The Sound of Satan: Different Aspects of Whispering in Islamic theology
AbstractThe purpose of the article is to outline Islamic discourses on sound, more particularly whispering, found in the Qur’ān, the ḥadīth literature and contemporary online fatwas, with the aim of determining whether whispering has different connotations and meanings in different contexts, literary genres and ritual contexts. Examples discussed in the article are derived from a broad range of Islamic sources, such as the Qur’ān and its exegesis and the prophetic literature, but also from a number of different fields within Muslim culture, such as the Internet, YouTube clips and notes from fieldwork among Muslim groups in Sweden. On the basis of the texts and videos selected for analysis, I discuss the belief that whispering has the potential to disturb and cause disorder, and is associated with Satan. Whispering is looked upon as an intermediate and therefore suspicious position, between silence and saying something out loud. More generally, whispering is closely associated with the negative effects of Satan’s power over mankind.
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