PhD student (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)

Contact

Forschungsbau "Weltbeziehungen" / C19.03.23

Office hours

by arrangement

Visiting address

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Forschungsneubau „Weltbeziehungen“ C19
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Personal information

  • Since October 2023: Doctoral student at the Max-Weber-Kolleg in IGS "Resonant Self-World Relations” research group at the University of Erfurt
  • 2021-2023: MA in Religious Studies | Ruhr Universität, Bochum
  • 2015-2018: MA in Sociology | Tehran University, Iran
  • 2010-2014: BA in Persian Language and Literature | Tehran University, Iran

Research project

Experiencing Resonance Amidst the Uncertainty of Time: The Performance of Rituals and the Issue of Sacred Time among Shiites during Ramadan

According to Shia eschatology, certain rituals at specific times are associated with a sacred quality and efficacy. It is believed that during particular liminal times, both the Shia Imam(s) as chosen people and the divine, in general, exhibit heightened responsiveness, and the potential for establishing a resonant relationship with them intensifies when rituals are performed at the "right" time. In my research, I aim to study the experience of determining sacred time when performing rituals within Shiism. I explore this phenomenon using the example of Qadr night in the month of Ramadan, which is believed to be the night when a believer's destiny is determined and transformed and a special night of divine mercy. This night serves as a compelling illustration of the transformative influence that arises from heightened awareness of the occasion's distinctiveness and the establishment of a resonant connection with the twelve Shia Imams, who are regarded as the chosen figures, simultaneously shaping the process of a believer's redemption. However, a problem arises when the sacred time is uncertain and shrouded in secrecy. This secrecy is deeply ingrained within the tradition itself, as there are three potential nights considered as Qadr. On the other hand, the involvement of religious and political authorities introduces divergent claims about the "correct" time, thereby rendering the establishment of resonant relationships through the ritual increasingly challenging. Consequently, I aim to shed light on two problematic aspects of this topic through a phenomenological study of the experiences of Shia groups regarding the uncertainty of sacred time in performing rituals:

Firstly, I seek to illuminate the experience of resonant rituals, which involves the subjective engagement and lived experience of the believer as they navigate the mysteries of sacred time through establishing a connection with the Shia Imams, engaging in remembrance, and invoking their presence.

Secondly, I aim to address the multiplicity of sacred time, resulting from the mediation of religious authorities (Marja’s), political powers, and scientific astrological methods. These layered uncertainties about time raise critical questions, such as: Which concept of time should a believer employ to ensure the efficacy of the ritual? Is it normative (exoteric) time that can be calculated by science, or is it sacred (esoteric) time? Can it be multiple and individual, or is it singular and uniform? Finally, how can we understand the importance of accessibility to the sacred time in the case of Qadr nights and the varied experiences of multiple Shia groups with resonant and alienated performances of ritual?