Representing Recitation: The Qur'an in the Museum

Alan Walters Building - G03
Wednesday 9 November 2022 (18:00-19:00)

This is a free public event. Everyone is welcome. Please register.

Birmingham Qur'an
Folio of an early Qur'an, MS Mingana Arabic Islamic 1572a, Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham

As part of a collaboration between Cadbury Research Library and the Museum of Islamic Arts & Heritage (MIAH) Foundation, we are pleased to launch a new bi-monthly lecture series on Islamic Art. Our first event will invite Professor Wendy Shaw to discuss: "Representing Recitation: The Qur'an in the Museum". 

The word "Qur'an" in English is generally understood as referring to a sacred text, akin to the "Bible," meaning literally "book" in Greek. Yet the Qur'an is not simply a book; it is a recitation that is also a sonic representation of a sacred original tablet extant only in the realm of the Divine. What, then, does it mean to display the Qur'an as manifest in book form in a public space, such as a museum? To what extent and how can a physical object with a range of traits represent the relationship of the sacred word with Islam? This talk will explore how exhibits might move beyond the display of the Qur'an as material culture and engage as well with an intangibility inherent to Islam.