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Chapter 6

The End Is Not Yet


The certainty of death is the strongest argument that the Islamic tradition makes for the world’s end. Exploring the relationship between finitude of all living things and the finite future of the life on earth, this chapter is the author’s unwilling trial in coming to terms with a dreadful possibility of losing what one loves dearly. The chapter closes the book by making more explicit the method by which an anthropology of disaster grasps its subject matter: by anticipating death and the world’s end. More awkward and more hurtful than a regular notes-taking, eschatological awareness turns a researcher into a vulnerable subject. Can stories alone achieve such an awareness or does it take something more visceral or something more devotional? A death by a bee sting, an accident at the apiary, a dream of a funeral, an apocalypse-themed dance party are among the tales found in the chapter that wobbles around this question, written by the author herself lastingly shaken by a dinner conversation with a Sufi Shaykh Ayne.