Aqeedat Ke Rang

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Seminar on

Aqeedat Ke Rang: Expression of Devotions in Islam



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 angel of God, through the word of mouth and certain other ways such as: Roya-e-sadiqua (revelation through true dreams) and salsalutul jaras (sound of ringing bells) and direct dialogue with God (known as manajat).  The Prophet conveyed and spread these verses to the masses through oral recitation. The Quran was compiled in a book form as available today during the time of the caliphs starting from the first pious Caliph. Another oral tradition is that of Hadith, which contains advice and solutions to the day today problems of the people provided by The Prophet to his followers.

Oral transmission of the Quran by the Hafiz, the traditional reciter is another significant institution which has played a great role in the spread of Islam. Hafiz memorises (hifz), the verses and renders them verbatim.  The process of oral rendition of Qu'ran is called q'irat.  There are different styles of qirat called qirat-e-saba. Qirat used to have some regional variations also.

During the month of Ramadan 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 qirat, 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 Mercias of the memory of tragic happenings 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 Mercia, Salam, Manqabat, Noha, Qasida etc. are recited in this style. Influence of local traditions also impacted the style of recitation e.g. Darud Khawani and Award Khawani in Kashmir, which clearly demonstrates the subtle impact of the Buddhist chanting tradition.

Next comes the tradition of devotional music which in the Sufi parlance is called Samah.  Some forms of that need mention here are qual and Quawali, manajat, 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 Khawani, Salam, dua, Qasida and zikr will be in focus here. Zikr is a form through which one remembers Almighty Allah and the in the Darud Khawani the Prophet is eulogized individually and in a group respectively. The form of zikr and as well as darud Khawani varies from region to region.

Among the Shia Muslims 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 workshop 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-day workshop.

The workshop has been divided into four broad themes:

  • Qirat

  • Devotional poetry

  • Devotional music

  • Indigenous folk forms

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

Also an exhibition on culture and religious tradition in Islam will be organized during the seminar.


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