Between God and Man: Representations of the Prophet in Literature, Arts, and Media

© Sakıp Sabancı Museum Istanbul

Ruhr University Bochum, 9-10 November 2017

Venue: Beckmanns Hof, Room Tokyo

Based on its doctrinal and historiographical foundations, the Muslims’ relation to the Prophet Muhammad was and still is strongly articulated in the spheres of literature, arts, and also in the modern media. Along with the rise of Prophetic piety since the 12th century, the literary and artistic focus on the Prophet equally gained in importance as a medium of orientation towards him, a process that has continued ever since and became a central element of Muslim culture in the early modern and modern periods. Literary and artistic forms of representation of the Prophet expanded in various temporal, spatial and cultural contexts, creating a wide range of literary, calligraphic, iconographic and media-related forms of expression. With their different cultural, communal and sectarian coloring, and with the fierce contestations that have sometimes gone along with them, the highly variegated literary and artistic expressions of Prophetic piety still lack a comparative framework of study.  [ read more]


Thursday, 9 November 2017


9.00-9.30 Welcoming Coffee and Opening of the Workshop

Session I: Poetical Approaches to the Prophet

9.30-10.00 Ève Feuillebois-Pierunek: Praising the Prophet in Niẓāmī’s Quintet (12th c.)

10.00-10.30 Brigitte Foulon: The Praise Poems Composed by Lisân al-Dîn Ibn al-Khatîb (d. 1374) for the Celebration of the Birth of the Prophet (al-mawlidiyyât)

10.30-11.00 Discussion

11.00-11.15 Coffee Break

11.15-11.45 Francesco Zappa: Praising the Prophet in West African, especially Malian Islamic Literatures and their Current Mediated Performances: A Preliminary Survey

11.45-12.15 Rüdiger Seesemann: “The Splendid Jewel in Praise of the Most Eminent Beloved”: Glimpses from the Diwan of Shaykh Ibrahim b. Sidi Muhammad al-Tijani (d. 1999, Darfur, Sudan)

12.15-13.15 Discussion

13.15-14.45 Lunch Break


14.45-15.15 Torsten Tschacher: Another Rama? Modern Responses to the Depiction of the Prophet in Tamil Devotional Poetry

15.15-15.45 Gianfranco Bria: Reinvent and Translate the Islamic Tradition in Contemporary Albania: The Mevlud Between Community Demands and National Aspirations

15.45-16.00 Coffee Break

16.00-16.30 Stephan Milich: Prophecy and War: Images of Saddam Hussein in the Poetry of ʿAbd al-Razzāq ʿAbd al-Wāḥid

16.30-17.00 Discussion


Friday, 10 November 2017


Session II: The Prophet in Calligraphy and Art

9.00-9.30 Tobias Heinzelmann: Visualizing the Prophet – Rhetorical and Graphic Aspects of Three Ottoman-Turkish Poems

9.30-10.00 Christiane Gruber: The Prophet as a ‘Sacred Spring’: Late Ottoman Hilye Bottles

10.00-10.15 Coffee Break

10.15-10.45 Hiba ʿAbid and Francesco Chiabotti: The World of al-Qandūsī (d. 1861): Calligraphy and Prophetology in 19th-century Fes

10.45-11.15 Discussion

11.30-13.00 Lunch Break


Session III: The Prophet in Music

13.00-13.30 Ines Heinrich: Ḥabīb – Ṭabīb – Shafīʿ (Beloved, Healer, and Intercessor): The Creation of Muḥammad’s Qualities through Contemporary Chant in Syria and Lebanon

13.30-14.00 Sajida Fazal: Image of Prophet Mohammad and Female Representation in Sufi Performing Arts, ‘Qawwali’ in Pakistan

14.00-14.30 Discussion

14.30-14.45 Coffee Break

Session IV: The Prophet in Audiovisual Media

14.45-15.15 Max Stille: Auditive Dimensions of Prophetic Presence and Divine Compassion in Bengali Wa’z Mahfils

15.15-15.45 Dilek Sarmis: The Recent Diffusion of the Film “The Message” in France: Debates on the Web on an Indirect Representation of the Prophet

15.45-16.45 Discussion and Conclusions

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