Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Amulets, Fortune-Telling, and Magic: South Asia
(1,119 words)

An amulet is a powerful material substance worn on the human body or hung in a house to provide protection or healing for its wearer. The common word for amulet in Islamic contexts across South Asia is taʾvīz, a word of Arabic origin that literally means “refuge.” The power of the amulet in Muslim contexts to protect, heal, or positively direct ritual and/or social activity derives primarily from the written word. While an oral prayer whispered by a nonspecialist householder is believed to be protective or efficacious in other ways, the written word is more so, as if power is concentrated in ph…

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Flueckiger, Joyce Burkhalter, “Amulets, Fortune-Telling, and Magic: South Asia”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 06 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0157d>
First published online: 2009

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