r l i s t e n i n g t o the 'guidance' of A l l a h or drawing away from i t . The mediation and j u x t a p o s i t i o n of c o n t r a r i e s revolve around Man i n so f a r as h i s descent on earth i s r e l a t e d by the n a r r a t i v e .  During each of the  stages, Man moves from a state of s i m p l i c i t y t o that of m u l t i p l i c i t y . I n i t i a l l y we have the f i g u r e of Adam, while i n the Garden of Eden there e x i s t s two f i g u r e s , namely, Adam and Eve. Mankind.  On earth, the focus of the drama i s on  Likewise, as the n a r r a t i v e progresses the f i g u r e of I b l i s becomes  'transformed* i n t o that of Satan.  As Man moves t o earth, he i s made aware of  48 the forces p u l l i n g him i n two d i r e c t i o n s .  In one area, Man learns words of  ' i n s p i r a t i o n ' and 'guidance' which would restore the p r i s t i n e s t a t e which he enjoyed before coming to earth.  On the other hand, Man i s reminded that he  can become the 'companion of F i r e ' which would bring g r i e f and f e a r . n a r r a t i v e ends on a note of struggle and paradox.  At a synchronic l e v e l , the  c o n t r a r i e s are mediated; d i a c h r o n i c a l l y they are juxtaposed and remain problematic.  The  49 Diagram 3 Narrative on Creation:  Man's Descent on Earth  Heavens  Earth  'Companion of Fire'' (act of disobedience) Key:  <* < >•  Descent of Man - macrocosmic l e v e l . Ascent of Man - to be accomplished at a microcosmic l e v e l . Further descent - act of p o t e n t i a l disobedience.  50  The Corpus of Ginanic L i t e r a t u r e . The Ginanic l i t e r a t u r e was compiled by d a i s who were propagating c  the  I s m a i l i f a i t h i n the Indo-subcontinent from the t h i r t e e n t h century to the e a r l y part of the present century.  The Ginans form one of the most cherished  t r a d i t i o n s of the I s m a i l i s i n Canada, and are r e c i t e d congregationally during the morning and evening prayers.  Among the array of themes included i n the  Ginans, the most pervasive and profoundly embedded i s the m y s t i c a l 'journey of the s o u l ' , which attempts to experience the d i v i n e i n the unfathomable depths of the human s e l f .  The l i f e of the s u f i s (mystics) i s understood i n terms of  the development of *ilm al-qulub, 'science of the hearts'. understanding  Knowledge and  i n t h i s respect are derived not from l o g i c a l and r a t i o n a l  deduction but from a sense of i n t u i t i o n and inner commitment of the heart. The ambiguity and sense of 'struggle' observed i n the n a r r a t i v e on c r e a t i o n are given an ' i n t e r i o r i z e d ' (mystical) expression i n the Ginans• In the context of t h i s study, the m y s t i c a l content of the Ginans deserves s p e c i a l mention as the i n c r e a s i n g impact of modern science and technology, with i t s associated demand f o r r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n , has a f f e c t e d the a t t i t u d e of the I s m a i l i s .  For the older members w i t h i n the community, the  Ginans have provided a v i t a l source f o r the comprehension and rejuvenation of the s p i r i t u a l l i f e as w e l l as dealing with everyday occurrences.  The regular  r e c i t a t i o n of the Ginans i n the Jama at Khana and i n I s m a i l i homes ( i n the c  form of taped Ginans) have undoubtedly governed the thought, behaviour, a t t i t u d e of the I s m a i l i s w i t h i n the l a r g e r scheme of t h e i r cosmos.  and  Bearing  these points i n mind, I give selected examples below of verses of the Ginans which are popularly known and r e c i t e d by members of the community.  53The journey of the soul (the quest) comprises two I n t e r l i n k e d phases. The f i r s t one e n t a i l s treading a path ( t a r i q a ) containing a s e r i e s of stages. completion of each stage necessitates the q u a l i t i e s of s t r i v i n g , struggle and patience.  The  perseverance,  The progression of the 'journey', which i s described  as being as d i f f i c u l t as treading on 'a narrow sword', becomes focused on the elements of l o v e , longing and t r u s t i n the grace of A l l a h .  The second phase  i s a p t l y summarized i n the image of a moth who does not a s p i r e f o r the l i g h t or the heat but casts i t s e l f i n the flame.  This phase i s defined i n terms of  the transformation of the inner s t a t e of the adept.  In other words, having  achieved a ' u n i t i v e experience', the adept r e a l i z e s m u l t i p l i c i t y i n a changed light. The Ginahic expression of the above phases i s couched i n words, symbols, imagery, anecdotes, the usage of poetic forms (rhyme, rhythm, a l l i t e r a t i o n ) and raga (the tune).  The combination of a l l these elements seems t o have a  deep e f f e c t on the p a r t i c i p a n t s , who say that the Girians 'touch t h e i r hearts and i n s p i r e them i n a s p e c i a l way'. In a number o f Ginans we l e a r n that the s o u l i s separated from i t s o r i g i n s by a vast s p a t i a l expanse which i s conceived i n terms of a range of mountains, or a vast ocean the c r o s s i n g of which would be arduous, d i f f i c u l t and beset w i t h u n c e r t a i n t i e s .  In one of the verses"*, the s t a t e of the soul i s  compared t o that of a f i s h whose d e s t i n a t i o n i s t o reach a f o r t high up i n the mountain.  I n another verse**, the pangs of the soul which s t r i v e s t o unite  with the Divine i s compared t o a f i s h out of water.  The journey begins with  an expression of l o v e , devotion, and t r u s t i n the Imam of the time, comprehended inwardly i n the heart of the seeker.  E x p r e s s i v e l y , through the  imagery of the flower, the seeker i s asked to look f o r the essence of the Imam  52 i n the heart j u s t as the scent i s present i n the flower.  In another context  the P i r (equivalent to D a i ) explains that j u s t as the night i s l i t by the f  moon and the day by the sun, s i m i l a r l y the heart i s l i t by Iman ( f a i t h ) ^ . The notion that such a journey i s d i f f i c u l t and requires a long period of waiting i s s p e l l e d out i n no uncertain terms.  The seeker reminds her  beloved  (the image of female i s popularly employed i n the Ginans) that countless ages g have gone by and the s t a t e of separation has p e r s i s t e d . In the f a m i l i a r imagery of walking, the seeker exclaims that she has been walking f o r a long o time and cannot continue any longer.  The r e c o g n i t i o n that the d i f f i c u l t i e s  faced i n treading a s p i r i t u a l path can lead to i t s abandonment i s given f o r c e f u l and v i v i d expression.  In order to connote t h i s aspect, imagery i s  drawn from nature: we are given to understand that man's status i s l i k e a distinguished l i o n but when he forgets h i s status then he becomes l i k e a sheep.*^  Another verse s t a t e s that although the crane and the swan look  a l i k e , they are d i s t i n c t : the former eats anything which comes i t s way the l a t t e r seeks only p e a r l s * * .  One i s reminded that man  while  l i v e s i n t h i s world  for only 'four days' and that during h i s sojourn on earth, he becomes 'locked 12 i n a cage'. A wealth of concrete and v i v i d symbols attempt to express the idea of i n f i n i t y and transcendence to be achieved through intense concentration.  One  of the Ginans which captures t h i s dimension s u c c i n c t l y i s the Brahm Prakash. 13 Verses 9, 11 and 12 read as f o l l o w s :  53 Where t h e 'Love' flows so i n c e s s a n t l y , The devotee d r i n k s o f i t and becomes Love-intoxicated. How s h a l l I d e s c r i b e t h i s 'Divine E c s t a s y ' ! Short o f words am I t o d e s c r i b e i t s G l o r y . No amount o f l i t e r a t u r e read o r l i s t e n e d t o , Could h e l p a t t a i n t h i s e x p e r i e n c e o f happiness. The  experience  o f transcendence i s r e l a t e d i n v e r s e s  65 and 66:  Without t h e r a i n c l o u d s t h e s k i e s thunder Without t h e palace one i s enthroned. Where t h e r a i n f a l l s without t h e c l o u d s , There e x i s t s t h e s o u l w i t h o u t t h e m a t e r i a l body. C i t a t i o n s from t h e G i n a h i c  l i t e r a t u r e have been i n c l u d e d i n order t o  i l l u s t r a t e t h e c e n t r a l i t y o f t h e c a t e g o r i e s o f s p i r i t u a l and m a t e r i a l i n t h e scheme o f t h e I s m a i l i cosmos and t o p r o v i d e  glimpses o f a t r a d i t i o n a l  t o which I s m a i l i s a r e exposed d u r i n g worship.  In t h e i r  I s m a i l i s , e s p e c i a l l y e l d e r s and a d u l t s , c i t e v e r s e s t o e x i s t e n t i a l i s s u e s as w e l l as profane a s p e c t s  The  source  conversations,  o f t h e Ginans i n r e l a t i o n  of l i f e .  Firmans  The  r e l a t i o n s h i p between m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l c a t e g o r i e s i s a f u n c t i o n  of h i s t o r y and temporal events on t h e one hand and t h e atemporal, ' s t r u c t u r e ' on t h e o t h e r .  The Firmans  timeless  r e v e a l t h e i n t e r p l a y between t h e  temporal events and t h e normative system as they attempt t o accommodate both. The in  Firmans have a f f e c t e d t h e course o f l i f e  o f many I s m a i l i s as e x e m p l i f i e d  t h e d e c i s i o n s which i n d i v i d u a l s and f a m i l i e s make because ' i t i s t h e  guidance g i v e n by t h e Imam'.  An I s m a i l i woman r e c a l l e d t h a t when she was  young, she remembered Imam S u l t a n Muhammed Shah's Firman on h e a l t h , where he explained  t h a t t o o much consumption o f r i c e does not c o n t r i b u t e t o good  54health.  The woman i n question decided to give up eating r i c e altogether. A  female teacher l i k e w i s e explained that were i t not f o r the Firmans on education, her parents would never have sent her to a U n i v e r s i t y as there was no such f a c i l i t y i n the town (Mbale) where they were l i v i n g .  A businessman  - r e l a t e d h i s c o n v i c t i o n that he a t t r i b u t e d h i s success i n business t o the Imams guidance and grace.  While i n East A f r i c a , he took up an i n d u s t r i a l l i n e based  on the d i r e c t i v e of the Imam. The above examples do not mean that a l l the firmans are implemented at a l l times.  Rather, some of the firmans are used i n an expedient manner. A  female informant explained that her husband does not approve of her going t o Jama at Khana d a i l y . t  One day he t o l d her that i t i s the firman of the Imam  that a woman's f i r s t p r i o r i t y should be her husband and the family. The woman r e t o r t e d that there i s a l s o a firman t o the e f f e c t that every i n d i v i d u a l should attend Jama*at Khana r e g u l a r l y .  Nevertheless, the firmans have had a  d e c i s i v e impact on the l i v e s of the I s m a i l i s .  Beyond the 'material sphere*  (temporal events), the firmans have been a v i t a l source of rejuvenation and c u l t i v a t i o n of the s p i r i t u a l l i f e ('timeless s t r u c t u r e ' ) .  Considerable  emphasis i s given t o the l a t t e r as can be seen from the constant reference being made t o 'the s o u l ' , 'the Divine Being' and 'the L i f e Hereafter'. And i n the highest realms of consciousness a l l who believe i n Higher Being are l i b e r a t e d from a l l the clogging and hampering bonds of the s u b j e c t i v e s e l f i n prayer, i n rapt meditation upon and i n the face of the g l o r i o u s radiance of e t e r n i t y , i n which a l l the temporal and e a r t h l y consciousness i s swallowed up and i t s e l f becomes the e t e r n a l . (Memoirs of Aga Khan 1954:335).  55  I remind you once again that you must understand that each one of you has a soul and t h i s soul alone i s e t e r n a l ; and i t i s the duty and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of each one of you to remember that you have a s o u l . For t h i s reason, i t i s necessary f o r every i n d i v i d u a l t o attend Jama at Khana r e g u l a r l y and t o be regular i n your Bandagi (meditation) and prayer c  (Bombay 1967 - Precious Gems:40). The Firmans have c o n t i n u a l l y r e v i t a l i z e d the fundamental dimension of I s m a i l i cosmos.  In other words, they have affirmed the presence of the  s p i r i t u a l order i n the context of m a t e r i a l l i f e and have created an awareness and r e a l i z a t i o n of s p i r i t u a l l i f e . the  Of s p e c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e i s the f a c t that  Firmans are addressed t o the e x i s t i n g circumstances and are repeatedly  read i n Jama a t Khanas. c  The Firmans which have been published are kept i n  I s m a i l i homes and may be r e f e r r e d t o time and again. They occupy a unique place among I s m a i l i s as they are made i n the vein of a s p i r i t u a l father (the Imam) addressing h i s s p i r i t u a l c h i l d r e n ( h i s f o l l o w e r s ) .  This emotive content  makes them s p e c i a l l y meaningful f o r the I s m a i l i s whose view of t h e i r cosmos i s 14 l a r g e l y and s i g n i f i c a n t l y derived from them.  Below are a few i l l u s t r a t i v e  examples. Ever since the turn of the century, Imam Sultan Muhammed Shah's increasing concern i n the m a t e r i a l world has been i n the areas of h e a l t h , education, economics, and an i n f r a s t r u c t u r e of a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . are  These sectors  considered to be target -areas through which developments i n science and  technology could be incorporated i n t o the value system of the I s m a i l i s . The Imam's concern t o create health-consciousness w i t h i n the community i s expressed i n a manner which d e c i s i v e l y includes s p i r i t u a l elements. For example:  56 Remember that according t o our I s m a i l i F a i t h , the body i s the temple of God f o r i t c a r r i e s the soul that receives Divine Light. So great care of body, i t s health and c l e a n l i n e s s are to guide you i n l a t e l i f e ; . . . . b u t you can do much by going about your business, shopping e t c . on foot and c a r r y i n g yourselves STRAIGHT. The times of prayer should not be forgotten So keep a clean soul i n a clean body. Blessings. ( N a i r o b i 1945,  'Precious Pearls':55).  In economics and education the 'linkage' between the m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l i s conceived i n terms of the development and sustenance of c e r t a i n qualities.  The f o l l o w i n g e x t r a c t s i l l u s t r a t e t h i s :  I would l i k e you t o apply the p r i n c i p l e of brotherhood i n the Jama*at, i n the way you earn your l i v i n g . This means to come together, work together, as i t i s only by coming together, by pooling your energy and your resources that we w i l l succeed i n achieving the goals which we seek i n the years ahead. (Maliya-Hatina 1967,  'Precious Gems':80).  What then are your duties as i n d i v i d u a l s and what must you do for your own personal welfare? Education must come f i r s t . Not simply the education we r e c e i v e by book l e a r n i n g a t school when we are young. But the education which we should be r e c e i v i n g everyday of our existence by the very a c t of l i v i n g . You do not have to be a learned scholar t o discover, i n the everyday contacts of human l i f e , the value of such q u a l i t i e s as i n t e g r i t y , honesty, d i s c i p l i n e and h u m i l i t y . ( N a i r o b i 1957,  'Precious Gems':11).  You should remember that education only i s of no use. You must have f a i t h and love f o r r e l i g i o n . I f you are i n a bus or anywhere and i f you have got a t a s b i h (rosary) with you, say your prayers there and then. Do not depend on f u t u r e or do not h e s i t a t e ( s i c ) . (Dar-es-salaam  1957,  'Precious Gems:16).  The p o t e n t i a l c o n f l i c t which i s i m p l i c i t l y present i n an a d m i n i s t r a t i v e i n f r a s t r u c t u r e , which n e c e s s i t a t e s the formation of d i s t i n c t categories of leaders and laymen, i s i d e a l l y contained w i t h i n the o v e r a l l framework of harmony, u n i t y , and co-operation emphasised i n the firmans:  57  None o f you must f o r g e t t h a t i n your own areas you a r e i n p o s i t i o n s o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , and those who have been g i v e n r e s p o n s i b i l i t y must f u l f i l l t h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y - otherwise they a r e m i s l e a d i n g themselves, they a r e m i s l e a d i n g the J a m a a t and they a r e m i s l e a d i n g t h e Imam, and I want you t o remember t h i s . I f t h e Imam has p l a c e d h i s t r u s t and h i s c o n f i d e n c e i n you, f u l f i l l t h a t t r u s t and t h a t c o n f i d e n c e , and make sure t h a t you a r e s e r v i n g t h e Jama ^at t o t h e best o f your a b i l i t y and t h a t i n so doing you a r e s e r v i n g t h e Imam a l s o . t  (Bombay 1973, ' P r e c i o u s P e a r l s ' : 6 4 / 6 5 ) . A s i g n i f i c a n t p o i n t which emerges from t h e f i r m a n s c i t e d i s t h a t m a t e r i a l a c t i v i t i e s ' a r e d i r e c t e d towards wider v a l u e s as i n s t a n c e d i n the example on education.  E d u c a t i o n a c q u i r e d by t h e i n d i v i d u a l i s t o f i n d  meaningful  e x p r e s s i o n w i t h i n t h e u n i t of t h e f a m i l y and beyond t h a t w i t h i n t h e community. The f i r m a n s p r o v i d e an i d e a l paradigm o f m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l e x i s t i n g i n mutual harmony.  A t t i t u d e s o f Lay I s m a i l i s  C o n v e r s a t i o n s w i t h I s m a i l i s r e v e a l t h a t they a r e a c u t e l y aware o f the c a t e g o r i e s o f m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l i n l i f e . to  these c a t e g o r i e s i s determined  r e l a t e s t o mental  In p a r t i c u l a r , t h e i r  by two forms o f development.  The f i r s t  and s p i r i t u a l growth o f an i n d i v i d u a l , and t h e second  p e r t a i n s t o t h e s o c i a l environment.  Some examples from each o f these areas  follow:  Mehrunisha,  relation  a 55 year o l d housewife  r e l a t e d the f o l l o w i n g :  I have always taken Nandi ( f o o d o f f e r i n g s ) t o J a m a t Khana. At f i r s t , I used t o take sweet and savoury d i s h e s . Sometimes, I used t o take these t o g e t h e r w h i l e a t o t h e r times, I used t o alternate. G r a d u a l l y , I got t h e inward message, t h a t the savoury d i s h should be e l i m i n a t e d . So I j u s t took sweet d i s h e s t o Jama^at Khana. P r e s e n t l y , I do not take these either. I o n l y take f r e s h f r u i t s and m i l k .  58 The progression of stages from cooked and savoury to cooked and sweet dishes and f u r t h e r to the uncooked (raw) form, corresponds, i n the mind of Mehrunisha, to a l e v e l of development from the m a t e r i a l to the s p i r i t u a l .  In  the category of foods, savoury items are considered to have greater a f f i n i t y with m a t e r i a l l i f e than sweet and uncooked dishes.  Mehrunisha c i t e d the four  stages of s h a r i f a t (outward) to t a r i q a t ( f o l l o w i n g the path) to haqiqat (knowing and understanding) and marifat ( s p i r i t u a l experience) as being necessary steps f o r the a p p r e c i a t i o n and understanding of s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  At  one point, Mehrunisha explained: I was once at the stage of s h a r i * a t . This i s a d i f f i c u l t step and o f t e n q u i t e p a i n f u l as one does not understand why one has to do c e r t a i n t h i n g s . I remember, one day we had to attend the wedding of a c l o s e non-Ismaili f r i e n d i n East A f r i c a . The wedding ceremony was to be performed at Jama at Khana time. We a l l got ready but somehow at the l a s t minute, I f e l t that I ought to go to Jama at Khana. I t was a d i f f i c u l t and a p a i n f u l d e c i s i o n as I knew that the groom would be hurt - we were very c l o s e . I f I was i n the same s i t u a t i o n now, I would go to the wedding but at that time I was at a 'physical l e v e l ' . I could not 'carry' the prayer i n my heart. c  t  J i v r a j who i s 65 years o l d explained the progressive stages i n r e l a t i o n to the f o l l o w i n g anecdote. Once there was a man whose utmost d e s i r e was to e n t e r t a i n the Prophet. His wish was granted and he was t o l d that the Prophet would come to h i s house on a c e r t a i n day. This man s t a r t e d making preparations and had the best food prepared f o r the occasion. When the day came, a beggar came by and knocked at the person's door. The l a t t e r i n s t r u c t e d h i s servant to give 'yesterday's' food to the beggar. He took what was given to him and l e f t . Meanwhile, the man waited and waited but the Prophet d i d not come. Eventually, the man sat i n Ibadat (meditation) and he l e a r n t that the beggar who had come to h i s house was the Prophet. This man was q u i t e advanced but on t h i s p a r t i c u l a r occasion, he made a s l i p . I would consider t h i s i n c i d e n t as showing the i n a b i l i t y of a person to see the s p i r i t u a l element i n the m a t e r i a l form.  59  When I asked J i v r a j how he would describe the s t a t e of a person who i s at a s h a r i ' a t i l e v e l , h i s response was: a s h a r i a t i person stands outside the f  gate of a sublime palace unaware of the treasures which are i n s i d e . The second area of environmental f a c t o r s can be understood i n two contexts.  F i r s t , there i s the t r a d i t i o n a l context which provides c o g n i t i v e  models i n such areas as r i t u a l , the c u l i n a r y system, and the l i f e - c y c l e of individuals.  By means of these models, environmental f a c t o r s are accommodated  and dealt with.  Thus a man who could not f o r instance go t o Jama*at Khlna  (because of long hours a t the shop), and therefore could not pursue an important aspect of s p i r i t u a l l i f e , could c o g n i t i v e l y be made aware of the l a t t e r through h i s parents or wife's r e g u l a r i t y i n the observance of r e l i g i o u s duties. The second context pertains t o the current environment of the I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver.  As I s h a l l show i n the course of t h i s study, the 'new' and  emerging model seems to be that of the a l t e r n a t i o n of the c o g n i t i v e model (a synchronic s t r u c t u r e ) with that of ' i n d i v i d u a l contexts of a c t i v i t y ' (diachronic forms) concerning new patterns of l i f e i n the host environment. Pursuing the above example, a person who may be working i n the evenings and hence unable to attend Jama at Khana would ensure that on h i s o f f days or i n f  the  mornings he does go t o Jama at Khana. (  would be required on h i s part.  In t h i s respect, a s p e c i a l e f f o r t  In other words, a greater demand i s made at  the  i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l i n achieving a stage of development which would lead to  the  r e a l i z a t i o n of s p i r i t u a l l i f e , t r a n s l a t e d i n t o an experience of time and  space w i t h i n a u n i t i v e framework.  60  Conclusion. The contents of the above a n a l y s i s f a l l under the temporality of the 'time of transmission', the other being the time of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n .  As  Ricoeur has pointed out, the two t e m p o r a l i t i e s are mutually r e l a t e d as one i n t e r p r e t s i n order to make e x p l i c i t and i n the process "keep a l i v e the t r a d i t i o n i t s e l f , i n s i d e which one always remains" (1974:27).  The main  question which a r i s e s i s how do I s m a i l i s r e l a t e t o the time of transmission given the f a c t that during the course of t h e i r l i v e s , they i n t e r p r e t t h e i r t r a d i t i o n and thereby renew i t i n r e l a t i o n t o the c o n t i n u a l process of change as i n d i v i d u a l s move through t h e i r l i f e - c y c l e s and are a f f e c t e d by environmental f a c t o r s ?  I show i n parts I I and I I I that the interconnection  between the two t e m p o r a l i t i e s i s a f u n c t i o n of the organization of space and time i n two contexts: r i t u a l and d a i l y l i f e .  63Footnotes: 1.  The terra i s derived from the Arabic word af lak t r a n s l a t e d as "luminaries of the heavenly spheres", Hans Wehr, A d i c t i o n a r y Of modern Written Arabic (New York: The spoken Language Services 1971), p.72.  2.  The t r a n s l a t i o n of the Qur*an used i n the t e x t i s : Yusuf A l i , The Glorious Qur»an. (U.S.A.: American Trust P u b l i c a t i o n s 1977).  3.  Synchronic and diachronic are key concepts used i n Levi-Strauss's a n a l y s i s of myth: "...we have reorganized our myth according t o a time referent of a new nature corresponding t o the p r e r e q u i s i t e of the i n i t i a l hypothesis ( i . e . that myth i s a unique form of story that combines the two temporal modes of synchrony and diachrony), namely, a two-dimensional time r e f e r e n t which i s simultaneously diachronic and synchronic and which accordingly i n t e g r a t e s the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the langue on one hand, and those of the parole on the other" (1965:87).  4.  An e s o t e r i c i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the n a r r a t i v e i s given i n a t r e a t i s e w r i t t e n by an I s m a i l i d a i , Husain i b n ' A l i , an account of which i s given by Bernard Lewis, "An I s m a i l i I n t e r p r e t a t i o n Of The F a l l Of Adam", B u l l e t i n Of The School Of O r i e n t a l And A f r i c a n Studies, 9 (1937-1939), pp.691-704. The tree i s considered to be both good and bad and i s i n t e r p r e t e d a t two l e v e l s : h i s t o r i c and cosmic. F i r s t , the tree i n the good sense i s the tree of knowledge which Adam has acquired and i s forbidden t o d i v u l g e . I b l i s succeeds i n obtaining from Adam the secret knowledge. I n the e v i l sense, I b l i s i s the tree and Adam i s forbidden to d i s c l o s e t o him the "secret wisdom". Secondly, on the cosmic plane, Adam represents the l i v i n g I n t e l l i g e n c e which f i r s t created the world and i s known as Adam Rufrani, the S p i r i t u a l Adam. The good aspect of the tree which he might not approach i s the rank of the F i r s t Emanation; I b l i s i s Adam's e v i l imagination and h i s ambition t o a t t a i n e q u a l i t y with the F i r s t Emanation. c  5.  Unchare kot bahu vechana verse 1.  6.  Adam aad n i r i n j a n verse 25.  7.  E j i hetesu milo mara munivaro verses 4 & 8 r e s p e c t i v e l y .  8.  Adam aad n i r i n j a n , verses: 2, 10, 11, 12 & 22.  9.  i b i d , verse 24.  10.  Kesfrri shiha savrup.  11.  Sloka Nano verse 15.  12.  Unch t h i aayo.  13.  T r a n s l a t i o n adopted from H.E. Nathoo Ilm, 1, No.2 (Oct.1975) p.21.  62.  Firmans discussed below p e r t a i n t o the modern period of I s m a i l i h i s t o r y . Period preceding 1957: Imam Sultan Muhammed Shah. Post Imam Shah Karim A l - H u s s e i n i .  63  Part I I R i t u a l  Chapter 3 A r t i c u l a t i o n Of Enclosed Space In The Jama a t Khana c  Introduction In chapter 1, we noted that the r e l a t i o n s h i p between m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l i s s p a t i a l l y demarcated i n terms of home (family and k i n ) and Jama at Khana (community) r e s p e c t i v e l y . Movement from the m a t e r i a l t o the t  s p i r i t u a l e n t a i l s a change of c o n d i t i o n from a s t a t e of a c t i v i t y and m u l t i p l i c i t y t o that of repose and u n i t y .  Metaphorically t h i s movement i s  charted i n terms of a 'journey' which, as we saw i n the l a s t chapter, i s common i n m y s t i c a l l i t e r a t u r e .  Also, i n chapter 2, we gave a b r i e f exposition  of material and s p i r i t u a l i n various contexts: speculative thought, n a r r a t i v e content, metaphors and symbols (as expressed i n the ginans and the firmans), and personal experiences of I s m a i l i s .  This chapter attempts to do two things.  F i r s t , using the metaphor of a journey, i t charts the preliminary stages involved i n going t o Jama'at Khana, h i g h l i g h t i n g the point that such a journey e n t a i l s a transference from an e x t e r i o r s p a t i a l form (home and the outside world) to an i n t e r i o r space, namely the Jama a t Khana.  The second part of the  chapter shows that the contexts of expression of m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l (as expounded i n chapter 2) reach a s t a t e of ' a r c h i t e c t o n i c i n t e g r a t i o n ' * through the a r t i c u l a t i o n of the enclosed space i n the Jama'at Khana.  This chapter  w i l l i l l u s t r a t e the point that the complementarity between m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l achieved through mediation of c o n t r a r i e s i n f a c t f a c i l i t a t e s the inward s p a t i a l movement, u l t i m a t e l y expressed i n the symbol of the heart.  64-  The Preliminary Stages Going to Jama^at Khana i s effected i n stages. The very f i r s t step comprises niya ( i n t e n t i o n ) which symbolizes the temporary abandonment of the material world of a c t i v i t y and m u l t i p l i c i t y . number of contexts which are examined  (i)  This notion i s expressed i n a  below.  Ablution.  Before the p a r t i c i p a n t s leave f o r Jama a t Khana, the ceremony' of <  1  a b l u t i o n i s performed by cleansing of the whole body, or face and hands. While t h i s act e n t a i l s p h y s i c a l a c t i o n , i t conveys a c o g n i t i v e message to the e f f e c t that going to Jama*at Khana w i l l lead to the cleansing of the s o u l . The purpose of p u r i f i c a t i o n at t h i s l e v e l i s to gain r e a l i z a t i o n of the non-temporal moment i n which c r e a t i o n took place.  This form of understanding  leads to a movement from the outward ( z a h i r ) to the inward (batin) which forms the core of the I s m a i l i doctrine, and d i r e c t l y r e l a t e s to the journey of man from the m a t e r i a l back to the s p i r i t u a l .  T h i s idea i s expounded i n the r i t u a l  context where body imagery ( e s p e c i a l l y hands and face) receives symbolic emphasis.  The Qur^anic reference to a b l u t i o n ( s . i v : 4 3 ; s.v:7)  h i g h l i g h t s the importance of hands and face.  also  65 (ii)  Attire.  One o f the marked f e a t u r e s o f going t o Jama^at Khana i s ' d r e s s i n g up' which e n t a i l s t h e wearing  o f c l e a n and best a t t i r e .  types o f c l o t h e s : work c l o t h e s and is  Many I s m a i l i s have two  Jama^at Khana c l o t h e s .  This distinction  e s p e c i a l l y h i g h l i g h t e d i n the case o f women, some o f whom change from a  western mode t o t h a t o f an o r i e n t a l d r e s s known as the s a r i . The change i n •B  a t t i r e i s a r e f l e c t i o n o f a s i g n i f i c a n t and s u b t l e s h i f t  i n certain values.  Modern western d r e s s i s a r e f l e c t i o n o f p u b l i c ( m a t e r i a l ) a c t i v i t y , g r e a t e r s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n , m o b i l i t y and ' e f f i c i e n c y ' .  These q u a l i t i e s a r e i m p l i c i t  in  the d i r e c t i v e g i v e n by the 48th Imam, S u l t a n Muhammed Shah t o I s m a i l i women  in  the f i r s t h a l f of the twentieth century.  adopt western in  The Imam urged I s m a i l i women t o  ' c o l o n i a l ' d r e s s as i t would enable them t o p l a y an a c t i v e  public l i f e .  role  By c o n t r a s t , t h e wearing o f a s a r i , which c o v e r s the body  from head o r s h o u l d e r s t o f e e t , s i g n i f i e s t h e q u a l i t i e s o f grace/beauty, g e n t l e n e s s , and repose. sari,  Many women have informed me t h a t once they put on a  they cannot do much p h y s i c a l work as i t r e s t r i c t s m o b i l i t y .  While a  s a r i s i g n i f i e s q u a l i t i e s which have a f f i n i t i e s w i t h s p i r i t u a l l i f e , do not wear s a r i s do not n e c e s s a r i l y l a c k these q u a l i t i e s .  those who  Many women wear  western evening d r e s s e s t o J a m a a t Khana w i t h as much g r a c e , g e n t l e n e s s and t  repose as a s a r i bestows.  A t h i r d type o f a t t i r e worn i n Jama *at Khana  c o n s i s t s o f a l o n g d r e s s c o v e r i n g t h e body from s h o u l d e r s t o f e e t , and a l a r g e p i e c e o f s t i t c h e d c l o t h which i s p l a c e d on t h e head.  This a t t i r e i s  e x c l u s i v e l y worn by e l d e r l y women and i s being g r a d u a l l y r e p l a c e d by the o t h e r two  forms.  The t h r e e types o f a t t i r e worn i n Jama ^at Khana r e f l e c t t h e f o l l o w i n g trends:  66  (a)  the adaptation of I s m a i l i women t o t h e i r new environment;  (b)  the l i f e c y c l e of I s m a i l i women;  (c)  the paradox of m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  The western dress donned i n Jama at Khana i s chosen with c e r t a i n (  p r i n c i p l e s which continue t o r e f l e c t some o f the t r a d i t i o n a l values.  Among  I s m a i l i s , black i s a colour symbolizing the absence o f s p i r i t u a l l i f e which i s connoted by white and l i g h t .  I n s p i t e o f the a v a i l a b i l i t y of a large number  of black evening dresses i n the west, t h i s c o l o u r , i n i t s undiluted form, i s worn s p a r i n g l y . The only exception i s the a t t i r e of men; s i g n i f i c a n t l y i t i s women's dress which i s s y m b o l i c a l l y meaningful, as t r a d i t i o n a l l y women are considered t o be the r e p o s i t o r i e s o f s p i r i t u a l l i f e . Low necks, or short length s k i r t s are not worn i n Jama*at Khana, i n keeping w i t h the t r a d i t i o n that women, who are expected t o nourish the q u a l i t i e s of modesty, v i r t u e and chastity,  should expose as l i t t l e of t h e i r bodies as p o s s i b l e .  A l s o , trousers  and one-piece evening wear common i n North America do not form part of 'Jama*at Khana c l o t h e s ' . Mehrunisha explained: We do not wear such c l o t h e s t o Jama^at Khana because they are not appropriate. A f t e r a l l we are i n the presence of the Imam who i s our s p i r i t u a l father and mother. The general idea governing the choice o f the a t t i r e i s t o 'cover the body' which i s part of m a t e r i a l l i f e . It i s interesting  t o note that the s a r i has been given a 'modern' look.  Some I s m a i l i women run a number of s a r i stores and c o n t i n u a l l y update t h e i r stock by bringing i n the l a t e s t colours and designs, from I n d i a , Pakistan and Hongkong.  I n t h i s respect, wearing o f a s a r i accommodates modern trends i n  dressing while a western dress continues t o r e f l e c t t r a d i t i o n a l elements as  67 they were expressed i n a t t i r e .  By means of t h e i r c l o t h i n g , women have made an  attempt to i n d i c a t e how t r a d i t i o n a l i s m can incorporate modern elements. The wearing of t r a d i t i o n a l dress by e l d e r l y women images a phase of I s m a i l i l i f e that w i l l soon belong t o a by-gone e r a .  The dress of e l d e r l y  women i n d i c a t e s that they l i v e i n a world which i s separate and apart from other women (adults and young). The l i f e c y c l e of I s m a i l i women can be understood i n three phases: youth, a d u l t , and o l d age.  Youth represents s o c i a l i z a t i o n i n t o an adult r o l e , and  during t h i s phase a greater amount of f l e x i b i l i t y i s exercised i n the absence of a defined r o l e . western/modern.  The a t t i r e worn by females a t t h i s stage i s  During the stage of adulthood s o c i a l l y marked by marriage,  s a r i s may be worn more frequently though many females a l t e r n a t e these with a western mode of d r e s s i n g . The change o f status i s s i g n i f i c a n t as adult females assume the r o l e s of wives and mothers.  E l d e r l y status among females  (and a l s o males) marks a development whereby i d e a l l y greater and more concentrated a t t e n t i o n i s given t o s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  E l d e r l y women are often  found praying during the day, and attempt t o attend Jama at Khana more t  r e g u l a r l y as they are expected t o be l e s s committed t o material l i f e . above points are i l l u s t r a t e d i n diagram 4:  The  68  Diagram h L i f e Cycle Of An I s m a i l i Woman As Depicted In The A t t i r e .  Stage  Role  Attire  Youth  flexible  western/modern  Adult  wife & mother  western/traditional  Elderly  cognitive image of spiritual life  traditional  Before we proceed, there i s a f u r t h e r point t o dress which i s relevant t o our d i s c u s s i o n : the paradox and d i f f i c u l t y of abandoning material l i f e before leaving f o r Jama a t Khana. t  r e f l e c t i o n of t h e i r m a t e r i a l wealth.  The a t t i r e worn by men and women i s a A l l men wear two piece or three piece  s u i t s i n Jama*at Khana, while women (apart from the expense incurred i n buying clothes) put on golden jewelry or jewelry i n f a s h i o n .  E l d e r l y men and women  gave me t o understand that i t has been the expressed wish of the Imam that the a t t i r e worn i n Jama*at Khana should be simple and clean: s i m p l i c i t y and p u r i t y are a t t r i b u t e s of the s p i r i t u a l .  Although clean clothes are worn i n Jama*at  Khana, ( I s m a i l i s place a high premium on c l e a n l i n e s s , personal and otherwise), they cannot be c l a s s i f i e d as simple.  Expensive a t t i r e worn i n Jama^at Khana  points to the ambiguity man experiences: man's attempt to move c l o s e r t o the s p i r i t u a l i s hampered by the f a c t that he cannot t o t a l l y abandon the m a t e r i a l .  69  (iii)  Food  Another context regarding the preliminary stages i n the 'journey' to Jama'at Khana r e l a t e s t o food.  In t h e i r o r i g i n a l homeland, I s m a i l i s consumed  two main meals (lunch and d i n n e r ) , which by and large were taken w e l l before Jama*at Khana time and soon a f t e r . the  Here i n Vancouver, the main and perhaps  only hot meal i s taken commonly around 6 p.m.  As prayers commence around  7.30. p.m., most p a r t i c i p a n t s attend Jama^at Khana with ' f u l l stomachs'. A l s o , on days when f a s t i n g i s observed, the f a s t i s broken a t 6 p.m. - a recent innovation.  I n the past, f a s t s were only broken a f t e r the p a r t i c i p a n t s  returned home from Jama'at Khana. Going t o Jama a*t khana immediately a f t e r a meal i l l u s t r a t e s a change r  governed by s i t u a t i o n a l f a c t o r s but, i n the context of our a n a l y s i s , t h i s change t r a n s l a t e s i n t o yet another form of m a t e r i a l l i f e which i s not momentarily abandoned before the performance of prayers and r i t u a l s .  This i s  s p e c i a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t because food i s generally a n t i t h e t i c a l to the nourishment of s p i r i t u a l l i f e , as i s w e l l i l l u s t r a t e d i n the l i f e of the s u f i s (mystics).  Consider the f o l l o w i n g verses from So-kTriya (one hundred  ceremonies: 14-17). Aahar ghano k a r i pe£ na bhariye jo pet bharsho t o bhari ^haso Ava§he nindra ne bahu pastaso Halve pete v i r a hoshj thase.  70  Translation: Never over-eat, o v e r - f i l l i n g your stomachs I f your stomachs are too f u l l , you w i l l become lazy You may therefore become sleepy, and f o r t h i s you w i l l have to repent Through abstinence and moderation you w i l l become a c t i v e , (adopted from W. Ivanow ed. 1948:116). (iv)  The Family  T r a d i t i o n a l l y , going to Jama^at Khana was a family a f f a i r .  Every member  of the family contributed i n c r e a t i n g a c o g n i t i v e image of how man can l i v e i n a material world and a t the same time c u l t i v a t e s p i r i t u a l a t t r i b u t e s . This i s revealed i n the age and gender d i v i s i o n . While men became a c t i v e l y and i n t e n s e l y involved i n the m a t e r i a l world (the p u b l i c sphere), women stayed a t home and attempted t o a c t as mediators between the m a t e r i a l and the s p i r i t u a l . Beyond the gender r o l e s , the elders imaged s p i r i t u a l q u a l i t i e s . This model can be i l l u s t r a t e d as f o l l o w s :  72 Diagram 5 Cognitive Model Of I s m a i l i World-view As Represented By The Family.  M a t e r i a l World  72  One of the ways i n which I s m a i l i informants described the way of l i f e i n t h e i r new homeland i s i n terms of autonomy and pressure of time.  A male  respondent explained: There i s no force here: people do what they l i k e . In East A f r i c a , our c h i l d r e n would say 'yes' i f we said so and 'no' i f we said so. Here everybody has a choice. The p r i n c i p l e of autonomy has a f f e c t e d the pattern of attendance i n Jama'at Khana i n two ways.  F i r s t , i t i s no longer assumed that going to  Jama at Khana i s n e c e s s a r i l y a family a c t i v i t y . t  Several times, I l e a r n t from  my informants that not a l l the members of the family went to Jama at Khana on c  every s i n g l e occasion.  One male informant explained:  My wife would l i k e to go t o 'khane' three hundred and s i x t y f i v e days. I cannot do that; a f t e r a hard days work, I would l i k e to stay home sometimes and ' r e l a x ' . I n t e r e s t i n g l y , the reason f o r a wife being able t o go t o Jama'-at Khana on her own was that she had her own car - a concrete expression of 'independence' and m o b i l i t y which females seem t o be experiencing i n t h e i r new homeland. Likewise, young a d u l t s (fourteen years and over), as one mother expressed it,  'refused' to go t o Jama'at Khana on c e r t a i n days.  (a) There was too much homework,  The reasons c i t e d were:  (b) They had sports p r a c t i c e ,  (c) There was  a program on T.V. which they d i d not want to miss, (d) They were going out with f r i e n d s .  Although some of the reasons appear to be pragmatic, a change  i n attitude i s noticeable.  For some of the I s m a i l i s , Jama'at Khana i s only  associated with Fridays and ceremonial occasions. Secondly, a t the other end of the spectrum, there are a number of occasions ( f o r some f a m i l i e s , t h i s would be on a d a i l y b a s i s ) , when a l l members of the family attend Jama*"at Khana together.  One mother r e l a t e d :  73 Jama at Khana i s keeping us together as a f a m i l y . The largest number of occasions which I count when we are a l l together ( I have two daughters and one son) i s when we go t o 'khane'. t  In the new context, the emerging c o g n i t i v e model seems to i n d i c a t e that every i n d i v i d u a l i n the family (youth, men, women, and e l d e r s ) should i n d i v i d u a l l y assume the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of becoming immersed i n m a t e r i a l world and a t the same time develop a v i s i o n of the e t e r n a l homeland.  Informants  explained that because of pressure of time, i t i s j u s t not p o s s i b l e f o r a l l the members of the f a m i l y or i n d i v i d u a l s t o attend Jama at Khana d a i l y . c  The  c l a s h of t e m p o r a l i t i e s , experienced by the f a c t that during Jama*at Khana time there are other a c t i v i t i e s which are considered t o be equally important, i s a l s o associated with the d i f f e r i n g i n t e r e s t s of the e l d e r s , men, women, and youth.  The conceptual t r a d i t i o n a l understanding of the a s s o c i a t i o n of family  with s p i r i t u a l world i s p a r t i a l l y a l t e r e d t o accommodate i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c trends from the host s o c i e t y .  The family versus the i n d i v i d u a l as r e f l e c t e d  i n Jama*at khana attendance i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n t a b l e s I and I I . Table I shows that there are times when i n d i v i d u a l members of the family out of t h e i r own w i l l and i n t e n t i o n (niya) attend Jam~a*at Khana i n s p i t e of the f a c t that other members of the f a m i l y decide t o stay home.  Table I I i l l u s t r a t e s that there  are other occasions when a l l the members of the f a m i l y attend Jama'at Khana together.  74  Table I Jama at Khana Attendance - I n d i v i d u a l s , (number o f o c c a s i o n s when i n d i v i d u a l s attended Jama'at khana over a p e r i o d o f seven d a y s ) . l  No. o f respondents = 60 (10 i n each g r . ) Youth (20)  Adults (20)  Elders (20)  M  F  M  F  M  F  7  0  1  3  6  5  7  5-7  4  6  5  3  3  3  3-4  2  2  2  1  2  0  1-2  4  1  0  0  0  0  No. o f days  Table I I Jama '"at Khana Attendance - F a m i l i e s (number o f o c c a s i o n s when f a m i l i e s attended Jama'at Khana over a p e r i o d o f seven days)  No. o f Respondent F a m i l i e s  Canada  =40  East  Africa.  No. o f days 7  12  24  5-7  15  14  3-4  04  02  1-2  09  0  Note:  Data f o r the above t a b l e s was c o l l e c t e d d u r i n g  fieldwork.  75  (v)  The 'Journey'  Begins  The l a s t step i n the preliminary stages involved i n going to Jama'at Khana r e l a t e s t o the idea of 'treading a path'.  In East A f r i c a , a s i z a b l e  number of p a r t i c i p a n t s used t o walk t o Jama'at Khana.  An e l d e r l y male r e l a t e d  the f o l l o w i n g anecdote : Once there was a b l i n d man who went up t o the Imam and requested that he should be freed from the o b l i g a t i o n t o attend Jama*at Khana owing t o h i s c o n d i t i o n . The Imam explained that i t was necessary f o r him (as w e l l as f o r others) to go t o Jama*at Khana d a i l y . The Imam recommended that the man should t i e a rope from h i s house t o Jama'at Khana and by holding t h i s rope, he should tread the path which w i l l lead t o s a l v a t i o n . When we go t o Jama*at Khana, every step which we take brings i n 'Divine Graces'. C u r r e n t l y , most of the I s m a i l i s go t o Jama*at Khana i n t h e i r cars which are m a t e r i a l possessions, and a l s o symbols of p r e s t i g e and s t a t u s . There i s a d i r e c t c o r r e l a t i o n between the type of car used and the economic status of the family.  Nevertheless the symbolic meaning of 'treading a path' i s s t i l l  maintained as one of the informants explained: I f you go t o Jama^at Khana with the r i g h t s p i r i t , you acquire the b e n e f i t s the moment you s i t i n the c a r . When Jama*at Khana i s reached, and as the p a r t i c i p a n t s step out of t h e i r c a r s , they s y m b o l i c a l l y abandon m a t e r i a l possessions t o enter a d i f f e r e n t mode of reality.  This i s r e f l e c t e d i n the image of young I s m a i l i volunteers who are  on duty i n the compound, regardless of the weather.  76  One of the cherished t r a d i t i o n s of the I s m a i l i s i s that of s e r v i c e . Many voluntary workers occupy numerous p o s i t i o n s i n I s m a i l i i n s t i t u t i o n s performing d i f f e r e n t kinds of s e r v i c e s which are e s s e n t i a l l y offered to the Imam and Jama/at.  the  The volunteers i n the Jama^at Khana a s s i s t i n organizing the r i t u a l  performances and worship.  The young volunteers i n the compound organize  parking of c a r s , carry the food o f f e r i n g s brought by p a r t i c i p a n t s , and rainy days carry umbrellas f o r members of the Jama a t . c  the  on  The volunteers wear  uniforms which include t i e s , representing t r a d i t i o n a l red and green colours. Red stands f o r a c t i v i t y and s a c r i f i c e , while green represents peace and repose.  For instance among mystics there e x i s t s a c o r r e l a t i o n between the  colour of the garment worn and the m y s t i c a l stage a t t a i n e d .  Thus we l e a r n  that 'he who wears green has always been an epithet f o r those who l i v e on the highest p o s s i b l e s p i r i t u a l l e v e l  ' (Schimmel 1975:102).  The combination  of the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n a l colours of red and green i s s i g n i f i c a n t as i t represents a bringing together of s p i r i t u a l and m a t e r i a l l i f e . The symbolic colours and the a c t i v i t y of the volunteers provide an image of the t r a n s i t i o n from m a t e r i a l to s p i r i t u a l l i f e as the p a r t i c i p a n t s enter the premises of Jama*at Khana.  One of the recent developments w i t h i n the  community i s the i n c r e a s i n g involvement of young adults i n voluntary work. While on the one hand they are r e p l a c i n g the p o s i t i o n s formerly held by e l d e r s , these young adults help to create an image of v i t a l i t y rejuvenation of t r a d i t i o n a l values i n the modern context.  and  This i s because the  younger and upcoming generation are assuming many western Canadian life-styles.  They are the ones who by a c q u i r i n g education i n the new  and thereby g e t t i n g involved i n f r e s h sectors of occupations,  land,  seem to be  77 becoming more 'Canadianized' than any other group w i t h i n the community.  I  have often heard parents humourously commenting t h a t : My daughter/son  i s becoming a 'Canadian . 1  However, i t should be noted that the younger members represent a way of l i f e which i s oriented towards t e c h n i c a l sciences with i t s emphasis on d i s c u r s i v e reason.  This kind of reasoning i s i n o p p o s i t i o n t o the 'imagist  thought' represented by the e l d e r s . This brings t o an end a d e s c r i p t i o n of the p r e l i m i n a r y stages leading t o Jama^at Khana.  In essence, going t o Jama'at Khana e n t a i l s , f o r m a l l y , a  turning away from created t h i n g s , i l l u s t r a t e d i n the contexts of a b l u t i o n , food, a t t i r e , family and the metaphor of the journey.  Our a n a l y s i s i n d i c a t e s  that the 'journey' t o Jama'"at Khana i s f a r from simple, given i t s c o g n i t i v e content.  The strands which we have i s o l a t e d above are a r e s u l t of two  factors.  F i r s t , r e c o g n i t i o n i s given t o the f a c t that while man i s i n the  m a t e r i a l world, the l a t t e r w i l l continue to present obstacles i n man's ascent to h i s 'eternal homeland'.  This idea i s symbolized i n the image of a duck  which i s a creature of both land and water.  L i k e the duck, man i s h a l f bound  to e a r t h and h a l f l i v i n g i n the ocean of God.  Secondly, forces operative i n  the new environment both accentuate as w e l l as m i t i g a t e the above problem, as can be explained through the example of a wife who enjoys m o b i l i t y t o attend Jama*at Khana, while the husband may decide t o stay a t home and watch T.V. Both the element of m o b i l i t y and the range of programs a v a i l a b l e on T.V. are products of the new environment.  The symbolic journey undertaken by the  p a r t i c i p a n t s i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n the f o l l o w i n g diagram.  78 Diagram 6 Journey to Jama *at Khana  Jama*at Khana Volunteers Elders ^ Young One Unit Light Clean  Family Individualism Food ^ Heavy Attire / j * Expensive  Ablution Inward <j. Outward Niya (intention) Strong ajw Weak The 'Journey' Begins Clear Obstacles Material Life (Home) The 'journey' r e f l e c t s the c o n t r a r i e s associated with material and s p i r i t u a l .  79  The S e t t i n g : I n t e r p l a y Of Form And  Formlessness  Once the p a r t i c i p a n t s are i n s i d e the premises, they remove t h e i r shoes.  Shoes  stand f o r the i m p u r i t i e s of m a t e r i a l l i f e , and the f e e t on which they are worn s i g n i f y the m a t e r i a l component of l i f e compared with the opposing pole - the head.  The l a t t e r , e s p e c i a l l y the f a c e , i s where the outward s i g n of s p i r i t u a l  enlightenment can be observed.  The Qur'anic reference to the 'Face of God'  (s. vi:52 & s . x v i i i : 2 8 ) , h i g h l i g h t s the importance of t h i s image.  The  term  roshni i s commonly used by the I s m a i l i s t o connote the idea of l i g h t which appears on the face s i g n i f y i n g happiness, contentment, and peace, which are a t t r i b u t e s of s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  A f t e r having abandoned one more item of  m a t e r i a l l i f e (shoes), the p a r t i c i p a n t s advance towards the enclosed space which i s a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c feature of a l l Islamic a r c h i t e c t u r e . R i t u a l s and congregational prayers are held i n the enclosed space i n Jama *at Khana, which i s a place f o r I s m a i l i s to come together as a congregation.  The establishment of the f i r s t Jama*at Khana, i n Sind at a  place c a l l e d K o t r a , i s a t t r i b u t e d t o P i r Sadr a l - D i n , who l i v e d i n the beginning of f i f t e e n t h century ( N a n j i 1978:75).  Since then, i t has become a  t r a d i t i o n among I s m a i l i s to b u i l d Jama at Khanas i n places where they have c  settled.  In B r i t i s h Columbia there are t h i r t e e n Jama at Khanas i n leased c  l o c a t i o n s , and a permanent Jama'•at Khana has been constructed i n Burnaby. The I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver consider attending J a m a ^ t Khana a form of s p i r i t u a l nourishment,  though they a l s o acknowledge the attendant m a t e r i a l gains.  During f i e l d w o r k , common responses of the informants were: J  I go t o Jama^at Khana to pray but I a l s o look forward to meeting my f r i e n d s .  80  There are l o t s of b e n e f i t s to be obtained i n going to Jama^at Khana. We get the peace of mind. Jama a*t Khana reminds us that we have a s o u l which needs to be attended. We meet other people and j u s t being there helps us f o r g e t our t r o u b l e s . c  I go t o Jama*at Khana f o r peace of mind. I go t o Jama*at Khana to meet my f r i e n d s ; i f there are any other b e n e f i t s , I have not discovered them as y e t . Most of the Jama^at Khanas are open everyday i n the e a r l y hours of the mornings and i n the evenings.  The enclosed area i n the Jama^at Khana i s  defined and a r t i c u l a t e d by empty space and sacred o b j e c t s . The i n t e r p l a y of these elements c o n t r i b u t e t o our understanding of how the s p i r i t u a l (also r e f e r r e d t o as the sacred i n the context of the Jama^at Khana) becomes manifest c o g n i t i v e l y and w i t h i n a symbolic framework. They provide the s e t t i n g i n which the p a r t i c i p a n t s may appreciate the meaning of s p i r i t u a l l i f e , i f not i n a manifest form then a t l e a s t i m p l i c i t l y .  (i)  Empty Space  I n t e g r a l t o I s l a m i c a r c h i t e c t u r e i s the concept of empty space. space i s a symbolic representation of the presence of the D i v i n e .  Empty  The  nondiscursive manifestation of the Divine i s understood i n terms of a n o n - v i s i b l e centre implied i n the four corners of the rectangular shape of the enclosed space.  As the empty space i s u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d , i t does not d i r e c t  the eye i n any s p e c i f i c d i r e c t i o n .  The 'centre' seems to e x i s t everywhere as  i t does not have one v i s i b l e spot.  As the p a r t i c i p a n t s enter the enclosed  space i n the Jama*at Khana, they f i l l up the empty space by s i t t i n g on the f l o o r i n rows.  I n f i l l i n g up the space, each p a r t i c i p a n t i s considered t o  carry a 'centre' w i t h i n h i m s e l f , l o c a t e d i n an image of the heart.  I t i s the  p a r t i c i p a n t s who a c t i v a t e the i n t e r p l a y between the form ( f i l l e d space) and  81 formlessness (empty space). Further e x p l o r a t i o n of t h i s point r e q u i r e s the study of some of the r i t u a l ceremonies which take place i n the Jama a t Khana. t  Before we discuss the ceremonies, we need t o d i r e c t our a t t e n t i o n t o the a r t i c u l a t i o n of the enclosed space.  (ii)  A r t i c u l a t i o n Of The Enclosed Space.  The most prominent item d e f i n i n g the enclosed space i s the framed p i c t u r e of the Imam which i s placed i n the centre of the w a l l f a c i n g the congregation. This p i c t u r e i s flanked by smaller ones which are arranged a l l the four w a l l s .  symmetrically on  The c e n t r a l i t y o f the l a r g e p i c t u r e i s enhanced by  a d d i t i o n a l features which may c o n s i s t o f l i g h t s , a garland o f f l o w e r s , and curtains.  These f e a t u r e s , which are commonly used as symbols of the d i v i n e i n  S u f i l i t e r a t u r e , o f t e n c o n t a i n the t r a d i t i o n a l I s m a i l i colours o f green and red.  The main p i c t u r e serves as a c e n t r a l and concrete  s e t t i n g i n the J a m a ^ t Khana i s organized.  form around which the  I n f r o n t o f the p i c t u r e , there i s  a d a i s on which i s placed a low t a b l e ( p a t ) , which i s used by the performers of the congregational ceremonies.  The c e n t r a l p i c t u r e o f the Imam provides  the d i v i d i n g l i n e f o r the male and female s e c t i o n s .  There are no p h y s i c a l  markers f o r the two s e c t i o n s ; instead the organizing p r i n c i p l e s of c e n t r a l i t y and symmetry emphasise gender d i v i s i o n as w e l l as transcend i t . The c e n t r a l p i c t u r e of the Imam provides the focus and a point of unity f o r the whole congregation and a symbol of transcendence.  The symmetrical  p i c t u r e s o f the Imam are an expression of immanent dimension: they provide two f o c i f o r the males and the females r e s p e c t i v e l y .  I n t h i s way the transcendent  and the immanent are expressed s y m b o l i c a l l y through the o r g a n i z i n g p r i n c i p l e s of c e n t r a l i t y and symmetry.  The s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the transcendent as a q u a l i t y  82 of the s p i r i t u a l world, understood i n a pure and abstract manner, and the immanent aspect as a manifestation of the s p i r i t u a l i s fundamental i n I s m a i l i rituals. The enclosed space i s a l s o defined by the symmetrical arrangement of several low t a b l e s , or pats. constant.  A pat has three main features which are  I t i s low, rectangular and white i n colour.  E x e g e t i c a l materials  on Islamic a r t i n d i c a t e that the four corners represent the "corner p i l l a r s " (arkah) of the universe, which r e l a t e t o a f i f t h point of reference, t h e i r foundation or centre (Burckhardt 1976:137).  The center i s of course i m p l i c i t  and 'embodied i n the empty space i n the Jama at Khana. 1  f  Among a l l the s o f t  colours which represent the s p i r i t u a l world, white stands foremost.  Light  (s.xxiv:35), as a symbol of the Divine Unity, i s associated with white i n s u f i and I s m a i l i l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n .  White represents p u r i t y , a concept which  forms the core of I s m a i l i r i t u a l t r a d i t i o n .  The shape of the pats i m p l i e s the  existence of a center, and i t s colour i s a symbol of p u r i t y . The arrangement of the pats i n Jama at Khana i s symmetrical. f  Two main  pats are kept i n e x a c t l y the same order on each side of the male and female sections.  These pats receive greater emphasis because behind them s i t the  Mukhi and Kamadiyah (representatives of the Imam) i n the male s e c t i o n , and t h e i r wives (Mukhyani and Kamadiyani) i n the female s e c t i o n . Kamadiyah and Kamadiyah! i n v a r i a b l y s i t on the l e f t s i d e of the Mukhi and Mukhyani respectively. right/left.  These p o s i t i o n s h i g h l i g h t the p o l a r i t i e s of male/female, The a d d i t i o n a l items which are placed on the two pats perform the  two functions of expressing c e r t a i n p o l a r i t e s which r e l a t e t o m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l l i f e and mediating them.  As both the pats contain i d e n t i c a l items,  f o r b r e v i t y ' s sake, I s h a l l only r e f e r t o the Mukhi's pa^.  83  An expressive item on the pat i s the d a r b a r i , food o f f e r e d t o the Imam. The d a r b a r i c o n s i s t s of one savoury and one sweet d i s h , both cooked, f r e s h f r u i t s and milk.  That i s , combinations of cooked and raw foods, s o l i d s and  l i q u i d s , and sweet and savoury.  The q u a l i t i e s o f the m a t e r i a l are represented  by cooked, s o l i d , and savoury foods, while raw, sweet, and l i q u i d foods have c l o s e r a f f i n i t i e s w i t h the s p i r i t u a l .  The complementarity  o f elements i n the  darbari i s contained w i t h i n one u n i t as i n a 'combined s t a t e ' they are placed on one pat.  I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t t o note that cooked dishes (sweet and savoury)  are i n v a r i a b l y placed near the Mukhi who i s seated on the r i g h t s i d e o f the Kamadiyah, and the uncooked dishes ( f r u i t s and m i l k ) are kept near the latter.^  As cooked foods r e q u i r e preparation (and therefore greater m a t e r i a l  a c t i v i t y ) , we have the f o l l o w i n g a s s o c i a t i o n : cooked:right: a c t i o n  #  raw:left:repose  In I s m a i l i cosmology, as we have already observed, a c t i v i t y and m u l t i p l i c i t y are q u a l i t i e s of the m a t e r i a l world. defined i n terms o f repose, p u r i t y and s i m p l i c i t y .  The s p i r i t u a l world i s I t appears from the data  considered so f a r t h a t , i n the r i t u a l context, which e s s e n t i a l l y i s an expression o f the s p i r i t u a l l i f e , we have a representation of c o n t r a r i e s . When these are placed i n j u x t a p o s i t i o n they symbolize elements and p r i n c i p l e s from the s p i r i t u a l as w e l l as m a t e r i a l worlds.  While the contrast i s i n t e n s i f i e d  at one l e v e l , i t i s a l s o contained and transcended a t another l e v e l .  When the  d a r b a r i i s placed on the pat i t i s contained w i t h i n one ' s t r u c t u r e ' which i n i t s e l f i s a harmonious whole (as we have seen, the pat represents the four corners o f the universe with an i m p l i c i t c e n t r a l p o i n t , the essence of which i s expressed i n the white colour of the D i v i n e ) . The p r i n c i p l e of symmetry governs the arrangement o f d a r b a r i on the pa^s of the Mukhi and the Mukhyani.  84Symmetry as a form of a r t lends i t s e l f t o the c r e a t i o n of rhythm.  In the  Islamic context, the rhythmic q u a l i t y i s a ' r e f l e c t i o n of the e t e r n a l present i n the flow of time' (Burckhardt 1976:46). In t h i s respect, the presence of the 'eternal' evokes q u a l i t i e s of harmony and peace, the two words which informants repeatedly used i n c i t i n g reasons f o r attending J a m a a t Khana. The pats of Mukhi and Mukhyani are decorated (once again symmetrically) with flowers, arranged p r o f e s s i o n a l l y i n a vase, and t a b l e c l o t h e s .  Both the items  contain, whenever p o s s i b l e , the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n a l colours of green, red and white.  Green and red form the I s m a i l i f l a g , and green i s categorized t o stand  f o r peace (repose) and red f o r s a c r i f i c e ( a c t i o n ) .  Green and red are commonly  combined together while white i s o f t e n used i n i s o l a t i o n .  Since white stands  f o r the essence of the D i v i n e , green as a s o f t c o l o u r , standing f o r peace and repose, can be considered as a r e f l e c t i o n of the s p i r i t u a l q u a l i t i e s i n a world of a c t i o n and becoming, symbolized by red.  In the context of our  d i s c u s s i o n , the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of these c o l o u r s provide a harmonious symbolic form through which the p o l a r i t i e s of food i n the d a r b l r i are interconnected. Very o f t e n , red and green c o l o u r s are used i n the savoury and sweet dishes i n the form of decoration. Some of the items which I have observed are: red and green glazed c h e r r i e s , green l e t t u c e and peppers combined w i t h red tomatoes, radishes and peppers. A l l i n a l l , the combination of t r a d i t i o n a l colours creates an ambiance of harmony and e q u i l i b r i u m .  On ceremonial occasions, red  and green c o l o u r s ( i n the form of l i g h t s and crepe paper) are used to enhance t h i s form of ambiance. One or more pats are kept on the s i d e of the w a l l where the Mukhi and Mukhyani are seated i n a symmetrical order. f o r the ceremony of Ghat pat.  These pats are e x c l u s i v e l y used  This ceremony e n t a i l s the d r i n k i n g of 'holy  85 water' f o r which purpose the f o l l o w i n g are placed on the pat: white u t e n s i l s wrapped i n white c l o t h over which i s placed a white square towel, a lamp, and a container f o r incense. The ceremony i s performed i n the mornings as w e l l as on Fridays and ceremonial occasions i n the evenings.  Unless a ceremony i s i n  progress noone s i t s behind the pats - though o c c a s i o n a l l y o l d l a d i e s r e q u i r i n g w a l l support f o r t h e i r backs may s i t there. The lamp i s l i t when the ceremony i s t o be performed. The ceremony (which i s expounded i n Chapter 5) operates a t two l e v e l s : the f i r s t i s an expression of ' s i l e n c e ' and repose noticeable when the ceremony i s not performed, and the second i s an expression of becoming and movement, the ceremony commencing and ending on d e f i n i t i v e notes.  86  While symmetrical  placement o f the pats a r t i c u l a t e s the o r d e r o f space i n  the Jama kgt Khana, t h e r e i s some f l e x i b i l i t y  e x e r c i s e d i n t h e placement o f  pats where Nandi (food o f f e r i n g s made t o t h e Imam) i s p l a c e d . Jama'at Khanas i n Vancouver, the p a t s a r e kept i n t h e middle facilitate  the purchase o f Nandi by men and women.  i s o b t a i n e d by i n d i v i d u a l s by means o f b i d d i n g . s a c r e d and,  so as t o  A f t e r t h e p r a y e r s , Nandi  Nandi i s c o n s i d e r e d t o be  l i k e a l l o t h e r s a c r e d o b j e c t s , i t i s p l a c e d on t h e p a t s .  Nandi has been 'purchased' The  In most o f t h e  by i n d i v i d u a l s , i t i s then p l a c e d on t h e f l o o r .  s i g n i f i c a n c e of these sequences w i l l be examined a t a l a t e r s t a g e .  the moment, i t s u f f i c e s t o note  For  t h a t t h e food brought t o Jama'-at Khana  c o n t i n u e s t o r e f l e c t t h e c o n t r a r i e s on one p l a n e . are composed of sweet and savoury, Although  Once  The e s s e n t i a l items  brought  raw and cooked, s o l i d s and l i q u i d s .  these q u a l i t i e s may be found  i n any random c o l l e c t i o n o f d i f f e r e n t  f o o d s , f o r I s m a i l i s i t i s s e l f - c o n s c i o u s , p a r t i c u l a r i z e d and institutionalized.  Nandi i s brought t o Jama*~at Khana i n a w e l l - a r r a n g e d  making i t both a p p e t i z i n g and a e s t h e t i c a l l y a p p e a l i n g . pat, t h e food i s a g a i n c a r e f u l l y arranged placed haphazardly.  The pat as a symbolic  form  When p l a c e d on the  by t h e v o l u n t e e r s ; i t i s never r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the universe (as  indicated  by the f o u r c o r n e r s ) and i t s c e n t e r (the essence) imparts a cosmic  dimension  t o Nandi.  In t h i s c o n t e x t , t h a t i s on the second p l a n e , t h e  c o n t r a r i e s seem t o be c o n t a i n e d w i t h i n a whole where t h e i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p o f the p a r t s b r i n g s a sense o f harmony, o r d e r and t r a n q u i l i t y . of t h e p a t s a r e i l l u s t r a t e d  i n diagram 7.  The arrangement  87 Diagram 7 A r t i c u l a t i o n Of Enclosed Space In The Jama ^at Khana  "2 4  5  1  2  4  4  5  4  3  2  6  6  Male S e c t i o n  2  Female S e c t i o n Congregation (Empty Space)  6  7  2  '  6  7  2  Key: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.  C e n t r a l p i c t u r e of the Imam. Symmetrical P i c t u r e s . Low Table. Pats behind which leaders take t h e i r seats. Mukhi's/Mukhiyani's pats. Pats f o r the ceremony of ghat-pat. Pats where food o f f e r i n g s are placed.  88 Before we proceed, we need t o discuss the s p e c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e accorded to the 'seat' of Mukhi.  The Mukhi, as representative of the Imam, o f f i c i a t e s  at a l l the ceremonies i n the Jama a t Khana but the Mukhi a l s o forms part of t  the congregation (the Jama^at) and, l i k e others, p a r t i c i p a t e s i n a l l the ceremonies.  In other words, he i s both a leader as w e l l as a p a r t i c i p a n t .  The Mukhi a l s o provides an important focus f o r gender d i s t i n c t i o n as w e l l as i t s transcendence.  In p r a c t i c e , the Mukhi as a male o f f i c i a l s i t s i n the male  section but, from that p o s i t i o n he leads the whole congregation.  The Mukhylni  who takes her place behind the main pa^ i n the female s e c t i o n , and who o f f i c i a t e s ceremonies that r e q u i r e i n d i v i d u a l female p a r t i c i p a t i o n , i s not appointed i n her own r i g h t . wife of the Mukhi. (a)  She s i t s behind the pat as she happens t o be the  The only exceptions which I have observed are:  When the Mukhi i s not married, another female regardless of her m a r i t a l status may be appointed.  (b)  In places where there i s a small Jama'at a female may be appointed as Mukhyani, i n which case she assumes the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of a Mukhi.  Nevertheless, the gender  d i s t i n c t i o n i s maintained. (c)  I f a Mukhi dies while s t i l l i n o f f i c e , h i s wife continues i n the o f f i c e u n t i l i t i s time f o r new appointments.  ( A l l Mukhis are  appointed f o r a period of one or two years.) The Mukhi's r o l e can be conceived on two planes.  At one l e v e l , he  assumes the r o l e of a leader. He o f f i c i a t e s a t i n i t i a t i o n , marriage and mortuary ceremonies.  In t h i s way a d i s t i n c t i o n between the Mukhi and the  89 congregation i s always maintained. most commonly a male. congregation.  Gender f u r t h e r d i s t i n g u i s h e s the Mukhi,  At a second l e v e l , the Mukhi i s part of the  He i s regarded as a member of the Jama*at, i n which context the  gender d i s t i n c t i o n i s blurred a t c r i t i c a l moments during worship. There i s a second context where the Mukhi's dual r o l e i s confirmed. Beside the pat of the Mukhi, there are other Pats arranged symmetrically on the r i g h t side as w e l l as on the l e f t s i d e .  The Mukhi i n v a r i a b l y s i t s on the  r i g h t side of h i s a s s i s t a n t - the Kamadiyah^ behind the same pat^. Behind the other pats s i t the leaders of the Jama Sit. These leaders occupy t h e i r p o s i t i o n s f o l l o w i n g a ranking order and f a l l under two categories.  Those  leaders who c u r r e n t l y hold p o s i t i o n s i n the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e i n s t i t u t i o n s s i t on the r i g h t side of the Mukhi while the past leaders who have been awarded t i t l e s s i t on the l e f t .  The wives of these leaders f o l l o w s u i t and s i t on the  r i g h t and l e f t s i d e of the Mukhyani r e s p e c t i v e l y . A s i g n i f i c a n t exception t o t h i s order i s the appointment of the female leaders (which i s a recent development), who occupy p o s i t i o n s on t h e i r own r i g h t .  In t h i s case, t h e i r  husbands do not receive s p e c i a l r e c o g n i t i o n and they s i t with the congregation on the other side of the pats.  The Mukhi provides the f o c a l point f o r the  s i t t i n g p o s i t i o n s of the leaders i n two ways.  F i r s t , the ranking order of the  leaders commences from the place where the Mukhi i s seated and secondly the Mukhi provides the d i v i d i n g l i n e between the past and the contemporary leaders.  The Mukhi himself does not form part of the hierarchy, as can be  attested by the f a c t that i n the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e body (the c o u n c i l ) the Mukhi i s an ex o f f i c i o member.  In the Jama^at Khana the Mukhi provides an  'organizing point' f o r the seating arrangement of the leaders. w i t h i n the hierarchy as w e l l as above i t .  He i s both  The contemporary leaders s i t t i n g on  90 the r i g h t s i d e represent 'action' and the leaders s i t t i n g on the l e f t symbolize a s t a t e of 'repose', as the l a t t e r are r e l a t i v e l y l e s s a c t i v e . In sum, the p o s i t i o n of the Mukhi forms a point of reference whereby the gender d i s t i n c t i o n i s a r t i c u l a t e d at one l e v e l and deemphasised i n the o v e r a l l context of the congregation.  S i m i l a r l y , through the Mukhi, the hierarchy of  leadership i s given expression at one l e v e l and deemphasised i n the r i t u a l context as the Mukhi i s not i n t e g r a t e d i n i t .  In providing the organizing  point f o r the contemporary as w e l l as the past leaders, the Mukhi i n h i s dual r o l e s y m b o l i c a l l y represents the two dimensions of movement and repose.  The  a r t i c u l a t i o n of c o n t r a r i e s and t h e i r mediation as e f f e c t e d through the r o l e of the Mukhi can be i l l u s t r a t e d as:  Mukhi  Hierarchy of leadership Gender d i s t i n c t i o n  Congregation - deemphasis of hierarchy and gender  Right  Left  Present  Past  Conclusion In t h i s chapter, we have i d e n t i f i e d the organizing p r i n c i p l e s of c e n t r a l i t y and symmetry through which part of the enclosed space i s articulated.  The empty space generates an i n t e r p l a y of essence and form.  The  essence i s expressed i n terms of a center which i s both e x p l i c i t ( p i c t u r e ) and i m p l i c i t (pat) and the form i s expressed i n terms of d i v i s i o n and m u l t i p l i c i t y (gender, h i e r a r c h y ) .  A r c h i t e c t o n i c i n t e g r a t i o n i s achieved i n Jama at Khana c  91  through a r t i c u l a t i o n of space which embodies meanings from the I s m a i l i cosmic order ( i n t e r p l a y of essence and form), t h e o l o g i c a l concepts (doctrine of Imam), and s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s (gender and h i e r a r c h y ) .  As the p a r t i c i p a n t s  occupy the empty space, the i n t e g r a t i v e model i s transformed to another plane: namely, that of the heart.  Here the i n t e r p l a y of essence and form i s  metaphorically expressed through body imagery.  This point i s explored i n the  next chapter where I discuss three r i t u a l ceremonies.  1  92  Footnotes: 1.  This term i s used by Fernandez (1982:125) to show the r e l a t i o n s h i p of Fang to the spaces they occupy. Describing the c e n t r a l i t y of v i l l a g e l i f e , Fernandez shows the a r c h i t e c t o n i c i n t e g r a t i o n of the cosmic, migratory, economic, s o c i a l , and v i t a l personal experiences of Fang. I have used i t i n the text as i t a p t l y conveys the idea of s p a t i a l i n t e g r a t i o n achieved through an embodiment of meanings drawn from various contexts: cosmic, d o c t r i n a l and s o c i a l .  2.  According to the Cjir^an. an unwashed body i s i n a s t a t e of 'ceremonial impurity'.  3.  Imagist thought i s analogous and abounds i n symbols and anecdotes. I s m a i l i elders are c l o s e s t to t h i s kind of thought.  4.  Data analysed i n t h i s chapter i s based on the a r t i c u l a t i o n of the enclosed space i n leased Jama *at Khana l o c a t i o n s i n the greater Vancouver area. The new Burnaby Jama'at Khana (completed i n February 1985) w i l l have two p i c t u r e s of the Imam arranged symmetrically i n the male and the female s e c t i o n s , j u s t above the pats of Mukhi and Mukhyani. I gathered from community leaders that the b u i l d i n g i s based on Islamic a r c h i t e c t u r a l motifs (symmetry, c a l l i g r a p h i c i n s c r i p t i o n s ) whereby too many pictures would be 'out of place'.  5.  In the context of our a n a l y s i s , i t seems that cooked dishes representing material elements require mediation. They are placed near Mukhi's side as the Mukhi acts as a mediator.  93 Chapter 4 R i t u a l Performances: 'Structure And Communitas'.  Jama*~at Khana i s l i k e an ocean; i t contains numerous p e a r l s ^ . As t o the kind of pearls that one can acquire depends on the niya ( i n t e n t i o n ) of the b e l i e v e r . A l o t depends on the r e c e p t i v i t y of the heart. Everyone goes t o Jama at Khana f o r h i s own i i v ( s o u l ) . The l a t t e r does not benefit unless the b e l i e v e r ' s heart i s pure so that the Divine L i g h t (Nur) can shine through i t . c  The above comment made by an e l d e r l y female respondent points t o two modes of r e a l i t y the i n t e r p l a y of which enables us t o perceive I s m a i l i r i t u a l s i n terms of s t r u c t u r e and communitas.  V i c t o r Turner i n h i s c l a s s i c a l work on  "The R i t u a l Process: Structure and A n t i - s t r u c t u r e ' (1969), employs the concepts of s t r u c t u r e and communitas i n the context of 'society as a structured, d i f f e r e n t i a t e d and often h i e r a r c h i c a l system' which i s opposed t o the communitas of the l i m i n a l period when recognition i s given t o a predominantly unstructured  and r e l a t i v e l y u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d comitatus.  In h i s  l a t e r work (1978), co-authored with E d i t h Turner, Turner expounds on the q u a l i t i e s of communitas, c o n s i s t i n g of s i m p l i c i t y , unity and the 'flow' experience whereby there i s a l o s s of ego making the s e l f i r r e l e v a n t (1978:252-255). In t h i s study, I use the terms s t r u c t u r e and communitas to e l u c i d a t e a fundamental ambiguity i n I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n .  M a t e r i a l which e n t a i l s  d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n ( m u l t i p l i c i t y and form) i s akin t o s t r u c t u r e while s p i r i t u a l (unity and essence) i s a k i n t o communitas. correlated.  The m a t e r i a l and the s p i r i t u a l are  The s p i r i t u a l without the m a t e r i a l (form) would remain  unmanifested; the m a t e r i a l without the s p i r i t u a l (essence) would be s t a s i s . In other words, the I s m a i l i s perceive t h e i r world t o be dynamic through a  94constant play o f c o n t r a r i e s . accommodating i t i n i t s e l f .  Everything e x i s t s by a f f i r m i n g i t s opposite and The best example of t h i s i s provided by the  metaphors of body and food as they appear i n r i t u a l s . express the ambiguous organization of c o n t r a r i e s .  Both metaphors serve t o  The body o f f e r s both the  opposition o f r i g h t and l e f t as w e l l as the s p a t i a l opposites from head (above) t o feet (below). cooked/raw, sweet/savoury,  Food c o n s t i t u t e s the opposites of hot/cold, s o l i d / l i q u i d , and light/heavy.  In t h i s chapter and  the next, I present data i l l u s t r a t i n g the dynamic i n t e r p l a y of these opposites as they are expressed s p a t i a l l y . In t h i s respect, communitas i s not perceived as being d i s t i n c t from s t r u c t u r e but i s r e a l i z e d w i t h i n the structure  through  c e r t a i n peak experiences i n the r i t u a l .  The Ceremony Of Hay-Zinda, Kayam Paya. This ceremony i s performed a t the threshold of the enclosed space i n the Jama'at Khana, i d e a l l y by each p a r t i c i p a n t .  The ceremony takes a minute and  e n t a i l s the f o l l o w i n g : the p a r t i c i p a n t bends and touches the f l o o r by placing h i s r i g h t hand j u s t i n s i d e the enclosed space.  The hand i s then placed over  the face accompanied by the r e c i t a t i o n of the phrase, Hay-Zinda, meaning, the Imam i s present.  Members o f the congregation seated i n s i d e respond with the  words, Kayam Paya, (the Imam i s present f o r ever).  On completion of the  ceremony, the p a r t i c i p a n t steps i n t o the enclosed space. Hay-Zinda. Kayam Paya marks a movement i n t o the b a t i n ( i n t e r i o r state of communitas) from that of the z a h i r (outward state of s t r u c t u r a l l i f e ) .  There  are two modes i n the ceremony which symbolize progression i n t o the i n t e r i o r s t a t e of b a t i n .  These are (a) body imagery and (b) verbal exchange.  95  (i)  Body Imagery  As the p a r t i c i p a n t bends and touches the f l o o r with the r i g h t hand, he deemphasises that part of the body which i s c l o s e s t to the m a t e r i a l world, namely the f e e t .  S i g n i f i c a n t l y , there i s a symbolic r e v e r s a l of the mode of  entrance as instead of the foot being placed f i r s t i n s i d e the enclosed space, i t i s the hand which precedes the f o o t .  The placing of the hand over the  face, touching the eyes and the mouth, s i g n i f i e s the i n t e g r a t i o n of the acts of doing (hand) with those of seeing (eyes) and speaking (mouth), and a l s o h i g h l i g h t s the importance of the face.  In the context of the ' s p i r i t u a l  journey', these acts s i g n i f y the ascent of the soul i n t o the s p i r i t u a l world as they mark a movement from the lower part ( f e e t ) to the higher part (face) accompanied by a deemphasis of s t r u c t u r a l parts of the body (hands, eyes and mouth). Following the Qur'anic verse: Send not away those Who c a l l on t h e i r Lord Morning and evening Seeking His Face. (s.vi:52) considerable emphasis i s placed on the image of face which i s used 'for God's Grace or Presence, the highest aim of s p i r i t u a l a s p i r a t i o n ' (Yusuf A l i 1977:302, n.870). Body imagery i n the ceremony can be diagramed as follows:  96  Diagram 8 Body Imagery As Encoded In The Ceremony Of Hay-Zinda, Kayam Paya. B a t i n (Inward) Face Enclosed 'sacred' space ( r i g h t hand) - - -Hands (intermediate)- - - - - - -  .  ( l e f t hand) (threshold where the ceremony i s performed) Open Profane Space Feet Zahir (outward). Key:  t  Progressive stage from outward to inward.  97  (ii)  Verbal Exchange  E j i Hay Zinda kaheta hashtinu dan Kayam Paya kaheta dan t u r i ' g h j i Meaning: The saying of Hay-Zinda w i l l b r i n g b e n e f i t s which are equivalent t o that of an elephant The saying of Kayam Paya w i l l b r i n g b e n e f i t s which are equivalent t o that of a horse. ( V i r a n i H. 1945:36)  3  An e l d e r l y female informant explained that an elephant can only be u s e f u l a f t e r i t i s dead because of i t s tusks while a horse i s useless i f not a l i v e . One l e v e l of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n which can be o f f e r e d i s the a n n i h i l a t i o n of the s e l f , which forms a s i g n i f i c a n t theme of I s m a i l i m y s t i c a l thought as w e l l as i n the w r i t i n g s o f the s u f i s .  'Die before you d i e ' , i s a common s u f i saying,  and the m y s t i c a l s t a t e of fana f i l - H a q q ( a n n i h i l a t i o n of the s e l f so as t o t  achieve consciousness of God) i s a common expression i n I s m a i l i works (Kalami Pir  1935:xxxvi).  4  When, t h e r e f o r e , a p a r t i c i p a n t crosses the threshold leading i n t o Jama '•at Khana, he a f f i r m s the presence of the Imam through whom i s achieved consciousness o f the D i v i n e . Having taken t h i s step, he i s then received by the congregation (a homogenized e n t i t y as opposed t o the mundane structure of d a i l y l i f e ) i n terms of a greater assurance that the Imam i s present f o r ever, that i s , f o r e t e r n i t y . In t h i s way the p a r t i c i p a n t progresses c o g n i t i v e l y from the immanent t o the transcendental l e v e l (from the present t o e t e r n i t y ) .  This  marks a transformation of status, as each member of the congregation while i n Jama*at Khana i s r e f e r r e d t o as mu'min, a true b e l i e v e r ' or as 'brother' and 1  'sister'.  98 The modes of speaking and hearing which e f f e c t t h i s transformation are important as they are reminiscent of the f i r s t r e v e l a t i o n which Prophet Muhammed (s.a.s.) received a t the age of f o r t y .  On the mount of H i r a , Prophet  Muhammed heard a voice asking him t o 'read' or t o ' r e c i t e ' (iqraa s . x c v i : l - 4 ) . In the ceremony, the exchange of words (through speaking and hearing) between the p a r t i c i p a n t and the congregation leads t o the i n d i v i d u a l becoming part of the Jama at, w i t h i n which he seeks the experience o f u n i t y and a l s o i m p l i c i t l y 5 f  contains the mode of s i l e n c e , both of which form part of communitas.  Once  p a r t i c i p a n t s step i n t o the enclosed space of the Jama at Khana, complete t  s i l e n c e i s observed.  The only voice which the p a r t i c i p a n t s hear i s the  r e c i t a t i o n o f the ginans, and i t i s during t h i s time that the p a r t i c i p a n t advances towards the pat of the Mukhi i n order t o perform the ceremony of du*a karawi.  99  Diagram 9 Transformation Of S e l f Effected Through Verbal Exchange Batin Enclosed 'Sacred' Space. Congregation Speak/Hear Kayam Paya (transcendent) Mu^min (true b e l i e v e r ) .  t  Hay-Zinda  Hear/Speak  (immanent)  Self.  (threshold).  200  Going to Jama a t Khana i d e a l l y e n t a i l s preparations which image the abandonment of m a t e r i a l concerns.  As we have observed, the ceremony of  Hay-Zinda, Kayam Paya i s performed i n an attempt t o ' a n n i h i l a t e ' the s e l f , leading t o the 'flow' experience of communitas.  To e x p l a i n t h i s process, we  focused on the body imagery where the face i s h i g h l i g h t e d ^ and on the symbolic acceptance of the s e l f by a wider e n t i t y - namely the Jama'at.  The Ceremony Of Du*? karawi. Once p a r t i c i p a n t s enter Jama a t Khana, they share a mode of r e a l i t y not t  encountered i n any other context.  As the p a r t i c i p a n t s walk toward the pats of  the Mukhi/Mukhyani, they f o l l o w a path which i s outwardly marked by carpets laid longitudinally.  The s i g n i f i c a n c e of each step which the p a r t i c i p a n t  takes i s explained i n a firman made i n 1910 as f o l l o w s : Whoever 'walks' towards us, each step, he obtains the b e n e f i t of hundred and hundred stages. ( V i r a n i H. 1954:36). Having reached the pat of the Mukhi, the p a r t i c i p a n t bends and o f f e r s a token (25c t o a d o l l a r ) with h i s r i g h t hand. accepts the token w i t h h i s r i g h t hand.  The Mukhi on behalf of the Imam  This a c t i o n i s followed by the  r e c i t a t i o n of the f o l l o w i n g words by the p a r t i c i p a n t who stands upright with h i s palms together: I am ' s i n f u l ' (impure) from head t o f e e t . The Mukhi responds by saying that may h i s good i n t e n t i o n s be f u l f i l l e d and a l l h i s 'sins' ( i m p u r i t i e s ) be removed.  Then the Mukhi prays that the  p a r t i c i p a n t ' s d i f f i c u l t i e s may be overcome, h i s iman ( f a i t h ) strengthened, and  101 that he may achieve p h y s i c a l ( z a h e r i ) as w e l l as s p i r i t u a l (batuni) ' v i s i o n ' (deedar) of the Imam. As he prays, the Mukhi holds the r i g h t hand of the p a r t i c i p a n t , while the l a t t e r looks d i r e c t l y i n h i s eyes. experience.  This i s a peak  Among a l l other parts of the face, 'the s p i r i t u a l l i g h t ' i s  expressed most i n t e n s e l y i n the eyes. expression of repose (unity/communitas)  The contact with the Mukhi i s an achieved a f t e r a s e r i e s of movements  i n v o l v i n g body imagery ( m u l t i p l i c i t y / s t r u c t u r e ) . On completion, the p a r t i c i p a n t takes a seat (on the f l o o r ) beside other members of the congregation who s i t f a c i n g the Mukhi. Walking towards the pat i n v o l v e s the legs, followed by a pose during which the hands are a c t i v a t e d . a c t i o n ) , a token i s given.  F i r s t , through the r i g h t hand ( s i g n i f y i n g  Second, the r i g h t hand i s placed together with the  l e f t i n v o l v i n g a posture of h u m i l i t y and s u p p l i c a t i o n f o r the forgiveness of wrong doings.  A f t e r t h i s , when the r i g h t hand i s again i n movement i t i s  united with the hand of the Mukhi - the representative of the Imam. I t i s during t h i s time that the s e l f i s exposed t o a wider e n t i t y (namely the s p i r i t u a l world of u n i t y ) when, momentarily, a 'transcendental experience' (flow) i s achieved through concentration i n the eye contact.  Here we have an  example of another context whereby the s e l f i s s y m b o l i c a l l y merged i n t o a l a r g e r e n t i t y through a s e r i e s of stages i n v o l v i n g movement and repose. process i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n diagrams 10 and 11.  This  102  Diagram 10 Ceremony Of Du*a karawi No 1 - The S e t t i n g .  3 i i i i i  Section  Male  i i i i i i i _> l .  Empty Space  Female •  Section  Threshold Key: 1. Entrances. 2. Mukhjs Pat. 3. Mukhyani s Pa\. 4. Central P i c t u r e of the Imam. 5. Symmetrical P i c t u r e s of the Imam. m Carpeted area where the p a r t i c i p a n t s walk. - - * Movement of the p a r t i c i p a n t towards the pat. f  103 Diagram 11 Ceremony Of Du'a Karawai: No.2.Progressive Stages Of Movement And Repose.  Repose - c l i m a c t i c moment of communitas achieved through eye contact. Receives Divine Grace (Barakat) Receives (symbolMukhi's hand) Repose - I n t e r l o c k i n g of the hands of the Mukhi and the p a r t i c i p a n t . Repose (symbolized by unison of hands). Gives (token)  Walks-  "  Repose ( P a r t i c i p a n t poses near the pat)  104We have already noted the verbal communication which takes place between the p a r t i c i p a n t and the Mukhi»  When the p a r t i c i p a n t further negates h i s outer  s e l f by means of the words: 'I am s i n f u l from head to f e e t ' , he  hears prayers  from the Mukhi to the e f f e c t that h i s inner s e l f (heart) has been p u r i f i e d . In Kalami P i r ( a N i z a r i I s m a i l i t r e a t i s e compiled i n X l l t h century) we learn that: and the womb means ear. J u s t as i n the womb, the material human form comes i n t o existence, so does the s p i r i t u a l form grow by the hearing of speech through the ears. ( t r . W. Ivanow 1935:31) Through the v e r b a l mode, the p a r t i c i p a n t takes one step which a f f i r m s humility.  I n r e t u r n he i s assured, i n the form of prayer, that a l l the  obstacles i n h i s way (the path) w i l l be overcome, and that he w i l l acquire a firmer anchorage i n the s p i r i t u a l world (through f a i t h ) , and w i l l u l t i m a t e l y achieve s p i r i t u a l  enlightenment.  105  Diagram 12 Verbal Communication In The Ceremony  Hearing  Speaking  106 A f t e r having 'heard' the words of p u r i f i c a t i o n while eye contact i s maintained, the p a r t i c i p a n t takes h i s place i n the congregation occupying part of the empty space.  He continues to hear the ginans, the du a (prayers), c  tashbi (prayers s a i d while standing), and firmans which are r e c i t e d i n the Jama at Khana. c  Oral e x e g e s i s i n d i c a t e that the 'hearing' of these 7  r e c i t a t i o n s f u r t h e r p u r i f y and consequently enlighten ( s p i r i t u a l l y ) the heart. In the context of the ceremony of Du a karawi , the p u r i f i c a t i o n of the heart (  i s understood i n terms of gunah ( s i n s which lead to the accumulation of i m p u r i t i e s i n the h e a r t ) . The f i r s t category of gunah occur u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y owing to a person's involvement and a c t i v i t y i n a world of m u l t i p l i c i t y and movement.  At t h i s  l e v e l , a person choses to do one thing among others and may unknowingly choose the 'wrong' course of a c t i o n .  An adult female informant c i t e d the f o l l o w i n g  example: My mother in-law was q u i t e s i c k one day. In s p i t e of that, I went to work. Afterwards, I f e l t very g u i l t y . I think I should have stayed at home and looked a f t e r her. I f e l t that I had made a mistake and the only t h i n g I could do was t o ask for forgiveness. Consider the f o l l o w i n g example from a male e l d e r : We are committing s e v e r a l gunahs each day. For instance, I am t a l k i n g to you j u s t now. I may say something which might hurt your f e e l i n g s or I may t a l k about somebody e l s e which may be defaming. I might not have meant i t but i t j u s t happens because we are human beings and not angels. A l l i n a l l , man i s considered to be prone to gunah owing to h i s nature which i s composed of two opposing categories: m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l .  As man i s  pushed i n t o two d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n s , he i s bound t o s l i p and hence remain gunegari.  107 Secondly, there are c e r t a i n types of gunah which man commits intentionally.  These types of guriah are committed when an i n d i v i d u a l  nourishes the lower part of the s o u l w i t h i n him.  The I s m a i l i s believe that  the lower part of the s o u l i s not only constantly present but remains a c t i v e l i k e the embers which continue t o glow even i f the f i r e has been put out. Both types of guriah are imaged i n terms of body symbols and a f f e c t i v e states.  Hands make a person take things which do not belong t o him while the  legs can make one tread the 'wrong' path.  The eyes, ears and the mouth can  make one see, hear or say things which a r e i l l i c t .  These parts of the body  can a l s o be used i n a p o s i t i v e way leading t o the path of siratal-mustaqim (the r i g h t path of ascent).  The highest point would be regarded by the mystic  as a s t a t e where he could say: I d i d not see anything without seeing God before i t and a f t e r i t and with i t and i n i t . (Schimmel 1975:47) Withersoever ye t u r n , there i s the Face of God. (s.ii:109). Mysticism forms an i n t e g r a l part of I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n and the e a r l y morning dhikr (meditation) i s d i r e c t e d towards achieving the s t a t e of union. There are a number of a f f e c t i v e s t a t e s which lead t o the accumulation of Runah, namely, kam ( i l l i c i t sexual d e s i r e s ) , krodth (anger), lobh ( m i s e r l y ) , mohe (obsession) and maya (greed).  While these s t a t e s lead t o the descent of  the s o u l i n t o the world of c r e a t i o n t o the extent that the s o u l becomes clogged and v e i l e d from i t s o r i g i n s , there are others which lead i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n .  These are c l a s s i f i e d as: s a t ( t r u t h ) , s a b u r i ( p a t i e n c e ) ,  khamiya" (tolerance) daya" (mercy) and iman ( f a i t h ) .  108 The  a f f e c t i v e s t a t e s together  w i t h t h e forms o f a c t i o n , d e s c r i b e d i n  terms o f body imagery, have a d i r e c t r e l a t i o n t o the h e a r t which i s regarded as  'the s e a t o f d i v i n e presence'.  Heart i s r e f e r r e d t o a s d i l :  Dur me dekho dilmahe vaselj jem champli p h u l mahe v a s ' Translation: Do n o t look f a r , ( t h e d i v i n e ) r e s i d e s i n t h e h e a r t J u s t as the s c e n t i s c o n t a i n e d i n t h e f l o w e r . In t h i s v e r s e , the  from t h e g i n a h E j i he^e su m i l o , Sayyad Imam Shah e x p l a i n s  'divine' r e s i d e s i n the heart  j u s t as t h e s c e n t  i n the flower.  The image  of t h e h e a r t as t h e 'seat' o f t h e d i v i n e presence abounds i n m y s t i c a l the girians, and t h e f i r m a n s . during  between t h e eye and t h e h e a r t l i g h t ) i n the heart presenting removed.  becomes 'unclean' and v e i l s  I n t h e ceremony o f d u a k a r a w i , a c  i s e s t a b l i s h e d , and t h e r o s h n i  i s expressed outwardly through t h e eyes.  The s t a t e o f p u r i t y i s a c h i e v e d  connection  (the divine The r i t u a l ,  a c o g n i t i v e model, s t a t e s t h a t t h e h e a r t i s c l e a n s e d  symbol o f u n i t y .  poetry,  The main i d e a which i s emphasised i s t h a t ,  t h e c o u r s e o f m a t e r i a l p u r s u i t s , the h e a r t  the presence o f t h e d i v i n e .  that  and i m p u r i t i e s  through u n i t y , l i g h t being the  T h i s form o f p u r i t y i s a q u a l i t y o f communitas.  e x p l a i n s i t (1978:254-255): In f l o w and communitas, what i s sought i s u n i t y , n o t t h e u n i t y which r e p r e s e n t s a sum o f f r a c t i o n s and i s s u s c e p t i b l e o f d i v i s i o n and s u b t r a c t i o n , but an i n d i v i s i b l e u n i t y , "white," "pure," " p r i m a r y , " "seamless." T h i s u n i t y i s expressed i n such symbols as t h e b a s i c g e n e r a t i v e and n u r t u r a n t f l u i d s semen and m i l k ; and as r u n n i n g water, dawn l i g h t , and w h i t e n e s s . Homogeneity i s sought, i n s t e a d o f h e t e r o g e n e i t y . The members o f t h e r e l i g i o u s community a r e t o be r e g a r d e d , a t l e a s t i n r i t e and symbol, as a s i m p l e u n i t , n o t as a sum o f segments o r t h e u l t i m a t e product o f some mode o f d i v i s i o n o f l a b o r . They a r e impregnated by u n i t y , as i t were, and p u r i f i e d from d i v i s i v e n e s s and p l u r a l i t y . The impure and s i n f u l i s t h e sundered, the d i v i d e d . The pure i s t h e i n t e g e r , the i n d i v i s i b l e .  As Turner  109 Having explained the s i g n i f i c a n c e of Hay-Zinda", Kayam paya and that of Du -a Karawi through an inward movement (imaged i n terms of the face and the <  eyes r e s p e c t i v e l y ) , I now move on t o an e x p o s i t i o n of the ceremony of Nandi (food o f f e r i n g s ) .  110 Nandi Preparation of food i s e s s e n t i a l l y a m a t e r i a l a c t i v i t y , and we l e a r n from the biographies of the s u f i s  that common features of s u f i conduct were  l i t t l e food, l i t t l e sleep, and minimum t a l k .  The s u f i s believed that hunger  was the means to achieve s p i r i t u a l progress.  While s u f i s present the example  of nourishment of s p i r i t u a l l i f e , the I s m a i l i s attempt to maintain a balance between m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  This point has received considerable  emphasis i n the firmans: ... There are c e r t a i n things which must be done i n a p h y s i c a l sense, and there are other things which must be done i n a s p i r i t u a l sense, and our f a i t h i s q u i t e c l e a r as to what are the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , both i n a p h y s i c a l and i n a s p i r i t u a l sense, on our c h i l d r e n . There are things that you are t o l d t o , do and there are things that you are not to do during your p h y s i c a l l i f e t i m e , and these are g e n e r a l l y i n order to improve the p h y s i c a l , worldly conditions of yourselves, your c h i l d r e n and the s p i r i t u a l c h i l d r e n who w i l l f o l l o w you afterwards. And there are things which you are t o l d not to do because they would harm the Jama'at or you i n d i v i d u a l l y . And t h i s i s true of your s p i r i t u a l l i v e s . In the p r a c t i c e of your f a i t h there are things you are t o l d to do, and there are things you are t o l d not to do and at the end of your l i v e s you must ask yourselves the question, 'Have I f u l f i l l e d during my l i f e t i m e my p h y s i c a l and m a t e r i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as w e l l as my s p i r i t u a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . (Bombay 27th Nov.  1973).  The importance of a c t i v e involvement i n m a t e r i a l l i f e i s best i l l u s t r a t e d by the f o l l o w i n g s t o r y : Shah Kirmani (a mystic) did not sleep f o r f o r t y years, but eventually he was overwhelmed by sleep - and he saw God. Then he exclaimed:" '0 Lord, I was seeking thee i n n i g h t l y v i g i l s , but I have found thee i n sleep'. God answered: 0 Shah, you have found me by means of those n i g h t l y v i g i l s : i f you had not sought me there, you would not have found me here^C (Schimmel 1975:115 - emphasis mine).  Ill The I s m a i l i c u l i n a r y system i s geared towards c a t e r i n g f o r s o c i a l groups: family, k i n , and community.  Through t h i s system, a number of q u a l i t i e s are  c u l t i v a t e d and expressed, the foremost among which are those of generosity and sharing.  The c u l t i v a t i o n of these q u a l i t i e s a s s i s t i n easing the tension of  having t o l i v e i n the m a t e r i a l world and accumulate wealth and a t the same time having t o part with the wealth so as t o reach the u n i t i v e s t a t e of spiritual l i f e .  This point i s best exemplified i n the p r a c t i c e of Nandi which  i s food o f f e r i n g s taken t o Jama''at Khana. Nandi i s a S a n s k r i t word which i s defined as: 'joy, s a t i s f a c t i o n , delight; prosperity  and p r a i s e o f a d e i t y a t the commencement of a r e l i g i o u s  r i t e or observance,* (The P r a c t i c a l S a n s k r i t - E n g l i s h D i c t i o n a r y 1976:541).  By  and l a r g e , the Nandi which i s brought t o Jama''at Khana i s prepared by women and i s categorized as f o l l o w s : (a)  Darbari (food which i s placed on the pats of Mukhi/Mukhyani).  (b)  Sufro i s e s p e c i a l l y prepared f o r ceremonial occasions and mortuary r i t e s .  (c)  Memani, food set aside from the meal prepared f o r the f a m i l y .  E x e g e t i c a l m a t e r i a l reveals that Nandi i s i n essence food offered t o the Imam out of love and devotion. The explanation offered by an e l d e r l y man was commonly expressed by others as w e l l : When we go t o Jama^at Khana, we are v i s i t i n g the Imam's house. We should not go t o the Imam's house empty-handed. A l s o , i f we o f f e r food t o the Imam then the meal which we eat a t home becomes 'clean' and the intake o f 'clean' foods (khorak) w i l l lead t o the b i r t h of good thoughts. What we give t o the Imam i s h i s r i g h t as i t i s he who gives us r o j i (sustenance). I b e l i e v e that i f we take Nandi we get barakat ( d i v i n e grace) i n return.  112  We a l s o l e a r n from a Glnan that: E j i j o ghar hove va*"st p i y a r i so nam sahebjike d i j i y e . Meaning: Whatever i s best l i k e d by you i n the house give i t t o the Imam, (H. V i r a n i 1954:51). In the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n , i t i s through the Imam that the soul can return (ma^ad) t o i t s o r i g i n s . By making food o f f e r i n g s t o the Imam, I s m a i l i s are seeking t o impart a cosmic dimension t o t h e i r cooking, that i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the homogenous s t a t e o f communitas and the flow experience where the s e l f (ego) becomes i r r e l e v a n t . One I s m a i l i woman who had occupied the p o s i t i o n of Mukhyani explained: When I was preparing d a r b a r i , I f e l t that I was i n another world. I had a f u l l time job, yet I did not f e e l s t r a i n e d i n any way. I used t o keep awake a t night t o cook the food and I enjoyed every minute of i t . I am g r a t e f u l that I was given such an opportunity. I s h a l l always c h e r i s h those moments of s a t i s f a c t i o n o f preparing food f o r Jama^at Khana.  113  As Nandi i s p r i m a r i l y cooked by women, the l a t t e r ( i n t h e i r r o l e s as mediators between m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l l i v e s ) a s s i s t i n i n f u s i n g the s p i r i t u a l q u a l i t i e s i n t o an otherwise m a t e r i a l a c t i v i t y . noted,  As we have already  once Nandi i s brought t o Jama *at Khana, i t i s arranged neatly on the  pats by the volunteers p r i o r t o the commencement of the f i r s t dufa. i s on the pat, i t becomes memani ( i . e .  Once i t  food o f f e r e d to the Imam) and, as  explained by ' s p e c i a l i s t s ' , i t i s infused with sacredness through the r e c i t a t i o n of prayers.  Informants say that Nandi adds roshni ( l i g h t ) , as  without i t the pa^s would be empty.  'Roshni' i s e s p e c i a l l y n o t i c e a b l e and  emphasised on ceremonial occasions when the pa^s are f i l l e d with food, many of which are a p p e t i z i n g l y decorated. The ceremony of Nandi i s performed a f t e r prayers, when the congregation disperses.  At t h i s time, i t i s assumed that Memani o f f e r e d t o the Imam i n a  s p i r i t u a l sense has been completed, and that food on the pat has t o be distributed.  The method used i s 'bidding'. A member of the Jama^at who  performs the ceremony takes each p l a t e from the p*a^ and names a p r i c e . highest bidder gets the d i s h .  The  As Nandi includes a v a r i e t y of foods ranging  from savoury and sweet dishes t o f r u i t s and milk, a number of p a r t i c i p a n t s are involved i n 'purchasing' a dish and t a k i n g i t home.  Once a p a r t i c i p a n t has  obtained a d i s h , i t i s never replaced on the pat but i s kept on the f l o o r . This i s s i g n i f i c a n t as Nandi once taken from the pat no longer remains part of the context i n which i t i s infused w i t h cosmic s i g n i f i c a n c e .  I n other words,  Nandi on the pa^ contains a greater i n t e n s i t y of sacredness compared with the Nandi which an i n d i v i d u a l takes home.  114  There i s y e t another c o n t e x t where the d i f f u s i o n of sacredness i s confirmed.  I f we m a i n t a i n t h a t s o c i a l l i f e  orders of r e a l i t y ,  and r i t u a l l i f e  then Nandi belongs t o b o t h .  are two  different  T h i s i s because when Nandi i s  brought t o Jama'lit Khana, i t i s c o n s i d e r e d t o be s a c r e d .  When i t i s taken  from J a m a a t Khana by i n d i v i d u a l s , i t becomes p a r t of t h e i r m a t e r i a l and 1  social l i f e .  Here, an attempt i s made to i n f u s e the f l o w e x p e r i e n c e o f u n i t y  i n t o the mundane s t r u c t u r e of everyday l i f e .  Nandi i s never c a t e g o r i z e d  as  ' o r d i n a r y f o o d ' . I t m a i n t a i n s i t s s a c r e d c h a r a c t e r , the i n t e n s i t y o f which v a r i e s and can be p e r c e i v e d i n the form o f 'movement'.  The  'movement' o f  Nandi from the m a t e r i a l world (most of the cooked Nandi i s prepared i n I s m a i l i homes) i n t o the s p i r i t u a l one o f Jama '•at  Khana and back i n t o the m a t e r i a l  world can be i l l u s t r a t e d as f o l l o w s :  Diagram "Movement" Of  13 Nandi  S p i r i t u a l World Food imbibed w i t h the q u a l i t y of s a c r e d n e s s Concentration  M a t e r i a l World (transformed food brought from Jama a t Khana)  M a t e r i a l World (Food cooked a t home)  v  The r i t u a l ceremonies are framed events which e f f e c t t r a n s f o r m a t i o n through peak u n i t i v e e x p e r i e n c e s of communitas (symbolized i n body imagery of the  f a c e and the eyes) and m e d i a t i o n (cosmic s i g n i f i c a n c e g i v e n t o N a n d i ) .  However, i n r i t u a l s t h e r e e x i s t s a r e l a t i o n s h i p between the  'given'  115  ( o b j e c t i v e ) and the p a r t i c u l a r way i n which they a r e rendered participants (subjective).  by the  In o t h e r words, the g i v e n e x i s t s as p o s s i b i l i t i e s  which l e a v e s room f o r i n d i v i d u a l a c t u a l i z a t i o n .  Among I s m a i l i s , the g i v e n  forms o f r i t u a l s a r e c l o s e l y l i n k e d with the s t a t u s o f man as i t r e l a t e s t o l i f e c y c l e processes. as e x p l a i n e d b r i e f l y  These p r o c e s s e s a r e symbolized  i n the prayer  postures  below:  P r a y e r P o s t u r e s As They R e l a t e To L i f e C y c l e P r o c e s s e s .  The  prayer p o s t u r e s o f ' u p r i g h t p o s i t i o n ' ,  p r o s t r a t i o n ) , and 'complete p r o s t r a t i o n the D i v i n e .  T h i s i d e a i s expressed  prayer a r e connected  1  'genuflection' (half  r e p r e s e n t man i n f u l l a d o r a t i o n o f  i n a B e k t a s h i poem 'where the forms o f  w i t h the name o f Adam, the model o f humanity':  When you stand up, an a l i f i s formed, In bending behold: a d a l i s made When you have p r o s t r a t e d , a mim takes shape: That i s , I t e l l you, t o p e r c e i v e man - Adam. (Schimmel 1975:153) At a second  level,  the prayer p o s t u r e s s i g n i f y t h e l i f e  (a)  The  (b)  The p o s t u r e o f g e n u f l e c t i o n images o l d age.  (c)  Prostration represents a n n i h i l a t i o n . * ^  u p r i g h t p o s t u r e r e p r e s e n t s the stage o f a d u l t h o o d .  The anchorage o f the l i f e illustrated  c y c l e o f man:  c y c l e o f an i n d i v i d u a l w i t h i n a cosmic  i n diagram 14.  framework i s  116  Diagram 14 Cosmic Dimension - L i f e C y c l e Of An I n d i v i d u a l  Spiritual  Life  (Prostration)  Age  Man  Upright  Position  Material  Life  A c t u a l i z a t i o n Of The R i t u a l s By The P a r t i c i p a n t s .  The  differences of opinion  r i t u a l s are categories  expressed i n r e l a t i o n t o the way i n which  a c t i v a t e d , negotiated  or e l i m i n a t e d  o f the youth, a d u l t s and the e l d e r s .  converge around the As I s h a l l show, these  d i f f e r e n c e s have become a c c e n t u a t e d owing t o the twin p r o c e s s e s o f m i g r a t i o n and  the impact o f ' m o d e r n i z a t i o n ' .  differences pertinent whom I i n t e r v i e w e d  The f o l l o w i n g t a b l e i l l u s t r a t e s t h e  t o each group i n so f a r as i t r e l a t e s t o the i n f o r m a n t s  and conversed w i t h .  117  Table H I Background Information On Respondents  Number = 30  Age:  Elders (80-55) M.  Adults (54-25)  F.  M.  1 2 2  4 1  Youth (24-16)  F.  M.  F.  3 1 1  2 2 1  Period of r e s i dence i n Canada 10-15 9-5 4-  3 1 1  5 —  -  -  Education University College High School Elementary  —  —  -  -  4 1  1 4  3 2  -  3 1 1  4 1  3 2  —  —  —  —  -  -  Occupation Professional Clerical Manual Business Unemployed Retired Housewife Student  _  _  -  -  1 1 3  -  —  -  1  4  -  2 1  1 1  -  -  -  -  2  1  2  -  —  —  -  -  --  5  5  Income (p.a.) (per household) 50-70,000 40-50,000 30-40,000 20-30,000 10-20,000  _  _  1 1 1 2  -  1 1 3  1 2 2  -  -  —  —  1 2 1 1  -  1 2 2  1 1 1 2  118  Languages (spoken) English & Gujerati E n g l i s h only G u j e r a t i only  5  -  -  1 —  5  5 —  —  -  4  _  1  5  4  -  -  R e l i g i o u s Attendance P.W. 7 4-6 3-5 2-1 0  3 2 —  —  4 1  1 1 2 1  2 2 1 —  _  2 1 2  3  1 1 1 2  _  119  Below, I present the content of the interviews and conversations based on the categories of e l d e r s , adults and youth. N a s i r u l l a h , an e l d e r l y male r e l a t e d : R i t u a l s bring about uncountable b e n e f i t s . I f a woman comes home from work a t f i v e and she decides t o go t o Jama at Khana, what steps w i l l she take? She w i l l f i r s t phone her husband and w i l l t e l l him t o come home e a r l y . A f t e r t h a t , she w i l l q u i c k l y prepare a meal, bathe the c h i l d r e n and keep them 'ready'. A l l these actions are counted as being s p i r i t u a l . Sometimes satan comes i n the way; w h i l e preparations are made for Jama S i t Khana, a f r i e n d may phone and say that she i s coming over. This would be a t e s t . I f the woman i s f i r m i n her f a i t h , she w i l l t e l l her t o come some other time. I f such an i n c i d e n t occurs and the temptation i s overcome, then double b e n e f i t s are incurred. f  The f i r s t obstacle i s over and we s i t i n the car and leave f o r Jama'at Khana. The t r a v e l l i n g we do a t t h i s time i s 'counted' as part of bhgndgi (prayer). When I go f o r the ceremony of du a karawi, I pray f o r everybody when I am walking towards the pa"^. I am sure, I benefit when others pray. A l l the ceremonies which we perform p u r i f y our minds and hearts. They enable us to acquire h a q i q a t i sama"1 ( s p i r i t u a l understanding) and barakat ( d i v i n e grace). c  S h i r i n an e l d e r l y female informant explained: Going to Jama at Khana i s a matter of d i l ( h e a r t ) . Some people understand, others do not. Undoubtedly, we a l l b e n e f i t from the prayers of the Jama'at but i t i s a matter of degree. Some people get more sawab ( b e n e f i t s ) , others l e s s . We are human beings. We are gunegari, we make mistakes a l l the time. Sometimes you hurt other people's f e e l i n g s , other times you may have taken something which i s not yours. So when we go t o Jama'at Khana and perform a l l the ceremonies, we are e l i m i n a t i n g maSil ( ' d i r t ' ) from i n s i d e our d i l . Every ceremony which we perform has a p u r i f y i n g e f f e c t provided we have f a i t h (iman). Iman can move mountains. We do not have t o understand everything we do. I f we have iman and love and devotion f o r the Imam, that i s s u f f i c i e n t . Iman i s something that cannot be acquired overnight. I t i s a gradual process. Take the example of my grandson who i s only s i x t e e n . When h i s mother asks him t o accompany her t o Jama a t Khana, he r e s i s t s . I s a i d that i s not the way t o do i t . You have t o i n c u l c a t e t h i s h a b i t i n t o him and t h i s i s a long process and requires not only time but patience and perseverance. I t h i n k that i f he i s t o l d everyday that going t o Jama at Khana i s important, f  f  120  then one day he w i l l attend and once he t a s t e s the 'nectar', he himself w i l l drag h i s mother to Jama Sit Khana . Jama at Khana i s l i k e a 'treasure house'. There are numerous kinds of diamonds and pearls there. How much we can acquire depends on the s t a t e of our mind. Do you understand what I am t r y i n g to say? I f we l e t go the Jama'•at Khana, there w i l l be nothing but darkness i n our minds and hearts. <  121  The above conversations are representative of the views held by e l d e r s . They a l l adhered to the view that r i t u a l performances are important and are 'steps which one has to mount i n order to reach one's d e s t i n a t i o n ' .  The  concepts around which the s i g n i f i c a n c e of r i t u a l i s explained are: f a i t h , love, devotion, patience and perseverance.  The emphasis i s not so much on  l o g i c a l explanations but on acceptance and r e c e p t i v i t y based e n t i r e l y on faith.  The explanations o f f e r e d revolve around images l i k e those of 'nectar'  and 'treasure house'.  Conversations with e l d e r s r e v e a l that they attempt to  comprehend the world and acquire basic i n s i g h t s to l i f e by means of anecdotes, images, symbols and i n t u i t i o n which are l i n k e d to the elements of f a i t h and patience.  For example, D o l a t b a i , a widow w i t h one son, r e l a t e d that i t was  very p a i n f u l f o r her when her son moved out of the house a f t e r marriage i n order to set up h i s own residence.  'I prayed and i n my heart I knew that I  would not be separated from my son.'  A f t e r two years of 'waiting', Dolatbai's  wish was granted when her son decided to l i v e i n the townhouse c l o s e to hers.  E x t r a c t s Of Conversations With A d u l t s :  Female Informants: Sultana: Since I was twelve years o l d , I was i n c l i n e d towards r e l i g i o n . At that time, I was f o l l o w i n g a l l the p r a c t i c e s b l i n d l y . I used to do whatever I was taught. I never understood anything. As I grew o l d e r , i t dawned on me that there was a purpose behind going to Jama'at Khana and a l l the ceremonies which are performed there. Once I remember my mother was very s i c k . I went to Khane and prayed. Somehow or the other, my mother recovered and I acquired more f a i t h . When I came to Canada, I r e a l i z e d to a greater extent the importance of r e l i g i o u s l i f e . In t h i s respect, r i t u a l ceremonies do make our hearts pure and through t h i s we can get ' s p i r i t u a l experience'.  122 Mumtaz I go to Jama'at Khana f o r peace of mind. I j u s t f i n d i t r e l a x i n g t o be there. I do not think that r i t u a l s are very important. Sometimes I wonder, why do we have to have a l l these ceremonies ? Why do we have to 'dress up' when we go to khane ? I think that r e l i g i o n i s personal. I do not perform the ceremony of Hay zinda (ceremony performed j u s t before entering Jama'at Khana) because I f e e l shy. Male Informants: Muhammed: There i s a symbolic meaning attached t o the r i t u a l . I t i s our t r a d i t i o n . At f i r s t , a l l that I was taught was 'words' and 'movements'. Gradually, I began t o understand that these words and movements point t o the presence of the Noor ( L i g h t ) i n the Jama at Khana. We need constant reminder of t h i s point and r i t u a l s help us to remember. I f e e l refreshed and s p i r i t u a l l y u p l i f t e d when I attend Jama at Khana. I think r i t u a l s do not r e a l l y p u r i f y us l i t e r a l l y . They a f f e c t us p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y . I f I f e e l that I am p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y p u r i f i e d then I would make e x t r a e f f o r t s t o remain 'pure' i n my m a t e r i a l l i f e . For instance, once i n a while I f e e l l i k e staying home from work. I f I phone i n s i c k , I get paid f o r the day; but I never do that though my f r i e n d s say:'everybody phones i n s i c k regardless....' c  f  Nazir: Having been exposed to the western world, I f e e l that there i s an absence of a sense of belonging. There i s havoc and no common denominators. A l l these shortcomings are reversed i n Jama at KhSna. There i s a very s p e c i a l kind o f bond that t i e s us with the Imam and through him with the Jamacat. A sense of well-being i s a v i t a l part of l i f e , and I think that t h i s i s acquired through f a i t h . By f a i t h , I do not mean b l i n d b e l i e f ; a t one time, I never appreciated our ceremonies. But as I grow o l d e r , I r e a l i z e that there i s deep s i g n i f i c a n c e attached t o the ceremonies. I wanted t o l e a r n t o appreciate them myself rather then being t o l d what t o do. c  Even the s c i e n t i s t s admit that there i s a system w i t h i n ourselves. This system i s d i f f e r e n t from other systems l i k e r e s p i r a t o r y , blood c i r c u l a t i o n and so on. This system can be i d e n t i f i e d with f a i t h and du a (prayer). I t i s t h i s system which leads t o one's well-being. The place o f r i t u a l w i t h i n t h i s system i s that i t enhances r e l i g i o u s life. c  When we are depressed or unhappy, we can seek remedy by asking Hazar Imam t o help us. Whether we a c t u a l l y get help or not i s secondary but knowing that he i s there and the community i s around r e l i e v e s our minds o f worries. Once the mind i s free of worries then we have  123 greater freedom t o think and a r r i v e a t a s o l u t i o n . Through r i t u a l the bonds between community members become strong and i t i s the community who o f f e r s solace and support a t a l l times. Even i f we are not i n d i f f i c u l t i e s , as human beings we need t o i n t e r a c t . We cannot l i v e otherwise. The content of conversations held with a d u l t s r e v e a l that there are two modes through which I s m a i l i s (given t h e i r present m i l i e u ) are attempting t o comprehend and i n t e r p r e t t h e i r r i t u a l s .  The f i r s t one i s the t r a d i t i o n a l mode  which i s based on the concept of f a i t h .  An adult male informant  explained:  My parents 'taught' me that prayers form the p i l l a r of our f a i t h and that the r i t u a l ceremonies p u r i f y our hearts. I accepted a l l o f t h i s without questioning but my c h i l d r e n do not accept t h i s - they require explanations. They ask a number o f questions. How can I answer them ? Where do I get explanations from - I was never explained anything. As we have observed i n the case of the e l d e r s , 'teaching' by f a i t h did not e n t a i l v e r b a l i n s t r u c t i o n s .  F a i t h required p r a c t i c e and the i n c u l c a t i o n  of q u a l i t i e s of r e g u l a r i t y , perseverance,  tolerance and patience.  The image  which portrays t h i s point v i v i d l y i s that of the p l a n t i n g of the seed. The element of f a i t h does not necessitate an emphasis on d e t a i l s regarding the nature o f the s o i l , weather c o n d i t i o n s , the a v a i l a b i l i t y of water and so on. Instead, concentration i s d i r e c t e d towards images of flowers that would bloom, the sweetness o f the f r u i t , the greenness of the leaves and the strength of the r o o t s . While n u r t u r i n g i n t o adulthood t r a d i t i o n a l l y occurred l a r g e l y through f a i t h , as e x p l i c a t e d above, the a d u l t s are i n c r e a s i n g l y emphasising a second mode f o r 'understanding'  r i t u a l behaviour.  This mode recognizes the  importance of elements of explanation, 'meaning' and s i g n i f i c a n c e . which needs t o be stressed i s that the 'explanatory' mode  The point  appears to be a  product o f modernization and the emerging c e n t r a l i t y of ' s c i e n t i f i c and l o g i c a l t h i n k i n g ' , not withstanding the f a c t that both science and r e l i g i o n  124have a defined s t a t u s i n t r a d i t i o n a l I s m a i l i thought.  New ideas expressed i n  r e l a t i o n to r i t u a l i s that the l a t t e r i s 'psychologically' p u r i f y i n g , 'going to Jama'at Khana i s r e l a x i n g ' , ' i t gives me peace of mind' and that the 'well-being of a person i s important'.  The climax of t h i s mode of thinking  was expressed by one mother who s a i d : T e l l the e l d e r s that the only form of r e l a x i n g i s not acquired i n Jama a*t Khana. There are other forms of r e l a x a t i o n l i k e walking and going t o the movies. <  Obviously, Jama'•at Khana i n the above c i t a t i o n i s equated w i t h the idea of r e l a x a t i o n which i s d i r e c t l y l i n k e d w i t h the present form of l i f e - s t y l e where work and l e i s u r e a r e d i s t i n c t l y separated. The younger members w i t h i n the community seemed t o d i s p l a y an open-minded a t t i t u d e towards the subject of r i t u a l .  While they d i d not embrace the  ceremonies f i r m l y l i k e the e l d e r s , they d i d not discard them e i t h e r .  Rather,  they f e l t that i t was time that the s i g n i f i c a n c e s of the ceremonies were explained t o them. Conversations recorded represented the f o l l o w i n g range of views from male and female youngsters: Male Informants: Yes I b e l i e v e that r i t u a l s have some s i g n i f i c a n c e but I would l i k e t o know what the s i g n i f i c a n c e i s . I do not understand why we perform the ceremonies. I do not t h i n k that r i t u a l s make much d i f f e r e n c e ; may be f o r some people i t matters a l o t . I would prefer only t o pray and meditate. I do not know much about r i t u a l s .  I guess they are important.  125  R i t u a l s make me f e e l 'pure'. I do not t h i n k t h a t I can explain further. I am s u r e t h e r e i s a l o t of importance t o the ceremonies. I hope one day somebody w i l l e x p l a i n them to me. Female Informants: The only t h i n g I can t e l l you about r i t u a l s i s what I have l e a r n t from my mother and m i s s i o n c l a s s t e a c h e r s . I guess r i t u a l s h e l p as they p u r i f y us i n t e r n a l l y . I would l i k e to_ know more about r i t u a l s b e f o r e I can answer your q u e s t i o n s . I t h i n k r i t u a l s have some s i g n i f i c a n c e ; I have not thought about i t . I guess i t keeps us t o g e t h e r as a community. R i t u a l s form p a r t o f going t o Khane which g i v e s me peace o f mind. At l e a s t , t e m p o r a r i l y I f o r g e t a l l my w o r r i e s . Yah, I„ t h i n k they are i m p o r t a n t . I cannot imagine going t o Khane i f t h e r e are no ceremonies. I know t h e r e i s a l o t of importance t o the ceremonies. I t would be w o n d e r f u l , i f someone gave us the meanings a t t a c h e d to e v e r y t h i n g we do i n Khane. The emphasis  of the younger members w i t h i n the community appears t o be on  u n d e r s t a n d i n g . One  youth summed i t up a s :  E x p l a i n them t o us f i r s t . I f i t makes sense t o us then we w i l l f o l l o w them. We do not want to do t h i n g s and then l a t e r d i s c o v e r t h a t they do not h o l d much water. From the above, we can p o s t u l a t e t h a t the way youth  'put t h e i r worlds t o g e t h e r ' a r e d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed.  mountain step  i n which the e l d e r s and the  can e x e m p l i f y t h i s p o i n t f u r t h e r .  The image of a  While the e l d e r s climbed every  b e f o r e they d i s c o v e r e d the nature o f the landscape a t each l e v e l , the  youth w h i l e c l i m b i n g the same mountain  seek f o r a p r i o r d e s c r i p t i o n o f the  landscape i n so f a r as the scenery can be put i n 'a s e q u e l of d e s c r i p t i o n s ' . In  t h i s framework, the a d u l t s a c t as m e d i a t o r s being exposed  worlds.  t o two  different  126  Before we conclude, I s h a l l make b r i e f reference to some of the noticeable changes which have emerged i n the enactment of r i t u a l s by participants.  I t i s important to note that these changes are not of a  s t r u c t u r a l nature and do not a l t e r the c o g n i t i v e model developed above. Rather, the changes have emerged from the r e a c t i o n of the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n r e l a t i o n to pragmatic necessity as w e l l as d i f f e r i n g understanding of the t r a d i t i o n of r i t u a l s . The c o g n i t i v e importance of the ceremony of Hay-zinda, Kayam paya i s affirmed a t an i d e a l l e v e l . a l l the p a r t i c i p a n t s .  Yet, i n a c t u a l p r a c t i c e i t i s not performed by  Some p a r t i c i p a n t s have condensed i t to the extent that  before entering the enclosed space, the r i g h t hand i s placed over the face leaving out the verbal mode of exchange.  Likewise, f o r the ceremony of  Du*a Karawi, some of the steps are e l i m i n a t e d , l i k e bringing the palms together.  The responses from the p a r t i c i p a n t s included the f o l l o w i n g range :  First, a  large number of the p a r t i c i p a n t s f e l t that the ceremonies were  not performed 'properly' because people f a i l t o r e a l i z e the s i g n i f i c a n c e and meaning attached to the 'words', the gestures and the symbols.  The 'quest'  f o r meaning i s a recent development and i s r e l a t e d to the 'modern' a t t i t u d e of wanting to understand and know the meaning p r i o r to the performance. T r a d i t i o n a l l y , 'knowledge' and the meaning were the outcome of a c t i o n . A second type of response was d i r e c t e d to the idea that i t i s a matter of inward c o n v i c t i o n .  What matters i n t h i s context i s the b e l i e f i n the heart.  In other words, outward movements are not considered to be c r u c i a l . T h i r d l y , a change of a t t i t u d e towards r e l i g i o n was a t t r i b u t e d as a f a c t o r which l e d to a lack of enthusiasm f o r the ceremonies.  One respondent  127 explained that:  'people i n the modern world a r e l e s s r e l i g i o u s and hence  without r e l i g i o n t h e r e cannot be a p l a c e f o r r i t u a l s . '  I n t e r e s t i n g l y , among the r i t u a l ceremonies, c e r t a i n amount o f c o n t r o v e r s y .  As observed e a r l i e r , the Nandi comprises, t o a  large extent, t r a d i t i o n a l dishes. are  t h a t o f Nandi has generated a  E s p e c i a l l y when s u f r o and d a r b a r i d i s h e s  prepared, e x t r a e f f o r t s a r e made t o ' r e j u v e n a t e ' t r a d i t i o n a l c o o k i n g which  employs l a r g e amounts o f b u t t e r , o i l , c a t e g o r i z e d as  molasses and sugar.  As t h e s e items a r e  ' p r o b l e m a t i c ' f o r h e a l t h , t h e r e a r e some people who  such foods s h o u l d not be brought t o Jam*a*-at Khana.  feel  that  The reason g i v e n i s t h a t  such Nandi i s bound t o end up i n the house o f an I s m a i l i where i t would be consumed and i n the l o n g run cause problems o f h e a l t h . man  On the o t h e r hand  one  expressed i t : Nobody i s compelled t o buy Nandi. I f t h e r e i s a problem o f h e a l t h i n the f a m i l y , then such Nandi s h o u l d not be bought. It  i s important t o note t h a t  but a t the l e v e l where Nandi  ' c r i t i c i s m ' i s not l e v e l l e d a t Nandi as such  i s taken back i n t o the m a t e r i a l c o n t e x t o f  life.  Conclusion.  The d i s c u s s i o n o f the t h r e e r i t u a l ceremonies  has r e v e a l e d a c o g n i t i v e  s t r u c t u r e which e n t a i l s a movement from the outward, m a t e r i a l world o f z a h i r ( s t r u c t u r e ) i n t o the inward s p i r i t u a l world o f b a t i n (communitas).  While  r i t u a l s a c t i v a t e s y m b o l i c a l l y the i n t e r p l a y between form ( t h e m a n i f e s t ) and essence  (the h i d d e n ) , i t a l s o p o i n t s t o the dimension whereby such a s t r u c t u r e  i s a c t u a l i z e d by the p a r t i c i p a n t s .  As we have observed, the p a r t i c i p a n t s do  not f o l l o w the c o g n i t i v e model i n i t s a b s o l u t e form but adapt t o i t i n terms of  s i t u a t i o n a l f a c t o r s as w e l l as  ' i n d i v i d u a l ' understanding.  communitas p r o v i d e s a v i t a l l i n k between r i t u a l and everyday  In t h i s r e s p e c t life  o f the  128 Ismailis.  The symbolic p o i n t s through which communitas ( t h a t i s u n i t y ,  s i m p l i c i t y , p u r i t y , and t h e f l o w e x p e r i e n c e ) i s expressed a r e t h e f a c e , and h e a r t and 'cosmic space o f t h e p a t ' .  The e x p e r i e n c e o f communitas  c o n t i n u e t o p r o v i d e a framework f o r t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n Ismailis.  eyes  of the d a i l y l i v e s of the  As I s h a l l show, t h e c o g n i t i v e models i n d a i l y l i f e  (culinary  p r a c t i c e and l i f e c y c l e s ) r e f l e c t t h e presence o f t h e s p i r i t u a l i n an otherwise m a t e r i a l  In t h e  context.  case o f t h e I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver, t h e model which seems t o be  emerging ( t h i s model may d e p i c t a t r a n s i t i o n a l phase) i s t h a t o f d i a m e t r i c a l opposition  between t h e youth and t h e e l d e r s , where t h e a d u l t s remain i n t h e  p o s i t i o n o f m e d i a t o r s , and between home and working  l i v e s o f women.  to e l u c i d a t e t h i s p r o c e s s f u r t h e r , we need t o l o o k a t t h e everyday Ismailis.  In order l i f e o f the  I n t h e l a t t e r c o n t e x t , t h e movement o b s e r v a b l e i s from t h e inward  s p i r i t u a l world o f b a t i n i n t o t h e outward world o f z a h i r .  B e f o r e we expound  on t h i s p o i n t f u r t h e r , we need t o l o o k a t one more ceremony where t h e theme developed  i n t h i s chapter i s i l l u m i n a t e d f u r t h e r .  p r e s e n t t h e ceremony o f g h a t - p a t .  In the f o l l o w i n g chapter, I  129 Footnotes. 1.  The_image of the 'pearl' i s e s p e c i a l l y r e v e a l i n g as i t i s used i n s u f i and ginanic l i t e r a t u r e to describe the 'journey of the s o u l ' . The soul separated from the ocean goes i n t o the cloud and returns to i t s home changed i n t o a jewel.  2.  Both males and females p a r t i c i p a t e i n the ceremony. used f o r the purpose of b r e v i t y .  3.  H. V i r a n i , The Philosophy Of Our R e l i g i o u s Ceremonies, [ G u j e r a t i ] , (Bombay: I s m a i l i a A s s o c i a t i o n For Bharat, 1954).  4.  W. Ivanow, t r . Kalami P i r : A T r e a t i s e On I s m a i l i Doctrine, (Bombay: A.A.A. Fyzee Esq., 1935).  5.  This point receives considerable emphasis as c h i l d r e n are taught from an e a r l y age t o be quiet i n Jama'at Khana.  6.  The importance of body imagery i n r i t u a l has been elucidated i n the works of V. Turner, The Forest Of Symbols (New York: C o r n e l l U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1967); M. Douglas, Natural Symbols (Middlesex: Penguin Books L t d . , 1973). Concerning the metaphor of the human body, Turner e x p l a i n s : 'This use of an aspect of human physiology as a model f o r s o c i a l , cosmic, and r e l i g i o u s ideas and processes i s a v a r i a n t of a widely d i s t r i b u t e d i n i t i a t i o n theme: that the human body i s the microcosm of the universe' ( i b i d : 1 0 7 ) . Douglas e x p l i c a t e s the notion of two bodies: the s o c i a l and the p h y s i c a l contending that the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two provides a source f o r the c r e a t i o n of symbols ( i b i d : 93-112).  7.  Oral and verbal exegesis r e f e r r e d t o i n the t e x t has been obtained from s p e c i a l i s t s ( A l Waezeens) who have studied I s m a i l i doctrine.  8.  There are two other forms of du'a karawi ceremony which are performed i n the same manner. These are conducted f o r the deceased and during times of d i f f i c u l t i e s .  9.  For_instance, consider the f o l l o w i n g verses w r i t t e n by J a l a l u ' d d i n Rumi, one of the greatest mystics of Islam:  Male gender i s  You must needs have a weeping eye, l i k e the l i t t l e c h i l d : do not eat the bread (of w o r l d l i n e s s ) , f o r that bread takes away your water ( s p i r i t u a l excellence) Give a loan, diminish t h i s food of your body, that there may appear the face ( v i s i o n ) of (that which) eye hath not seen. (  (R. A. Nicholson, ed. & t r . The Mathnawi Of J a l a l u ' d d i n Rumi, 6 [London: Luzac & Co. L t d , 1968]), p.11.  130  This schema i s adopted from B e d i l , a mystic who wrote i n the l a t e seventeenth century (A. Schimmel 1975:153). Informants included the three groups: e l d e r s , adults and youth. used i n the t a b l e i s from my f i e l d notes.  Data  131. Chapter 5 The R i t u a l Performance Of Ghat-p"at^: Formation And A c t i v a t i o n Cognitive Model.  Of A  The r i t u a l ceremony of ghat-pat encapsulates the core of the I s m a i l i tradition.  We have established so f a r that the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n i s informed  by two major but opposing categories of m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l . relationship  The  between the m a t e r i a l (defined i n terms of form, m u l t i p l i c i t y and  a c t i v i t y ) and the s p i r i t u a l (understood i n terms of essence, u n i t y and repose) i s ambiguous i n v o l v i n g a dynamic play of opposites.  We explored t h i s theme i n *  r e l a t i o n to a r t i c u l a t i o n of space at d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s : Jama*at Khana, body imagery, and food. In the following  pages, I present data g i v i n g a d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n  a n a l y s i s of the ceremony of ghat-pat at three l e v e l s :  first,  and  the ceremony  reveals the s t r u c t u r a l * model which shows how the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n i s a r t i c u l a t e d s p a t i a l l y w i t h i n a symbolic framework.  The second l e v e l  e x p l i c a t e s an i n t e r p l a y between the s t r u c t u r a l form of the ceremony and i t s a c t i v a t i o n by the p a r t i c i p a n t s .  Here, i t emerges that such an  activation  culminates i n the inward ' s p a t i a l ' journey expressed i n the image of the heart.  L a s t l y , I cover d i f f e r e n c e s i n a t t i t u d e s  showing how the  participants  use r i t u a l to express the v i c i s s i t u d e s of s o c i a l l i f e as they experience i t i n their daily l i f e .  The d i f f e r e n c e s i n a t t i t u d e s  r e v e a l that the  participants  experience two forms of space and time: the t r a d i t i o n a l , s y m b o l i c a l l y expressed i n the ceremonies, and the emergent a r i s i n g from t h e i r environment.  new  132  The Formation Of The C o g n i t i v e Model  (i)  The  Setting:  Ghat;-pat i s a S a n s k r i t word compounded from ghat, meaning v e s s e l used f o r water, and p a t a , which i s a low r e c t a n g u l a r t a b l e . r e f e r s t o a s e t o f v e s s e l s used i n the ceremony.  Functionally,  'ghat-pat  1  The v e s s e l s , c o n s i s t i n g o f  t h r e e round p l a t e s , one round bowl, e i g h t mini-bowls, and one j u g , are wrapped i n a white square c l o t h d i a g o n a l l y t i e d w i t h two knots and covered w i t h a white t o w e l .  The s e t ( i . e .  'ghat-pat') i s placed on the r i g h t s i d e of the pat  beside which i s kept a lamp, a c o n t a i n e r f o r i n c e n s e , and a b o t t l e niyaz (holy water).  On the l e f t  ( r e f e r t o diagram 15). c o n g r e g a t i o n who  containing  s i d e i s p l a c e d s u k r e e t which i s a cooked  dish  The ceremony can be performed by any member o f the  has a c q u i r e d competence i n r e c i t i n g the du^a  (congregational  p r a y e r ) and i n f o l l o w i n g the v a r i o u s s t e p s through which the ceremony i s 'unfolded'.  The ceremony i s performed i n the Jama''at Khana i n the e a r l y  of the morning  and on F r i d a y s and s p e c i a l o c c a s i o n s i n the e v e n i n g s .  ceremony i s a l s o r e f e r r e d t o as a b - i s h a f a which i s a P e r s i a n  term.  The  hours  133  Diagram 15 The S e t t i n g  pat - rectangular i n shape and white i n colour. •"  ~  -  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  1. 2. 3.  i  sukreet (cooked)  ghat-pat (round & white)  assistant  performer vessel  Key: 1. Lamp. 2. Incense.  3. B o t t l e f i l l e d w i t h n i y a z .  (ii)  P r i m o r d i a l Symbols.  The three symbols of white, l i g h t and water form the core of the i  c o g n i t i v e model.  Among I s m a i l i s , white i n d i c a t e s the l i m i n a l .  The  i l l u m i n a t i n g s t u d i e s of Van Gennep (1909) and V i c t o r Turner (1962, 1969) have shown the importance of the l i m i n a l phase during a period of t r a n s i t i o n from one s t a t u s t o another.  As t h i s i s a marginal s t a t u s , t h i s i s the time of  'symbolic enrichment' when members of a c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n draw upon sources  X34  of rejuvenation. Among I s m a i l i s , i t i s revealing to note the s h i f t s of meaning a t t r i b u t e d t o white i n the context of l i f e c y c l e s . White i s s p e c i f i c a l l y used as an a t t i r e during the i n i t i a t i o n ceremony of newly-born c h i l d r e n , marriage (white i s only worn by women) and death.  A  newly-born c h i l d s i g n i f i e s the s t a t e of p r i m o r d i a l p u r i t y as t h i s stage e n t a i l s minimal contact with the m a t e r i a l world.  The white c l o t h (unstitched)  covering a corpse symbolizes a l a s t attempt marking a s e r i e s of ceremonial stages t o ' p u r i f y ' the soul of the deceased.  The white dress of a bride and  the white worn by women on other occasions provide a symbolic juncture f o r achieving s p i r i t u a l rejuvenation. Through the symbol of white, women's r o l e as mediators between the m a t e r i a l and the s p i r i t u a l receives f u r t h e r emphasis. The s h i f t of meaning from b i r t h to marriage and then t o death r e l a t e s t o the two planes of u n i t y (an a t t r i b u t e of s p i r i t u a l l i f e ) and m u l t i p l i c i t y (an a t t r i b u t e of m a t e r i a l l i f e ) .  B i r t h marks an entry i n t o m a t e r i a l l i f e , death  marks an e x i t ; from material l i f e , while marriage s i g n i f i e s a c l i m a c t i c point of deeper involvement i n m a t e r i a l l i f e (expressed i n terms of family and k i n ties).  This point i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n Diagram 16.  135  Diagram 16 Symbol Of White Encoded In The L i f e Cycle Of I n d i v i d u a l s .  Marriage (climaxes mediating point between m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l l i f e - emphasis on gender).  Birth (primordial purity - deemphasis on gender).  Death ( p u r i f i c a t i o n of material i m p u r i t i e s - deemphasis on gender).  White i s a s p i r i t u a l colour as i t i s associated with the q u a l i t i e s of p u r i t y and s i m p l i c i t y .  In the context of the l i f e c y c l e , i t i s used  p r o g r e s s i v e l y , marking the three stages of b i r t h , marriage and death.  In the  ceremony of ghat-pat, white remains constant and i s the a l l - p e r v a s i v e c o l o u r . This i s because the v e s s e l s used, the c l o t h , the towel and the pa^ are a l l white.  By c o n t r a s t , the two symbols of water and l i g h t are used more a c t i v e l y  and p r o g r e s s i v e l y marking a number of stages. Light i s switched on a t the commencement of the ceremony and switched o f f  2. when the ceremony comes to an end. O r a l exegesis has revealed that i n the past dipak, (lamp) l i t with p u r i f i e d butter and not e l e c t r i c i t y , was used f o r the ceremony.  The f a c t that an e l e c t r i c table-lamp i s used i n a l l Jama*at  Khanas r e v e a l s i n an i n t e r e s t i n g manner the usage of technology, with i t s i m p l i c i t b a s i s of r a t i o n a l i t y and l o g i c , i n the r i t u a l context.  The use of a  man-made item as opposed to a r e l a t i v e l y n a t u r a l form ( l i k e that of dipak)  136  paradoxically conceals the r e v e l a t i o n of n a t u r a l powers which i n the r i t u a l are p r i m o r d i a l powers.  Nevertheless, the lamp, though a modern product, i s  not used f o r u t i l i t a r i a n reasons on the pat. A l l Jama S i t Khahas are w e l l - l i t , and the ' l i g h t ' on the ghat-pat i s only l i t when the ceremony i s t o be performed, and switched o f f as soon as the ceremony i s over.  I n other words, l i g h t marks the symbolic release of  generative powers, an i r r u p t i o n of the s p i r i t u a l on the plane of manifestation.  The e l d e r l y members of the community informed me that when the  l i g h t i s switched on, the ruhani (the souls of the deceased) and the angels j o i n the ceremony.  These beings depart when the l i g h t i s switched o f f . Their  presence thus evoked sunders the boundaries which otherwise contain the everyday experiences of I s m a i l i s .  In t h e i r conversations, I s m a i l i s a t t r i b u t e  l i g h t (Nur) as a q u a l i t y of the d i v i n e , and t h i s Nur, they say i s present i n the Imam. In the ceremony, water i s a symbol through which the generative powers of the s p i r i t u a l a l s o referred t o as sacred can be observed 'from the beginning to the end'.  I n i t i a l l y , the water i s placed on the f l o o r s i g n i f y i n g a  primordial state. i n t o a b - i qhafa.  Through a number of r i t u a l stages, the water i s transformed As the water i s kept i n a v e s s e l on the f l o o r , i t s r i t u a l  o r i g i n s are beyond the s t r u c t u r e of the pat. poured i n the kumph (bowl).  Water i s given 'form' when i t i s  E x e g e t i c a l m a t e r i a l reveals that a t t h i s stage,  the water presents a microcosmic image of man. The image presented i s that of the kumfah as a body and the water as s o u l . This i s exemplified as f o l l o w s :  137 Ya shah kumfohe bhan<Jhiyo j a ' l rahe j a l vina kurabh ne hoye teme ginane bahijhiyo manh rahe gur vina ginan ne hoye. l  (ghat-pat n i du'a 1953:8) Translation: The soul i s contained by the body Yet without the s o u l , the body cannot e x i s t S i m i l a r l y , the mind i s 'enlightened' by knowledge Without the Imam, there cannot be knowledge. In the above verse, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the body and the soul i s defined mutually. The soul i s given 'form' by the body which contains i t while the body i s given l i f e by the s o u l .  Beyond t h i s , the mind (manh) i s  'held i n place' through wisdom which i s imparted by the gur (meaning Imam). The above verse encapsulates the I s m a i l i cosmic order. Man's unique s t a t u s , containing the c o n t r a r i e s of the body and the soul i s given expression w i t h i n a symbolic framework.  At another l e v e l the idea which i s emphasised i s that  of the a c q u i s i t i o n of wisdom.  In t h i s context, the concept of p u r i t y i s taken  beyond the idea of c l e a n s i n g .  In an I s m a i l i t r e a t i s e compiled i n the t h i r t e e n  century (Kalami P i r ed. and t r . by W. Ivanow 1935:90), the symbol of water i s expounded as f o l l o w s : A b l u t i o n means the returning t o the knowledge of the Imam, because water i n the system (hadd) of t a ^ w i l symbolizes the knowledge of the r e a l t r u t h (haqiqat). While i n the kumbh, water i s transformed i n t o a b - i shafa through congregational prayers and the a d d i t i o n of holy water (niyaz) from the b o t t l e . Ab-i  shafa i s r i t u a l l y poured i n t o mini-bowls from the kumbh f o r consumption  by the p a r t i c i p a n t s .  3  _  Verbal exegesis maintains that the a b - i shafa i s the  Nur (Light/Divine Knowledge).  The a t t i t u d e of the p a r t i c i p a n t s i s c r u c i a l i n  determining the l e v e l at which they would be able to acquire 'Divine, Knowledge' which l i k e water, i s i n e x h a u s t i b l e .  T h i s point i s exemplified  138 c l e a r l y i n the firman where Imam Sultan Muhammed Shah explained that the soul i s not p u r i f i e d j u s t by 'drinking water and c l a y ' (mati). The b e n e f i t s from a b - i shafa can only be derived i f the Iman and the heart are 'pure' (Zanzibar 9.7.1899). A common image used by Al-waezeens ( s p e c i a l i s t s on exegesis) compares hans (swan) and bgla (duck).  These are names of b i r d s which have contrary  eating h a b i t s . Ducks eat anything which comes on t h e i r way, while swans pick t h e i r food s e l e c t i v e l y .  Those who are l i k e ducks go ' t h i r s t y ' , while sugra  (those who are on the r i g h t path), l i k e swans, drink t o t h e i r heart's content. P a r t i c i p a n t s are aware of the importance of the i n t e n t i o n with which a b - i shafa i s consumed.  An e l d e r l y woman explained:  When we drink a b - i shafa", we are consuming Nur. Through the Nur, the heart ( d i l ) becomes p u r i f i e d . We only b e n e f i t i f we have the r i g h t i n t e n t i o n and understanding. In the context of transformation, water becomes a mediating element the e f f e c t of which i s f e l t not so much a t the c o g n i t i v e l e v e l but during the time when i t i s consumed. i s 'Light'.  V i s i b l y i t i s water, but i n s i d e the heart ( d i l ) , a b - i shafa  P u r i f i c a t i o n of the heart e n t a i l s a movement towards a s t a t e o f  unison and repose. The s e t t i n g of the ceremony reveals that the p r i m o r d i a l elements of water, l i g h t and white are  given 'form' by the s t r u c t u r e of the pat.  The pat  with i t s four corners represents the universe with an i m p l i c i t center which points to the sacred. mediation.  The pat r e a f f i r m s the two l e v e l s of c o n t r a r i e s and  The four corners of the pat, g i v i n g r i s e t o the d i v i s i o n of r i g h t  and l e f t and i t s i m p l i c i t centre, symbolize the two planes of m u l t i p l i c i t y and unity r e s p e c t i v e l y .  The s t r u c t u r e of the pat i s r e i t e r a t e d i n the four  corners of the white c l o t h and the white towel i n which the g h a t - p i t i s  139 wrapped.  As the round shape of the vessels used contains an i m p l i c i t center,  i t a l s o r e a f f i r m s the presence of the sacred. the generative powers of the sacred domain.  The p r i m o r d i a l elements r e v e a l These powers have t h e i r locus on  the plane of movement and phenomena as w e l l as that of u n i t y .  The ceremony of  ghat pa^ as i t 'unfolds' ( l i k e the c l o t h i n which 'ghat-pat;' i s wrapped) provide two more contexts i n which the above theme i s expounded f u r t h e r . These are: (a) the timing of the ceremony and (b) the stages through which transformation of water i s e f f e c t e d .  Below, I present the data and the  a n a l y s i s of these contexts.  (iii)  Timing Of The Ceremony Of Ghat-pat  The categories of m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l are e x p l i c i t l y recognized i n terms of day and night r e s p e c t i v e l y . Earning a l i v i n g , attending to the family and performance of the d a i l y tasks are considered to be m a t e r i a l a c t i v i t i e s which are to be pursued during the day.  Night (apart from the s i x  hours of s l e e p i n g ) * i s to be dedicated to the nourishment of s p i r i t u a l l i f e to be accomplished through prayers. expressed  In the ginan 'so k r i y a ' , t h i s point i s  as:  Din ughe karo dharamsu ka dhantha rat pade thavo sahebji ka banda Translation: During the day earn your l i v i n g honestly when night f a l l s become a devotee of the Imam ( s a h e b j i ) .  14© and r e i t e r a t e d at s e v e r a l places i n the firmans. material l i f e as being compounded i n form.  Here we note the q u a l i t y of  P u r s u i t of d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s  demands a greater d i v i s i o n i n terms of gender and age. l i f e i s presented i n terms of s i m p l i c i t y .  In c o n t r a s t , s p i r i t u a l  The l a t t e r i s understood i n the  form of a deemphasis on gender and age and the emergence of a u n i t i v e e n t i t y l i k e the jama a*t. c  The ceremony of ghat-pat i s performed d a i l y i n the mornings and on Fridays and ceremonial occasions i n the evenings.  Early morning prayer i s  considered to contain greater s p i r i t u a l f o r c e s than the evening prayer.  This  i s because the l a t t e r takes place at the end of the day when a person i s exposed t o and 'accumulates' i m p u r i t i e s from m a t e r i a l l i f e .  Morning prayer  precedes the p u r s u i t of m a t e r i a l l i f e i n the day and hence takes place i n a state of p u r i t y .  Several e l d e r l y informants presented the f o l l o w i n g view:  Morning time i s the time of Nur. Those who want to 'meet' A l l a h (khuda) go to Jama'at Khana at t h i s time. Evening time i s kept f o r the removal of m a t e r i a l i m p u r i t i e s . The timing of the ceremony points to an important d i f f e r e n c e .  In the  mornings, the d a i l y performance of the ceremony takes place i n an e x i s t i n g s t a t e of p u r i t y .  The evening ceremony, performed o c c a s i o n a l l y , c o n t r i b u t e s to  the cleansing of i m p u r i t i e s accrued during the day.  In the o v e r a l l context of  the mornings and evenings, the generative powers of the ceremony have d i f f e r e n t symbolic connotations which brings to l i g h t the f o l l o w i n g contraries:  14X  Morning  Evening  dawn  sunset  commencement of material a c t i v i t y  end of m a t e r i a l activity  'primordial s t a t e of p u r i t y '  p u r i t y - achieved through cleansing.  The d i s t i n c t i o n recognized between morning and evening prayers i s transcended i n r e l a t i o n t o daytime.  At t h i s l e v e l , morning and evening form one u n i t  which i s dedicated f o r r i t u a l and worship: So (give) glory t o God, When ye reach eventide And when ye r i s e In the morning. (s.xxx:17). (iv)  Stages e f f e c t i n g Transformation In The Ceremony: Stage 1 - The Arrangement Of The Ghat-pat  There a r e no p r e l i m i n a r y preparations required i n the ceremony. The formation of the c o g n i t i v e model p e r t a i n i n g to the manifestation of the 'sacred' i s a r e s u l t of the p a r t i c i p a t i o n of the assembled congregation (Jama*at).  This i s important i n view of the f a c t that the congregation i s a  u n i f i e d group r e f l e c t i n g the s p i r i t u a l q u a l i t i e s of p u r i t y , 'power' and simplicity.  The ceremony of ghat-pat can be performed by any male, female, or  young a d u l t , none of whom are given f u r t h e r r e c o g n i t i o n since the performer acts on behalf of the congregation. the folded gha^-pat i s placed.  The performer s i t s behind the pat where  Next t o the performer s i t s the person  ( a s s i s t a n t ) who d i s t r i b u t e s sukreet a f t e r a b - i s h i f a i s consumed.  142 A l t e r n a t i v e l y , the performer may s i t i n between two a s s i s t a n t s i n which case the ghat-pat i s placed, i n between two p l a t e s of sukreet. The arrangement of the ghat-pat i s shown i n diagram 17.  Diagram 17 The Arrangement Of ghat-pat Arrangement No.l. Assistant  Performer  sukreet  ghat-pat Kumbh (center) plate plate (symmetry)  Arrangement No. 2 Assistant sukreet  Performer ghat-pat  Assistant sukreet  kumbh (center) plate plate (symmetry) Note:  Each of the p l a t e s contain four mini-bowls. There are a number of dimensions which come to l i g h t i n the way i n which  ' ghat-pat' i s arranged on the pat.  T r a d i t i o n a l l y , the ghat-p"at' was arranged 1  on the r i g h t s i d e of the pat and not the center. Center as essence becomes revealed on the r i g h t s i d e , r i g h t being the symbol of a c t i o n .  143 Of l a t e , i n order to accommodate the 'fast pace' of modern l i f e , the 'gha^-pat' i s placed i n between the two p l a t e s of sukreet.  This arrangement  points to the p r i n c i p l e of condensation which i s a l s o operative i n other s i t u a t i o n s noted throughout t h i s study. placed on the l e f t .  Nevertheless, the 'ghat-pat' i s never  Furthermore, we have a d i s t i n c t r e l a t i o n s h i p between the  center (as represented by the kumbh) and the p r i n c i p l e of symmetry as imaged i n the arrangement of the p l a t e s and the mini-bowls.  Here, the symbolic  manifestation of the sacred h i g h l i g h t s two forms: f i r s t , when the sacred becomes manifest i t f o l l o w s the 'law' of d i v i s i o n - the center i s not one but two, and i n the context of the ceremony  there i s a f u r t h e r extension i n t o  four and e i g h t . These numbers are s i g n i f i c a n t because I have never seen an odd number of mini-bowls on the p l a t e .  (My observation was confirmed by  informants). Although the center becomes manifest (that i s i t appears i n a divided form), i t s manifested form continues to c a r r y i t s essence.  In the  ceremony, the essence ( i . e . the center) i s s y m b o l i c a l l y represented by the round shape of a l l the v e s s e l s . Another q u a l i t y of the sacred i s that i t s primary manifestation i s i n the form of an order.  This order i s formed by the p r i n c i p l e of symmetry which  adds a sense of harmony to the ceremony.  As with the a r t i c u l a t i o n of space i n  Jama'at Khana, the sacred objects are never kept haphazardly; they are arranged i n an o r d e r l y manner and the p r i n c i p l e of symmetry c o n t r i b u t e s to the c r e a t i o n of t h i s order. P r i o r to the arrangement of the 'ghat-pat', the l a t t e r i s r i t u a l l y cleansed.  The r i t u a l act i s confirmed by the f a c t that the 'ghat-pat' i s  otherwise s p o t l e s s l y clean. water.  T r a d i t i o n a l l y , the 'ghat-pat' was cleansed with  P r e s e n t l y , t h i s step i s condensed i n t o the wiping of the  144 vessels a f t e r which they are incensed. The r i t u a l cleansing of the vessels symbolizes the idea of p u r i t y .  This point i s r e i t e r a t e d i n the ginan;  Kapda dhowe so k i y a huwa D i l dhowe so paweh Translation: What do you gain i f you j u s t wash your clothes You w i l l only benefit i f you cleanse your heart. ( P i r Sadar d i n , " E j i sham ku ayanta" couplet 5 ) . Here the outward a c t of washing the c l o t h e s i s extended t o i n c l u d e the inner dimension of the heart.  The arrangement of 'gha^-pat* portrays the two l e v e l s  of m u l t i p l i c i t y and u n i t y .  Stage two: Enactment Of A P r i m o r d i a l Event: Once the ghafc-pat has been l a i d out, the performer pours water from the v e s s e l (ghdhi) i n t o the kumbh (main bowl) t o which a few drops of niyaz from the b o t t l e are added. from sacred c l a y .  Formerly, the niyaz was i n the form of a ' t a b l e t ' made  The kumbh i s then covered w i t h a l i d u n t i l i t i s time f o r  the r e c i t a t i o n of the second prayer (dufa). performer of the ceremony.  The l a t t e r i s r e c i t e d by the  The du^a i s composed of s i x p a r t s , and a t the end  of the f i f t h part there i s a pause f o r a s i l e n t prayer. Before the du*a i s resumed, the performer picks up the small j u g , f i l l s i t up with a b - i shafa from the kumbh and pours i t i n t o the e i g h t mini-bowls and on the sukreet. Everytime the mini-bowl i s f i l l e d , the performer says: 'firman' and the p a r t i c i p a n t s respond w i t h the words: 'Ya-Ali Ya Muhammed'. T h i s takes place nine times, corresponding with the eight mini-bowls and the sukreet and then the performer continues t o r e c i t e the duST u n t i l i t i s completed.  145 The second stage i n the ceremony i s an enactment of a primordial event c o n s i s t i n g of the manifestation of the sacred on the plane of phenomena and becoming.  The event a t one l e v e l r e s u l t s from a 'harmonious' combination of  two c o n t r a r i e s : water and 'matter'.  This combination i s reminiscent of the  c r e a t i o n of Adam, comprising matter and s p i r i t .  Water, o r i g i n a l l y i n a  formless s t a t e , i n the context of the r i t u a l i s given form by being contained i n a vessel (kumbh).  Water i s a l i q u i d substance without colour or shape.  The v e s s e l i s s o l i d , round i n shape and white i n c o l o u r .  The c o n t r a r i e s are  mediated through the element of niyaz which was formerly 'sacred c l a y ' . l a t t e r partakes o f the Divine essence and i t s created form.  The  While the niyaz  transforms the water and makes i t 'pure', i t ' s sacredness i s i n t e n s i f i e d through the r e c i t a t i o n of dufa.  Congregational prayers e n t a i l a number of  body movements among which the act of p r o s t r a t i o n i s primary: But bow down i n adoration And bring t h y s e l f The c l o s e r (to God) (s.xciv:19). In the context of the ceremony, the r e c i t a t i o n of the prayer and the peak moments o f p r o s t r a t i o n s represent a l e v e l of transcendence whereby the c o n t r a r i e s of water and matter are momentarily  d i s s o l v e d i n t o the essence (the  n i r i n j a n i . e . formlessness) of the D i v i n e . This moment i s captured and symbolically enacted i n the pouring of a b - i shafa i n t o the mini-bowls. The communicative mode used i s that of 'firman' ( s a i d by the performer) with the response from the Jama *at: 'Ya A l i Ya Muhammed'.  The firman i s the Qur*anic  kun (be) representing the time before the world was created.  Ya A l i Ya  Muhammed represents the manifestation o f the Divine i n a perfect form. t r a d i t i o n a t t r i b u t e s two connotations t o the name of Muhammed. the Prophet: 'I am Ahmad (= Muhammed) without  Sufi  I n a hadith of  the l e t t e r "M"' (Schimmel  146 1975:224), Ahad i s i n t e r p r e t e d as being 'One' (tawhid) and c r e a t u r e l i n e s s i s a t t r i b u t e d to the l e t t e r 'M'.  The I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n considers the Imam to be  the mazhar (the 'manifested' form) of the Divine i n the world of phenomena. These examples show that a s i g n i f i c a n t focus of the ceremony of ghat-pa^, i s t o show how the c o n t r a r i e s and manifested forms are transcended and given a u n i t i v e form ( r e f e r t o Diagram 18). The completion of the second prayer marks the end of the process whereby the sacred becomes manifest i n the ceremony.  I n the f o l l o w i n g p a r t , we s h a l l  continue t o examine the process whereby the q u a l i t i e s representing m u l t i p l i c i t y 'encounter' the sacred by means of mediation of c o n t r a r i e s .  Diagram 18 Enactment Of A P r i m o r d i a l Event In The Ceremony Of ghat-pat  P r i m o r d i a l State  water (formlessness)  State Of Creation  water i n the kumbh (given form)  State of D i s s o l u t i o n (transcendence)  water transformed i n t o N%r ( L i g h t )  hearing and speaking  silence  standing and sitting  prostration  Centre  round, symmetry triangle  no shape  One  four and eight  No numbers (congregation)  A c t i v a t i o n Of The Cognitive Model  (i)  The  Mediating Role Of Mukhi  The q u a l i t i e s of the m a t e r i a l world of movement and phenomena are f i r s t discerned i n the r i t u a l context when members of the congregation stand up and disperse to consume a b - i shafa.  The h i e r a r c h i c a l order (classed as material)  comes i n t o focus as the Mukhi followed by the leaders consume a b - i shafa, p r i o r to other members of the assembled congregation.  The same order i s  followed i n the female s e c t i o n . The Mukhi acts as a mediator between the h i e r a r c h i c a l and gender d i v i s i o n s on the one hand and the congregation on the other.  As we have already observed, the Mukhi forms part of the h i e r a r c h i c a l  order and i s a l s o above i t ; he i s a 'leader' as w e l l as part of the  ...a4S congregation.  The Mukhi's gender r o l e i s affirmed at one l e v e l and  transcended at another.  In t h i s respect, we have a r i t u a l representation of  the existence of the s p i r i t u a l q u a l i t y of s i m p l i c i t y (lack of d i v i s i o n ) i n the midst of material l i f e which i s characterized by m u l t i p l i c i t y .  (ii)  Body Imagery:  The usage of body imagery i s of considerable s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the a c t i v a t i o n of the c o g n i t i v e model i n the ceremony.  In the I s l a m i c / I s m a i l i  t r a d i t i o n , the upright and the prostrated postures of man are two p o l a r i t i e s around which the status of man i s r i t u a l l y defined.  symbolic  The upright  posture i s recognized as the prerogative of man which gives him a higher p o s i t i o n on earth i n r e l a t i o n to other forms of c r e a t i o n : We have indeed created man In the best of moulds. (s.xcv:4). Nevertheless, man i s a l s o assigned the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of c u l t i v a t i n g the s p i r i t u a l l i f e i n the midst of m a t e r i a l p u r s u i t s . This being a mammoth task, man i s asked to 'remember' (worship) A l l a h i n order to achieve s p i r i t u a l rejuvenation.  During t h i s time, i t becomes necessary f o r man to abandon h i s  material concerns momentarily and t h i s gesture i s s y m b o l i c a l l y depicted i n the act of p r o s t r a t i o n . In the ceremony of ghat-pat, the p a r t i c i p a n t s perform a ' h a l f - p r o s t r a t i o n ' pose i n order to pick up the mini-bowl containing a b - i shafa. T h i s has symbolic s i g n i f i c a n c e as the pose f a l l s in-between the upright posture and complete p r o s t r a t i o n which can only be accomplished while s i t t i n g on the f l o o r .  The h a l f - p r o s t r a t i o n e s t a b l i s h e s a l e v e l at which other  parts of the body i . e . hands and face are a c t i v a t e d .  The performance of the  ceremony by the p a r t i c i p a n t s involves the f o l l o w i n g body movements: When the p a r t i c i p a n t (who i s standing i n a l i n e ) reaches the pat, he places a coin i n a p l a t e and picks up the mini-bowl with h i s r i g h t hand. The a c t i o n requires a h a l f - p r o s t r a t i o n as the pats are low. on the r i g h t palm which i s placed over the l e f t palm. closes h i s eyes and o f f e r s a s i l e n t prayer.  The mini-bowl i s held The p a r t i c i p a n t then  A f t e r t h i s , the p a r t i c i p a n t opens  h i s eyes and says: f i r m a n ', to which the performer responds with the words: 1  'Ya A l i Ya Muhammed'. The p a r t i c i p a n t then l i f t s the mini-bowl towards h i s mouth (with palms s t i l l held together) and 'drinks' a b - i shafa. Using h i s r i g h t hand, he puts the bowl back on the p l a t e t o be r e f i l l e d f o r the next person.  The p a r t i c i p a n t then moves on the l e f t where sukreet i s kept.  He  picks up a small piece of square paper with h i s r i g h t hand and p o s i t i o n s i t i n the same manner as the mini-bowl.  The performer's a s s i s t a n t takes a spoonful  of sukreet and places i t on the paper.  This act i s a l s o accompanied by an  exchage of words: 'Hay zinda', and 'kayam paya' (see diagram 19).  Diagram 19 Body Imagery In The Ceremony Of Ghat-pat S p i r i t u a l World Of S i m p l i c i t y U n i t i v e Experience (state of enlightenment) Exterior (drinking)  Interior ('heart') Unison, (silence)  speaking  Hearing Unison (prayers)  open eyes  closed eyes  Unison (palms together) r i g h t hand  l e f t hand Half P r o s t r a t i o n (poised between the material and the s p i r i t u a l ) Upright Body Posture M a t e r i a l World Of Movement And Phenomena  The above diagram reveals that the consumption of ab-i shafa involves a s e r i e s of stages marking an upward movement which leads t o the ultimate l e v e l of  'experience'.  This upward movement i s marked by a symbolic unity (with an  i m p l i c i t center) of two d i s t i n c t parts or a c t s of the body which reach a peak moment of experience. Each of the stages can be observed as f o l l o w s : (a)  The r i g h t hand ( a c t i o n ) and the l e f t hand (repose) are brought  together i n an a c t of unison through the mini-bowl containing a b - i shafa.  Here we have the two p r i m o r d i a l symbols of white and water  with the geometrical motif of round. (b)  The c l o s i n g and opening of the eyes i s i n j e c t e d with an act of  prayer. of (c)  Here the inward a c t of praying mediates the outward movements  'opening' and ' c l o s i n g ' . In the a c t s i n v o l v i n g speaking and hearing, the i n t e r j e c t i o n of  s i l e n c e brings about a u n i t i v e s t a t e . (d)  The f i n a l a c t of 'drinking' i s a movement which climaxes a  progression from an outward i n t o the inward s t a t e .  The inward state i s  symbolized by the heart which i s a symbol of the presence of the Divine. While the experience of being cleansed i s s t i l l fresh (at l e a s t conceptually), the p a r t i c i p a n t s move towards the l e f t and partake of sukreet (sweet dish) comprised of the f o l l o w i n g :  152. Ingredients used i n sukreet  Spiritual  Material  a b - i shafa  semolina milk sugar butter  Sukreet i s eaten and i t marks a symbolic 'descent' i n t o the world of phenomena and movement.  This point can be exemplified through the explanation  offered by s p e c i a l i s t s : ^ (a)  Semolina f l o u r s i g n i f i e s patience and s u f f e r i n g as t h i s i n g r e d i e n t i s ground i n t o 'nothingness'' from i t s o r i g i n a l form.  (b)  Sugar i s a symbol of happiness.  (c)  M i l k symbolizes p u r i t y  (d)  B u t t e r i s a symbol of u n i t y .  The c u l t i v a t i o n and nourishment of the above q u a l i t i e s lead t o the advancement of the s p i r i t i n i t s journey towards the Absolute.  Just l i k e  water (which i s transformed i n t o Nur), sukreet i s a l s o transformed i n the ceremony.  In i t s former s t a t e when the d i s h i s cooked, i t i s known as s i r o .  When a b - i shafa  i s poured i n t o i t , i t becomes sukreet.  Sukreet i s made of  f i v e i n g r e d i e n t s out of which four are s o l i d and are commonly used i n the preparation of foods i n m a t e r i a l l i f e . represents the s p i r i t u a l .  The f i f t h i n g r e d i e n t , a b - i shafa  152 Sukreet i s a symbolic expression of the presence of the s p i r i t u a l i n the material.  I t i s important to note that the m a t e r i a l i s expressed i n terms of  q u a l i t i e s which allow the ' s p i r i t ' to f l o u r i s h .  The point which i s expressed  i s that the m a t e r i a l elements need to be 'transformed' before they can be infused with q u a l i t i e s from the s p i r i t u a l . ceremony of gha^-pat^.  This i s an expressive theme i n the  The s p i r i t u a l q u a l i t y i n the form of a b - i shafa i s  'poured' i n t o the m a t e r i a l product which i s presented i n a transformed s t a t e so that i t can r e f l e c t the presence of the s p i r i t . In parts one and two of t h i s chapter, we have seen the formation and a c t i v a t i o n of the c o g n i t i v e model r e v e a l i n g the two processes of the manifestation of the sacred and i t s i n f u s i o n i n t o the 'transformed' m a t e r i a l world.  The p r i n c i p l e of c e n t r a l i t y and symmetry  manifestation of the sacred.  c h a r a c t e r i z e s the  The centre points t o the o r i g i n s and therefore  acts as a mediating element while the p r i n c i p l e of symmetry simultaneously contains c o n t r a r i e s as w e l l as a sense of order (as instanced i n the arrangement of 'ghat-pat').  The a c t i v a t i o n of the model, which commences with  the consumption of a b - i shafa, h i g h l i g h t s body imagery where the c o n t r a r i e s l i k e those of r i g h t / l e f t , open/close are mediated through the symbolic act of unison.  In t h i s way, hearing and speaking r e l a t e to the u n i t i v e a c t of  silence. Although the p r i n c i p l e of c o n t r a r i e s and mediation govern both the processes of the formation and the a c t i v a t i o n of the model, there i s an important d i s t i n c t i o n which i s c r u c i a l .  The formation of the c o g n i t i v e model  symbolizes the 'descent' of the sacred.  For example, the water i s i n i t i a l l y  placed on the f l o o r away from the 'structure' of the pat.  A c t i v a t i o n of the  model s i g n i f i e s an 'ascent' from the m a t e r i a l to that of the s p i r i t u a l . The  15*. ascent commences c o g n i t i v e l y when the p a r t i c i p a n t s ' a c t i v a t e ' body gestures. The two processes are i l l u s t r a t e d as f o l l o w s :  Diagram 20 Formation And A c t i v a t i o n Of The Cognitive Model S p i r i t u a l World Formation of the cognitive model  1  (descent i n t o the realm of p l u r a l i t y )  Consumption of a b - i shafa ( a c t i v a t i o n of body gestures) m c A c t i v a t i o n of the cognitive model (ascent i n t o the realm of u n i t y ) M a t e r i a l World  Key: c.c. c o n t r a r i e s m. mediation.  15S I t i s important t o note the subtle s h i f t s of elements which function both as part of c o n t r a r i e s ( m u l t i p l i c i t y ) as w e l l as mediators ( u n i t y ) .  This  p r i n c i p l e w i l l lead t o deeper i n s i g h t s i n t o the process of adaptation t o the v i c i s s i t u d e s of l i f e as I s m a i l i s experience i t i n t h e i r new homeland. t h e i r major concerns are covered i n part I I I of t h i s study.  Some of  Nevertheless  these concerns form the subject of d i s c u s s i o n soon a f t e r the congregation disperses.  I n the f o l l o w i n g part, I present some of the t o p i c s which form the  subject of conversation i n the Jama at Khana and make observations on some of c  the issues which have emerged as a r e s u l t of the ' i n t e r a c t i o n ' between t r a d i t i o n a l patterns of thought and developing trends from the western Canadian environment.  As noted e a r l i e r , i n the Jama'at Khana, some of these  issues have been expressed through r i t u a l .  V i c i s s i t u d e s Of S o c i a l L i f e In R e l a t i o n To R i t u a l Once the p a r t i c i p a n t s have consumed a b - i shafa, they disperse and converse i n f o r m a l l y w i t h other members of the congregation. This i s one time i n Jama*at Khana which i s r e l a t i v e l y unstructured. Inside the Jama^at Khana, the gender d i s t i n c t i o n continues t o be observed, and during t h i s time the conversation t o p i c s r e f l e c t the d i f f e r e n c e s i n i n t e r e s t s and a s p i r a t i o n s between men and women. The former most commonly cover the areas of business, economic i s s u e s , and career goals, while the l a t t e r cover t o p i c s which range from h a i r s t y l e s and dressing, c h i l d care, domestic issues and, of l a t e , education and job o p p o r t u n i t i e s .  Those p a r t i c i p a n t s who have stepped outside  the Jama'at Khana h a l l and have put on t h e i r shoes intermingle on a non-gender basis.  156  This time of unstructured a c t i v i t y , though not given any formal r e c o g n i t i o n , i s considered to be v i t a l f o r the p a r t i c i p a n t s ; my data reveal that i t provides a strong motivation f o r attendance i n Jama a t Khana. t  A large  number of I s m a i l i s obtain u s e f u l information through the exchange of ideas p e r t a i n i n g to ' l i f e i n Canada'.  Several informants revealed to me that they  obtained jobs j u s t by t a l k i n g to other I s m a i l i s who happened to know of e x i s t i n g vacancies.  Likewise, young mothers with newly-born babies obtain  u s e f u l h i n t s about the 'dont's and do's' by t a l k i n g to others who have already gone through, as one mother explained, ' c r i t i c a l stages of motherhood.' Apart from the exchange of information, Jama'at Khana provides the 'center' where t i e s among f r i e n d s , acquaintances strengthened.  and k i n s h i p r e l a t i o n s are  I t i s one of the places where the network of s o c i a l t i e s can be  extended as new f r i e n d s h i p s are formed. I t i s common f o r young g i r l s and boys to meet i n Jama at Khana and c r y s t a l i z e t h e i r f r i e n d s h i p i n the form of <  matrimonial t i e s .  For the e l d e r s , Jama^at Khana i s a 'heavenly refuge'.  A  number of the e l d e r l y males and females informed me that they spend t h e i r whole day with the expectation of going t o Jama^at Khana.  One e l d e r l y lady  related: I do not think that I would have been able t o survive i n t h i s country without Jama a t Khana. c  This i s because the elders being confined s p a t i a l l y ( l a c k of s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n ) during the day time, f i n d an 'open space' i n Jama ""at Khana where congregants i n t e r a c t before leaving f o r home. The need f o r the elders to go to Jama'"at Khana i s so v i t a l that i t has received s p e c i a l a t t e n t i o n from the community.  Elders are provided s p e c i a l t r a n s p o r t a t i o n e i t h e r through s p e c i a l  mini buses or through cars driven by volunteers.  157 The informal time i n Jama ^at Khana r e f l e c t s a number of environmental features.  In essence, i t points to c h a r a c t e r i s t i c urban l i f e where people  have r e l a t i v e l y l e s s time f o r s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n . Were i t not f o r the Jama a~t <,  Khana, the s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n among I s m a i l i s between males, females, males and females, e l d e r s and young and among youngsters and elders would be confined w i t h i n a narrow range. I t i s a paradoxical feature of urban l i f e that though i t o f f e r s a greater range of options regarding various sectors of a c t i v i t i e s , the information pertaining t o these a c t i v i t i e s i s not e a s i l y a c c e s s i b l e .  I n t h i s respect,  Jama^at Khana, through the network of s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n and community i d e n t i t y that i t s u s t a i n s , provides a medium f o r the dissemination of such information. I t i s i n the midst of an unstructured i n t e r a c t i o n when the p a r t i c i p a n t s converse on a wide v a r i e t y of i s s u e s , that they pause s i l e n t l y two times when the 'ghat-pat' i s r e - f o l d e d .  Technical terms used f o r t h i s process are  'ghat-pat uthapan/ji' and 'ghat-pat kayam k a r a n j i ' .  These are considered t o be  s i g n i f i c a n t steps as they mark the ' e x i t ' of sacred powers with an emphatic note t o the e f f e c t that they are e t e r n a l and w i l l r e t u r n again.  The ' e x i t ' of  powers i s a l s o expressed through the departure of the s p i r i t u a l beings who are believed t o be present during the ceremony.  The ' s i l e n t pauses' when prayers  are r e c i t e d are s i g n i f i c a n t reminders of the c o n t i n u a l presence of the s p i r i t u a l i n material l i f e . an I s m a i l i .  Such an awareness i s considered to be v i t a l f o r  158  Continuity And Change.  (i)  The R i t u a l Context.  We have already made note of the two s t r u c t u r a l changes made i n the ceremony of ghat-pat. of 'ghat-pat  1  These are the omission of water i n the r i t u a l cleansing  and the placement of the kumbh in-between two p l a t e s of sukreet.  These measures point to the p r i n c i p l e of condensation which has emerged i n response to the modern emphasis on ' e f f i c i e n c y ' and maximization of time. P a r t i c i p a n t s informed me t h a t i f these changes were not made, the ceremony would take longer both f o r the performer as w e l l as the p a r t i c i p a n t s .  There  are a number of other concerns which r e v e a l i n a t e l l i n g manner some of the ways i n which I s m a i l i s are adapting t o t h e i r new environment. There are two matters which have a r i s e n i n r e l a t i o n to sukreet. there was a b r i e f attempt to s u b s t i t u t e sweets f o r sukreet.  First,  The reasons c i t e d  were that as sweets are bought ready-made, i t saves time and e f f o r t and that sweets are more 'manageable' as sukreet can f a l l on the carpet amd make the latter sticky.  I gathered from informants that the Jama at's sentiments were c  hurt and the attempt was abandoned.  Secondly, there are some o b j e c t i o n s  r a i s e d to the e a t i n g of sukreet because of the h i g h - c a l o r i e d i n g r e d i e n t s of butter and sugar.  Some of the p a r t i c i p a n t s take a g r a i n of sukreet instead of  a spoonful though i t should be emphasised that no-one refuses the 'sacred offering'.  One of the questions which i s often discussed among p a r t i c i p a n t s  i s whether i t i s r e s p e c t f u l to take a g r a i n instead of a spoonful.  Although  some of the p a r t i c i p a n t s f e e l t h a t a 'sacred o f f e r i n g ' should be taken r e s p e c t f u l l y ( i . e . the whole spoon), the p a r t i c i p a n t s seem to have resolved the i s s u e i n three ways:  15S  (a)  Some p a r t i c i p a n t s take the whole spoon and eat i t with  the understanding (b)  that the c a l o r i e f a c t o r i s i r r e l e v a n t i n t h i s case.  Others take a whole spoon, put a few grains i n the mouth and give  the r e s t t o the c h i l d r e n . (c)  Others take only a few grains from the spoon.  I n t h i s case  instead of the palms only two f i n g e r s are used. The f a c t that three d i f f e r e n t a l t e r n a t i v e s have been worked out i s a recent phenomenon.  An a d u l t male explained:  These days 'anything' i s acceptable. People are given considerable amount of freedom. I n the past there would only be one way o f doing things and everybody would be expected t o follow i t . Conversations with respondents revealed that a t one point there were some questions r a i s e d regarding the hygenic f a c t o r involved i n a number of people drinking a b - i shafa from one mini-bowl.  Objection was r a i s e d on the grounds  that germs could be transmitted i f one bowl i s shared by a number of participants.  This example points t o a c l a s h between the t r a d i t i o n a l a t t i t u d e  of sharing based on communal s o l i d a r i t y and the ' r a t i o n a l i s t i c '  understanding  of modern science where the i n t e r e s t s of the i n d i v i d u a l are given foremost attention.  The o b j e c t i o n was short l i v e d as the p a r t i c i p a n t s consume a b - i  shafa without any h e s i t a t i o n with an i m p l i c i t understanding  that ' i n f e c t i o n  does not spread i n a sacred place l i k e that of Jama a*t Khana'. c  One mother  exemplified t h i s point f u r t h e r : I have been g i v i n g a b - i shafa t o my daughter since she was one month o l d . She i s f i v e years o l d now and I do not remember her having caught any i n f e c t i o n because of t h i s p r a c t i c e . I n f a c t , when I go t o Jama at Khana I l e t other c h i l d r e n play with the toys of my daughter. When c h i l d r e n are small they put thing_s i n t h e i r mouth but no type of i n f e c t i o n can spread i n Jama'at Khana. c  During a ceremonial occasion, I observed an instance whereby a f l o r a l arrangement was placed on the pat of  ghat-pat .  As we have noted,  p r o f e s s i o n a l l y arranged flowers are placed on other pats.  As t h i s incident  did not recur, I i n q u i r e d f u r t h e r and was informed that i t was odd inappropriate to have flowers on the pat of ghat-pat.  and  I t seems that the  flowers ' v i o l a t e d ' the basic s t r u c t u r e of the ceremony which comprises the primordial elements of l i g h t , white and water.  Beyond t h i s , the flowers would  complicate the ' s i m p l i c i t y ' of the ceremony expressed by the element of water. I t i s i l l u m i n a t i n g to note that on ceremonial occasions there are s p e c i a l items placed on the pats of Mukhi and Mukhyani.  For instance, the milk which  i s kept on ordinary days i s replaced by sherbat which i s an enriched drink containing i c e cream, almonds and colour.  The water which i s 'transformed'  i n t o a b - i shafa i n the ceremony i s i n v a r i a b l y kept i n i t s basic form.  The  attempt to place a f l o r a l arrangement on the pa^ was a t one l e v e l an expression of 'modern a f f l u e n c e ' that more people are enjoying i n the west. As t h i s a d d i t i o n seemed to a f f e c t the s t r u c t u r a l coherence of the ceremony, i t was r e j e c t e d .  161 (ii)  L i f e Cycle:  R e g a r d l e s s o f t h e reasons why a p a r t i c i p a n t may be present i n Jama a t L  khana. he i s exposed  t o t h e c o g n i t i v e model which,  c o n t i n u e s t o embody fundamental  through r i t u a l e x p r e s s i o n  p r i n c i p l e s o f the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n .  However,  these p r i n c i p l e s a r e p e r c e i v e d not so much a t t h e l e v e l o f i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f r i t u a l symbols but i n t h e i r a c t u a l i z a t i o n i n v a r i o u s s i t u a t i o n s . p r o g r e s s i v e movement from m a t e r i a l t o s p i r i t u a l l i f e , life  Given t h e  embodied i d e a l l y i n the  c y c l e o f i n d i v i d u a l s , t h e responses from t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s f e l l  i n t o the  f o l l o w i n g c a t e g o r i e s : the e l d e r s , t h e a d u l t s and t h e youth.  The above groups demarcate i n a t e l l i n g manner some o f the developments which have o c c u r r e d w i t h i n t h e community over t h e l a s t f i v e decades. e l d e r s w i t h whom I conversed a r e r e t i r e d o u t s i d e the home.  The  i n t h e sense t h a t they do not work  A l l o f them spoke i n G u j e r a t i .  The a d u l t s r e p r e s e n t the  c a t e g o r y o f working males and females w i t h t h e s o l e e x c e p t i o n o f some mothers who  had opted t o s t a y a t home t o tend t o t h e i r c h i l d r e n .  E n g l i s h as w e l l as G u j e r a t i .  used  Many o f t h e youths whom I t a l k e d t o had been t o  s c h o o l o r were going t o s c h o o l i n Canada. responses from them, t h i s was n o t always  Elderly  The a d u l t s  Although I expected  different  the case.  Informants:  I t must be c l e a r l y understood t h a t a b - i s h a f a has numerous benefits. But these b e n e f i t s a r e o n l y e f f e c t i v e i f understood in the r i g h t s p i r i t . The b e n e f i t s cannot a l l be a c q u i r e d a t once. I t i s a g r a d u a l p r o c e s s and i n r e l i g i o u s matters one must l e a r n t o be p a t i e n t . I myself have always b e l i e v e d t h a t ab-i s h a f a has a p u r i f y i n g e f f e c t on t h e s o u l . Our s o u l i s l i k e a m i r r o r ; the more i t i s c l e a n e d t h e b e t t e r w i l l be t h e reflection. U l t i m a t e l y o f course i t i s a matter o f v i s v a s (faith). F a i t h i s a very powerful f o r c e , i t can a c h i e v e a l o t  ISZ f o r us. I f one does not have f a i t h then one might j u s t as w e l l not p a r t i c i p a t e i n the ceremony. I believe that a b - i shafa p u r i f i e s our hearts and t h i s leads to sabudi (wisdom). You know, when my c h i l d r e n were s m a l l , I used to give them a b - i shafa e a r l y i n the morning. I think that my c h i l d r e n grew up to be a l l r i g h t - they do not have any bad h a b i t s l i k e d r i n k i n g or smoking. Ab-i shafa* has many b e n e f i t s . These days not many people understand*^ People are becoming too m a t e r i a l i s t i c . The most common terms which were repeatedly used by e l d e r l y informants when they t a l k e d about r i t u a l s were: p u r i t y , u n i t y , wisdom, and f a i t h .  The  e l d e r s f i r m l y adhered to the b e l i e f that these q u a l i t i e s could be acquired i f a b - i shafa" i s consumed with understanding. would enable one to l i v e 'meaningfully'.  The enlightenment so acquired The meaningful content of t h e i r  l i v e s include b a s i c a l l y family and k i n s h i p t i e s , the Jama'"at and u l t i m a t e l y love and devotion to the Imam. With respect to the Jama ''at, which provides the framework w i t h i n which a l l the r i t u a l ceremonies are performed, the f o l l o w i n g examples are i l l u s t r a t i v e of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s and l i m i t a t i o n s of the t r a d i t i o n a l world of the I s m a i l i s . I l e a r n t from a male informant that an e l d e r l y man the ceremony of du*a karawi.  repeatedly performed  The Mukhi was b a f f l e d and upon i n q u i r i n g i t was  discovered that the man was performing the ceremony f o r f e l l o w I s m a i l i s i n Tanzania as he had discovered that 'they were i n t r o u b l e ' .  As i t so happened,  the man was from Uganda and did not r e a l l y know these I s m a i l i s . The second i n c i d e n t r e l a t e s to a male informant who revealed that every month he sends a c e r t a i n amount of money to I s m a i l i orphans i n India because he f e l t that i t was h i s duty to help f e l l o w I s m a i l i s .  For the elders the  'enlightenment and the wisdom' derived from performances i n Jama'^at khana could be t r a n s l a t e d i n terms of assistance o f f e r e d to other I s m a i l i s i n everyday l i f e .  Their m i l i e u of s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n included only I s m a i l i s as  165 my  observations  Marginal and  i n d i c a t e that t h e i r contact with non-Ismailis  contact with outsiders occurred  occasional i n t e r a c t i o n with  the  was  minimal.  d u r i n g v i s i t s t o the d o c t o r ,  shopping  neighbours.  The  Adults.  The  f o l l o w i n g e x t r a c t s form a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e  sample:  I get p s y c h o l o g i c a l s a t i s f a c t i o n when I d r i n k a b - i s h a f a . I f e e l t h a t I have p u r i f i e d my h e a r t and when I go out t o work the next day, I would l i k e t o m a i n t a i n t h a t f e e l i n g . I try and l i v e i n an I s l a m i c manner i . e . t r u t h f u l l y and h o n e s t l y . I t h i n k t h a t the f e e l i n g of p u r i t y i s i m p o r t a n t . I also feel a g r e a t e r attachment t o o t h e r I s m a i l i s . I t i s i m p o r t a n t , i n t h i s day and age, to a c q u i r e peace o f mind. When I go t o Jama^at Khlna and p a r t i c i p a t e i n a l l the ceremonies, I f e e l different. I get a sense of i n n e r contentment. I get i n n e r s a t i s f a c t i o n when I d r i n k a b - i s h a f a . t h a t I would f e e l empty w i t h o u t i t . I r e a l l y b e l i e v e t h a t a b - i s h a f a p u r i f i e s my drink i t .  I think  h e a r t when I  F r a n k l y , d r i n k i n g a b - i s h a f a does not make any d r i n k i t because i t i s our t r a d i t i o n .  difference.  I do not t h i n k t h a t r i t u a l s a r e very i m p o r t a n t . t o spend more time i n m e d i t a t i o n .  I would  I  like  Sometimes I get s a t i s f a c t i o n when I d r i n k a b - i s h a f a ; a t o t h e r times, I do not f e e l a n y t h i n g . I t a l l depends on the frame of mind I am i n . The  above e x t r a c t s from c o n v e r s a t i o n s  w i t h a d u l t males and  females r e v e a l  s u b t l e a t t i t u d e s and  i d e a s which can be c l a s s i f i e d as being  as t r a d i t i o n a l .  of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c f e a t u r e s o f modern l i f e  One  emphasis on i n d i v i d u a l i s m . d e f i n e d and  T h i s term i s used here i n the way  understood by the I s m a i l i s .  In sum,  'modern' as w e l l is its  i n which i t i s  i t i s taken i n the form of  'openness' which e n a b l e s a person t o e x e r c i s e c h o i c e out of a number of things.  For i n s t a n c e , i n E a s t A f r i c a going  t o Jama at Khana d a i l y was t/  for  164many I s m a i l i s a regular a c t i v i t y .  I n Canada, i n d i v i d u a l s seem t o make t h e i r  own choices as t o how they are going t o spend t h e i r time, and t h i s a t t i t u d e has a f f e c t e d many sectors of the current l i f e of the I s m a i l i s .  The element of  choice exercised a t an i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l i s expressed i n terms of opinions and f e e l i n g s , which are personal.  The e l d e r s t a l k e d about the e f f e c t s of the  ceremony i n terms of 'we , taking i t f o r granted that everyone should f e e l the 1  same way a t l e a s t i d e a l l y .  The a d u l t s seem t o express a wider range of  opinions as instanced i n the phrases: 'psychological s a t i s f a c t i o n ' , 'peace of mind', and 'empty' which have a bearing on modern l i f e s t y l e .  These are the  terms which are commonly used t o describe how i n d i v i d u a l s f e e l and experience t h e i r world. Beyond ' i n d i v i d u a l i t y ' , there i s an emerging c l a s h between the 'modern s c i e n t i f i c a t t i t u d e ' , and the 'symbolic content', which forms an i n t e g r a l part of t r a d i t i o n a l c u l t u r e s l i k e that of the I s m a i l i s .  I n the case of ghat-pat,  the issue was a t one point given expression i n terms of ' i n f e c t i o n ' by transmission of germs on the one hand, and the need t o e s t a b l i s h t i e s of brotherhood and sisterhood on the b a s i s of sharing from one mini-bowl on the other hand.  As we have noted, t h i s issue has been resolved i n favour of  f o s t e r i n g community s o l i d a r i t y .  I n the case of sukreet, the s i t u a t i o n appears  to be more complex as p a r t i c i p a n t s who r e f r a i n from eating  t h e i r share a t  l e a s t put a few grains i n t h e i r mouth overlooking the t r a d i t i o n a l view expressed by elders that 'a sacred o f f e r i n g should be taken and eaten as given'.  The f a c t that a l l the p a r t i c i p a n t s take part i n the ceremony reveal  that there i s an attempt made t o accommodate both a t t i t u d e s , the t r a d i t i o n a l as w e l l as the modern.  165 In p r a c t i c e , a l l the three groups, the e l d e r s , the a d u l t s and the youths have continued to maintain the t r a d i t i o n of ghat-pat. they believe i n the e f f i c a c y of the have sukreet.  Regardless of whether  ceremony, they a l l consume a b - i shafa and  Although the youngsters d i d not e x p l i c a t e the ceremony beyond  repeating what t h e i r parents or grandparents had t o l d them, namely that the ceremony had a p u r i f y i n g e f f e c t on the heart, they cherished i t as a form of tradition.  The most common views expressed by the youths are:  The ceremony of ghat-pat i s our anchorage which i s very necessary during times of change. I t i s our t r a d i t i o n and we should keep i t that way. I r e a l l y cannot say whether ghat-pat can p u r i f y our hearts as my mother says. But i t i s our t r a d i t i o n and I would f e e l l o s t i f someone came and t o l d me that t h i s ceremony has been omitted. Were i t not f o r the ceremonies, what would we do i n 'Khane'? At f i r s t about s i x years ago, I f e l t that the ceremonies d i d not serve any f u n c t i o n . I thought i t was part of the 'excess baggage' that we had brought from East A f r i c a . But now I f e e l d i f f e r e n t l y . Why should we abandon our t r a d i t i o n s ? I f e e l r e a l l y nice when I p a r t i c i p a t e i n the ceremony of ghat-pa^. I t i s so d i f f e r e n t from anything e l s e that we do i n our secular life. I b e l i e v e that there i s symbolic s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the ceremonies. They are important because they help us to understand what r e l i g i o n i s .  166  Conclusion The r i t u a l ceremony of ghat-pat; has highlighted the i n t e r p l a y between the given s t r u c t u r a l content of r i t u a l and i t s a c t u a l i z a t i o n by the p a r t i c i p a n t s . The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two reveals the ambiguous organization of contraries.  In the given content of the r i t u a l , we observed the process of  mediation of c o n t r a r i e s leading to an ' e x p e r i e n t i a l moment' observable when the p a r t i c i p a n t s drink the 'sacred water' which ' p u r i f i e s ' the heart. However, once the p a r t i c i p a n t s disperse, the subjects discussed,  informally,  r e l a t e to d a i l y l i f e which the I s m a i l i s c l a s s i f y as being m a t e r i a l .  Daily  l i f e i s governed by a s t a t e of a c t i v i t y and m u l t i p l i c i t y as opposed t o the state of unison and repose prevalent i n Jama at Khana. 1  The I s m a i l i s are aware  of the r e a s s e r t i o n of c o n t r a r i e s and oppositions which confront them i n d a i l y life.  In t h i s respect the 'heart' w i l l again be subject to i m p u r i t i e s imbibed  i n the very a c t of l i v i n g .  The I s m a i l i s confront the ambiguity of mediation  of c o n t r a r i e s and t h e i r r e a s s e r t i o n through the organization of time and space which accommodate both the material and the s p i r i t u a l .  In d a i l y l i f e , a  s p a t i a l movement i s observable outwards spreading i n t o a network of s o c i a l relationships. exemplified  The time spent revolves around the notion of a c t i v i t y  i n the c u l i n a r y p a r c t i c e .  However, the presence of the s p i r i t u a l  elements i s affirmed i n an otherwise material context of l i f e .  The a n a l y s i s  of the c u l i n a r y p r a c t i c e i n the next chapter shows how the presence of the s p i r i t u a l (embodying the temporal and s p a t i a l forms representing  unity and  repose) i s accommodated i n t o space and time geared towards m u l t i p l i c i t y and activity.  167  Footnotes. 1.  The term s t r u c t u r e i s used to mean the i n t e r r e l a t i o n of parts or the p r i n c i p l e of organization i n a complex e n t i t y , The Houghton M i f f l i n Canadian D i c t i o n a r y Of The English Language, (Ontario: Houghton M i f f l i n Co. L t d . , 1980).  2.  Oral and v e r b a l exegesis was c o l l e c t e d during fieldwork from f i v e s p e c i a l i s t s who gave i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of I s m a i l i r i t u a l s ; such i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s are many times explained t o members of the community i n gatherings organized f o r the purpose.  3.  See note 2 above.  4.  A. N a n j i , " R i t u a l And Symbolic Aspects Of Islam In A f r i c a n Contexts," Contributions To Asian Studies, vol.17, (1982), p.106 and v e r b a l exegesis confirm that sukreet symbolizes moral q u a l i t i e s .  168  Part I I I Daily L i f e  Chapter 6  Food And Cosmos: A f f i r m a t i o n Of The S p i r i t u a l I n The M a t e r i a l .  Introduction Given the opposite but i n t e r r r e l a t e d categories of m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l , space and time are a r t i c u l a t e d d i f f e r e n t i a l l y i n r i t u a l and d a i l y life.  In part I I , we discussed an inward movement i n t o space and time  epitomized  by the s t a t e of u n i t y and repose symbolized i n r i t u a l , emphasising  the point that t h i s movement i s progressive and i s accomplished through mediation of c o n t r a r i e s .  I n t h e i r d a i l y l i f e , the organization of space and  time i s d i r e c t e d outwards, c r e a t i n g a s t a t e of m u l t i p l i c i t y and a c t i v i t y . M u l t i p l i c i t y i s expressed through s o c i a l t i e s ( f a m i l y , k i n and the outside world) while a c t i v i t y i s a function of cooking and earning of l i v e l i h o o d .  In  t h i s chapter I focus on the a c t i v i t y of cooking i n order t o e l u c i d a t e the point that although space i s organized d i f f e r e n t i a l l y i n r i t u a l and d a i l y l i f e , they a r e i n t e r r e l a t e d . In t h i s respect, the I s m a i l i c u l i n a r y p r a c t i c e i s a symbolic expression of the I s m a i l i cosmic formulation incorporating the material and the s p i r i t u a l .  As explained e a r l i e r , m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l  reach the highest l e v e l of convergence i n man.  I n t h i s respect, man attempts  to a f f i r m the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the s p i r i t u a l order i n an otherwise material context.  169 I s m a i l i s d e f i n e cooking as a m a t e r i a l a c t i v i t y .  There a r e two  s i g n i f i c a n t f e a t u r e s o f cooking which a r e s p e c i f i c a l l y r e l e v a n t t o our analysis.  F i r s t , cooking i s a dynamic a c t i v i t y .  We argue  t h a t such an a c t i v i t y embodies d i f f e r e n t elements  i n t h i s chapter  l i k e the c o n s t i t u t i o n o f  f o o d s , modes o f cooking, and the times when meals a r e s e r v e d . these elements  Among  Ismailis,  though they appear t o be m a t e r i a l c o n t a i n q u a l i t i e s which have  a f f i n i t i e s with the s p i r i t u a l .  Furthermore,  cooking e f f e c t s a t r a n s f o r m a t i o n  of q u a l i t i e s from both the m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l .  I t i s i n this  transformed  s t a t e t h a t a symbolic model o f ' i n t e r a c t i o n ' between m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l i s presented.  The  second  f e a t u r e o f c o o k i n g p e r t a i n s t o the r o l e o f I s m a i l i women  p e r c e i v e d as 'mediators' between m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l .  Discussion of t h i s  p e r s p e c t i v e r e q u i r e s an u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f o r g a n i z a t i o n o f space i n I s m a i l i households.  Through r e f e r e n c e s from l i t e r a r y s o u r c e s and e t h n o g r a p h i c  p r o f i l e s o f I s m a i l i women, we s h a l l demonstrate  the dynamics o f s p a t i a l  o r g a n i z a t i o n as conceived t r a d i t i o n a l l y a s w e l l as i n the new Western m i l i e u . T h i s p o i n t i s expounded i n the f o l l o w i n g  chapter.  Data  Data f o r t h i s chapter have been c o l l e c t e d f i v e I s m a i l i households  i n Vancouver.  through o b s e r v a t i o n s o f twenty  These o b s e r v a t i o n s were made over a  p e r i o d o f e i g h t months d u r i n g which time I had an o p p o r t u n i t y t o v i s i t household children.  a t l e a s t once.  A l l the households  The v i s i t s were spaced  i n c l u d e d married c o u p l e s w i t h  out i n such a way t h a t I had an o p p o r t u n i t y  to meet and observe the f a m i l i e s d u r i n g day-time, and on f e s t i v e o c c a s i o n s .  each  evenings, weekdays, weekends  My o b s e r v a t i o n s on the p r e p a r a t i o n o f food were  170 complemented with conversations, open-ended interviews and l i f e h i s t o r i e s . Beyond t h i s , my personal knowledge and experience of the community proved to be invaluable i n acquiring f u r t h e r i n s i g h t s i n t o the households, p a r t i c u l a r l y the s i g n i f i c a n c e of cooking.  Invaluable knowledge of the community i n the  Western environment was a l s o obtained during my v i s i t to Europe i n the summer of 1983 when I stayed with I s m a i l i f a m i l i e s . *  The Dynamism Of Cooking: The Symbolic Model. (i)  C o n s t i t u t i o n Of Foods.  I have not gone to work to-day, I have to cook. The above i s an e x t r a c t from the conversation which I had with a female informant during my fieldwork.  I t was 11 a.m.  when I walked i n t o the house of  Rabia who i s married with three c h i l d r e n and presently works i n an insurance firm.  The f i r s t thing I noticed was a p l a t e f u l of raw onions which had been  chopped with the 'kitchen magic' (a gadget).  I soon l e a r n t that a very  s p e c i a l menu was being prepared f o r Rabia's in-laws who were a r r i v i n g from Tanzania. items.  The menu arranged i n the serving order comprised the f o l l o w i n g  17X Diagram 21 T r a d i t i o n a l I s m a i l i Menu  Category Course 1  'sava ( v e r m i c e l l i ) ('light') samu sa (pastry) (heavy) 1  Course 2  vegetable curry ('light') unleavened bread light/heavy  Course 3  biryani heavy salad (light)  Course 4  Elements  pudding ('light') fruits (light)  f l o u r , sugar & butter f l o u r , meat oil  Mode sweet - hot & fried savoury - hot & fried  vegetables, spices & o i l flour  savoury - hot fried/boiled savoury smoked  r i c e , chicken savoury - hot o i l & spices fried/boiled raw vegetables 'neutral' cold milk, sugar eggs fruits  sweet - cold cooked sweet f r e s h , raw  By staying a t home i n order t o prepare a t r a d i t i o n a l meal f o r her in-laws, Rabia was c r e a t i n g a s i t u a t i o n (temporarily) which would be considered as t r a d i t i o n a l .  By comparison, S h i r i n (married w i t h one son and  working i n a day-care centre) and Noori (mother of two c h i l d r e n running a food s t o r e ) had come up with other a l t e r n a t i v e s t o e n t e r t a i n t h e i r k i n . ShSrin had made preparations the previous night i n order t o prepare a s p e c i a l meal for her mother in-law who was v i s i t i n g from Toronto.  S h i r i n was obliged to  include her brother in-law's family of f i v e where her mother in-law was staying.  S h i r i n ' s menu consisted o f :  172  Diagram 22 Canadian/Traditional Menu Category  Elements  sava CTight')  flour,sugar & butter  sweet - hot fried  Course 2  chicken t i k a ('heavy') Chinese r i c e ('heavy')  chicken & spices r i c e , meat & vegetables  savoury - hot roast or g r i l l e d savoury - hot boiled  Course 3  i c e cream ('light')  Course 1  Mode  milk & sugar  sweet - cold ready-made  Noori decided that she could not cope with eight r e l a t i v e s from her s i s t e r in-law's household and so she opted t o take her guests t o a Chinese restaurant.  Noori informed me that t h i s was an economical way of e n t e r t a i n i n g  though she could not do t h i s too often as i t was s t i l l expensive t o take people out f o r a meal. to  While the i n v i t a t i o n was graciously accepted, i t l e d  tensions and s t r a i n as Noori decided t o leave out her s i s t e r - i n - l a w ' s  three c h i l d r e n aged t h i r t e e n and over. everyone as i t would be expensive.  Noori f e l t that she could not take  I discovered i n r e l a t i o n t o other  households that there were times when, because of pressures of having t o cater for too many people, c h i l d r e n and sometimes other members of the household were not i n v i t e d .  This i s another example of the p r i n c i p l e of condensation at  work, though i n the above example f e e l i n g s of b i t t e r n e s s were expressed. Noori r e l a t e d that her s i s t e r in-law made i t quite c l e a r that i f her c h i l d r e n were l e f t out on other occasions, she would not accept future i n v i t a t i o n s .  173 The two menus i n diagrams 21 and 22 reveal t r a d i t i o n a l patterns of the I s m a i l i c u l i n a r y system, as w e l l as emergent patterns.  The l a t t e r are  expressions of extraneous c u l t u r a l i n f l u e n c e s . We s h a l l examine both the areas i n so f a r as they r e l a t e to the question of c o n t i n u i t y and change. T r a d i t i o n a l I s m a i l i cooking i s a symbolic expression of the way i n which material and s p i r i t u a l are juxtaposed and complemented by means of mediation. I s m a i l i c u i s i n e c o n s i s t s of heavy and l i g h t foods.  Heavy foods r e f l e c t  elements from the m a t e r i a l world while l i g h t foods have c l o s e r a f f i n i t i e s with the s p i r i t u a l world.  We have observed e a r l i e r that the m a t e r i a l i s defined by  the q u a l i t i e s of m u l t i p l i c i t y and c u l t u r a l ' i m p u r i t i e s ' . As opposed t o t h i s , the s p i r i t u a l i s characterized by s i m p l i c i t y (conceived i n terms of l e s s e r d i v i s i o n s of parts) and p u r i t y .  P r i m a r i l y , the categories of l i g h t and heavy  foods are c u l t u r a l l y defined, though some p h y s i o l o g i c a l connections may also be observed. In the f i r s t menu, the core dish served i s b i r y a n i . the other courses would not comprise a meal. meat, r i c e and o i l . e m p i r i c a l l y expressed  Without t h i s d i s h ,  The main i n g r e d i e n t s used are  B i r y a n i i s categorized as heavy and t h i s s t a t e i s i n terms of ' f i l l i n g up the stomach'. Consider the  f o l l o w i n g i n c i d e n t r e l a t e d by S h i r i n : Two years ago, I went t o Kenya t o v i s i t my family down there. I do not care too much f o r b i r y a n i or c u r r i e s . I think that such dishes make us put on weight and give us the 'Indian f i g u r e ' . I expressed a preference f o r eating vegetables. Every home that I v i s i t e d , I was served with curry or b i r y a n i . I f I did not eat the l a t t e r , everyone would say how can I f i l l up my stomach. I used t o eat so much salads that people would say 'I was eating grass'. In the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n , eating and f i l l i n g up the stomach i s categorized as a m a t e r i a l a c t i v i t y .  As we have already observed, i n t h e i r  homeland, I s m a i l i s ate t h e i r main meal a t noon or a couple of hours before or  174 a f t e r the gathering i n Jama a t Khana.  This i s because a heavy stomach (which  nourishes material l i f e ) and prayers (which nourishes s p i r i t u a l l i f e ) are considered to be incompatible. Beyond t h i s , the a s s o c i a t i o n of heavy foods with material l i f e covers categories of people to whom heavy foods are served primarily.  These categories are:  (a)  Men  (b)  Family and k i n  (c)  I n v i t e d guests  The above categories represent d i f f e r e n t aspects of m a t e r i a l l i f e . are  Men  expected t o consume s o l i d foods as t h e i r involvement i n m a t e r i a l l i f e , as  bread-earners, i s more intense and a c t i v e .  When men 'go out' t o earn t h e i r  l i v i n g , they encounter a host of s i t u a t i o n s which may be p o l l u t i n g .  3  Whenever we go out to earn (kamava), we are confronted w i t h janjad (web) i n which we have t o manipulate a number of events and t h i n g s . Sometimes we have t o t e l l l i e s , a t other times we make mistakes. We may hurt somebody's f e e l i n g s . I f you are out there i n the world, i t i s very d i f f i c u l t to remain without gunah (mistakes). (Extract of a g u j e r a t i i n t e r v i e w w i t h a male informant) Earning i s regarded as the epitome of m a t e r i a l l i f e .  In the firmans and the  ginans, a c l e a r d i s t i n c t i o n i s made between m a t e r i a l l i f e , associated with earning a l i v i n g , and s p i r i t u a l l i f e , which i s associated w i t h prayers. Consider the f o l l o w i n g e x t r a c t s . With e n t i r e absorption i n the work during the day and then higher prayers a t n i g h t , a new l i f e may come provided the two occupations are t o t a l . So concentrate a l l your free time and thought to t h i s end. (Imam Sultan Muhammed Shah 7.5. 1953). E j i d i n ughe karo dharamsuka dhanda rat padhe t h l v o sahebji ka banda  175 translation: During t h e day time, earn your l i v i n g ( h o n e s t l y ) At n i g h t become the devotee o f t h e Imam, (verse from t h e girfan so k r i y a ) My o b s e r v a t i o n s  i n the f i e l d  i n d i c a t e t h a t I s m a i l i women commonly prepare  t r a d i t i o n a l meals f o r t h e men, other members o f t h e f a m i l y and Jama''at Khana. Very l i t t l e o r a minimal amount o f cooking i s done when t h e men a r e not around.  One woman r e l a t e d t o me t h a t w h i l e h e r husband was i n t h e h o s p i t a l ( a  period o f f i v e days),  she d i d not cook.  She e x p l a i n e d  r e a l l y meant making c u r r y , r i c e and unleavened b r e a d .  further that  cooking  Soups and b o i l e d  v e g e t a b l e s a r e n o t counted f o r m a l l y as c o o k i n g .  The  second c a t e g o r y o f people t o whom s o l i d meals a r e served  f a m i l y members and k i t h and k i n .  comprise  The extended f a m i l y u n i t which was p r e v a l e n t  i n t r a d i t i o n a l times r e q u i r e d women t o prepare a v a r i e t y o f d i s h e s , a task which was accomplished by spending a number o f hours ( f o u r t o f i v e ) i n t h e kitchen. not  With t h e emergence o f t h e n u c l e a r  seem t o be p r e v a l e n t  though i t i s r e a c t i v a t e d o c c a s i o n a l l y , as we observed  i n t h e i n c i d e n t o f t h e woman who stayed in-laws.  home t o prepare a meal f o r her  The t r a d i t i o n a l p r a c t i c e o f s e r v i n g s o l i d  represents  foods t o f a m i l y and k i n  t h e i d e a o f kutumb p a r i v a r i . e . m a t e r i a l t i e s .  t i e s represent spirit.  f a m i l y u n i t , t h i s p r a c t i c e does  material l i f e  t o t h e extent  At one l e v e l ,  t h a t t h e l a t t e r can e n t r a p the  An e l d e r l y male informant e x e m p l i f i e d  this further:  During t h e time o f Imam H u s s e i n (second Imam). one o f h i s f o l l o w e r s r e q u e s t e d t h e Imam t o g i v e him t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o go on jung (war) so t h a t he can s a c r i f i c e h i s l i f e f o r the Imam. In r e p l y , t h e Imam asked h i s murid ( f o l l o w e r ) t o go home and t h a t he would be c a l l e d l a t e r on. Soon a f t e r , t h e Imam made arrangements f o r h i s murid t o have a house and a w i f e . After some time, he had c h i l d r e n . Then one day, t h e Imam sent a messenger a s k i n g h i s murid t o take p a r t i n t h e Iung^ On  these  176 hearing t h i s request, the murid r e p l i e d : ' T e l l the Imam to f i n d somebody else to-day. I s h a l l come tomorrow'. The above anecdote i s a dramatic i l l u s t r a t i o n of the entrapment of the s p i r i t i n the m a t e r i a l world considered as a matrix of family t i e s .  The form of  entrapment i s complex as the murid's s t a t e of having been entrapped i s not r e a l i z e d u n t i l i t i s time to a c t .  I t i s the moment of action which r e a l l y  determines the p o s i t i o n of the protagonist i n the s t o r y .  The idea that  family t i e s can entrap the s p i r i t i s r e i t e r a t e d i n one of the ginans compiled by P i r Sadar-din: E j i p i n j a r padiyS pariwar no koike bujate Jan. Translation: The cage of pariwar ( f a m i l y ) has f a l l e n (over us) only a few people r e a l i z e t h i s . From the above, we can see that there i s a correspondence k i n and m a t e r i a l l i f e .  between family and  As the family p r i m a r i l y consumes s o l i d foods, the  close a s s o c i a t i o n beteen the l a t t e r and m a t e r i a l l i f e i s a l s o e s t a b l i s h e d . Likewise, my knowledge of the community and f i e l d observations i n d i c a t e that i n v i t e d guests are i n v a r i a b l y served s o l i d food^, as defined t r a d i t i o n a l l y , or i t s adapted v a r i a t i o n s which are emerging i n the Canadian milieu.  Guests a l s o represent a form of m a t e r i a l l i f e as they s i g n i f y a web  of s o c i a l t i e s which might entangle the s p i r i t .  Oftentimes, I have heard that  women are not able to go to Jama **at khana when they have guests f o r a meal. Having e s t a b l i s h e d the categories of people to whom s o l i d foods are served and seen how these categories represent part of m a t e r i a l l i f e , we now focus our a t t e n t i o n on the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features of s o l i d foods. Three main items used i n the preparation of heavy dishes are: meat, o i l (ghee) and r i c e .  I s m a i l i s c l a s s i f y meat as a s t a t u s food.  I f one i s able to  177 purchase meat f o r d a i l y consumption, and guests, one i s considered to be wealthy. embodies an ambiguity.  able to serve generous portions to However, the consumption of meat  One area where t h i s ambiguity i s p a r t i a l l y expressed  i s i n the firmans of the 48th Imam, S i r Sultan Muhammed Shah.  Within the  o v e r a l l context of generating an awareness of h e a l t h among I s m a i l i s , the Imam emphatically made the point that meat i s to be consumed i n small q u a n t i t i e s , preferably two or three times a week (Kalam _a Imam e_ Mubin, Firmans from 1911-1951 part 2, 1951:195, 207, 219, 306, 339, 402, 477).  Overconsumption of  meat w i l l lead to the c r e a t i o n of a 'graveyard' i n the stomach.  On the other  hand, underconsumption of meat w i l l lead to an anemic c o n d i t i o n .  My  f i e l d - n o t e s and general observations of the community show that I s m a i l i s , compared with t h e i r d i e t i n East A f r i c a , consume l e s s meat presently. This trend i s p a r t i a l l y the r e s u l t of the 'modern' awareness of the b e n e f i t s of consuming l e s s red meats. Mehdi, a s i x t y year o l d widower observed: I t i s now that we are eating l e s s meats. Our Imam t o l d us a long time ago not to consume too much meat. The ambiguity surrounding meat consumption i s expressed more i n t e n s e l y when we note that i n s p i t e of the awareness to ' s t r i k e a balance', meat i s generously served to guests, consumed on f e s t i v e occasions and brought to Jama''at khana i n the form of food-offerings.  In order to understand t h i s f u r t h e r , we need  to examine the a t t i t u d e s surrounding the consumption of meat. Among the foods mentioned i n the Qur'an, the consumption of meat seems to pose a problem.  Meat does not f a l l i n t o the category of 'good' and  'pure'  foods unless the name of A l l a h has been invoked on i t (s.v:4-5). The f l e s h of swine, dead meat, and blood are prohibited to a l l Muslims ( s . i i : 1 7 3 ) .  In the  Garden of Eden, among a l l the b o u n t i f u l things which God provides f o r Adam,  178 there i s no mention of meat. t r a d i t i o n ) i s wheat.  The forbidden 'tree' (according to I s m a i l i  The consumption of meat by man commences when men  are  sent to earth - a place of t o i l and s t r u g g l e . A large part of t h i s struggle e n t a i l s the r e v e l a t i o n and development of the s p i r i t u a l i n the m a t e r i a l world. In t h i s s t r u g g l e , the image depicted by animals presents an ambiguity f o r man, man can be beastly or a n g e l i c . In the c r e a t i o n of the universe, man i s placed j u s t one stage above the animals.  While man attempts to ascend i n t o the s p i r i t u a l world, he can a l s o  descend i n t o the world of animals, that i s to say man can become l i k e animals. In the firmans.^ s e v e r a l references are made to the e f f e c t that i f man sleeps, eats and procreates l i k e animals, what i s the d i f f e r e n c e between man animals?  and  I m p l i c i t i n these references i s the idea that man should continue to  remain above the world of animals i n terms of h i s a c t i o n s and  thought.  Animals present an image of what man can become i f he continues to remain i n the m a t e r i a l world.  This i s one aspect of the explanation. There i s , however,  another view which i s equally s i g n i f i c a n t .  This r e l a t e s to man's p o s i t i o n as 5  being the crown of c r e a t i o n .  In the Qur'an and other l i t e r a r y sources,  man  has been assigned a superior p o s i t i o n by v i r t u e of the f a c t that he i s the only being through whom the s p i r i t u a l can become manifest i n the m a t e r i a l world.  In t h i s respect, man can consume meat provided he does not  over-indulge and thereby become too involved i n m a t e r i a l l i f e . At a c o g n i t i v e l e v e l , meat s y m b o l i c a l l y presents two models: the f i r s t conveys the image of zanvar that man can become l i k e animals i f the m a t e r i a l t  overshadows the s p i r i t u a l .  The second conveys the image of man being above  the animal world, and therefore able to enjoy meat.  We l e a r n from the Qur'an  that everything on earth has been created f o r the b e n e f i t of mankind.**  In  179  summary, meat as a core item of the s o l i d foods symbolizes man's a c t i v e involvement i n the m a t e r i a l world as conceived i n the I s m a i l i cosmos. Nevertheless, while man can consume meat, he has to remain above the p o s s i b i l i t y of becoming l i k e an animal.  In the remaining part of the chapter,  we s h a l l continue to explore t h i s point which has been given symbolic expression i n the c u l i n a r y system of the I s m a i l i s .  Before we proceed, we have  yet to look at the two i n g r e d i e n t s used i n the preparation of s o l i d foods: ghee ( o i l or butter are presently s u b s t i t u t e s ) and r i c e .  180 We used to get t i n s and t i n s of ghee ( p u r i f i e d butter) i n our house. I would say ghee was used f o r every s i n g l e dish that was prepared i n our house. We never used to f a l l s i c k because of ghee. Ghee contains takat (strength) and i t i s saro khorak ('good food'). The above i s an e x t r a c t from the conversation with Mehdi.  Ghee has  presently been s u b s t i t u t e d by o i l , e s p e c i a l l y i n the preparation of savoury dishes.  Given the present awareness of c h o l e s t e r o l i n the b u t t e r , some  modifications have been introduced i n t o I s m a i l i c u i s i n e . This point w i l l be discussed at a l a t e r stage.  For our immediate purpose, the two q u a l i t i e s of  ghee namely that of strength and 'good food', as understood t r a d i t i o n a l l y , w i l l engage our a t t e n t i o n . Takat i s a q u a l i t y that I s m a i l i s consider as being v i t a l f o r s p i r i t u a l as w e l l as m a t e r i a l progress.  Without 'strength' a person  cannot take any a c t i o n : But Islam f i r s t and Ismailism more so i n s i s t s on a c t i o n ; without a c t i o n f a i t h i s useless; without a c t i o n prayer becomes pride. (Imam Sultan Muhammed Shah 7.5.1953). In t h e i r everyday conversations, I s m a i l i s commonly use the term takat to r e f e r to m a t e r i a l as w e l l as s p i r i t u a l a c t i v i t i e s .  A person who can perform  both the a c t i v i t i e s i s considered to be blessed with a l o t of takat. Women during post-natal care, people recuperating from i l l n e s s e s , and e l d e r s were t r a d i t i o n a l l y served with foods which contained ghee so that they might acquire renewed t a k a t .  I l e a r n t from conversations with informants that the  q u a l i t y of saro khorak has an a f f e c t i v e import.  Saro khorak leads to the  c u l t i v a t i o n of 'good thoughts', defined i n a context enabling the s p i r i t to reach i t s d e s t i n a t i o n while being i n the m a t e r i a l world. In terms of i t s f u n c t i o n , there are two other q u a l i t i e s of ghee which can account f o r i t s t r a d i t i o n a l p o p u l a r i t y . These are the q u a l i t i e s of binding  181 and ' p u r i t y ' .  Ghee (and c u r r e n t l y o i l / b u t t e r ) serve t o 'bind' the ingredients  used i n preparing a d i s h .  In sukreet, butter i s a symbol of u n i t y , and  'binding' i s s i g n i f i c a n t as, i n the I s m a i l i cosmos, a l l forms of c r e a t i o n are interrelated. solidarity.  This point i s a l s o f o r c e f u l l y expressed i n terms of communal The q u a l i t y of p u r i t y i s understood a t a n a t u r a l l e v e l .  Ghee  made from butter (a milk product) i s pure as i t i s l e a s t tampered with by man. Both the symbolic as w e l l as the f u n c t i o n a l q u a l i t i e s of ghee r e f l e c t elements which are associated with s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  Yet ghee i s an ingredient  which i s used both i n the l i g h t and heavy dishes and i n sweet and savoury items.  T r a d i t i o n a l l y , i n the I s m a i l i c u l i n a r y system, ghee forms a mediating  element which symbolically e f f e c t s a transformation i n the two areas of material and s p i r i t u a l . element.  Ghee i s both a contrary as w e l l as a mediating  In one context i t contains q u a l i t i e s which are opposed to the  material world, while i n another i t becomes part of the l a t t e r and by doing so transforms i t . Rice i s the s t a p l e food of the I s m a i l i s . and plays a r o l e i n ' f i l l i n g up the stomach'. abundance and s t a b i l i t y .  I t forms part of the d a i l y d i e t Rice s i g n i f i e s the q u a l i t y of  When unexpected guests a r r i v e f o r dinner, a common  saying used i s : 'put extra r i c e i n t o the pan' implying that i t would bring barakat (that i s , i t would be enough f o r everyone).  The element of s t a b i l i t y  i s understood i n the saying: 'Even i f nothing e l s e i s a v a i l a b l e , a t l e a s t we would have dar ( g r a i n curry) and r i c e t o eat'. Compared with meat, r i c e i s a simple and an inexpensive item. I t i s valued f o r the barakat and s t a b i l i t y which i t b r i n g s . Barakat i s a b l e s s i n g sent t o man by God. The t r a n s l a t i o n of the term given i n the Encyclopaedia of Islam i s that i t i s a " b e n e f i c i e n t f o r c e , of  182 divine o r i g i n , which causes superabundance i n the p h y s i c a l sphere and prosperity and happiness i n the psychic order" (Colin:1032).  The I s m a i l i s  believe that the Imam i s endowed with barakat which can be transmitted to h i s f o l l o w e r s , given r i g h t and proper conduct i n c l u s i v e of q u a l i t i e s l i k e honesty, i n t e g r i t y , s i n c e r i t y and generosity.  I s m a i l i s r e f e r to barakat i n t h e i r  everyday conversations and the term seems to be confined to the m a t e r i a l context of l i f e : business, food and c h i l d r e n .  (In the s p i r i t u a l context the  term used i s rahmet, meaning d i v i n e grace and mercy).  The presence of  barakat  can be recognized though i t s beneficient force cannot be explained r a t i o n a l l y . The f o l l o w i n g example from a c h i l d r e n ' s story (al-Qisas 1980:15) i s illustrative. A mother having had a long day went to school to pick up her daughter, Tasreen.  A f t e r she a r r i v e d there, she remembered that she had i n v i t e d  Tasreen's f r i e n d Sajeeda f o r supper.  On that day she had prepared a  meal of k i t c h r i ( g r a i n and r i c e ) and yogurt.  'simple'  While the two g i r l s were eating  supper, having fun as they pretended that the serving of k i t c h r i was a mountain with snow peaks (yogurt), the mother received a phone c a l l from her son I r f a n asking i f he could bring a f r i e n d , Aftab, f o r supper.  The mother  u n h e s i t a t i n g l y gave permission, though she knew that there would not be enough food f o r everyone.  I t so happened that everyone had a number of helpings and  there was s t i l l plenty to go around.  Tasreen n o t i c i n g the generous portions  served to everyone s a i d : "There i s so much, Mummy," she exclaimed.  " I t must be a magic d i s h ! "  "Well, pet, that i s what you c a l l "Barkat" ( s i c ) . There i s always plenty when you have f r i e n d s . Food served with an u n s e l f i s h and true heart i s always plenty when you have v i s i t o r s sharing_a meal," explained Mum watching happily the b i g mountains of k i t c h r i streaming away.  IS?  In the combination of meat, ghee and r i c e we have the symbolic presentation of s t a t u s , strength, goodness, abundance and s t a b i l i t y . established that s o l i d foods p r i m a r i l y s i g n i f y material l i f e .  We.have  But the l a t t e r  includes elements such as goodness and abundance which are q u a l i t i e s of the spiritual.  Meat s i g n i f i e s the p o l a r i t i e s contained  angel as w e l l as a beast).  i n man (man can be both an  In t h i s respect, the c u l i n a r y system of the  I s m a i l i s presents a c o g n i t i v e model of m a t e r i a l l i f e which a f f i r m s the presence of s p i r i t u a l elements.  A f u r t h e r e x p l o r a t i o n of t h i s  contention  requires that we discuss l i g h t foods which are i n v a r i a b l y combined with s o l i d (heavy) foods i n the meal.  (ii)  Light  Foods.  In the f i r s t menu prepared by Rabia, three kinds of l i g h t foods are included.  F i r s t , a sweet d i s h which i s served hot (there are other kinds of  'sweets' which are served c o l d ) . Second, a savoury dish made of vegetables and served hot.  T h i r d , vegetables and f r u i t s served raw and f r e s h .  184  Diagram 23 Types of Light Foods As Included In The T r a d i t i o n a l Menu  Category 1  sweet  hot or cold  Category 11  savoury  hot (cooked vegetables)  Category 111  raw (vegetables & fruit)  fresh/cold  (cooked)  In the I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n , a s i g n i f i c a n t amount of c u l t u r a l value i s attached to the s e r v i n g of sweet items.  A l l f e s t i v e occasions ( b i r t h ,  marriage, communal c e l e b r a t i o n s ) are marked by the expression: 'make your mouth sweet'.  Rahemat (a seventy year widow who l i v e s with her married son)  explained: We make our mouths sweet because we are happy. Sweet has a strong element of sharing; i f we are happy, we want to share t h i s happiness and therefore we serve i t t o others. The c u l t u r a l s i g n i f i c a n c e of sweet i s affirmed by the f a c t that sweet dishes are not eaten as a 'meal' but are taken i n small q u a n t i t i e s as a gesture of good w i l l .  In times of d i f f i c u l t i e s , sweet items might be taken to  Jama'at Khana as an o f f e r i n g , f o r a period of seven days.  One mother observed  that whenever deceased members of the family appear i n dreams, a sweet dish should be taken to Jama^at Khana.  I t appears that sweet foods are associated  with q u a l i t i e s (happiness, good w i l l , sharing) which s i g n i f y s p i r i t u a l l i f e . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , these foods provide a context f o r e l u c i d a t i n g the p r i n c i p l e of c o n t r a r i e s and mediation through which m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l are complemented.  185 Forming a part of a 'complete' t r a d i t i o n a l meal, sweet foods add symbolically the i m p l i c i t q u a l i t i e s of joy and happiness to an otherwise material context of eating. item.  C h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , a meal commences with a sweet  The only time when sweet food i s served hot i s when i t i s taken as part  of a meal.  This procedure leads t o the 'blending' of the d i s h w i t h the main  d i s h which i s always served hot and as we have seen represents the material form of l i f e . When sweet foods are taken t o Jama Sit Khana during times o f d i f f i c u l t i e s , they are commonly considered as separate and apart from savoury dishes. At t h i s l e v e l , sweet foods stand i n opposition t o savoury d i s h e s . Noorbanu (a middle-aged woman w i t h two c h i l d r e n ) explained: When we take sweet foods t o Jama Sit Khana, we are s u p p l i c a t i n g that the b i t t e r n e s s be taken away from our l i v e s . The b i t t e r n e s s can r e s u l t from i l l n e s s e s , lack of unity or sheer gossip. I remember that when my c h i l d r e n were young, they had t o n s i l s and were h o s p i t a l i z e d a t d i f f e r e n t times. During both the times, I took a sweet dish t o Jama a"t Khana f o r seven days and everything went w e l l . My c h i l d r e n recovered very q u i c k l y . t  S p i r i t i s opposed t o matter when the l a t t e r retards the s p i r i t ' s ascent to i t s o r i g i n a l abode.  ' B i t t e r n e s s ' , or any form of m a t e r i a l d i f f i c u l t y ,  'clogs and v e i l s ' the s p i r i t which otherwise attempts t o ascend, using the ladder of m a t e r i a l l i f e . In contrast t o meat, there i s no ambiguity attached t o the consumption of vegetables and f r u i t s , both of which form part of 'the b o u n t i f u l things' provided by A l l a h f o r mankind ( s . i i : 1 6 8 , 172-73).  The I s m a i l i s categorize  f r u i t s and vegetables as being n u t r i t i o u s and promoters of good health. P h y s i c a l h e a l t h i s understood i n terms of a 'temple' , which anchors the s p i r i t during i t s sojourn on earth.  Except f o r the salads, vegetables are  well-cooked and served hot while f r u i t s are preferred i n t h e i r raw form and  186 are eaten 'cold'.  The importance of the c a t e g o r i z a t i o n of l i g h t foods i n t o  cooked/hot and uncooked/cold i s examined below. Before we proceed, we should note that l i g h t foods are p r i m a r i l y served to i n f a n t s , the e l d e r s , the s i c k and women during t h e i r post-natal period. These are the categories of people who are l e a s t involved i n material l i f e . L i g h t foods on t h e i r own do not c o n s t i t u t e a meal and are never served to guests.  Compared w i t h s o l i d foods, l i g h t foods lack the q u a l i t y of  'heaviness'.  In the context of a meal, (as we have observed), l i g h t foods and  heavy foods complement each other, c o g n i t i v e l y r e f l e c t i n g the l e v e l whereby material and s p i r i t u a l engage i n mutual i n t e r a c t i o n .  There i s one more item  which f u r t h e r e l u c i d a t e s t h i s form of i n t e r a c t i o n : unleavened bread, which i s categorized as neither heavy nor l i g h t .  X87  (iii)  Unleavened Bread;  Unleavened bread f a l l s i n t o a s p e c i a l category a t various l e v e l s . terms of i n g r e d i e n t s , i t i s a r e l a t i v e l y simple d i s h .  In  Apart from a pinch of  s a l t and a l i t t l e o i l and water, the bread i s made of whole wheat f l o u r . E l d e r l y informants trace t h i s substance t o have o r i g i n a t e d i n the Garden of Eden where Adam was i n s t r u c t e d by A l l a h t o enjoy a l l the b o u n t i f u l things except wheat.  Mehdi offered the f o l l o w i n g explanation:  I t i s only when Adam ate the wheat that he acquired 'knowledge' of oppositions - saru (good) and narsu (bad). The above view i s s i g n i f i c a n t i n r e l a t i o n t o the theme of t h i s study, t o examine the c u l t u r a l s t r a t e g i e s and c o g n i t i v e models which form part of the heritage of the I s m a i l i s .  These formulations are i n response t o the basic  challenge that man has accepted from A l l a h . In the Qur'an, i t i s mentioned that among a l l forms of c r e a t i o n i n c l u d i n g heavens and earth, i t i s only man who accepted the challenge t o carry the 'burden' of s t r i v i n g t o achieve s p i r i t u a l progress while being i n the m a t e r i a l world. The image of wheat conveys the idea of t o i l and struggle that man has t o go through on earth: V e r i l y We have created Man i n t o t o i l and s t r u g g l e . (s.xc:4). In s u f i imagery, wheat i s ground and kneaded and even mistreated u n t i l i t becomes bread; s i m i l a r l y , the human s o u l can mature only through s u f f e r i n g (Schimmel 1975:137).  As a symbol of man's p o s i t i o n on earth, unleavened bread  has the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of being simple i n three ways: (a)  The i n g r e d i e n t s used are minimal - mainly  flour.  188  (b)  I t i s not subject to fermentation. In the Islamic  t r a d i t i o n , fermentation c a r r i e s the i m p l i c a t i o n of an impurity a f f e c t i n g one's judgement. (c)  Unleavened bread i s cooked i n a s p e c i a l manner which i s akin to the  method of 'smoking'.  Only an ungreased r e c e p t a c l e i s used.  In t h i s  respect, unleavened bread images the a t t r i b u t e s of s i m p l i c i t y and 'purity'.  A l s o , unleavened bread i s i d e n t i f i e d as the bread of the  origins.  Abraham served the bread to the three messengers of God on Q t h e i r way to Sodom (Gen. 18:6). The c u l t u r a l and symbolic value attached to unleavened bread can be judged by the f a c t that i t i s one of the most common foods served i n I s m a i l i homes and taken to Jama at Khana i n the form of Nandi. c  In t h e i r o r i g i n a l  homeland, i t was not uncommon f o r I s m a i l i s to eat the bread two or three times a day.  Some women who undertake manta ( a vow to do a c e r t a i n t h i n g f o r a  period of time i n order to f u l f i l l a wish), take the bread to Jama*at khana for a period of seven or f o r t y days.  An e l d e r l y widow who l i v e s with her  widowed daughter informed me that when her daughter was f i n d i n g i t d i f f i c u l t to get a j o b , she took bread and milk to Jama^at khana f o r seven days.  As a  consequence, her daughter found a job. Unleavened bread i s r a r e l y eaten by i t s e l f .  I t i s i n combination that  unleavened bread has a c u l t u r a l and symbolic value: i t mediates the categories of heavy and l i g h t foods. as w i t h vegetable c u r r i e s .  Unleavened bread i s served both w i t h meat as w e l l I t can be eaten f o r breakfast, lunch, and dinner,  during which times i t i s served hot.  As a snack, the bread can be eaten c o l d .  In terms of s i t u a t i o n s , the bread can be served as part of a family meal, included i n the guest menu or taken to Jama at khana. t  109  Beyond the l e v e l of f l e x i b i l i t y observed i n r e l a t i o n to times and s i t u a t i o n s , the basic method employed i n the preparation of unleavened bread can be extended to make sweet and savoury items. i s that of p u r i and parodha, both f r i e d . as heavy foods.  The most popular v a r i a t i o n  In t h i s form, they are categorized  P u r i i s often 'converted' i n t o a sweet or a savoury item  through the a d d i t i o n of sugar or spices r e s p e c t i v e l y .  A revealing variation  of unleavened bread i s samusa. pastry w i t h a vegetable or a meat f i l l i n g . Meat samusas are considered to be heavier than vegetable ones. Preparation of samusas i s i n s t r u c t i v e . water, s a l t , o i l and f l o u r . unleavened bread. round shapes. with f l o u r .  The pastry dough i s made w i t h  The dough i s then kneaded i n the same way as  The dough i s divided i n t o small p o r t i o n s , and r o l l e d i n t o  A l i t t l e o i l i s brushed on each piece which i s then s p r i n k l e d The pieces are placed on top of each other with s p r i n k l e d parts  f a c i n g each other. The number of pieces placed together are commonly even, four, s i x or e i g h t .  Although I was not able to e s t a b l i s h a connection between  these and the even numbers of mini-bowls arranged i n the ceremony of ghat-pat, Q  informants revealed that even numbers are a s i g n of good omen. The dough pieces are then r o l l e d i n t o round shapes and placed on an ungreased heated pan.  Through the heat, the layers (formally small pieces) are 'peeled o f f .  The number of l a y e r s obtained i s determined by the number of r o l l e d portions put together. The round layered pieces are then r o l l e d i n t o h a l f and shaped i n t o rectangular forms, by c u t t i n g o f f the end pieces. Each rectangular piece i s then shaped i n t o a t r i a n g l e .  This i s accomplished by r o l l i n g one end h a l f  way through and bringing the other end on top. f i l l e d w i t h spiced cooked vegetables or meat.  The t r i a n g l e pieces are then The peak of the t r i a n g l e i s  then pasted to the r e s t of the pastry and deep-fried t h e r e a f t e r .  190 The d e t a i l s involved i n the preparation of samusas reveal an emphasis on geometrical motifs.  A 'shapeless' dough i s f i r s t made i n t o a round shape and,  through a s e r i e s of stages, given a rectangular form, then 'converted' i n t o a triangle.  In Islamic a r c h i t e c t u r e , geometrical motifs r e v e a l an underlying  ' s p i r i t u a l s t r u c t u r e ' through the p r i n c i p l e s of c e n t r a l i t y , symmetry and rectangular forms, as we have already observed.  I was unable to e s t a b l i s h an  e m p i r i c a l basis f o r d i r e c t l i n k s between geometrical forms as they appear i n the a r t i c u l a t i o n of enclosed space i n Jama a t khana and i n the r i t u a l , and the <  forms employed i n the c u l i n a r y system.  Considering the grounding of the  I s m a i l i c u l i n a r y system w i t h i n the cosmic order (which i s the contention of t h i s chapter), i t seems that the geometrical shapes i n the unleavened bread have a deeper symbolic value.  So f a r we have already affirmed that the round  shape which i n v a r i a b l y contains a centre, symbolizes the presence of the Divine while the p r i n c i p l e of symmetry r e v e a l s the manifestation of the sacred on the plane of becoming.  We noticed that i n the arrangement of the  'ghat-pat', we have a representation of the geometrical motifs:  191  Diagram 24 Geometrical M o t i f s In The Arrangement Of Ghat-pat Round kumbh (bowl) (1)  3  round p l a four mini'  (2f  Key:  (1) (2) (3)  P r i n c i p l e of c e n t r a l i t y P r i n c i p l e of symmetry Rectangle represented by the pat.  As we have already observed, the t r i a n g l e i n the samusa i s a r e s u l t of a s e r i e s of stages s t a r t i n g from a 'shapeless form' which i s then made i n t o a round form, a rectangular shape and, f i n a l l y , a t r i a n g l e .  Although these  shapes are i n t r i g u i n g i n the context of our study, (the round shape represents the sacred, the rectangular shape represents the manifestation of the sacred, and the t r i a n g l e represents the continued presence of the sacred on the plane of m u l t i p l i c i t y ) , I s m a i l i women do not make an e m p i r i c a l connection o f t h i s nature.  Rather, the e l d e r l y women a t t r i b u t e the q u a l i t i e s of patience,  struggle, perseverance, and tolerance t o the a c t i v i t y of cooking. the f o l l o w i n g explanation given by Noorbanu:  Consider  192  When I got married, I was only seventeen years o l d . My husband had a large f a m i l y . Apart from h i s parents, h i s married brother, who had two c h i l d r e n , and h i s three brothers and two s i s t e r s who were unmarried l i v e d i n the same household. I used t o make f o r t y r o t a l i s (unleavened bread) everyday besides c u r r y , r i c e and a host of snacks. We used t o have constant v i s i t s from guests. The women i n the house helped, but there was s t i l l a l o t of work i n the k i t c h e n . When I look back on i t , I f e e l that spending so many hours cooking (though there were times when I resented i t ) helped me to acquire the q u a l i t i e s of patience and tolerance.  193  $ u f i and I s m a i l i l i t e r a r y thought attach considerable amount of importance to the c u l t i v a t i o n of the q u a l i t i e s of patience and perseverance they a s s i s t the s o u l i n i t s journey to i t s homeland.  as  We l e a r n from the works  of s u f i s t h a t : Only through patience does the f r u i t become sweet; only through patience can the seed survive the long winter and develop i n t o g r a i n , which i n t u r n , brings strength to the people, who p a t i e n t l y wait f o r i t to be turned i n t o f l o u r and bread. Patience i s required t o cross the endless deserts that s t r e t c h before the t r a v e l l e r on the Path and to cross the mountains that stand, with stone-hearted breasts, between him and h i s d i v i n e beloved. (Schimmel 1975:124) In many respects, unleavened bread both i n terms of preparation as w e l l as symbolic value epitomizes the cosmic content.  The l i g h t foods and the  heavy foods are transformed through the process of i n t e r a c t i o n i n the dynamics of cooking.  Unleavened bread i s a symbolic expression of t h i s dynamic process  as i t forms part of l i g h t foods as w e l l as heavy foods and contains elements of both.  This point i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n the f o l l o w i n g diagram.  194 Diagram  25  Unleavened Bread As M e d i a t o r Of L i g h t And Heavy Foods.  M e d i a t i n g Element unleavened bread  fried variations - transformation, sweet o r savour 'heavy'  o r d i n a r y bread 'food o f the origins' 'light' C u l t u r a l Meaning purity, patience, tolerance, struggle  Heavy category men kin guests Jama *"at Khana  Foods  elements meat rice ghee (served hot)  L i g h t Foods'* value status abundance stability strength  category  elements  value  women elders sick infants  vegetables fruits 'sweet' (hot o r cold)  purity simplicity  The combination of heavy w i t h l i g h t foods s y m b o l i c a l l y r e p r e s e n t an i n t e r a c t i o n o f elements from the m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l w o r l d s . p r o c e s s o f i n t e r a c t i o n between the two e n t a i l s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n .  However, the I t seems t h a t  elements from the m a t e r i a l and the s p i r i t u a l cannot i n t e r a c t w i t h o u t d e p a r t i n g from t h e i r raw s t a t e s .  One  o f the ways through which such a t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i s  e f f e c t e d i s through the medium o f c o o k i n g .  Based on t h i s o b s e r v a t i o n , I would  l i k e t o submit the p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t elements from the m a t e r i a l w o r l d f o r e g o some o f t h e i r m a t e r i a l q u a l i t i e s i n o r d e r t o a p p r o p r i a t e q u a l i t i e s from the s p i r i t u a l w o r l d , and elements from the s p i r i t u a l world shed t h e i r a b s o l u t e s t a t e o f p u r i t y and s i m p l i c i t y so t h a t they may material world.  be accommodated i n the  195  The Culinary T r i a n g l e : The Raw And The Cooked Levi-Strauss's p r o p o s i t i o n that cooking belongs t o both nature and c u l t u r e and 'has as i t s f u n c t i o n to ensure t h e i r a r t i c u l a t i o n one with the other' i s p a r t i c u l a r l y i l l u m i n a t i n g (1968:489).  Given the fundamental premise  of I s m a i l i cosmology where the m a t e r i a l i s c a t e g o r i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from the s p i r i t u a l , the mediation process involves two l e v e l s . The f i r s t l e v e l r e l a t e s to s o l i d foods, as epitomized i n the preparation of meat.  The second l e v e l  r e l a t e s t o l i g h t foods as epitomized i n the preparation of vegetables which are served cooked as w e l l as raw.  The l a t t e r category a l s o contains f r u i t s ,  served raw. When meat i s cooked, the emphasis i s placed on transforming the ingredient from a raw t o a cooked s t a t e . While t h i s may seem commonplace, among I s m a i l i s half-cooked meat i s subject t o severe c r i t i c i s m . s p e c i a l care i s taken t o 'disguise' the raw form of the meat.  At a l l times, This i s  accomplished through slow cooking and preparation of t h i c k gravy (masala). We have noted the large amount of ghee ( t r a d i t i o n a l l y used) i n the preparation of heavy foods.  Ghee as a preservative not only a s s i s t s i n the process of  transformation but maintains t h i s s t a t e u n t i l the food i s consumed. The importance o f ghee can be discerned from the extra l a y e r which f l o a t s on meat c u r r i e s when the l a t t e r are served.  My informants have observed that a meat  curry cannot be c a l l e d a curry unless there i s Rhee f l o a t i n g on the top. Nevertheless, i t should be emphasised that by and large Rhee was used pervasively i n the past, as Kassam explained: Things were d i f f e r e n t i n the past. Our l i f e s t y l e was d i f f e r e n t . We used t o l i v e a c t i v e l i v e s . I n f a c t , l i f e was nothing but struggle and hard work. I never knew or heard of r e l a x a t i o n that people t a l k so much about i n t h i s part of the world. Here there i s affluence and with a f f l u e n c e comes a  196  sedentary kind of l i f e s t y l e . t h i s kind of l i f e s t y l e .  Ghee i s not appropriate f o r  Light foods, as we have already seen, are considered t o be r e l a t i v e l y simple and pure.  In the preparation of these dishes, minimal amounts of  ingredients are used with r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e ghee. do not maintain t h e i r o r i g i n a l s i m p l i c i t y .  However, when cooked they  Cooking e f f e c t s a transformation  through the ingredients used and through heat, emphasised i n the serving of hot foods. The l a t t e r i s understood i n two contexts both of which transform the  foods from t h e i r raw t o the cooked s t a t e .  are  cooked and a l s o because of the a d d i t i o n of spices.  interrelated.  The foods are hot because they Both processes are  The more the foods are cooked, the greater are the flavours  from the s p i c e s .  In both s i t u a t i o n s , hot i s an a t t r i b u t e of m a t e r i a l l i f e .  The spices transform the foods from t h e i r o r i g i n a l s i m p l i c i t y (raw and uncooked s t a t e ) while the heat i n the cooking implies movement and a c t i v i t y which i s d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed t o the elements of repose and t r a n q u i l l i t y . From the above we can submit that i t i s the q u a l i t y of heat which e f f e c t s one form of ' i n t e r a c t i o n ' between material and s p i r i t u a l . In h i s pioneering works on the science of mythology (1969, 1973, 1978), Levi-Strauss i d e n t i f i e s three basic modes of cooking. These are: b o i l i n g , roasting and smoking.  Based on these modes, Levi-Strauss constructs the  c u l i n a r y t r i a n g l e i n which the d i v i d i n g l i n e between nature and c u l t u r e can be drawn i n two ways.  F i r s t , with respect t o the means used, the modes of  roasting and smoking (as no receptacle i s required) are on the side of nature. B o i l e d i s on the side of c u l t u r e as through cooking i t e f f e c t s transformation from a raw t o a cooked s t a t e .  Secondly, Smoked i s on the side of culture i n  view of the r e s u l t s obtained, preservation of food.  By c o n t r a s t , the roast  and the b o i l e d are on the side of n a t u r e ^ as these suspend the n a t u r a l  197  process of r o t t i n g .  What i s of i n t e r e s t to our a n a l y s i s i s that the basic  modes of cooking can represent both the domains - those of nature as w e l l as culture.  In order to accomplish t h i s , there takes place a l l i a n c e as w e l l as  opposition.  At one l e v e l , the roast and the smoked stand i n opposition t o the  b o i l e d while a t a second l e v e l the smoked stands i n opposition t o the b o i l e d and the roast (1968:490).  The c u l i n a r y t r i a n g l e of Levi-Strauss i s as  follows:  Diagram 26 The Culinary T r i a n g l e Raw  Smoked  Boiled  Cooked  Rotten  The I s m a i l i c u l i n a r y system employs three basic modes of cooking. are 'smoking', b o i l i n g and f r y i n g .  These  Among these, 'smoking' i s done on top of  the stove on an ungreased pan and i s e x c l u s i v e l y reserved f o r making unleavened bread.  The modes of b o i l i n g and f r y i n g are u t i l i z e d i n the  preparation of both heavy as w e l l as l i g h t foods.  Most commonly, cooked  dishes commence with Rhee/oil of which l a r g e r q u a n t i t i e s are used i n the preparation of heavy foods.  Ghee/oil i s used f o r the purpose of vaghiSr during  198  which time spices are added p r i o r to the cooking of vegetables or meat. Informants r e l a t e d that t h i s method r e t a i n s the flavours which i n the process of cooking are passed on to the main ingredient.  Following the vaghar, the  r e s t of the cooking employs b o i l i n g which i s done over low heat over a period of time.  Both methods transform the raw s t a t e of the food which according to  Levi-Strauss (1968), suspends the n a t u r a l process of r o t t i n g . As noted above, i n I s m a i l i c u i s i n e the process of transformation r e l a t e s to d i f f e r e n t domains: m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l . belong to two d i f f e r e n t categories.  S i m i l a r l y , f r y i n g and b o i l i n g  Frying makes the foods heavy and f r i e d  foods are p r i m a r i l y served to guests, to the family ( e s p e c i a l l y on f e s t i v e occasions), and taken to Jama^at khana.  B o i l e d foods are only served to  i n f a n t s , e l d e r s , and people with s p e c i a l d i e t a r y needs.  When the methods of  f r y i n g and b o i l i n g are combined i n the cooking of vegetables and meat, we have yet another i l l u s t r a t i o n which presents a c o g n i t i v e i n t e r a c t i o n of the s p i r i t u a l and the m a t e r i a l .  The p r i n c i p l e of c o n t r a r i e s and mediation i s at  work i n the opposition and the combination of the two methods.  199 Diagram P r i n c i p l e s Of C o n t r a r i e s And  Mediation  27  As r e p r e s e n t e d  In methods Of  Cooking.  smoked  (spiritual)  (material)  Meal Times  I f p o s s i b l e , we should never eat d u r i n g the time of J a m a a t Khana. A heavy meal and p r a y e r s j u s t do not go t o g e t h e r . l  The  above e x p l a n a t i o n o f f e r e d by Nurbanu d u r i n g one  of our  conversations  takes us i n t o c o n s i d e r i n g times when meals were t r a d i t i o n a l l y s e r v e d i n I s m a i l i homes.  The  I s m a i l i s make a c l e a r d i s t i n c t i o n between the time of d i n  (when e x c l u s i v e a t t e n t i o n i s g i v e n to the c u l t i v a t i o n of s p i r i t u a l l i f e ) duniya which o v e r t l y p e r t a i n s to the m a t e r i a l w o r l d . c l e a r l y maintained  i n the Qur^an, the firmans and  This d i s t i n c t i o n i s  the g i n a n s .  The f o l l o w i n g  firman i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s point f u r t h e r : To a c h i e v e w o r l d l y p r o s p e r i t y i s necessary but i t i s more e s s e n t i a l to excel i n s p i r i t u a l progress. To a t t e n d to the w o r l d l y b u s i n e s s i s incumbent but the a f f a i r s of the next world a r e more important than t h i s . T h i s s h o u l d never be forgotten ( s i c ) . ( N a i r o b i 30.3.1945  and  emphasis mine).  A l l a h the High has f i x e d time f o r a t t e n d i n g to w o r l d l y business. The day i s f o r e a r n i n g l i v e l i h o o d . Why God has created night? A l l n i g h t l o n g i s not f o r s l e e p i n g , i t i s a l s o f o r p r a y e r s and t h e r e i n l i e s h a p p i n e s s .  200  I t i s enough f o r a man to sleep f o r 6 hours, but the r e s t of night should be spent i n prayers ( s i c ) . (Vadhvan Camp 18.10.1903) Within the above framework, the I s m a i l i s c l a s s i f y eating as a material activity.  Nevertheless, as we have observed, the I s m a i l i c u l i n a r y system  presents a symbolic model of the r e f l e c t i o n of s p i r i t u a l elements i n an otherwise material context.  The f o l l o w i n g i s an e l u c i d a t i o n of how t h i s i s  embodied i n the s t r u c t u r i n g of the meals during the day, the week and beyond that on f e s t i v e occasions as w e l l as during observance of f a s t i n g . * *  It  should be noted that the f o l l o w i n g account i s constructed through the Anthropologist's ethnographic present and e s s e n t i a l l y includes the p r a c t i c e s which were observed t r a d i t i o n a l l y . The f o l l o w i n g i s an e x t r a c t of a conversation with Shahida, a housewife aged 42. The l i f e s t y l e over here i s quite d i f f e r e n t . In East A f r i c a , we used to have a big breakfast. I remember I used to make f r i e d unleavened bread almost everyday; both my daughter and my husband l i k e d i t a l o t . Once everybody l e f t f o r school or work, I used to go to the market everday to buy f r e s h f r u i t s and vegetables. The whole morning would go by very q u i c k l y as I was busy cooking. Everybody came home f o r lunch. Lunch menu consisted of vegetable c u r r y , unleavened bread, meat curry and r i c e . Oftentimes, we had guests - e i t h e r r e l a t i v e s or my husband's business a s s o c i a t e s . In the afternoons, I d i d a l i t t l e sewing and some c l e a n i n g . The c h i l d r e n would come home from school around 4 p.m. and we would have tea and home-made snacks; I always kept snacks i n the house sometimes neighbours and r e l a t i v e s dropped i n f o r t e a . A f t e r tea, we would get ready to go to Jama *at Khana. My husband never came home before s i x or s i x t h i r t y . He would take a wash and have a p l a i n cup of t e a . When we returned from Jama'iit Khana, we would then have dinner. I d i d not r e a l l y prepare anything s p e c i a l . Sometimes, we used to buy Nandi: othertimes we had something l i g h t l i k e kadhi (made w i t h jrpj_urt} and k h i c h d i (made with r i c e and g r a i n ) . We used to eat l o t s of f r e s h f r u i t s . The above sample i s a t y p i c a l representation of meal patterns observed t r a d i t i o n a l l y i n I s m a i l i housholds.  This pattern was confirmed by other  201  respondents and, as an I s m a i l i ethnographer, I had occasion to make s i m i l a r observations i n East A f r i c a . consumed during lunch hour.  Most commonly, the main meal of the day was Within the I s m a i l i scheme of material and  s p i r i t u a l j t h i s i s the time when one's involvement i n the m a t e r i a l world i s at i t s height. The day's work i s not completed and would resume i n the afternoon.  This was a l s o the time when considerable amount of e n t e r t a i n i n g  was c a r r i e d out i n the form of having i n v i t e d guests f o r lunch. A young mother, Shahin, r e c a l l e d : When I was young, I remember a household f u l l of people. lunch time, we would always have somebody over.  At  As guests and r e l a t i v e s e n t a i l 'worldly t i e s ' , we can e s t a b l i s h another context which shows the c o r r e l a t i o n between m a t e r i a l l i f e and midday. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , I have observed e l d e r l y I s m a i l i women saying a prayer at midday which p o i n t s to an attempt to 'rejuvenate' s p i r i t u a l l i f e during the time when material a c t i v i t y reaches i t s height. The s t r u c t u r i n g of the meals during the day can be understood i n r e l a t i o n to the main midday meal which i s the heaviest. The main item served during breakfast i s unleavened bread which, i f not prepared d a i l y , would feature a number of times during the week. We have taken note of the elements of p u r i t y and s i m p l i c i t y symbolized i n the item, apart from i t s mediating f u n c t i o n between heavy and l i g h t foods.  Breakfast i s commonly eaten a f t e r the e a r l y  morning prayers. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , the day begins with an awareness of s p i r i t u a l life.  The evening snack, a l i g h t meal, i s taken before Jama'at khana time, a  time f o r worship and performance of r i t u a l s . Dinner i s consumed a f t e r returning from Jama''at khana.  This kind of spacing r e f l e c t s the d i s t i n c t i o n  which I s m a i l i s make between material and s p i r i t u a l l i f e , w i t h the i m p l i c i t r e c o g n i t i o n that eating i s not compatible w i t h worship and meditation.  202  I s m a i l i s , who get up f o r e a r l y morning'prayers, do not consume any foods (except tea) u n t i l a f t e r meditation.  Here, a b r i e f period of abstention i s  observed, dedicated purely f o r the s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  The point which emerges as  being importantly r e l a t e d to the theme of t h i s study i s that i n the midst of t h e i r m a t e r i a l a c t i v i t y , ( l i k e that of e a t i n g ) , the I s m a i l i s are c o g n i t i v e l y reminded of the presence of s p i r i t u a l q u a l i t i e s . In the pattern followed f o r meals i n I s m a i l i households, we can observe a system of s i g n i f i c a t i o n which commences with s p i r i t u a l awareness, reaches a  j  heightened form i n the m a t e r i a l world and ends with l i g h t foods or absence of foods reminiscent of the s p i r i t u a l .  This pattern bears a c l o s e r e l a t i o n to  the descent of man i n t o the m a t e r i a l world and h i s return to the o r i g i n a l abode i n the s p i r i t u a l as depicted i n I s m a i l i cosmology.  A noticeable feature  of the c u l i n a r y p r a c t i c e i s i t s r e p e t i t i o n i n the form of c y c l e s . r e p e t i t i o n has a bearing on the dynamics of l i f e whereby man  Such a  i s constantly  s t r u g g l i n g to remain above the m a t e r i a l - l i k e a w a t e r l i l l y i n the water. On Sundays, a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t pattern i s observed on account of the f a c t that normally t h i s i s considered to be a day of r e s t .  Although the  material a c t i v i t y outside the home i s at i t s minimum, there i s a greater emphasis on family and s o c i a l t i e s . kin  Sunday provides an occasion when k i t h and  and f r i e n d s get together and share a meal.  foods comprising heavy and r i c h foods may  On such occasions  traditioanl  be served.  S i m i l a r l y , heavy foods are consumed on f e s t i v e occasions many of which are r e l i g i o u s f e s t i v a l s ? " ^ A s t r i k i n g feature of these f e s t i v a l s i s that large q u a n t i t i e s of foods representing a number of v a r i e t i e s are brought to Jama'at Khana.  O v e r t l y , these f e s t i v a l s are r e l i g i o u s i n nature, that i s to say they  are meant to create a heightened awareness of the s p i r i t u a l l i f e and i t s  203 associated q u a l i t i e s .  The o v e r t i n t e n s i t y o f r e l i g i o u s l i f e  w i t h the i n t e n s e e x p r e s s i o n o f elements o f the m a t e r i a l  corresponding  (expressed  through  the medium o f food) seem t o p o i n t t o the i d e a l model o f the convergence o f the m a t e r i a l and the s p i r i t u a l . fasting  S i m i l a r l y , when I s m a i l i s observe the p r a c t i c e o f  ( t w i c e a y e a r ) , the f a s t i n g i s broken with a t r a d i t i o n a l meal.  In the d e s c r i p t i o n o f the meal p a t t e r n s i n I s m a i l i households t h e r e seems to emerge one u n d e r l y i n g theme. the s p i r i t u a l i n the m a t e r i a l .  The theme expressed  The e x p r e s s i o n o f t h i s theme i n the c o n t e x t o f  food i n c o r p o r a t e s a dynamic mode, forming societies.  an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f cooking  in a l l  P a r t o f the dynamism i s e f f e c t e d i n the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n which  cooking mediates and p a r t o f i t i s expressed cooking.  i s the m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f  i n the repeated  cycle i n t e g r a l to  In the next c h a p t e r , we s h a l l e x p l o r e t h i s theme f u r t h e r , d i s c u s s i n g  the r o l e of I s m a i l i women as p e r c e i v e d t r a d i t i o n a l l y as w e l l as i n the changing m i l i e u d i c t a t e d by l i v i n g i n the western  world.  204  Diagram 28 C o r r e l a t i o n Of Mealtimes With M a t e r i a l And S p i r i t u a l Worlds  S p i r i t u a l World (prayers) v " morning \ purity simplicity  -^prayers) / evening \  \  /  /  purity simplicity  Midday * (combination of l i g h t and heavy foods) material a c t i v i t y  M a t e r i a l World  *  Note the mediating f u n c t i o n of midday  205  Conclusion The c u l i n a r y system of the I s m a i l i s provides a c o g n i t i v e map which has a close bearing on the cosmic scheme whereby man's descent i n t o the material world i s t o be accomplished by the c u l t i v a t i o n of s p i r i t u a l l i f e .  Such an  undertaking would set man on a course leading t o h i s ascent t o the o r i g i n a l homeland i n the s p i r i t u a l world.  I s m a i l i r i t u a l s encode a movement from the  e x t e r i o r (material) world t o the i n t e r i o r ( s p i r i t u a l ) world personified i n body imagery where the c l i m a t i c symbol i s that of the heart.  I n the c u l i n a r y  system t h i s movement i s observed i n reverse: Food, prepared w i t h i n the i n t e r i o r space of kitchen located i n s i d e the house, i s served t o f a m i l y , k i n and other members o f the community a l l of whom represent the e x t e r i o r material life.  I n other words, e x t e r i o r l i f e e n t a i l i n g a web of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s  acquires meaning i n r e l a t i o n t o intense i n t e r i o r a c t i v i t y where women through the c u l i n a r y system a c t i v a t e the model incorporating m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l elements.  The r e l a t i o n s h i p between r i t u a l and the c u l i n a r y system i s  represented i n the f o l l o w i n g diagram,.*:  206  Diagram 29 Cognitive Frameworks Perceived In R i t u a l : And The Culinary System. Ritual  Stage I I I :  S p i r i t u a l World Heart as an embodiment of i n t e r i o r i t y (essence) Unity  Stage I I : essence (centre) and phenomena.  i n t e r p l a y of Multiplicity  Stage I :  Symbolic abandonment of m a t e r i a l l i f e . M a t e r i a l World  Culinary System S p i r i t u a l World Stage I :  House: symbol of i n t e r i o r i t y Unity  Stage I I :  Mediating r o l e of women - c u l i n a r y model of m a t e r i a l and spiritual Multiplicity  Stage I I I :  A f f i r m a t i o n of m a t e r i a l l i f e . M a t e r i a l World.  207  Footnotes: 1.  I observed that I s m a i l i f a m i l i e s i n Scandinavia had t r a d i t i o n a l foods more frequently than f a m i l i e s i n Vancouver; I s m a i l i s i n Scandinavia d i d not f e e l quite s e t t l e d mainly because they are small i n number (about 200) and therefore they seemed t o c l i n g t o some of the expressive features of t h e i r t r a d i t i o n , l i k e food.  2.  Ghee was used t r a d i t i o n a l l y . and o i l .  3.  Among I s m a i l i s the term p o l l u t i o n i s used i n a s p e c i f i c sense; i t connotes the idea of i m p u r i t i e s imbibed i n the very act of l i v i n g .  4.  For instance r e f e r t o Kalam e Imam e Mubin: Firmans Of Imam Sultan Muhammed Shah, v o l . 1 , (Bombay: I s m a i l i a Association For I n d i a , 1951), pp.100,105,130,199,351-56.  5.  Refer i n p a r t i c u l a r t o Nasiru'd-din T u s i , Tasawwurat, t r . W. Ivanow, (Holland: E.J. B r i l l , 1950).  6.  Suras - l x v i i : 2 3 - 2 4 ; lxxiv:12-15.  7.  Imam Sultan Muhammed Shah: 28.1.1955.  8.  Jean Soler: 'The Semiotics of Food i n the B i b l e , Food And Drink In History ed R. Forster and 0. Ranum, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1979) pp.126-138.  9.  The only exceptions are number f i v e and seven which are sacred numbers for the I s m a i l i s .  10.  According t o Ifevi-Strauss cooking mediates between the two extremes: burned meat and decomposed meat (1969:293).  11.  F e s t i v a l s which are most popularly celebrated are: the Imamat Day (July 11th), The New Year's Day (March 2 1 s t ) , Idd a l adha, Idd a l f i t r , the birthdays of the present Imam (Dec.13th), Imam A l i (the f i r s t Imam) and Prophet Muhammed and Mehra.j (the s p i r i t u a l 'journey' of the Prophet).  P r e s e n t l y , i t i s substituted with butter  1  208  Chapter 7 Nurturing And Career Roles Of I s m a i l i Women. Introduction We f e e l that i n t e r p r e t a t i o n has a h i s t o r y and that t h i s h i s t o r y i s a segment of t r a d i t i o n i t s e l f . I n t e r p r e t a t i o n does not spring from nowhere; rather one i n t e r p r e t s i n order to) make e x p l i c i t , to extend, and so keep a l i v e the t r a d i t i o n i t s e l f , i n s i d e which one always remains. I t i s i n t h i s sense that the time of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n belongs i n some way t o the time of t r a d i t i o n . But t r a d i t i o n i n r e t u r n , even understood as the transmission of a depositum, remains a dead t r a d i t i o n i f i t i s not the continual i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h i s deposit: our 'heritage' i s not a sealed package we pass from hand t o hand without ever opening, but rather a treasure from which we draw by the handful and which by t h i s very act i s replenished. Every t r a d i t i o n l i v e s by grace of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , and i t i s at t h i s p r i c e that i t continues, that i s , remains l i v i n g . (Paul Ricoeur 1974:27) While a l l t r a d i t i o n s t h r i v e on the basis of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , t h i s process may be disrupted, accentuated or modified through extraneous c u l t u r a l influences.  Among I s m a i l i s ( l i k e many other communities), these influences  have been encountered i n the form commonly known as 'the impact of the west'. The f i r s t phase of t h i s encounter took place i n East A f r i c a , the homeland of the  majority of the I s m a i l i s who presently l i v e i n Canada.  The second phase,  which e n t a i l s adjustment to the conditions prevalent i n North America, i s considered by the I s m a i l i s as c r u c i a l . a l l levels.  The note of urgency i s recognized at  Consider the f o l l o w i n g views of an I s m a i l i scholar:  The prospect of continuing influence i n our l i v e s of a western outlook r a i s e s a host of extremely pertinent questions. F i r s t of a l l , i t i s e s s e n t i a l to r e a l i z e that the adoption of a way of l i f e i n the m a t e r i a l sphere cannot but have consequences on one's outlook, on one's view of the world, and on one's general philosophy of l i f e . Furthermore, the l e s s d e l i b e r a t e and s e l e c t i v e such an adoption may happen to be, the more far-reaching i t s consequences on one's general outlook are bound to be.  Those  209  who i n the heyday of the modernization of the community i n the past few decades, might have entertained the notion that provided we confined the changes i n our l i v e s to r a i s i n g the hem-line and replacing b i r y a n i with steak and c h i p s , our mental and s p i r i t u a l l i v e s would take care of £hemselves, could j u s t l y be charged with lack of realism. Rahim, an I s m a i l i elder who l i v e s with h i s married son observed: In I n d i a , the e l d e r s occupied p o s i t i o n s of a u t h o r i t y . I n East A f r i c a , sons were i n charge but here i t i s the women who have taken over. Among the groups who are v i s i b l y i s o l a t e d as being most a f f e c t e d by change are the women, the e l d e r s , and the 'youth'.  I n t h i s chapter, we w i l l  explore the r a m i f i c a t i o n s r e s u l t i n g from the changing r o l e of women. We w i l l commence our d i s c u s s i o n with the t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e o f women as expounded i n the Qur'an, the firmans, and the ginans so as t o determine the m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l s t a t u s of women. The framework which w i l l emerge w i l l enable us t o acquire f u r t h e r i n s i g h t s i n t o the f a m i l y , the k i n d r e d , and the Jama'at Khana. In a l l these areas women have t r a d i t i o n a l l y played a c r u c i a l r o l e . Furthermore, a d i s c u s s i o n of the emerging image o f a working/career woman w i l l reveal how I s m a i l i s have been accommodating t o change, c o n f l i c t and t r a d i t i o n i n t h e i r new m i l i e u .  B r i e f l y , we contend that the n u r t u r i n g and career r o l e s  o£ Women e n t a i l a s p a t i a l change from a home t o a working revealing a process o f compartmentalization.  environment  210  The M a t e r i a l And S p i r i t u a l Status Of Women As Defined In The L i t e r a r y Souces.  (i)  The Qur»an  Reverence God, through Whom Ye demand your mutual ( r i g h t s ) And (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): f o r God Ever watches over you. (s.iv:l) The metaphor of the 'womb' a p t l y captures the concepts of p u r i t y and c l e a n l i n e s s (s.ii:222-223, s . x x i v : l - 2 4 ) , p r o t e c t i o n (s.iv:34) and modesty (s.xxiv:30-31) through which the p o s i t i o n of women i s defined i n the Qur'an. Being i n the womb i s a l i m i n a l phase f o r the human soul as i t prepares t o embark on i t s journey t o an e a r t h l y l i f e and back i n t o the s p i r i t u a l world. Before the soul enters the m a t e r i a l world, i t goes through a period of preparation which i s entrusted t o women. The woman's task i s t o nurture the human l i f e both m a t e r i a l l y as w e l l as s p i r i t u a l l y .  I d e a l l y , women's  a c t i v i t i e s (cooking, maintaining s o c i a l t i e s ) , the q u a l i t i e s which they personify (patience, c h a s t i t y , v i r t u e , t o l e r a n c e , and love) and the sphere i n which they p r i m a r i l y f u n c t i o n , the home ( s i g n i f i e s s h e l t e r , p r o t e c t i o n ) , provide a symbolic and even a conceptual framework which enables the soul to ascend. A l - S i j i s t a n i , who played a s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e i n expounding a conceptual framework of I s m a i l i cosmology, uses the metaphor of the womb as an analogy for e x p l a i n i n g the c y c l e s of Prophets.  The conceptual framework formulated  includes s i x c y c l e s , each c y c l e being considered t o be governed by a 'period of concealment'  (dawr a l - s a t r ) , when the t a ^ w i l (the inner r e a l i t y ) contained  i n the z a h i r remains l a t e n t .  Before the t a w i l can become manifest, there 7  211  takes place a period of growth and development f o r mankind i n the womb of history. Growth and development i n the domestic sphere are summed up i n nurturing. The woman provides the 'womb' i n which both the body as w e l l as the soul can develop.  In t h i s respect, the r o l e of the female i n the I s l a m i c / I s m a i l i  t r a d i t i o n i s c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to the c u l t i v a t i o n of the s p i r i t u a l l i f e . Therefore, both A l l a h and 'the womb that bore you' are t o be revered  (s.iv:l).  The I s m a i l i s r e f e r t o the Imam (a male) as s p i r i t u a l father and mother. I m p l i c i t i n the i n c l u s i o n o f the r o l e o f the mother i s the idea that the l a t t e r w i l l a s s i s t the soul t o ascend i n t o i t s s p i r i t u a l abode.  This idea i s  r e i t e r a t e d i n the Hadith: Heaven l i e s a t the f e e t of the mother.  (ii)  The Ginans  The word ginah i s a S a n s k r i t word, jnana, which i s defined as 'contemplative  or meditative knowledge' (Nanji 1972:7).  The N i z a r i I s m a i l i s  cherish the t r a d i t i o n of the ginans p r i m a r i l y because o f i t s a f f e c t i v e import. The Ginans are r e c i t e d congregationally i n the Jama a t Khana c  i n t e g r a l part of the d a i l y performances.  r  forming an  The ginanic references used i n the  text are meant t o serve as i l l u s t r a t i v e examples, and no attempt has been made to give an exhaustive treatment to the richness of the images and symbols which feature v i v i d l y i n the ginans. In the ginans, the image of woman i s used t o portray the status of the s o u l l i v i n g i n the m a t e r i a l world.  The dilemma which faces the human soul  212  'pulled' I n two opposite d i r e c t i o n s ( m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l ) i s expressed as follows: E j i sahkad^i s h e r i mahe muhe goor maliya" mare lokashu vahevar Kantani mise goorne namu hS^he karu re parriam Jene r i d e h sacho shah vase tfSku anna na bhave Jene r i d e h sacho Shah vase taku nindera ne aave Nindra t a j o v i r a bhai ginan vicharoo mora bhai. Translation: I met my ' l o r d ' i n a narrow s t r e e t (but) I have o b l i g a t o r y t i e s w i t h the people I pay homage t o my ' l o r d ' on the pretext o f removing a thorn from my foot Whoever has the Divine r e s i d i n g i n the heart does not l i k e t o eat food Whoever has the Divine r e s i d i n g i n the heart does not l i k e t o sleep Forsake your sleep and r e f l e c t about t r u t h and wisdom. (from the Ginan: E j i tadhu tadhu mithadu b o l i y e ) The above verse r e l a t e s an anecdote of a woman who meets her ' l o r d ' (the Imam) on the s t r e e t .  However, she i s not able t o acknowledge h i s presence or  pay him due respects as her r e l a t i o n s h i p would not be approved by the people. The s o l u t i o n devised by the woman i s t o pretend t h a t there i s a thorn i n her foot.  As she bends t o remove the thorn, she i m p l i c i t l y pays her respects t o  the Imam. From the r e f r a i n verse i n the ginan, we l e a r n that the p i n i n g of the s o u l f o r the 'beloved' (a term commonly used i n m y s t i c a l language), i s so intense that the soul wishes t o forsake the d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s of sleeping and eating.  The o v e r a l l theme of the verse i s t o express the d i f f i c u l t y of being  i n the world of r e l a t i o n s h i p s and s o c i a l t i e s (lokashu vahevar) and having t o transcend these so that the s o u l can be with the beloved.  This theme i s  213  expressed through symbols and imagery which r e l a t e c l o s e l y t o the woman and the r o l e , a t t i t u d e s , and q u a l i t i e s which she p e r s o n i f i e s . _  _ 3  In the l i t e r a t u r e of the s u f i s , there are a number of q u a l i t i e s which are emphasised as being e s s e n t i a l f o r the soul i f i t i s t o achieve union with the d i v i n e .  These q u a l i t i e s are: patience, v i r t u e , love, perseverance,  devotion, h u m i l i t y , and s e l f l e s s n e s s .  I d e a l l y and i n the protected sphere of  domestic l i f e , women provide a model of the concrete embodiment of these qualities. The q u a l i t i e s l i s t e d above, as p e r s o n i f i e d i n women, are i l l u s t r a t e d i n the ginans: E.ji Adam aad n i r i n l a h , Tatriaku Sadhare soh d i n , Swami r a j o more" manthi v i s e r e j i , and Amarte ayo more shah.1l jo ( P i r b h a i G. ed. 1950:2,56,45,59).  The common s u f i s t i c strand perceived i n terms of a  r e l a t i o n s h i p between the d i v i n e and the seeker i s expressed i n the imagery of love and passionate longing. The i n t e n s i t y o f the love i s a response t o the paradox contained i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p .  O r i g i n a l l y , i n p r i m o r d i a l times (adam  aad), the beloved and the seeker were one.  I t was the time when there were  neither forms nor q u a l i t i e s , (nirgune ape arup).  The seeker becomes separated  from the beloved and acquired a form (jud'a padiya" tHaye r u p ) .  In this state,  c r e a t i o n , with forms and m u l t i p l i c i t y , widens the gap between the seeker and the beloved . I n the girian, unchare kot bahu vecharia"(ibid 1950:18), t h i s concept i s explained s p a t i a l l y through the image of a f i s h .  A f i s h ( i . e . the  seeker) i s conceived t o be i n an ocean but i s s t r i v i n g t o reach a f o r t high up i n the mountain, where i t s beloved r e s i d e s .  The s p a t i a l gap i s  correspondingly accompanied by time so that we l e a r n from the ginan, E j i Adam "aad n i r i n j a h , that countless ages have gone by and the soul i s s t i l l i n agony ' l i k e a f i s h out of the water' and a 'wife without a husband' (v.25).  214  In addition t o space and time, the seeker and the beloved are a l s o separated i n terms of a t t r i b u t e s and q u a l i t i e s .  While the beloved i s perfect  (even t o the extent of being i n e f f a b l e ) , the seeker i s imperfect (avagun). I n an attempt to bridge the gap, the seeker takes a number o f steps which are imaged i n terms of q u a l i t i e s p e r s o n i f i e d by women. On the other hand, women are a l s o depicted as morally weak. Thus i n the ginah, J i r e van j a r a ( i b i d 1950:22), the n a r i or wife i s depicted as f a l s e : a f t e r performing the funeral ceremonies of her husband she f o r g e t s him. When I asked an e l d e r l y male informant why the metaphor of woman was used more e x t e n s i v e l y than that of male, he r e p l i e d : 'There i s only one nar and that i s A l l a h ' , (the word nar i s used f o r the 'husband').  The metaphor of woman developed i n the ginanic  l i t e r a t u r e extends t o a l l human beings.  Women are perceived t o portray the  two images of being ' d i v i n e - l i k e ' as w e l l as an obstacle i n the path leading 4 to the union of the s o u l with the d i v i n e .  215  (iii)  The Firmans  Times of s o c i a l change are u s u a l l y accompanied by r e f l e c t i v e moments which capture d e c i s i v e l y and emphatically the core of the 'changing' tradition.  An i l l u s t r a t i v e example i s provided i n the firmans, where the main  categories of the m a t e r i a l and the s p i r i t u a l are defined mutually. Remember that according t o our I s m a i l i f a i t h the body i s the temple of God f o r i t c a r r i e s the soul that receives Divine L i g h t . So great care o f body, i t s health and c l e a n l i n e s s are to guide you i n l a t e r l i f e The times o f prayer should not be forgotten, i f you can, do go t o Jama at khana; i f not say your t a s h b i (prayer) whereever you be. So keep a clean soul i n a clean body. 1  In Islam a Moslem should have a good clean s o u l i n a strong healthy body. We cannot order our bodies t o be healthy and strong but can by constant a t t e n t i o n , care, regular exercises and sports i n our youth and e a r l y years of manhood go a long way t o counteract the dangers and e v i l s that surround us. You must a l l remember the importance of a healthy soul and a healthy body. The healthy soul comes by constant r e a l i z a t i o n of beauty to the Supreme Being. Your constant duty i s the development of a healthy body which i s the temple of God. The above firmans'* were sent by Imam Sultan Muhammed Shah i n the f i r s t h a l f of the twentieth century, when I s m a i l i s were undergoing  'modernization'.  E s s e n t i a l l y , t h i s was the period when numerous forms of development p e r t a i n i n g to h e a l t h , education and economics were being introduced through two main channels.  The f i r s t consisted of d i r e c t firmans t o the Jama'"ats r e s i d i n g i n  parts of India and A f r i c a . infrastructure.  The second through the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e  The 'modernizing'  elements, which were o v e r t l y p r a c t i c a l  i n j u n c t i o n s , were incorporated w i t h i n the wider framework of I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n a l a t t i t u d e s and values.  The firmans (1885-1950) emphasised the r o l e  of women. The Imam's main concern was t o extend women's r o l e s , l a r g e l y domestic, i n t o a wider s o c i a l l i f e .  The p r a c t i c a l i n j u n c t i o n given was that  women should acquire formal education, and over the years t h i s point has  216  continued t o receive considerable emphasis.  The present Imam has repeatedly  expressed the wish that both men and women should go i n t o the professions.^ In s p i t e of t h i s , however, the primacy of women's r o l e i n nurturing and r a i s i n g f a m i l i e s i s affirmed e x p l i c i t l y as w e l l as i m p l i c i t l y i n the firmans. A s t r i k i n g image used t o define the c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p between women and c h i l d r e n i s that of the garden and the roses.  Women are 'the garden' of A l l a h  while the c h i l d r e n are 'the roses', ( N a i r o b i 1945).  A d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n of  household tasks t o be performed by women l i s t s keeping the house clean and t i d y , cooking the food, washing the c l o t h e s , and c l e a r i n g the spider webs (Mombasa and Dar es Salam 1945).  The o v e r a l l context f o r the d e f i n i t i o n of  the above tasks i s to promote health and p r a c t i s e economy f o r the f a m i l y . The d i s t i n c t i o n of r o l e s was maintained even i f women were t o acquire high education: i f a mother i s educated, she would be able to teach her c h i l d r e n . But i f the father i s educated, he would be so busy i n h i s worldly a f f a i r s that he would not be able t o look a f t e r h i s c h i l d r e n l i k e an educated mother. (Mombasa 1945) And again: An educated mother can look w e l l a f t e r her c h i l d . More a t t e n t i o n should be paid on g i r l s as the d u t i e s of mothers are to f a l l upon them ( s i c ) . ( N a i r o b i 1937) Although one may note a s u b t l e s h i f t from the mothers r o l e t o that of the parents i n the firmans of the present Imam, yet greater r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s entrusted t o women: Every parent should do h i s utmost t o educate h i s c h i l d r e n . . . (East Pakistan  1959).  217  I would l i k e those of you who are parents t o continue taking i n t e r e s t i n your c h i l d r e n . Help them, guide them, encourage them (Mombasa 1961) I address myself today e s p e c i a l l y t o my s p i r i t u a l daughters and not my s p i r i t u a l sons. My grandfather emphasised t o you many a time the importance of making sure that your f a m i l i e s l i v e i n proper surroundings, that your c h i l d r e n are educated properly, and that as they grow up, they are i n s t i l l e d with proper t r a d i t i o n s and good h a b i t s and I want you to remember t h a t . I t i s upon my s p i r i t u a l daughters that I l a y the great r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the development of our Jama at and the development p a r t i c u l a r l y of my very young s p i r i t u a l c h i l d r e n , the young boys and the young g i r l s . I want my s p i r i t u a l daughter t o leave no stone unturned t o make sure that your c h i l d r e n are properly educated, that they are given proper surroundings i n which they l i v e , that you take good care of t h e i r h e a l t h and that you i n s t i l i n them from t h e i r very youngest age, ambition t o improve themselves i n every walk of l i f e . l  (Bombay 1967) In h i s work on The Middle East, Eickelman emphasises the notion of imageability as being u s e f u l i n the study of r e s i d e n t i a l space (1981:273).  In  t h i s context, the s i g n i f i c a n c e of space i s measured not i n terms of physical landmarks but i n conceptions which are s o c i o c u l t u r a l l y meaningful.  The  s o c i o c u l t u r a l categories which emerge from the above sources point t o two areas which are of d i r e c t relevance t o t h i s study.  F i r s t women's d i s t i n c t and  t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e of nurturing i s affirmed w i t h i n the wider cosmic framework. Women are not only responsible f o r the m a t e r i a l well-being of t h e i r c h i l d r e n but a l s o f o r t h e i r s p i r i t u a l progress.  As noted above, i n the Our an the 1  symbol of the womb embodies the idea of growth and development of the body and the s o u l .  The c o r r e l a t i o n of the human soul with the image of woman i n the  ginans symbolizes the q u a l i t i e s of patience, perseverance, t o l e r a n c e , v i r t u e and h u m i l i t y which the soul i s required t o c u l t i v a t e , and they are a l s o the q u a l i t i e s which women i d e a l l y image e m p i r i c a l l y i n t h e i r domestic r o l e s as mothers and wives.  Secondly, at a m a t e r i a l l e v e l , women are t r a d i t i o n a l l y  218  expected t o f i n d f u l f i l l m e n t w i t h i n a defined space: the family u n i t including k i n s h i p t i e s and the unit of the Jama^at.  Both these l e v e l s are being subject  to readjustment i n the face of the developing trend whereby women seek to f i n d f u l f i l l m e n t outside the domestic environment ( i . e .  i n the job market)  accompanied by a keen awareness of ' s e l f ' as understood i n the present times. I discuss these points below.  The Emerging Role Of I s m a i l i Women: Domestic L i f e And Careers.  (i)  Ethnographic P r o f i l e s .  I s m a i l i women are keenly aware of t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l domestic r o l e . A l l my female informants i n d i c a t e d that t h e i r primary duty and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s -to the f a m i l y .  While t h i s i s an expressed wish, e m p i r i c a l l y women have  encountered a d i f f e r e n t s i t u a t i o n .  The f o l l o w i n g ethnographic p r o f i l e s are  illustrative: Both husband and wife have to work here. I know, i t would be i d e a l t o stay a t home and tend t o the f a m i l y . We have t o provide f o r our c h i l d r e n . There are so.many things we have t o buy f o r the house, f o r the c h i l d r e n and f o r ourselves. We are not g e t t i n g any younger. I f we do not earn now then we w i l l not have a comfortable l i f e i n our o l d age. I think that I can cope with my domestic d u t i e s . Cooking i s not such a big problem. We have so many f a c i l i t i e s here. I t does not take more then an hour to cook. The main thing i s cleaning up. My husband and my daughter (11 years o l d ) often give me a hand. There are times when I do not cook much. I j u s t make hamburgers or we go out. We go t o MacDonalds once a month. We have to l e a r n t o adjust. We cannot l i v e l i k e East A f r i c a here. Of course, I get t i r e d but then I avoid extra commitments. Unless, i t i s compulsory, I do not work overtime. I have a nine t o f i v e job. I l i k e t o stay home i n the evenings. This i s my time w i t h the c h i l d r e n . We v i s i t r e l a t i v e s during week-ends. There are so many places t o v i s i t here. I f we have the money, we can l i v e w e l l and a l s o give a good l i f e t o our c h i l d r e n . ( e x t r a c t of an interview w i t h Roshan, a working mother w i t h three c h i l d r e n ) .  219  I am a t home now. I got l a i d - o f f . I f e e l so bad. I was more organized when I was working. I do not think that I do any more work at home than before. Not having much t o do has made me l a z y . Cooking does not bother me. I f i n d i t q u i t e simple. I am very f a s t and besides I enjoy i t . We a l t e r n a t e between our foods and Canadian foods. My c h i l d r e n (two boys aged 14 and 12) do not l i k e our foods. They prefer t o eat hamburgers and f r i e s . I do get help from my husband and my sons. They lay the t a b l e , c l e a r i t afterwards and help me i n other ways. Now that I am not working, ( I have stopped looking a t the moment, i t i s so depressing), I have l o t s of time. I t i s boring t o be home. I f e e l so i n a c t i v e . (Zeytul i s 35 years o l d ; she used t o do general o f f i c e work). As a working mother, Nimet claimed that i t i s p o s s i b l e t o be both a good mother as w e l l as a career woman: I help my husband i n business. When my c h i l d r e n were s m a l l , I used t o have f l e x i b l e hours. But now I work f u l l time. My daughter i s fourteen and my son i s eleven. I do not think that i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o have an occupation outside home and be a good mother. Of course, I do not get much time with my c h i l d r e n but I do my best. Sometimes when the c h i l d r e n are not i n school, I take them with me t o the shop. We have a dry foods s t o r e . I do a l l the cooking i n the house. We a l s o manage to go t o Jama ''at khana two or three times a week. Family, work and Jama 'at khana, these are the areas which are important to me. As f a r as r e l a t i v e s are concerned, we keep i n touch. We v i s i t them and they v i s i t us o c c a s i o n a l l y . I meet q u i t e a few of the r e l a t i v e s and my f r i e d s i n Jama at khana. t  1  The above p r o f i l e s r e v e a l the r o l e o f women i n terms of t r a d i t i o n and change.  By and l a r g e , the tasks of cooking, r a i s i n g the c h i l d r e n , and  i n s t i l l i n g I s m a i l i t r a d i t i o n s and way of l i f e , and a l s o providing moral and, of l a t e , f i n a n c i a l support t o the f a m i l y , are performed by women.  Secondly,  I s m a i l i women have a l s o opted f o r an occupational l i f e outside home. One of the strong reasons c i t e d f o r women going to work i s economic n e c e s s i t y . A common expression heard i n the conversations i s : ' I t i s not p o s s i b l e to " s u r v i v e " on one s a l a r y ' . (i) (ii)  An inventory o f the ' s u r v i v a l needs' i n c l u d e :  k i t c h e n gadgets household items, f u r n i t u r e , video, T.V.  220  (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii)  education f o r c h i l d r e n r e c r e a t i o n and t r a v e l clothing car(s) house  (viii)  groceries  The o v e r a l l m a t e r i a l o r i e n t a t i o n of the I s m a i l i s i n t h e i r new homeland i s to secure a comfortable l i v i n g f o r t h e i r f a m i l i e s .  The securing of such a  'comfort zone' includes items which, forming an i n t e g r a l part of North American l i f e such as video, microwave ovens, f i t i n t o the wider s t r u c t u r e of an a c q u i s i t i v e s o c i e t y .  Women who decide t o stay a t home by and large belong  to the high income bracket ($40,000) which t h e i r husbands secure f o r the family.  The only other category of women who pursue a domestic l i f e are those  who, because of age (over f i f t y ) or a young f a m i l y , have opted t o stay a t home. However, there i s another f a c t o r which seems t o have a f f e c t e d women's a t t i t u d e towards home and work l i f e ,  Sahbanu who has two c h i l d r e n , aged s i x  and four, i s now working a f t e r having stayed a t home f o r three years. She described her experiences as f o l l o w s : I do not t h i n k that I s h a l l ever stay a t home. I know the c h i l d r e n needed me and I.got some s a t i s f a c t i o n that I was around. But I found i t boring t o be home. A l l that I was doing was taking my c h i l d r e n t o places - parks, a c t i v i t i e s , cooking and keeping the house c l e a n . I did not get any time to myself. I f e l t that I could not even converse with others apart from exchanging notes on c h i l d r e n . I t gives me a n i c e f e e l i n g t o come out of the house. At l e a s t I can dress up and f e e l important. Nashrin, with one c h i l d (three years) r e l a t e d t h a t : I have t o get out of the house by myself. I go t o k e e p - f i t classes and am attending an evening course i n psychology. Sometimes I f i n d i t s t i f l i n g t o be home. I t i s the same o l d routine - nothing t o look forward t o .  221  Other mothers who are a t home have found o u t l e t s i n the form of r e c r e a t i o n a c t i v i t i e s , studies or part-time work and voluntary work with community institutions.  One mother summed i t up:  I need t o do something f o r myself. Given the s i t u a t i o n a l f a c t o r s and a t t i t u d i n a l change, i t i s i n s t r u c t i v e to see how women have accommodated t h e i r emerging r o l e as career women. I s m a i l i women have adopted a number of s t r a t e g i e s enabling them t o maintain part of t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e .  Taking the example of cooking, a number of  women explained t o me that t r a d i t i o n a l foods were cooked because: (a) they were economical and s a t i s f y i n g t o eat and (b) they were appropriate f o r e n t e r t a i n i n g guests and f o r food o f f e r i n g s (Nandi).  In the cooking of  t r a d i t i o n a l foods, the women have adopted the devices of making advanced preparations so that h a l f the cooking i s done e a r l y i n the morning and the r e s t i n the evening, cooking i n bulk and f r e e z i n g part of i t , placing orders from women who are a t home (a common dish purchased i s unleavened  bread),  obtaining food by means of Nandi, and seeking a s s i s t a n c e from other members of the f a m i l y .  I n t h i s way the c o g n i t i v e model embodied i n I s m a i l i cooking i s  maintained though t h i s model i s a l t e r n a t e d with other foods. The reasons c i t e d f o r the preparation of traditional/Canadian foods or simply Canadian foods were that these were r e l a t i v e l y 'simple' (meaning l e s s labour-intensive) t o prepare, were preferred by c h i l d r e n , and that t r a d i t i o n a l foods would be too heavy i f consumed everyday.  Although some f a m i l i e s j u s t  ate t r a d i t i o n a l foods, I d i d not come across a s i n g l e family who ate s o l e l y Canadian foods.  While the cooking of Canadian or a blending of  C a n a d i a n / t r a d i t i o n a l foods may be an adaptive strategy i n terms o f time, the p r a c t i c e r e f l e c t s experiences which s i g n i f i c a n t l y express the way of l i f e i n  222 the new  milieu.  One  of the common e x p r e s s i o n s I came a c r o s s i n the f i e l d i s :  ' L i f e i s p r e s s u r i z e d and time i s p r e c i o u s . ' By i m p l i c a t i o n , i f n o n - t r a d i t i o n a l foods make l i f e e a s i e r f o r women, they should be adopted. However, i n many r e s p e c t s , these foods serve t o accommodate the food p r e f e r e n c e s o f the younger generation.  Farida explained:  I f I d i d not cook s p a g h e t t i , p i z z a or hamburgers and c h i p s a t l e a s t t h r e e times a week, my c h i l d r e n would say, I am not f a i r because I o n l y cook what daddy l i k e s . Of g r e a t importance 'Canadian  i s that n o n - t r a d i t i o n a l foods, e s p e c i a l l y  the  Foods' as the I s m a i l i s know them, a r e the s t o c k i n t r a d e o f c h a i n  r e s t u r a n t s : MacDonalds, White Spot, P i z z a P a r l o r s and Chinese  resturants.  These are the foods which a r e p o p u l a r l y consumed by the masses and f i n d way  i n t o the advertisement columns o f the mass media.  l e a r n e d from my  c u i s i n e which undoubtedly  Roland B a r t h e s ' comparison his  c o u l d a l s o be  to that  labour-intensive.  o f t r a d i t i o n a l and modern foods i s r e v e a l i n g .  study of the French s o c i e t y , B a r t h e s shows t h a t  elements  G e n e r a l l y speaking, I  i n f o r m a n t s t h a t I s m a i l i women had not been exposed  p a r t o f the Canadian  their  In  'modern' foods embody  o f power and a g g r e s i v e n e s s w h i l e t r a d i t i o n a l foods are l i n k e d t o  moral v a l u e s , wisdom and  'purity'(1975:166-173).  V a r i o u s s t u d i e s on Food have  a f f i r m e d t h a t food symbolizes and e x p r e s s e s the way e x p e r i e n c e s h i s ' s o c i a l environment'.  i n which a person  For i n s t a n c e B a r t h e s argues t h a t an  e n t i r e " w o r l d " i s p r e s e n t i n and s i g n i f i e d by food (1975:170). i l l u s t r a t i v e study o f a meal, Douglas  In an  shows t h a t food c a t e g o r i e s encode  social  events t o the e x t e n t t h a t a meal c o n t a i n s "symbolic s t r u c t u r e s " which a r e present i n the wider s o c i a l system  (1972:61-81).  At t h i s l e v e l ,  n o n - t r a d i t i o n a l foods consumed by I s m a i l i s s i g n i f y the way experience l i f e  i n Canada.  the  i n which they  By p r e p a r i n g these f o o d s , I s m a i l i women a r e  a t t e m p t i n g t o accommodate a 'modern form o f l i f e '  ( e x p r e s s e d by I s m a i l i s i n  terms of 'pressure' and  223 'time'), contain p o t e n t i a l c o n f l i c t  ( p r e f e r e n c e s of  the younger members as opposed to a d u l t s and a l s o e l d e r s ) , and new  respond  t o the  l i f e s t y l e which, a c c o r d i n g t o the i n f o r m a n t s , does not promote the  consumption of 'heavy' ( t r a d i t i o n a l f o o d s ) .  P r e s s u r e and  time are the primary  t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s i n t h e i r new to confinement  homeland.  of space as e l d e r s , men,  here t h e r e i s no time t o do e v e r y t h i n g . c o n s i d e r e d to be important,  terms through which I s m a i l i s By and  expressed  l a r g e , these e x p e r i e n c e s  women and  the youth confirmed  lead  that  T h i s meant t h a t a c t i v i t i e s which were  l i k e e n t e r t a i n i n g k i n , have been condensed.  A  male informant e x p l a i n e d : Here one does not even have time t o i n t e r a c t w i t h one's f a m i l y members. How i s i t p o s s i b l e t o meet a l l the o b l i g a t i o n s regarding r e l a t i v e s ? My u n c l e was i n the h o s p i t a l f o r two months. I c o u l d o n l y v i s i t him once. I f e e l g u i l t y but I cannot h e l p i t . N e v e r t h e l e s s t r a d i t i o n a l foods (as opposed t o f a s t foods of the p r e s e n t day arid age) a r e consumed because they b r i n g ' s a t i s f a c t i o n ' and accommodate the i n t e r e s t s of the e l d e r s and  barakat.  They  the a d u l t s and, most i m p o r t a n t l y ,  they embody the c o g n i t i v e model as expounded i n the l a s t c h a p t e r .  Empirically  f o r I s m a i l i s , t r a d i t i o n a l foods evoke memories of t h e i r homeland.  T h i s i s how  my  mother used  t o cook i t .  These memories a r e the r e p o s i t o r i e s of t r a d i t i o n s w h i l e n o n - t r a d i t i o n a l s i g n i f y a p r o c e s s of adjustment.  T a b l e IV r e f e r s t o the number of times  three c a t e g o r i e s of f o o d : t r a d i t i o n a l , n o n - t r a d i t i o n a l and  was  should be noted  t h a t w h i l e t r a d i t i o n a l l y the  the  traditional/Euro-  Canadian foods a r e eaten i n I s m a i l i homes over a p e r i o d of one week. it  foods  However,  ' i n t e r i o r ' a c t i v i t y of c o o k i n g  c o j o i n e d t o the e x t e r i o r world of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s p r o v i d i n g one  s p a t i a l category f o r women, the l a t t e r now  move i n two  s e p a r a t e spaces: home  224  and work.  I explore t h i s point f u r t h e r i n r e l a t i o n to k i n s h i p and career  r o l e s of women.  225  Table IV Dietary Habits Of I s m a i l i s * No of Households = 15 Period observed: one week Core T r a d i t i o n a l Foods  7 3 4 3 5 2 3 4 5 2'27 3 4 3  Total 57  curry & r i c e unleavened bread f r i e d dishes variations of the above. Non-Traditional Foods  0 2 1 0 0 1 2 3 0 0 1 0 2 0 0  12  f i s h & chips hamburgers spaghetti Chinese foods pizza v a r i a t i o n s of the above. Traditional/Euro-Canadian Foods roast chicken grilled fish turkey/roast beef (these dishes are taken with t r a d i t i o n a l spices and vegetables)  0 2 2 4 2 4 2 0 2 5 4 0 2 3 4  36  ~  Foods mentioned r e f e r t o the main meal consumed i n the evenings. Data f o r t h i s t a b l e was c o l l e c t e d during interviews and observations.  226  (ii)  Kinship Ties  Among I s m a i l i s , k i n s h i p provides the hub around which t h e i r m a t e r i a l l i f e i s organized.  C h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , m a t e r i a l l i f e e n t a i l s a web of  r e l a t i o n s h i p s (kutumb pariwar) which may entangle the s o u l f u r t h e r i n the compounded world of a c t i v i t y .  One of the manifest and v i s i b l e form i n which  t h i s was t r a d i t i o n a l l y expressed was i n cooking.  Women who remained a t home  ( t h i s category of women are now f i f t y years o l d ) , spent a great deal of time c a t e r i n g f o r k i n , e s p e c i a l l y those by marriage.  L i f e h i s t o r i e s of house-wives  i n East A f r i c a repeatedly h i g h l i g h t the theme of t h e i r t o t a l involvement i n preparing food f o r k i n : When I got married, we were twelve people i n the house. Apart from my f a t h e r in-law, my husband's three brothers, and three s i s t e r s were a l l l i v i n g together i n one house. I used t o make f o r t y f i v e r o t a l i s (bread). My sisters-in-laws would help but I was responsible f o r a l l the cooking. There was a l o t of work i n the house; I never thought that things could be otherwise. ( e x t r a c t of an i n t e r v i e w with Fatma who presently l i v e s alone with her husband). The extended family system had a f u r t h e r component.  This consisted of a  constant flow of v i s i t i n g r e l a t i v e s who, i n most cases, stayed f o r a meal. In the case of Fatma, her f a t h e r v i n - l a w , or mother-*- in-law, brothers and s i s t e r s would come over q u i t e o f t e n .  On f e s t i v e or family occasions the whole  family, that i s , r e l a t i v e s l i v i n g i n separate d w e l l i n g s , would be i n v i t e d f o r a meal.  During these times, blood r e l a t i v e s of the female spouse would a l s o  be included.  I s m a i l i s i n Vancouver (and a l s o i n Europe) reminisce of t h e i r  days i n A f r i c a i n terms of f a m i l y gatherings when a v a r i e t y of t r a d i t i o n a l foods were eaten.  However, my informants were quick i n saying:  Those days are gone. Who has the time here? We barely manage to keep our l i v e s together.  227  In s p i t e of the constant reference t o lack of time, k i n s h i p r e l a t i o n s are s t i l l maintained and p a r t i a l l y expressed through cooking.  Undoubtedly, the  extended family system i s no longer maintained.  The developing trend i s  towards nuclear f a m i l y of parents and c h i l d r e n .  In some cases, the parents of  a married son stay i n the same household, but t h i s i s mainly due to circumstances when mutually convenient.  I t appears that the only time a son  i s obliged t o keep h i s parents i s when one of them has died: the other one i s 'taken i n ' .  The a t t i t u d e of married couples towards the parents of the male  i s ambivalent.  My informants were c l e a r that the presence of the parents  would be a source of tension i n the house.  Some of the reasons were  i d e n t i f i e d as f o l l o w s : (a)  Parents being a t home the whole day would l i k e t o go t o Jama at c  khana everyday.  They would r e q u i r e the son or daughter in-law t o take  them as very few of them d r i v e .  The son/daughter  in-law would f i n d t h i s  i m p r a c t i c a l (on a d a i l y b a s i s ) as both of them having been out working the whole day would prefer to 'relax' a t home. (b) There would be clashes i n terms of food preferences.  The parents  would f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t t o consume Canadian foods - a t l e a s t they do not take t o a l l kinds.  A young daughter in-law said t o me: 'Sometimes I am  t i r e d and I do not f e e l l i k e cooking.  I would prefer t o order P i z z a .  I  cannot do t h i s i f my in-laws are s t a y i n g with us'. (c)  One couple expressed the p o i n t : 'When we e n t e r t a i n , i t i s d i f f i c u l t  to have parents around.  Our f r i e n d s would f i n d i t hard t o r e l a t e to  them'. (d)  ' I f my mother in-law stayed with us, I would f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t .  would expect me t o keep the k i t c h e n s p o t l e s s l y c l e a n .  She  I don't think I  228  can do t h a t .  Sometimes, I j u s t want to keep my feet up and r e l a x .  I do  not l i k e to be t o l d what to do'. The above i s not exhaustive but i n d i c a t e s a trend emphasising the nuclear type of family l i f e .  The parents have t h e i r own story to t e l l .  One couple  related: We would not l i k e to l i v e with our son. These days daughter's in-law (vahu) work and we would not l i k e to l i v e a subdued l i f e . Because the daughter-in-law brings money, she becomes the r u l e r i n the house. We would l i k e to maintain our respect. A second couple Expressed the view: These days c h i l d r e n do not understand. We had such hopes but the s i t u a t i o n has changed. We do not know whom to blame. I f the c h i l d r e n understand, then everything would be a l l r i g h t . Everybody wants independence. When people come to Canada, they change. In s p i t e of the reservations expressed by married sons and t h e i r wives about maintaining the parents, very c l o s e t i e s are sustained i n terms of regular v i s i t s , phone c a l l s , g i f t exchanges, a s s i s t a n c e , e a t i n g together and meetings i n Jama'at khana.  In some cases, parents and a married son l i v e i n  two a d j o i n i n g d w e l l i n g s . In many instances, married daughters maintain very close t i e s with members of the n a t a l family - parents, brothers and s i s t e r s . Besides t h i s , t i e s may a l s o be maintained or even c u l t i v a t e d with other members of the k i n who may includ