While walking through the traditional market we noticed a table full of various types of amulets (jimat) for sale. One was a laminated card, which had both sides printed in Arabic text. People will place these cards in their wallets, purses, cars, motorcycles, etc., to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.
We asked a number of people to translate the text on the card for us, but we weren’t able to locate anybody who could. We’ve visited numerous mosques looking for people to assist us, but we’ve yet to find somebody with the ability. This illustrates the value Muslims place on the Qur’an, in that they believe it is empowering when read, whether you understand what you are reading or not.
Many Indonesians can read the Qur’an in the Arabic language, but the overwhelming majority can’t translate, nor understand what they read.
Displaying Quranic Verses
It’s common for Muslims to place Arabic text in picture frames, believing that their sacred verses from the Qur’an, or Arabic poetry in general, will bring blessings and protection from evil spirits. It would be similar to a Christian who would do the same with biblical verses, or a Christians who would wear jewelry with Christian symbolism, believing that by so doing they will receive protection and blessings. It is not uncommon to see Christians wearing “amulets,” like a cross, or an image of an ancient saint.