Chapter

Contesting Sainthood

in The Culture of Islam

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780226726137
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226726144 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226726144.003.0005
Contesting Sainthood

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This chapter depicts how the account of a Moroccan Muslim saint's posthumous encounter with the Jews of the city of Sefrou was related by different sources. Like Kurosawa's classic film Rashomon or Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, no single version of the story can be said to be true for all viewers. Whatever the “facts” it is the stories that are “true,” each revealing a great deal about the context that makes it believable to one person or another, one portion of the population or another. The stories thus test not the limits of the true but the bases of the credible, and in doing so reveal more about the viewers, their circumstances, the changes that have occurred in their society, and the ways in which they have come to construct a believable world than could be learned from pursuing some singular truth that might be thought to lie at the heart of events.

Keywords: Muslim saint; truth; sainthood; social change; belief; Morocco

Chapter.  6585 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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