Scientific article
Open access

When silence is “yeelen” (light): Exploring the corporeality of the mind in a nocturnal solo zikr practice (Odienné, Ivory Coast)

ContributorsChappatte, André
Published inCritical Research on Religion, 205030322098698
Publication date2021

In the town of Odienné (Ivory Coast), Madou forges his faith in God by performing long sessions of solo zikr (recollection of God) after midnight. This article ethnographically explores the theme of light in this Sufi practice of concentration as an experiential form of being. It first describes how the light and darkness of the penumbra of the night co-initiate what I call “the devotional place” of zikr. Following a phenomenological writing, it then describes how, as hours go by, Madou's concentration navigates towards “yeelen” (spiritual light) through the silence of the deep night. In doing so, this article elaborates the “corporeal mind” as synesthetic instants in this journey when the body becomes the mind and the mind faith, as the penumbra becomes silence and silence light. In other words, it explores the sensuous unboundedness of the self that happens in regular and long practice of nocturnal solo zikr. This article therefore offers a corporeal understanding of the light of God among practitioners of prolonged nocturnal solo zikr in West Africa.

  • Senses
  • place
  • experience
  • Islam
  • West Africa
Citation (ISO format)
CHAPPATTE, André. When silence is “yeelen” (light): Exploring the corporeality of the mind in a nocturnal solo <i>zikr</i> practice (Odienné, Ivory Coast). In: Critical Research on Religion, 2021, p. 205030322098698. doi: 10.1177/2050303220986982
Main files (1)
Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal2050-3040

Technical informations

Creation02/02/2021 2:42:00 PM
First validation02/02/2021 2:42:00 PM
Update time03/15/2023 11:57:55 PM
Status update03/15/2023 11:57:55 PM
Last indexation01/17/2024 12:18:57 PM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack