Sensing Sound: Aesthetic and Religious Experience According to al-Ghazālī

  • Ines Weinrich
Keywords: Islam, music, Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, sonic dimensions, Muslim ritual

Abstract

The Muslim theologian Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (d. 1111) is one of the most often cited authors when it comes to "music and Islam." His “Book on the Etiquette of Listening and Ecstasy” (*Kitāb Ādāb as-samāʿ wa-l-wajd*), translated into English more than a hundred years ago, is widely circulated among Muslims in the East and West, in Arabic and English, in print and on the internet. This paper re-examines the text against the background of Arab musical theory of the time when it was written, and analyses selected technical terms that allude to concepts rooted in Late Antique musical philosophy and become also tangible in the Qurʾān. al-Ghazālī recognises both aesthetic pleasure and the transformative power of sounds and gives guidance how to channel the hearing perception into a salvific experience.

Published
2019-12-17
How to Cite
Weinrich, I. (2019). Sensing Sound: Aesthetic and Religious Experience According to al-Ghazālī. Entangled Religions, 10. https://doi.org/10.13154/er.10.2019.8437