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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Berti Qur'anic Amulets
Author:El-Tom, Abdullahi O.
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Sudan
ritual objects
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
esoteric sciences
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1580876.pdf
Abstract:Among the Berti of North Darfur, Sudan, Islam is disseminated and taught by religious men, locally referred to as 'fugara'. As professionals, Berti religious men render a variety of services to their clients: they teach the Qur'an, preside over rituals, and treat the sick. This article discusses the provision of 'hijbat' (sg. 'hijab'), written formulas which are believed to help their owners to achieve certain objectives. The following examples of the most commonly used hijbat in the area are examined: a hijab to avoid weapons, a hijab used by merchants to attract customers, a hijab which relates to economic activities and wealth in general, a hijab which secures an easy passage in confronting adversaries, and a hijab which causes the adversary to fall asleep or lose his senses temporarily. The author describes how Berti hijbat render Qur'anic verses more relevant to practical purposes by exploiting phonetic similarities between classical Arabic and Berti words, and by shifting back and forth between literal and metaphorical meanings. Bibliogr., notes.