The Symbolism of Archery

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

The reception of the “grip” is the outward sign of the disciple’s initiation. He has, of course, long been accustomed to the bow, but what is meant by the “grip” is more than a mere handling of the bow: the grip itself implies the “secret”… It is by this middle piece that the bow is made one. It is only when one tries to understandthis that the metaphysical significance of the bow, which Gabriel had described as the “power” of God, appears: the grip is the union of Allah with Muhammad.

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Original publication in Ars Islamica, Vol. 10 (1943).