Preparing for the House of God: Nepali Muslim Narratives of the Hajj

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Department 1

Religious Studies


This essay focuses on first-person narratives from Nepali Muslims directly before and after their journeys from Kathmandu to Mecca, for the Hajj pilgrimage, in 2005-2006, collected and translated by the author. To date, studies and public representations of Muslims in Nepal in the period of Nepal’s long transition to secularism have focused predominantly on the population’s mobilization of religious identity and its religio-political aspirations, productions, and experiences that help to constitute it as a collective. These representations have been key in affirming Muslims’ rights as a minority in a newly secular federal republic of immense ethnic and religious diversity and a history of Hindu hegemony. Through the Hajj narratives of Nepali Muslim presented in this chapter, a contrasting portrait to these dominant representations is offered. This portrait offers a view into the interior religious worlds of Muslims in Nepal during this period. In them we get a glimpse of the every-day ness of their religious endeavors and the interior dimensions of piety that pilgrimage can cultivate, including a notion of collectivity that is based in faith and practice.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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