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The Islamic Jaguar: A Deeper Look

             Islam, like other organized religions, contains its own set of basic rules, rituals, and beliefs. In Paul Stoller's ethnographic novel, Jaguar, the story of the lives of two people, Issa and his wife Khadija, unfold in a series of episodes. Through the adventures and actions of the main characters and other minor characters, Stoller provides evidence of the practices and characteristics of the Muslim believers. Many examples of these rules that regulate Muslim lifestyle, the practice of prayer, and even the kind of food Muslims eat are seen within the actions and dialogue between the characters in Jaguar. .
             The founder of Islam is the prophet Muhammad. He was born in the city of Mecca around the year 570, but was soon orphaned. Around 610 Muhammad underwent a religious experience that changed the course of his own life and the future of the Muslim world. Muhammad proclaimed that he had heard a voice telling him that Allah was the one and only god. This was difficult to accept among the polytheist Arabs. But a small circle of Qurasih tribesmen believed this to be true and left Mecca to go to the town of Yathrib where this monotheistic faith was accepted. The emigration to Yathrib later became known as the Hijrah. Just as the Christians mark their era with the birth of Christ, Muslims mark the beginning of their era with the Hijrah in the year 622. .
             The Muslim faith calls for complete and total submission to God. Men and women must surrender themselves entirely in order to receive divine judgment. Muslims believe that on judgment day the pious will be given eternal life in paradise while the damned will be sent to the realm of eternal fire and torture (Bogle 26). While there were no direct examples of this trait within Jaguar, the basic lifestyle of the character Nouhou exemplified the utter submissive characteristic of Muslims. He always went out of his way to eat the proper foods and pray at the right times even if it meant the public would scorn him.

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