This work aims to open up new discourses about Islam in sub-Saharan Africa through the examination of how Muslims in this geographical and socio-cultural context have engaged with the Qur’an. Covering a period from the twelfth/eighteenth century to the early twenty-first century, this multidisciplinary volume examines a variety of geographical locations in sub-Saharan Africa including Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania.

The book’s twelve case studies use different frameworks and methodological approaches from the academic disciplines of anthropology, art history, historiography and philology. They explore a variety of media and modalities that Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa, as elsewhere, use in their engagements with the Qur’an. This volume moves well beyond the materiality of the Qur’an as a physical book to explore the ways in which it is understood, felt and imagined, and to examine the contestations and debates that arise from these diverse engagements. The volume covers textual culture (manuscripts, commentaries and translations); aural and oral culture (recitations and invocations, music and poetry); the lived experience (magic squares and symbolic repertoire, medicinal and curative acts, healing and prayer, dreams and spirit worlds); material culture (textiles, ink, paper, and wooden boards); and education.

In seeking to understand the plurality of engagements that Muslims from diverse communities of interpretation and from different parts of sub-Saharan Africa have had with the Qur’an, this volume adds to the scholarship on the Qur’an as well as the scholarship on Islam and Muslims in Africa.