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Prologue: An Adventure of Understanding

“The story of Islam is not one story but many stories involving peoples of many different races, ethnicities, and cultures, professing conflicting interpretations. To acquire a correctly nuanced understanding of Islam and its role in Muslim societies, crucial questions one should ask include: Which Islam? Whose Islam?”—Ali Asani, Infidel of Love: Exploring Muslim Understanding of […]

Week 12: The Laughter of a Woman

The Laughter of a Woman   In the singing springs of stony mountains Echoes the gentle laughter of a woman Wealth, power and fame mean nothing In her body, hidden, lies her freedom Let the new gods of the earth try as they can They cannot hear the sob of her ecstasy Everything sells in […]

Week 8: Sama and Ecstatic Consciousness

For this project I wanted to portray this Sufi tradition/idea of sama.  Sama literally means audition but in the context of Islam it is the process of hearing with the ear of the heart.  One reading mentioned listening to music or the singing of mystical poetry with the intent of increasing awareness and understanding of […]

Week 9: Wine as Divine Intoxication in Ghazal Poetry

From the Large Jug, Drink by Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Shīrāzī   From the large jug, drink the wine of Unity, So that from your heart you can wash away the futility of life’s grief.   But like this large jug, still keep the heart expansive. Why would you want to keep the heart captive, […]

Week 5: Puppet Taziyeh

  Taziyeh Puppets An important story in Islam is the heroic martyrdom of Hussein.  Hussein was the grandson of the prophet.  After the death of the prophet, there was a problem of leadership.  Two divisions were created, the Sunnis and Shi’ites.  In a constant battle for power, Hussein ended up being slain by the opposing […]

Week 4:Muhammad as an Amulet

  “You are God’s pure light, the master of the universe, the prince, /[Yours] is the rule of the two worlds, the luminous heart of the morning sun; / You are the refuge of sinners; the minister of the One and Only;/ Be mindful of me, efface this sorrow; listen to my supplication, O Ahmad!/ […]

Week 3: Recitation as Transcendence

Recitation Week 3 During the third week of lecture we discussed the recitation of the Qur’an.  Even as a non-Arabic speaker, I still felt connected and moved by both the sounds and also the artistry of the reciter.  However, the more I listened, the more I felt like I wasn’t connecting deep enough.  This might […]