People's quest for well-being

Tracing Islamic healing practices in Africa

Authored by: Benedikt Pontzen

Routledge Handbook of Islam in Africa

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367144234
eBook ISBN: 9780367144241
Adobe ISBN:


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Islamic scholars in Africa and across the Islamic world offer diverse Islamic healing practices for their petitioners who come to them in search of divine interventions in their existential issues. Islamic scholars perform diverse healing practices, manufacture various remedies, and counsel people in divergent ways on how to solve their issues. Hence, one faces an irreducible diversity of Islamic healing practices, matters, and discourses among them. These are subject to ardent debates as the Islamic scholars challenge one another on the Islamic legitimacy of their doings. Islamic healing practices and their surrounding debates are part of the discursive tradition of Islam. They provide Muslims not only with different ways and means to relate to God in their quests for well-being, but they also feed into an ongoing discourse by which they constantly negotiate and (re)make their religion. On the basis of ethnographic fieldwork in Ghana and readings of the literature on Islamic healing practices and their surrounding debates in Africa, I trace the various academic and Islamic discourses about these. I delineate some of these practices and their surrounding debates, highlighting how they co-shape the varied ways in which Muslims in Africa relate to God and live their religion.

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