The Relationship Of Society And Religion In The Hour Of Death

1251 Words 6 Pages
The relationship of society and religion is and has always been an important and complex issue in the study of religion. Religion has the immense power to influence people to think, feel and act in certain ways. It is inherent within many aspects of society and affects our cultural values, politics and economics. Thus, in this way, religion and society are not separate but are inevitably interrelated and connected. By examining a society’s behavior and attitudes we are led to an awareness and understanding of the religiosity that exists in their subconscious. Through the theories explicated in “The Hour of Death”, by Phillipe Aries, and “Muslim Becoming” by Naveeda Khan, we gain an insight into how society’s behavior and attitudes are influenced …show more content…
Aries undertook an immense historical analysis of Western mentalities (primarily French, English and America) towards death and dying over the last 1,000 years. Through his examination of source documents, such as wills, literary, archaeological and liturgical, and visits to churches, tombs, and graveyards in European churches, Aries “tries to decipher, beyond the intentions of the writers and artists, the unconscious expression of the sensibility of the age” (Aries xviii). In other words, he uncovered the predominant mentalities of the period and theorized the transformation and movement of the death mentalities over time. Aries describes the evolution of death mentalities in five phases from “Tame Death” in the period up to the middle ages, to “Death of the Self”, “Remote and Imminent Death”, “Death of the Other”, and finally, “The Invisible Death” prevalent in modern times (Aries 603/5/8/9/11). Death is seen as an instance evil that is, at the same time, mysterious and …show more content…
To what extent is this aspiration towards an ideal Islamic society when fundamental values of Islam, such as mercy, forgiveness and kindness appear to have been abandoned in favor of persecution, corruption, oppression, extremism, and intolerance? How does Khan see an “open future” when society’s behaviors are aggressively controlled by the government, as we can in their handling of the Ahmadi group? Further, her research is limited to the elite society of Lahore, which cannot be said to represent the Pakistan society as a whole. Nevertheless, for the scholar of religion, Khan offers a different perspective of looking at the ‘process’ and not the form in the study of religion. One that is not confined to a conceptual framework, but is progressive and continually evolving over time. Pakistan, according to Khan, is still an unfinished product and can never be perfect as perfection changes in time.
Our study of the behaviors and attitudes of society draws us to an understanding of the relationship of religion with society, especially of those that exist in the subconscious of society. Khan’s study tells us that theories do not have to have boundaries on our religious striving and commitment, while Aries’ study shows how to notice change when we study behaviors over a long period of time.
They allow us to have conversations about the place of religion in a given society,

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