Liturgical literacy as hidden capital: Experiences from Qur’an education in Sweden

Jenny Berglund

Liturgical literacy, Capital, Islam, Qur’an education


This article focuses on a form of supplementary Islamic education that centres on Qur’an studies and examines the reported experiences of Muslim students that regularly shift between this and their mainstream secular school. Its aim is to better comprehend the dialectical interplay between this type of supplementary education and mainstream secular schooling. Within this framework, the article explores how the traditional way of reading, reciting, and memorizing the Qur’an might relate to the type of teaching and learning that occurs within mainstream public schools. It also explores the possibility of a secular bias within the Swedish school system, the contribution of Qur’an studies to mainstream schooling (and vice versa), Qur’an-based vs. mainstream notions of “reading”, especially in relation to the idea of “understanding” and “meaning”, and how competency in Qur’an recitation becomes valuable secular “capital” when translated from language of “liturgical literacy” to the language of “skills”. To balance and enhance our understanding of student experiences, this article employs a constructive understanding of Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of cultural capital and habitus as well as Andrey Rosowsky’s notion of liturgical literacy.

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