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Lecture 3

Monday September 24 Week 3.docx

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Religious Studies
RELS 226
Sayeh Meisami

Monday September 24, Week 3 The Qur’an and the Tradition  Islam has a universal appeal because it states that everyone is equal, which is probably why it spread so quickly  “Muhammad is not a poet… poets speak through desire and he does not, he speaks through God”  The Qur’an is not translated… it remains in the same Arabic that it has been transcribed in over years.  The Qur’an’s version of paradise is an oasis, with shade and trees and pools of water, etc. This vision of paradise is what every desert Bedouin or person in this area would consider paradise or at least desirable.  Against anthropomorphism of God. God is abstract, he is not supposed to be visualized and made to look like us. Muhammad is also supposed to not be touched… no paintings or sculptures etc. Muhammad is simply a man who was used to spread the word of god, but it doesn’t really matter what he looks like and he is not meant to be worshipped, so why worry about preserving his picture? The Qur’an is God’s representation on earth. Instead, calligraphy is the most popular form because it makes the words beautiful  The Qur’an has little signs to ensure that people can understand and pronounce things appropriately. Otherwise the original meaning or context can change The Origin and Form of the Qur’an  Revelation and oral transmission (in Arabic revelation & revealing is hearing and not seeing like in English)  The claim to divine safeguard and inimitability (after Muhammad dies the task of keeping the Word going)  The inadequacy of the written language and the importance of memorization and recitation as rituals (its not just a book of practices or ideals its got a certain holy aura about it that the written language cannot just live up to)  The standard text in 300 A.H. (prefer oral but understand that to preserve the original message this is necessary)  The canonical ordering: 114 Surah arranged by length (this was given later by humans; not something that was original)  The names not part of the revealed message (the chapters were made by humans)  Chapter, verse, numbering in Western scholarship  Poetic form and musicality The Qur’an and Rituals  Reciting and listening as a ritual, the art of recitation, techniques and contests  All about the presences before God and Qur’an and its sacred power  Revering the text and purity of context (you cannot touch the words in the Qur’an unless you are clean and pure otherwise it is a sin)  Translati
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