Aqeedat Ke Rang

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Aqeedat Ke Rang: Expressions of Devotion in Islam

Seminar: 21 - 23 March 2007

Abstract and Bio-data of Participants

 

Exhibition

Concept

The tradition of oral transmission in Islam can be traced back to the concept of wahi. Quranic verses were revealed to The Prophet through Jibrail, the messenger of God, through the word of mouth and certain other ways such as : Roya-e-sadiqua (revelation through dreams) and salsalutul jars (sound of ringing bells) and direct dialogue with the God. The Prophet spread these verses to the masses through oral recitation. Quran was compiled in a book form as available today during the time of the first pious Caliph. Another oral tradition is that of Hadith, which contains advice and solutions provided by The Prophet to his followers.

Oral transmission of the Quran by the Hafiz, the traditional reciter is another significant institution in the spread of Islam. Hafiz memorises (hifz), the verses and renders them verbatim. The process of oral rendition of Quran is called quirat. There are different styles of quirat called quirat-e-saba. Quirat may have some regional variations.

During the month of Ramzan there is a tradition of reciting the Quran in mosques after the Isha prayer (night prayer). This is called taravih. In taravih the entire Quran is recited within the period beginning with the visibility of moon of Ramzan and ending with the visibility of moon announcing the festival of Id-ul-fitr.

Apart from quirat, oral rendition of devotional poetry is also very strong in Islam. Various literary forms such as hamd (poetry in praise of Almighty God), na’at in praise of the Prophet) manquabat (poetry in praise of the family of the Prophet, his companions, associates and other religious figures) are very popular. Marsia is a form of lament poetry which came to be mostly associated with mersias of the memory of tragic happing of Karbala. This poetry acquired an indigenous hue in India. It became a strong metaphor against exploitation, dictatorship and misrule. Indian poets used local linguistic idioms and symbols to bring out the pathos in the poetry. This syncretism gave rise to dahe in Awadhi, ashurkhana in Deccani, kabad in Panjabi. etc. 

The seminar will also look at different styles of recitation such as sozkhani. Different literary forms like mersia, salam, manquabat, noha, kasida etc. are recited in this style. Influence of local traditions also impacted the style of recitation e.g. durud khani in Kashmir, which clearly demonstrates the Buddhist chanting tradition.

Next comes the tradition of devotional music. Some form that need mention here are qual and quawali, munajat, baulgiti and nazrulgiti of Bengal and Chaharbait from Tonk and Rampur. Women have played a great role in preserving the tradition of oral recitation in Islam. Forms such as milad, salam, dua, kasida and zikr will be in focus here. Zikr is a form through which one remembers Almighty Allah and the Prophet individually and in a group. The form of zikr varies from region to region.

Among the Shia Muslim the tradition of kahani also present us with interesting syncreticism of classical forms with the indigenous tradition. Koshkol songs sung by Takiya Faquirs are another important dimension of folk music. Quissa goi, though not religious in character, is also an important part of Islamic culture in India and the Seminar will include this as well in its ambit.

In order to project different colours of devotion and dedication in Islam, with special reference to its Indian rootedness, the IGNCA is organizing a three-days Seminar.

The Seminar has been divided into four broad themes:

  • Quirat

  • Devotional poetry

  • Devotional music

  • Indigenous folk forms

Besides presentation by scholars, the Seminar aims to bring together a plethora of performances by professional, amateurs and household groups during each session.

Also an exhibition on ‘Tradition of Calligraphy’ and ‘Islamic Monumens’ in Islam will be organized during the Seminar.

Molly Kaushal

 


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