Embodying the Qur’an
Mohammed was said by his wife Aisha to be a “walking Qur’an”. This saying is taken both as a statement of his exemplary character as well as an image for the fact that he embodied the words of the Qur’an. Memorization and recitation from memory is conceived of as embodying the holy text and it is also the primary aim of Qur’anic education. In West Africa, drinking the ink of the writing boards is the closing ritual of a lesson at Qur’anic school, the text being thus embodied both mentally and physically. Drinking the Qur’an, literally incorporating its words infused in water, is also widely considered to be an effective medicine, in which materiality and sonality of the sacred words contribute to its efficacy. In my paper, I will take up the notion of embodying and sounding the Qur’an as an aesthetic ideology governing its ritual uses.
Author: Katharina Wilkens
Berglund, Jenny. 2010. Teaching Islam. Islamic Religious Education in Sweden. Münster: Waxmann.
Boyle, Helen N. 2006. “Memorization and Learning in Islamic Schools.” Comparative Education Review 50(3), 478–495. https://doi.org/10.2307/4091412
Cancik, Hubert and Mohr, Hubert. 1988. “Religionsästhetik.” In Handbuch der religionswissenschaftlichen Grundbegriffe, ed. Hubert Cancik, Burkhard Gladigow and Matthias Laubscher, 121–156. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0395264900059370
Eickelman, Dale F. 1978. “The Art of Memory: Islamic Education and its Social Reproduction.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 20: 485–516. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0010417500012536
Graham, William A. 1987. Beyond the Written Word. Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gross, Steffen W. 2011. Cognitio sensitiva. Ein Versuch über die Ästhetik als Lehre von der Erkenntnis des Menschen. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann.
Hardaker, Glenn and Sabki, Aishah Ahmad. 2014. “Islamic Pedagogy and Embodiment. An Anthropological Study of a British Madrasah.” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 28(8): 873–886. https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2014.917738
Hefner, Robert W. and Zaman, Muhammad Qasim, ed. 2007. Schooling Islam. The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. https://doi.org/10.7146/tifo.v3i1.24561
Hornbacher, Annette. 2016. “Introduction. Balinese Practices of Script and Western Paradigms of Texts. An Anthropological Approach to a Philological Topic.” In The Materiality and Efficacy of Balinese Letters, ed. Richard Fox and Annette Hornbacher, 1–22. Leiden: Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004326828_002
Keane, Webb. 2003. “Semiotics and the social analysis of material things.” Language & Communication 23(3–4): 409–425. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0271-5309(03)00010-7
Kermani, Navid. 2014 . God is Beautiful: The Aesthetic Experience of the Quran. Translated by Tony Crawford. Cambridge: Polity.
Launay, Robert, ed. 2016a. Islamic Education in Africa. Writing Boards and Blackboards. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. https://doi.org/10.1111/amet.12535
Launay, Robert. 2016b. “Introduction: Writing Boards and Blackboards.” In Islamic Education in Africa. Writing Boards and Blackboards, ed. Robert Launay, 1–26. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1zxz0gv.4
Launay, Robert and Ware III., Rudolph T. 2016. “How (Not) to Read the Qur’an? Logics of Islamic Education in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire.” In Islamic Education in Africa. Writing Boards and Blackboards, edited by Robert Launay, 255–267. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1zxz0gv.16
Nieber, Hanna. 2017. “‘They all just want to get healthy!’ Drinking the Qur’an between forming religious and medical subjectivities in Zanzibar.” Journal of Material Culture 22(4), 453–475. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183517729427
Perho, Irmeli. 2006. “Medicine and the Qur’an.” In Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, volume 3, edited by Jane Dammen McAuliffe, 349–367. Leiden: Brill.
Promey, Sally M. 2014. “Introduction.” In Sensational Religion. Sensory Cultures in Material Practice, edited by Sally M. Promey, 1–21. New Haven: Yale University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0009640715000402
Scheer, Monique. 2012. “Are Emotions a Kind of Practice (And Is That What Makes Them Have a History)? A Bourdieuian Approach to Understanding Emotion.” History and Theory 51(2): 193–220. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2303.2012.00621.x
Suit, Natalia K. 2010 . “Muṣḥaf and the Material Boundaries of the Qur’an.” Postscripts 6(1–3): 143–163.
Ware III, Rudolph T. 2014. The Walking Qur’an. Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge, and History in West Africa. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. https://doi.org/10.5149/northcarolina/
Wilke, Annette and Moebus, Oliver. 2011. Sound and Communication. An Aesthetic Cultural History of Sanskrit Hinduism. Berlin: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.5149/northcarolina/9781469614311.001.0001
Wilkens, Katharina. 2012 . “Infusions and Fumigations: Literacy Ideology and Therapeutic Aspects of the Qur’an.” Postscripts 8(1–2): 115–136.
Yelle, Robert. 2013. The Language of Disenchantment: Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199924998.003.0006