Blog post 1

AIU54 Blog Post 1 Image 001

This image explores the central role occupied by the Qur’an in Islamic piety, whether in upbringing of Muslim children or in culturally motivated uses of the supposed holy writ. In Ziauddin Saddar’s reading from the first discussion section, he recalls his early exposure to the text that was revealed to Muhammad for the following of all Muslims. Ziauddin’s mother would read the text to him while the six-year old lad sat on his mother’s lap. Interesting enough, Ziauddin suggests that six years was too late for him to have been introduced to the central activity of reading and listening to recitation of the Qur’an. In my image, I show a baby in his mother’s arms, supposedly much younger than six years old. The baby, as it is the case for many other people, is exposed to Qur’an recitation by being brought into office of a hafiz – one socially recognized as a guardian of the Qur’an.  The title of the sketch, “Once a Student of the Qur’an, Now a Master of the Text and a Healer by it too,” captures the fact that the hafiz himself was once a student in his mother’s arm but has grown into a reliable guard of the text.

Beside the young man in the image is a jar containing a concoction, which is intended to be a medication synthesized from dissolving writings of Qur’anic verses. The man could be one of the Sudanese traditional healers in Abdullahi Osman El-Tom’s piece from the first set of section readings. In the reading, Abdullahi explores a cultural healing practice prevalent among the Muslims of Sudan. The practice involves writing verses from the Qur’an (ie. ayah) on slates and using the washings of the writings as medication in hope that the Qur’anic verses have the potency to heal. My sketch captures this practice by showing the concoction on the desk of the hafiz; possibly, this concoction was to be administered in healing the baby in the mother’s arms. Muslims’ religious piety revolves around the revelation of the Qur’an, and this revelation is introduced to children in Islamic communities very early in their developments; this introduction may take the form of parents’ recitation of the text to the children, or even the child’s drinking of the text as medicine.

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