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Felek Ö. Reading the Mi'raj Account as a Theatrical Performance: The Case of Ma’arij al- Nubuvva, in - Exploring (Other) Worlds: New Studies on the Prophet Muhammad’s Ascension (Mi‘raj). Ed. by Ch.Gruber and F.Colby. Indiana University Press, 2010, p. 271-296.


The story of the Prophets mi'raj can be analyzed from multiple perspectives as a telling of one ol the most spectacular miracles of the Prophet. The present study aims to interpret the tale through a specific lens, namely through the form and mechanisms provided by theatrical dramas. In this endeavor, I have chosen to examine the mi'raj section of Ma'arij al-mibuwwafi madarij al-futuwwa (The Stages of Prophecy on the Paths to Magnanimity) composed in Persian by Mu'in al-Din Muhammad Amin b. Hajji Muhammad al-Farahl al-Harawi, also known as Mu'in al-Miskin (d. 908/1501-1502). By examining the text through the methodological tools provided by the fields of narratology and performance, it will become clear that thanks to its highly presentational style and its sequential structure, the ascension narrative gives concrete and vivid substance to the otherwise abstract teachings of Islam. Likewise, it makes the existence of the otherworld immediate and tangible by catering to the expectations of its audience. This study aims to demonstrate—as Jerome Bruner effectively notes in his article "The Narrative Construction of Reality"—"how narrative operates as an instrument of mind in the construction of reality." By presenting the Prophet's mi'raj as the symbolic and performative enactment of the otherworld, this cross-disciplinary investigation aims to highlight the complex audience dynamics evinced by the telling of the mi'raj narrative as well...

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