Aural epistemology

Hearing and listening in the text of the Qur’an


  • Lauren E Osborne Whitman College


Islam, Qur'an, Hearing, Senses, Emotion, Affect


This article takes the Qur’an’s discourse on the sense of hearing as part of its greater world of emotion and affect, wherein sense perceptions can be understood as part of its felt landscape. Taking the prevalence of the Qur’an’s recitation in tradition and the Qur’an’s own discourse about orality and revelation as a starting point, the paper examines the understanding of the sense of hearing found within the text. Specifically, in the Qur’an, the sense of hearing is linked to ideas of cognition and comprehension. Understanding of the discursive content or meaning of a message is obtained through hearing.

Author Biography

Lauren E Osborne, Whitman College

Lauren E. Osborne is Assistant Professor of Religion at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Her book in progress is on the recitation of the Qur’an, and the possibilities for understanding meaning across the sound and experience of the text. In this research, she employs both hermeneutic and ethnographic methods, drawing on her backgrounds in religious studies and music. More broadly, she is interested in the intersections of Islamic studies, Qur’anic studies, sound studies, sensory studies, and affect theory.


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