Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is possible to conclude that the relationship of the Self towards the world, which human beings objectify and consume, is transferred by Muslims to their understanding of the world. In Muslim world understanding, things are manifestations of the primordial (apparently one calls this the ‘Other’, ‘absolute’, ‘transcendent’, ‘sacredness’, ‘God’, and so on), and foods are manifestations turning towards the primordial (in the above-mentioned religious expression ‘glorifying God’), too. Deciding what to consume (in the eschatological sense) is the Muslim individual’s responsibility.

Nakata criticizes the de-personified understanding of primordial reality.[1] Nevertheless, I would argue that together with a personal decision or self-awareness of being Muslim, simultaneously a contra-stereotyping event happens during each individual experience. That is to say, the primordial precondition which can diverge towards personification or de-personification. Personifying or de-personifying, the decision regarding the spot of experiential precondition, makes the minority aware of the Self as an anti-stereotype. As such, the dimension of constructing this self-awareness is also recognized.

Why should Muslims be conscious of sacredness in daily life? In Islam, there is no dualism of monk and layman, or of the sacred and the profane. Instead, in the Muslim world understanding all existing things are intending (glorifying) God, as we saw in Nakata’s animism discourse in the last quotation. The path of existence is glorification, and hence the world should be full of the sacred. Muslims must thus interpret God’s words on a daily basis, in order to recognize themselves as Muslims. The act of eating is an identification with things glorifying God. This act makes Muslims aware of the separation between the transcendency and the physical embodiment of sacred manifestations. This double internal realization of the concept of transcendency or sacredness via thinking and eating is a hermeneutic corporealization, and a compliance with God’s law. The selfidentification of Muslim-ness functions in compliance with the law, which is again a glorification of God. Nakata’s idea that the embodiment of halal recognition realizes Muslim-ness, precisely contains this significance. Following Nakata’s idea, I thus argue that this identity construction manifests itself through the individual act of eating halal foods.

Surely, identities have different dimensions, being political, religious, aesthetic, ethical, but precisely the minority dimension makes all the hermeneutical acts highly conscious and obligatory. Within the Muslim community or world, where Muslims are the majority, the awareness and conscious conception of halal are not actualized. Muslim Japanese, however, as an extreme minority, encounter the halal issue on a daily basis, and are made conscious of their self-identification as Muslims. Their circumstances make them conscious of their position and Muslim- ness. Religious patterns seem to function as a framework or paradigm which determines the life of Muslims uniformly. In reality, Quranic hermeneutics functions as cultural practices that determine what to do in everyday individual experiences. On the one hand, this corporeal hermeneutics has a universal dimension, while on the other hand, it demonstrates a rich diversity among minorities as shown through the halal interpretation of Japanese food.

  • [1] Nakata, Watashi wa naze, 174.
 
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