Texts as Objects of Value and Veneration

Islamic Law Books in the Indian Ocean Littoral

In: Sociology of Islam

For the Islamic communities, the Quran is not the only sacred text or object, but most religious texts is sacred and valuable for their comparative connectivity with the text and contents of the Holy Book. The phenomenological discourses on Islamic textuality are very much centered on Sufism. The legal texts have hardly been acknowledged as part of religious signs, symbols or rituals, whereas those are considered the most important for the majority of Muslims in the Indian Ocean littoral who identify themselves as Sunnī and Shāfiʿī Muslims. The texts of the Shāfiʿī school have played a crucial role in disseminating and sustaining ideas and notions of Islam in the littoral from the age of the manuscripts until the present age of print and new media. As sources of this knowledge and their faith systems, those texts have found significant places in their religious imaginations and performances with varying meanings and functions as objects of sacralization, conservation, and commodification. This article analyses multiple forms of intentionality and temporal and spatial awareness in the making and keeping of these legal texts as valued and venerated objects.

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