Miniature Qur’ans in the First World War

Religious Comforts for Indian Muslim Soldiers

Authors

  • Kristina Myrvold Linnaeus University
  • Andreas Johansson Lund University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/post.35862

Keywords:

Qur’an, First World War, Indian soldiers, Muslims, religion

Abstract

During the First World War Muslim soldiers from India made up a significant part of the British forces. Attempts to satisfy the soldiers' religious needs became a British strategy to maintain military discipline among the soldiers in Europe and to avoid public unease and discontent in colonial India. Based on archival material, this article examines how the British tried to identify the religious needs of the Indian soldiers and how letters written by Muslim soldiers emphasized the importance of the Qur'an. The article further explores how the Indian Soldiers' Fund became an important charity which procured and distributed miniature copies of the Qur'an and how prominent persons in India and Europe donated scriptures to Muslim soldiers. Although the soldiers' uses of the miniature scriptures remain uncertain, the books were given iconic functions to represent religion and identities in a time when the British national honour was threatened.

Author Biographies

Kristina Myrvold, Linnaeus University

Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University.

Andreas Johansson, Lund University

Post-doctoral researcher at Linnaeus University and Director of the South Asian Studies Network (SASNET), Lund University.

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Published

2019-03-26

How to Cite

Myrvold, K., & Johansson, A. (2019). Miniature Qur’ans in the First World War: Religious Comforts for Indian Muslim Soldiers. Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, 9(2-3), 194–221. https://doi.org/10.1558/post.35862