The Prophet's Ascension: Cross-Cultural Encounters with the Islamic Mi'raj Tales

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9780253353610: The Prophet's Ascension: Cross-Cultural Encounters with the Islamic Mi'raj Tales
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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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About the Author:

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 University of Oregon. He is author of Narrating Muhammad's Night Journey: Tracing the Development of the Ibn 'Abbas Ascension Discourse.

Review:

The edtiors are to be commended for bringing together a diverse series of perspectives on the ascension story. . . . One hopes that further collective explorations of the mi'raj are in the works. (Review of Middle East Studies)

The essays in 'The Prophet’s Ascension' are uniformly excellent and some of them are
simply outstanding. The authors examine various 'miʿra¯jna¯mahs' and discuss the formation of narratives from various perspectives, such as missionary purpose and historical
background, and variously identify esoteric, artistic and performative aspects.26.2 2014 (Al-Masaq)

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 miʿrāj and its place in this Islamic world. (MELA Notes)

All in all, the contents of [this] volume . . . undeniably add greatly to our knowledge of the general subject area and represent a rich collection of source materials and well-researched, perceptive, analyses. (The Muslim World Book Review)

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