Five Times Daily

Scott Royle, Five Times Daily: The Dynamics of Prayer Worship Among Muslim Immigrants in St. John’s, NL,” under the supervision of Dr. Barry Stephenson. (2016)

Abstract:This thesis explores the ritual of prayer among Muslim immigrants in the city of St. John’s, NL. Immigration across national, cultural, religious, and ethnic borders is a moment in an individual’s life marked by significant change. My premise is that in such contexts the relatively conservative nature of religious ritual can supply much-needed continuity, comfort, and consolation for individuals living- through the immigrant experience. As well, ritual forms are often put under stress when transferred to a considerably different place and cultural context, where “facts on the ground” may be obstacles to traditional and familiar ritual forms. Changes to the understanding or practice of ritual are common in new cultural and geographic situations, and ritual itself often becomes not merely a means of social identification and cohesion, but a practical tool in processing change – in the context of immigration, in learning to live in a new community. St. John’s is a lively and historic city and while Muslim immigrants may be a small group within it they nevertheless contribute to the city’s energy and atmosphere. This thesis endeavours to better understand the life stories of ten of these newcomers to St. John’s, focusing on their religious backgrounds and lives. In particular, this thesis seeks to better understand the place of prayer in the immigrant experience.