Workshop explores approaches to the Qur’an in Africa

Over the past 200 years, the Qur’an has been interpreted in diverse ways throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Scholars from Africa, North America and Europe will explore the ways in which the Qur’an Page from the Blue Qur’an of 10th-century North Africahas been understood and approached at a two-day workshop later this month.

Anthropology Professor Zulfikar Hirji has organized and will host the workshop, Approaches to the Qur’an in Sub-Saharan Africa, at the Textile Museum of Canada May 20-21.

Right: Page from the Blue Qur’an of
10th-century North Africa

The workshop will bring together scholars and students – many from York – as well as artists and community members to examine issues concerning Muslim societies and Islam in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on the Qur’an.

The workshop is open to the public and free with admission to the museum. Workshop highlights include the following ticketed evening events.

On the Friday evening, the Textile Museum holds an opening reception for its new exhibit, Magic Squares: The Patterned Imagination of Muslim Africa in Contemporary Culture, from 5 to 7pm. Later, a panel of artists – Jamelie Hassan, Hamid Kachmar, Tim Whiten and Alia Toor – will discuss the  Art by Jamelie Hassan intersection of their work with the richly diverse patterned imagination of Muslim Africa beginning at 7:30pm.

Left: Art by Jamelie Hassan 

On the Saturday evening, Abdel Kader Haidara, director of Mali’s Mamma Haidara Library, will give a talk, Preserving/Mediating the Word: The Manuscript Libraries of Timbuktu, Mali. The talk will be moderated by Ruba Kana’an, York-Noor Chair of Islamic Studies. It will be followed by a musical performance by Waleed Abdulhamid, winner of the 2011 New Pioneer Music Award, and his ensemble.

The workshop is sponsored by the London-based Institute of Ismaili Studies, York’s Anthropology Department and Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies in collaboration with the Textile Museum of Canada.