Islam, Imaginary Order, Bodies

Lacan claimed that the imaginary order and the body are related according to a fundamental logic of consistency. The body, like the image, does not appear to evaporate. It is a surface, like the skin that stretches around to contain the multiplicity of its organs and to cover the multiplicity of its holes (not only the erogenous zones but the pores as well, etc).
If we think deeply about the holes of the body then we are confronted by a certain horror. A certain death encroaches upon the world of consistency. This, for example, explains the male tendency to avoid any confrontation with the anus or with the belly button. It explains my early nightmares about carrots entering into my belly button.
Islam here shares in the Western continental tradition.
If, for example, Descartes initially distrusted the body (“extended substance”) as a method of obtaining certainty or wisdom then Islam too distrusts the image. The two are united in their distrust of the logic of consistency. In Arabic the phoneticized word “Jasad” means “body” but it also means “image.” In the Quran it is rendered in both ways. For example, in Surah 7:148 one translation reads: “The people of Moses made, in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image [Jasad] of a calf for worship: […] They took it for worship and they did wrong.” However, in Surah 21:8, the phoneticized word “Jasad” is rendered as “body” (e.g., “Nor did we give them bodies that ate no food, nor were they exempt from death.”)
The lesson that Islam shares with the continental tradition — and yet not with the Christian tradition per se — is that we ought to distrust the consistency of the body/image. The body is forever subject to the horrors of death.
Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes: “Jasad literally means a body, especially the body of a man […] it is used obviously for a human body […] but also the idea of an image, without any real life or soul, is also suggested.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s