Monday, September 18, 2017

Truth of tears

Well, my "Theorizing Religion" students not only didn't object to enrolling in a MOOC but were excited to be learning about "world religions," groups of students vying to be the most enthusiastic in describing canons, creeds and interpretive strategies for the scripture traditions they were responsible for (Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism), hermeneutics of suspicion forgotten. Go figure!

And here's something even more surprising. More students listed Islam as the tradition they hoped to be working on than any other, and the four who presented on it today all were not only taken by the course's approach to the Q'uran as an aural text - heard in recitation (including perhaps your own) - but really wanted to share a particular video instructor Ali Asani included in the course. This is it: watch, listen.

Among the readings Asani assigns was al-Ghazali's directive that weeping is the appropriate response to q'uranic recitation, but reading about that is one thing; seeing and hearing it is quite another. I take the students' insistence on sharing it to be more than a report on being moved. I think it's more like the discovery that Islam is, as they have hoped but little in our media tells them, a religion of tenderness, a moving discovery they were sure their classmates would be grateful to make, too. I can say: I was moved.

No comments: