“I believe in God and Judgment day” - Hayrun Yahya and The Contemporary Contextualization of Apocalyptic Hadiths

  • Marko Pišev Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
Keywords:
apocalyptic narratives, hadiths, Islam, audio-visual text, anti-western idology, Hayrun Yahye

Abstract

The motif of the apocalypse has fascinated mankind from the very beginnings of oral history and is present in various myths and religious traditions, finding its expression in the art of all time periods. Even today it hasn't lost its grip on human imagination. In modern Islamic contexts, the phenomenon of the apocalypse incorporates anti-western ideologies, which reflect, to a large extent the socio-cultural heritage of former anti-colonialist struggles, as well as the anti-imperialist attitudes which are present in a large number of contemporary Muslim societies. When paired with apocalyptic narratives, these notions can lead to negative essentializations of so-called “western morals and ethics”, which are subsequently interpreted as a clear sign of the End times. Aside from the wider consideration of the symbolism of Islamic apocalyptic narratives, the paper will deal with a critical analysis of the visualizations of the Signs of the Last Day books by religious author Hayrun Yahya, who considers the topic of the apocalypse, as presented in the Koran and hadiths, in an affirmative light. We will attempt to puzzle out why the textual version of Signs utilizes certain quotes from the hadiths, while other, equally relevant quotes are avoided. We will rely on the so-called “interdiscursive” aspect of the enclosed quasi- documentary film, or rather, the heterogeneous elements which make up its audio-visual “text”. This analysis should uncover the ideological notions behind this specific instrumentalization of scripture for the aim of religious, cultural and moral critique of contemporary (both Muslim and non-Muslim) societies; however, we will also attempt to point out the multifunctional idea – suggested to the viewing/reading audience of apocalyptic narratives – that Judgment day is near, and can come around at any moment.

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Published
2013-03-12