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In many Muslim countries special shrines have been constructed honoring famous Sufi leaders or “saints” vho, it is believed, could work miracles during their ives and even after their death. This kind of shrine may be called darih, mazar, zdwiyah or maqam in Arabic. In some areas it is called qubbah after the cupola that is the most characteristic architectural element in many shrines. The saint’s tomb is certainly the essential part of such a shrine; it is a place to which people make visits to receive divine blessing (barakah). Thus it becomes one of the focal points of popular Islam. Consequently, Sufi shrine culture, supported enthusiastically by common Muslims, has occasionally been criticized both by rigorous Muslim scholars (`ulama’) and by some modern reformers as bid’ah or heretical innovation added to authentic early Islam.

Historical Origin. Starting as an individual ascetic movement, Sufism had become regarded as a legitimate part of orthodox Islam by the twelfth century. Great Sufi adepts lived according to strict discipline in their training centers or lodges, where disciples followed the way tariqah of training which their master taught them. These gatherings developed into the Sufi orders (also called iarigahs). Drawing recruits mainly from the illiterate masses, which had formerly lacked access to the Islamic teaching that had been largely monopolized by scholars, Sfifi orders gradually spread over various parts of the Muslim world and had become very popular with the Muslim masses by the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Among them were the Qadiriyah, the Rifa`iyah, the Shadhiliyah, the Suhrawardiyah, the Mawlawiyah, and the Ahmadiyah. The first four established many branches in different countries; the last two were concentrated in particular regions, the Mawlawiyah mainly in Anatolia and the Ahmadiyah in the Nile Delta.

As the Sfifi orders penetrated into common Muslims’ lives and influenced their ritual behaviors, some of the Sufi leaders, usually the founders of orders or the heads of branches, began to develop reputations as saints (awhyd’; sg., wah) who had supernatural power or divine blessing (barakah) granted by God. Through this power, it was believed, the saint could work miracles (kardmat) such as foretelling the future, mindreading, flying in the air, treating illness, and other extraordinary acts. Devotees from both within and outside the order often visited the saint asking for a small share of divine blessing, so that he gradually began to be venerated as if he were a divine being. When the saint died, it was firmly believed that he would still respond favorably to requests made at his tomb. Therefore followers erected a special building at the site of the tomb.

Two Cases. Sufi-saint shrine culture displays great variation in factors such as the person enshrined, the social categories of devotees, the architectural structure of the shrine, the rituals performed in and around it, its political and economic significance, and the form and activities of the Sufi order that provides its main support. In order to illustrate its historical development, two examples will be discussed. Although both come from Egypt,, they exemplify respectively a traditional, rural-based Sufi-saint cult and a modern, urban-based one.

Sayyid al-Badawi. Ahmad al-Badawi, also called Sayyid al-Badawi because of his presumed descent from the Prophet, was born in Fez, Morocco, in 1199 and went to Mecca with his family in his childhood. He later visited Iraq, where he was heavily influenced by the thought of two other great Sufis, Ahmad Rifa’i and `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, and by the activities of the Sufi orders that followed these masters, the Rifa’iyah and the Qadiriyah. Obeying a divine command received in a vision, Ahmad al-Badawi decided to go to Tanta, a town in the Nile Delta. Situated in the center of a rich agricultural area, Tanta then flourished as a large marketplace for agricultural products, as it still does today. Overcoming challenges from other religious leaders, he won over a great number of followers in and around the town. He was said to have worked many miracles, through one of which his first supporter in the town was able to prosper in his business. He was also paid homage by the great Mamluk king, Zahir Baybars, and he even fought against the Crusaders.

Sayyid al-Badawi died in 1276. His senior pupil `Abd al `Al assumed responsibility for the Ahmadiyah and became his successor (khallfah). The saint’s followers from every district flocked to Tanta to pledge their loyalty to his successor; this is said to be the origin of the annual festival or mawlid of Sayyid al-Badawi. `Abd al-`Al commanded that a large building be erected over the Sayyid’s tomb, and this has developed into his shrine together with a large mosque called the Masjid al-Badawi.

The mystical power of the saint began to appeal not only to the peasants and townspeople of the Delta but also to the masses in Cairo and some parts of Upper Egypt, and the devotees of his cult increased greatly. The Ahmadiyah order in due course developed into one of the four largest Sufi orders in Egypt, and his mawlid came to be something of a national festival.

Salama al-Radi. The founder of the Hamidiyah Shadhiliyah order was born in 1867 in a shabby quarter of Cairo and died there in 1939. Unlike traditional-style saints such as Ahmad al-Badawi, he was born into a modern Egypt which the Western powers had come to dominate politically and economically. Egyptian society and modern European ideas, both religious and secular, gradually infiltrated into Muslims’ daily lives. For this reason, the Sufi orders, if they wanted to revitalize their movements and find recruits in the emerging modernist sectors of Egyptian society, had to deal with new problems in accommodating themselves to the rapidly changing social and cultural conditions.

Having memorized the whole of the Qur’an before he was ten, Salama found intellectual satisfaction in Sufi scholarship rather than in the formal school system. While working in a government office as an efficient clerk, he led an ascetic life and joined a Sufi order. In response to a divine vision he decided to set up his own tariqah, the Hamidiyah Shadhiliyah, which was officially recognized as an independent tariqah by the supreme Sufi council in 1926-192’7.

He became venerated as a saint as a result of various apparent miracles, which included the excellence of his religious knowledge without a formal education, his ability to defeat other eminent scholars in debate, and his supernatural power to see everything, including things hidden from normal people. Some educated members of the order, however, apparently discredited these stories of miracles, or at least hesitated to accept them as factual.

After Salama’s death, one of his sons, Ibrahim, became the head of the order. Unlike his father, who attracted people with his personal charisma, Ibrahim tried to extend the order’s influence by means of structural reform. He aimed to establish a more centralized, hierarchical organization. This reform led to the Hamidiyah Shadhiliyah’s becoming one of the Sufi orders that accommodated most fully to social and cultural changes in modern Egypt; however, it also stirred internal conflicts between the new elite members recruited mainly from a somewhat modernized middle class and the senior leaders who had been attracted by the charisma of the founding saint.

The saint’s tomb became one of the focal points in this conflict. Salama’s shrine was first set up in the Bfilaq district of Cairo where he was born and where he established the headquarters of his tariqah. After his death, a mawlid celebration for him was held there every year. Ibrahim died in 1975, and the new elite members, who organized a committee to manage and control the tariqah began to build a large new mosque in Muhandisin district on the opposite side of the Nile from Bfilaq, an attractive residential area for the growing upper and upper-middle classes. Ibrahim’s tomb was set up in this new mosque. Beside it they constructed a fine new tomb for Salama, though it remained empty in 1987 as the old members refused to move his tomb from Bulaq. Moreover, they recognized Ibrahim’s younger brother as head of the tariqah and carried on celebrating Salama’s mawlid separately in Bulaq-the Muhandisin faction of course held the mawlid celebration at the new mosque.

Enshrinement of Non-Sufis. These two examples have been the cases of great Sufis who are venerated as saints and were enshrined after their death. These cases have to be distinguished from others in which the enshrined person is not a Sufi in the strict sense.

First, veneration of the prophet Muhammad must be considered. According to orthodox belief, he is not an equivalent of God but a mere man, though he is deeply respected as the Last Prophet and the ideal human being. However, he has often been venerated as though divine and similar to God by some groups of Muslims, especially among the less-educated masses. Great numbers eagerly visit his tomb in Medina before or after the pilgrimage to Mecca in order to receive divine blessing. The anniversary of his birthday (the twelfth day of Rabi` al-Awwal in the Islamic calendar), called Mawlid al-Nab! (the Prophet’s Birthday), has been celebrated in many cities and villages since the thirteenth century. Visitation to his tomb and celebration of his birthday have been conducted like those of Sfifi saints. Members of the Sufi orders actively participate in events of the Mawlid al-Nabi.

The Prophet’s family is also widely respected in Muslim societies, and Shi’i Muslims have developed especially elaborate cults of the first imam, `Alt, and his descendants. Their tombs are centers of folk Shiism, and many Shi’is visit them to receive divine blessing. `Alt’s tomb in Najaf and that of his son, Husayn in Karbala are the most prestigious, and these towns in Iraq have served as Shi’i sanctuaries. Although much less famous than these, there are a great number of smaller shrines in Shi’i areas, especially in Iran, which are presumed to belong to one of the imams and are generally called imamzadah. They closely resemble Sunni Sfifi-saint shrines in their social and cultural functions. [See Najaf; Karbala; Imamzadah.]

Sunni Muslims also revere Muhammad’s descendants and generally refer to them as sharif (noble person) or sayyid (lord). Some rulers of states, such as the Moroccan and Jordanian kings, and some saints such as Sayyid al-Badaw! claim descent from the Prophet. Some of the Prophet’s descendants are venerated as holy in their own right and are celebrated annually in their own mawlids. The Mawlid al-Husayn, for example, is held annually in Cairo, and a large number of his devotees, many of them members of Sufi orders, visit the mosque-shrine where his head is said to be buried.

Also held in Cairo is the mawlid of Imam Shafi`i (d. 820), the founder of one of the four orthodox schools of Islamic law. His shrine is set up in a shabby district on the eastern periphery of the city. Although he was never a Sufi, people visit his tomb to seek his mystical help, and they hold an annual celebration as they do for a Sufi saint.

Prophets other than Muhammad, together with some of the warrior heroes of early Islamic history, were also enshrined and celebrated, especially in Palestine, where there were many tombs and shrines that were presumed to belong to them. Such biblical figures as Abraham, Moses, David, job, and even Jesus had one or more shrines where people came to receive divine blessing. Some of these shrines also held regular celebrations called mawsim (the season of visiting). Shrines set up for heroes in battle can be found in Palestine, Jordan, and other areas; usually such heroes are called not waft or Sufi but sdlih.

There are various types of holy places in which some natural object such as a tree, a stone, or a cave is treated as sacred, although the (`ulama’) and others have harshly criticized these practices as non-Islamic. Some of them may be related to Sfifi-saint shrine culture. In a Moroccan village, for example, a grotto where a great female spirit (jinniyah) named `A’ishah Qandishah is said to dwell occupies a part of the sanctuary of the Hamdfishlyah order. Two shrines for its founding Sufis have been built there.

In the Maghrib, a local veneration and ritual surrounding a Muslim saint is generally known as “maraboutism.” The word “marabout” means “saint” and is derived from Arabic murabit, which in this context means “a person living in a Sufi lodge.” Some of the marabouts were evidently renowned Sufis in their lifetimes, and their shrines have kept a connection with one of the Sufi orders; others, however, have no direct relation to a particular order. Some marabouts inherit their mystical powers (barakah) through the agnatic line, which results in the formation of a maraboutc family like those of the Sharqdwah in Boujad and the Ihansalen among the Berbers in the High Atlas.

In Sufism proper, both leadership and sainthood are passed on patrilineally and are consequently kept within one family or lineage in many Sufi orders. The Majadhib family in El-Damer in the Northern Sudan is one of numerous examples. The family has kept the leadership of the Majdhubiyah Sufi order, which had considerable political and economic influence in the area before the twentieth century, as well as being venerated as a holy lineage. The shrine of their ancestor has been maintained in the custody of the family.

Spatial Composition. Except in a few cases, the tombs of Muslims are generally very simple in form. They usually have no special decoration except for plaques of ceramic or other materials on which are written personal details of the dead or phrases from the Qur’dn. In contrast, the tombs or shrines of saints, Sufi or otherwise, have distinctive architectural features.

A saint’s tomb is usually set up inside a building specially constructed for it, and it often has a cupola. Sometimes the building or shrine is situated in a cemetery. Other institutions such as mosques, Sfifi training lodges, or facilities for visitors may also be annexed to large shrines.

The tomb itself usually consists of a rectangular boxlike structure with a catafalque, a cloth cover, and other elements, with some variation. The catafalque (tabut) is a wooden box or frame set up over the spot where the saint is buried. It is covered completely with a piece of cloth called kiswah, which is generally donated by a devotee. In a place on the upper part of the catafalque (on one of the shorter sides, or at the center of the rectangle) an `immah is set up, which consists of a wooden post draped in a green cloth, looking like a head with a turban. The immah is supposed to symbolize the saint’s authority.

There are other items, however, that are not necessarily found in all shrines. Some tombs, especially those belonging to renowned saints, are enclosed by a cage. A donation box may be set up to receive money offerings from devotees. Other features may include lamps, candles, copies of the Qur’an, and plaques on which phrases from the Qur’an, are written or on which pictures of sacred places such as the Ka’bah are drawn. Most of these, like the kiswah, are donated by pious devotees. There are of course neither pictures nor statues of the saint anywhere in the shrine.

Some of the items, however, do raise theological problems. In the shrine of Sayyid al-Badawi, for instance, there is a black stone in the corner of the chamber. On it can be seen two footprints, which are said to be those of the Prophet, and many devotees, mostly peasants of the Nile Delta, are eager to touch and rub it. This practice recalls pilgrims’ rituals relating to Abraham’s footprints and the Black Stone in the Ka’bah at Mecca, and many scholars and modernist Muslims criticize it severely as a deviation from orthodox Islam.

The shrine and the other facilities are in many cases maintained financially through a waqf, an endowment provided by the Sufi order related to the saint enshrined. In the case of a small shrine a custodian, and in the case of a large shrine custodians or a committee, are responsible for the upkeep of the buildings and facilities.

Ritual Activities. The Sufi saint’s shrine is one of the focal points of rituals carried out not only by the members of the Sufi order that has a special spiritual relationship with the saint but also by common Muslims who simply admire the mystical power of the saint and venerate him. There are three important types of ritual: visiting the shrine, dhikr rituals conducted there, and the annual festival of the saint.

Visitation. Many devotees of a Sufi saint make frequent visits to his shrine to perform such rituals as special prayers to the saint, circumambulation of his tomb, and kissing its cloth cover. Some of them remain there for a longer period. The main aim of their visit, as with ordinary supplication (du’a’), is to ask for divine blessing in general, as well as for more specific benefits such as success in business or study, or recovery from an illness. They may make a vow (nadhr) to give a suitable donation to the saint if their wishes are satisfactorily realized; many of the items belonging to the shrine are donations from supplicants. If they break the vow and give nothing to the saint as a reward, it is presumed that there will be divine retribution for their negligence.

Visits to some shrines can be regarded as a substitute for the pilgrimage to Mecca. Indeed, a visit to the shrine of Sayyid al-Badawl has been called “the pauper’s hajj.” The shrine of al-Shadhill (d. 1465), the founder of the widespread Shadhiliyah Sufi order, is in a town on the Red Sea coast in southern Egypt. It is said that five visits to his shrine have an effect similar to that of one hajj. It is noteworthy, however, that the visit is not called hajj but ziydrah. Visitors apparently make an essential distinction between the two, even though they may think that repeated visits to a shrine may give them almost the same benefits as the pilgrimage to Mecca. [See Hajj; Ziyarah.]

Dhikr. On the basis of the Qur’an (surah 33. 4I-42), the dhikr ritual, in which participants devoutly repeat the names of God or some formula such as “Allah hayy” (“God is the Eternal One”) with prescribed gestures, has become one of the fundamental rituals for most Sufis. A gathering to perform the ritual, usually called hadrah, usually takes place in the afternoon or at night in the court of a private house, in a public square in a neighborhood, at a lodge, or in an open space near a saint’s shrine.

In some cases a dhikr is conducted after the communal prayers on Friday. For instance, the Hamad al-Nil Sufi order, a Sudanese branch of the Qadariyah, regularly holds a dhikr gathering on Friday afternoon in an open space in front of the shrine of its founding Sufi in a cemetery in a suburb of Omdurman. After the `asr prayer, members of the order march to the place from their nearby mosque and start to perform the dhikr rituals. Repeating the formulas to the rhythm of drums and religious songs, they line up in several rows and move around a pole set up in the center of the space. The ritual lasts until the sunset (maghrib) prayer.

Dhikr rituals, like visits to the shrine, can be carried out at any time. They are, however, enthusiastically conducted on a grand scale on the occasion of the annual festival of the saint. [See Dhikr.]

Annual Festival. The yearly celebration in honor of a saint has several different names in Arab countries. In Egypt it is called a mawlid; the word mawsim (“season,” i.e., for celebrating a saint) is used for the case of a marabout in Morocco as well as for the festival of the prophet Moses in Palestine. Members of the Sufi orders in the Sudan hold annual celebrations of their founders called huliya in commemoration not of their birthdays but of the anniversaries of their deaths. These festivals vary greatly in the way in which they are held, the number of participants, and the rituals performed; we will concentrate on the Egyptian cases.

Except for the mawlid of the Prophet, whose tomb is in Medina, Egyptian mawlid feasts for the Sufi or other saints are celebrated in and around their shrines. The time when these rites are held is an interesting issue. Because the word mawlid originally meant “time and place of birth,” the date of the celebration would appear to be fixed by the birthday of the saint concerned. Many mawlids for famous holy people, including the Prophet and his family, do occur on or about the days of their birth according to the Islamic lunar calendar, although the feasts themselves generally start several days or weeks before the birthday: the Prophet’s mawlid is on 12 Rabi` al-Awwal, Husayn’s on a Wednesday in the latter half of Rabi` al-Thani, Zaynab’s on the middle Wednesday of Rajab, and Shafi’i’s on the middle Thursday of Sha’ban. By contrast, the dates of some mawlids are fixed according to the solar calendar and may change according to historical and social conditions. The mawlid of Ahmad al-Badawi is a typical case.

In the early nineteenth century there were three feasts in honor of al-Badawi. The largest of these was held a month after the summer solstice, which was then the slack season for the peasants in the area. In the second or third decade of the twentieth century, the date of this mawlid was moved to the latter half of October. The development of the irrigation system in the intervening period had resulted in fundamental changes in the annual agricultural cycle of the Nile Delta. Thus October in the Gregorian calendar became the slack season for the peasants, many of whom were enthusiastic devotees of the saint. The date of the great mawlid of Sayyid alBadawi, therefore, is based not on his actual birthday but on the convenience of his devotees.

The space around the shrine of the saint being celebrated naturally becomes a center for the feast and is crowded with visitors to the tomb. There are a number of stands for food and drinks, amusements, and sideshows. Clusters of tents are pitched where Sufis conduct dhikr rituals during the feast days. The number of visitors hoping to receive divine blessing increases remarkably during this period.

Besides the dhikr rituals, Sufis of various orders take part in other events during the feast. Members of some orders used to demonstrate their miraculous powers in front of crowds in performances involving eating live serpents or piercing their bodies with spikes. This kind of bizarre performance has often been criticized for deviation from orthodox belief and proper Sufism. Recently they have tended to disappear, especially in the large cities.

The attractions of a festival also include a procession (mawkib or zaffah) for which various Sfifi orders assemble, forming lines and marching around the town or village. They perform dhikr and other rituals in their own styles, as a demonstration to the local people. The saint’s shrine is often the starting point and/or the destination of these processions.

Political and Economic Functions. Like Sayyid al-Badawi, said to have led soldiers against Crusaders, a number of leading Sufis have played the role of military commanders fighting against tyrannical rulers, ignorant heretics, and invading infidels. Among them was the leader of the Sanusiyah movement, which fought against the Italian invasion of Libya. Founded by Muhammad al-Sanfisi, the Sanfisiyah successfully propagated its beliefs among the bedouin tribes of Cyrenaica in the early stages of its development, by intentionally setting up lodges in the boundary areas between tribal territories. Thus the Sfifis of the order could play the role of mediators in tribal conflicts, and this gave them great authority.

Saintly families in the High Atlas also arbitrate in disputes among Berber tribesmen. Moreover, a collective oath, which is a customary legal procedure for judging the truth or falsity of an accusation, has to be made at a saint’s shrine if it relates to a serious issue. The shrine is also the place where a special ritual alliance between two tribes is contracted. In Boujad in Morocco, alSharqawah, a maraboutic family, plays almost the same role as do the saints of the Atlas.

A number of saint’s shrines can function as sites for conflict resolution and judicial decisions, although they seldom have the military power to enforce them. Because of the divine blessing saints have been granted by God, shrines can become holy places where people are subjected to mystical authority. Some of them have become not only asylums where killers involved in tribal feuds can come to ask for relief, but also sanctuaries where all bloodshed is prohibited.

Since people continuously come and go, and the area around the shrine is relatively peaceful, the place may develop as a market center for the area; or, conversely, an existing market may also become a center for religious training, so that a saint’s shrine is eventually built there. Such towns as Tanta in Egypt (the Ahmadiyah order), Boujad in Morocco (the al-Sharqawah marabout family), and El-Damer in the Sudan (the Majdhubiyah order) are local centers for production, storage, and marketing. While the regular weekly market held in these towns has prospered, the annual saint’s festival has become an occasion on which the town bustles with massive crowds and a large-scale fair is held, so that the festival has considerable economic effect.

The saint and his family may be able to maintain the economic importance of their town by emphasizing their mystical power. In the eighteenth century the Majadhib family was said to escort trading caravans from Shendi to Berber via El-Damer, its home town. They ensured safe travel for the tribesmen and consequently contributed to the prosperity of towns other than their own. Similar cases exist in other areas.

Criticism. As mentioned earlier, criticisms of the Sfifi-saint shrine culture, or at least at certain elements of it, have been expressed by theologians and politicians ever since it developed. Ibn Taymiyah (d. 1328), a strict jurist affiliated to the Hanbali school of Islamic law, was one of the most distinguished critics in the premodern era, although he did not condemn all the activities of the Sufi orders. He stressed that the veneration of a saint would probably lead to the worship of a divine being other than God-to loathsome polytheism-and that showy attractions during feasts were definitely contrary to Islamic law and should therefore be prohibited.

Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab (d. 1791), one of the theological successors of Ibn Taymiyah, condemned not only the folk customs of saint veneration but the whole of Sufism. The Wahhabi campaign was led militarily by the Sa’ud family, powerful supporters of Ibn `Abd alWahhab’s doctrines, who started from a small oasis in the Nejd and gradually expanded their influence in the Arabian Peninsula. In the end they conquered the Hejaz and gained control of Mecca and Medina by 1804. During this campaign, whenever they encountered Sfifi saints’ shrines or other holy places they did not hesitate to demolish them. Even the dome erected on the spot where the Prophet was born was destroyed. This strong hostility toward saints and Sfifis has been maintained by the contemporary regime in Saudi Arabia, which follows Wahhabism as its state doctrine; officially, no Sfifi activity is permitted there.

Exponents of the Salafiyah movement such as Muhammad `Abduh and Muhammad Rashid Rida openly criticized many elements of Sfifi saint culture. They insisted that a saint could not intercede with God for people in earthly matters and therefore did not have the mystical power to grant good fortune. Rida sternly rebuked participants in the mawlid of Sayyid al-Badawi for committing bid’ah (heretical innovation) through activities such as prayers to the saint’s tomb and circumambulation of it, asking for worldly benefits, whistling, clapping, fortune-telling, selling charms and amulets, noisy music, the assembly of both sexes, and the practice of transvestism; however, he recognized the mawlid itself as legal.

The hostile attitude toward Sufi saint shrine culture has been taken over by Islamic reformist movements, including so-called fundamentalist groups like the Muslim Brothers. Not only strict fundamentalists but also secular modernists have intensified their opposition to it. Generally speaking, the more widespread public education has become, the more general has been the criticism of shrine cults as mere superstition. Most contemporary devotees of the cult of saints are recruited from the less-educated urban and rural masses. It is noteworthy that some Sufis, especially those advocating neo-Sufi trends, actively criticize some elements of popular Sufism as bid’ah, just as Islamic scholars from outside Sufi circles do.

[See also Mawlid; Popular Religion; Sainthood; Shrine.]


Blackman, W. S. The Fellahin of Upper Egypt. London, 1927. Detailed ethnography of the Upper Egyptian peasants in the early decades of the twentieth century, with special reference to their folk beliefs and practices. Descriptions of Muslim saints as well as those of the Copts and mawlid feasts are included.

Canaan, Tewfik. Mohammedan Saints and Sanctuaries in Palestine. Jerusalem, 1927. Detailed reports on the folk practices of the veneration of Muslim saints in Palestine before the establishment of Israel.

Crapanzano, Vincent. The Hamadsha: A Study in Moroccan Ethnopsychiatry. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1973. Study of one of the popular religious brotherhoods in Morocco, the Hamadishah, with reference to its history and rituals. In the sanctuary of this brotherhood is a grotto where a powerful female spirit, `A’ishah Qandishah, is said to dwell.

Daly, M. W., ed. Al-Majdhubiyya and al-Mikashfiyya: Two Sufi Tariqas in the Sudan. Khartoum and London, 1985. Includes two articles on the Sudanese Sufi orders. One of them is a historical study on the Majdhubiyah Sufi order of al-Damir written by `Awad alKarsani.

Eickelman, Dale F. Moroccan Islam. Austin and London, 1976. One of the best anthropological works on maraboutisn. Based on field research conducted by the author with the al-Sharqawah family in Boujad, Central Morocco. His Knowledge and Power in Morocco (Princeton, 1985) contains a case study of the critical attitude of a reform-minded student to traditional maraboutism in the first half of the twentieth century.

Geertz, Clifford. Islam Observed. New Haven and London, 1968. Compact but informative book on Moroccan maraboutism and Indonesian mysticism in their historical, sociological, and ideological contexts.

Gellner, Ernest. Saints of the Atlas. Chicago, 1969. Standard monograph on the saintly families of the High Atlas, Morocco. For his more comprehensive studies of Islam, including maraboutism and fundamentalism, as well as his methodological stance, see his collection of papers entitled Muslim Society (Cambridge, 1981).

Gilsenan, Michael. Saint and Sufi in Modern Egypt. Oxford, 1973. Sociological study of the Hamidiyah Shadhiliyah Sufi order from its origin to the 1960s. On the internal conflict in the order after the death of the second shaykh in the 1970s, see his Recognizing Islam (New York, 1982), which includes information on the saint and/or Sufi cultures in Yemen, Lebanon, and other areas.

Goldziher, Ignacz. Muslim Studies. Vol. 2. London, 1971. Collection of papers written by one of the greatest orientalist scholars in the latter half of the nineteenth century, which includes a classic and standard work on the veneration of saints, though its methodological stance could be criticized by today’s criteria.

Hourani, Albert. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798-1939. 2d ed. Cambridge, 1983. Standard study on the sociopolitical thought of great Muslim reformists, whether modernist or fundamentalist, in the modern age. Includes chapters on Muhammad ibn `Abd alWahhab, Muhammad `Abduh, and Muhammad Rashid Rida who rebuked harshly some, or all, of the elements of Sufi-saint culture. Lane, E. W. An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (1836). London, 1978. Invaluable encyclopedic ethnography of everyday life mainly in Cairo, in the first decades of the nineteenth century. It is noteworthy that Lane describes the veneration of saints and the mawlid feasts, not in the chapter on “Religion,” but in those on “Superstitions” and “Periodical Public Festivals.”

Ohtsuka, Kazuo. “Toward a Typology of Benefit-Granting in Islam.” Orient 24 (1988): 141-152. In this paper, published in the English bulletin of the Japanese Society of the Near Eastern Society, I propose four types of benefit-granting practices in Islam, using exchange theory as the frame of analysis, and locates the practice by which Muslim saints confer benefits within this typology.

Ohtsuka, Kazuo. “How Is Islamic Knowledge Acquired in Modern Egypt? `Ulama, Sufis, Fundamentalists and Common People.” In Japanese Civilization in the Modern World, vol. 5, Culturedness, edited by Tadeo Umesao et al. Osaka, 1990. My examination of various ways of acquiring “proper” Islamic knowledge in modern Egyptian contexts.

Reeves, E. B. The Hidden Government: Ritual, Clientelism, and Legitimation in Northern Egypt. Salt Lake City, 1990. An anthropological study of Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi and other Muslim saints in Tanta. It includes valuable information about the historical development of the cult of al-Badawi, contemporary saint veneration in the area, and the actual conditions of mawlid and other rituals. Schimmel, Annemarie. And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety. Chapel Hill, N.C., and London, 1985. Numerous cases of popular veneration of the Prophet are provided mainly from historical and literary sources, although most of them come from Turkey, Persia, and the Indian Subcontinent. Trimingham, J. Spencer. The Sufi Orders in Islam. Oxford, 1971. Thorough, classic study of Sufi orders, and an encyclopedic text on their history, thought, organization, and ritual.

Westermarck, Edward. Rituals and Belief in Morocco. 2 vols. London, 1926. Encyclopedic account of Moroccan folk beliefs and rituals written by a Finnish anthropologist working in London. Westermarck conducted field research in Morocco at the turn of the century and devotes three chapters of his book to describing and analyzing actual cases of the concept of barakah, which he translated as “holiness” or “blessed virtue.”



Sufi Orders

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/sufi-shrine-culture/

  • writerPosted On: August 17, 2017
  • livePublished articles: 745

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