Licit Magic - The Touch and Sight of Islamic Talismanic Scrolls - A PhD thesis by Yasmine F Al-Saleh (2014).pdf

(4251 KB) Pobierz
"Licit Magic": The Touch And Sight Of Islamic Talismanic Scrolls
The Harvard community has made this article openly available.
Please share
how this access benefits you. Your story matters.
Alsaleh, Yasmine F. 2014. "Licit Magic": The Touch And Sight
Of Islamic Talismanic Scrolls. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard
August 28, 2017 4:40:30 PM EDT
Citable Link
Terms of Use
This article was downloaded from Harvard University's DASH
repository, and is made available under the terms and conditions
applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at
(Article begins on next page)
“Licit Magic”: The Touch And Sight Of Islamic Talismanic Scrolls
A dissertation presented
Yasmine F. Al-Saleh
The Committee for Middle Eastern Studies
in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
in the subject of
History of Art and Architecture and Middle Eastern Studies
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
February 2014
© 2014 Yasmine F. Al-Saleh
All rights reserved
Dissertation Advisor:
Professor David J. Roxburgh
Professor Gülru Necipoğlu-Kafadar
Yasmine F. Al-Saleh
“Licit Magic”: The Touch And Sight Of Islamic Talismanic Scrolls
The following study traces the production and history of the talismanic scroll as a medium
through a Fatimid, Ayyubid, and Mamluk historical periods. My dissertation understands the
protocol of manufacturing and utilizing talismanic scrolls. The dissertation is a study of the
Qur’an, prayers and illustrations of these talismanic works. I begin by investigating a theory of
the occult the medieval primary sources of the Neo-platonic tenth century Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ and
al-Bunī (d.1225). I establish that talismans are generally categorized as science (‘ilm). Next, a
dynastic spotlight of talismanic scrolls creates a chronological framework for the dissertation.
The Fatimid talismanic scrolls and the Ayyubid pilgrimage scrolls are both block-printed and are
placed within the larger conceptual framework of pilgrimage and devotion. The two unpublished
Mamluk scrolls from Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah are long beautiful handwritten scrolls that
provide a perspective on how the occult is part of the daily life of the practitioner in the
medieval Islamic culture. Through an in depth analysis of the written word and images, I
establish that textually and visually there is a template for the creation of these sophisticated
scrolls. Lastly, I discuss the efficacy of these scrolls, I use theories of linguistic anthropology
and return to the Islamic primary sources to establish that there is a language of the occult and
there are people that practiced the occult. The word of God and the Qurʾān empower the scrolls I
studied. As for the people who practiced the occult, I turn to the tenth century Ibn al-Nadim and
Ibn al-Khaldun (d.1406), the people of the occult are understood. Yet, keeping in mind, that there
is always a tension with the theologians that condoned practices of Islamic magic.
This study illuminates new perspectives on the study of the occult. It becomes apparent
there is a conceptual relationship between the occult and devotion. The talismanic scroll and its
contents recontextualizes ideas about piety, belief, and concerns for the medieval Muslim
believer be they supplications to God and the prophet Muhammad, or concerns about health,
travel, military achievements or Judgment Day.
Zgłoś jeśli naruszono regulamin