W2: The Qur’an as Talisman

This piece was mainly a response to Abdullahi Osman El-Tom’s “Drinking the Koran: The Meaning of Koranic Verses in Berti Erasure” and the idea discussed in lecture and in section of the Qur’an as talisman. I wanted to create something that speaks to the understanding of the Qur’an as a text, particularly as a text with many dimensions and a lot of power. I also found this idea (first encountered in lecture) reflected in the El-Tom reading, where he asserts,

The Koran is regarded as containing divine power; thus, to possess the Koranic texts renders an individual powerful and protects him against misfortunes and malevolent forces. The highest form of the possession of the Koran is its commitment to memory, which amounts to its internalization in the head, the superior part of the body, whence it can be instantly reproduced by recitation. (1985:416)

I found interesting the idea that there is a sort of hierarchy to different ways of ‘possessing’ or ‘internalising’ the Qur’an. I was additionally inspired to represent a child’s experience by the early pages of Ziauddin Sardar’s Reading the Qur’an, which begins, “I grew up reading the Qur’an on my mother’s lap.” Thinking about a child’s experience, engagement, and understanding as regards the Qur’an made me choose the angle I did and heavily influenced the storyline; for example, it was important to me that it was the mother who held the deeper spiritual wisdom, and passed it on to her child.

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