The Prophet's Ascension: Cross-cultural Encounters With The Islamic Mi'raj Tales

Hardcover | February 1, 2010

EditorChristiane Gruber, Frederick S. Colby

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The tales of the mi'raj describe the prophet Muhammad's journey through the heavens, his encounters with prophets and angels, and his visit to heaven and hell. The tales are among Islam's most popular, appearing in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish literature, and in later adaptations throughout the Muslim world. Often serving as narratives designed to promote the worldview of particular Muslim groups, the tales were also a means for communities to construct rules of normative behavior and ritual practices, and were used to assert the superiority of Islam over other religions. The essays in this collection discuss the formation of this narrative, the mi'raj as a missionary text, its various adaptations, its application to esoteric thought, and its use in performance and ritual.

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The tales of the mi'raj describe the prophet Muhammad's journey through the heavens, his encounters with prophets and angels, and his visit to heaven and hell. The tales are among Islam's most popular, appearing in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish literature, and in later adaptations throughout the Muslim world. Often serving as narratives...

Christiane Gruber is Assistant Professor of Islamic Art at Indiana University Bloomington. She is author of The Timurid Book of Ascension (Mi'rajnama): A Study of Text and Image in a Pan-Asian Context and The Ilkhanid Book of Ascension: A Persian-Sunni Devotional Tale.Frederick Colby is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the U...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:440 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.19 inPublished:February 1, 2010Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0253353610

ISBN - 13:9780253353610

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction

Part 1. The Formation of Mi'raj Narratives as Missionary Texts
1. Tours of Hell and Punishments of Sinners in Mi'raj Narratives: Use and Meaning of Eschatology in Muhammad's Ascension / Roberto Tottoli
2. The Ilkhanid Mi'rajnama as an Illustrated Sunni Prayer Manual / Christiane Gruber
3. The Jews at the Edge of the World in a Timurid-Era Mi'rajnama: The Islamic Ascension Narrative as Missionary Text / Maria E. Subtelny
4. The Chaghatay Mi'rajnama Attributed to Hakim Suleyman Ata: A Missionary Text from the Twelfth or Thirteenth Century Preserved in Modern Manuscripts / Max Scherberger
5. Contesting the Eschaton in Medieval Iberia: The Polemical Intersection of Beatus of Liebana's Commentary on the Apocalypse and the Prophet's Mi'rajnama / Heather M. Coffey

Part 2. The Adaptation of Mi'raj Narratives in Esoteric and Literary Contexts
6. Early Imami Shi'i Narratives and Contestation over Intimate Colloquy Scenes in Muhammad's Mi'raj / Frederick Colby
7. Prophetic Ascent and the Initiatory Ascent in Qadi al-Nu'man's Asas al-Ta'wil / Elizabeth R. Alexandrin
8. Mi'raj and the Language of Legitimation in the Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophical Traditions: A Case Study of Avicenna and Abraham ibn Ezra / Aaron W. Hughes
9. Pious Journey, Sacred Desire: Observations on the Mi'raj in Early Anatolian Turkish Verse Narratives / Selim S. Kuru
10. Skepticism and Forgiveness: The Mi'rac in Veysi's Durretu t-tac / Gottfried Hagen
11. Mystical Love, Prophetic Compassion, and Ethics: An Ascension Narrative in the Medieval Bengali Nabivamsa of Saiyad Sultan / Ayesha Irani
12. Persian Illustrated Lithographed Books on the Mi'raj: Improving Children's Shi'i Beliefs in the Qajar Period / Ali Boozari

Part 3. The Mi'raj as Performance and Ritual
13. Reading the Mi'raj Account as a Theatrical Performance: The Case of Ma'arij al-Nubuwwa / Ozgen Felek
14. Reworking the Ascension in Ottoman Lands: An Eighteenth-Century Mi'rajnama in Greek from Epirus / Phokion P. Kotzageorgis
15. Shah Isma'il Safevi and the Mi'raj: Hata'i's Vision of a Sacred Assembly / Amelia Gallagher
16. When the Prophet Went on the Mirac He Saw a Lion on the Road: The Mirac in the Alevi-Bektasi Tradition / Vernon Schubel

Bibliography
List of Contributors
Index

Editorial Reviews

"All in all this is a superb work of scholarship. The articles have been extremely well chosen, and are cogent and clearly written.... Co -editors Christian Gruber and Frederick Colby have done an excellent job in compiling this work, and it will undoubtedly become one of the authoritative works on the mirj and its place in this Islamic world." -MELA Notes