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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Assessing the multiple ways the temporal and spatial boundaries of the Qur’an have been expanded through the interaction with culture, this chapter sets out to probe the reciprocal but also ambiguous relationship between the Qur’an and popular culture. It attempts to address the central question of how does a bound book in period-specific Arabic become a universal source of mercy in multiple dialects of Arabic but also in multiple non-Arabic languages, as also for oral cultures, semi-literate populations, and non-elite groups, all of whom draw upon and relate to its divine aura? Issues of language access/privilege, literacy in multiple registers, and the post-Enlightenment, colonial triad of reason/belief/magic—all have to be examined with attention to the central role of the Qur’an as both vehicle and transformer of popular culture, for Muslims and non-Muslims, from West Africa to South-East Asia.

Keywords: culture, music and the Qur’an, magic, custom, popular medicine, art

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