Size Matters!

Miniature Mushafs and the Landscape of Affordances


  • Jonas Svensson Linnaeus University



Islam, Qur’an, mushaf, affordances, semantic, perfomative and iconic dimensions of sacred texts, kawaii


The aim of this article is to address the question of why miniature Qur'ans have been and still are desirable objects. The question is approached with the help of the concept of "affordances" (Gibson 1986; Knappett 2005), or the different "action possibilities" that material objects present to different organisms, including humans. Affordances are relational in character, and dependent upon the organism's anatomical, psychological, and in the case of a human, cultural and social set-up and contexts. The concept of affordances is combined with James Watts' theoretical distinction between three different dimensions (semantic, performative, and iconic) of how humans interact with and relate to sacred texts. The result is a set of possible, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, explanations why miniature Qur'ans are desirable objects, in what contexts, and to whom.

Author Biography

Jonas Svensson, Linnaeus University

Professor in the Study of Religions, School of cultural sciences Researcher affiliated to the research center Concurrences in Colonial and Post-Colonial Studies, Linnaeus University


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How to Cite

Svensson, J. (2019). Size Matters! Miniature Mushafs and the Landscape of Affordances. Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, 9(2-3), 222–242.