Global Sufism. Boundaries, Structures, and Politics
 9781787381346

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Table of contents :
Cover
Half-title
Title
Copyright
Contents
About the Authors
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Part I: Boundaries
1. Global Rumi
2. The Islamisation of Western Sufism after the Early New Age
3. Afropolitan Sufism: The Contemporary Tijaniyya in Global Contexts
4. Who is the Infidel? Religious boundaries and social change in the Shadhiliyya Darqawiyya ‘Alawiyya
5. Eu-rap-ia: Rap, Sufism and the Arab Qasīda in Europe
Part II: Structures
6. Contemporary Mawlids in Chicago
7. Disordering and Reordering Sufism: North American Sufi Teachers and the Tariqa Model
8. In the Path of the Ancestors: The Bā ‘Alawi Order and the Struggle for Shaping the Future of Islam
Part III: Politics
9. The Making of Sufism: The Gülen Movement and its Effort to Create a New Image
10. Sounding Sufi: Sufi-oriented messages on Swedish Public Service Radio
11. Algerian ‘Traditional’ Islam and Political Sufism
12. Neo-traditionalist Sufis and Arab Politics: A Preliminary Mapping of the Transnational Networks of Counter-revolutionary Scholars after the Arab Revolutions
Notes
Index

Citation preview

GLOBAL SUFISM

FRANCESCO PIRAINO MARK SEDGWICK (Editors)

Global Sufism Boundaries, Structures, and Politics

HURST & COMPANY, LONDON

First published in the United Kingdom in 2019 by C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 41 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3PL © Francesco Piraino and Mark Sedgwick and the Contributors, 2019 All rights reserved. Printed in India  

The right of Francesco Piraino and Mark Sedgwick and the Contributors to be identified as the authors of this publication is asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. Distributed in the United States, Canada and Latin America by Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America. A Cataloguing-in-Publication data record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN: 9781787381346 This book is printed using paper from registered sustainable and managed sources. www.hurstpublishers.com

CONTENTS

About the Authors vii Acknowledgements xi Introduction

Francesco Piraino and Mark Sedgwick 1 PART I BOUNDARIES

1. Global Rumi Robert Irwin 15 2. The Islamisation of Western Sufism after the Early New Age Mark Sedgwick 35 3. Afropolitan Sufism: The Contemporary Tijaniyya in Global Contexts Zachary Wright 55 4. Who is the Infidel? Religious boundaries and social change in the Shadhiliyya Darqawiyya ʿAlawiyya Francesco Piraino 75 5. Eu-rap-ia: Rap, Sufism and the Arab Qassīda in Europe Andrea Brigaglia 93  

PART II STRUCTURES

6. Contemporary Mawlids in Chicago Justine Howe 119 7. Disordering and Reordering Sufism: North American Sufi Teachers and the Tariqa Model William Rory Dickson and Merin Shobhana Xavier 137 8. In the Path of the Ancestors: The Ba ʿAlawi Order and the Struggle for Shaping the Future of Islam Besnik Sinani 157

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PART III POLITICS

  9. The Making of Sufism: The Gülen Movement and its Effort to Create a New Image Florian Volm 177 10. Sounding Sufi: Sufi-oriented messages on Swedish Public Service Radio Simon Stjernholm 193 11. Algerian ‘Traditional’ Islam and Political Sufism Thomas Joassin 209 12. Neo-traditionalist Sufis and Arab Politics: A Preliminary Mapping of the Transnational Networks of Counter-revolutionary Scholars after the Arab Revolutions Usaama al-Azami 225 Notes 237 Index 285

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Robert Irwin did research on the history of the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria at SOAS before being appointed to a post in the Department of Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews, where he was a lecturer from 1972–77. Subsequently he resigned to become a house husband and novelist. He has published seven novels (soon to be eight), as well as The Middle East in the Middle Ages: The Early Mamluk Sultanate; The Arabian Nights: A Companion; Ibn Khaldun: An Intellectual Biography; Islamic Art; The Alhambra; For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies; Mamluks and Crusaders: Men of the Sword and Men of the Pen; Visions of the Jinn: Illustrators of the Arabian Nights; and Memoirs of a Dervish: Sufis, Mystics and the Sixties. Mark Sedgwick is professor of Arab and Islamic studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is a historian and Islamologist who has worked especially on Sufism and on terrorism, as well as on other aspects of Islam and the Middle East. He is convenor of the European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism (ENSIE). His most recent book is Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford University Press, 2016), and he published Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press) in 2004. Zachary Wright is associate professor of history and religious studies at Northwestern University in Qatar. He received his PhD in African history from Northwestern University, his MA in Arabic studies/Middle Eastern history from the American University in Cairo, and his BA in history from Stanford University. His research interests include Sufism and Islamic intellectual history in North and West Africa from the eighteenth century to the

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

present. His recent books include Jihad of the Pen: the Sufi Literature of West Africa (co-authored with Rudolph War and Amir Syed, American University in Cairo Press, 2018), and Living Knowledge in West African Islam: the Sufi Community of Ibrahim Niasse (Brill, 2015). Francesco Piraino obtained his PhD in sociology in 2016 at the Scuola Normale Superiore (Florence) and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris). He is currently a Marie Curie research fellow at KU Leuven, and he directs the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations and Spiritualities at the Cini Foundation in Venice. His work has been published in Religiologiques, Social Compass, and Critical Research on Religion. Andrea Brigaglia (University of Cape Town and Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”) was born in Palermo, Italy. He studied Arabic, Hausa, Islamic Studies and African History at “L’Orientale” (Naples), where he obtained a PhD in 2005. He has been a member of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town, where he is also the director of the Centre for Contemporary Islam. Since March 2019, he has joined the Department of Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean at “L’Orientale” (Naples). His research focuses largely on the contemporary history of Islam in Nigeria, with particular attention to intellectual and literary aspects. Justine Howe is assistant professor of religious studies at Case Western Reserve University, and specialises in contemporary Islam with a focus on Muslim communities in the United States. She earned her PhD in religious studies from Northwestern University in 2013. Howe is the author of Suburban Islam (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has also recently published in the Journal of Quranic Studies and the Routledge Handbook of Early Islam and is the editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Islam and Gender. Howe is currently the co-chair of the Islam, Gender, Women Unit of the American Academy of Religion. William Rory Dickson is associate professor of Islamic religion and culture at the University of Winnipeg. His research focuses on contemporary Islam and Sufism. Dickson’s first book, Living Sufism in North America: Between Tradition and Transformation (SUNY, 2015), charts the history of Sufism in North America before considering its diverse adaptations. Dickson has coauthored two books on Sufism with Equinox (2017) and Routledge (2018), and has published articles in Contemporary Islam, Studies in Religion, and Social Compass. viii

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Merin Shobhana Xavier is assistant professor of religion at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Her research focuses on contemporary Sufism and Islam in South Asia and America. She is the author of Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks in American Sufism: Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and Contemporary Shrine Cultures (Bloomsbury, 2018) and a co-author of Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2017). Besnik Sinani is a doctoral fellow at the Free University of Berlin specialising in the study of religion, politics and society in Saudi Arabia, with a focus on the study of Sufism in the kingdom. In addition, he has contributed articles to edited volumes and reports on Islam in the Balkans after the fall of communism. He is currently working on a number of articles and presentations on the politics of religious moderation in contemporary Saudi Arabia. Florian Volm studied Islamic studies and social sciences in Basel, Tübingen, and Istanbul. His following PhD thesis at Bamberg University and Dokuz Eylül University Izmir dealt with the self-portrayal and external reception of the Gülen Movement in Turkey. He is research associate at the professorship for Catholic theology in the light of Islam at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt. He also is co-founder and chairman of the interfaith/intercultural web portal 3alog. Simon Stjernholm is associate professor of history of religions at the University of Copenhagen. His research interests include contemporary Sufism, Muslim political rhetoric, and Islamic oratory. Stjernholm’s publications have appeared in edited volumes as well as academic journals, including the Journal of Contemporary Religion and the Journal of Muslims in Europe. He is currently leading a research project called Rearticulating Islam: A New Generation of Danish Muslim Religious Leaders, financed by the Velux Foundation. Thomas Joassin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. He holds a BA in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Warwick and an MSc in social anthropology from the London School of Economics. Having carried out fieldwork in Oran since 2015, his doctoral work explores the ethics and politics of NorthWest Algerian mystic communities. Usaama al-Azami is a departmental lecturer in contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford. He completed his BA in Arabic and Islamic studies at Oxford, and his MA and PhD in Near Eastern studies at Princeton ix

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

University. His dissertation explores contemporary Islamist political thought in the Arab world. During his undergraduate career, he also pursued Islamic studies in seminarial contexts. He is primarily interested in the interaction between Islam and modernity, but his broader interests extend to a range of disciplines from the Islamic scholarly tradition from the earliest period of Islam down to the present. He is, in the main, interested in Sunni Islam as a normative tradition in the realms of theology, philosophy, and law.

x

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to thank the Giorgio Cini Foundation for hosting a conference on ‘Transnational Sufism: Reconfiguring Practices, Boundaries, and Narratives’, 9–11 November 2017, on which this book is based. We would like also to thank Rachid Koraïchi for the cover image of this book. Rachid, an Algerian artist working between Paris, Barcelona, Tunis, and Temacine (Algeria), is himself a global Sufi.  



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INTRODUCTION

Francesco Piraino and Mark Sedgwick

Sufism can be described both as the spiritual dimension of Islam, the position often taken by Sufis, and as a religious movement with practices, doctrines, and structures, the position often taken by social scientists. This double and oscillating definition can help us in understanding a fluid and shapeshifting phenomenon. In fact, many ‘Sufi’ practices such as the dhikr (repetition of God’s name) and visits to tombs can be found also outside the Sufi frame, as we will see in this book. Similarly, many intellectuals and religious authorities draw on Sufi texts and doctrines without publicly adhering to a Sufi tariqa (order) or practising Sufi rituals.1   The heterogeneity of Sufism throughout its history discourages the use of specific categories such as mysticism, esotericism, asceticism, spirituality, popular religion, and intellectual religion. All these categories could be useful or misleading, depending on the specific context. In order to discuss Sufism, we need all the possible categories of social sciences to contextualise and discuss each specific case. Sufi practices are central to understanding global Sufism.   One of the most important issues for the general public—in Europe and North America, and in the Muslim world—is the relationship between Sufism and Islam. Many Sufis do not in fact distinguish between Islam and Sufism, and some almost consider Sufism the only true Islam. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, some Orientalist and colonial literature described a

1

GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS

mystical Sufism distinct from and even opposed to a legalistic ‘orthodox’ Islam.2 Certain European intellectuals, searching for a perennial religion, confirmed this supposed distinction.3 In reaction, this led later scholars in Europe and North America to argue for the purely Islamic origins of Sufism.4 Now that this debate has lost its original heat, scholars can retrace both the Islamic origins and the exogenous influences.5 A parallel debate still rages in the Muslim world, where ordinary Salafis tend to define themselves in opposition to Sufis, though Islamic scholars often take more nuanced views.6   The relation with Islam—where the boundaries are situated—is an important question for examining contemporary global Sufism, the subject of this book. Sufism can be seen as both the bastion of true Islam and as the expression of religious heterodoxy. For some, orthodoxy is desirable, while for others, heterodoxy is preferable. In fact—like other religious authorities, from the traditional ʿulamāʾ to modern intellectuals—Sufis protect and transmit religious knowledge, and also shape it. They may perhaps shape it even more than other religious authorities, given their greater charismatic authority.   The question of the relationship of Sufism with Islam is closely connected to Sufism’s relation with alterity: who is the infidel? Who is the believer? How are universal religious experiences related to particular and specific practices? These questions can be answered differently in different cases. Like cultural boundaries, religious boundaries can be fluid. For example, there are Sufi tariqas in which non-Muslims participate, and not only in Europe and North America. One example is the Indian guru Sai Baba of Shirdi, a charismatic figure who died in 1918 and attracted both Hindu and Muslim followers,7 but fluidity is not limited to extraordinary figures, and can also be found in everyday religious practices at some Sufi shrines.8 In Mali, cultural and religious influences are merged in the case of the ‘Rasta-Sufis’ among the young generation in suburban areas.9 The fluidity of religious boundaries is not present only in Europe and North America, nor caused only by modernity.   The relation between Sufism and religious and cultural alterities is particularly important, not only because religion is pivotal in defining identitarian boundaries, but also because Sufism has been an instrument of Islamisation of non-Muslim territories. Sufi tariqas have been among the first to establish contact between Islam and followers of other religions, in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.10 These contacts obliged Sufi teachers and tariqas to reflect on this delicate issue.   Authority and power are other ‘sensitising concepts’11 that are fundamental to better understanding contemporary global Sufism. Sufis often have 2

INTRODUCTION

what Weber would call traditional and even rational authority, acting as ʿulamā ʾ and judges and—in Europe and North America—as imams and community leaders. On the other hand, Sufis ultimately draw their legitimacy from supernatural experiences, directly connected to God and His prophets. This dual legitimacy has always attracted, and still attracts, the interest of political power. Sufis, far from being detached from public life, have often been protagonists in politics, sometimes supporting established powers, but sometimes in opposition to them.12 Not all Sufis are political, but Sufism can be very political.   We must bear in mind these issues of boundaries, structures, and politics as we discuss contemporary global Sufi phenomena. Sufism has of course always been a transnational phenomenon, with the major tariqas crossing cultural, linguistic and political boundaries. Spiritual travelling has been a teaching instrument for Sufis. The Sufism discussed in this book, however, is not just transnational but properly global, reflecting the current historical period, in which globalisation is sometimes welcomed and sometimes resisted, but remains inescapable. Even so, not all contemporary tariqas are global, of course. Many remain local; these are not the subject of this book. Stressing the global dimension of contemporary Sufism does not imply a homogenisation of phenomena, since it is well known that the local interacts with the global in the process that Roland Robertson called ‘glocalisation’. The Sufis in this book are both global and local actors.   During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Sufism was subject to a double attack. First, it was targeted by state institutions that considered Sufi tariqas a possible threat to their political authority and an obstacle to the process of modernisation. Secondly, it was condemned by Islamic reformers of all sorts—from Modernists to ‘Wahhabi’ Salafis to the later Muslim Brotherhood—who thought that Sufis were obscurantists and unable to face the challenges of modernity, or practitioners of a deviant heterodox Islam, or both.13 The twentieth-century social sciences then diagnosed a crisis of Sufism, as popular religious practices were doomed to disappear in favour of ‘modern’ movements.14   This ‘crisis’ has been challenged by more recent scholarly literature. In fact, rather than a crisis, it was a matter of transformation and renewal. New Sufi tariqas were born, and others have found new energy. During the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Sufism has also spread into Europe and North America, as shown by numerous studies,15 due to migration, the encounter with Western esotericism,16 New Age culture,17 and even the role 3

GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS

of academia.18 In countries with a Muslim majority, there has been a return to Sufi spirituality: in Sub-Saharan Africa,19 Egypt,20 Indonesia,21 Algeria22 and Morocco.23   There are several possible explanations for this renewal, which change according to geographical and historical context. However, there is a common thread among these new Sufisms: the continuous negotiation of practices, boundaries and narratives, and the role of politics.   Contemporary global Sufism is characterised by the emergence of new Sufi masters and public figures, often with interdisciplinary training and able to engage different audiences. These Sufi public figures can embody the mainstream religious authority of the ʿalīm, but they are also intellectuals, journalists, politicians, and artists. The reconfiguration of Sufi authorities follows the reconfiguration of Islamic authorities in contemporary societies.24   This implies a hybridity of cultural, aesthetic, and political categories. Global Sufis speak not only the language of Islam and Sufism, but are also are capable of employing the narratives of the human25 and natural sciences.26 Global Sufi cultural production includes rap and jazz music,27 novels,28 and plays.29 These changes are not simply in opposition to ‘traditional’ Sufi forms, but are a diversification of Sufi expressions.   Cultural hybridity often fosters a debate on religious pluralism.30 Contemporary global Sufism is a place in which ethnic, cultural, national, and sometimes even religious boundaries are blurred, due in part to the pre-eminence of religious experience over identitarian boundaries. This reconfiguration, cultural hybridity, and debate on religious pluralism entails a negotiation of Islamic orthodoxy. Within global Sufi orders, Islamic orthodoxy is sometimes represented and reproduced by Sufi scholars who teach at the most prestigious Islamic universities, and at the same time is challenged by other Sufi actors. In particular, gender roles are among the most contested issues because in some global Sufi tariqas, Islamic norms regarding women and the regulation of gender segregation are challenged by specific doctrinal interpretations31 or by the influence of European and North American gender practices.32   Another trend that affects global Sufism is the promotion of Sufism as a cultural product33 and touristic attraction,34 and the promotion of Sufism by states.35 The image and narrative of Sufism are used by political actors to claim to defend true or traditional Islam in opposition to (exogenous) Islamist movements. This ‘imagined Sufism’ is seen as apolitical and peaceful.36 Sufis, as religious authorities, are requested by authoritarian regimes to legitimise political power, in particular by regimes which evidently feel they desperately 4

INTRODUCTION

need religious recognition. Some Sufis of course distance themselves from these powers. Both types may still preach an inclusive Islam, rejecting violence and social injustice. This raises the difficult question of whether Sufis are defending Islam against Islamism, supporting despotism against democracy, or perhaps doing both. A heated debate results, among scholars as well as among participants.   The last characteristic of this global Sufism is a process of de-Islamisation. Before and during the interwar period, some Sufis from the Muslim world travelled to North America and Europe in order to disseminate their teachings to a non-Muslim audience, and this, along with their disciples’ interest in universal approaches to esoteric Islamic teachings, resulted in a process of ‘de-Islamisation’ of Sufism37 that echoed the views of some Orientalists.38 On the other hand, in the last forty years, we are witnessing the opposite process since many Sufi groups are rediscovering both Islamic ‘orthodoxy’ and the structural form of the tariqa.   These global and contradictory trends, occurring from Egypt to France to the United States, contribute to the formation of a global Sufism, though they also affect local Sufi tariqas differently, depending on the context and the peculiarities of the tariqa. We would like to stress that in this Sufi renewal, social and cultural boundaries are particularly fluid, allowing a dynamic negotiation of orthodoxy.   This book addresses all these issues as well as contemporary global trends, though unfortunately it does not contain a chapter on gender, an area into which more research is needed. The book deals with contemporary global Sunni Sufism; Shiʿi Sufism and mysticism fall beyond its scope. It is divided into three sections: Boundaries, Structures, and Politics. Several chapters refer to the ‘West,’ an amorphous and contested concept that the book does not attempt to interrogate, as the book’s focus is precisely global; what is or is not Western is thus a secondary consideration. In practice, by ‘West’ most authors mean North America and relevant parts of Europe. No chapter addresses regions such as Australasia or South America, though there are reasons to expect that the same global trends and processes will be found there as well. Similarly, given the book’s stress on the global, no attempt has been made to secure a global coverage of regions outside the ‘West’. South Asia is as absent as South America, and China is as absent as South Asia.   In the first part, the authors describe the reconfiguration of Sufi boundaries. They examine the contested and shifting relationship between the Islamic and the universal: is Sufism the timeless and universal essence of all religions, the 5

GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS

key to tolerance and co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims, or the purely Islamic heart of traditional and authentic practice and belief ? Robert Irwin in Chapter 1 reconstructs the image of Jalal al-Din Rumi in European and North American literature markets. Stripped of its Persian and Islamic context, Rumi’s teaching has been selectively employed by protagonists of the New Age. A modernised and romanticised Rumi, filtered through modern sensibilities, has brought comfort and hope to millions. Mark Sedgwick describes in Chapter 2 the Islamisation of New Age Western Sufism at the hands of travelling sheikhs. He shows that a successful Islamisation is due mostly to organisational factors: the control of the sheikh over the group. Zachary Wright in Chapter 3 deals with the global role of the Tijaniyya, underlining black African cultural and intellectual influence beyond African borders: ‘Afropolitanism’. Francesco Piraino in Chapter 4 deals with the concepts of alterity and the definition of the infidel in Sheikh Bentounes’s ʿAlawiyya. This Algerian-French Sufi master teaches his disciples that the infidel is a state of the soul, rather than a member of a specific religion. This pedagogy aims at bringing the disciple out of cultural, ethnic or familial Islam, in order to rediscover its own spiritual and universal dimensions. Andrea Brigaglia describes in Chapter 5 the convergence of two global aesthetics provided by the Afro-American tradition of rap and the Arabo-Islamic tradition of Sufi qassīda poetry. French Sufi rappers have opened a new page in the history of the most characteristic global genre of Islamic literature. In this chapter, not only cultural and aesthetic boundaries are questioned, but also religious boundaries; at the centre of this particular music, the relation with alterity is pivotal.   In the second section the authors describe the reconfiguration of Sufi structures39—organisation, doctrines and rituals. In Chapter 6, Justine Howe describes Chicago Muslims participating in Sufi mawlid (anniversary) celebrations, rituals and practices, even if they do not identify as ‘Sufi’ or participate in Sufi organisations or confer authority on Sufi lineages. In this context, the term ‘Sufism’ continues to convey a contested meaning. William Rory Dickson and Merin Shobhana Xavier, in Chapter 7, deal with the process of disordering and the consecutive reordering of Sufi religious practices and organisational structures in the North American context. They suggest that this process has been influenced by the dynamics of the American ‘religious marketplace’, recent patterns of Muslim immigration, and the global emergence of a discourse of Islamic authenticity. In Chapter 8, Besnik Sinani describes the construction of religious authority and orthodoxy based on  

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INTRODUCTION

theological, legal, and spiritual schools, as well as on genealogical lineage. In this frame, traditionalism is not evocative of regressive tendencies, but rather of the belief that the connection with inherited scholarship and past masters stands at the foundation of building the future. Sinani’s chapter illustrates one approach in the debate on the political engagement of some Sufi tariqas.   In its third section, the book turns to politics. Sufi tariqas are becoming (again) protagonists in the political field in several geographical contexts. Sufi heritage has been promoted by national and international institutions and organisations in order to support particular policies. A Sufi image has been created, often detached from Sufi tariqas, re-shaping the image of Islam, and attempting to counter Islamist politics. Sufis are building alliances with states against common enemies, raising complex questions about engagement with authoritarian regimes. Floriam Volm in Chapter 9 describes the appropriation of the image of Sufism by the Gülen Movement in order to reinforce its narratives and discourses in the international political sphere, while rejecting Sufi elements that it feels might harm the movement. The Gülen Movement is thus Sufi-ish but not really Sufi, which is why internal texts speak of Fethullah Gülen as a ‘Sufi in his own way’. Simon Stjernholm in Chapter 10 examines how the Swedish national radio employs Sufi-oriented speakers and ideas to contribute to maintaining Sweden’s hegemonic liberal discourse. Sufism has been promoted as a ‘good’, ‘moderate’ and ‘tolerant’ version of Islam in contrast and opposition to ‘intolerant’ and ‘radical’ articulations. Such promotion has been carried out by representatives of Sufi movements, state actors in various countries, and others. Thomas Joassin analyses in Chapter 11 the support of Sufism by the Algerian state. Joassin describes the National Association of Zāwiyas (Sufi lodges). The Algerian state has its own agenda, seeking to promote not only its own political aims but also what it sees as a moderate, tolerant, and open Islam, with which the national religious tradition is associated. Sufis zāwiyas and ‘maraboutic Islam’ are considered important components of this traditional ‘Algerian Islam’, in opposition to Islamist movements. Usaama al-Azami in Chapter 12 describes the role of one transnational network of Sufi scholars adhering to a conception of ‘Traditional Islam,’ mostly based in the UAE, and their role after the Arab revolutions. Neo-traditionalism’s support for repressive forces in the region risks making the denomination’s scholars look like uninspiring pawns in the hands of the region’s autocrats. Al-Azami’s chapter illustrates an approach in the debate on the political engagement of some Sufi tariqas that contrasts interestingly with that of Sinani. 7

GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS

References Abbink, Jon, ‘An Historical–anthropological Approach to Islam in Ethiopia: Issues of Identity and Politics’, Journal of African Cultural Studies 11, no. 2 (1998), pp. 109–124. Anderson, Jon W., ‘New Media, New Publics: Reconfiguring the Public Sphere of Islam’, Social Research: An International Quarterly 70, no. 3 (2003), pp. 887–906. Bigliardi, Stefano, ‘The Contemporary Debate on the Harmony between Islam and Science: Emergence and Challenges of a New Generation’, Social Epistemology 28, no. 2 (2014), pp. 167–186. Bisson, David, René Guénon: Une politique de l’esprit (Paris: Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2013). Blumer, Herbert, Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969). Bruinessen, Martin van, ‘Les Soufis et Le Pouvoir Temporel’ in Les voies d’Allah: Les ordres mystiques dans le monde musulman des origines aujourd’hui, edited by Gilles Veinstein and Alexandre Popovic (Paris: Fayard, 1996), pp. 242–253. Bruinessen, Martin van, and Julia Day Howell, eds., Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam (London; New York: IB Tauris, 2007). Cesari, Jocelyne, ed., Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 2007). Chih, Rachida, ‘What Is a Sufi Order? Revisiting the Concept through a Case Study of the Khalwatiyya in Contemporary Egypt’ in Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam, edited by Martin Van Bruinessen and Julia Day Howell (London; New York: IB Tauris, 2007), pp. 21–38. Christmann, Andreas, and Mary Searle-Chatterjee, ‘Reclaiming Mysticism: AntiOrientalism and the Construction of “Islamic Sufism” in Postcolonial Egypt’ in Religion, Language, and Power, edited by Nile Green (New York: Routledge, 2008), pp. 67–90. Corbin, Henry, L’imagination créatrice dans le soufisme d’Ibn Arabi (Paris: Flammarion, 1977). Dominguez-Diaz, Marta, Women in Sufism: Female Religiosities in a Transnational Order (London; New York: Routledge, 2014). Geoffroy, Éric, Le soufisme. Voie intérieure de l’Islam (Paris: Points, 2009). Giddens, Anthony, The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1986). Green, Nile, Sufism: A Global History (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). Griffith, Sidney, ‘Sharing the Faith of Abraham: The “Credo” of Louis Massignon’, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 8, no. 2 (1997), pp. 193–210. Haj, Samira, Reconfiguring Islamic Tradition: Reform, Rationality, and Modernity (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008).

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INTRODUCTION Hammer, Olav, ‘Sufism for Westerners’ in Sufism in Europe and North America, edited by David Westerlund (London: Routledge-Curzon, 2004), pp. 127–143. Haq, Farooq, and Ho Yin Wong, ‘Is Spiritual Tourism a New Strategy for Marketing Islam?’, Journal of Islamic Marketing 1, no. 2 (2010), pp. 136–148. Heck, Paul, Sufism and Politics: The Power of Spirituality (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2007). Hermansen, Marcia, ‘What’s American about American Sufi Movements?’ in Sufism in Europe and North America, edited by David Westerlund (London; New York: Routledge-Curzon, 2004), pp. 40–163. Hill, Joseph, ‘“All Women Are Guides”: Sufi Leadership and Womanhood among Taalibe Baay in Senegal’, Journal of Religion in Africa 40, no. 4 (2010), pp. 375–412. ———, ‘“Baay Is the Spiritual Leader of the Rappers”: Performing Islamic Reasoning in Senegalese Sufi Hip-Hop’, Contemporary Islam 10, no. 2 (2016), pp. 267–87. Inayat-Khan, Zia, ‘A Hybrid Sufi Order at the Crossroads of Modernity: The Sufi Order and Sufi Movement of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan’, PhD thesis, Duke University, 2006. Karamustafa, Ahmet T., Sufism: The Formative Period (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007). King, Richard, Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India and ‘the Mystic East’ (Abingdon; New York: Routledge, 1999). Knysh, Alexander D., Sufism: A New History of Islamic Mysticism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017). Laude, Patrick, Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guenon, and Schuon (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010). Le Pape, Loïc, ‘Engagement religieux, engagements politiques. Conversions dans une confrérie musulmane’, Archives de sciences sociales des Religions 140 (Oct. 2007), pp. 9–27. Lee, Raymond L.M., ‘Sai Baba, Salvation and Syncretism: Religious Change in a Hindu Movement in Urban Malaysia’, Contributions to Indian Sociology 16, no. 1 (1982), pp. 125–40. Malik, Jamal and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh, eds, Sufism East and West: Mystical Islam and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Modern World (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2019). Mandaville, Peter, ‘Globalization and the Politics of Religious Knowledge: Pluralizing Authority in the Muslim World’, Theory, Culture & Society 24, no. 2 (2007), pp. 101–115. Massignon, Louis, La passion de Husayn Ibn Mansûr Hallâj (Paris: Gallimard, 1975). McGilvray, Denis B., ‘Jailani: A Sufi Shrine in Sri Lanka’ in Lived Islam in South Asia: Adaptation, Accommodation, and Conflict, edited by Imtiaz Ahmad and Helmut Reifeld (New Delhi: Berghahn Books, 2004), pp. 273–290. McGuinness, Justin, ‘Spectacularizing Fès: Cultures and Globalization: Cities,

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Cultural Policy and Governance’ in Cultures and Globalization: Cities, Cultural Policy and Governance, edited by Helmut K. Anheier and Yudhishthir Raj Isar (London: Sage, 2012), pp. 176–183. McLaughlin, Fiona, ‘Youssou N’Dour’s Sant Yalla/Egypt: A Musical Experiment in Sufi Modernity’, Popular Music 30, no. 1 (2011), pp. 71–87. Meijer, Roel, ed., Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement (London: Hurst; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). Muedini, Fait, Sponsoring Sufism: How Governments Promote ‘Mystical Islam’ in Their Domestic and Foreign Policies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Pankhurst, Alula, ‘Indigenising Islam in Wällo: Ajäm, Amharic Verse Written in Arabic Script’ in Proceedings of the XIth International Conference of Ethiopian Studies edited by Bahru Zewde, R. Pankhurst and Taddese Beyene, vol. 2 (Addis Ababa: Institute of Ethiopian Studies 1994), pp. 257–276. Philippon, Alix, ‘“Bons Soufis” et “mauvais Islamistes”: La Sociologie à l’épreuve de l’idéologie’, Social Compass 62, no. 2 (2015), pp. 187–198. ———, ‘De l’occidentalisation du soufisme à la réislamisation du new age? Sufi Order International et la globalisation du Religieux’, Revue des mondes musulmans et de la méditerranée, no. 135 (2014), pp. 209–226. Piraino, Francesco, ‘Bruno Guiderdoni—Among Sufism, Traditionalism and Science: A Reply to Bigliardi’, Social Epistemology 3, no. 11 (2014), pp. 21–24. ———, ‘René Guénon et son héritage dans le soufisme du XXIème siècle’, Religiologiques 33 (Spring 2016): pp. 155–180. ———, ‘Between real and virtual communities: Sufism in Western societies and the Naqshbandi Haqqani case’, Social Compass 63, no. 1 (2016), pp. 93–108. ———, ‘Les Politiques du Soufisme en France’, Social Compass 66, no. 1 (2019), pp. 134–146). Piraino, Francesco, and Laura Zambelli, ‘Queer Muslims in South Africa: Engaging Islamic Tradition’, Journal for Islamic Studies 37 (2018), pp. 123–147. Quinn, Charlotte A., and Frederick Quinn, Pride, Faith, and Fear: Islam in SubSaharan Africa (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). Roy, Olivier, Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004). Saheb, Shaik Abdul Azeez, ‘A “Festival of Flags”: Hindu-Muslim Devotion and the Sacralising of Localism at the Shrine of Nagore-e-Sharif in Tamil Nadu’ in Embodying Charisma: Modernity, Locality, and Performance of Emotion in Sufi Cults, edited by Pnina Werbner and Helene Basu (Abingdon: Routledge, 1998), pp. 55–76. Salvatore, Armando, and Dale F. Eickelman, Public Islam and the Common Good (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2006). Sedgwick, Mark, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).  

 

 

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INTRODUCTION ———, ‘The Reception of Sufi and Neo-Sufi Literature’ in Sufis in Western Society: Global Networking and Locality, edited by Ron Geaves, Markus Dressler, and Gritt Maria Klinkhammer (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009), pp. 180–197. ———, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016). Shafak, Elif, The Forty Rules of Love (New York: Penguin, 2011). Sijbrand, Linda, ‘Orientalism and Sufism: An Overview’ in Orientalism Revisited: Art, Land and Voyage (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013), pp. 98–114. Sikand, Yoginder, ‘Shared Hindu-Muslim Shrines in Karnataka: Challenges to Liminality’ in Lived Islam in South Asia: Adaptation, Accommodation and Conflict, edited by Ahmad Imtiaz and Helmut Reifeld (New Delhi: Berghahn Books, 2004), pp. 166–186. Silverstein, Shayna, ‘Local Meets Global at “World Music Nights in Damascus”’, Syrian Studies Association Bulletin 14, no. 1 (2008). Soares, Benjamin F., ‘“Rasta” Sufis and Muslim Youth Culture in Mali’, in Being Young and Muslim: New Cultural Politics in the Global South and North, edited by Linda Herrera and Asef Bayat (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 241–257. Spieser-Landes, David, ‘“Postcolonial Islam” Thought and Rapped: Abd Al Malik’s Révolution Pacifique from within the French Nation’, Performing Islam 4, no. 1 (2015), pp. 35–59. Veinstein, Gilles, and Nathalie Clayer, ‘L’Empire Ottoman’ in Les voies d’Allah: les ordres mystiques dans le monde musulman des origines aujourd’hui, edited by Gilles Veinstein and Alexandre Popovic (Paris: Fayard, 1996), pp. 322–341. Veinstein, Gilles, and Alexandre Popovic, eds, Les voies d’Allah: les ordres mystiques dans l’islam des origines à aujourd’hui (Paris: Fayard, 1996).

11

PART I BOUNDARIES

1

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Robert Irwin

As I write this I have beside me on the desk Rumi: The Card and Book Pack: Meditation, Inspiration & Self Discovery created by Eryk Hanut and Michelle Wetherbee. According to the blurb on the back of its box: ‘The words of the thirteenth-century Sufi poet and mystic Rumi guide us like a wise friend. This 54-card pack and book, with new translations, bring Rumi’s advice and spiritual sustenance to our daily lives’. One can either draw a card to find a subject for the day’s meditation, or, by following simple directions, one can actually ask these oracular cards questions. ‘Let their message comfort you in times of sorrow, relieve the stress of daily life, and point the way forward.’1 Hoping for some guidance on how to write what will follow, I draw a card. Dawn; Its breezes swim with musk; Wake up! Breathe in this fragrance!

  Though the Rumi Tarot Pack might have provided additional help, it is at present out of print. However, typing in ‘Rumi’ on Amazon reveals the cur

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rent availability of seven competing Rumi calendars for 2018, a Rumi armchair, Rumi sportswear for women, Rumi shower curtains, guides to Rumi-style yoga and countless Rumi cafes, restaurants and books. Among the books are Roszeen Afsar’s Vibrant Soul, a colouring book inspired by Rumi, also a Sufi Comics presentation of ‘an enriching collection of Rumi’s poems in graphic form’, while Nevin Halici’s Sufi Cuisine (London, 2005) is devoted to the numerous references to food in Rumi’s verses and to recipes of the Mevlevi dervishes.   In recent decades the wisdom of Jalal al-Din Rumi has also received a great deal in the way of celebrity endorsement. For example, a DVD entitled Rumi: Poet of the Heart is narrated by Debra Winger and it also features Coleman Barks, Robert Bly, Deepak Chopra and others. Similarly, in the CD A Gift of Love: Music Inspired by Love Poems of Rumi the poems are voiced by ‘Deepak Chopra and friends’. Those ‘friends’ include Coleman Barks, Madonna, Goldie Hawn, Demi Moore, Debra Winger and Martin Sheen. Beyoncé and Jay Z have named their twin boys Sir Carter and Rumi. In order to promote a line of fragrances produced in association with Etat Libre d’Orange, the film star Tilda Swinton recited ‘Like This’, a poem taken from Coleman Barks’s The Essential Rumi. Franz Beckenbauer, the legendary Bayern Munich footballer, has cited Rumi in support of his own belief in reincarnation. Philip Glass’s multimedia 3-D chamber opera Monsters of Grace, which premiered in 1988, drew its lyrics from Coleman Barks’s versions of Rumi’s verses. In 2016 there were reports of a Hollywood plan to make a Rumi biopic in which Leonardo di Caprio was to play the Sufi master, with Robert Downey Jr possibly playing Shams al-Din of Tabriz. As Peter Wilson wrote some years back, ‘We may not have to wait too long for the more repellent aspects of the New Age spiritual Disneyland to claim another victim, and books of Sufi crystal healing, Sufi geomancy, talks with Sufi dolphins and Sex Secrets of the Sufi Masters may be going to press as I write’.2   It is all very curious and we shall have more to say about Coleman Barks, Robert Bly and Deepak Chopra in what follows. In America, at least, it has become smart to be Sufi and the marriage of mysticism and merchandising has gathered its own seemingly unstoppable momentum. The Sufi Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207–73), who was born in Vakhsh in what is now Tajikistan, but who settled and taught in Persian in Konya in Turkey, has belatedly found a fresh audience in the United States and Western Europe among the children of the New Age.   The New Age, which evolved out of the counter-culture of the 1960s, was something which came together in the 1970s. Not all that much was new 16

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about the New Age, as it fed eclectically yet selectively on ancient wisdom. Characteristically the gurus and disciples in the New Age aimed at selfimprovement through meditation and certain kinds of exercise. They embraced a religiosity which owed little or nothing to mainstream Christianity and often practised some form of ‘esotourism’ as they might move from Zen to yoga to Sufism, and then on to Vedanta, finding it easy to combine doctrines and practices from several oriental religions (and the wise gurus almost invariably came from the East). Marginal knowledge and techniques tended to be highly valued. The advocacy of holistic approaches to personal and global problems was part of the rhetoric of the New Age and remains one of its legacies. The popularity of New Age approaches ran in parallel with the rise of World Music and a related enthusiasm for various forms of ritual dance. Love was seen as the solution not just to personal problems but also to those of the world. Like the Marxists, proponents of the New Age protested against capitalist materialism, though they proposed very different solutions.3   New Age Sufi meditations could be easily fitted in with yogic exercises. In many Western Sufi groups Sufism has been detached from Islam and is presented as a pilgrimage of the self. As Reshad Feild wrote in The Last Barrier, an account of his pilgrimage to discover the Sufi truth, ‘The New Age does not mean the formation of any new religion. Far from it. There will be no need, anymore, for any form of religion. All that will have to go.’4   Though the New Age is now mostly seen as a phase of Western culture that has passed and the phrase is rarely attached to current beliefs and practices, nevertheless those beliefs and practices that became so popular in the 1970s still flourish today. It is only that there is less expectation of a cohesive ‘New Age’ that will bring altered sensibilities and change on a global scale. Instead, the various meditations and therapies are now usually presented in a more individual context. Within that context, it has been possible to portray Rumi as a figure who preached a religion of love that transcended conventional spirituality, a proto-humanist, a healer who anticipated Freud, and a gay icon. According to Demi Moore, ‘Rumi awakens us to the dance of life, so that we can celebrate the mysteries of existence’.5 Though this kind of thing is all very pleasant, some may call to mind such inspirational observations of Madeleine Basset as ‘The stars are God’s daisy chain’ and ‘Today I danced on the lawn before breakfast and then I went round the garden saying good morning to the flowers’ (in the Jeeves and Wooster novels of P.G. Wodehouse).   Zen, Vedanta and Taoism were popular in the 1970s, but the enthusiasm for Rumi only really got properly under way in the late 1980s. Prior to that,  

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Rumi’s doctrines and poetry were hardly known outside academic circles and small, often secretive esoteric groups. There were almost no books on Sufism aimed at the general reader. The most notable exception was The Sufis by Idries Shah (1924–96). This general survey presented Sufism as a form of timeless wisdom that was not attached to any particular religion. Indeed, Sufism, which was 4,000 years old, predated Islam. Sufism, according to Shah, was a way of learning how to learn and in order to do so one had to free oneself from mechanical thinking. (Perhaps this notion was borrowed from Gurdjieff.) A chapter of The Sufis was devoted to ‘Our Master Jalaluddin Rumi’.6 This relied heavily on the writings of the Cambridge academics Nicholson and Arberry. According to Shah, Rumi instituted the whirling dance. (In fact, it was his son Sultan Valad who did this.) Also: ‘The body-mind movements of the Whirling Dervishes, coupled with the reed-pipe music to which they were performed, is the product of a special method designed to bring the Seeker into affinity with the mystical current, in order to be transformed by it.’7 It is hard to know what this means. The chapter on Rumi also gives an account of his alleged meeting with the other great Sufi, Ibn ʿArabi, in Baghdad and, though this almost certainly never happened, it has been given widespread circulation in subsequent popular writings on Rumi. According to Shah, Rumi’s writings were the source for some of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. But Rumi was only one of numerous Sufi masters described in Shah’s book and one must look elsewhere for the chief inspiration behind the contemporary Rumi cult.   1984 was the year that the Rumi cult began to take off in the USA. This was the year when the poet and academic Coleman Barks published his first collection of Rumi poems Open Secret.8 It had been another American poet, Robert Bly, who first introduced Barks to the poetry of Rumi, via the scholarly but somewhat archaic translations of E. H. Whinfield, R. A. Nicholson and A. J. Arberry. Bly showed Barks the academic translations of Rumi and told him ‘These poems need to be released from their cages’. Besides being a prolific poet Bly (b.1926) is an accomplished translator from Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish and German, as well as the poetry of the sixteenth-century, Sufi-influenced, Hindu poet Kabir. Though Bly knew no Persian, he also produced free-verse adaptations of Rumi’s verses, drawing on academic translations to do so.9   Coleman Barks (b.1937) took his older friend’s advice and followed his example. He has not learnt Persian and his prolific ‘translations’ are lively adaptations often of the translations by Whinfield, Nicholson and Arberry, though he also sometimes makes use of translations supplied to him by a Persian speaker, John A. Moyne, an emeritus professor of linguistics at New  

 

 

 

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York University. ‘Translating’ from a language one does not actually know has an eminent precedent in Ezra Pound’s versions of Chinese poetry, published as Cathay in 1915, in which Pound, chiefly relying on notes and translations of Chinese poetry previously made in Japan by the specialist historian of oriental art, Ernest Fenollosa, modernised the source material and made it accessible.   The teachings of Rumi were congenial to Barks. His early reading of Evelyn Underhill and Rudolf Otto had got him interested in mysticism. In 1977 he had had a vision of a Sufi master in a dream. A year later in Philadelphia he met the master of that dream, the Tamil Sufi guru Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (d.1986), and became his disciple.10 Through Barks’s numerous ‘translations’ and public readings he has succeeded in making Rumi one of America’s bestselling poets. His versions read well. But they tend to avoid such specifically religious terms as ‘prayer’, ‘houri’, ‘circumcision feast’ and ‘infidelity’. His pre­ sentation of Rumi effectively removes him from the medieval and Islamic context, so that he emerges from the turbulent thirteenth century to teach calmness and well-being to his twenty-first century following.11 Equally important, Barks has succeeded in liberating Rumi’s teaching from the cage of Victorian versification. As Barks has confessed with, perhaps, mock modesty, ‘What I do is a homemade, amateurish, loose, many-stranded thing, without much attention to historical context, nor much literal faithfulness to the original’.12 The appeal of this approach is an important factor behind the popularity of Rumi today. Across the centuries a strange partnership has been established between the two poets—one that perhaps has a parallel with the earlier case of Edward Fitzgerald and Umar Khayyam. As Jorge Luis Borges wrote of the latter: ‘All collaboration is mysterious. That of the Englishman and the Persian was even more so, for the two were quite different, and perhaps in life might not have been friends; death and vicissitudes and time led one to know the other and make them into a single poet.’13   Nevertheless, there may be a less obvious reason for the startling success of Barks’s version of Rumi and that is the apparent similarity of Rumi’s poetry to that of one of America’s best-known and most popular poets, Walt Whitman (1819–92). Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (first edition, 1855) is suffused with pantheism and idealism. His was an erotic celebration of a kind of cosmic consciousness. In Whitman’s poem ‘A Persian Lesson’ (composed in 1891 and added to the last edition of Leaves of Grass) the students learn from the Persian sage that ‘Allah is all, all, all—is immanent in every life and object’, and the poem ends with the following lines: 19

GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS It is the central urge in every atom, (Often unconscious, often evil, downfallen) To return to its divine source and origin however distant, Latent the same in subject and in object without exceptions.14

  One is irresistibly reminded of the opening lines of the Masnavi in which the reed yearns to return to the reed bed.   Indeed it seems likely that Whitman was familiar with some of Rumi’s poetry, if at several removes. Although Whitman came too late to be classed as a poet of the Transcendental School, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82), the poet and essayist, can be so classified and he was Whitman’s friend and philosophical guide. Transcendentalism was a literary and philosophic movement that flourished in early nineteenth-century New England. Its optimistic, idealistic and mystically inclined adherents rejected formal religion and instead drew eclectically upon the writings of the Neo-Platonists, Buddhists, Swedenborg, St. Thomas à Kempis and the Sufis. They preached the unity of all things and the immanence of God in the world. Man’s duty was to fulfil his divine potential. Emerson’s studies of Persian poetry relied mostly upon the very poor German translations of Joseph von HammerPurgstall (1774–1856) and in 1858 Emerson published an influential essay ‘Persian Poetry’ in Atlantic Monthly.15 Whitman may also have read W.R. Alger’s The Poetry of the East (1856). As such, Rumi can be read as an oriental precursor of Whitman. There is a sense in which Emerson and Whitman had prepared the way for Bly and Barks who in turn introduced Rumi to Madonna and Demi Moore.   Finally, with respect to Barks’s versions of Rumi, it should be remarked that his reworking of Rumi’s relatively restricted imagery and vocabulary offers Barks’s readers an escape from the modern world and its attendant problems—no office life, no computer glitches, no shopping malls, no pollution, no boredom, no grinding poverty, no lovelessness, no sickness unto death. In its place, a sunlit universe has been conjured up which pulsates with energy and whose flora, fauna, taverns, mosques, and market places deliver mysterious and exhilarating messages that hint at ecstasy.  

The Rumi of the Scholars Turning now to the scholarly translations by Englishmen that Bly, Barks and those who came after them relied upon, the first of these was by E. H. Whinfield who had been in the Bengal Civil Service and who turned  

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himself into a private scholar active in the 1880s and 1890s. His selection from Rumi Masnavi-i Ma’navi was well-chosen and well-translated. His introduction compared the Masnavi to the Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost and stressed the Christian features in Rumi’s mysticism and also pointed to the number of borrowings from the Gospel in the Masnavi.16 (The compatibility of Rumi’s teachings with so much of Christian doctrine also struck Nicholson and Arberry who came after him.) It was, it is worth noting, a general feature of the nineteenth century that amateurs who had taken up languages outside the universities played a greater part in development of Persian and Arabic studies in Britain than did the university-based professors.   However, by the twentieth century academics came close to monopolising the study of Persian and Arabic. As a student in Cambridge, Reynold Alleyne Nicholson (1868–1945) was introduced to Rumi by the great Persianist and Thomas Adams Professor of Arabic, Edward Granville Browne. Nicholson was to spend the rest of his life in Cambridge and most of it in the study of Rumi. At first he judged Rumi’s writings to be obscure and rambling and only slowly changed his mind. Selected Poems from the Dîwâni Shamsi, Tabriz (1898) stressed the Neoplatonic content. He met Iqbal, the Muslim scholar from India while the latter was studying in Cambridge and thereafter corresponded with him. Later in 1920 Nicholson published a translation from the Persian of Iqbal’s The Secret of the Self (Asrári Khudi): A Philosophical Poem. (For more on Iqbal, see below.) Late in life Nicholson returned to his first enthusiasm and set about the mammoth task of editing, translating and commenting on the 25,000 couplets of the Masnavi which were published in eight volumes over the years 1925–40. According to his friend and disciple, Arberry, Nicholson slowly went blind as he toiled over the manuscripts. The dirty bits, and there are quite a few in Rumi, he translated into Latin. By common consent Nicholson’s translation is so archaic as to be almost unreadable. Rumi: Poet and Mystic was posthumously published in 1950.17   Nicholson, a pious Christian, nevertheless identified strongly with Rumi’s spiritual teaching and he would sometimes weep as he lectured on the Masnavi. His favourite student and eventual successor as Thomas Adams Professor, Arthur John Arberry (1905–69), had become an atheist in his youth, only to be converted back to Christianity by his reading of the Muslim mystics.   He published ninety books, of which twenty were translations or interpretations of Rumi, including Discourses of Rumi (London, 1961), Tales from the Masnavi (London, 1961), More Tales from the Masnavi (London, 1963) and The Rubaiyat of Jalal al-Din Rumi: Select Translations into English Verse 21

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(London, 1969).18 Arberry, writing in the 1950s and 60s, was under the impression that the great age of Sufism was over and that it had reached a dead end, but this does not seem to be the case and it was rather readings of Sufism filtered through a Victorian Christian and poetic sensibility that had come to a dead end with Arberry himself as one of its last representatives.   Like Nicholson, Arberry was also attracted by the writings of Iqbal, which were so strongly influenced by Rumi, and he translated Iqbal’s The Secrets of Selflessness and the Javid-Nama (London, 1966). The Indian poet and thinker Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1873–1938) wrote in Urdu, Persian and English. Rumi featured prominently in his writings and was praised for his stress on striving and spiritual evolution. In Iqbal’s mind Rumi was opposed to cold reason and dry philosophy, both of which were primarily the creation of Western civilisation. But though Iqbal was highly critical of Western civilisation and suspicious about the agendas of the Orientalists, he corresponded regularly with Nicholson and greatly admired the famous French Orientalist Louis Massignon.19 At first Iqbal classified Rumi as a pantheist, but later, in the words of Annemarie Schimmel, he came to see him ‘as the advocate of spiritual development, of love between man and a personal God, and of an infinite quest for God.’20 In particular, he cited the well-known lines from Rumi which outline the evolution of plants from inorganic matter, and animals from plants and men from animals, with its conclusion ‘Of his first souls he has no remembrance/ And he will be again changed from his present soul’.21   Iqbal ranked the Masnavi as the holiest text, second only to the Qurʾan. His last major work published in Persian in 1932, the Javid-Nama was modelled on the Masnavi and described his pilgrimage through the heavenly spheres under the guidance of Rumi. As with Dante and Virgil in The Divine Comedy, Iqbal and Rumi on their journey through the spheres met a remarkable assortment of people, including Jamal al-Din Afghani, the Buddha, alHallaj, Tolstoy, Zoroaster, the Mahdi, Kitchener and Nietzsche. Iqbal’s Rumi-saturated writings not only exercised a strong influence on Nicholson and Arberry, but also on two other translators of Rumi, Annemarie Schimmel and Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch.   Her teacher in Berlin University, Hans Heinrich Schaeder, guided the young scholar Annemarie Schimmel (1922–2003) to Rumi’s Divan of Shams Tabrizi. Schimmel was prodigiously industrious and linguistically gifted and was comfortable in Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Sindhi, as well as most of the useful European languages. Although she remained a Lutheran throughout her life, her Christianity had a distinctly Sufic feel and her studies 22

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of Rumi and other mystics have a strong devotional flavour. Her translations of Rumi into German which included both the poems and the ‘Discourses’ were much influenced by Friedrich Rückert’s nineteenth-century Romantic adaptations. Her books about Rumi, which include The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaluddin Rumi (London, 1978) and I Am Wind, You Are Fire: The Life and Work of Rumi (Boston, MA, 1992) manage to be scholarly and yet quite uncritical. She also produced the major study of Iqbal, Gabriel’s Wing.22   Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch (1909–99) was an academic who researched and taught at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. A convert to Islam and a Sufi (though not a Mevlevi), she worked closely with Louis Massignon, the famous Orientalist and expert on the tenth-century Sufi martyr al-Hallaj. De Vitray-Meyerovitch was led to Rumi by reading Iqbal’s The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, in which Rumi was frequently quoted. She then learnt Persian so that she could translate both Iqbal and Rumi. Her doctoral thesis was entitled Thèmes mystiques dans l’oeuvre de Djalal-Ud-Din Rumi (1968). Believing in the ultimate unity of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, she stressed his universalism and message of love.23 Her later book Rûmî et le Soufisme (1977) is packed with enthusiastic misinformation. It described him as the discoverer of the heliocentric system and of the ninth planet, along with being an early practitioner of psychotherapy. According to her, Rumi was born in Balkh; Shams al-Din al-Tabrizi was murdered by Rumi’s son; Konya is a city of the saints; and Sufism is ‘not a doctrine, but a way’.24 In 1990 she published a complete translation of the Masnavi into French. It was her dying request that her body be buried in Konya and in 2008 her body was re-interred there.   Although the various translations and pseudo-translations of Rumi have been the most important factor behind the rise of his modern cult there were, of course, other enablers, fellow travellers and forerunners of the phenomenon. There is only space to pause on a few of these here.   Andrew Harvey was one such enabler. Born in 1952 and educated at Sherborne and Oxford, after gaining a first-class degree, he was awarded a fellowship at All Souls College. He then gave this up in 1977 to become a kind of latter-day incarnation of Matthew Arnold’s ‘Scholar-Gipsy’, who, wearying of Oxford, ‘One summer morn forsook/ His friends, and went to learn the Gipsy lore,/ and roamed the world with that wild brotherhood…’. Harvey travelled endlessly to find gurus of various religions in various regions and sit at their feet. From 1978 on he spent several years with Mother Meera, 23

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supposedly the embodiment of the Divine Mother on earth, first in India and then in Germany. From 1984 onwards he spent time with French Sufis in Paris, spending ten years studying the writings of Rumi under the guidance of de Vitray-Meyerovitch. Not knowing Persian, he relied on her translations of Rumi, supplemented by other versions.25   In 1993 Harvey met and fell in love with Eryk Hanut (who would go on to produce Rumi: The Card and Book Pack). But Mother Meera still remained his ‘divine master’ and, when she allegedly told him that her divine force had transformed him into a heterosexual and that he must leave Eryk, he rebelled.  In The Direct Path (London, 2000) he wrote that this ‘shattered my faith in the traditional “master” system and in the New Age’ and that book is consequently a guide to achieving enlightenment without recourse to submitting oneself to a living guru. In The Direct Path the relationship between Rumi and Shams is presented as a sexual one. When Shams disappeared, the stricken Rumi danced himself back to health and Harvey provides a do-it-yourself guide to performing the Mevlevi dance without recourse to a Sheikh.26   Harvey is a prolific author and Rumi has featured prominently in most of his books, including The Essential Gay Mystics (1997). His film In the Fire of Grace: Dancing Rumi’s Journey of the Soul (2011) is devoted to Sufi dance. Banafsheh Sayyad performs a free-wheeling and somewhat erotic dance while Harvey takes on the voice of Rumi and instructs us on the five steps on the path to union with the Beloved.27   George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (c.1872–1949), in exile from Tsarist Russia, established himself in France where he taught a distinctive form of esotericism in which dance featured prominently, and which he claimed originated with the mysterious Sufi Sarmoun brotherhood in Central Asia. Though Gurdjieff did not acknowledge any explicit debt to the Mevlevis, his former disciple P. D. Ouspensky, among much else, wrote of his encounters with the whirling dervishes of Pera, first in 1908 and then again twelve years later when he was in flight from the revolution in Russia.28 He claimed that their whirling represented the planets of the solar system and he concluded his description of their dance with the enigmatic observation that ‘in order to understand it fully one must first know why they do it’. Ouspensky’s investigations into dervish orders in Constantinople and Scutari were followed up by J. G. Bennett, a leading follower of Gurdjieff, who specifically interested himself in the Mevlevis in Istanbul and later went on pilgrimage to Konya.29 Bennett, who presided over one of the Ouspenskyite successor groups with a centre at Coombe Springs in Surrey, seems to have been looking for a form of Sufism  

 

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that transcended Islam, and eventually thought he had found the Master he was looking for when he encountered Idries Shah. In 1966 he turned over Coombe Springs to Shah, who promptly sold it.30   Another Ouspenskyite successor group, the Study Society, had been established in 1951 in the Barons Court area of London under the leadership of Dr Francis Roles, a London physician. The Society (on which see more below) followed Advaita Vedanta meditations (Advaita Vedanta teaches the essential unity of everything, it following that people are potentially one with God— they only have to know it), but combined Advaita Vedanta with the Mevlevi whirling dance. In 1963 a Mevlevi sheikh, hostile to the touristic performances in Konya but impressed by the serious spirituality of the Study Society, came to London and instructed Roles and forty of his group in the sema (turning dance). As such the Mevlevi dance, detached from its original Muslim setting, acquired a different context: ‘The purpose of turning is to access inner stillness and opening of the heart which leads to inner stillness.’31   The motivational speaker Deepak Chopra (b. 1946) has already been mentioned. He studied medicine in India before moving to the USA, and is today a leading advocate of alternative medicine. He claims that it is possible to achieve perfect health and acquire immunity from disease, pain and even death.32 The back cover of The Love Poems of Rumi, edited by Chopra and Fereydoun Kia (London, 1993), states that ‘Deepak Chopra’s vision brings wholeness to American culture and makes us more awake to the possibilities in each moment’. According to Chopra’s introduction, his ‘translation’ does not actually reflect Rumi’s words, but rather seeks to capture what he judges to be his moods.33   Novelists have also had a role in popularising the life and love of Rumi. Paulo Coelho is a best-selling Brazilian novelist and poet (b. 1947), and Rumi’s sayings often feed into his inspirationally improving fictions. His most popular novel O Alquimista (The Alchemist) is based on a story narrated in the Masnavi—of a dream about a fabulous treasure, the quest for that treasure and the ultimate discovery that the true treasure is hidden within oneself.34 Moreover, Rumi is much cited on Coelho’s regular blog.35   Elif Shafak (b. 1971) is a best-selling Turkish novelist. Her novel, The Forty Rules of Love, was published in English in 2010. In it, Ella, a reader for a literary agency, reads a manuscript of a novel entitled Sweet Blasphemy. This tells the story of how the arrival of Shams al-Din of Tabriz, ‘the wild card’, in (a somewhat modernised and Americanised) Konya disrupted the serenely scholarly life of Rumi and led him into a passionate quest for beatitude.  

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Eventually the jealous younger son of Rumi arranges the assassination of Shams al-Din. As the narrative progresses the eponymous forty rules are spelled out and Rumi finds his voice as a spiritual poet. Ella is so powerfully taken by this novel that she writes to its unknown Rumi-obsessed author, then meets him and finally decides to abandon her husband, two children and a comfortable existence, in favour of adventure, passion and heartbreak. According to the Penguin reading guide which accompanied the novel, the ways followed by Rumi and Ella cannot offer lasting happiness: ‘What they can offer is a taste of mystical union, divine love, the deep harmony that arises when the false self—constructed to meet society’s demand for respectability—is shed and the true self emerges’. The novel within a novel presents Sufism mostly as a way of living and seeing that is at odds with orthodox Islam. The forty rules are spelt out in italics. (Among the sources cited are Coleman Barks, Idries Shah, Kabir and Camille Helminski, Annemarie Schimmel, Nicholson and Franklin Lewis.)36 Another novel, The Way of Love by Nigel Watts, similarly focusing on the passion and pain of Rumi’s association with Shams al-Din of Tabriz, was published in 1998.37   Some novels about spiritual journeys and self-discovery have been presented as non-fiction. In 1966, The Teachers of Gurdjieff was published by Rafael Lefort (almost certainly a pseudonym for Idries Shah). It detailed the quest of an earnest but ignorant seeker for those mysterious teachers. The quest begins in Konya and one teacher after another sends the hapless seeker on to yet another instructor with only a few words of wisdom, and so he journeys on to Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, Istanbul, Tabriz and eventually as far as Afghanistan. He learns that Rumi is a master who transcended religion and who taught self-development. One of the final encounters takes place back in Konya with a certain sheikh of the Mevlevi order, Shah Naz, but he leads him not to the whirling dance, but to a rather strange demonstration of the ‘stop exercise’ as is practised by Gurdjieff groups. Finally the seeker is told that there is no point looking for those who taught Gurdjieff since all that is outmoded. Rather he will find what he needs to pursue his self-development in London.38 (Perhaps this will turn out to be with Idries Shah.)  Though The Last Barrier: A Sufi Journey (London, 1976) similarly purported to be an autobiographical memoir and its dustjacket claimed that ‘it carries the true stamp of authenticity’, it too has many of the qualities of a novel. Its author, Reshad Feild (1934–2016) was educated at Eton and served in the Royal Navy. Subsequently he became interested in alternative medicine and this led him down an esoteric path. His story (which is prefaced by a 26

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quotation from the Masnavi) begins with a chance encounter with an antique dealer who, though he is called Hamid in the story, is modelled on the real-life Sufi, Ali Bulent Rauf, who in the 1960s had an antique shop in London’s Flask Walk (if I remember correctly).39 The encounter in 1969 sends Feild on a spiritual and literal journey as he, like Lefort, is sent from master to master in one exotic locale after another, inevitably including Konya.   In accordance with New Age style of teaching (and in the words on the dustjacket), ‘The teacher’s methods are extraordinary, and remind us of Castaneda’s Don Juan, cajoling, praising, prodding, scolding, laughing, praying—forcing Reshad to shed the deadening preconceptions of his past, to break the shackles of the rationalising mind, and to perceive the reality lying beneath the surface’. As such, there are many riddles and much laughter, with the ingenuous Feild having much to learn before he can find his real self. (We may be grateful that they do not teach like this in British universities.) It is true that there may be a literary debt to Carlos Castaneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan, which had been published in 1968.   In actuality, Feild was no mystical ingénue when he encountered Bulent Rauf, since he had already studied Sufism in America with the Chishti Sufi Pir Vilayat Khan and received an initiation from him in 1962, years before he met Rauf. When Feild went out to Konya in 1971 he took a group of his own disciples with him—there they met with Rauf and Suleiman Dede, a former sheikh of the Mevlevis, and witnessed a sema (ritual whirling dance). In Los Angeles in 1976, despite not having converted to Islam, Feild was made a sheikh of the Mevlevi order by Suleiman Dede. Thereafter he presided over the Mevlevi Foundation and its whirling rituals in which non-Muslims and women participated. For Feild, as for so many Western enthusiasts, Sufism was something that transcended Islam.40   While on the subject of novels, it seems that Rumi also has a ghostly presence in science fiction. Philip K. Dick was familiar with some of his writings and cited him.41 Moreover, it has been suggested that in Frank Herbert’s Dune (1965), the ‘Litany Against Fear’ of the Bene Gesserit is based on a similar theme in Rumi.42 In the film The Last Jedi (2017), the incident in which Yoda burns the sacred Jedi texts in front of Luke Skywalker may have been modelled on a similar confrontation between Shams al-Din al-Tabrizi and Rumi in which the latter’s books were burnt.43 (New Age authors and the writers who have followed them are oddly keen on the message that there is no need for books.)  

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Rumi and Dance Dance has been an important element in the rise of the modern Rumi cult. The earliest Western observers of the Mevlevi rituals were fascinated by the whirling dance. (In the West, many know nothing about dervishes except that they all whirl.) The fascination exercised on the general public by the dance was hardly less important than Barks’s verses in focusing attention on Rumi. The whirling dance has been appropriated in the West not only by Feild’s Mevlevi Foundation and followers of the Ouspenskyite tradition, but by several other groups. Whirling is often presented as a form of therapy in the United States. For example, Shahram Shiva advertises online an easy-to-follow four-step system: ‘By following this proven method students without any prior training can begin whirling immediately’.44   Samuel L. Lewis (1896–1971), also known as Murshid Sam, or Sufi Sam, was Jewish in origin. He studied with the Theosophists, who hold that all religions are in their essence one, before moving on to Zen. In the late 1960s he too was instructed in the Mevlevi dance by the Chishti Sufi, Pir Vilayat Khan. Subsequently he received initiations from teachers of other traditions. The Dances of Universal Peace, which he established and which combine the Mevlevi whirling with other dance traditions, have an amiable happy-clappy feel.45   Kabir Helminski, like Sufi Sam, studied various esoteric disciplines before seeking initiation as a Mevlevi dervish at the hands of Sulaiman Dede in Konya in 1980. Subsequently he was made a Mevlevi sheikh in America by Celaleddin Çelebi. Together with his wife Camille, Kabir is co-director of the Threshold Society, and they preside over whirling sessions in which nonMuslims and women are welcome to participate. They have toured North America with performances of the whirling dance. Kabir has also published a number of books including Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self (New York, 1992) and Holistic Islam: Sufism, Transformation, and the Needs of Our Time (2017). Like Barks, he has produced free verse versions of Rumi based on the translations of Arberry and Nicholson.46   When one considers the background of Western gurus and seekers on paths to spiritual self-improvement one is struck by the prominence of the wealthy and the highly educated in those circles. To take just the British case, J. G. Bennett, Reshad Feild and Andrew Harvey are among the many to have been educated at public schools. It is also striking how many Harley Street physicians were and perhaps still are in the various Ouspenskyite groups.  

 

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Certainly, it helps to be articulate, to have leisure, to be widely read, to have the money to travel. It may also be the case that it is easier to renounce material values if one has some actual wealth to renounce—’twas ever thus. In Reason and Society in the Middle Ages, the historian Alexander Murray, drawing on those medieval saints given entries in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, established that of seventy-one saints in the sample, 87 per cent were of upper-class birth.47   Though the globalisation of Rumi is largely synonymous with the Americanisation of Rumi, this is not entirely the case. Rumi’s teachings, naturally, have a considerable following in Muslim countries. In Turkey, after Kemal Ataturk banned the dervish orders and closed the tekkes in 1925, some Mevlevi groups went into exile in Syria and Cyprus, while others continued to meet clandestinely in Istanbul, though it seems that by the late 1960s the last of these groups had ceased to operate. However in 1956, in response to demands from tourists, performances of the whirling dance were authorised in Konya, though the dance was obstinately presented as folkloric and not religious and its performances had to take place in secular buildings. In 1960 there was a crackdown on the participation of actual Mevlevis in the dances and local youths replaced them. In 1967 there was a further crackdown on the employment of Sufi musicians from Istanbul. Politicians and tourist officials used the events to make speeches that had nothing to do with Sufi spirituality. From the 1970s onwards, spiritual tourists begin to arrive in Konya in large numbers. As the Mevlevi musician Kudsi Erguner has observed, some of these ‘tourists’, perhaps Ouspenskyites or disciples of a Californian dance cult, knew more about the correct Mevlevi ritual than did the dancers.48 There are now competing Mevlevi groups in Turkey, many of which are strictly Islamic, though others welcome the participation of non-Muslims and women. Despite the presence of Rumi’s tomb and the claims of various Western Sufis, twentieth-century Konya was not a particularly mystical place. It was, rather, a centre of Islamic fundamentalism, and in the 1980s and ’90s the headquarters of the Islamist Welfare Party.   Though Turks do not read much Rumi as the translations are apparently so poor, Rumi has been adopted by various politicians as Turkey’s national poet. Current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, like many of his supporters in the AKP ( Justice and Development Party) has a Naqshbandi Sufi background. In a speech delivered in Konya on the 741st anniversary of Rumi’s death he praised Rumi’s philosophy of tolerance and fraternity, claiming it has proven to be the basis of the Turkish nation.49  

 

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  Fethullah Gülen (b. 1941), Erdoğan’s former political ally, now in exile in the United States, was allegedly the chief conspirator behind the attempted military coup against the AKP government in July 2016, and consequently Erdoğan has sought his extradition from the United States. Gülen has enjoyed widespread support among middle- and upper-class Turks and especially among Turkish expatriate groups. He preaches a holistic view of man and claims to offer a modernised version of spirituality. His followers are supposed to devote themselves to hizmet, altruistic service of the community. According to Gülen, ‘Arab Islam is based on fear of Allah, Turkish Islam is an understanding based on love of Allah’. Rumi is thus the epitome of a distinctively Turkish Islam. He is also presented as a model of tolerance and dialogue with Christians and Jews. In Towards a Global Civilization of Love and Tolerance, Rumi is cited fifteen times. However, Gülen does not belong to any Sufi tariqa and, though he often cites Rumi in support of his views, he is equally likely to draw on Shakespeare and Balzac. He is Honorary Chairman of the Rumi Forum for Interfaith Dialogue and Intercultural Understanding in Washington, DC. There are similar institutions in Pakistan as well as Amsterdam and London, and the liturgy of the whirling dance is sometimes performed at these centres.50   Although Rumi was a Sunni Muslim and Iran is overwhelmingly Shiʿi, there is naturally an Iranian cult around perhaps the greatest poet ever to write in Persian. Abdolkarim Soroush (b. 1945), the Iranian writer, reformer, theologian and Rumi scholar, presents Rumi as an oppositional figure. Soroush was involved in the early years of the Iranian Cultural Revolution and the purge of country’s universities, but he subsequently became a leading critic of the regime and consequently his lectures in Tehran University were barracked by fundamentalist zealots. In recent decades he has been lecturing in Western universities, particularly in the United States. In those lectures he has often attacked Islamic legalism and instead cited Rumi as a proponent of religious pluralism. Despite his enthusiasm for Rumi, he is hostile to institutionalised Sufism and he has warned against confusing mystical poetry with philosophy.51   The writings of Muhammad Iqbal have made Rumi a familiar figure in the Indian subcontinent and doubtless the similarity of Rumi’s teachings to those of Kabir Helminski will have attracted many Hindus. There are at least seven million Bahais scattered around the world. Bahá’u’ullāh, the Iranian founder of the Bahai faith, often quoted Rumi with approval.52 It was through reading works by Bahá’u’ullāh and other Bahais that the American academic Franklin D. Lewis first became interested in Rumi.53  

 

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 Lewis’s Rumi, Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (Oxford and Boston, 2000) is easily the best and most comprehensive guide to the life, works and legacy of Rumi. His book ditches the romantic folklore about Rumi and provides an excellent account of what he was like before globalisation distorted his teachings. All sorts of errors are corrected in Rumi, Past and Present. Lewis reveals that Rumi was not born in Balkh. He emphasises Rumi’s Sunni, Hanafi mindset. Properly read, the Masnavi should not be mined for consoling thoughts for the day, since it is a well-constructed commentary on the Qurʾan (and it is read by Muslims from the Balkans to South-East Asia not as a self-help manual but as a commentary on the Muslim revelation). Quite a few modern readings elide the anguish and the yearning, as well as the anger and occasional obscenity. There are anti-Semitic and misogynistic passages in the Masnavi that should offend a modern sensibility. The thirteenth-century biography of Rumi by Aflaki is not an entirely reliable source. It is most unlikely that Shams al-Din was murdered and equally unlikely that the relationship between Rumi and Shams al-Din was sexual. In the words of Bruce Wannell’s review of Lewis’s book, ‘His thirty-year-old relationship with the sexagenarian Shams was not a foretaste of Californian gay romance, but must be seen in the context of the Islamic medieval structures of learning’.54   According to Lewis, Rumi’s Masnavi seeks to communicate its message to a wider audience, one disinclined to sit through dry abstract lectures on doctrine and theology, in an area which was not fully developed in Islam. Rumi brings to bear a not inconsiderable erudition in his lectures, but wears it lightly, illustrating his points with entertaining, instructive and memorable tales, drawing together disparate themes and sources in rhizomic fashion, keeping the listener rooted to the theme without the listener even realising where the argument is leading until it arrives. His teachings are carefully tailored to his audience.55

Conclusion Though various factors have been adduced above for the current enthusiasm for the life and teachings of this thirteenth-century Persian mystic, his current acclaim is more than anything else based on his own charisma and that of Coleman Barks. Their energy is attractive, as is their lyricism and complementary charismas. Rumi was an eloquent spiritual master who had no difficulty in finding audiences for his preaching and his friendship with Shams was a passionate one. As for Barks: ‘By some external standards I’ve led a scandalous 31

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life: lots of lovers, lots of wine drinking, lots of unconsciousness. God knows I’ve loved sex.’56 His poetry readings are uninhibited and very popular. The charismas of the two poets do complement rather than match one another, for, where Rumi was verbose, pedagogic and obedient to the Persian laws of prosody, Barks is clipped, cryptic and free-wheeling.   Stripped of its Persian and Islamic context, Rumi’s teaching has been selectively improved by protagonists of the New Age and those who have come after them, but there may be a lot to be said for this unscholarly, selective and romanticised version of the medieval mystic. A modernised Rumi, filtered through the modern sensibility and phrasing of Barks and others, has brought comfort and hope to millions. References Arberry, A. J., Oriental Essays: Portraits of Seven Scholars (London: Allen & Unwin, 1960). Borges, Jorge Luis, ‘The Enigma of Edward Fitzgerald’ in Borges, Selected Non-Fictions, edited by Eliot Weinberger (New York: Viking, 1999). Coelho, Paulo, The Alchemist, translated by Alan R. Clarke (New York: Harper Collins, 1988). Drury, Nevil, The New Age: Searching for the Spiritual Self (London: Thames and Hudson, 2004). Elwell-Sutton, E. P., ‘Arberry’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 13, pp. 197–220. ‘Emerson’ and ‘Transcendentalism’ in The Oxford Companion to American Literature, 6th ed., edited by James D. Hart (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 197–19, 673–64. Erguner, Kudsi, Journeys of a Sufi Musician, translated by Annette Courtenay Mayers (London: Saqi, 2005). Feild, Reshad, The Last Barrier: A Sufi Journey (London: Turnstone Books, 1976). Geaves, Ron, The Sufis of Britain: An Exploration of Muslim Identity (Cardiff: Cardiff Academic Press). Ghamari-Tebrizi, Behrooz, Islam and Dissent in Postrevolutionary Iran: Abdolkarim Soroush, Religious Politics and Democratic Reform (London: IB Tauris, 2008). Hanegraaff, Woulter, New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought (Leiden: Brill, 1996). Hanut, Erik and Michelle Wetherbee, Rumi: The Card and Book Pack: Meditation, Inspiration and Self-Discovery (Vermont: Journey Editions, 2000). Harvey, Andrew, The Direct Path: Creating a Journey to the Divine using the World’s Mystical Traditions (London: Rider, 2000). Hendrick, Joshua D., Gülen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World (New York: NYU Press, 2013).  

 

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GLOBAL RUMI Hounam, Peter and Andrew Hogg, Secret Cult (Tring, Herts. Lion Publishing, 1984). Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, reprint (Lahore: n.p., 2000). Irwin, Robert, For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies (London: Allen Lane, 2006). Kelsey, Tim, Dervish (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1996). Kemp, Daren, New Age: A Guide (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004). Lefort, Rafael, The Teachers of Gurdjieff (London: Gollancz, 1966). Lewis, Franklin, Rumi, Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2000). Murray, Alexander, Reason and Society in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978). Needleman, Jacob, The New Religions (New York: Allen Lane, 1970). Ouspensky, P.D., A New Model of the Universe, 2nd ed. (London: Kegan Paul, 1934). Rumi, Jalal al-Din, The Glance: Songs of the Soul Meeting, translated by Coleman Barks and Nevit Ergin (New York: Viking/Arkana, 1999). ———, The Love Poems of Rumi, translated and edited by Deepak Chopra and Feerydoun Kia (London: Rider, 1993). ———, Masnavi-i Ma’navi, The Spiritual Couplets of Mauláná Jalálu-‘Dín Muhammad I Rúmí, translated by E.H. Whinfield (London: Trubner, 1887). ———, The Open Secret: Versions of Rumi, translated and edited by John Moyne and Coleman Barks (Aptos Hills, CA: Threshold Books, 1984). Sedgwick, Mark, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). Schimmel, Annemarie, Gabriel’s Wing: A Study into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal (Leiden: Brill, 1963). ———, ‘Iqbal’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 13, pp. 197–200. ———, The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi, 2nd ed. (London: East-West Publications, 1980). Shafak, Elif, The Forty Rules of Love (London: Viking, 2010). Shah, Idries, The Sufis (London and New York: W.H. Allen, 1964). Somers, Jeffrey, ‘Whirling and the West: The Mevlevi Dervishes and the West’ in New Trends and Developments in the World of Islam, edited by Peter B. Clarke (London: Luzac Oriental, 1998), pp. 261–276. Soroush, Abdolkarim, ‘Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam’ in The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity, edited by Mehren Kamrava (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006). Stitt, Peter, ‘Bly’ in The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry, edited by Ian Hamilton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994). Vitray-Meyerovitch, Eva de, Rûmî and Sufism, translated by Simone Fattal (Sausalito, CA: Post Apollo Press, 1977).  

 

 

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Wannell, Bruce, ‘Review of Rumi by Franklin Lewis’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 3rd series, vol. 16, no 3 (Nov 2006), p. 315. Watts, Nigel, The Way of Love (London: Harper Collins, 1998). Whitman, Walt, ‘A Persian Lesson’ in Walt Whitman, Complete Poetry and Collected Prose (New York: Library of America, 1982). Wilson, Peter, ‘The Strange Fate of Sufism in the New Age’ in New Trends and Developments in the World of Islam, edited by Peter B. Clarke (London: Luzac Oriental, 1997), pp. 179–209. Yohannan, John N., ‘Emerson’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica (London: Routledge, 1985).  

Online References Mirumi, Guru, Emotional Fitness with Rumi Yoga (Denver, CO: Outskirts Press, 2009), https//outskirtspress.com/emotionalfitness (last accessed 28 February 2018). ‘Versions of Garrard and Farhadi’s “The Quatrains of Rumi”’ by Coleman Barks (2014), http//wwwdar-al-masnavi.org/qor_versions_by_coleman_barks.html (last accessed 18 March 2018). ‘Banafsheh in The Fire of Grace Trailer’, YouTube, https//www.youtube.com/ watchv=AxqtioVDnDc (last accessed 3 March 2018). ‘Litany Against Fear’, Dune FANDOM powered by Wikia-Dune Wiki, dune.wikia. com/wiki/Litany_Against_Fear (last accessed 3 March 2018). ‘Rumi, Bulleh Shah, and The Last Jedi’, Medium, https//medium.com/mastqalandar/ rumi-bulleh-shah-and-the-last-jedi-a36e3798d264 (last accessed 3 March 2018). ‘Shahram Shiva’s Unique & Proven Whirling Method’, Rumi, www.rumi.net/learn­­_ to_whirl_main.htm; ‘Shahram Shiva’, Wikipedia, https//en.wikipedia org/wiki/ Shahram_Shiva (last accessed 3 March 2018). ‘Erdogan praises Sufi mystic Rumi’s heritage’, Anadolu Agency, an.com.tr/en/turkeyerdogan-praises-sufi-mystic-rumis-heritage/91794 (last accessed 3 March 2018). ‘Fethullah Gülen: Following in the Footsteps of Rumi’, Rumi Forum, rumiforum.org/ fethullah-guelen-following-in-the-footsteps-of-rumi/ (last accessed 3 March 2018). ‘Fethullah Gülen’, Wikipedia, https//en.wikipedia.org//wiki/Fethullah_Gülen (last accessed 3 March 2018).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2

THE ISLAMISATION OF WESTERN SUFISM AFTER THE EARLY NEW AGE

Mark Sedgwick

At its origins in the interwar period, Sufism in Europe and America was distinctly Western, with Sufism understood not in terms of Islam but in a ‘universalist’ sense, as the essence of all religions. Today, almost all Sufi groups in the West conform to the global norm and identify Sufism primarily with Islam. This change—the Islamisation of Western Sufism—resulted in part from the arrival in the West of significant numbers of Muslim migrants during the second half of the twentieth century, as Western Muslim communities had need of, and subsequently established, a range of Islamic institutions, including Sufi tariqas (orders). It also resulted from the earlier activities of a number of Sufi sheikhs from the Muslim world who travelled to the West during the early New Age period (late 1960s and 1970s), were welcomed by existing groups of interwar origin (most of which were universalist), and then in most cases attempted to Islamise the groups that had welcomed them. In this they enjoyed varying degrees of success: some previously universalist groups became predominantly Islamic, some became partly Islamic, and some

35

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remained universalist. That these travelling sheikhs were welcomed by existing groups was to be expected: in the absence of a group inviting them, a Sufi sheikh from the Muslim world was hardly likely to travel to the West. Equally, it was to be expected that—as experienced spiritual leaders—these sheikhs would not initially challenge the universalism of those who had invited them, but that—as Muslims—they would see Islam as the proper frame for any spiritual quest.   This first phase of the Islamisation of Western Sufism at the hands of these travelling sheikhs of the early New Age is the subject of this chapter, which asks why only some of those who attempted Islamisation were successful. The most important factors, it will be argued, were organisational. The more complete the control of a group that a travelling sheikh had established before he attempted Islamisation, the more complete the Islamisation that resulted.   The chapter starts by reviewing the universalist groups of interwar origin that existed at the start of the New Age, then introduces the travelling sheikhs, and finally considers their Islamisation projects. Western Sufism at the Dawn of the New Age The Western Sufism that first benefitted from the enthusiasms of the early New Age consisted of universalist Sufi groups with origins in the interwar period. Most important among these were the Sufi Movement of Inayat Khan (1882–1927) and some other groups connected in one way or another to the nineteenth-century Theosophical Society. These groups did not self-identify as Islamic, and saw the Muslim world not as the home of Islam but as one of the homes of Eastern spirituality and wisdom. They have now been relatively well researched,1 so this chapter will simply identify their key features. They all arose during what Gisela Webb has identified as the first period of Western Sufism,2 and all fell into the category that Marcia Hermansen first identified as ‘perennial’ and then as ‘perennial/universal’.3 For the sake of simplicity, this chapter will call them ‘universalist’. There were three main streams: the purely perennialist thought of René Guénon (1886–1951) as organised in Sufi form by Frithjof Schuon (1907–98), the universalist Sufism of Inayat Khan (1882– 1927), and the universalism of Peter Ouspensky (1878–1947) and George Gurdjieff (1866–1949), which drew on Sufism among other sources and means of legitimatisation. All three streams believed in the existence and overwhelming importance of a single, ancient, universal esoteric wisdom, and all saw Sufism as a form of this. The three streams differed somewhat in their 36

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approach to Islam, however. Guénon stressed that Sufi esotericism should be practised within the context of Islamic exotericism, while Inayat Khan made only occasional reference to Islam, and Gurdjieff ignored Islam altogether.   By the start of the New Age, these three interwar streams had given rise to a number of groups. The most united was the Traditionalist stream of Guénon and Schuon. Schuon was the most prominent Traditionalist after the death of Guénon in 1951, and his ʿAlawiyya, based in Switzerland, was the most important Traditionalist Sufi tariqa. Its universalism differed little from Guénon’s.4 The Inayatian stream, in contrast, had split into three groups after the death of Inayat Khan in 1927: the original Sufi Movement based in the Netherlands, and two independent micro-groups led by Samuel ‘Sufi Sam’ Lewis (1896–1971) in San Francisco, and Vilayat Inayat Khan (1914–2004) in America and Europe. All these Inayatian groups remained faithful to the universalism of Inayat Khan. The Gurdjieffian stream gave rise to numerous groups after the death of Ouspensky in 1947 and Gurdjieff in 1949. Most of these stressed Gurdjieff ’s method and paid little attention to Sufism, but the latter was still emphasised by the followers of John G. Bennett (1897–1974) in England and America,5 by the writings of Idries Shah (1924–96),6 and to some extent by Óscar Ichazo (born 1931).7 All of these also retained the Gurdjieffian stream’s universalism.  

The Travelling Sheikhs of the Early New Age At the start of the New Age, six sheikhs from the Muslim world travelled to England and the United States, where they were welcomed by existing groups of interwar origin. Five of the six travelling sheikhs of the early New Age were Turks, the sixth being a Sri Lankan Tamil. Five of the existing groups that welcomed them were universalist Sufis, while one—that which welcomed the Sri Lankan Tamil—was an African-American nationalist group. The preponderance of Turks reflects the absence of Arabs, the explanation of which lies beyond the scope of this chapter.   There were also other sheikhs from the Muslim world who travelled to the West during this period, including, for example, one Sheikh Muhammad Aslam (dates unknown) who is briefly mentioned below, but none of them had a lasting impact comparable to that of the six sheikhs we will now consider. The six travelling sheikhs with whom this chapter deals will be introduced in order of their arrival in the West, and special attention will be paid to the group that welcomed them. In all cases, the travelling sheikh initially accepted the universalism of his hosts. 37

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Hasan Lütfî Şuşud and the Gurdjieffians in England The first travelling sheikh was Hasan Lütfî Şuşud (1902–88), a Turkish Sufi about whom little is known but who was probably loosely affiliated with the Naqshbandi tariqa. Şuşud was welcomed to England during the late 1960s by Bennett, who has already been mentioned in connection with the Gurdjieffian stream.8   Little is known about what Şuşud taught at Bennett’s establishment in Gloucestershire, Sherborne, where he spoke in French, translated into English by Bennett. One rare tape from 1972 has him speaking of life as a dream, following Ouspensky more than the Naqshbandiyya.9 Şuşud introduced the Sufi dhikr (hhaḍra, ceremony of remembrance) into the practice at Sherborne,10 but is not known to have attempted any further Islamisation. We will therefore move on.  

Bülent Rauf and the Inayatians in England The second travelling sheikh to begin to teach in the West was Bülent Rauf (1911–87), a Turk who had spent much of his life in Egypt and had then moved to Europe (Germany and then England) after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 had forced the abdication of his brother-in-law, King Faruq. Bülent Rauf was thus the exception to the rule that a Sufi sheikh from the Muslim world was hardly likely to travel to the West in the absence of a group to welcome him, since he had already travelled to the West some time before, for other reasons. He was, however, welcomed by an existing group, a branch of the Sufi Order International of Vilayat Inayat Khan led by Timothy ‘Reshad’ Feild (1934–2016).   Like Şuşud, Bülent Rauf is not known to have attempted any Islamisation. The Inayatian group that he established, Beshara, developed a philosophically based universalist interpretation of Ibn ʿArabi that is quite distinct from both other groups of interwar origin and the travelling sheikhs of the early New Age, and has already received some preparatory study.11 Again, we will move on. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and the Moorish Science Temple in America The first sheikh to reach America at the start of the New Age was Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (died 1986), a Sri Lankan Sufi who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1971, and was initially identified as ‘Guru Bawa’. He belonged not to the high 38

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tradition of Sufism—he was illiterate12—but to the tradition of the South Asian guru, for whom asceticism and visible sanctity are more important than tariqa affiliation. He had an ashram and a mosque near Jaffna, and many of his earliest followers in Sri Lanka were Hindu, not Muslim.13 His later followers in Jaffna included some well-educated Muslims and some Buddhist members of the Theosophical Society, under whose guidance the Serendib Sufi Study Circle was started in 1962.14 Guru Bawa’s fame was carried to America by a Sri Lankan PhD student, Mohamed Mauroof (dates unknown), who together with an American student (Carolyn ‘Fatima’ Andrews, date of birth unknown) and an African-American yoga teacher, Bob ‘Khwaja Muhaiyaddeen’ Demby (died 2001) collected enough money to invite Bawa to Philadelphia.15   Demby was a former member of the Nation of Islam, and many of those who first welcomed Bawa in Philadelphia were members of the Moorish Science Temple.16 Both the Nation of Islam and the Moorish Science Temple were African-American movements of interwar origin that combined communal politics and nationalism with Moorish-Islamic identities. The founder of the Moorish Science Temple, Drew Ali, derived some of his numerology from the Theosophical Society and occasionally echoed Theosophical perennialism, and the founder of the Nation of Islam, Wallace Fard Muhammad, echoed the Moorish Science Temple,17 but otherwise neither group was connected to any Western Sufi group of interwar origin. Neither group can be described as universalist. Those who welcomed Bawa, then, were not a formally organised group, but shared a common background that disposed them to welcome a guru who was a ‘Moor’—this also being a term used to describe themselves by Sri Lankan Muslims, who had been thus labelled by their Portuguese rulers during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.   Bawa soon began to add white Americans, many of Jewish origin, to his originally African-American following. As the number of white Americans grew, the number of African Americans (many of whom held strong antiwhite views characteristic of the Nation of Islam) declined, and by 1973 or 1974 Guru Bawa’s followers were predominantly white.18   Guru Bawa’s teaching was initially universalist, not explicitly Islamic or even Sufi.19 He spoke (through an interpreter) of the need to remember God and of creation as God’s self-disclosure, as any Sufi might, but also of ‘the inner reality of every historical revelation and religion’, which Webb identifies with the Tamil concept of Thiru marai or Thiru Qurʾan,20 a concept that requires further research. A Canadian follower who met Guru Bawa on a lecture tour in 1975 remembers him first talking of the hunger for God, and saying that 39

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this could not be satisfied by any religion, ‘even though each of the major religions had a certain truth buried within it’. To know God, one had to clean one’s heart and surrender to Him. Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and ‘Furqan’ (Islam) were all ‘maps’ to be studied and transcended. According to this early follower, Sufism was not mentioned until after the second day of lectures, and was then introduced as a path of return to the One in a discussion that included a story about Krishna.21   This approach—to teach Islam from a Sufi perspective, or Sufism from an Islamic perspective, without identifying the teaching as Islamic—was much the same as Inayat Khan’s initial approach.22 Guru Bawa also taught his followers something of Islamic practice, again without identifying it as such, including ‘true prayer’, in fact a silent dhikr, the repetition in Arabic of the first shahāda (confession of faith). He encouraged some of his followers to use the phrase in shāʾa Allāh (if God wishes) when talking of the future. He does not seem to have actively taught Islamic sexual morality, but achieved it indirectly by encouraging his followers to marry each other.23 Sheikh Nazim al-Haqqani and the Naqshbandiyya in England The next travelling sheikh to arrive in the West was Mehmet Nazim Adil (1922–2013), generally known as Sheikh Nazim al-Haqqani, a Turkish Sufi who first visited in London in 1974. Unlike the travelling sheikhs who had preceded him, Sheikh Nazim had a classical tariqa training. He had followed a Naqshbandi sheikh in Damascus, ʿAbd Allah al-Daghastani (1891–1973), and had himself built up a following in Lebanon. Al-Daghastani had been visited in the 1950s by Bennett,24 and this may have been the reason that Sheikh Nazim first visited London. Alternatively, it may have been to assist the Turkish Cypriot community there, as Sheikh Nazim had been born in Cyprus and had at one point been sent to teach in Cyprus by al-Daghastani.25 Although one account has Sheikh Nazim being welcomed to London by the followers of Bennett,26 research done in 1979 reports that during his visits to London in the 1970s he spent most of his time with the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot immigrant community there, either at a Turkish mosque in Stoke Newington or at a Turkish Cypriot mosque in Peckham, both outer districts of London.27 The Naqshbandi community in Stoke Newington and Peckham, then, was an early example of what Hermansen calls a ‘transplant’ group, a category in which she places American tariqas such as the Tijaniyya that came to the West along with immigrants who already belonged to the tariqa in 40

THE ISLAMISATION OF WESTERN SUFISM

question before migrating.28 Nile Green refers to ‘community’ groups, giving the example of the Mourides, a Senegalese tariqa.29 It is not known whether Sheikh Nazim’s followers in Stoke Newington and Peckham had been Naqshbandis before emigrating to England, but they may well have been close to the Turkish Sufi tradition.   Sheikh Nazim, however, also had some Westerners among his followers, perhaps twenty directly and about one hundred indirectly. His direct followers were some fifteen Americans who visited London when he did, and about five British followers.30 His indirect followers were the direct followers of John ‘Abdullah’ Ross (died 2000), known as Sheikh Abdullah Sirr Dan al-Jamal, a Scot who had spent much of his life in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and had converted to Islam and joined the Naqshbandiyya in India.31 Ross had also taken the Naqshbandiyya from two Naqshbandi sheikhs who visited England at this time, a Pakistani, Sheikh Muhammad Aslam (dates unknown), whose brother was working at the Ford motor factory in Bradford in the north of England, and Sheikh Nazim. Ross invited both Naqshbandi sheikhs to visit his followers, and Sheikh Nazim was a greater success than Sheikh Muhammad Aslam, as his English was easier to understand and his understanding of Islam more relaxed.32   Although Ross placed Sheikh Nazim above himself in his silsila (initiatic chain), making himself technically a khalīfa (representative) of Sheikh Nazim, in practice the two sheikhs operated independently, each with his own following.33 It was among the Western following of Ross that universalism was found. Ross’s followers were typical Western Sufis of the period, similar in background to the followers of universalist Sufis like Sufi Sam in San Francisco. They were interviewed at the time by a researcher, Daphne Habibis, who reported that 81 per cent had previously been looking for ‘alternative interpretations of the world and an alternative system of values to those of the dominant culture’. 64 per cent had tried drugs such as LSD, and 44 per cent had been involved with other spiritual or esoteric groups before meeting Ross.34 Only about twelve were Muslim, as against about fifty non-Muslims. All participated in the dhikr that Ross held.35  

 

 

 

 

 

Süleyman Loras and the Inayatians and Gurdjieffians in America The second travelling sheikh to reach America at the start of the New Age was Süleyman Loras (1904–85), a Turkish Sufi who first visited California in 1976. He was a Mevlevi, a member of a Sufi tariqa that had been of great 41

GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS

importance under the Ottomans and had become internationally famous because of its distinctive and spectacular sema ceremony. The Mevleviyya had, however, been banned in Turkey by the republican regime in 1925, when Loras was 21. Loras was initially welcomed to Los Angeles by Feild,36 the English follower of Vilayat Inayat Khan who had welcomed Bülent Rauf in London, who had by then left Bülent Rauf and moved to the US. Feild had previously met Loras on a visit to Turkey. Feild had established an Institute for Conscious Life, which combined Inayatian Sufism with the Gurdjieff tradition as taught by Bennett at Sherborne,37 and was thus distinctly universalist. Loras was also welcomed by other followers of Vilayat Inayat Khan and at Claymont, a centre in West Virginia established by Pierre Elliot (1914–2005), another former follower of Bennett.38   Loras spoke to the universalist understandings of Feild’s followers. He talked of his own respect for all religions, regularly mentioning Buddhist monks and yogis, and at first refusing to be drawn on which ‘ways’ were best. Instead he repeatedly told the Sufis of Los Angeles how impressed he was that they loved the one God, and that this made them just like Muslims. His teachings became even more universalist in their English version, as he talked without leaving adequate time for his translator to translate, so that what Feild’s followers heard was a summary rather than a real translation. Loras’s explanation of the standard Islamic understanding of the sequence of prophets and divine revelations thus became ‘all religions are good, and in essence they’re all the same’. When an American who evidently understood Turkish politely questioned this summary, the translator added that ‘Muhammad summarised all of the sayings of all the prophets in the Qurʾan’.39 This does not, of course, match standard Islamic understandings of the divine authorship of the Qurʾan.   While speaking in universalist style, Loras turned Feild’s followers into Mevlevis, appointing Feild as a Mevlevi sheikh,40 and teaching some Mevlevi practices, notably turning.41 At one point he also led them all in repeating both parts of the shahāda. When, afterwards, the translator explained that ‘This is one of the ways of being a Muslim, he says’, the audience laughed somewhat nervously.42  

Muzaffer Ozak and the New Yorkers The last major travelling sheikh of the early New Age was Muzaffer Ozak (1916–85), a Turkish Halveti-Jerrahi who arrived in America in 1978.43 42

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Exceptionally, Ozak was welcomed to America not by a pre-existing group but by Tosun Bayrak (1926–2018), an American performance artist of Turkish origin who had met Ozak in Turkey and who brought him to New York from a cultural festival where Ozak and some others had been performing in Rennes, France.44 Although Ozak’s arrival in America was not backed by the resources of any existing group, however, it was backed by the resources of Philippa ‘Fariha’ Friedrich (born 1947), born de Menil, a millionaire whose mother, Dominique de Menil (1908–97), was both a universalist and a patron of the arts. Dominique de Menil was responsible for one of America’s most important universalist sites, the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. This remarkable building, designed by Mark Rothko (1903–70), was dedicated to all the major faiths. Friedrich followed her mother’s example by establishing a ‘Sufi mosque’ in Soho, New York, partly in Turkish style45 but also incorporating the work of the cutting-edge modern artist Dan Flavin (1933–96), whose work is also displayed at the Menil Collection in Houston.   Like the other travelling sheikhs of the early New Age, Ozak did not require those who wished to join his dhikr or follow him to become Muslim.46 As interpreted by Bayrak, who spoke perfect English and fully understood Ozak’s American audience, Ozak preached a form of Islamic universalism, rather as Loras had, for example stressing during a radio interview that God is one by telling a story of an argument between an Arab who wanted a‘nab (grapes), a Turk who wanted üzüm (grapes), an Englishman who wanted grapes, and a German who wanted trauben (grapes). The difficulty was resolved when someone produced a bunch of grapes. A Christian who loves Jesus will, he said, have his love for Jesus taken into account on the Day of Judgment as if it were love for the Prophet Muhammad.47 This is definitely universal, and also definitely Islamic: the one God who everyone is worshipping is, clearly, Allah—also the position that was taken by Loras, though in Loras’s case this was somewhat lost in translation. Ozak’s preaching was not, however, so Islamic as to be incompatible with the universalist understandings of his audience. Although there was no general pressure towards Islam save in the understated implications of Ozak’s teachings, some of his closer followers were guided very gently towards Islam and the shariʿa.48 The Travelling Sheikhs of the Early New Age and Western Universalism Most of these travelling sheikhs of the early New Age first visited the West at the invitation of an already established universalist Sufi group, mostly of interwar 43

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origin. Şuşud was welcomed by Bennett’s Gurdjieffians, Sheikh Nazim was welcomed by Ross’s universalist followers, and Süleyman Loras was welcomed by both Inayatians and Gurdjieffians. Bülent Rauf was already in England, but was then welcomed by Feild’s Inayatians. Muzaffer Ozak was welcomed not by a group but by an individual, Bayrak, but Bayrak was backed by Friedrich, who came from a universalist background. The major exception, then, is Bawa, who was welcomed by a sub-group of the Moorish Science Temple, the religious views of which are unknown, but which was anyhow soon replaced by a white group that had in common only its devotion to Bawa.   The travelling sheikhs of the early New Age did not initially challenge the universalism of those who had welcomed them, though to some extent all introduced some degree of understanding or practice that was of Islamic origin. The only exception here is Sheikh Nazim, who only rarely taught in universalist terms (and that perhaps more towards the end of his life), though his understanding of Islam was considered relatively relaxed. All, then, might be considered ‘hybrid’, the classification used by Hermansen along with ‘perennial/ universal’ and ‘transplant’, applied to groups that ‘combined elements of traditional Islamic practice with adaptations to the American context’.49 Green calls these groups ‘fusion Sufis’.50 These travelling sheikhs brought Islamic practice and combined it with adaptations to their context. What was dominant, however, was the adaptation—the universalism—not the Islamic practice. Islamisation Although during most of the 1970s the Sufism of the travelling sheikhs of the early New Age was dominated by the universalism of their hosts, the relationship between universalism and Islam changed during the late 1970s and the 1980s. Although neither Şuşud nor Bülent Rauf changed their approach, all the other sheikhs instituted processes of Islamisation, though with varying degrees of success. At one extreme, the London Naqshbandiyya and one part of the following of Ozak in America became predominantly Islamic. At the other extreme, parts of the following of Loras in America remained purely universalist, despite attempts to Islamise them. Other groups ended up in various positions between these two extremes. The Islamisation of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship The gradual Islamisation of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship started in 1978 with the introduction by Bawa of wuḍū’ ablutions, followed by some 44

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people fasting Ramadan in 1980, and some also performing the ssalāt prayer in 1982. Gender segregation followed in 1983, but was later abandoned, followed by the building of a mosque in 1983–4.51 Though gradual and gentle, the process of Islamisation still caused controversy, as some followers were not prepared to become Muslim, and left the Fellowship.52 The mosque, however, was built, and the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship became ever more Islamic in identity and practice.   After the death of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen in 1986, a South-Asian-style tomb or mazār was built next to the mosque, and has since become a place of pilgrimage for American Muslims of South Asian origin.53 Local Muslims of all varieties now attend Friday prayers at the mosque.54 Although the imam at the mosque, Richard ‘Abdur-Razzaq’ Miller, insists on the importance of basing one’s teaching on the Qurʾan and Sunnah, however, Bawa’s followers remain divided, as some follow universalist understandings and practice, while some follow Islamic understandings and practice.55 Merin Shobhana Xavier argues that this replicates the system of ‘parallel congregations’ found among Bawa’s following in Sri Lanka, which includes Hindus as well as Muslims, just as his following in America includes universalists as well as Muslims.56   As a result of this process of Islamisation, the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship now operates on three levels: as a part of mainstream American Islam, as a hybrid tariqa that emphasises Islamic practice more than adaptation, and as a universalist group. Assuming that Bawa intended to maintain parallel congregations in America as well as in Sri Lanka, the Islamisation of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship can be regarded as successful.  

The Islamisation of the London Naqshbandiyya The Islamisation of the Naqshbandiyya in London started in 1979 when Ross began to talk about the beauties of Islam in a way that made clear that conversion was expected. What role was played in this by Sheikh Nazim is not known. Ross started with a dozen converts and three Muslims from Muslim families, so when a further twenty-five of his followers converted, this gave him forty Muslim followers, enough to make it possible to restrict participation in the dhikr to his Muslim followers,57 thus bringing some pressure to bear on those who had not converted. By 1981, he had seventy-three converts among his followers.58 He insisted on careful observance of the shariʿa, including gender segregation,59 to the extent that strictness in observance of the shariʿa became an issue between his followers and Sheikh Nazim’s followers. 45

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Habibis reported that ‘Sheikh Abdullah [Ross]’s pupils regard Sheikh Nazim’s pupils as undisciplined and lacking deep commitment to Sufism’.60   Quite how the two related Naqshbandiyyas of London merged is unclear, but they did, as Ross left Britain for Australia,61 and Sheikh Nazim’s London following came to include British converts as well as Sufis of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot origin. By the 1990s, these Naqshbandis were following the shariʿa scrupulously, using Muslim names, and even dressing in a version of Ottoman-style clothing. There are few obvious adaptations to the Western context, except perhaps for the Ottoman-style clothing, which is not worn anywhere in the Muslim world, and arguably satisfies a Western need for dramatic identity markers. Even so, the Naqshbandiyya is hybrid in Hermansen’s terms, as it is cannot be considered a transplant or community group, given that echoes of Turkish ethnic practice are rare, and the majority of the Naqshbandis are not of Turkish origin and do not speak Turkish. The emphasis, however, is entirely on Islam, not on adaptation.   The Haqqaniyya later expanded to become one of the major global tariqas of the early twenty-first century. This is the main level on which it operates, and the Islamisation of the London Naqshbandiyya can be regarded as entirely successful. The Partial Islamisation of the American Mevlevis The attempted Islamisation of the Californian Mevlevis can be dated to 1978, when Loras appointed his son Jelaluddin to lead the American Mevlevis.62 Jelaluddin, however, was not at first an effective teacher. One participant recalled: ‘His English was terrible. So, in order to understand what he was saying, you had to listen with your inner ear, you couldn’t just listen to his words’.63 Under these circumstances, Jelaluddin was presumably understood by many to be confirming their pre-existing understandings, whatever it was he was actually saying. There was also a public split between Feild and Jelaluddin. Feild never became Muslim, and indeed followed a distinctly unIslamic life-style that included excessive alcohol consumption.64 On one occasion, Feild repeatedly interrupted a dhikr that Jelaluddin was leading by loudly praying ‘Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me’. After this, part of Feild’s following left with Jelaluddin, while part remained.65 Feild himself returned to Europe in the 1990s, leaving a universalist Sufi, Bruce Miller (born 1950) in charge of his American followers. Miller himself moved in 2001 from Sufism to the tradition of the Hindu guru Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950).66 46

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  Even the part of Feild’s group that left with Jelaluddin did not become particularly Islamic, however. Jelaluddin later required senior members of what had become the Mevlevi Order of America to formally become Muslim and perform at least one of the five ssalāt prayers, a requirement he did not make of ordinary members. Even so only a few actually adopted fully Islamic identities and practice.67 One told Simon Sorgenfrei that he did the ssalāt prayer in the mornings and ‘I don’t consider myself not a Muslim’, but would also reply in the affirmative if asked if he was a Jew. Another said she had ‘embraced Islam’ and then added ‘I’ve also embraced Judaism, Buddhism, Ayur Veda, Sufism, anything’.68 The Mevlevi Order of America, then, definitely remains universalist. Its (rather basic) website avoids all mention of Islam, identifying the Mevlevis primarily as ‘mystics’, as ‘seekers on a perennially modern, and centuries old path into the Divine Mystery’ who ‘respect all traditions which seek to accept the responsibility of humanity to care for each other and our world’.69   A second American Mevlevi group descended from Süleyman Loras and Feild: the Threshold Society of Kabir Helminski (born 1947) and Camille Helminski (born 1951). This is an essentially Islamic organisation that retains some universalism. It is Islamic to the extent that the Helminskis and most senior members of the Threshold Society are Muslims who identify as Muslims and follow key Islamic practices. They pray the ssalāt prayer five times a day, not once, and abstain from pork and alcohol. Kabir Helminski uses an Islamic name, if an unusual one, and dresses in clothes that echo South Asian styles. Camille Helminski retains her original name and does not cover her hair in photographs, but generally wears some sort of scarf, if only around her shoulders. There are clear adaptations to the American context, however, notably with regard to gender relations. Firstly, the leadership is shared between the two Helminskis, husband and wife. Secondly, no particular gender distinctions are made when the Threshold Society meets. Men and women pray separately, but with women on one side and men on another rather than with women behind men as is the normal practice. A second adaptation is that while key Islamic practice is followed, the shariʿa is not followed with the scrupulousness that is generally found in the Naqshbandiyya.70   The Threshold Society also retains some universalism. It is open to nonMuslims in a way that the Naqshbandiyya is not, and only a minority of its general members self-identify as Muslims and follow the shariʿa.71 Helminski’s own discourse is always within the limits of Islam, but it is often more about spirituality than Islam, and he can sometimes be very critical of what he calls  

 

 

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‘cultural Islam’, Islam as practised in the Muslim world, which he sees as further from the original revelation than the practice of Islam and Sufism that has developed in the West.72   The Islamisation of the American Mevlevis, in contrast to the Islamisation of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship and of the Naqshbandiyya-Haqaniyya, can only be regarded as partially successful. In the case of the branch that moved to the tradition of Ramana Maharshi, it was not successful at all. The Mevlevi Order of America remains much more universalist than Islamic. Only in the case of the Threshold Society are the American Mevlevis at all Islamic, and even then there is more universalism than is found with the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, and much more than is found with the Naqshbandiyya-Haqqaniyya. The Islamic content of the Threshold Society owes more to the Helminskis than to Loras. The Islamisation of the American Jerrahis Ozak’s following split after his death in 1985. One part, led until his death by Bayrak and now calling itself the Jerrahi Order of America, grew close to the transplant type defined by Hermansen and the community type defined by Green. It is not only clearly Islamic, but its mosque is Turkish in style, and many of its followers are of Turkish origin. By 2012, they were following classic Turkish gender practices, with women sitting separately in the mosque, preparing food, and speaking in public only when spoken to.73 Bayrak’s mosque is also used as a Friday mosque by local Muslims who have no connection to Sufism.74 Almost the only remaining adaptation to the American context is that the general language remains English. The Jerrahi Order of America is clearly Islamic, not universalist.   The other part of Ozak’s following, known as the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community, was initially led by Alexander ‘Lex’ ‘Nur’ Hixon (1941–95), previously the host of a long-running radio program on the counter-cultural New York station WBAI, on which he had interviewed the Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa as well as Vilayat Inayat Khan and Bawa Muhaiyaddeen.75 Hixon, who was the first Western Sufi known to have a PhD in the study of religion,76 was also the author of Coming Home: The Experience of Enlightenment in Sacred Traditions, which drew out the parallels between several ancient, classical and modern religions and practices.77 Hixon was thus a theorist of universalism comparable to Guénon, though with more up-todate references. He never ceased to be a universalist, even as a Jerrahi sheikh 48

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after Ozak’s death. He remained a Buddhist and retained a connection to the Eastern Orthodox Church.78 On one occasion he rendered the first part of the shahāda, ‘lā ʾilāha ʾillā Allāh’ (there is no god but God), as ‘the ultimate source alone is worthy of worship’.79 This is arguably correct in terms of theology and philosophy, but even so is some way from the standard understanding.   Hixon did not, however, bring non-Islamic practice into his mosque or dhikr,80 criticising religious eclecticism for replacing ‘the collective wisdom of a great tradition’ with ‘the rubric of your own ego… whatever seems good to you from the different traditions’.81 ‘Universality of vision’, he wrote on another occasion, ‘does not weaken personal commitment to specific religious traditions’.82 Hixon was reported to have devoted different rooms in his house to different religious traditions, and to have been careful to keep the doors between these different rooms shut.83 Whether or not this is true, it indicates a guarded approach to universalism.   After Hixon’s death in 1995, leadership of the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community passed to Friedrich, as Sheikha Fariha. Friedrich sees herself as Muslim more than universalist, regarding Hixon’s universalism as something that was appropriate for him, but not something she would do herself.84 Her Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community is adapted to the American context, especially with regard to gender practices. It is led by a woman, and women pray together with men after the fashion of the Threshold Society.85 The Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community also emphasises so-called ‘moderate’ Islam, and for many years its Friday prayers were led by an imam, Faisal Abdul Rauf (born 1948), who after 9/11 became one of America’s most prominent ‘moderate’ Muslims. These Friday prayers, too, were attended by local Muslims who had no connection to Sufism. Imam Faisal was himself something of a universalist, however, and developed a project for a multi-faith space in New York, somewhat similar to the Rothko Chapel, though without its spectacular architecture. This space was to be known as Cordoba House, commemorating the multi-faith coexistence associated with the golden age of Islamic Spain. In the event, the project failed after it was targeted by anti-Islamic activists and portrayed as ‘the Ground Zero Mosque’.86 Despite these adaptations and universalist elements, however, the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community is clearly Islamic in identity and practice.   The Islamisation of the American Jerrahis was clearly more successful than the Islamisation of the American Mevlevis, then, and arguably more successful than the Islamisation of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, since there is no parallel congregation of universalists. The Jerrahi Order of America is as 49

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Islamic as the Naqshbandiyya-Haqaniyya, and the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community is somewhat more Islamic than the Threshold Society, since it has fewer non-Muslims. The Islamisation of Universalism The final position of the groups adopted or established by the travelling sheikhs of the early New Age, then, was at various places between the two extremes represented by the London Naqshbandiyya and the Jerrahi Order of America at one predominantly Islamic extreme, and the Mevlevi Order of America and the universalist group that followed Feild and then Miller at the other, universalist, extreme. Also at this extreme are Beshara and the followers of Bennett and Şuşud, at least at the point at which they ceased to exist as a distinct group. Closest to the London Naqshbandiyya and the Jerrahi Order of America are the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship and the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community. These, like the Jerrahi Order of America, are integrated into mainstream American Islam in the sense that their mosques are used by Muslims from outside the groups in question. Somewhere in between are the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community and the Threshold Society. Conclusion Sufism in Europe and America, which was distinctly Western because universalist at its origins in the interwar period, remained universalist during the early New Age in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, after the end of the early New Age, during the 1980s, many groups established or transformed by the travelling sheikhs of the early New Age became increasingly Islamic, confirming to the global norm.   That the travelling sheikhs this chapter has discussed attempted to Islamise their followers was to be expected. As Muslims from the Muslim world, their understandings of spiritual guidance inevitably included guiding people to Islam. Ozak was on one occasion explicit about this with some of his closer followers. He quoted the famous verse of Yunus Emre, ‘The shariʿa is the path to the ṭarīqa’ (‘Şeriat, tarikat yoldur varana’), and added that ‘these days, it is reversed, at least in America. The tarikat has become a path that leads to the shariʿat’.87 Bawa Muhaiyaddeen was never so explicit, but the guess of Sharon Marcus, one of his closest followers and the editor of many of his written works, was that Islam had always been his intention, but ‘during the early 50

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years… most of us were supremely unready, unready to accept the possibility of some blessing, some value to be found in anything prescribed and formal, unready to hear it, unready to do it. Would we have stayed around for this at the beginning? How could we pray in a mosque of brick and stone before we had built an inner mosque, in the heart?’88 That Marcus’s guess was right is suggested by the fact that this was the second time that Bawa Muhaiyaddeen had followed the same pattern. In Sri Lanka, long before travelling to America, he had also started with non-Muslims (Hindus) in a community (ashram), and had only later built a mosque.89   The way in which Loras repeatedly told the American Sufis he found in Los Angeles that they were already in effect Muslim and then led them in repeating the shahāda suggests a similar motivation. At that time, he observed to his translator, who did not translate these words, ‘They are not Muslim, but they have a strong inclination to Islam. I think they would find satisfaction in Islam’.90 In the view of one close follower, Loras ‘understood the emotional and cultural barriers to Islam [among Westerners]—that if he focused on Islam, ears and hearts would close. So, he focused incessantly on love (Aşk/ Ishq), the desire of God that his creation should remember and come to Him. Dede sought to clarify, beyond the misrepresentation in the media, how simple the way of Islam (submission) is’.91   That there was a general tendency to Islamise during the 1980s may also be partly explained by the end of the early New Age. After this, certain varieties of discourse were gradually discredited. Mentions of chakras, consciousness and energies of the sort that abound in the speeches and writings of Vilayat Inayat Khan began to be derided as ‘New Age’, an appellation that became somewhat pejorative. Although universalism did not become unfashionable, then, some of the forms that Western Sufism had taken during the 1970s did become unfashionable. Increased concern for authenticity, or at least tougher standards for judging it, opened a space for Islamic Sufism, which appears more authentic. Similarly, a space for Islamic Sufism was opened by the way that the early New Age had increased Western public knowledge of nonWestern religion and spirituality, which had been largely non-existent in 1960, as Webb has correctly noted.92   That different Islamisation projects had such different outcomes, however, cannot be explained in these terms, since all the groups considered in this chapter welcomed travelling sheikhs at the start of the New Age and all save two attempted to Islamise at the end of the early New Age. The explanation may instead lie in organisation and leadership. The two groups that Islamised 51

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most successfully, the London Naqshbandiyya and the Jerrahi Order of America, both had sheikhs who were firmly in charge of their tariqas, Sheikh Nazim in one case and Bayrak in the other. Sheikh Nazim had initially shared leadership with Ross, and Bayrak had initially followed Ozak, but Ross moved to Australia and Ozak died. The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship and the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community, both of which approach the Naqshbandiyya and the Jerrahi Order of America at the Islamic end of the scale, also had strong leadership: Bawa alone was the acknowledged leader of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, and the positions of Hixon and then Sheikha Fariha mirrored those of Bayrak.   The travelling sheikhs associated with the groups that remained universalist, in contrast, never achieved this sort of leadership. Şuşud was always the guest of Bennett, who was the uncontested leader of his group. Loras also remained the guest of Feild, over whom he had no control, and the group that left Feild and followed Jelaluddin does not seem to have been entirely under Jelaluddin’s control. Neither was the Threshold Society under Jelaluddin’s control.   The single exception to this pattern was Bülent Rauf, who was in sole control of Beshara after Feild left for the US, but seems never to have attempted to Islamise it. The explanation for this is probably that Bülent Rauf was not himself a particularly observant Muslim. All the other travelling sheikhs were, to greater or lesser extent, Sufis before they visited the West. Nothing in Bülent Rauf ’s past before he met Feild, in contrast, gives any clue to his future role as a spiritual leader. This exception, then, does not prove the rule, but neither does it disprove it. References Blann, Gregory, Lifting the Boundaries: Muzaffer Efendi and the Transmission of Sufism to the West (Nashville: Four Worlds Publishing, 2005). ———, The Garden of Mystic Love: Sufism and the Turkish Tradition (Nashville: Four Worlds Publishing, 2005). Bowen, Patrick D., The African American Islamic Renaissance, 1920–1975, vol. 2 of A History of Conversion to Islam in the United States (Leiden: Brill, 2017). Corbett, Rosemary, Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service, and the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Controversy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017). Damrel, David W., ‘Aspects of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani order in North America’ in Sufism in the West, edited by Jamal Malik and John Hinnells (New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 115–126.

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THE ISLAMISATION OF WESTERN SUFISM Dickson, William Rory, Living Sufism in North America: Between Tradition and Transformation (Albany: SUNY Press, 2016). Habibis, Daphne, ‘A Comparative Study of the Workings of a Branch of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order in Lebanon and the UK’ (PhD thesis: London School of Economics and Political Science, 1985). Hermansen, Marcia, ‘Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufi Movements’, Muslim World 90 (2000), pp. 158–197. ———, ‘In the Garden of American Sufi Movements: Hybrids and Perennials’ in New Trends and Developments in the World of Islam, ed. Peter Clarke (London: Luzac Oriental Press, 1997), pp. 155–178. Hixon, Lex, Atom from the Sun of Knowledge (Westport, CT: Pir Publications, 1993). ———, Coming Home: The Experience of Enlightenment in Sacred Traditions (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1978). Korom, Frank J., ‘Charisma and Community: A Brief History of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship’, Sri Lanka Journal of Humanities 37, no. 1–2, pp. 19–33. Miller, Bruce, Rumi Comes to America: How the Poet of Mystical Love Arrived on our Shores (Decatur, GA: Miller e-Media, 2017). Sedgwick, Mark, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). ———, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016). Shobhana Xavier, Merin, ‘An American Sufi Shrine, Bawa’s Mazar in Coatesville, Pennsylvania’, Object Narrative, in Conversations: An Online Journal of the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion, 2016, doi:10.22332/con. obj.2016.5 ———, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks in American Sufism: Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and Contemporary Shrine Cultures (London: Bloomsbury, 2018). Sorgenfrei, Simon, ‘American Dervish: Making Mevlevism in the United States’ (PhD thesis: University of Gothenburg, 2013). Webb, Gisela, ‘Sufism in America’ in America’s Alternative Religions, edited by Timothy Miller (Albany: SUNY Press, 1995), pp. 249–258. ———, ‘Third-wave Sufism in America and the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship’ in Muslim Communities in North America, edited by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and Jane Idleman Smith (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994), pp. 75–108.

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3

AFROPOLITAN SUFISM THE CONTEMPORARY TIJANIYYA IN GLOBAL CONTEXTS

Zachary Wright

The Moroccan government, under the leadership of Islamic Affairs Minister Ahmad Tawfiq, convened in 2007 a conference of leading scholars of the Tijaniyya from all parts of the world. Delegations converged on Fez, the ‘zāwiya mère’ of the Tijaniyya where Ahmad al-Tijani (1737–1815) is buried, from West and North Africa, South Africa, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Europe, and America. Delivering the keynote address, HHasan Cissé (d. 2008, Senegal), concluded:  

The historian Amir Shakib Arsalan wrote about the nineteenth century, ‘Had the Tijani armies not been defeated by the end of the nineteenth century, the whole of Africa would have become part of a Tijani empire’. But despite this defeat, and despite its rejecters and enemies, the ṭarīqa has continued to spread, finding its way to every corner of the world. Indeed, through its Ahmadan, Muhammadan teachings, the ṭarīqa has penetrated the hearts of people from all races and nations… today we bear witness that the ṭarīqa has indeed reached every corner of the world.1



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  While representatives from around the world substantiated the Imam’s observation, undoubtedly the most renowned conference participants were the high-ranking West African Islamic scholars (headed by Cissé himself ) from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, and Mauritania. In this regard, the ­contemporary Tijaniyya is unique among the world’s Sufi orders. Its reach is no less global than older orders like the Qadiriyya, Shadhiliyya, or Naqshbandiyya, but its scholarly leadership is projected around the world from its learning centres in West Africa. Hasan Cissé’s successor to the Imamate of the Tijani community of Ibrahim Niasse (d. 1975, Senegal), Sheikh Tijani b. ʿAli Cissé, has been ranked the thirteenth most influential Muslim in the world.2 He appears to be both the highest-ranking Sufi and most influential black African scholar on the list.   The global resonance of the Tijaniyya under the leadership of black African scholars is a narrative that confounds Orientalist and colonial understandings of inherent racial hierarchies within the Muslim world. It is also a narrative that pushes against the subtle marginalisation of African Muslim identities in Islamic Studies today. As observed in a study of the Tijaniyya in Turkey, ‘With hardly any exceptions, the general introductions to the history of Sufism and Sufi orders present the Tijaniyya as a typically “African” tariqa’.3 The characterisation ‘typically African’ means that the Tijaniyya is thought to be circumscribed within black Africa, and somehow disconnected from global Islamic orthodox scholarship. Despite evidence to the contrary, Trimingham’s formative study, The Sufi Orders in Islam, thus suggests, ‘Outside Africa Tijani allegiance was negligible’. And whatever longstanding Tijani emphasis on spiritual purification (tazkiyat al-nafs) and training (tarbiya) evidenced in primary sources, Trimingham believed the order had somehow failed to live up to the ideals of earlier Sufi affiliation: ‘anyone prepared to propagate [the Tijaniyya] was made a muqaddam [teacher]’.4 While more recent overviews of Sufism have avoided such characterisations, the Tijaniyya—certainly one of the most popular Sufi orders in the world today—appears only tangentially in academic discussions on the subject. Nile Green’s historical overview of Sufism relegates the influence of the Tijaniyya to West Africa ‘where it would form one of the most influential Muslim organizations of the nineteenth century’, and suggests—despite a rich African Tijani intellectual tradition in Arabic—that its contemporary appeal relies on ‘making strategic alliances with modern political organizations’.5 Alexander Knysh recognised the intellectual work of the African Tijani Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse in emphasising ‘spiritual training and growth under the tutelage of an accomplished Sufi  

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master’, but he is not prepared to speak to Niasse’s influence beyond subSaharan Africa.6 It would be unfair to blame the otherwise painstaking work of Green and Knysh for overlooking the intellectual vibrancy and global reach of the Tijaniyya. Such observations are symptomatic of the unfortunate disconnect between African and Islamic Studies that render invisible the identities of (black) African Muslims.7   The Tijaniyya is not a latent expression of an allegedly heterodox ‘Negro Islam’ (Islam Noir), nor does its African base marginalise it from worldwide scholarly exchange. In accounting for the spread of the Tijaniyya, this chapter emphasises the order’s reception in the Muslim world outside of West Africa, while retaining a visibly black African scholarly presence on the international stage. It is tempting to read the Tijaniyya as a form of Afropolitanism: a demonstration of the vibrancy and resonance of an Africanité that simultaneously de-essentialises African-ness and blackness. I hope, then, to accomplish two objectives here. The first is to account for the global presence of the Tijaniyya, effectively arguing against the idea that the Tijaniyya is a ‘typically African’ tariqa. Conversely, I chart how Tijanis around the world frequently articulate a version of Islamic orthodoxy most visible in West Africa today, and often adapt identities in dialogue with a global Afropolitanism, associated mostly with the successors of the twentieth century’s most prominent African Tijani scholar, Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse.8 An Afropolitan Islam? Following the release of Marvel’s Black Panther movie, a notable picture from Tijani leaders (muqaddams) in Britain circulated on Facebook. About forty mostly Afro-British Tijanis posted a picture of themselves outside the movie theatre dressed in a variety of colourful West African boubous like those worn by Tijani scholars in Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria. One description read, ‘Yesterday we went to see Black Panther and it was a total shut down, we rolled with over 40 people and represented Black Excellence in true Wakanda style!’9 The leading muqaddams in the photo had all studied with Sheikh Tijani Cissé or his younger brother Sheikh Mahi Cissé in Senegal, and were mostly Muslim converts from African diaspora communities in London. This was clearly a celebration of an Africanité, a way of inhabiting an African identity in a global context, that also reminded the viewer of African Muslims’ centrality in the continued articulation of African culture. But not all in the photo were of African descent: British 57

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Pakistani and British-Arab Tijanis were also visible, many of whom wore clothes of North or West African origin.   This assertion of a cosmopolitan African identity among Tijani disciples, hybrid and mediated as it is, invokes a diasporic Afropolitanism first proposed by Achille Mbembe,10 here developed by Simon Gikandi: The idea of Afropolitanism… constitutes a significant attempt to rethink African knowledge outside the trope of crisis. Initially conceived as a neologism to describe the imaginary of a generation of Africans born outside the continent but connected to it through familial and cultural genealogies, the term Afropolitanism can now be read as a description of a new phenomenology of Africanness—a way of being African in the world… To be Afropolitan is to be connected to knowable African communities, nations, and traditions; but it is also to live a life divided across cultures, languages, and states. It is to embrace and celebrate a state of cultural hybridity—to be of Africa and of other worlds at the same time.11

  This ‘way of being African in the world’ is further facilitated by the movement and reception of people and ideas far beyond the African continent, a process that now includes ‘digital mobility’ providing for the ‘quick circulation of ideas and images’.12 This notion, then, shares much with Africanité, which for Souleymane Bachir Diagne permits of local distinctions (both within Africa and beyond) while retaining a common disposition.13 ‘African philosophies’, Diagne cites Severine Grandvaux to say, ‘ceaselessly deterritorialise and reterritorialise philosophies and concepts that are foreign to them, and construct themselves as an encounter’.14 As the Tijaniyya continues to spread around the world in increasingly mediated and cosmopolitan encounters, the negotiation of a particular Africanité appears to be involved in these encounters.   Tijani disciples, African or otherwise, would no doubt resist the territorialisation of their religious identities as ‘African’, and they would be right to do so. Sufi communities, which engage with non-Muslim populations in varying levels of acceptance, all emphasise a universal human condition their practices are aimed at actualising. Tijani aspirants, like other Sufis, aim to become better humans and servants of God, not more ‘African’: Tijani identity is not articulated as dependent or subservient to African identity, however defined.   Nonetheless, as the Tijaniyya has spread around the world, Africanité has proved a particularly fruitful and inclusive cultural encounter that often marks the reception of the order in new lands. For a devoted pan-Africanist like Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Tijaniyya under his leadership was perhaps the 58

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fulfilment of the unrealised aspirations of African nationalist leaders, but it also transcended political boundaries altogether. In the mind of the shaykh, his was a Muslim religious community led by nonArab Africans, even if it eschewed precise formulations of racial solidarity. It solidified lines of religious affiliation, but its boundaries were porous and it proselytized Islam through good-neighborliness. It would uplift and unite Africans, but it would overflow the boundaries of race and the African continent. ‘This spiritual flood (fayḍa)’, he wrote in the early 1930s when his community was only a handful of Senegalese followers, ‘will reach wherever the land reaches’.15

  The ‘flood’ of the Tijaniyya around the globe, then, is not a solidarity movement calling to ‘African-ness’. Rather, the Tijaniyya’s Africanité is embodied in its unapologetic African leadership supported by a majority African constituency. As they travel the world, leading Tijani scholars wear colourful West African boubous, they tend to prefer distinctive West African cuisine, they speak local African languages, they spread West African tonalities in Arabic poetry and even Western Sudanic Arabic calligraphic styles. Tijanis around the world, whatever the extent of their exposure to Africans or African culture, have had to come to terms with the fact a certain Africanité marks the public expression of their Sufi path. The Tijaniyya: A Reformist Sufi Order on the Eve of Colonialism The Tijaniyya was one of several Sufi orders that emerged out of a global Sufi revival in the eighteenth century, centring on the idea of the Ṭarīqa Muhhammadiyya or ‘Muhhammadan Way’.16 The Ṭarīqa Muhhammadiyya stressed the Sufi’s need to follow the path of the Prophet, both externally and internally. It thus emphasised Sufism’s essential connection to the shariʿa and the orthodox Sunni community, but also practised spiritual absorption (fanāʾ or istighrāq) in the Prophetic essence through augmented invocations of blessing on the Prophet Muhammad (ssalāt ʿala l-nabī). The former caused Ṭarīqa Muhhammadiyya trends to distance themselves from antinomian expressions associated with Sufism’s more ecstatic (majdhūbī) articulation, even if divine knowledge (maʿrifa) remained the Muhammadan Sufi’s central preoccupation. The latter spiritual exercise of ssalāt ʿala l-nabī often resulted in visionary encounters with the Prophet, through dreams or even in waking states. The Tijaniyya was thus founded by order of the Prophet to Ahmad al-Tijani in Algeria in 1782.17 After its establishment in Fez in 1798, it became associated  

 

 

 

 

 

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with the Moroccan Sultan Mawlay Sulayman’s attempted scholarly reform of popular Islam.   From his new home in Fez, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tijani taught a wide range of urban intellectuals, desert travellers, women, businessmen and freed slaves. Disciples collected his teachings during his lifetime, providing the beginnings of a rich Arabic textual tradition to the order.18 The spread of the Tijaniyya in West Africa corresponded with a nineteenth-century popularisation of Sufi orders in the region more broadly. Sufi affiliation inspired a series of jihads (during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries) that responded to the collapse of the ancien régime monarchies, which had become associated with selling subjects (many of whom were Muslims) into the trans-Atlantic slave trade.19 Sufi orders helped transcend ethnic and social rivalries in the constitution of new Muslim communities. As colonial occupation from the midnineteenth century gradually defeated the jihads, long-standing black African clerical lineages increasingly invested in these saintly communities and employed new Sufi identities both to reinvigorate existing scholarly expertise and to expand their audiences. By the late nineteenth century, Sufi communities became distinguished for their Islamic learning, and they also attracted floods of freed slaves and formerly casted groups. Their reputation for learning, justice, financial independence (largely through farming), and security made such communities poles of cultural resistance to colonial occupation even if leadership was required to periodically profess its loyalty to the British or French state.20   Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse drew upon this earlier legacy of Islamic learning and clerical independence in constituting his own Tijani community outside of Kaolack, Senegal, in 1930. Niasse’s claims to paradigmatic sainthood (quṭbāniyya) were recognised outside of Senegal by the Idaw ʿAli Islamic scholars of Mauritania, who had first brought the Tijaniyya south of the Sahara. The submission of large numbers of Mauritanian Arab shurafāʾ to a black African scholar was unprecedented.21 In the years following World War II, Niasse gained multitudes of followers in Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Niger, and Sudan: recruiting new Muslims into the Tijaniyya and sometimes effecting mass conversions to Islam. Aside from traditional scholarly credentials, Niasse’s appeal was based in an apparent ability to transmit Sufism’s most precious science, the experiential knowledge of God (maʿrifat Allāh) to large numbers of people whatever their previous scholarly training, social standing, age, or gender. ‘Nobody comes to me and does not know God’, Niasse wrote in verse, ‘young or old, since the beloved [Prophet], the sanctuary, has come close: men or women, beggars or sovereigns’.22 60

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  Niasse’s activities also attracted attention from prominent anti-colonial leaders, notably Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Guinea’s Sekou Touré, and Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, and from the 1950s Niasse toured the African and Islamic world. In the early 1960s, he served as the vice president of the World Muslim League based in Mecca, and held the same position for the World Muslim Congress based in Pakistan. While remaining rooted in an emphasis on Islamic knowledge transmission, Niasse clearly conscripted modern anticolonial discourse, and even the tools of modern technology, to assert the centrality of Sufi-Muslim identity under African leadership in the contemporary world. He wrote in 1959: ‘Through me the great oppression is being lifted; through my flood the religion has raised its banner.’23 By his death in 1975, he claimed sixty million followers, with an estimated eighty per cent of all Tijanis today tracing their affiliation in the order through him.24  

 

The Tijaniyya Outside of West Africa The spread of the Tijaniyya outside of West Africa has largely been associated with Ibrahim Niasse’s ‘flood’ of divine knowledge, but not exclusively. The pre-eminence of black African Tijani leadership on the world stage, largely through the legacy of Sheikh Ibrahim, means that Tijani identity—whether in the Middle East or Southeast Asia—is usually articulated in dialogue with some form of Africanité. This section presents a broad overview of the Tijaniyya’s contemporary presence in the Muslim world outside of West Africa. This is by no means an exhaustive study, and mostly relies on collecting together the findings of disparate research on the topic, observation of online representations in various languages, and the author’s field research in the MENA region. This overview starts, ironically, with Morocco, where the Tijaniyya appears to be returning from its sub-Saharan base. I then consider the Tijaniyya’s spread farther east, with special reference to the Middle East. Morocco Despite Moroccans’ apparent contemporary association of the Tijaniyya with black Africa, a 1939 French survey found that the Tijaniyya was the most popular Sufi order in Morocco, with multiple zāwiyas in every major city.25 French colonial policies, together with Moroccan government attempts to control the Sufi orders, encouraged the marginalisation of Moroccan scholarly leaders of the Tijaniyya in favour of al-Tijani’s descendants, first brought 61

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by the French from Algeria and subsequently patronised by the independent Moroccan government.26 Following the 2007 Tijani conference in Fez, the Moroccan government exerted further control over the Moroccan Tijaniyya, prohibiting all Tijani conferences or public gatherings unless endorsed by the government-designated leader of the Tijaniyya, Muhammad al-Kabir alTijani of Marrakesh.27 This move could have been a government attempt to respond to the demonstrated pre-eminence and charisma of black African Tijani scholars on full display at the conference. The Moroccan monarchy’s current articulation of traditional Sunni orthodoxy (in dialogue with which its authority is articulated)—based on ‘Maghrebi’ Sufi orders, the Maliki legal school, and ‘Sharīfism’—likely prefers the conscription and delimitation of these transnational trends within domestic confines. But the Moroccan monarchy, possibly to pre-empt Algerian claims to the Tijaniyya,28 has also supported notable Tijani scholars in sub-Saharan Africa, helping to build Qurʾan schools and host Tijani conferences in Senegal, for example.29 In any case, al-Tijani’s descendants in Morocco exert their own agency in mediating the monarchy’s relationship with the global Tijaniyya. Some of them play important roles in promoting unity within the tariqa, especially between the followers of Ibrahim Niasse and others, and they often make tours of Tijani communities in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of their close relationship with black African Tijanis, al-Tijani’s descendants can often be seen wearing West African clothes (even in Fez), and some speak passable Wolof or other West African languages.   The public re-emergence of the Tijaniyya in Morocco, perhaps as a result of the 2007 conference, is readily apparent in Fez today. Newly posted signs in the old city indicate the location of the Tijani zāwiya along with other cultural landmarks. Tijani-styled rosaries are for sale all over the city. A flood of new literature on the Tijaniyya is on display in the city’s bookstores, from the Rabat Tijani scholar Radi Kanun’s al-Nisāʾ al-Tijāniyyāt, French translations of Jawāhir al-maʿānī and other primary source materials, to former Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University (Fez) Professor Ahmad al-Azmi’s three volume history of the order, al-Ṭarīqa al-Tijāniyya fī l-Maghrib wa l-Sūdān al-gharbī (2000).30 Restaurants and shops in Fez cater to Tijani visitors from around the world, with names like ‘Tijani restaurant’ and ‘Hotel Timbuktu’, the latter having a Moroccan owner who painted pictures of prominent Senegalese Tijani sheikhs on its walls to attract clients. The last ten years, then, seem to have witnessed an increasing public profile for the Tijaniyya in Morocco, one that is somewhat more celebratory than suspicious of the order’s popularity in black Africa, and 62

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one in which Moroccan Tijani scholars sometimes emerge independently from the officially designated Sharifian descendants of al-Tijani. Significantly, the Fez zāwiya’s Imam is said to have acquired his training (tarbiya) in maʿrifa from a Mauritanian student of Ibrahim Niasse.31   The 2007 Tijani conference in Morocco, televised throughout the country, hosted delegations from places that no doubt surprised non-Tijani Moroccans. Sub-Saharan scholars predictably took centre stage, but they used their air time to remind their audiences (in classical Arabic) of the Tijaniyya’s orthodox credentials, connections with the Moroccan monarchy, and role in promoting Islamic scholarship throughout Africa and beyond. Aside from African and Middle Eastern communities (and their diasporas), Moroccans learned of Tijani communities in the Americas, Ethiopia, South Africa, Europe, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia. Brief discussion of the Tijaniyya in a few of these places (here Ethiopia, South Africa, and Asia) is thus warranted before turning to a closer analysis of the order in the Middle East. East Africa The Tijaniyya appears to be surprisingly absent from East Africa south of Sudan, although further research might uncover evidence to the contrary. Ibrahim Niasse had close relations with the Comorian Ba-ʿAlawi scholar ʿUmar ʿAbdallah b. Abu Bakr (d. 1988), himself a student of the Zanzibari scholar ʿUmar Sumayt.32 Hasan Cissé visited Tanzania in 2006 as the initiator of the Network of African Islamic Faith-based Organizations, which held a conference in Zanzibar on ‘combating HIV/AIDS and gender violence through Islamic teachings’.33 Such relationships may suggest the Tijaniyya is not altogether unknown in Tanzania or Kenya, but there is little evidence of the Tijaniyya’s spread in the region.   The only East African country with a sizeable Tijani population seems to be Ethiopia. The Tijani Sheikh Ahmad b. ʿUmar (d. 1953) arrived in Ethiopia from Bornu, Nigeria, in 1910.34 He is alleged to have converted thousands to Islam and to have initiated many into the Tijaniyya, mostly among the majority Oromo ethnic group. Internal estimates put the Ethiopian Tijani population at close to eight million. Some of the Ethiopian Tijani scholars seem prone to spiritual retreat (khalwa). An African-American Tijani, who had married among the Ethiopian Tijani community, related a story he heard from a scholar when visiting the country: 63

GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS I saw the Prophet, God’s peace and blessing upon him, and I asked, ‘O Messenger of God, tell me something you have never told anyone else’. He said, ‘When coffee is roasted, angels enter the room and pray God for forgiveness for everyone in the room’.

  I listened to this story in the house of an African-American Tijani residing in Medina, Saudi Arabia, while drinking freshly roasted coffee his Ethiopian wife had prepared.35 Here the Prophet appears to sanction an ancient Ethiopian coffee ritual, re-enacted in a global African diaspora connected through the Tijaniyya Sufi order. Africanité is not constitutive of Tijani identity, but it never seems far away from many Tijanis’ contemporary experience. South Africa South Africa has also quickly produced (since 1995) indigenous scholars and representatives of the Tijaniyya, but who maintain much closer links with their West African initiators.36 Following a tour in 2003, Hasan Cissé appointed a Mauritanian-Senegalese scholar named Baye Hayba to spend a number of months in the country on an annual basis, and subsequently designated as Imam Fakruddin Owaisi of Cape Town, himself of Indian descent. Owaisi, whose formative education was in Saudi Arabia, often delivers the Friday sermon at various mosques in the city, and also lectures at Cape Town’s traditionalist Madina Institute.37 A number of South African students now study in Medina-Baye, Senegal, as well as in Baye Hayba’s madrasa in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Two South African Tijanis of mixed Indian, European, and Malay descent also married daughters of Sheikh Hasan Cissé, who have in turn supported Qurʾan education programmes in the country in the West African model.38 Together, public South African Tijani scholars appear as belonging to mixed ethnic backgrounds, promoting Qurʾan learning, speaking classical Arabic, and affiliated with a West African spiritual leadership. Asia In Asia, prominent Tijani populations, mostly associated with Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, have become visible in Kerala, India,39 in Karachi, Pakistan,40 as well as Southeast Asia. Indonesia has long had a well-established Tijani community numbering several hundred thousand, and has recently attracted increased attention with the former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s 64

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alleged initiation into the order.41 A group of mostly Malay Muslims in Singapore have more recently joined the Tijaniyya, and on several occasions invited the Senegalese scholar Sheikh Mahi Cissé to publicly lecture in the country. They have also published two books of Sheikh Tijani Cissé’s translated speeches.42 Sometimes Asian Tijanis appear less celebratory of their order’s West African leadership. In one Facebook post, a British-Indian former Tijani claimed to have seen Sheikh Ahhmad al-Tijani in a vision, telling him to follow the ways of the Indonesian and Malaysian Tijani scholars, ‘not the African ones’.43 Other posts in proximity reveal the consternation surrounding the public use of talismanic sciences, certainly not synonymous with (or exclusive to) the African Tijaniyya even if that was the individual’s particular experience.44 Predictably, other Tijanis on Facebook excoriated the post for its cliché stereotype of African Islam and reasserted the predominance of contemporary West African Tijani scholars. The spread of the Tijaniyya in Asia, even when its largely autonomous leaders (in the case of Indonesia) are seen as exemplary, is thus often read in dialogue with an accepted African centre.  

The Middle East Within the Middle East the Tijaniyya has a significant presence in Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Turkey, and Arabia. Alfa Hāshim (d. 1931, Medina Arabia), the nephew of the celebrated nineteenth-century West African scholar ʿUmar Tāl (d. 1864), figures prominently in the chains of many early twentieth-century Tijani initiations in the region. Alfa Hāshim, who had fled French and British colonialism in West Africa, came to reside in Medina, teaching at the College of Sharīʿa Sciences and in the Prophet’s mosque. He was later appointed to ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz b. Saʿūd’s “High Council of Scholars of Medina,” and cooperated superficially with the nascent Saudi regime, most notably in his critique of the legacy of the “Sudanese Mahdi”, Muhhammad Ahhmad (d. 1885).45   While Alfa Hāshim’s scholarly reputation provided a foundation for the Tijāniyya in the region, most Tijani adherents in Egypt and the Sudan are today attached to one of two genealogies: that passing through the famous hadith scholar Muhammad al-Hafiz al-Misri (d. 1979, Cairo) and that through the Nigerian Mufti Sharif Ibrahim Salih, who maintains a house in Cairo. The zāwiya of al-Hafiz in Old Cairo remains frequented by Tijanis from all over the world, as well as by a native Egyptian constituency. A group of Tijanis from the main Hafiz zāwiya used to make the Tijani Friday congre 

 

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gational remembrance in the central Husayn mosque every week.46 Predictably, a good number of visitors to the Hafiz zāwiya hail from West Africa. Al-Hafiz himself remained on good terms with Niasse, hosting him in Cairo in 1961, and exchanging ijāza knowledge authorisations with him in a variety of Islamic sciences. But otherwise there is no evidence Hafiz Tijaniyya recognised Niasse’s claims to paradigmatic sainthood (quṭbāniyya), even though it respected the unprecedented popularity of the Tijaniyya under Niasse’s instruction.47 Sharif Salih’s affiliation to the Tijaniyya is through Niasse, and for his followers he no doubt embodies Niasse’s ability to participate in (and lead) global exchanges of Islamic learning as an accomplished black African Arabic speaker. Western Sudan (Darfur) retains an independent trajectory, probably drawing on the Tijani leader ʿAli Dinnar’s claim to a separate Darfur Sultanate, whose reign came to an end in 1916 when he backed the Ottoman empire against the British protectorate of the Egyptian Sudan.48 Such independence was asserted by Darfur’s Ibrahim Sidi (d. 1999), whose affiliation to the Tijaniyya through Ibrahim Niasse led him to criticise Salih’s perceived attempt to downplay the Tijaniyya’s doctrinal particularities (the immense reward for the prayer ssalāt al-fātihh) for a wider audience.49 Today, Sudanese Tijanis from all three lineages (Hafiz, Salih, Sidi) are some of the most visible diasporic Tijani communities in a number of places: various American cities such as Chicago and Denver; or Gulf cities such as Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Medina in Saudi Arabia.50   The Tijaniyya has been known in Turkey since the late Ottoman empire. Two notable Tijani sheikhs, the Mauritanian Wad al-ʿAliyya and the Malian Muhammad b. Fadigh (d. 1919), were personally welcomed by Sultan ʿAbd al-Hamid II. The Algerian Tijani Muhhammad al-ʿUbayd may have established a Tijani zāwiya in Istanbul (1897) before Ataturk banned all Sufi orders in 1925.51 The Turkish Tijaniyya re-emerged in the mid-twentieth century, partly under the leadership of Kemal Pilavoglu whose followers recited the Arabic call to prayer in the Grand Assembly and broke statues of Ataturk in protest against the exclusion of Islam from the public sphere. Pilavoglu was imprisoned under a new law (1952) criminalising the public disrespect of Ataturk’s legacy, but his reputation for saintliness—partially established through claiming that al-Tijani had appeared to him in support of his activities—followed him in prison.52 According to Cathlene Dollar’s research, the Tijaniyya is thus distinguished from other orders, which are possessed of a ‘nostalgic, neo-Ottoman vision of Turkish history’, by its association with a ‘more genuinely global, anti-nationalist vision of Islamic identity’.53 Such senti 

 

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ments are difficult to substantiate, however. A contemporary Tijani centre active in Bursa, Turkey (‘Arifane ilim Dernegi’), appears to avoid international connections altogether. Its Facebook page is entirely in Turkish, and it appears to avoid any political messaging, instead focusing on the teaching of primary sources related to the Tijaniyya and the Sufi tradition more broadly, especially the works of Ibn al-ʿArabi.54 The leader of this community was initiated in Medina while on pilgrimage by a fellow Turkish Tijani, after experiencing a vision of the Prophet Muhammad apparently urging him to do so.55 The Bursa Tijani group insists it has no links to either to earlier Turkish Tijanis or Tijani networks outside of Turkey. But photos posted on Facebook from inside the Bursa zāwiya suggest that up to half of the Tijanis present there are from West Africa.56 Afropolitanism, then, appears to have been present both at the origins of the Tijaniyya in Turkey, and in contemporary contexts, even when Tijanis insist otherwise.   Present-day Tijani communities in Palestine appear more connected with West Africa than their Turkish counterparts, although the order’s history in the country is no less rich. Tijanis there claim that the anti-Zionist Muslim scholar, ʿIzz al-Din al-Qassam, whose killing in 1935 inspired the ‘Great Revolt’ against Zionist settlers and the British mandate, was a member of the Tijaniyya.57 I visited the house of a Palestinian Tijani muqaddam of Senegal’s Sheikh Tijani Cissé in Jerusalem in 2017, who visited Senegal several times with his wife. The house is immediately outside the Aqsa mosque grounds (or ‘temple mount’) to the north, and serves as a gathering place for local Tijanis and those making pilgrimage to Jerusalem.58 Another active Palestinian muqaddam from Haifa, whose initiation comes from a Moroccan emigrant to Palestine, Abu l-Hasan al-Maghribi (d. 2002), reports the presence of Tijanis in Jericho and several other cities aside from Haifa and Jerusalem.59 Unlike the Jerusalem muqaddam, the Haifa muqaddam does not have close relations with West African Tijani leaders, but some of his students later studied in Medina-Baye Kaolack (Senegal), and he maintains close relations with his colleague in Jerusalem.   The Tijaniyya is present in Arabia, but because of lingering Wahhabi hostility to Sufism, is more difficult to locate in public settings (such as the internet). The tariqa became widely known in Medina, Arabia, following the establishment there of Alfa Hashim (d. 1931), a nephew of the West African Tijani propagator ʿUmar Tal. Hashim cooperated with the Algerian Tijani muqaddam Muhammad b. ʿAbd al-Malik al-ʿAlami (d. 1934) to build a Tijani zāwiya in the city.60 While the gradual ‘Wahhabisation’ of the Hijaz no doubt 67

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obscured the public presence of the Tijaniyya, as other orders, in subsequent generations, there is still an active Tijani presence in Medina. On separate trips in 2016 and 2017, I visited several Tijani gatherings while in the Prophet’s city. At a Friday dhikr meeting in a private home, with mostly Sudanese Tijanis, I was informed that there have been a few Tijani zāwiyas in the city since the time of Alfa Hashim, which are periodically shut down by Saudi authorities. Medinan Tijanis now meet for dhikr in their own houses.   But in 2017, I witnessed an extraordinary sight: inside the Prophet’s mosque, on the north side of his tomb, I happened upon a group of Tijanis reciting their Friday congregational dhikr out loud in a circle (a practice forbidden by Saudi authorities). The muqaddam was a Saudi citizen, surrounded by Tijanis from Indonesia, Oman, Pakistan, and Africa. The muqaddam had become connected to the West African Tijaniyya through the time he often spent in London, and I recognised him for our mutual attendance at a mawlid celebration in Senegal a few months earlier. After the dhikr, he gave a lengthy talk about love for the Prophet and the Sufi path. That was followed by a number of Omanis who requested initiation in the Tijaniyya from him. Eventually, the Saudi police appeared to break up the gathering, but they otherwise treated the muqaddam respectfully, simply reminding him that they monitored the mosque on video camera and that unapproved circular gatherings (hhalaqas) in the mosque were forbidden.61 The alternating disbanding and persistent re-emergence of the Tijaniyya in Medina is evidence of the order’s enduring presence in Arabia, apparently capable of rapid expansion given the opportunity.   Tijanis in the Emirates and Qatar, like Saudi Arabia, mostly meet in private homes. Nonetheless, the tariqa appears to have expanded recently in urban areas. This is partly the result of increasing expat populations, in which Western (Sufi) Muslims figure prominently. But it is also because of small numbers of committed Emirati and Qatari citizens, most of whom have their affiliation through West Africa. In the Emirates, Tijani gatherings are held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In Qatar, there are three separate Tijani dhikr gatherings every Friday: one of only Qataris; one of mixed Qataris, West Africans, Indians, and Western expats; and one of Sudanese. The most prominent Qatari muqaddam (who hosts the mixed gathering) has visited Medina-Baye, Senegal, and was granted ijāza by Sheikh Hasan Cissé (who also visited Qatar in 1995) as well as by the Mauritanian Sheikh Muhammad al-Yadali.62 The latter, whose father was a close student of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, had previously resided in Qatar but is now a Mufti in Abu Dhabi. The Sudanese Tijanis  

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in Qatar are mostly followers of the Darfurian Sheikh Musa ʿAbdallah alHusayn, himself a disciple of Ibrahim Salih, who visits Qatar on a semi-annual basis and has publicly represented the Tijaniyya as an orthodox Islamic voice for peace in Africa.63 In both the Sudanese and mixed Qatari and Indian expat Tijani gatherings in Doha, frequent reference is made to Medina-Baye, Senegal, where the teachings of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse are continuously related and stories are told of personal visits to Senegal. Conclusion The Tijaniyya’s spread throughout the Muslim world has been in dialogue with an Africanité, mostly associated with the community Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse based in Senegal. This is not so much the story of an ethnically African diaspora associated with the Tijaniyya,64 it is more often the case of new initiates from all backgrounds negotiating their religious identities in dialogue with a West African spiritual leadership. True to the idea of Afropolitanism, the meaning of this identity is hybrid, locally negotiated, and thinks beyond the essentialisation of blackness or Africa. Whatever the myriad negotiations of African-ness Tijanis mediate around the world, their shared reference is the fact the Tijaniyya is the only contemporary global Muslim network with an unapologetic black African leadership.   This chapter has largely avoided the presence of the Tijaniyya in the West. This is mostly due to space limitations, but also because Sufism in the West tends to receive outsized attention in academic studies. Nonetheless, the Tijaniyya has spread among African diaspora communities, both immigrants and Muslim converts, in several American cities, in Canada, in the Caribbean, in France, and in Britain. It has also spread among Westerners of Arab, Pakistani, and European descent, most of whom were exposed to the Tijaniyya through their contact with African diasporic communities. Much of this has been the fruition of the efforts of Sheikh Hasan Cissé (d. 2008, Senegal), who from the late 1970s established Tijani communities among African-American populations in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, and Washington D.C.65 More recently, African diasporic spoken word artists and musicians give the Tijaniyya new audiences. ‘Tijani Concious’ is a Jamaican musician, connected to Tijani communities in Atlanta, referred to on Jamaican television as the ‘first Muslim reggae artist’.66 Amir Sulaiman, a disciple of Sheikh Mahi Cissé based in California, is perhaps America’s most famous contemporary Muslim poet, appearing on Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam and at numerous 69

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Western Islamic conferences with Tijani prayer beads wrapped around his wrist.67 In Britain, the female ‘hip hop hijabi’ Sukina Douglas mixes politically conscious lyrics with references to spiritual training in divine gnosis, based on her studies in Medina-Baye, Senegal.68   The Tijaniyya in the West, as with its spread elsewhere in the world, combines local cultural articulations, often expressing an Africanité, usually (in the case of the majority of Tijanis affiliated to the order through Ibrahim Niasse) with recognition of a West African spiritual centre. Afropolitanism has thus provided a degree of internal coherency to the world diffusion of the order, where new initiates often enter into a productive dialogue with certain markers of West African Muslim identity. There is no doubt the association with black Africa has not always facilitated the Tijaniyya’s reception in communities where Arab or other ethnicities are privileged. But neither has the order’s association with Africanité circumscribed its influence: the Tijaniyya has undoubtedly become one of the world’s most popular Sufi orders, not only in West Africa. In so doing, the Tijaniyya has expanded the meaning of African identity in global contexts and destabilised the pejorative marginalisation of African Islam.   For the followers of Ibrahim Niasse, Africanité does not necessarily ‘colour’ the experiential knowledge (maʿrifa) at the core of their Tijani affiliation. After all, the knowledge of God remained an experience of annihilation (fanāʾ) beyond specification. According to Niasse: In this [rapture], the servant is not aware of himself, or anything else; neither what came before nor what will come after, neither of any part of himself, nor the whole of himself … The lover becomes extinct in his Beloved. And he becomes extinct to his own extinction. Nothing remains except the divine selfhood.69

  But the annihilated servant could also become the locus of divine manifestation: The Most High has taken possession of the heart, so He controls its. He has taken possession of the limbs of the body, so He uses them for what is pleasing to Him. He has taken possession of the servant’s character traits, so He operates them however He wills for the sake of His pleasure.70

  The veneration of Africa among Tijanis can be explained, in the end, by the perceived emergence of God’s beloved saints among black Africans. After all, Muslims justified love for the Arabs because of the Prophet Muhammad: ‘Who has loved the Arabs loves them because he has loved me’, said the Prophet.71 The inscription of Africanité in the global Tijaniyya results from the 70

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perception of divine favour bestowed on black African Muslim saints like Ibrahim Niasse. References Abun-Nasr, Jamil, The Tijāniyya: A Sufi Order in the Modern World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965). Abusharaf, Rogaia, ‘A Darfur-Doha encounter and a Sufi mystic’s whirling trance for peace’ in Practicing Sufism: Sufi Politics and Performance in Africa, edited by Abdelmajid Hannoum (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016). Adnani, Jilali El, La Tijâniyya, 1781–1881: Les origines d’une confrérie religieuse au Maghreb (Rabat: Editions Marsam, 2007). Ahmed, Chanfi, West African ʿUlamāʾ and Salafism in Mecca and Medina (Leiden: Brill, 2015). Barry, Boubacar, Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). Berriane, Johara, Ahmad al-Tijânî de Fès: Un sanctuaire soufi aux connexions transnationales (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2015). Cissé, HHasan b. ʿAlī, ‘al-Ṭarīqa al-Tijāniyya: al-khassāʾiss wa l-mumayyizāt’, speech at the International Forum of the Tijāniyya, Fez, Morocco, 28 June 2007, http://www. tijani.org/tijani-characteristics-methods-arabic (last accessed 4 March 2018). Cissé, Tijānī b. ʿAlī, Islam the Religion of Peace, translated by Zachary Wright and Ibrahim Naseem (Singapore: Light of Eminence, 2012). ———, Knowing Allah, Living Islam, translated by Zachary Wright (Singapore: Light of Eminence, 2014). Curtis, Edward, The Call of Bilal: Islam in the African Diaspora (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2014). Danin, Robert, Black Pilgrimage to Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). Diagne, Souleymane Bachir, The Ink of the Scholars: Reflections on Philosophy in Africa (Dakar: CODESRIA, 2016). Diallo, Samba, ‘Retour sur les conditions historiques et sociologiques de la foundation de la Tijâniyya’, Afrika Zamani 15–16 (2007–8). Dollar, Cathlene, ‘An “African” Tarika in Anatolia: Notes on the Tijāniyya in Early Republican Turkey’, Annual Review of Islam in Africa 11 (2012). Gehrmann, Susanne, ‘Cosmopolitanism with African roots, Afropolitanism’s ambivalent mobilities’, Journal of African Cultural Studies 28, 1 (2016). Green, Nile, Sufism: A Global History (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). Ishihara, Minako, ‘The role of Women in Tijāniyya: From three Oromo Religious Centers in Western Ethiopia’, Annales d’Éthiopie 30 (2015) Klein, Martin, Islam and Imperialism: Sine Saloum, 1847–1914 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1968).  

 

 

 

 

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Knysh, Alexander, Islamic Mysticism: A Short History (Leiden: Brill, 2000). Lliteras, Susana, ‘The Tijāniyya Tariqa in Cape Town’, Journal of Islamic Studies 26 (2006). Mbembe, Achille, ‘Afropolitanisme’, Sud-Quotidien (Dakar), 20 December 2005; reprinted in Africultures, 25 December 2005: http://africultures.com/afropolitanisme-4248/ (last accessed 4 April 2018). Miller, Rasul and Samiha Abdurrahman, ‘Imam Sayed Abdus-Salam: Great American Sufi’, African Scholars and Saints: Their Lives and Times, blog post, 15 November 2017: http://africanscholarsandsaints.blogspot.qa/2017/11/imam-sayed-abdussalam.html (last accessed 4 April 2018). Niasse, Ibrāhīm, Kāshif al-ilbās ʿan fayḍat al-khatm Abī ʿAbbās (Cairo: al-Sharika alDawliyya, 2001). ———, Saʿādat al-anām bi-aqwāl Shaykh al-Islām (Cairo: al-Sharika al-Dawliyya, 2006). Ratke, Bernd, ‘Sufism in the Eighteenth Century: An Attempt at a Provisional Appraisal’, Die Welt des Islams 36, 3 (1996). Robinson, David, Paths of Accommodation: Muslim Societies and French Colonial Authorities in Senegal and Mauritania, 1880–1920 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000). Sambe, Bakary, ‘Tidjaniya: usages diplomatiques d’une confrérie soufie’, Politique Étrangère 4 (2010). Schleifer, Abdallah, ‘The Life and Thought of ʿIzz-Id-Din al-Qassam’, Islamic Quarterly 23, 2 (1979). ———, ed., The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims (Amman: Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, 2014). Sedgwick, Mark, Saints and Sons: The Making and Remaking of the Rashīdī Ahhmadī Sufi Order, 1799–2000 (Leiden: Brill, 2005). Seesemann, Rüdiger, The Divine Flood: Ibrāhīm Niasse and the Roots of a TwentiethCentury Sufi Revival (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). ———, ‘The “Shurafa” and the “Blacksmith”: The Role of the Idaw Ali of Mauritania in the Career of the Senegalese Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse’ in Scott Reese, ed., The Transmission of Learning in Islamic Africa (Leiden: Brill, 2004). ———, ‘The Takfīr Debate: Sources for the study of a contemporary dispute among African Sufis’, Sudanic Africa 9 (1998). ———, ‘The Takfīr Debate, Part II: The Sudanese arena’, Sudanic Africa 10 (1999). Trimingham, J. Spencer, The Sufi Orders in Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971). Ware, Rudolph, The Walking Qurʾan: Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge, and History in West Africa (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2014). Wright, Zachary, Living Knowledge in West African Islam: The Sufi Community of Ibrāhīm Niasse (Leiden: Brill, 2015).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AFROPOLITAN SUFISM ———, On the Path of the Prophet: Shaykh Ahmad Tijānī and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya (Atlanta, GA: African American Islamic Institute, 2005). ———, ‘Secrets on the Muhammadan Way: Transmission of the Esoteric Sciences in 18th Century Scholarly Networks’, Islamic Africa 9, 1 (2018). Wright, Zachary, and Abass Umar Muhammed, ‘The Influence of Contemporary West African Islamic Scholarship on the American Muslim Community, with special reference to Shaykh Hassan Cisse and his American Followers’, paper presented to the Tokyo Foundation Joint Research and Exchange Program (Accra: Dodoo Printing, 2003).

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WHO IS THE INFIDEL? RELIGIOUS BOUNDARIES AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN THE SHADHILIYYA DARQAWIYYA ʿALAWIYYA

Francesco Piraino1

In this chapter I will analyse the relation with the ‘Other’ in the one of the most important global Sufi orders of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the Shadhiliyya Darqawiyya ʿAlawiyya. This Sufi order has been transcultural and transnational since its origins in the Algerian city of Mostaganem, when the charismatic Sheikh Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-ʿAlawi attracted European, Arabic, and Amazigh disciples. Nowadays this Sufi order is present worldwide, in Europe (France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom), in the Maghreb (Algeria and Morocco), in Africa (Senegal), in the Middle East (Palestine and Saudi Arabia) and in Asia ( Japan). Its theological approach to the ‘Other’ is both highly unusual and grounded in the Sufi tradition. The ʿAlawi theological approach to Alterity arises from the tension between the universal and the particular dimensions that could be summarised through the following questions: How is a Muslim defined? Who is the infidel? Is the former they who have submitted to the will

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of God, or they who follow the teaching of the Sunnah? The answer oscillates between these two poles.   There is no common definition of kāfir—unbeliever—in Islamic communities. The relation with the Other strongly changes according to the political and social context. In some contexts, Christians, Jews, and even Hindus are considered believers,2 in others, every religion and even the majority of Muslims are not considered true believers.3 Sufi theological and social boundaries have always been at the centre of the debates about orthodoxy and deviance. Sufism has been both at the centre of Islamic religious powers and authorities, and at its margins.4 Therefore, there cannot be a monolithic definition of the infidel in the Sufi frame, nevertheless, the concept of infidel has been used as a pedagogic instrument by many Sufis in order to challenge the ego’s presumption and arrogance. For example, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tijani used to say, ‘God loves the infidel’.5   Furthermore, the fluidity and porosity of Sufi practices, theologies and organisational structures, which favoured the expansion of Islamic civilisation in different geographical contexts, blur the theological boundaries about the definition of the infidel. Sufi orders often encountered and mixed with local religious and cultural trends, which implied reciprocal influences: on the one hand the Islamisation of new cultures, on the other the acculturalisation of Islam. This continuous and dialectic negotiation of boundaries is central to understanding our global and multicultural societies. The Shadhiliyya Darqawiyya ʿAlawiyya represents a transcultural religious movement rooted in the Islamic tradition, but also a reaction to the challenges of contemporary societies. A Brief History One of the characteristics of the Shadhiliyya Darqawiyya ʿAlawiyya is its nonconformist and sometimes even provocative spirit, which can be found in the work of Sheikh Buzidi, master of Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-ʿAlawi, the founder of the ʿAlawiyya in 1911 in Mostaganem (Algeria). Buzidi shocked the Algerians at the end of the nineteenth century by entering brothels to educate prostitutes. He even encouraged unmarried disciples to marry them: ‘there is more merit in bringing creatures out of hell, than in preaching to good men’.6   The charismatic aura of Sheikh al-ʿAlawi attracted thousands of disciples from all over the Maghreb and Europe. Probst-Biraben described 100,000 disciples in 19497 and Éric Geoffroy 200,000.8 Martin Lings described an 76

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‘overflowing’ faith,9 the scholar Augustin Berque reports the preoccupation and interest of French colonial authorities who witnessed the conversion of thousands of people, and subsequently accused the Sheikh of hypnotism.10   Sheikh al-ʿAlawi was interested in the philosophy of Henri Bergson and in the physics of Albert Einstein.11 He was fascinated by modern technologies from Western countries and was the first Algerian in Mostaganem to have a telephone and a car.12 At the same time, he peacefully defended Arabic and Algerian culture against French colonialism. In addition, he redefined the role of women, a theme that was to remain a constant of this order. He gave women the esoteric initiation through a blessing and a glass of water, and taught his adopted daughter, Khayra, to swim and ride on horseback, activities which were previously considered reserved for men. Following Sheikh al-ʿAlawi’s death in 1934, Sheikh Adda led the main branch and developed the social dimension of the tariqa: he created a football team for young Mostaganemers, reintegration programs for juvenile offenders, and schools to learn to write Arabic. Sheikh Mahdi was then to lead the Sufi order through some troubled years, most notably the liberation struggle against the French and its aftermath.   Since 1975, this Sufi order has been led by Sheikh Bentounes. In terms of appearance, Sheikh Khaled Bentounes can be described as unconventional: he does not have a beard or wear a jalāba, the traditional clothing of a Sufi sheikh. Furthermore, he married a Catholic French woman. Sheikh Bentounes is a public figure in the Francophone public sphere, having written many books and participated in many conferences and television broadcasts.   The sheikh and his disciples are committed to interfaith and intercultural dialogue, women’s rights promotion, transmission of Islamic and Sufi heritage, and raising ecological awareness.13 One achievement of Sheikh Bentounes, through the Association International Soufie ʿAlawiya (AISA, ʿAlawi International Sufi Association), is the acceptance of 16 May as the ‘International Day of Living Together in Peace’ by the United Nations General Assembly.14  

Theological Narratives and Boundaries From a theological point of view this Sufi order represented what it understands as the traditional Sunni-Sufi orthodoxy,15 as opposed both to Wahhabi and Salafi ‘formalism’ and to heterodox Sufi practices like enchanting snakes and mortification rituals. From Sheikh al-ʿAlawi to Sheikh Bentounes, this 77

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Sufi order focused both on the mystical experiences and on intellectual and ethical dimensions, with important consequences for the social and political spheres, which were matters of discussion belonging to the orthodox frame.16 Truth(s) and Religion(s) A key theme of the ʿAlawi theological discourse is a specific conception of religious truth, which is both considered absolute and relative. During an interview in 2014, Sheikh Bentounes explained that the concept of al-maʿrūf,17 commonly translated as ‘what is right’, should be translated as ‘what is recognised by everyone as good’.18 According to this interpretation, absolute truth consists in what is recognised by everyone as good. That said, truth is also relative: ‘No one holds the truth, it could be religious, mystical, theological or scientific truth… We are only fragments of truth and the path of Sufism is only a permanent quest to revive it’.19 ‘[The truth] is absolute, but at the level of the divine. At the human level it is always relative. The man who says he has absolute truth, he divinises himself, he is no longer man, he is God’.20 I have found these same narratives of perpetual quest and of an elusive truth also among ʿAlawi disciples. Lucien, a 25-year-old French disciple,21 described to me the ‘mystery of Allah… You know, we do not know everything, the same concept of God, nobody owns it. God is a great question mark’.22 Karim, a 50-year-old Franco-Algerian disciple, adds: ‘Nothing belongs to us, not even faith’.23   According to Éric Geoffroy, a scholar of Islamic studies and a disciple of this Sufi order, we could describe this theological approach as an Islamic ‘negative theology’,24 in which religious knowledge is not built by discursive arguments on the attributes of God, but is based on a direct religious experience, proceeding by subtraction. Following this perspective, Islamic values must be experienced to be understood. In fact, as Sheikh Bentounes often repeats: ‘The saint and the murderer find what they seek in the Qurʾan’.25   Using the category of ‘negative theology’ in the Islamic frame could be misleading, even suggesting that this theological approach is exogenous to Islam and Sufism. On the other hand, this approach to religious truth is rooted in the concept of tawhhīd, ‘God’s unicity’, which cannot be determined positively.26 This negative approach to religious truth has also some resonances with Ibn al-ʿArabi’s theology, in particular with the concept of hheīra, that could be translated as ‘metaphysical perplexity’.2728  

 

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Inclusive Universalism Sheikh Bentounes clearly states that Sufism surpasses the boundaries of a particular religion and is [A message] that is trying to improve the condition of humanity. It may be very pretentious to say this, but we are trying to do this work: to bring young people together, to bring spokespersons of different religions… We try to give this vision of synergy. No one has the whole; everyone has a part. Let’s put these parties together for a better world. To live together. To better live together.29

 This ʿAlawi universalism does not imply the absence of Islamic particularism, that is, the characteristics that mark Islamic identity, such as the Qurʾan, Sunnah, rituals and so forth. Bentounes’ books30 contain countless Qurʾanic quotations, and the ʿAlawi disciples follow Islamic practices. Some scholars have labelled these theological and political approaches as post-modern and heterodox.31 But, as I will argue in the conclusion, the dialectic between universalism and particularism, and the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’, have always been fluid and negotiated in Sufi history.   This inclusive universalism implies the redefinition of the concept of kāfir, which no longer means the unbeliever, the atheist, the polytheist, or—in the most exclusive interpretation—all those who are not Muslim. The infidel becomes a state of mind; the infidel is the ungrateful one, whoever does not recognise God’s grace, ‘who is not capable of gratitude, who refuses the divine dimension which dwells in all men. Considering oneself superior and better than others is the road to Shayṭān, the one who did not recognise the divine dimension in the human being’.32   This openness regards also atheists, who are considered capable of righteous behaviour and pious actions, even in the absence of religious faith. This openness was also present at the beginning of the history of the Sufi order, for example in the famous dialogue between Sheikh al-ʿAlawi and his French atheist doctor, in which the Sheikh said: ‘you are closer to God than you think’.33 Following this perspective, Islam is a universal message of liberation from idolatry, a message of openness to the Other. Submission to the will of God must not be identified with the social constraints of religion, in fact: ‘the therapeutic approach of Sufism proposes to educate the human being so that they regain their original freedom’.34   This theological approach implies a continuous questioning and research in the Islamic and Sufi framework, which is not limited to ʿAlawi intellectuals, but takes place within the tariqa as an educational instrument. In fact, 79

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Geoffroy,35 quoting Henry Corbin, describes a ‘negative theology as an antidote to nihilism’,36 but it is also an antidote to the ineluctable calcification of the Islamic faith. Redefinition of Good and Evil: A Step Aside from Religion This ‘Islamic negative theology’ implies also the redefinition of the concepts of right and wrong, which are no longer perceived in radical opposition, but rather as phases of life. Evil, and the devil, allow us to improve, to test our qualities. Shayṭān (Satan), with his temptations, encourages us to walk towards God. In ʿAlawi narratives the figure of a dangerous devil, aggressive and dark, is almost completely absent. Evil and good are expressions of God’s will.   This theological approach is reflected in the vision of heaven and hell. Lucien tells me that ‘there is no real separation before, during, and after life’.37 Karim explains to me that ‘paradise and hell, more than places, are spiritual states that we live in this world. What happens after death, honestly, I do not know’.38 Some disciples, like Anthony, go further, giving paradise and hell a totally symbolic meaning: ‘Paradise and hell, it is all within oneself; it is like the positive and the negative’. He affirms that it is impossible to understand life after death because ‘it is like explaining the physical world to a foetus in the belly of its mother.’39 Thus, for Antoine, a 30-yearold French disciple, the conception of paradise as a physical place of rewards ‘is like Santa Claus for children.’40 The question of fearing the loss of identity. My first identity is what? It is the fiṭra!… [Identity is] the ego par excellence. We made our own God. God is made in our image, after our likeness, and not the other way around.41 Getting out of religion means deconstructing a religious identity that creates limits, raises barriers among human beings. Such religion has become an ideology, an instrument of the manipulation of populations.42

  Strictly connected to the ‘Islamic negative theology’ is what we could call ‘negative pedagogy’, in which the disciple is asked to ‘step aside from religion’ [sortir de la religion]. This does not mean abandoning or reforming Islamic practices and doctrines, but rediscovering Islamic religious values, and discovering their inner meanings. In other words, this negative pedagogy aims at deconstructing a disciple’s religious identity, provoking reflections about the cultural, ethnic, and familial dimensions of Islam, in order to rediscover its own spiritual and universal dimensions. 80

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  We can find this inclusive universalist narrative in other Muslim intellectuals, such as Abennour Bidar, who preaches a reformed ‘Self Islam’, in which rituals, doctrines and legal practices are reformed in the name of a modern Islam.43 Unlike Bidar, Bentounes does not propose a unique way of living Islam—in fact, during research field trips in Algeria, Morocco, France and Belgium, I have met ʿAlawi disciples with different perspectives on religious, moral and political subjects. It is pivotal to understand that questioning Islamic and Sufi identitarian dimensions does not imply abandoning Islamic practices, but rather represents a never-ending questioning. The Critique of Power This ‘negative pedagogy’, which pushes the disciple to question his/her religious identity and practices in order to rediscover them, is applied also to the Sheikh’s image and to the Sufi order’s structure. In fact, Sheikh Bentounes often shocks his disciples by saying: ‘I am not your Sheikh, you have to look for it in yourself ’. Finally, I would like to add that at least we must beware of the [spiritual] masters, beginning with myself. This mistrust must subsist until the relationship [between the disciple and the master] is established in honesty, loyalty, friendship, dedication and total love. Before reaching this level, we do not yet have a master. The master is only a mirror through which the disciple contemplates his ugliness and beauty. And get closer to the masters who say: “I know that I do not know”. And God is the most learned, and through Him is the return.44

  This challenge is aimed also at the Sufi order structure. This reconfiguration has been described as ‘post-confraternity Sufism’ by Éric Geoffroy.45 Postconfraternity Sufism ‘does not lose its origins, which are always to transmit this inner teaching and balance between this horizontality of the world and the verticality that is the eternal world’.46   Post-confraternity Sufism means questioning the image of the Sufi sheikh and the structure of Sufism itself. This is, for Sheikh Bentounes, a necessary remedy to cure the ‘disease of confraternity-ism’,47 where the Sufi sheikh could become an obstacle to spiritual purification through becoming the subject of a form of hidden idolatry. Following this perspective, a symptom of the disease is the belief that Sufi orders are in competition, with only one’s own group the final repository of religious truth, in other words: ‘outside of my Sufi order there is no salvation’.48   ‘The Sheikh brings us back to the essentials’.49 ʿAlawi disciples explained to me that spiritual meetings have been reduced in both frequency and duration. 81

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During my fieldwork in France in 2013, ‘spiritual evenings’ were held twice a week and lasted between two to four hours. Sheikh Bentounes wanted to disrupt the tariqa by reducing the importance of ecstatic dance—the hhaḍra— ‘breaking the idol’ of the Sufi ritual and thus allowing new energies to be directed towards social activities.   The second important change concerns the Sheikh’s presence in the zawāyā. The publication of books, participation in conferences and other activities in which he has been involved have considerably reduced his time among his disciples. Some of them say that he is ‘retired’: ‘it is always more difficult to see him, and [so] the disciples suffer’.50   The classical religious structures of Sufism—the zāwiya and its local leaders (khalīfa or muqaddem)—are present in the ʿAlawiyya, but there are other organisational forms, connected but independent, such as research groups (focused on Islamic historical heritage, theological studies and women’s rights), groups focused on interfaith dialogue activities, NGOs, Muslim Scouts and so forth. The local zawāyā, both in France and Algeria, organise weekly classical Sufi rituals attended by many disciples. As such, it appears this reconfiguration has not completely deconstructed Sufi practices.   At the core of this religious reconfiguration lies a critique of pyramidal power. Sheikh Bentounes calls for a system of accountability to involve the input of every human being, using the metaphor of the circle (in which decision-making is shared) as opposed to the pyramid (in which decisions are imposed). It should be stressed that this utopian approach is both religious and political. Following this reconfiguration of power, Philippe Mottet (a Swiss disciple) founded the META (Management Éthique Traditionnel Alternatif),51 a management approach based on Sufi and Islamic teachings.   Obviously, this process is not a complete deconstruction of religious identity, otherwise it would not be possible to speak of the ʿAlawiyya as a Sufi order. Moreover, this negative theology, aimed at combatting hubris within Sufism, can sometimes serve to affirm the pride its adherents feel. Some disciples see in the humility of the Sheikh the proof of his holiness and superiority over other Sufi orders. For example, during a speech, Bentounes said ‘I am not the quṭb’52—literally the ‘pole’, the perfect man and the highest rank in the hierarchy of saints. A disciple watching from the assembled crowd understood this statement as the proof of his sanctity: ‘only the quṭb would say something like this’.53  

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Body, Gender and Sexuality The deconstruction and reconstruction of ʿAlawi religiosity also takes place via ‘the education of the senses’, which are ‘the sources of an irremediably ambivalent knowledge: at the same time the senses are necessary for the development of our being, and they participate in the veil of Reality’.54   In Bentounes’ teachings, the body is not the source of evil or uncontrollable passions, nor is it the prison of the soul. Following this perspective, such an education is not a matter of fighting the body: ‘it is wrong to say that [this] is a struggle against [the body’s] nature since its true nature is sound [/healthy]’.55 Sheikh Bentounes encourages the quest for balance between the different energies, and does not encourage its repression. Sex, for example, becomes something positive in the framework of marriage: ‘Sexuality has nothing in itself to blame, it is a meritorious and fully assumed act that is part of the relationships within the couple and society. The only thing that Islam requires is transparency’.56   The Other can be found not just among those who believe in another religion, but also among Muslims or Sufi disciples: as with the case of women and queer/LGBT people. The quest for spiritual balance is found in the complementarity between male and female energies, which are both divine expressions. Geoffroy reminds us that Sheikh al-ʿAlawi referred to God as ‘She’.57 Balance between female and male energies is required within nature, individual human beings and society at large.   Following this perspective, the patriarchal bias in Muslim majority countries and the commodification of women’s bodies in Western countries are both caused by the disequilibrium of male and female energies. That is why the ʿAlawiyya insists on the importance of the role of women, Sheikh Bentounes having said, ‘women are the future of Islam’.58 ‘In the Islamic tradition, women are trapped in a social order, but man is also locked up in local and ancestral customs that go against the Qur’an, whose sacred message is above all a message of freedom.’59   Furthermore, the question of homosexuality or queerness is intimately linked to the sphere of masculinity and femininity. There is no common view among the disciples on homosexuality/queerness, and when I raised the topic, many did not know how to answer and encouraged me to ask the same question of the Sheikh. Karim, an Algerian-French disciple, confessed to me that there may have been a homosexual faqīr in France. When I had the chance to discuss homosexuality with Bentounes, he explained to me that ‘things that 83

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are in human nature must be accepted, not condemned; what is natural is not a sin’. This openness to LGBT people is not common among ʿAlawi disciples, who are often more conservative on this matter. Responsibility and Social Justice ‘If you do not find God among human beings, you will not find Him anywhere’, Sheikh al-ʿAlawi often said.60 This concept is central to ʿAlawi theology, focused on the love for the Other. This implies engaging in both the ethical and social arenas, as in fact, ‘Sufism is in its entirety righteous behaviour’.61 The question of life after death is not only considered secondary, but risks becoming a form of hidden idolatry.   This theological approach explains why this Sufi order organises so many social, cultural and political activities.62 The Muslim becomes the ‘citizen par excellence’.63 The Sheikh always advises disciples to participate in political life. The values of tolerance, respect, plurality, equality, fraternity and freedom are not considered the exclusive property of Europe, but rather part of humanity and therefore also of the Islamic religion. Nevertheless, this commitment to democratic values and the spirit of democracy does not mean acceptance of all the forms that democracies can take. The Sheikh, for example, is very critical of Europe with regard to the neoliberal economy, the exploitation of human beings, pollution, the commodification of women’s bodies, and so on. He therefore argues that Islam does not need reform; it need not live through centuries of enlightenment to understand democratic values. Islamo-Sufism revivifies democracy: ‘Islam a un rendezvous avec la France’, says Sheikh Bentounes and he adds that, through this encounter, ‘Islam needs France, as France needs Islam’.64   Following this interpretation, Islam frees the human being from idolatry and power. This recalls Christian liberation theology in South America—a spiritual and political reform movement which emerged during the 1970s. Éric Geoffroy,65 following Zidane Meriboute,66 wonders if a theology of Islamic liberation is needed and what the relationship might be between this theology and Sufism. However, when I directly asked Sheikh Bentounes if his Sufism was comparable to liberation theology, the answer was rather cold. In fact, he prefers to speak of a ‘responsible and free Islam’. The Sheikh probably does not want to use this category because it is too loaded with contested meanings. His interpretation differs from Zidane Meriboute, who considers Sufism a ‘modernising force’ in opposition to political Islam, reproducing the 84

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confrontational binary between Islam and modernity. Sheikh Bentounes considers his theological and political statements part of the Islamic tradition, rather than an expression of modernity. Bentounes’ conception of a greater good, which extends beyond the boundaries of religion, resonates with the juridical category of masslahha, commonly translated as ‘common good’ or ‘public interest’.67  

 

Eschatology: The End of a World The narratives of a decadent and corrupted world and of increasing eschatological pressure are common themes in contemporary Sufism. For the Naqshbandiyya Haqaniyya and Ahhmadiyya-Idrisiyya Shadhiliyya the eschatological moment is imminent. The end is near, and this shapes Sufi order structures, politics and rituals.68 In other Sufi orders like the Tijaniyya or Budshishiyya, eschatological perspectives differ from disciple to disciple. It should be noted that the influence of René Guénon on Sufi disciples in different orders influences their eschatological perspective; in fact, all of Guénon’s work is based on an anti-modernist spirit.69  The ʿAlawiyya and Sheikh Bentounes are not interested in the end of the world. The Sheikh often quotes a verse from the Qurʾan, saying that only God knows the time.70 When I asked this question of Lyes, the Parisian muqaddam, he answered: ‘The end of the world is when you die, don’t you think? When you die, the world dies… Remember that your life is infinitesimal! And your time in the world.’71   When I discussed with Sheikh Bentounes the eschatologies that I had heard in other Sufi orders, characterised by a dark vision of a perverted world, he described to me an optimistic and even luminous eschatological moment. In fact, for Bentounes the coming of the Mahdī means hope: ‘It is as if the believer is bathing in divine mercy. It is hoped that one day the Mahdī will come back and restore justice. It is a qualitative leap in the state of universal consciousness. So, it’s not at all negative’.72  

[The Sheikh] often says do not cling to the negative side. Do not to look at disasters, crises. For him, all that is very positive. It’s like the woman who gives birth, there is pain, but everything must change, all the germs are there. We have to change paradigms, but everything is there. There are many associations, there are plenty of young people of good will. Everything is already ready. The future economy, the future policy, the future society, living it together is already here! (Abdel Sabour, 40, French-Kabyle faqīr).

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  This vision of the world does not imply despair, on the contrary, Bentounes perceives in the near future the ‘rebirth of a planetary consciousness’.73 During an interview in 2014, the Sheikh had just returned from a conference with new French imams, during which he was touched by their openness, intelligence and preparation. In addition, on several occasions, Bentounes has claimed that fanatical and fundamentalist Islam is in the process of losing ground in favour of spiritual and free Islam. The role of the ʿAlawiyya in this positive eschatology is to accompany this new world: ‘we have the responsibility to plant the seeds for a better future’.74 What exactly is this new world? No one really knows. Karim points out that it is not the ‘return to tradition, but it is the projection towards the future’. ‘Our contribution is through our teaching, to participate in a universal consciousness. Let us return to the human so that the divine is revealed in us. It’s in the tradition’.75 Conclusion: Between Theological Discourses and Social Change God, in ʿAlawi metaphysics, represents the absolute alterity upon whom it is impossible to impose anthropomorphic attributes. This absoluteness relativises everything: evil and good, paradise and hell, even existence. That said, the path to purification, the way to God, is an experiential, corporeal and experimental journey. The ʿAlawi paradox underpins the possibility of experiencing God—absolute otherness—in the body, through ecstatic rituals. This paradox is reflected in the relationship with the Other in various cultural, ethnic and religious spheres.   Sufism, in the course of history, has also been a place in which the borders between religious differences have been more fluid. Sheikh Bentounes, today, teaches his disciples that ‘the infidel’ is a state of the soul. This pedagogy aims at bringing the disciple out of cultural, ethnic or familial Islam, in order to rediscover its spiritual and universal dimensions.  The ʿAlawi theological approach arises from the tension between the universal and the particular. This tension could be summarised through the following questions: How is a Muslim defined? They who submit to the will of God, or who follow the teachings of the Sunnah? The answer oscillates between these two poles. We can grasp the specific and particular dimension in Sufi rituals, doctrines and practices. ʿAlawi disciples challenge some mainstream Sunni narratives (with regards to women’s rights, for example), but they do respect the main Islamic rituals and religious obligations. Of course, there are different interpretations of Islamic law among European, Moroccan 86

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and Algerian disciples, partly due to different local legal contexts. Nevertheless, the Islamic-ness of this Sufi order differentiates them from much of Western Sufism, including the Sufi Order International and others,76 where Sufism is detached from Islam. In other words, their call for an inner Islam does not involve the abandon of Islamic practices.   The Sufi order’s inclusive interpretation of Islam cannot be reduced to secular, liberal influences, or to a ‘cosmopolitan utopianism’.77 We can trace different forms of inclusive universalism(s) in pre-modern times,78 and interfaith dialogue is hardly a modern phenomenon. Moreover, it should be stressed that the tension between universal and particular dimensions is part of Islamic theology and history. The boundaries between who was considered a believer and an unbeliever have changed according to historical contexts.   We could ask ourselves to what extent these ʿAlawi theological and social trends are due to the influence of modern society. The answer cannot be definitive, since the history of Sufism is so heterogeneous and complex that it would be impossible to separate what is modern from what is traditional. On the other hand, it is worth exploring some modern and global influences. First of all, the ʿAlawiyya, like other Sufi orders including the Budshishiyya, Naqshbandiyya and Jerrahiyya-Khalwatiyya, is experiencing a period of openness towards new disciples,79 both due to charismatic Sufi masters and to new challenges and spiritual needs. The challenges are embodied both by Islamists and secularists who strongly criticise Sufism, but cannot satisfy the renewed spiritual quest of many Europeans, Arabs and Amazighs looking for spiritual guidance. This openness towards new disciples, also among European converts, involves a softening of ascetic practices. It is difficult to understand if this opening and growing of (new) Sufi orders is due to particular characteristics of modern societies, or if it is part of Sufi history and the ‘waxing and waning’ of different Sufi orders.80   Secondly, the ʿAlawiyya has been a transnational, global Sufi order since its origins in Mostaganem. There were already European converts at the beginning of the twentieth century, but this transnational dimension has been growing in recent years: Sheikh Bentounes lives in France and many of his disciples are European. This global dimension has two main aspects. The first regards the requirements of Bentounes’ disciples, who are looking for an Islamic spiritual guide capable of providing answers to the challenges of a multicultural society. For example, I met many European disciples involved in mixed marriages who were not looking for ecstatic experiences, but for an Islamic framework in which to practise and live a more open Islam. 87

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  The second aspect concerns younger generations, both in the Arab and European world, and is sometimes called ‘religious modernity’.81 This could be briefly described as the transformation of traditional structures (religious, communitarian and familiar), accompanied by a reconfiguration of religious practices and authorities. This, in turn, involves an individualisation of belief, understood as the freedom of choice, negotiation of religious meanings, and the challenging of traditional religious authorities. This is particularly true in Europe,82 but to some extent also in the Maghreb.83 Nevertheless, religious modernity does not always imply privatisation of religion, syncretism and de-Islamisation of practices, and cannot be reduced to ‘New Age’ spirituality. Following this perspective, the new Sufi disciple does not simply grow up in a Sufi milieu thanks to his/her family, because at the centre of his/her spiritual quest there is an individual will. The perfect example of this process is the same Sheikh Bentounes, who described his pathway towards his current station as a personal struggle between his new life in Paris and his earlier Sufi life in Algeria.  The ʿAlawiyya is a modern phenomenon in the sense that it pushes its disciples to question doctrines and identities in order to re-discover an inner Sufism and Islam. The ʿAlawiyya and the reconfigurations it faced (regarding the role of the Sheikh and the organisational structure) is a perfect example of a global Islamic phenomenon aiming at a globalised public, employing the instruments of globalisation;84 nevertheless, at the same time these theological and structural reconfigurations are also inscribed in the history of Sufism.   Another key characteristic of modernity is a high level of reflexivity.85 The ʿAlawiyya is particularly engaged with human sciences. There are several discussion groups on religious topics (Qurʾan, Hadith, Sunnah, women’s role, and so forth) which take into account the work of social scientists and other scholars. This interdisciplinary approach is encouraged by Sheikh Bentounes; moreover, the majority of disciples appreciate Éric Geoffroy’s academic works. If we connect this openness towards human sciences and the negative theology and pedagogy described before, we understand that many disciples accept the idea that religious phenomena, in their external forms, are socially constructed. Therefore, what distinguishes the non-believer from the believer is not an apodictic discursive truth, but the presence of faith and the quest for religious experiences.   Is this perspective the product of modernity or of Sufism? A clear yes or no would reduce the complexity of broader theological and anthropological debates. In fact, the pre-eminence of religious experience over the discursive 88

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dimension is not an invention of the modern age, but is part of the very history of mysticism, and therefore of the history of religion.86 Nevertheless, religious modernity has given religious experience a predominant importance to the detriment of theology, and has led to the relativisation of religious discourses, which are no longer considered the only source of meaning.87 References Āl Sa‘ūd, ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn Saṭṭām ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, Sharī‘a and the Concept of Benefit: The Use and Function of Masslahha in Islamic Jurisprudence (London: IB Tauris, 2015). Al-ʿAlawī, Ahhmad Ibn Mussṭafā, Lettre ouverte à ceux qui critiquent le Soufisme (Paris: Entrelacs, 2011). Beck, Ulrich, Anthony Giddens, and Scott Lash, Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007). Bekkaoui, Khalid, and Ricardo René Larémont, ‘Moroccan Youth Go Sufi’, The Journal of the Middle East and Africa 2, no. 1 (2011), pp. 31–46. Bentounes, Khaled, La fraternité en héritage: histoire d’une confrérie soufie (Paris: Albin Michel, 2009). ———, Le soufisme, cœur de l’Islam (Paris: La Table ronde, 1996). ———, L’homme intérieur à la lumière du Coran (Paris: Albin Michel, 1998). ———, Thérapie de l’âme (Paris: Albin Michel, 2011). ———, Vivre l’islam: le soufisme aujourd’hui (Paris: Albin Michel, 2006). Berque, Augustin, ‘Un Mystique Moderniste: Le Cheikh Benalioua’, Revue Africaine 368 (1936), pp. 688–776. Bidar, Abdennour, L’islam face à la mort de dieu: Actualité de Mohammed Iqbal (Paris: Bourin, 2010). ———, Self islam: histoire d’un islam personnel (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2016). Bisson, David, René Guénon: une politique de l’esprit (Paris: Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2013). Certeau, Michel de, La fable mystique: XVIe-XVIIe siècle (Paris: Gallimard, 1982). Chittick, William C., The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn Al-Arabi’s Metaphysics of Imagination (New York: SUNY Press, 2010). Chodkiewicz, Michel, Le sceau des saints, Vol. 86 (Paris: Gallimard, 1986). Corbin, Henry, Le paradoxe du monotheisme (Paris: L’Herne, 1981). Damrel, David W., ‘Aspects of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order in North America’ in Sufism in the West, edited by Jamal Malik and John R. Hinnells (London; New York: Routledge, 2006), 115–126. Dickson, William Rory, ‘An American Sufism: The Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order as a  

 

 

 

 

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Public Religion’, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 43, no. 3 (2014), pp. 411–24. Frégosi, Franck, L’ islam dans la laïcité (Paris: Pluriel, 2011). Geoffroy, Éric, Le soufisme voie intérieure de l’Islam (Paris: Points, 2009). ———, L’islam sera spirituel ou ne sera plus (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2009). ———, Un éblouissement sans fin La poésie dans le soufisme (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2014). Gimaret, Daniel, Maurice R. Hayoun, Jean Jolivet, and Georges Vajda, Etudes de théologie et de philosophie arabo-islamiques à l’époque classique (London: Ashgate, 1986). Haenni, Patrick, ‘Le centenaire de La confrérie Allaouia: un réformisme postmoderne de l’islam est-il possible?’, Religioscope É tudes et Analyses 23 (2009), pp. 1–13. Hamidullah, Muhammad, ‘Relations of Muslims with Non–Muslims’, Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs Journal 7, no. 1 (1986), pp. 7–12. Hervieu-Léger, Danièle, La religion pour mémoire (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1993). ———, ‘Le partage du croire religieux dans des sociétés d’individus’, L’Année Sociologique 60, no. 1 (2010), pp. 41–62. ———, Le Pélerin et le converti: la religion en mouvement (Paris: Flammarion, 1999). ———, ‘Pour une sociologie des “modernités religieuses multiples”: ine autre approche de La “religion Invisible” Des Sociétés Européennes’, Social Compass 50, no. 3 (2003), pp. 287–95. Inge, Anabel, The Making of a Salafi Muslim Woman: Paths to Conversion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). Izutsu, Toshihiko, Sufism and Taoism: A Comparative Study of Key Philosophical Concepts (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016). Jouili, Jeanette S., ‘Rapping the Republic: Utopia, Critique, and Muslim Role Models in Secular France’, French Politics, Culture & Society 31, no. 2 (2013), pp. 58–80. Kamaruddin, Rusli, ‘Politics in the Works of Al-Ghazzālī’, Intellectual Discourse 12, no. 2 (2004). Karamustafa, Ahmet T., Sufism: The Formative Period (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007). Lauzière, Henri, The Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015). Lings, Martin, A Moslem Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaikh Ahmad Al-‘Alawī, His Spiritual Heritage and Legacy (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1961). Mériboute, Zidane, La fracture islamique: Demain, le soufisme? (Paris: Fayard, 2004). Opwis, Felicitas, ‘Maslaha in Contemporary Islamic Legal Theory’, Islamic Law and Society 12, no. 2 (2005), pp. 182–223. Piraino, Francesco, ‘Between Real and Virtual Communities: Sufism in Western Societies and the Naqshbandi Haqqani Case’, Social Compass 63, no. 1 (2016), pp. 93–108.  

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WHO IS THE INFIDEL? ———, ‘Le Développement Du Soufisme En Europe: Au-Delà de l’antinomie Tradition et Modernité’, Scuola Normale Superiore—EHESS (2016). ———, ‘Pilgrimages in Western European Sufism’ in Muslim Pilgrimage in Europe, edited by Ingvild Flaskerud and Richard Natvig (London; New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 157–169. ———, ‘René Guénon et Son Héritage Dans Le Soufisme Du XXIème Siècle’, Religiologiques 33 (2016), pp. 155–180. Probst-Birabenm, Jean-Henry, ‘La Tariqa Alawiyya’ in Cheikh Al Alawi document et témoignages, by Jihan Cartigny (Paris-Drancy: Éditions Les Amis de l’Islam, 1984), pp. 79–88. Saint-Blancat, Chantal, ‘La transmission de l’islam auprès des nouvelles générations de la diaspora’, Social Compass 51, no. 2 (2004), pp. 235–247. Sedgwick, Mark, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). ———, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). Trimingham, John Spencer, The Sufi Orders in Islam (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971). Troeltsch, Ernst, Die Absolutheit des Christentums und die Religionsgeschichte: Vortrag gehalten auf der Versammlung der Freunde der christlichen Welt zu Mühlacker am 3. Oktober 1901, erw. und mit einem Vorwort versehen (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1912). United Nation General Assembly, ‘International Day of Living Together in Peace’, A72 L26, 5 December 2017. Veinstein, Gilles, and Alexandre Popovic, Les voies d’Allah: Les ordres mystiques dans l’islam des origines à aujourd’hui (Paris: Fayard, 1996).  

 

 

 

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5

EU-RAP-IA RAP, SUFISM AND THE ARAB QAṢῙDA IN EUROPE

Andrea Brigaglia

This chapter looks at the convergence of two global aesthetics provided by the Afro-American tradition of rap and by the Arabo-Islamic tradition of Sufi qassīda poetry in the careers of French Sufi rappers Abd Al Malik (born Régis Fayette-Mikano) and Kery James (born Alix Mathurin). In different ways, both Abd Al Malik and Kery James have drawn on the centuries-old tradition of the qassīda and adapted it to the context of French rap. Infusing the relatively young rap tradition of Europe with a set of images and themes drawn from the qassīda tradition that deeply resonate with the self-reflexive side of hip-hop aesthetics, these two artists have pushed the boundaries of the two genres to a point where the two have met each other and hybridised. The fact that the main actors of such an encounter between rap and qassīda aesthetics in France are rappers like Abd Al Malik and Kery James, who have embraced Sufism and engaged the Sufi literary tradition, is not incidental but is rooted in the long-term history of the qassīda as a genre of religious literature. Just as in medieval Persia or nineteenth-century West Africa, in twenty-first century  

 

 

 

 



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Europe too, the globalisation of Sufism and the globalisation of the qassīda are two faces of the same coin.   To describe the above phenomenon of cultural (and more specifically, literary) hybridisation, I use the term Eu-rap-ia, drawn from Eurabia. Eurabia as a discourse embodies all the fears that the nationalist public opinion of today’s Europe associates with the contemporary flow of migration, and in particular, with the challenges posed by the penetration of the global culture of Islam in the European space. First introduced in this sense by Bat Ye’or (alias Gisèle Littman),1 the idea of Eurabia has transformed the concerns for the potential loss of identity of the ‘indigenous’ Europeans, as a consequence of the structural changes promoted by globalisation, into a complex of victimisation that is instrumental to a policy of racial exclusion. Eurabia, like most conspiracy theories, re-imagines a structural socio-economic phenomenon (the contemporary flow of migration) as the result of the conscious agency of a rival actor (Arab political elites, with the complicity of the European Left) to achieve a pre-conceived goal (the Islamisation of Europe). Far from being a marginal eccentricity, Eurabia features as a prominent reference not only in the ideology of some of the most extreme fringe groups of European nationalism,2 but also in the best-sellers of mainstream authors like the Italian journalist and writer Oriana Fallaci3 and more recently, the French novelist Michel Houellebecq.4   By using the neologism Eu-rap-ia to describe the cultural phenomenon of the encounter of the Afro-American aesthetics of rap and of the AraboIslamic aesthetics of the qassīda in today’s Europe, I am trying to propose the following set of reflections.  

 

(1) Even with all the tensions associated with the rise of ultra-nationalist discourses (as well as with the parallel threat posed by global Jihadi actors), Europe, and in particular, France, provides a surprisingly conducive space for the encounter of cultural forms of different geographic origins, and for their creative hybridisation. (2) Religion, and in particular Sufi Islam, is playing an important role in the creation of new global cultures in Europe. This role is not incidental; it is not necessarily instrumental to a politics of representation and to the expression of a cultural clash; and it does not constitute a regression to a supposed, ‘pre-contact’ original culture. It is, on the contrary, the fruit of an experimentation with new aesthetic boundaries linked to a search for universal ethical values. Globalisation can, of course, manifest itself in clashes of identity. But it can also push a pursuit of universals. While a 94

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religious turn is certainly not the only and necessary outcome of such a pursuit, religion continues to provide a possible response to the ultimate questions raised by individuals (in our case, artists) who believe that the human experience is characterised by a fundamental unity across races and cultures. (3) The encounter between rap and Sufi Islam in the European space, too, is neither incidental nor instrumental to a simple politics of representation. The script for such an encounter was already ‘written,’ as it were, in the potential convergence of the two aesthetics of rap and of the qassīda. While this convergence can also take place, and indeed has taken place elsewhere,5 Europe provides a privileged space for it. In America, rap is a sovereign tradition with an established aesthetical canon and fixed boundaries. In the contemporary Arab world, conversely, the qassīda has the status of a strictly defined genre: while its relegation to the role of a ‘traditional’ folk genre guarantees its continuing existence, it also undermines its potential dynamism. In Europe, on the contrary, rap can, to a certain degree, disengage from its American prototype, while the qassīda can be tested in new, more experimental forms outside of its conventional boundaries.  

 

 

  Rooted in the pre-Islamic culture of the Arabs, of which it was the most distinctive form of literary expression, the qassīda had gradually turned, during the centuries-old process of the Islamisation of Asia and Africa, into a powerful literary resource for the globalisation of Islam and the adaptation of its message to a multiplicity of languages and cultural contexts. The Qurʾan, elevated in the paradoxical position of an immutable but inimitable paradigm of aesthetic perfection, remained untranslatable for Muslims. The Islamised qassīda, on the other hand, functioned as a more flexible literary paradigm that allowed, through imitation, the moulding and the transmission of the ethical and religious message of Islam into a multiplicity of cultural and linguistic idioms.   But what exactly is the qassīda? Most medieval Arab philologists and literary critics, following strict criteria based on their study of the standards set by pre-Islamic poetry, accorded the definition of qassīda only to mono-rhymed poems which consisted of the following three parts: nassīb (elegiac prelude), rahhīl (desert journey) and madīhh (panegyric). Such a technical definition, however, fails to include the broader range of literary items that actually came to be called qassīda in the later Muslim tradition, especially among the nonArabs. Thus, Stefan Sperl and Christopher Shackle, in what remains the best  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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cross-cultural study of the qassīda to date,6 have proposed to stretch the medieval Arab definition of the term so as to include any poem made of verses of two hemistichs of equal length and inspired, in terms of imagery and/or metrics, by the poetic tradition of the Arabs.   The medieval qassīda included a set of characteristic sub-genres, like madīhh (panegyric or eulogy); fakhriyya (self-praise); ghazal (love ode); khamriyya (wine ode); and so forth. Although the qassīda continued to survive in the Arab world also in a ‘secular’ form, as well as in Christian and Jewish forms, in Muslim Asia and Africa it became the hallmark of the literary culture of Muslim religious scholars, and in particular of the Sufis, who creatively adapted the various (originally secular, when not profane) sub-genres of the qassīda to the transmission of a religious message. In the process, the preIslamic madīhh in praise of a tribal chief, and its Abbasid counterpart in praise of a Caliph, were turned into the praise of the Prophet or of a Sufi saint.7 The fakhriyya in which the pre-Islamic poet/warrior boasted his rhetorical and military prowess was reframed to give voice to the claims of spiritual superiority of the Sufi.8 The imagery of the erotic ghazal was re-framed as a set of allusions to the divine love of the mystic, while the conventional metaphors of the khamriyya became symbols of the rapturous experience of fanā’ (spiritual intoxication) of the gnostic.9 At the same time, both Sufi and non-Sufi religious authors also composed a huge corpus of less lyrical, but perhaps more popular qassīda verse in the form of wa‘ẓ (admonitory verse)10 and naẓm al-mutūn (versifications of didactic religious texts). The traditional religious cultures of Muslim communities, from Senegal to the Swahili coast, from Pakistan to Malaysia, was (and to some extent, still is) literally imbued with the rhythms and melodies of the qassīda in its multiple forms. The devotional madīhh of the Sufis, which could easily be put into a melody and sung to the accompaniment of drumming, became a central aspect of the cultures of Sufi zāwiyas across the globe, while the didactic naẓm of the (Sufi and non-Sufi) religious scholars, which allowed the easy memorisation of complex texts by the student, became a central aspect of the culture of the madrasa.   With its carefully measured rhythms and its repetitive rhymes, the qassīda also provided an immediate source of inspiration to contemporary Muslim rappers engaged in a search for trans-cultural aesthetic models.11  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Context: Rap and Islam in France France constitutes by far the most dynamic arena of rap and hip-hop in Europe. The presence of huge constituencies of second-generation French citi96

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zens originating from the former colonies of sub-Saharan or Mediterranean Africa, naturally created a context wherein the Afro-American culture of ­hip-hop and rap could be adopted and appropriated as a language of resistance and contestation by the youth of the segregated spaces of the banlieues (workingclass ghettos) of French metropolises. Side by side with issues of race, which obviously resonated with the Black and Beur12 youth of France, rap also carried a rich baggage of engagements with religion, especially with Islam.13   Due to the heavy presence and visibility of Islam in the French banlieues, religion—just like race—could also easily resonate in the local arena when rap was first introduced. In America, however, the adoption of a religious mode of expression was, on the whole, consistent with a tradition that tends to encourage the manifestation of religious identity in the public sphere and its expression in popular culture.14 Islam was often perceived as ‘anti-American,’15 and it became increasingly so in the context of the War on Terror, but the fact of expressing social dissent in a religious idiom through music did not constitute, in itself, a cultural dissonance in the American space. In producing a music that was, at the same time, socially conscious and openly religious, Muslim rap artists like Mos Def and Lupe Fiasco were, after all, following a long-standing tradition in American popular culture. The modern French Republic, on the contrary, had emerged out of a history of fierce struggle with (and emancipation from) a religious aristocracy, inheriting from this experience a stricter concept of secularity and an engrained suspicion of public religion. In its French declination, laïcité (secularity) tends to be translated into the idea that religious values need to be removed from the public sphere, to be relegated to a strictly private sphere.16 When, through the mediation of rap, Islamic piety started to move out of the mosque and to find a form of expression in popular culture, the phenomenon was either undecipherable, or read as inherently subversive (and regressive) by mainstream French society.   The upsetting dimension of France’s encounter with the reality of an emerging popular culture, where Islam partly overlapped with hip-hop, appeared in the reactions that followed the discovery of the conversion of Diam’s (born to a Greek mother as Mélanie Georgiades) to Islam. Thanks to her cheerful style (embodied especially in her most successful album, Dans ma bulle, 2006),17 over the previous years Diam’s had been an extremely popular artist among French teenagers of all classes and races, becoming the symbol of a ‘light’ style of pop-rap that, crossing social and racial boundaries, was less threatening than either gangsta-rap or conscious-rap to established values. Moreover, thanks to some of her songs (see especially Ma souffrance,18 a powerful, partly 97

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autobiographical song about domestic violence), Diam’s enjoyed iconic status with French feminists. Immediately after the media publicised her conversion to Islam, which she had tried to keep secret for some time, Diam’s came under a harsh attack by the French commentariat, from both the right and left of the political spectrum, with the feminist movement Ni putes ni soumises taking the lead in criticising the ‘danger’ posed by Diam’s perceived betrayal of her feminist principles.19 Her last album S.O.S (2009) already included an autobiographical song hinting at her conversion (Enfants du désert).20 After a long silence, Diam’s also published, partly to respond to the criticism received, a long autobiography21 which narrates a rather classical process of religious conversion as the sudden deliverance from a chronic state of depression which had led the author to several failed suicide attempts.22 This was followed by a second book published in 2015, in which Diam’s elaborated once again on her identity as a French Muslim woman.23   Through the 2000s, scholarship on hip-hop culture in France had, for the most part, failed to grasp the depth of the convergence of rap and religion in French popular culture. Most of the contributions included in Alain Philippe Durand’s edited volume, Black, Blanc, Beur, for instance, tend to privilege the sociological category of race, and see Islam only as an epiphenomenon instrumental to the voicing of Beur identities.24 The case of a white woman like Diam’s, however, had finally lifted the veil on the fact that the convergence of rap and Islam had deeper psychological and cultural roots, which purely sociological analyses—centred on race—were unable to recognise. Before her case, the conversions to Islam of a number of other rap artists like the French-Italian Akhenaton, Franco-Antillean Kery James, and Franco-Congolese Abd Al Malik, should have signalled the fact that there was something more than race and the re-discovery of Beur identity in the engagement of French rappers with religion and Islam. Rap, Religion and Self-Reflexivity The American scholar Hishaam Aidi was probably the first author to take the convergence of Islam and rap in France seriously. Most of his 2003 article,25 in fact, as well as a later contribution published in 2011,26 are devoted to rap and Islam in France. For Aidi, however, conversion to Islam is mainly a political affair, and religion is the super-structure of a class struggle providing ‘an antiimperial idiom and imaginary community for many subordinate groups in the west.’27 Quoting Olivier Roy, Aidi argues that ‘to convert to Islam today is a 98

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way for a European rebel to find a cause; it has little to do with theology.’28 Aidi’s conclusions are not only underpinned by a deliberately hyper-reductionist view of Islam, however, but also seem to be based on a parallel (in this case, probably unconscious) reductionist view of rap. By focusing uniquely on rebellion and counter-culture (which are undeniably a, if not the, central dimension of rap), Aidi underestimates the importance of self-reflexivity in the rap/hip-hop ethics and aesthetics of struggle. A conscious rap artist is not only a member of an oppressed group struggling for representation, but to use the words of Tupac Shakur, he/she is ‘always at war with different things’ and in the process, also starts a war ‘with his own heart’. It is in this liminal space, where the rap ethics of struggle are turned into an inner struggle with the rapper’s own self, that the artist starts engaging in a search for universals. And it is in this space that the possibility of transcending racial identity opens up, ultimately making possible the encounter of the rap artist with religion.   All the many lengthy autobiographies written by French Muslim rappers include long sections narrating their conversions to Islam, and provide a striking contrast to Aidi’s views. These narratives, in fact, suggest that religious conversion is not the simple (and psychologically undemanding) merging of the two anti-imperial idioms of rap and Islam, but one of the possible points of arrival of complex inner journeys started as quests for universal answers to philosophical and ethical questions—and not to political ones. Akenathon’s encounter with Islam, for instance, was mediated by an intellectual engagement with the mystical traditions of the ancient world, and by the search for a universal, cross-cultural idiom that would allow him to express esoteric truths in an intelligible form.29 For Diam’s, conversion was the response to a psychological breakdown: prompted by her rejection of the perceived vacuity of the world of the show-business, it was followed by a refuge in private piety and public volunteer social work.30 As for Abd Al Malik, his first encounter with Islam as narrated in his autobiography was, admittedly, instrumental to his search for a counter-culture and to his adoption of a rebel identity. But this ‘first conversion’ was followed by a second, more dramatic one, represented by his embrace of the Sufi order of the Budshishiyya (Boutchichiyya),31 which radically transformed Abd Al Malik’s private and public self. Finally, Kery James’ turn to religion was the outcome of the crisis of his moral universe as a gangster prompted by the shooting of one of his best friends, and it was followed by a deliberate, painstaking effort to reconstruct an ethical self through the techniques of self-discipline provided by (Sufi) Islam.32   In other words, the trajectories narrated in these autobiographical documents, read in the context of the authors’ broader careers as rappers, tend to 99

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reinforce my scepticism towards Aidi’s reductionist interpretation of the convergence of the categories rap and Islam. These rappers did not need Islam to accentuate their rebel side and their religious conversions did not follow linear patterns supportive of the blossoming of their artistic careers. On the contrary, the opposite is often true, and conversion was often dysfunctional to their careers as rappers: Diam’s ultimately chose to withdraw from rap; Abd Al Malik radically softened the tones of his previous engagement and in the process, experimented with other genres of music; Kery James thoroughly re-thought the language and the goals of his revolutionary message and in so doing, temporarily alienated his traditional fanbase. French rappers who, on the other hand, have been more stable and linear in using rap as the language of a revolutionary counter-culture (and less as a language of self-reflection), did not feel the need to convert to Islam: a perfect example is Keny Arkana, veritable icon of the alter-globalisation movement, whose career has followed more linear—though not necessarily less interesting—patterns.33   My first point, therefore, is that religion, in the lives of the French rappers who converted to Islam, functions as an independent category and an autonomous aspect of their experiences, eluding an analysis based on the assumptions of sociological determinism.34 For these artists, religion does not simply serve as a language of rebellion, but is a possible response to a parallel set of questions rooted in their introspection and in their search for psychological, ethical or spiritual universals. When religion converges with rap, it does so in the open-ended space created by the self-reflexive mood of rap culture, rather than in the predictable identity politics of the conflict between a counter-culture and a hegemonic one.   The full exploration of the convergence of rap and Islam in the self-reflexive quests of French rappers would require a thorough investigation of their autobiographies, which goes beyond the scope of this chapter.35 After having established, as a starting point, the necessity of looking at the convergence of rap and Islam from non-reductionist lenses, the core of this chapter will move away from autobiography and focus on the aesthetic dimension of the convergence of rap and the most quintessential form of Islamic literature, the qassīda.   In the following pages, I will provide a brief outline of the career of France’s Sufi rapper Abd Al Malik, highlighting his debt to the Sufi qassīda tradition. References to the career of another French Sufi rapper, Kery James, will be used in a following section to show the potential limit of Abd Al Malik’s project. The careers of French Sufi rappers like Abd Al Malik and Kery James36—this chapter argues—constitute an interesting page in the centuriesold process of globalisation of the qassīda through the agency of Sufism.  

 

 

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Abd Al Malik and his Sufi Odes Régis Mikano-Lafayette was born in 1978 in Paris to a family of migrants from Congo (Brazzaville). He grew up, in the absence of his father,37 in the Strasbourg suburb of Neuhof. Like many of his peers in his neighbourhood, Régis started quite soon to engage in petty crime. From the age of twelve, he became financially independent from his mother thanks to his ‘Saturday missions’ in the centre of Strasbourg, where he participated in the pick-pocketing of tourists with a small gang led by some of his Maghrebian friends.38 At the same time, however, he was also a brilliant pupil with a passion for French literature in the Catholic school of Sainte Anne.   For some years, Régis continued to function as a ‘divided self ’:39 a model student during the day, and a pickpocket (later also a drug dealer trafficking between France, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland) at night. The death of many of his friends from overdoses, as well as that of Hicham, a member of his gang who died in a car accident while running away from the police during an operation in which Régis himself was supposed to have participated, contributed to the gradual implosion of the universe of moral contradictions in which the rapper had been accustomed to live. The mugging of an old woman for her pension, a simple operation that had turned brutal due to the woman’s unexpected resistance, further precipitated a moral crisis in the life of Régis as a small-time gangster.   Deepening his journey in the study of literature, over the previous years Régis had gradually encountered and admired ‘Seneca, Camus, Epicurus, Orwell, Césaire, Thucydides, Fanon, Augustin, Barjavel, Huxley and Cheikh Anta Diop.’40 But the one who changed him forever was Malcolm X, whom he discovered thanks to Thierry, ‘a big blonde guy with an Alsatian accent studying anthropology’, who had a passion for Africa.41 For Régis, Malcolm X represented the example of a man who ‘had been able to overcome the stage of resentment and move to a universal struggle.’42 with the spectre of drugs lurking everywhere around me, with these dead, with the image of that old lady thrown on the floor haunting me, the street was no more gleaming with light. I continued to live in it, sure, but it did not attract me anymore. My heart wasn’t there now, it was feeling only as its prisoner. It had vibrated at the call of Malcolm X, and it needed something different.43

  At this point in his life, Régis also started to rap in the ensemble NAP (New African Poets), constituted with his brother Arnaud (who had converted to Islam after a dream, taking the name Bilal)44 and a group of friends 101

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from Neuhof. Rap was for Régis ‘a catharsis, as well as a way of transmitting a message.’45 Shortly thereafter, Régis followed in the steps of Bilal and converted to Islam, taking the new name Abd Al Malik. Initially, Abd Al Malik’s socialisation in the new religion was mediated by a group of friends belonging to the puritanical Tabligh movement. Originating in the strict Hanafism of the Deobandi school of India, the Tablighi Jamaat (in Arabic, Jamā‘at al-Tablīgh) is a missionary movement that aims at purifying the practices and reviving the faith of ordinary Muslims.46 Activism in the Tabligh movement helped Abd Al Malik in the gradual process of reconstruction of an ethical self, but did not lead to an abrupt resolution of his internal contradictions. Although in a different way, Abd Al Malik continued to function as a divided self: during the day, a pious Muslim engaged in his preaching tours with Tabligh, a movement that proscribed music, considering it haram; at night, a gangsta-rapper with NAP. The structured, coherent, normative model of ethical self promoted by Tabligh exerted a strong attraction for Abd Al Malik as well as for many of his peers in the banlieue. In a rich chapter of his autobiography entitled ‘Islam de banlieue,’47 Abd Al Malik narrates with vivid details his outwardly enthusiastic participation in, but also his inner lack of satisfaction with, the universe of Tabligh which, in the French suburbs, often overlapped with the universe of the Salafis. On the whole, admits Abd Al Malik, his journey into Tabligh was marked by positive encounters which were an authentic ‘school of life.’48 But with its obsession for a sharp distinction between the licit and the illicit (in particular, with the imposition of rigid gender norms embodied in visible dress codes),49 and with its tendency to ‘Islamise everything around,’50 Tabligh activism ultimately contributed to the formation of a sense of religious pride51 that resulted in the re-emergence, in a new form, of the ‘hatred’ Abd Al Malik had been trying to find a way out from.52 Moreover, the readings cultivated in Tabligh circles were characterised by a ‘childish rhetoric’53 that triggered what Abd Al Malik saw as an ‘intellectual regression.’54   The traumatic example of Fréderic, a friend who, after an enthusiastic adherence to Salafi Islam, had returned to a life of drinking,55 had sent a new signal to Abd Al Malik, indicating that the ‘Islam of the banlieue’ dominated by Tabligh puritans and Salafi activists, was not—all appearance of piety notwithstanding—solid enough to provide an authentic way out from the moral entrapments of life in the French suburbs. When the emir of his Tabligh group, having discovered that Abd Al Malik’s indulged in rap, had confronted him with the urgency of choosing between music and religion,56  

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the artist had plunged into a new crisis and had started to look for new intellectual stimuli.   After an unsatisfying encounter with Tariq Ramadan57 and a more enlightening one with Tareq Oubrou (imam of the main mosque of Bordeaux),58 Abd Al Malik set on a new path of readings into classical Sufi literature (Ibn ʿArabi, Ghazali, Rumi), and also the contemporary Moroccan Sufi, Faouzi Skali. These readings started to connect him intellectually with the spiritual legacy of ‘another Islam,’59 which he now saw as the authentic heart of the religion and as the initiation into a new journey from the particularity of his experience as Black citizen of a French suburb ‘towards the Universal.’60 After his return from a first visit to Morocco, through the mediation of his partner Naouale (a French-Moroccan singer, whom Abd Al Malik would eventually marry) and of a number of French and Moroccan members of the QadiriyyaBudshishiyya Sufi order, he affiliated to the order and, during a second trip to Morocco, connected directly with Sidi Hamza al-Boutchitchi, head of the mother-zāwiya of the Budshishiyya in Madagh.61   Through his encounter with Hamza al-Boutchitchi, Abd Al Malik felt he was finally able to drink from the universal cup of mystical love, thus overcoming the ‘hatred’ he had struggled with, in various forms, during his previous life. Since the release of Mathieu Kassovitz’s famous film La haine (‘The Hatred,’ 1995), which had drawn attention to the problematic socialisation of the youth of the French banlieue, ‘hatred’ has constantly figured as a trope in both positive and negative representations of the French banlieue culture. After the 2005 riots that involved the burning of thousands of cars, the French political establishment has often used the supposed irrationality of la haine of the banlieues to exoticise the phenomenon and abstain from taking any responsibility for its deeper social roots. Politically conscious rappers like Keny Arkana, on the contrary, have used the parallel concept of la rage (the rage) to celebrate the revolutionary potential of the banlieue rebellion and channel it towards ideologically structured goals.62 It is easy to see how Abd Al Malik’s insistence on the necessity for the people of the banlieue to ‘overcome the hatred,’ could be seen by the Left as instrumental to the discourse of the French elites. However, it is important to note that for Abd Al Malik, this necessity was fundamentally a psychological and spiritual, not a political one.63   In the last, brief chapter of the autobiography, ‘En chemin vers l’autre’ (Walking towards the Other), Abd Al Malik gives an account of a visit to Auschwitz that shortly followed his return to France. For him, the act of visit 103

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ing a symbol of the identity of the group (the European Jew) previously imagined as embodying a radical otherness to his own (the Black Muslim), encapsulated the project that would later characterise his new musical and literary engagements (Abd Al Malik has also written several books): overcoming hatred; finding the path to an encounter between the many components of French identity; evoking the transcendental unity of humanity in the name of religion and mysticism. The subsequent choice by Abd Al Malik to occasionally adopt the imagery and the melodies of the French chanson (in particular, Jacques Brel and Claude Nougaro), was instrumental to conveying the above message of reconciliation with French culture. This choice has been the most visible and debated aspect of his artistic career from the mid-2000s onwards. Less attention, however, has been placed on his literary engagements with the Arabo-Islamic qassīda genre.   In his first album following his ‘Sufi conversion’ (Le face à face des cœurs, 2004), Abd Al Malik had already experimented with the Sufi qassīda in a piece called Ode à l’Amour. The ode sets off with an autobiographical reference to the paradigm shift triggered by his transition from Tabligh to the Budshishiyya: Il y eut un temps où je faisais reproche à mon prochain / Si sa religion n’était pas proche de la mienne (There was a time when I used to reproach my neighbour / if his religion was not similar to mine).64 This is followed by a long verbatim quote from the most famous poem attributed to Ibn ʿArabi, which serves to explicitly frame Abd Al Malik’s ode in the tradition of the Sufi qassīda, as well as to give voice to the main message of the song: the universality of mystical love.  

 

 

Mais à présent mon cœur accueille toute forme Il est une prairie pour les gazelles Un cloître pour les moines Un temple pour les idoles Une Kaaba pour le pèlerin Les tables de la Thora et le livre du Coran Je professe la religion de l’amour et quelle que soit La direction que prenne sa monture, cette religion est ma religion et ma foi.65

  The rest of the song is literally interspersed with standard images drawn from the classical Sufi qassīda: from the alchemist (the spiritual master) who turns copper (the lower self of the newly-initiated disciple) into gold (the transfigured self of the accomplished mystic), to the intoxication that follows ‘drinking the wine of Love,’ which allows the poet to perceive the deeper essence of humanity and to see a brother in every human being. There is no  

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doubt that Ode à l’Amour speaks of a genuine process of psychological transformation that the author felt the urgency to convey in music. From a literary point of view, however, Abd Al Malik’s engagement with the qassīda tradition was still, on the whole, immature at the time: the style is often redundant; the images chosen are among the tritest ones of the Sufi tradition; and their application to the personal context of the author seems, on the whole, artificial.   One has to wait until the following album, Gibraltar (2006), to see two little gems of Sufi literature in the rap of Abd Al Malik. The first song, L’alchimiste, narrates the transfiguring encounter of Abd Al Malik with his spiritual master, Hamza al-Boutchitchi. With a few essential verses, Abd Al Malik composes an ode that is, at the same time, a piece of madīhh addressed to his teacher and a ghazal in which the object of the author’s love shifts back and forth from the human image of al-Boutchitchi to the divine reality of God, who is the most authentic object of the poet’s longing. While playing with metaphors drawn from Ibn ʿArabi, as well as from the various poems of Rumi in praise of Shams-i Tabriz, here Abd Al Malik is more genuinely autobiographical and, therefore, more original. As per his habitual style, Abd Al Malik starts his ode with a reference to an earlier, imperfect state of consciousness characterised by resentment and lack of self-critique.  

 

Je n’étais rien Ou bien quelque chose qui s’en rapproche J’étais vain Et c’est bien ce que contenait mes poches J’avais la haine Mélange de peur, d’ignorance et de gêne Je pleurais de peine De l’inconsistance de ne pas être moi-même.66

  The shift of consciousness triggered by the encounter with the spiritual master is then described in verses that allude, at the same time, to the annihilation of the disciple in the master, and to the annihilation of the latter in God. J’ai traversé tant d’avenues Tellement attendu ta venue Qu’à ta vue je ne savais plus si c’était toi Si c’était moi Si c’était moi Si c’était toi Eh toi que j’aime Je criais ton nom Dans le désert des villes que je traversais

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Car sûr de ton existence Je savais que tu m’entendrais Eh, toi que j’aime Oh, toi que j’aime.67

  The third and the most accomplished of Abd Al Malik’s attempts to venture into a literary experiment with the qassīda tradition is the song Gibraltar, which gives the title to his 2006 album. The structure of the song closely reproduces the tripartite cycle that Stefan Sperl has identified as characteristic of the Sufi qassīda. For Sperl, the cycle of the Sufi qassīda serves to give expression to ‘a transformation of consciousness on the part of the poet which the listener is invited to share and identify with.’68 The beginning, continues Sperl, introduces the main motifs of the poem, usually through a metaphor; in the middle section, a catharsis takes place; and in the final verses, the images introduced at the beginning of the poem are resumed but placed in a new, contrasting context ‘which expresses the end stage of the transformation achieved.’ Gibraltar, in creatively applying this cycle to the autobiographical (and musical) context of the author, reflects Abd Al Malik’s original and mature engagement with the aesthetic tradition of the Sufi qassīda, revealing how deeply Abd Al Malik was immersed, at the time, in the reading of classical Sufi literature.   On a soft bebop jazz background, Gibraltar starts by setting the context of the poem in a fascinating, contemporary reframing of the traditional rahhīl (desert journey): a young Black man getting ready to cross the strait of Gibraltar, on a journey to start a new life.  

 

 

 

 

Sur le détroit de Gibraltar, y’a un jeune noir qui pleure un rêve qui prendra vie, une fois passé Gibraltar.69

  While the image seems to suggest a story of migration from Africa to Europe, the author makes it clear in a first, apparent resolution of the metaphor, that the song is actually (at least at a first level of reading) an autobiographical account of Abd Al Malik’s trip to Morocco. Sur le détroit de Gibraltar, y’a un jeune noir qui meurt sa   vie bête de ‘gangsta rappeur’ mais … Sur le détroit de Gibraltar, y’a un jeune homme qui va   naître, qui va être celui qu’les tours empêchaient d’être. Sur le détroit de Gibraltar, y’a un jeune noir qui boit,   dans ce bar où les espoirs se bousculent, une simple cannette de Fanta. Il cherche comme un chien sans collier le foyer qu’il n’a en fait jamais eu, et se   dit que p’t-être bientôt, il ne cherchera plus. Et ça rit autour de lui, et ça pleure au fond de lui.70

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  As in the classical qassīda, the middle section of Gibraltar is where the tone shifts from melancholic to dramatic, and the central catharsis of the song takes place:  

Sur le détroit de Gibraltar y’a un jeune noir qui prend   vie, qui chante, dit enfin «je t’aime» à cette vie. Puis les autres le sentent, le suivent, ils veulent être or   puisqu’ils sont cuivre. Comme ce soleil qui danse, ils veulent se gorger d’étoiles,   et déchirer à leur tour cette peur qui les voile. Sur le détroit de Gibraltar, y’a un jeune noir qui n’est   plus esclave, qui crie comme les braves, même la mort n’est   plus entrave. Il appelle au courage celles et ceux qui n’ont plus   confiance, il dit ‘ramons tous à la même cadence!’ à la   même cadence. Dans le bar, y’a un pianiste et le piano est sur les genoux,   le jeune noir tape des mains, hurle comme un fou. Fallait qu’elle sorte cette haine sourde qui le tenait en   laisse, qui le démontait pièce par pièce. Sur le détroit de Gibraltar, y’a un jeune noir qui enfin voit la lune le pointer du   doigt et le soleil le prendre dans ses bras. Maintenant il pleure de joie, souffle et se rassoit. Désormais l’Amour seul, sur lui a des droits.71

  After the catharsis, the song moves back to a slower rhythm and returns to its initial metaphor, resolving it a second time and opening up the possibility of a new, deeper level of reading. Seen in the light of the previous narration of a spiritual catharsis, in fact, the new reference to the strait of Gibraltar can be intended as the allusion to an isthmus (barzakh) between the outer and the inner self, while the ‘marvellous Kingdom of Morocco’ in the direction of which the poet is sailing can be seen not only as a geographical reference to the place of Abd Al Malik’s encounter with Hamza al-Boutchitchi, but also as an allusion to a transcendental, spiritual kingdom (the malakūt of Sufi literature). Sur le détroit de Gibraltar, un jeune noir prend ses   valises, sort du piano bar et change ses quelques devises, Encore gros d’émotion il regarde derrière lui et embarque sur le bateau. Il n’est pas réellement tard, le soleil est encore haut. Du détroit de Gibraltar, un jeune noir vogue, vogue vers le   Maroc tout proche. Vogue vers le Maroc qui fera de lui un homme

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Sur le détroit de Gibraltar … sur le détroit de Gibraltar … Vogue, vogue vers le merveilleux royaume du Maroc.72

Sufism, Rap and the Poetics of (Self-)Critique Of all France’s Muslim rappers, Abd Al Malik has been the most studied. All existing studies, however, have concentrated on his public engagements with French culture, failing to appreciate the depth of his engagement with the Sufi literary tradition. Often celebrated (and partly appropriated) by the French media as the voice of a conciliatory Muslim discourse vis-à-vis the values of the République, Abd Al Malik has been the object of opposite, harshly critical readings in the academic literature. Hishaam Aidi, for instance, is dismissive of Abd Al Malik’s music, which, he argues, ‘makes no political demands’ and simply ‘embodies the kind of Islamic piety that can be permitted into the French public square.’73 American religious studies scholar Jeanette Jouili admits that Abd Al Malik, by declaring ‘his attachment to the [French] nation as an affective community bound by feelings of love … has succeeded in creating a new space for a hitherto excluded [Muslim] identity.’74 For her, however, Abd Al Malik’s ‘call for inclusion and unity sounds shallow in the absence of a forceful critique of systemic French racism, of the (endemically linked) politics of republican integration, and of the failures of the state’s social and economic policies.’75 Both Aidi and Jouili contrast Abd Al Malik to Médine, another Muslim French rapper, and stress how the latter is much more consistent than the former with the poetics of contestation that lies at the heart of hip-hop culture. A third author, Franco-American scholar Olivier Bour­ deronnet, has also voiced a similar concern about the ‘perils’ of Abd Al Malik’s conciliatory discourse, insisting on the negative reception of this discourse from other rap artists.76   In my view, the contrast between Médine and Abd Al Malik only focuses on the most superficial aspect of the trajectory written by the careers of the two. Admittedly, Médine’s criticism of Abd Al Malik’s project, explicitly voiced in a passage of his book-length interview with Pascal Boniface,77 raises some important issues. However, reading Médine simply as the ‘wrathful hardcore rapper who plays with Islamist symbols and violent lyrics’78 and who, ‘sporting a bald dome and fierce beard, … raps in harsh, halting tones over hard-core instruments, about colonialism, Malcolm X, Afghanistan, … and rights for Muslims,’79 means falling into the very same trap of images and ­representations that Médine’s provocations are intended to put into question. 108

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Conversely, reading Abd Al Malik’s conciliatory discourse vis-à-vis perceived French values as an uncritical embrace of France’s secular ‘cosmopolitan utopia’80 fails to grasp the pragmatic side of Abd Al Malik’s project. It might be actually Médine, in fact, with his insistence that France be called to account for its history of colonial crimes, and with his demand that France be consistent with its purportedly universal values, who is closer than Abd Al Malik to the original cosmopolitan utopia of a French revolutionary Republican. On the other hand, Abd Al Malik’s ‘conciliatory discourse’ can be read more as a pragmatic acceptance of today’s French society as it is, and as an attempt to disentangle Islam from the politics of identity in which it has found itself to be entrapped, than as a full utopian embrace of France as it represents itself through its Republican mythos. Such a pragmatic acceptance of the realities of French society serves, for Abd Al Malik, the purpose of liberating the potential of Islam and Sufism as a cosmopolitan utopia which, he believes, is applicable everywhere—rather than the purpose of turning France into a utopia. In the process, Abd Al Malik tries to humanise France, shattering at the same time the two opposed fetishes of France as the ultimate embodiment of the higher values of the République, and France as the ultimate embodiment of the evils of colonialism.   Understood through the above lenses, Abd Al Malik’s project becomes a much more interesting one. This project was largely influenced by the work of Faouzi Skali, a Moroccan academic and a Budshishi who authored several books on Sufism that influenced Abd Al Malik.81 Yet, the strength of Abd Al Malik’s work lies in the original ways in which Skali’s project of reconciliation between traditional Moroccan Sufi spirituality and European modernity are reframed in the autobiographical context of the author, the genuineness of whose spiritual search there is no reason to doubt, as it comes through so powerfully in his Sufi odes. Abd Al Malik’s critique of the banlieue’s indulgence in a culture of self-victimisation, especially voiced in his song Les autres (2006)82 and C’est du lourd! (2008),83 takes a different meaning if seen in the light of the author’s personal trajectory and of his conversion first to Islam, and then to Sufism as the inner dimension of Islam later. His call for an active Muslim engagement with French cultures and traditions (especially voiced in his books La guerre des banlieues n’aura pas lieu, ‘The War of the Banlieues will not Occur’; Le dernier Français, ‘The Last French’; and Place de la République: Pour une spiritualité laïque, ‘Square of the Republic: For a Secular Spirituality’),84 too, was probably intended more as a strategy to heal a psychological disease; as a call addressed to the Muslims of the banlieues to 109

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come to terms with the undeniable French side of their identities, than as the expression of a full commitment to the political values of the Republic.   This does not mean, however, that Abd Al Malik’s project has been entirely successful. Finding a middle ground between two opposite fetishes (the idealised bourgeois Republic and the idealised proletarian banlieue) might not be, in fact, the best-suited strategy to unveil the illusory nature of both. Abd Al Malik is presumably not entirely responsible for the ways in which French bourgeois culture has appropriated his critique of the self-complacency of ghetto culture in a rhetoric of self-victimisation. If such an appropriation has been possible, however, there was probably an element of weakness inherent in the ways the message was conveyed. After all, Sufism starts where rap can lead to, that is in a jihād al-nafs, in a ‘war with the ego,’ in an unsettling discourse of self-critique that is meant to set the subject on a path to self-transcendence. If one of the two egos or ‘selves’ (the French) to which this discourse was ideally addressed, failed to capture the destabilising nature of the call and turned it into its comfort zone, something might have been missing in Abd Al Malik’s songs and books.   To a greater degree—and more successfully—than Abd Al Malik, the convergence of rap and Sufism as ethics and aesthetics of self-critique, has been explored by another French rapper, Kery James (born Alix Mathurin to parents of Haitian origin). Abd Al Malik had tried to trigger an encounter between mainstream French culture and banlieue sub-culture in a hypothetical middle ground where the two try to understand each other. In response to the potential dangers of Abd Al Malik’s conciliatory discourse, Médine had tried to mobilise the energies of the banlieue into a politically conscious revolutionary project, but had not been able to inspire inner change. After his conversion to Sufi Islam, Kery James, unlike both Abd Al Malik and Médine, has been unapologetically flinging the ethical failures of the universalist project of the French République, and the incapacity of the communities of the banlieues to construct an ethical (Muslim) self as an alternative to mainstream French culture and to transform France, in the faces of both. That this was the essence of James’ project is demonstrated by his recent theatrical play, À vif (‘Bared’, 2017),85 in which two young lawyers, challenging each other in a public lecture around the topic ‘Is the State alone responsible for the present predicament of the banlieues?,’ make reference to the lyrics of two of Kery James’ songs (Lettre à la République, ‘Letter to the Republic,’ 2012; and Constat amer, ‘Bitter Acknowledgment,’ 2012), to argue for the two opposing viewpoints, pointing their accusatory finger respectively against the French State and against the banlieusards. 110

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  In so doing, he has been more consistent with the self-reflexive, critical side of religion (and in particular, Sufism) and of rap than both the conciliatory Abd Al Malik and the revolutionary Médine. As his discourse was less easy to label with conventional sociological and political categories than Abd Al Malik’s and Médine’s, or to fit into any simplistic dichotomy, Kery James, who is the most talented (literarily, musically and intellectually) of all French rappers, has also been the most neglected in the academic literature.86   Rooted in his conversion to Islam through an encounter with the Habashiyya Sufi order (also known as ‘the Ahbash’)87 following a life spent in gangs, Kery James’ engagements with religion bear the marks of the Habashiyya’s ‘neo-traditionalist’ theological outlook,88 with its emphasis on the Sunni classical corpus of the four legal schools of jurisprudence, on Ashʿari theology and on Sufism, as well as on the revival of the scholar-to-student model of knowledge transmission of classical Islam. As in Abd Al Malik, however, this influence intersects with the personal trajectory of Kery James, creating original re-configurations. Thus, the neo-traditional Sufi message of the Habashiyya is reframed in a new context where the central concern of the artist becomes the call for an ethical transformation of the subject of the banlieue. This, against the background not only of a powerful critique of the failures of the social policies of the French state, but also of themes that more directly speak both to Sufism and to the autobiographical context of the author, like the necessity of repentance as a prerequisite for self-transformation and the inescapability of death and after-life accountability.   The first album released by Kery James after his conversion (Si c’était à refaire…, ‘If I had to redo it,’ 2001) represented a radical turn away from the gangsta-rap the artist was previously celebrated for. Characterised by soft melodic sounds (a mix of pleasant African xylophones and less successful background choirs), the album’s lyrics are centred around the themes of repentance (in the song Si c’était à refaire, as well as in the melancholic Caribbean ballade Soledad); autobiography (28 décembre 77); a call against the violence of the ghetto (Cessez le feu, ‘Cease Fire’); a critique of the cultural void of the young banlieusards of African origin (La honte, ‘The Shame’); a call against racism in all its forms (Y’a pas d’couleur, ‘There is no Colour’); and a warning about the impasse of street life (Deux issues, where the two possible ‘ways out’ that are presented are ‘death or prison; in other words, four walls or four wooden boards’). The album’s booklet also includes a manifesto, of sorts, for neo-traditionalist Sunni Islam in the form of a long text calling the audience to seek traditional knowledge in Islam, and an introduction to the work 111

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of the Association des Projets de Bienfaisance Islamique en France (APBIF), the official body of the Ahbash in France.   In a following album (Savoir et vivre ensemble, 2004), Kery James tries once again to convey his call to repentance (in Elle, an outstanding song about death) and ethical transformation (especially in the songs L’amour véritable, ‘True Love’; L’enfant, ‘The Child’; A toutes les mères, ‘To All Mothers’; La force, ‘Strength’). At the same time, he starts to experiment with the Islamic qassīda, which plays a prominent role in the Ahbash community, both as a form of spiritual socialisation and as a means of transmission of Islamic knowledge. The album, in fact, features a number of renditions of classical Sufi qassīdas by the ensemble of the APBIF: Ya Chadhli (a madīhh in praise of the Sufi saint Abū’l-HHasan al-Shādhilī); Soultanou l-‘awliya’ and Al-Jilani (both in praise of the Sufi, ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī); Al-Bourdah and Taha ya sakin galbi (both in praise of the Prophet). Finally, the piece Ya Allah is a French versification (naẓm) of the standard texts (mutūn) of Ashʿari theology, which play a central role in the Sufism of the Ahbash: in writing this piece, Kery James drew on the canonical tradition of didactic versifications typical of the classical system of knowledge transmission whose revival is at the core of the neo-traditionalist Sunni Sufi project.   At some point, however, Kery James must have realised that his call was not reaching its addressees, and probably felt the risk of becoming ‘another Abd Al Malik.’ The soft melodies of the albums Si c’était à refaire and of Savoir et vivre ensemble, in fact, were alienating him from his audience, while the lyrics, mostly inspired to the wa‘ẓ (homiletic), naẓm (didactic), or madīhh (devotional) genres of the classical qassīda, sounded too moralistic to hit the target. After a transition represented by the album Ma vérité (‘My Truth,’ 2005), in a new development Kery James released two new albums, À l’ombre du show business (‘In the Shadow of Show-Business,’ 2008) and Réel (‘Real,’ 2009), which represent a new stylistic breakthrough and the veritable highlight of his career. In these albums, Kery James returns to the gangsta-rap that had made him famous in the early stages of his career, but turns the nature of its message upside down, as it were, to voice the message of ethical transformation his homiletic and didactic qassīdas had tried to convey. The violent lyrics and harsh sounds of the new songs, in fact, are not used to celebrate and romanticise the street life of the ghetto as in the author’s gangsta-rap phase, but serve to give vivid reality to the life Kery James wants to call the public of the banlieues away from. The song X & Y (2008) exemplifies this strategy. Narrated in reverse chronological order (and transformed in an excellent video-clip by the  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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iconic French director Mathieu Kassovitz),89 the song graphically describes the ineluctable crescendo of violence in which a young Black gangster is reluctantly forced to engage, after starting his career as a petty pusher, in order to prove himself in the business, until he has to kill a man who had not paid for a dose. It is in songs that, like X & Y, reframe the wa‘ẓ (homiletic) genre of the classical qassīda tradition, rather than in the conventional qassīdas of his earlier post-conversion albums, that Kery James finds a mature and original way of conveying his call to a Sufism that is intended, first and foremost, as an ethical transformation of the self.  

 

Conclusion: What Future for Eu-rap-ia? The lives and careers of Abd Al Malik (the son of Congolese parents who encounters a Moroccan Sufi order in the banlieues of France) and of Kery James (the son of Antillean parents who encounters an Ethiopian/Lebanese Sufi order in the French ghetto) powerfully demonstrate the continuing relevance of Sufism as a global religious phenomenon, and the conduciveness of the European space to produce cultural encounters and hybridisations. The engagement of the two rap artists with religion should not be seen as an incidental epiphenomenon but as a possible (though by no means as the only) point of arrival of a search for ethical and philosophical universals prompted by the self-reflexive side of hip-hop aesthetics. At the aesthetic level, the convergence of rap and the qassīda as two global art forms has emerged out of their intrinsic potential to attune to each other. This potential is inherent not only in their formal patterns (repetitive rhymes, simple meters), but also in terms of imageries the two genres carry, which are in both cases related to the expression of a message of outer (in rap) and inner (in the Sufi qassīda) transformation.   Both Abd Al Malik and Kery James, after a period of experimentation with the qassīda in its conventional forms (mainly khamriyya and ghazal for Abd Al Malik; madīhh and naẓm al-mutūn for Kery James), decided to reframe their art in a different way. Abd Al Malik chose to increasingly adopt the themes and styles of the French chanson (and to draw less on the Arab-Persian Sufi tradition), so as to be able to convey his message of universal reconciliation across the conventional racial and social boundaries of French society. Kery James returned to the harsh sound of gangsta-rap in order to regenerate his call to the public of the banlieue for inner ethical transformation without falling into the risk of sounding too homiletic.  

 

 

 

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  The early-to-mid-2000s (when both Abd Al Malik and Kery James drew more overtly on the qassīda tradition) was certainly the era of Eu-rap-ia in France. The future of this phenomenon, however, may be in doubt, as the two artists to whom it should be credited have of late chosen to take slightly different directions. If Eu-rap-ia will show any resilience in the future, it is probably in the most recent work of Kery James, and the effort to reframe Islamic wa‘ẓ poetry in the language and sounds of gangsta-rap, that new artists will be able to find meaningful inspiration.  

References Abd Al Malik, La guerre des banlieues n’aura pas lieu (Paris: Le Cherche Midi, 2010). ———, Le dernier Français (Paris: Le Cherche Midi, 2012). ———, Place de la République: Pour une spiritualité laïque (Montpellier: Indigène éditions, 2015). ———, Qu’Allah bénisse la France (Paris: Albin Michel, 2004). Abdul Khabeer, Su’ad, Muslim Cool: Race, Religion and Hip Hop in the United States (New York: New York University Press, 2016). Aidi, Hishaam, ‘Let Us Be Moors: Islam, Race and “Connected Histories”’, Middle East Report 229 (Winter 2003), pp. 42–53. ———, ‘The Grand (Hip-Hop) Chessboard: Race, Rap and Raison d’État’, Middle East Report 260 (Fall, 2011), pp. 25–39. Akhenaton (avec la collaboration d’Éric Mandel), La Face B (Paris: Editions Points, 2010). Baubérot, Jean, Histoire de la laïcité en France (Paris: Presse Universitaire de France, 2003). Berwick, Andrew, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. De Laude Novae Militiae, Pauperes Commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici (London: n.p., 2011), https://publicintelligence.net/anders-behring-breiviks-complete-manifesto2083-a-european-declaration-of-independence/ Boniface, Pascal, and Médine, ‘Don’t Panik’ (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 2012). Bourderonnet, Olivier, ‘A “Picture-Perfect” Banlieue Artist: Abd Al Malik or the Perils of a Conciliatory Rap Discourse’, French Cultural Studies 22, no. 2 (2011), pp. 151–161. Bowen, Innes, Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam (London: Hurst, 2014). Boyd, Jean, and Graham Furniss, ‘Mobilize the People: The Qasida in Fulfulde and Hausa as Purposive Literature’ in Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa, vol. 1: Classical Traditions and Modern Meanings, edited by Stefan Sperl and Christopher Shackle (Leiden: Brill, 1996), pp. 429–450.

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EU-RAP-IA Brigaglia, Andrea, ‘Sufi Poetry in Twentieth-Century Nigeria: A Khamriyya and a Ghazal by Shaykh Abū Bakr al-ʿAtīq (1909–1974)’, Journal of Sufi Studies 36, no. 2 (2017), pp. 190–232. Durand, Alain Philippe, ed., Black, Blanc, Beur: Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone World (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002). El Asr, Farid, Rhythmes et voix de l’islam: Une socioanthropologie d’artistes musulmans européens (Louvain: Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2014). Fallaci, Oriana, La forza della ragione (Milano: Rizzoli, 2004). Forbes, Bruce D., and Jeffrey H. Mahan, eds, Religion and Popular Culture in America, revised edition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005). Georgiades, Mélanie, Diam’s: Autobiographie (Paris: Don Quichotte éditions, 2012). ——— (dite Diam’s), Mélanie: française et musulmane (Paris: Don Quichotte éditions, 2015). Hamzeh, A. Nizar, and R. Hrair Dekmejian, ‘A Sufi Response to Political Islamism: Al-Ahbash of Lebanon’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 28, no. 2 (1996), pp. 217–229. Hill, Joseph, ‘A mystical cosmopolitanism: Sufi Hip Hop and the aesthetics of Islam in Dakar’, Culture and Religion 18, no. 4 (2017), pp. 388–408. Homerin, Th. Emil, From Arab Poet to Muslim Saint: Ibn al-Farid, His Verse, and His Shrine (Cairo: American University of Cairo Press, 2001). Houellebecq, Michel, Soumission (Paris: Flammarion, 2015). James, Kery, À vif (Paris: Actes Sud, 2017). ———, Banlieusard et fier des lettres (Paris: Don Quichotte, forthcoming). James, William, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, first published 1902, (Irvine, CA: Harvest House Publ., 2015). Jouili, Jeanette S., ‘Utopia, Critique, and Muslim Role Models in Secular France’, French Politics, Culture & Society 31, no. 2 (2013), pp. 58–80. Lewisohn, Leonard, ed. Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry (London; New York: IB Tauris, 2015). Martin, Denis-Constant, Quand le rap sort de sa bulle: Sociologie politique d’un succès populaire (Paris: Irma/Seteun, 2010). Metcalf, Barbara, ‘Travelers’ Tales in the Tablighi Jama’at’, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 588, thematic issue ‘Islam: Enduring Myths and Changing realities’ ( July 2003), pp. 136–148. Miller, Monica R., and Anthony B. Pill, The Hip Hop and Religion Reader (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014). Muedini, Fait, ‘The Promotion of Sufism in the Politics of Algeria and Morocco’, Islamic Africa 3, no. 2 (2012), pp. 201–226. Reynolds, Dwight F., Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001). Roy, Olivier, ‘Euro-Islam: The Jihad Within?’, The National Interest (Spring 2003).  

 

 

 

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6

CONTEMPORARY MAWLIDS IN CHICAGO

Justine Howe

This chapter examines the rising popularity in Chicago of mawlids, celebrations of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, usually during the month of his birth. In particular, I examine the emergence of Chicago Muslim communities who have sought to revive mawlid performance, namely the Mohammed Webb Foundation and the Chicago Mawlid Committee. Enmeshed in global networks of scholarship and piety, these communities seek to establish embodied, immediate relationships—both individual and communal—with the Prophet Muhammad and God. For many participants, mawlids fill a void that they feel is not represented in other religious institutions and communities. Mawlids are generally associated with Sufism, but the vast majority of participants do not identify as ‘Sufi’ nor do they necessarily participate in Sufi organisations or confer authority on Sufi lineages. As I explore below, this is because the term ‘Sufism’ continues to be contested among contemporary Muslim intellectuals who have sought to revive the mawlid in Chicago and beyond. Some participants, especially those from South Asian immigrant backgrounds, grew up performing mawlids in their homes. A few participants maintain connections to Sufi networks through their extended families and

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diasporic communities. On the whole, however, participants understand mawlid practice to be a ritual expression of ‘true’ Islam, continuously practised by Muslims throughout time and space, and seek to make these rituals a public expression of what they consider to be the authentic faith. Despite the absence of the Sufi label from mawlid performance, the revival of the practice in Chicago has in fact been encouraged by Muslim scholars in the Chicago area, such as Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah and Usama Canon, who participate in, and seek to expand the religious and political power of, transnational Sufi networks in Africa and the Hijaz. Like mawlid participants, they rarely identify with the label ‘Sufi.’ Nevertheless, they have worked to cultivate Sufi practices, such as dhikr and mawlid, outside of the institutional frameworks of tariqas by appealing to Muslims who are seeking a more embodied connection to the Prophet Muhammad and God, and who want to ensure that such practices can be legitimated within the boundaries of Sunni traditionalism. This mawlid revival has largely taken place outside the large congregational mosques in Chicago, reflecting the importance of more diffuse Muslim communities in generating dialogue around shifting norms and practices.   This chapter uses mawlid performance as an entry point to explore Muslim subjectivity, ritual, and gendered authority as they have been shaped by the global effects of late democratic capitalism. Much of the recent scholarship on Sufi practice in the United States has been focused on its legal contestations as well as on the status of Sufism in the context of the War on Terror and rising Islamophobia in the twenty-first century. These political and legal perspectives remain important, but do not wholly capture the meanings that these rituals have for participants. I argue that mawlids both reflect the lived socioeconomic and gendered experiences of their participants and potentially disrupt aspects of secular modernity by affirming the presence of the Prophet Muhammad and a qualitative notion of time. The mawlid offers participants a way to establish embodied, immediate connections with the Prophet Muhammad and God. These ritual performances reveal considerable continuity with the aims of premodern Islamic piety, that is, to confer divine presence and prophetic blessings.1 At the same time, the mawlid performances I examine reflect the contemporary religious sensibilities of educated, professional Muslims, who are seeking ritual experiences that hold the promise of saturated spiritual meaning. Not only do these rituals offer profound religious experience, they also fit within broader patterns of work, leisure, and family that cut across religious lines in the contemporary world. Designed for participation from the entire nuclear family, mawlids offer the  

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potential for parents and children alike to partake in the blessings of the Prophet and God, and for women to assume public ritual roles that are largely unavailable to them in other Muslim communities. Mawlids in Chicago Chicago is a major site for the transnational circulation of Muslim thought and practice, and a destination for Muslim scholars with global networks of followers. With its array of mosques, community centres, social service agencies, schools, arts and cultural organisations, political groups and professional associations, the city is also a microcosm of the diversity of practice in American Islam. Mawlids are just one practice among many that constitute the rich Islamic devotional life in the greater Chicago area that takes place both within and outside of mosques.   Although the ritual communities I describe in this chapter constitute a more recent development, mawlids have long been a popular devotional practice in Chicago. Domestic mawlid performances are quite common, celebrated for major life events, such as weddings, and for other social gatherings.2 Throughout the 1990s, the Naqshbandi-Haqqani order began to put on mawlids in opposition to global Islamist critiques of the practice, by hosting regular ‘mawlid conferences’, events with hundreds of attendees, which spanned multiple days and included a variety of programmes, including dhikr (recitation practices in remembrance of God) and professional nashīd performances (songs and chants in honour of the Prophet), as well as lectures by American Muslim intellectuals. Bosnian communities have also regularly hosted mawlids in mosques on the west and north sides of the city. In the 2000s, mawlids were also performed on university campuses, such as the University of Chicago, catering to a well-educated, professional milieu.3   Globally, the particular ritual elements of the contemporary mawlid vary, taking on different ritual aspects and social meanings depending on their geographic and cultural location. In places such as Egypt or parts of south and southeast Asia, the term mawlid refers to large-scale public festivals honouring saints or other holy figures, which can last for many days and involve a variety of activities including dhikr, dancing, socialising and eating.4 For example, mawlids in Egypt are sites of ambivalence and subversion of everyday social norms and mores, bringing together a variety of social groups with different motivations and interests, including devotion, but not limited to, devotional concerns.5 In the United States and other parts of North America, mawlids 121

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occasionally occur as festivals or processions, but these are less common than the indoor rituals described in this chapter.6 Local and Transnational Networks This chapter examines the emergence of two communities, the Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb Foundation (Webb) and the Chicago Mawlid Committee (CMC), both of which have made the mawlid a centrepiece of their devotional practice. The popularity of mawlid performance became evident during the five years of field work that I conducted at Webb, a familyoriented ‘third space’ located in the far western suburbs, founded in 2004. Webb brings together families of varying ethnic and racial backgrounds who are seeking a different form of community than what they encounter in their local mosques, which, in the western suburbs of Chicago, tend to be differentiated along ethnic or national lines. Many Webb families contain spouses from different ethnic or racial backgrounds. They are well-educated, middleand upper-middle-class professionals who emphasise the importance of cultivating an overarching American Muslim identity that transcends any particular ethnic or national affiliation. As a result, the diasporic modes of belonging found in Chicago mosques hold little appeal for them. The Webb community also arose to confront what its members saw as ‘Wahhabi’ or Salafi influence in American Muslim communities. In particular, Webb members lament the restrictive approach that they detect among Salafi revivalists, especially concerning gender norms, such as dress and separation of genders in religious and social spaces, as well as Salafi opposition to practices such as the mawlid, on account of their being bidʿa (harmful innovations).7 As an alternative to these two orientations, Webb promotes an overarching American identity to transcend racial and ethnic divisions, emphasising the importance of embracing American culture through leisure activities and the cultivation of spirituality through ritual activities such as the mawlid. Many (though not all) Webb members also participate in other ritual communities, centred on performance of mawlid and dhikr. In the early 2000s, some Webb members began hosting weeknight dhikr in their homes, bringing together families from across the city and suburbs, sometimes as far as Indiana, to recite prayers and litanies in remembrance of God and in praise of the Prophet Muhammad. These gatherings became so popular that its organisers initiated a webcast to reach participants who were unable to attend, in order to accommodate those participants who could not attend the event in person, usually due to the dif122

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ficulty of driving long distances after the work day or because of the demands of caring for their young children.   As the Webb community grew in the 2000s, it began hosting an annual ‘Grand Chicago Mawlid’, which quickly grew into its marquee event, often drawing crowds of three to four hundred people. Hosted in hotel conference rooms and community centres, the Webb mawlid is designed to be an inclusive and dynamic religious practice that brings disillusioned, ‘unmosqued’ back into the fold of Islam through uplifting nashīds, meditative recitation, ritual prayer (ssalāt) and afterward, sharing a communal meal. Generally, Webb mawlids feature a headline act that facilitates the recitation and songs that make up the core of the programme, often in multiple languages, usually a combination of Arabic, Urdu and English. Additionally, Webb mawlids always include a pedagogical element, usually in the form of a lecture by a local Muslim scholar or leader, the purpose of which is to place contemporary mawlid practice in a continuous tradition of Muslim spirituality dating to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, and to emphasise the importance of the mawlid for building an inclusive, vibrant American Islam. However, the content of the programme, that is, the specific nashīds and litanies, varies depending on the volunteer organisers and their interests. Sometimes, Webb mawlids take on an improvisational and experimental character, including elements such as guitar or spoken word performance.   In addition to attending and planning mawlids through the Webb Foundation, some members also attend other mawlids, namely those hosted by the Chicago Mawlid Committee (CMC), which was founded in 2010. The CMC is a community constructed through shared mawlid practice, ‘dedicated to providing a platform for praising the Blessed Messenger and to experience religious and cultural expression of love for the Prophet in the city of Chicago’.8 CMC hosts annual ‘grand mawlids’ in mosques and community centres during the month of the Prophet’s birth. The community also hosts monthly mawlids that provide the opportunity for participants to perform more regular dhikr and listen to nashīd performances, intended to strengthen and extend sensibility to the Prophet’s ongoing cosmic and earthly import throughout the year.9 That is, these monthly celebrations seek to regularise the more elaborate and lengthy annual grand mawlid into a more intimate and predictable set of religious practices, sometimes performed in private homes (though often recorded and posted to YouTube). Unlike Webb mawlids, which tend to change from year-to-year, the CMC monthly mawlids follow a more standard set of mawlid texts. Every month, the community uses ‘The  

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Shimmering Light’, a mawlid text compiled by Al-HHabīb ʿUmar bin Muhhammad bin Sālim bin HHafīẓ, the popular Yemeni Sufi scholar, who last visited the United States in 2011, for his ‘Tranquillity Amidst the Turbulence’ tour, which included several lectures in the Chicago area.10 The CMC regularly features the nashīd act of Ibrahim and Mouaz Nass, two brothers of Syrian descent, who also perform nationally. Similar to Webb, CMC mawlids typically include a lecture by a scholar or intellectual, who outlines the importance of mawlid practice for the cultivation of Islamic spirituality and provides narratives about the Prophet to underscore his unique characteristics and the importance of emulating his example and cultivating a relationship to him in the contemporary world.  These mawlid organisers draw inspiration from a group of American Muslim intellectuals who participate in transnational global networks of Sufi figures and scholars, promote Sufi devotional piety and yet eschew the label ‘Sufi’, which demonstrates how the term is contested globally among contemporary Muslims. As I discuss below, mawlid participants also rarely use the term ‘Sufi’, preferring instead to discuss ‘spirituality’ and ‘connection’, or often to describe these practices as ‘traditional’. As such, these mawlid performances take place outside the auspices of formal Sufi orders, even as they remain closely linked to scholars who participate formally in these networks. Both the Webb community and the CMC are connected to the influential group of Western Muslim authorities who have been instrumental in reviving forms of Sufi devotion but who do not publicly disclose or espouse their connections to Sufi networks, including Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, Umar Faruq AbdAllah, and Usama Canon.11 These scholars promote what Jonathan A. C. Brown calls ‘late Sunni traditionalism’, an approach that holds that ‘following one of the accepted Sunni schools of law, believing the Ashʿari school of theology, and belonging to a Sufi brotherhood provides modern Muslims with all the legal, spiritual, and theological tools they need to succeed’.12 These scholars portray mawlids as part of ‘traditional’ Muslim practice and as part of their programme of cultivating spirituality and intellectual development through the revival of classical Islamic sciences.13 As such, these scholars portray the mawlid and other practices such as dhikr as central to the continuous, authentic tradition of Islam, legitimated by the four Sunni schools of law. Although many of these intellectuals maintain formal and informal connections with Sufi scholars, such as the Mauritanian scholar Abdullah Ibn Bayyah, they do not mention or emphasise these relationships. Instead, they mark out these practices as foundational to the Islamic tradition as they construct it. As  

 

 

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Zareena Grewal and Rosemary Corbett have shown, these American Muslim intellectuals cast Sufi practice as synonymous with ‘authentic’ Islam while cultivating their own positions as purveyors of Islamic moderation.14   In Chicago, Abd-Allah and Canon have been at the forefront of promoting mawlid and dhikr among younger, educated Muslims in urban and suburban Chicago. Abd-Allah (b. 1949) is a Kansas-born Muslim scholar, who converted to Islam after reading the biography of Malcolm X while studying comparative literature at Cornell University. Shortly thereafter, he enrolled at the University of Chicago Divinity School to study Islamic law under Fazlur Rahman. Abd-Allah completed a dissertation that was published in 2013 as Malik and Medina: Islamic Legal Reasoning in the Formative Period. He taught for several years at American and Canadian universities before taking a position in Islamic Studies at the University of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Abd-Allah returned to the US in 2000 as scholar-in-residence and chairman of the now defunct Nawawi Foundation, a Chicago-based educational organisation that was founded to ‘provide relevant, meaningful Islamic teachings to America’s growing first- and second-generation Muslims—teachings firmly rooted in authentic scholarship and taught in a way that is dynamic and applicable to the modern world’.15 Abd-Allah maintains links to the Western academy and to Islamic networks in the Hijaz, Africa, and Europe. He uplifts the mawlid as an essential practice of the authoritative classical Sunni tradition that lends the practice essential legitimacy and merit. In doing so, Abd-Allah steeps the practice in Sunni traditionalism and broader Muslim ideals.16 For Abd-Allah, the mawlid cultivates love, mercy, tolerance and authentic experiential knowledge over and against what he views as narrow-minded, shallow and ignorant Salafi approaches to religiosity.17   In addition to Abd-Allah, Usama Canon, who has appeared as an invited guest at Webb and CMC mawlids, has helped to facilitate Sufi spirituality among urban, millennial Muslims in Chicago. In his forties, Canon converted to Islam in 1996. He went on to teach Arabic at Zaytuna College and served as a chaplain in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Today, Canon is founding director and instructor at the Ta’leef Collective, an educational and social organisation founded in 2009, with branches in Fremont, California, and Chicago. Particularly focused on convert education and reaching Muslims seeking a renewed connection to their faith, Ta’leef ’s motto is ‘Come as you are, to Islam as it is’.18 Ta’leef offers mindfulness and spiritual retreats, seminars on living Islam ‘right’ for converts, and a variety of fellowship gatherings for young Muslims. Both Abd-Allah and Canon have 125

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been instrumental in lending legitimacy to regular performances of mawlid and dhikr, seeking to ensure that the younger generations of Muslims in Chicago uphold the rituals’ meaning and efficacy. Cultivating Spiritual Selves I spoke with Jenan (pseudonym), a Pakistani-American and Chicago native in her thirties, who grew up performing mawlids led by her grandmother. She began seeking out other opportunities to perform mawlid during her college years, and finding in the practice an Islamic spirituality that she had not found elsewhere: How do I explain it? I feel spiritually moved, rejuvenated, and refreshed. You can’t just come together once a year and expect it to feel it because it’s not just about what you are saying. It’s the people you’re with. We say, ‘The souls steal from each other’. It’s the energy in the room. It’s the vibe. One of the places I felt it best was in 2005 at the University of Chicago. There was a woman who was a student and she had a beautiful voice. She could lead the Burda Sharīf [Ode of the Cloak]. She would lead, and we would sing together. All the chapters have a different rhythm, and every other one you read. We did it once a month. I would go religiously once a month. It carried my spirituality for months afterwards.19

  Jenan is drawn to mawlids because of the spiritual weight they carry, the effects of which spill over for weeks or even months. When enacted by skilled performers and with texts such as the Burda, mawlids are especially efficacious. They represent a particularly rich context through which participants like Jenan find meaning and higher purpose in their daily lives going forward into the month. Note the multiple valences of the term ‘religiously’ here. Jenan describes the regular commitment of attending mawlids as ‘religious’ and effects of the mawlid as ‘spiritual’. In this way, mawlid participants adhere to familiar ideologies of the ‘religious’ and the ‘spiritual’ in contemporary America.20 As a voluntary, supererogatory practice, mawlids hold special appeal for participants wishing to find generative spiritual practice that they choose. This is not to say that my interviewees eschewed the essential requirement or the benefits of ritual prayer; rather, it is that the mawlid offers them distinct opportunities to enrich their spiritual lives through an embodied connection to the Prophet Muhammad. Here, ‘spiritual’ is not separate from institutional religion per se. Instead, as participants situate the mawlid in a continuous Islamic tradition, they find spirituality within the boundaries (however contested) of ‘Islam’. In fact, Jenan finds the regularised performance of mawlid essential for experiencing its authentic, ‘spiritual’ effects. Yet it is the 126

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intimacy and flexibility of mawlid spaces, that is, the way that mawlids facilitate embodied relationships to the Prophet Muhammad and among participants themselves, that produces the spiritual depth than participants find lacking in the other Muslim spaces they inhabit.   Jenan’s parsing of ‘spirituality’ and ‘religion’ underscores the broader conditions of religious subjectivity in the contemporary world that extend well beyond Muslim experiences. These conditions are what Charles Taylor calls the ‘immanent frame’.21 For Taylor, secularism is not principally the separation of religion from other differentiated social institutions, nor is it the decline in belief and practice.22 Rather, ‘the secular age’ is defined by the shift ‘from a society in which it was virtually impossible not to believe in God, to one in which faith, even for the staunchest believer, is one human possibility among others’.23 The search for spiritual meaning continues apace in secular modernity, but has become more fragmented, more displaced, more individual, and—crucially for our purposes—more accessible to a broader swath of religious persons, including for contemporary Muslims. Jenan’s spiritual practice is sporadic and dispersed in smaller religious communities, like the one at the University of Chicago that recites the Burda.24 But they nevertheless have the potential to ‘carry her spirituality’ for months at a time, presumably through periods of absence.   Indeed, most of the mawlid participants I spoke to in my fieldwork come to the practice by way of profound doubts about the capacity of existing Muslim institutions and communities to cultivate spiritual meaning. It is less that they doubt the existence of God, but rather that many have faced periods of spiritual absence in their lives, brought on by a perceived dearth of opportunities and settings through which to seek authentic religious practice. Many mawlid-goers are ambivalent toward the efforts of local mosques to serve as vibrant centres for devotional and social life, beyond their conventional function as the site for ritual communal prayer. Similar to Christians and Jews in the United States, less than half of Muslims belong to, or identify with, congregational communities.25 But this does not mean that Muslim religious observance or devotional practice are declining. If anything, as Taylor observed, the secular age has produced vibrant expressions of faith, but in social locations that are less readily observable by traditional metrics and categories, such as church, synagogue or mosque attendance. Confronted with experiences of exclusion from within Muslim communities, whether on account of generation, race or theological orientation, participants celebrate in the mawlid a direct, accessible, flexible and informal means of cultivating Islamic spirituality. 127

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  The uncertainty of the secular age is only augmented for contemporary American Muslims, who face particular pressures to prove their compatibility with liberal democracy. Mawlids offer the possibility of comfort, affirmation, and belonging in the face of anti-Muslim discourse that raises doubts about whether Muslims can make good Americans. They also provide a refuge from these representational and political demands. Mawlids, as Abd-Allah told the crowd at the CMC Grand Mawlid in January 2016, offer the promise of a transformed self, through the love they cultivate for the Prophet Muhammad: It looks like there is no hope and it looks like our enemies are about to finish us off. But we have the secret. And that secret is in your heart. We have to bring that out and we have to cultivate that. And then everything changes because those who speak about Islam negatively and those who want us out they don’t know who he [the Prophet Muhammad] is. They’ve never dreamt of what he is and if they knew him they would be transformed. That is the kind of human being he is. We have to make that known and we have to radiate that light. Then there is nothing to fear.26

  The enemies to which Abd-Allah refers encompass purveyors of Islamophobic rhetoric, exclusionary immigration policies and governmental surveillance, as well as jihadists who commit acts of violence in Islam’s name. From both sides, contemporary American Muslims are bombarded with representations of Islam that do not conform to what Abd-Allah calls the ‘secret’ embedded in their hearts, which stems from the experiential knowledge of the Prophet Muhammad, his example, and his role in the cosmos. Contrary to the groups that obscure and defame Islam’s true nature, the mawlid cultivates a hidden but real transformative relationship with the Prophet and to God that Abd-Allah sees as the foundation of faith. This relationship is centred on individual interiority with the potential to alter, for the better, American Muslims’ position in their society, from one of fear and anxiety, to that of confidence and conviction.   These representational demands, however, are subordinate to the relationship that mawlid participants seek with the Prophet Muhammad. Rahma (pseudonym), the daughter of Egyptian immigrants in her thirties, who helps to plan the Webb community’s mawlids, put it this way: It’s not about the frills. It’s about expressing the hhadīth that you have to love the Prophet more than your own self. It’s a physical manifestation to me. And that’s what sometimes gets lost. I’ve been really interested in sīra literature in general. If I were to study something, that’s what I would focus on. I’ve always loved it; I love hearing about it. I can study it over and over again. But I still never felt a connection to the Prophet. I have a connection to his story, to his life, but not  

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CONTEMPORARY MAWLIDS IN CHICAGO to him [emphasis mine]. And that I feel like is a result of years and years that people said you can’t venerate the Prophet; it’s akin to worship. So to be able to go to a mawlid, it’s experiencing the physical manifestation.27

  Here, Rahma describes varying forms of knowledge that are deeply resonant in Sufi epistemologies, namely the distinction between rational or discursive knowledge (ʿilm) and experiential knowledge (maʿrifa). By her own account, Rahma enjoys studying sīra (biographies of the Prophet Muhammad) literature, having attended multiple classes on the subject at various educational institutions in Chicago, and pursuing study on her own. She can recite details of the Prophet’s life and knows the ethical lessons that should be drawn from them. She told me that she was interested in belonging graduate school in Islamic Studies, through which she wanted to pursue this interest in sīra. For Rahma, however, the study of sīra is epistemologically different from the connection she seeks to him, an assertion that deserves to be fleshed out further because it is different from the platitudes often invoked about the Prophet Muhammad as an example for Muslims to follow. Who is the Prophet Muhammad for contemporary Muslims? What is the nature of the relational connection they seek to him?   For Rahma, the Prophet Muhammad is a tangible presence. Rahma talks about the Prophet in the present tense, as the model human being who is rather than was. Rahma’s description underscores that the Prophet Muhammad is not simply an ethical model, but rather a being with whom she seeks a direct, embodied relationship. The search for the Prophet’s ‘physical manifestation’ is what motivates Rahma to organise and participate in mawlids, a love that is beyond enjoyment or intellectual fulfilment, but rather rooted in an embodied emotional connection to the Prophet. What should we make of her recounting of this relationship forged with the Prophet? Here, I draw on the work of Catholic historian Robert Orsi, who has urged scholars to more fully account for the persistence of what he calls ‘presence’.28 Although Orsi focuses especially on the American Catholic experience, his theoretical attention to the historiography of human relationships to their gods illuminates important dimensions of mawlid practice. For Orsi, scholars have taken for granted the disenchantment of the modern world, neglecting the importance of ‘special beings’ with whom individuals and communities form embodied, tangible relationships. The term ‘special beings’ encompasses ‘suprahuman beings with whom humans have been in relationship in different times and places’.29 Such special beings include not only God, but also saints, spirits, prophets, local deities, apparitions, and holy figures of various kinds.  

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Too often, scholars treat these present relationships as merely symbolic or social constructions.30 Despite all the efforts of moderns to explain away the gods, these beings remain materially present to the people who are in relationship to them.   Moreover, special beings like the Prophet Muhammad are not just positive forces, but also nodes of contestation and ambivalence. Contrary to the opinions of Salafis that Rahma encounters, she is confident that seeking such an embodied relationship is not akin to worship or idolatry. In fact, she expressed impatience at even having to engage in a theological debate that she considers settled. These intra-Muslim disputes only distract her from the higher purpose of her spiritual practice, that of developing a relationship to him, to the Prophet Muhammad. And yet the permissibility, authenticity, and devotional purposes of the mawlid remain unsettled issues. This is why at both the Webb Foundation and CMC, mawlids always include a pedagogical element, usually a sermon by a scholar, which serves to explain not just the permissibility of the practice, but also to underscore the tangible benefits, in the form of baraka (blessings, grace), that the practice confers. Because the Prophet transcends the boundaries between the immanent and the transcendent realms, he has become the focal point of highly contested modern debates, not just around the permissibility of mawlids, but in fact other profound concerns over agency and divinity in relationship to the material world. This is because real presences are disruptive and ambiguous, all the more so because in modernity the default condition is one of divine absence. Ritual Time, Gender, and Everyday Life Like many rituals, mawlids demarcate a time and space away from the routine rhythms of everyday life. Drawing on pre-modern conceptions of the mawlid, Abd-Allah emphasises that ritual time also has cosmic import, with its effects reaching far beyond any one individual’s spiritual development:31 When you think about time, what do you think of ? For many of us, we think of a straight line. And that’s because when we went to school, we were shown timelines and the line is a straight line. That thing happened here and that other thing happened in another place. But time is not a line. It is fundamentally mistaken. It is a notion of time that is based purely on the idea of quantity. And that things are basically always the same. That means basically everything that happens is the same, except some things happen later and some things happen earlier. That is not how time works. Time is the embodiment of quality. Time is affected by the events that happen in it. By the people who live in it. By the

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CONTEMPORARY MAWLIDS IN CHICAGO places that exist in it. And if the events are great, like the birth of Jesus Christ, or the birth of Moses…or the birth of the blessed Prophet Muhammad. Then that time is different and there are changes everywhere. There are changes in the flowers, in the petals of the flowers, changes in the stars, changes everywhere. Great events qualitatively transform time. They make it something absolutely different just as blessed places affect space… Time is transformed by you and when you come together tonight to demonstrate your love of the beloved. Then the world is not the same after that and time is not the same after that.32

  Abd-Allah suggests that each mawlid performance, as well as the Prophet’s birth that it commemorates, produces a profound rupture in time. Abd-Allah’s comments reveal the potential that he and other organisers see in the mawlid to disrupt participants’ secular conceptions of time, so that they know, experientially, the cosmic significance of ritual acts. The knowledge and experience of the love of the Prophet is qualitatively different, and thus Abd-Allah has to remind participants that the time they experience in the course of their daily lives, the time that they take for granted as secular moderns, is not the time that matters. God works outside of the human experience of time. In his embrace of qualitative rather than quantitative time, Abd-Allah imagines a different modern religious self, one that Dipesh Chakrabarty describes as being out of step with the ‘story of human sovereignty acted out in the context of ceaseless unfolding of unitary historical time’.33 The mawlid presents an opportunity to experience and partake of the blessings and power of divine sovereignty. For Abd-Allah, this task—which has been a key underlying purpose of mawlid performance over the centuries—is all the more urgent in the secular age. To return to Taylor, faced with the prevailing assumption that humans, rather than God, control their own destiny and are the source of knowledge and flourishing, Abd-Allah insists on the primacy of cosmic time and the ritual’s significance within its temporal frame, outside of the ‘unitary historical time’ of modernity. While participants effect cosmic time through ritual practice, they do so by succumbing to the divine will and entering into this special relationship with the Prophet Muhammad, as individuals and in community. In this way, mawlid performances generate conceptions of time, exchange, and spiritual presence that challenge capitalistic constructions that undergird contemporary lives.   At the same time, mawlids conform rather seamlessly to the demands of everyday urban and suburban life, and the schedules of the educated professionals who perform them. They provide an opportunity for participants to seek embodied connection to the Prophet and God with minimal disruption to other commitments and priorities. The mawlid, when performed at regu 131

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lar monthly intervals, as in the case of the CMC, or yearly, as in the case of the Webb Foundation, holds great appeal for urban and suburban Muslims seeking to align their religious practice with family and gender norms. The work and school rhythms of contemporary American life define the available times for ritual performance for mawlid participants, from a work-day that extends well beyond 9–5, facilitated by cell phones and tablets affording 24-hour email access, to the demands of raising children who excel in school and participate in a range of after-school activities. The CMC regularly posts videos of their mawlids to its YouTube channel for participants who cannot attend in person.   Logistically, monthly mawlids are a feasible time commitment, are inclusive of both spouses, and are kid-friendly. Although the CMC offers child care during its events, children often stay in the room with their parents. While domestic mawlids are often extended family affairs including multiple generations, Webb and CMC mawlids are very popular events for nuclear families. Abd-Allah makes a point of acknowledging and encouraging their presence. In this way, monthly mawlids (as opposed to weekly or daily practice) fit more easily in to the rhythms and demands of daily life for participants, many of whom maintain a full slate of other social and professional commitments. The ritual enables spouses and their children to participate in religious practice together, reflecting the broader emphasis among American Muslims on the importance of parents in cultivating their children’s Muslim identity and sense of community.   Mawlids also reveal participants’ intentions to build religious communities that reflect the gender norms that they already enact in their daily lives. The women that attend are educated, often with successful careers, and they inhabit professional and social spaces in which they have attained recognition and status that they believe is often denied to them in their religious communities. Mawlids enable women to assume ritual roles that are not available to them in other Muslim spaces, such as mosques. At Webb events, women take the lead in planning the ritual programmes, frequently act as mistresses of ceremonies, read poetry, and give lectures on the mawlid’s importance for contemporary Muslims. For example, Tahera Ahmed, the Muslim chaplain at Northwestern University, has performed Qurʾanic recitation at local mawlids. The 2014 Webb mawlid featured the African-American spoken-word poet, Tasleem Jamila. Most mawlid participants are uninterested in initiatives to create positions for female imams, which have elicited the most academic and media attention. But they often express the need for 132

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Muslim communities to be more gender-inclusive, and to offer women the opportunity to pursue positions of religious leadership and authority. Like Jenan’s grandmother, women have lead mawlid performances in domestic spaces. In these new mawlid-oriented communities, women help to conduct rituals in public spaces, elevating their position as leaders and authorities in this educated, professional milieu. Conclusion By way of conclusion, I would like to put forward two main proposals for the significance of smaller, informal communities such as those discussed in this chapter to the study of contemporary Sufism more broadly. The first is the importance of investigating research questions beyond the representational politics of Islam. This is not a call for scholars to ignore the political implications or dimensions of their work, but rather a call to renew efforts to ensure a broader range of inquiry concerning the religious lives of contemporary Muslims. Such a task requires scholars to conduct research with less established, visible institutions and authorities in order to examine the dynamic and flexible communities, some of which are only temporary, that are shaping the contemporary practice of Islam, not just in the United States but around the globe. Although many participants are concerned with improving the public perception of Muslims, the motivations that they bring to mawlid are far more varied, reflecting their dissatisfaction with the ritual and social dimensions of other religious communities, their ongoing search for spiritual meaning, and their concerns to build community. Moreover, mawlid participants and leaders express the cosmological significance of their performance, one that potentially challenges not just the negative public perceptions of Islam, but also a more complex picture of the possibilities for contemporary Muslim practice in the varied religious and political landscape of global Islam.   Second, the mawlid performances that I have observed raise important questions for the study of contemporary Sufism, especially around the questions of institutional authority. How do we categorise such practices? How are they connected (or not) to Sufism? And how does studying such ritual communities alter our definitions and typologies of contemporary Sufism? On the one hand, these mawlids are often led by scholars and intellectuals with transnational ties to Sufi orders, as in the case of Abd-Allah. However, these connections tend to be obscured in public settings, where the emphasis remains on casting the mawlid as a foundational ritual to Islam, in deliberate response 133

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to their Salafi opponents. On the other, the revival of mawlid and dhikr practices are now taking place outside of formal tariqa structures, through the efforts of particular authority figures, who cultivate followers through enduring yet informal networks. The renewal of mawlids among urban American Muslims suggests the many communal forms in which Sufi practice continues to take shape. References Abd-Allah, Umar F., ‘Creativity, Innovation, and Heresy in Islam’ in Voices of Islam: Voices of Change, edited by Vincent J. Cornell (New York: Praeger, 2006), pp. 1–22. Bender, Courtney, The New Metaphysicals: Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). Brown, Jonathan A.C., Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Oxford: Oneworld, 2009). Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000). Corbett, Rosemary R., Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service and the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Controversy (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016). Grewal, Zareena, Islam is a Foreign Country (New York: New York University Press, 2014). Hermansen, Marcia, ‘Milad/Mawlid’ in The Practice of Islam in America, edited by Edward Curtis IV (New York: New York University Press, 2017), pp. 123–140. Howe, Justine, Suburban Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018). Hurgronje, C. Snouck, Mekka in the Latter Part of the 19th Century, translated by J. H. Monahan (Leiden: Brill, 1970). Kaptein, N. J. G., ‘Materials for the History of the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday Celebration in Mecca’, Der Islam 69 (1992), pp. 193–246. ———, Muhammad’s Birthday Festival: Early History in the Central Muslim Lands and Development in the Muslim West until the 10th/16th Century (Leiden: Brill, 1993). Katz, Marion, The Birth of the Prophet Muhammad: Devotional Piety in Sunni Islam (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007). ———, ‘Women’s “Mawlid” Performances in Sanaa and the Construction of “Popular Islam”’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 40, no. 3 (August 2008), pp. 467–484. Lipton, G. A., ‘Secular Sufism: Neoliberalism, Ethnoracism, and the Reformation of the Muslim Other,’ The Muslim World 101, no. 3 (2011), pp. 427–440. Orsi, Robert A., History and Presence (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016). Qureshi, Regina Burkhardt, ‘Transcending Space: Recitation and Community among  

 

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CONTEMPORARY MAWLIDS IN CHICAGO South Asian Muslim in Canada’ in Making Muslim Space in North America, edited by Barbara Metcalf (Berkeley: University of California, 1998), pp. 46–64. Schielke, Samuli, ‘Hegemonic Encounters: Criticism of Saints-Day Festivals and the Formation of Modern Islam in Late 19th and Early 20th-Century Egypt’, Die Welt des Islams 47, nos. 3–4 (2007), pp. 319–355. ———, The Perils of Joy: Contesting Mulid Festivals in Contemporary Egypt (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2012). Tappen, Nancy and Robert Tappen, ‘The Birth of the Prophet: Ritual and Gender in Turkish Islam’, Man 22, no. 1 (March 1987), pp. 69–92. Taylor, Charles, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007). Werbner, Pnina, ‘Stamping the Earth in the Name of Allah: Zikr and the Sacralizing of Space among British Muslims’, Cultural Anthropology, 11, no. 3 (August 1996), pp. 309–338.  

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7

DISORDERING AND REORDERING SUFISM NORTH AMERICAN SUFI TEACHERS AND THE ṬARῙQA MODEL

William Rory Dickson and Merin Shobhana Xavier

Some of the first expressions of Sufism in North America represented a marked move away from the model of Sufi teaching and practice found within the classical Sufi order (tariqa), in what could be called a ‘disordering’ of Sufism. Developed along the lines of the medieval guild, the order or brotherhood model came to be closely associated with Sufism. Besides its organisational structure, the medieval Sufi tariqa functioned as the vehicle for transmitting the classical Sufi tradition more broadly, its relationships, pedagogical models, literature and techniques of transcendence. Hence, in this paper we employ the tariqa model broadly as a term representing these disparate elements of the classical Sufi tradition. ‘Disordered Sufism’ represented a response by Sufi teachers to the particular social, historical conditions that framed their teaching of Sufism in the West in the early twentieth century. However, in a process that began in the 1970s and culminated in the late

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1990s and early 2000s, Sufi teachers in North America were increasingly ‘reordering’ Sufism, that is, reorienting their traditions towards the classical tariqa model, which included reframing their teachings utilising classical Sufi terminology, text, and practice. Building upon our scholarship on Sufism in North America,1 we reflect upon our shared research to offer what we hope to be a useful analytical framework for thinking about the ways in which Sufism has developed in the North American context. In this contribution, we highlight illustrative case studies of this disordering/reordering process, before considering some of the social conditions that explain this shift. In particular, we argue that (1) the dynamics of the ‘religious marketplace’ so characteristic of religiosity in America,2 (2) recent patterns of Muslim immigration,3 (3) the emergence of the discourse of Islamic authenticity globally,4 and (4) the Traditionalist movement,5 have combined to create the complex social and cultural conditions that have fostered the reordering of Sufism in a number of prominent cases. We must qualify that these factors are not the only variables that are influencing the reordering seen in some Sufi communities in America. Nor do we argue that the reordering process is the only shift that is unfolding in American Sufism. Sufi communities in America, as we have discussed in our respective scholarship, are unique from one community to the next. That being said, what we aim to accomplish in this chapter is to utilise this particular framework of disordering/reordering, as it serves as a useful analytical tool to consider some of the currents of Sufism in America, especially in terms of the shifts that are unfolding among institutionalised American Sufi movements/orders and their practices.   First, we briefly situate the historical development of the Sufi ṭuruq (plural of tariqa) within the medieval Islamic tradition, before pivoting to the American context where we explore several examples that illustrate the process of disordering and reordering Sufism throughout the twentieth century. Our examination of these Sufi groups is not meant to lead to the conclusion that the disordering/reordering dynamic is an inevitable process, but merely that it is a pattern discernible in a number of Sufi groups in North America, reflecting historical developments evident within Sufism more broadly. The Classical Ṭarīqa Model in Medieval Sufism It is important to highlight at the beginning that we do not assume that the classical tariqa model, with its particular pedagogies, literatures, and practices, is the only ‘legitimate’ or ‘authentic’ expression of Sufism, though it has been 138

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an approach to Sufi practice historically. We, in a sense, are decentring the medieval tariqa model, in that we do not equate Sufism with it.6 Instead we examine the ways in which medieval tariqa models are being both subverted and reaffirmed by Sufi teachers and practitioners in America. We aim to understand how different Sufi leaders have responded to particular historical and social circumstances to create specific ‘containers’ for Sufi teachings, none of which need to be thought of as more or less legitimate, at least from a historical perspective. This approach tries to avoid the subtle ways in which scholarship may delegitimise some Sufi groups as inauthentic against others that are assumed to be otherwise. At the same time, these processes unfolding in Western contexts call upon us to reflect on the ways in which Sufi teachings have been transmitted and transformed through traditional institutional networks but also beyond it across space and time.   The medieval tariqa model represents an idiosyncratic container, one that was created to transmit various elements of Sufi teachings in accord with the demands of particular historical and social circumstances. In many respects, the medieval Sufi orders reflect the guild/brotherhood model, which proved useful for a variety of doctrinal, practical, and social reasons. However, the ways in which Sufism crystallised in the medieval period are not somehow definitive for Sufism perpetually, and we need not measure contemporary Sufi groups against this model to establish their Sufi legitimacy or lack thereof. The medieval Muslim world’s wide-ranging network of religious orders based around a particular Sufi lineage and path represented the formalisation of early Sunni ascetic, devotional and esoteric trends.7 Much like the Sunni schools of law (madhahib), Sufi orders represented the crystallisation of earlier methodologies and lineages initially more amorphous in nature.   With Sufism’s doctrinal basis firmly established by the thirteenth century, and its institutional presence secured in developing Sufi lodges in Muslim towns and along trade routes, medieval Sufism took shape as a series of religious orders. These orders allowed Sufis to reproduce their path across time and space, and to connect Muslims directly to the charismatic blessing of the Prophet Muhammad through the claim of prophetic transmission and inheritance. The head of a Sufi order would appoint deputies to carry the teachings to other centres, local or distant. This established a network of centres all connected by shared masters, lineage, and methods of practice. Masters would often appoint successors before their death, and hence the particular branch of Sufi teaching represented by the master could be passed on for generations, while various sub-branches would also form tracing back to the same authority, but through different teachers. 139

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  Orders soon began to develop unique initiation rituals, rules for members, forms of dhikr (prayer of remembrance) and khalwa (practice of seclusion), signs of membership including distinct clothing, hairstyles, and even handshakes, also concretised over time. By the fourteenth century, Sufi orders were a ubiquitous presence in Muslim lands, physically grounded in Sufi lodges and shrines, diachronically persisting through the transmission of lineage. The orders served to celebrate the sanctity of the Prophet Muhammad, encourage adherence to the outward and inward elements of the Islamic religion, inculcate the virtues outlined in the Qurʾan and Sunnah, and for the spiritual ‘elite’, the orders offered a path of transformative spiritual practice meant to lead to the unveiling of the knowledge of the unseen (kashf). The ways in which this particular model of Sufism, that is the tariqa-system, operated in relation to the transmission and development of Sufism in North America, and especially America, complicates the picture considerably. Sufism in North America The first known living sheikh to arrive in America to transmit Sufism was Hazrat Inayat Khan (d. 1927). Khan travelled with his musical troupe, which consisted of his brothers and cousins, from India to New York City in 1910. Inayat Khan’s arrival coincided with growing interest in esoteric and spiritual traditions in America, be it of Eastern traditions generally (Hinduism and Buddhism), Persian Sufi poetry presented in a perennialist fashion,8 popular movements such as the Theosophical Society, or metaphysical interpretations of Christianity.9 Still, despite interest in a perennial and textual Sufism amongst his new American audience, Inayat Khan did not remain long in America, as he faced racial and religious persecution. The latter social and cultural context was a key factor in his universalising (disordering) of Sufism to suit his American students. Before he left for Europe, Khan initiated nonMuslim American female students, notably Rabia Ada Martin (d. 1947), in effect, establishing his lineage, though in a way markedly different from his own Indian Sufi roots in the Chishti order.   Inayat Khan initially attempted to shape his teaching of Sufism to Westerners around basic Islamic practices like the daily prayer (ssalāt). Inayat Khan emphasised the role of Prophet Muhammad as the final prophet of God, and encouraged his closest disciples in America to learn Arabic and recite the Qurʾan. Later Inayat Khan established a Sufi centre or ‘Khankah’ in London, England, where he hosted Eid celebrations and invited several  

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Muslim speakers. Inayat Khan even co-founded an organisation of MuslimChristian understanding, Anjuman Islam, with Ikbal Ali Shah (d. 1969). However, he soon observed that, ‘there is little tendency seen among people in the West to follow Islam, especially among the intellectual classes, on account of the wrong impression spread in the West by political and religious sources’.10   Inayat Khan found that his movement had much more appeal among European and North American seekers when Islamic elements were downplayed in favour of a universalistic spirituality imprinted with Theosophical tones. This was no mere strategy of Inayat Khan’s however, as he reflected that ‘spiritual fellows from among the Europeans … proved to be more at one with my soul, than my own people’.11 Inayat Khan believed, like his European and American students, that the time of religions was passing, while a future of trans-religious unity and spiritual awakening was dawning. As such, his sense that Islamic Sufism would have little appeal, combined with his own desire for a more universal spirituality, led Inayat Khan to disorder Sufism, reforming it into a modern spiritual movement and organisation, differing markedly in content and form from the classical tariqa model.   After Khan’s departure from America, it would be over a half a century later before more Sufi teachers arrived from the ‘East’ to actively spread Sufi teachings. During the interim period however, another movement with both Theosophical and Sufi hues would gain a following on both sides of the Atlantic, under the leadership of the enigmatic George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (d. 1949). Though he did not describe himself as a Sufi, Gurdjieff ’s teachings show notable signs of Sufi influence.12 However, the extent to which Gurdjieff ’s path of consciousness work is of Sufi provenance continues to be debated, with some suggesting little in the way of Sufi connection, though certainly some of Gurdjieff ’s followers considered his work to be ultimately based on Sufism.13 Many Western seekers who would later become involved with Sufism first experimented with Gurdjieff ’s teachings. If we can consider Gurdjieff ’s movement to at least fall within the circle of Sufi or Sufi-related movements, then his ‘Work’ (as his path of developmental exercises were known) represents another example of disordered Sufism in the early twentieth century: a move away from the classical Islamic order (tariqa) model.   During the 1960s, however, the popular books on Sufism of Idries Shah (d. 1996) (Ikbal Ali Shah’s son) would represent a further disordering, in that Shah claimed Sufi authority with little in the way of legitimation through the order system (besides a somewhat loose claim to represent a secret branch of 141

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the Naqshbandi order). He taught Sufism to a close circle of students without perpetuating the order system, and in his writings remained highly critical of Sufi orders as now redundant systems of piety that no longer functioned to transmit esoteric knowledge, describing them as ‘derelict organizations’.14   With the reform of US and Canadian immigration policy in the mid1960s, North America began to host a much larger number of representatives of ‘Eastern’ traditions of contemplative practice, including several Sufis. The stories of these Sufi teachers who arrived in America are particular, and will not be generalised here. Suffice it to say that several teachers and their representatives arrived from varied cultural contexts, including Bosnia (Asaf Durakovic), Turkey (Muzaffer Ozak d. 1985, Suleyman Loras d. 1985), Sri Lanka (M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen d. 1986), Switzerland (Frithjof Schuon, d. 1998), and Iran (Shah Maghsoud d. 1980). As these leaders settled in America, they slowly established institutions based around their charismatic authority. Some of these new movements maintained transnational linkages to their natal lands, and reaffirmed their tariqa-based model, as seen with Asaf and his Alami Ṭarīqa in Waterport, New York, while others did not. An example of the latter was evident in the movement of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, which maintained a loose tariqa-based model both in Sri Lanka and America, though with significant departures from the classical order model, in terms of structure and successorship (or lack thereof ).15   In what follows we consider three case studies of North American Sufi movements that are reorienting themselves, both structurally and discursively, especially since the turn of the twenty-first century. The three examples of reordering considered below are (1) the Inayati Order, (2) the Maryamiyya, and (3) the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidiyya (Golden Sufi Centre). In each case, we see a Sufi group that was in previous decades less aligned with the tariqamodel, but has of late drawn closer to this model in a number of respects. Following our consideration of these case studies, we venture to suggest some answers to the question as to why North American Sufi groups have been reordering at this time in particular.  

 

Patterns of Reordering Sufism The Inayati Order: From Hazrat Inayat Khan to Zia Inayat Khan An illustrative example of this process of reordering is found in Inayat Khan’s universal Sufi movement, which began as a classic example of ‘disordered’ 142

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Sufism in its early origins in the West, one that largely moved away from the classical Chishti model (at least structurally, if not for its South-Asian openness to a religiously diverse membership). However, beginning in the 1970s, Inayat Khan’s son and successor Vilayat Inayat Khan (d. 2004)16 of one of the leading branches of his movement (the Sufi Order International, as distinct from the Sufi Movement, based in Geneva), and now his son Zia Inayat Khan, have made a number of changes to the Sufi movement that amount to a reordering of Inayat Khan’s teachings in a more classical direction. This includes increasingly linking the order’s teachings and practices to classical Sufi teachings, along with reemphasising connections to Persian and Indian cultures, all of which has culminated in the renaming of the group to ‘The Inayati Order’. In an announcement from Zia and the Message Council, Zia explains the reasons for this decision, which we quote here at length as it neatly encapsulates the disordering/reordering process: As you know, Hazrat Inayat Khan, our Murshid, brought the wisdom of Sufism to the Western world in 1910. He founded The Sufi Order in London in 1918 and The Sufi Movement in Geneva in 1923. The word ‘Order’ was, and remains, the standard English rendering of the Arabic word tariqa, referring to a Sufi path. The word ‘Movement’ was a familiar designation in the early twentieth century for international spiritual organizations. … ‘The Sufi Order’ is a nonspecific name: it refers to Sufism in general, but to no one tradition of Sufism in particular. When Murshid established his Order in the West, no other Sufi Orders were active in Western Europe or North America. A more specific name was therefore unnecessary and, in fact, would likely have caused confusion. … Today the situation is just the opposite: there are many Sufi Orders in the West—not to mention in Asia, where our Order is also spreading—and a nonspecific name is therefore a source of misunderstandings in the current environment. In the history of Sufism, Orders have traditionally adopted the name of their founder in the decades following the founder’s death. Murshid understandably did not name his Order after himself, but long-established Sufi custom renders it natural and proper for us, who follow in his footsteps, to honor his memory and confirm our allegiance to his spiritual message by taking his name as the rubric of our work. In consideration of these facts, and moved by a deep sense that the time has come, on this first day of the year 2016, we announce that The Sufi Order International will henceforth be known as The Inayati Order. As a fuller designation, the Order will be introduced as The Inayati Order: A Sufi Path of Spiritual Liberty. The name Inayatiyya will be considered a welcome synonym […]. In adopting this name, we make no claim of exclusivity in representing Murshid’s Sufi Message of Spiritual Liberty. Indeed, we affirm all lineages, communities, and organizations linked to Murshid through initiation and devotion as our esteemed friends and allies in the Sufi cause.17

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  In the above quotation, Zia Inayat Khan, along with the Message Council, capture the reasons for the change in the name of their movement, even highlighting the Arabic form of the name: the Inayatiyya, reaffirming the medieval model of naming the group after the head teacher. The affirmation of the Arabic form here connects a hybrid Western-South Asian Sufi order to the classical Arabic-Islamic tradition. Along these lines, Zia Inayat Khan rejects the term ‘universal Sufism’ as applied to his order, and has increasingly articulated the universalistic features of his order as rooted in the inherently universalistic elements of the Islamic tradition:18 under Zia Inayat Khan’s leadership, universal Sufism is reordered as Islamic universalism.   Zia Inayat Khan explains further, that when his grandfather first began the Order, there were no such organisations in the West nor would the term tariqa have been accessible to the non-Muslim Western audience. But now that has changed, and with the growing spiritual movements along with numerous Sufi organisations globally, they needed to distinguish their movement from others. Thus, there is a harkening back to ‘long-established Sufi customs’, here specifically the tariqa model in the reordering process, in that the name of the originator of the movement is used to create a hereditary lineage. At the same time, an inclusive framework, one of universalism that was modelled by Inayat Khan, is still maintained, though increasingly articulated in Islamic terms. Furthermore, Zia Inayat Khan adds that it is the non-specificity of the movement’s name (that is a general Sufi order) that was a source of ‘confusion’, as it made it difficult to distinguish from other Sufi orders. Not only in the West, but also in Asia, where Sufi communities that have formalised in the West are now also gaining further traction. Another example of a reordering is found with the Maryamiyya order, where an initial, substantial move away from the classical order model has been followed by a recent shift toward re-connecting with classical teachings and approaches. Seyyed Hossein Nasr and the Maryamiyya Although premised on shared metaphysical principles, Traditionalists19 do not all have identical views, and one case study for the ‘disordering’ and ‘reordering’ phenomenon we point to is found in the main Traditionalist Sufi order, the Maryamiyya. Although Frithjof Schuon in some ways clearly perpetuated the tariqa model, in establishing his own branch (the Maryamiyya) of the order which he practised within (the ʿAlawiyya, itself a branch of the Shadhiliyya), he also moved away from this model in a number of key respects. 144

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In particular, Schuon criticised aspects of the Islamic tradition and ‘average Sufism’ that he perceived as obstacles to the realisation of esoteric truth. Characteristic of this critique, in Sufism: Veil and Quintessence (1980), Schuon wrote: ‘Innumerable detours and endless discourses result from the fact that Sufi metaphysics is linked with the anti-metaphysical and moralizing creationism of the monotheistic theologies.’20 For Schuon, the dogmatic and moralistic tendencies of the Islamic tradition can distract aspirants from pursuing the realisation of metaphysical knowledge: in some cases, Islamic religiosity is an obstacle to Sufism rather than its base or facilitator.21 As such, for Schuon, Sufism was not so much a self-contained mystical path within Islam as it was an expression of universal metaphysical principles through Islam, principles that Schuon, like René Guénon, believed were most explicitly expressed in the Vedanta tradition within Hinduism. Hence Schuon’s framing of the Sufi path utilised Hindu metaphysical terminology, and downplayed Islamic norms and practices that would have been foregrounded within most classical Sufi orders.   On the primacy of the perennial or universal truth over religious form, Schuon wrote ‘the goal of the work is not the Islamic form as such, but precisely esoterism as such …. This is Islam, not as the daily universe of Arab sentiments and passions, but as the manifestation at the end of time of the primordial religion.’22 This concern with the primordial religion manifested in Schuon’s growing interest in Indigenous American spirituality, especially after reading John Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks (1932). He would later incorporate elements of Indigenous tradition into the practice of the Maryamiyya.   In contrast to his teacher Schuon, Seyyed Hossein Nasr has, as leader of the largest branch of the Maryamiyya, tended to focus more on the positive aspects of the Islamic tradition and Sufism’s organic relation to it, rather than highlight the ways in which elements of traditional Islam and Sufism may inhibit realisation. Whereas Schuon saw esoteric truth (Sufism) as ‘not in any sense even a part, even an inner part, of the exoterism [Islam]’ representing instead ‘a quasi-independent’ phenomenon,23 Nasr instead suggests that Sufism is a crystallisation of Islam’s inner dimension, that Islam’s exoteric and esoteric elements are organically joined. Unlike other Maryamis who have highlighted Schuon’s integration of Native American traditions into the order and his use of Hindu terminology to describe Sufis doctrine, Nasr has downplayed these elements of the Maryami tradition, focusing more on its Islamic aspects.   Nasr’s branch of the Maryamiyya represents a clear effort to return to the more classical Sufi form, in some sense re-Islamising and reordering the 145

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Maryamiyya. In an article for the traditionalist journal Sophia, entitled ‘Frithjof Schuon and the Islamic Tradition’ (1999), Nasr acknowledges Schuon’s role as a spokesperson for ‘universal and perennial wisdom’, but maintains that ‘his function to speak of pure esoterism should not, however, detract anyone from thinking that he is anything other than a Muslim in the deepest sense of the term and that he practised the tenets of the Islamic tradition, on both the levels of the law and the way.’24 The heady universalism of the early to mid-twentieth century has clearly fallen out of fashion among many North American Sufi practitioners in a context of global Islamic revival, and, like Zia Inayat Khan’s Inayati Order, Nasr’s Maryamiyya represents a re-framing or reordering along more classical tariqa lines. Vaughan Lee and the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidiyya The Golden Sufi Center, led by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, may at first glance appear to have little to do with Sufism. The group’s centre in Marin County, California is sparsely, though tastefully, furnished, with little in the way of explicit Sufi symbolism. The majority of members are, like the leader, Vaughan-Lee, non-Muslim. However, Vaughan-Lee has been overseeing the group’s reordering along more traditional tariqa lines. Unlike most Sufi lineages, the Golden Sufi Center began not so much as something visibly or selfconsciously ‘Sufi’, but rather as a somewhat formless meditation group in London, England. Vaughan-Lee describes its origin as follows: There was this elderly lady who could go into meditation and come back with instructions from this teacher who had passed on. She really didn’t talk about Sufism. She never studied Sufism. He [her teacher, had] said to her, ‘I’m not going to teach you anything, I’m going to give you experiences. Do with them what you want’. Of course he was speaking in Hindi and Urdu, and only a little bit in English to her. So it was Sufism that was experienced rather than taught. That’s really how it was for a long time. I didn’t really discover until years later that we were the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidiyya. She didn’t mention it. She didn’t even really, in those early years, mention Naqshbandi Sufism. Part of my work was to translate the experiences I’d been given into traditional Sufi language, or to find its source. Later I discovered there was this term called rābiṭa, which is this heart connection between teacher and disciple, and I realized that that’s what he’d given her. He’d given her this living transmission. In a way that’s all he gave her.25

  Vaughan-Lee describes here the origins of the Golden Sufi Center as a sort of bare transmission of baraka (charisma or grace) from Radha Mohan Lal (d. 146

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1966), a Hindu Naqshbandi sheikh, to Irina Tweedie (d. 1999), a RussianBritish seeker, in Northern India, through the heart connection known within the Naqshbandi tradition as rābiṭa. This transmission was ‘bare’ in the sense of lacking any reference to classical Sufism (i.e. terminology, rituals or practices). This reverses the nature of most Sufi transmission, wherein a longestablished form of doctrine and practice (Islamic theology and ritual life, alongside the norms and techniques of a given order) acts as a container for the content of Sufi teachings and transmission.   Vaughan-Lee further describes his own work as translating this bare transmission of experience into ‘traditional Sufi language’, in effect excavating the classical Sufi origins of the experiential path shared by Tweedie. To this end, Vaughan-Lee has in recent years written more on the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi roots of his Golden Sufi Center, and has increasingly emphasised traditional Sufi models of master-disciple relations, adab (comportment), and drawn upon classical Sufi terminology regarding the stages (maqāmāt) of the Sufi path.26 Although Vaughan-Lee has not shifted his order towards Islamic practice, as he believes his North Indian Naqshbandi predecessors specifically crafted a formless path for contemporary people, he has increasingly steered his Golden Sufi Center towards an awareness and cultivation of its Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi roots, identity and practice, alongside a deeper grounding in classical Sufi terminology and teachings. Why Are North American Sufis Reordering their Movements? There have been numerous historical, cultural, and sociological factors that have impacted the development of these Sufi movements in America, not only in how they have institutionalised in America during their transmission process (as briefly highlighted above), but also the ways in which these groups continue to develop in post-charismatic eras. Though internal factors within the various groups influence the ways in which they currently organise themselves, we suggest that there are some external factors that are also at play, particularly in explaining why some of these American Sufi groups are reordering themselves.   We suggest that historical factors are clearly at play as all three groups discussed above went through significant reordering beginning with the transition from first- or second-generation leadership to second- or third-generation, all at the turn of the twenty-first century: Zia Inayat Khan was authorised as his father’s successor in 2000, Seyyed Hossein Nasr took over leadership of the 147

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largest branch of the Maryamiyya following Schuon’s death in 1998, and Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee established the Golden Sufi Center in 1992 under Tweedie’s direction, and is her sole successor following her death in 1999.   Though not meant to be an exhaustive list or analysis of the various external factors, the four highlighted below begin to signal the ways in which Sufi groups in America are re-envisioning their self-representation. The four factors discussed below are (1) the burgeoning religious market-place in America, (2) the increase of immigration to America, and its further diversification, (3) the global resurgence of Islam, and finally (4) the influence of EuropeanAmerican Traditionalism.  

 

 

 

The Burgeoning Spiritual Marketplace in America Sociologists have long noted the market dynamics that characterise the North American religious scene.27 The rich and competitive religious marketplace brought about by a relatively unregulated religious pluralism, places pressure on religious groups that occupy the same market niche to differentiate themselves from their competitors. If Sufism is something that can be reduced to an amorphous spirituality that fits comfortably in an eclectic buffet of practices, rituals, books, and seminars, then it can easily lose its ‘brand’ and hence primary selling feature. The spiritual marketplace in America expanded in the 1960s and ’70s, as the countercultural movement intersected with alternative spiritualities, including New Age/New Religious Movements, Hinduism, Sufism and Buddhism, among others.28   In effect, in the contemporary North American religious scene, where options are many, differentiation serves as a way in which religious and spiritual movements can establish a unique niche within the broader religious market, thereby retaining a distinct set of religious ‘shoppers’.29 This sort of differentiation, be it Sufi or otherwise, is enacted to stand apart from other spiritual traditions by summoning classical traditions or reaffirming the fundamental origins of the truth they contain, as is evident in the language employed by Zia Inayat Khan. Hence Sufi teachers in North America in the later part of the twentieth century have emphasised the ways in which Sufism is a unique, irreducible, holistic and complete spiritual path distinct from others, a distinction that is largely associated with the medieval Muslim orders that characterised pre-modern Sufism.   Additionally, religious organisations need to meet institutional requirements in order to qualify as a legal religious corporation in America, particu148

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larly under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These requirements include registering legally as a nonprofit corporation, formalising creeds and forms of worship, as well as some form of organisational (or ‘ecclesiastical’) governance, with membership, leadership and regular worship. Thus, in order to legally qualify for tax-exemption, Sufi movements and communities in the American context may employ classical models of tariqa organisations for modern American legal incorporation. The Diversification of American Immigration In addition to the various alternative spiritualities that have proliferated in North America, and the subsequent differentiation this varied market encourages, relaxed immigration policies in the 1960s have diversified migration patterns, especially from Muslim majority nations. Muslims in America have a long history, dating back to the transatlantic slave trade, though with a notable expansion following more open immigration policy in the 1960s. A systematic study has yet to be completed on the prevalence of Sufism among Muslim immigrants in America, but groups such as the Senegalese diaspora in New York City or South Asian visitors to the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship in Philadelphia, are exemplary of the ways in which diaspora Muslims are reinvigorating many Sufi communities in North America, a trend that has been more notably called to attention in studies of Sufism in Britain and Europe at large.30   Muslims from Muslim-majority nations tend to gravitate towards Sufi communities with particular cultural-Islamic registers and practices (such as ritual, linguistic, and spatial appeals). We can see this with South Asian Muslims who gravitate towards the mazār (shrine) of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen in Coatesville, while in Harlem, New York City, the West African Community utilise public space by celebrating their Annual festival for their Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke.31 The growth in presence of American Muslims with inherited Muslim identities has created a new demographic for many American Sufi orders; no longer are non-Muslim Americans their sole audience. Historically, when early teachers first came to America, their audience was almost entirely non-Muslim, consisting of those who were interested in non-dogmatic spirituality, esotericism and Theosophy, among other occult offerings. In the American context today, Sufism is attractive not only to EuroAmericans with an interest in alternative spirituality, but it also appeals to Muslims from the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, and elsewhere, who 149

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associate the Sufi tradition with the Islamic culture of their natal lands. These shifts in demographics of potential new members to Sufi orders and their cultural context and relationship with Islam then also further alters the ways in which American Sufi orders and their teachers may present Sufism, encouraging a reordering of Sufism to more closely resemble the tariqa model. Closely related to immigration patterns is the further global resurgence of Islam, as experienced by many diaspora Muslims to the West. The Global Resurgence of Islam The global reassertion of Islamic identity, dress, practice and politics since the 1970s has been one of the most significant social developments of the twentieth century, transforming the global political and cultural scene, and giving Islam a prominent public profile around the world. The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran coincided with a global movement among Sunnis that sought to recreate the modern state on a purely Islamic basis, and to revive the identification with and practice of Islam in Muslim societies. With the growth of revivalist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) in Egypt and the Middle East, the Jama‘at-i-Islami and Jama‘at Tabligh in South Asia, visible signs of Islamic piety along with calls for Islamising the state and culture returned to public life, as much on university campuses as in mosques.32 With al-ssahhwa al-islāmiyya (the ‘Islamic Awakening’) as it was widely referred to in the 1980s and 1990s, Islam was back on the world stage, creating an environment in which Islamic authenticity carried new weight and currency.   Sufis have, of course, not been unaffected by the twentieth century’s Islamic revival, and in many ways, it has put them on the defensive. Revivalist Islam has tended to marginalise if not directly oppose Sufism as a ‘watering down’ of Islam, a corruption of it, or at least a distraction from the pressing matter of reviving Muslim civilisation. In response, many Sufis have reaffirmed their claim to Islamic credentials and authenticity, and in some cases even situated themselves as the true representatives of Islamic orthodoxy.33 This can be seen particularly in what we may call the global revival of ‘Sunni Traditionalism’, in many cases as a direct response to Revivalist/Islamist critique of classical Sunnism (as embodied in the medieval schools of law (fiqh), theology (kalām) and Sufism (tassawwuf) or spirituality).34   This global environment has clearly influenced a number of Sufis to reemphasise their Islamic credentials, fortify their relationship to a classical  

 

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order, and in general reorder Sufism along more traditional lines. Such a reordering allows Sufis to counter the charges against them made earlier by some Orientalist observers and today by Muslim Revivalists, namely that Sufis are not ‘real’ Muslims, but rather flaky, spiritualistic imposters that dilute Islam according to their own misbegotten whims. In emphasising their adherence to Islamic law, and connection with medieval orders (institutions that flourished during some of Islam’s most culturally and politically powerful periods), Sufis fortify their Islamic ground as against anti-Sufi competitors. European-American Traditionalism Since the middle of the twentieth century, Traditionalism has played a significant role in shaping elite Western perceptions of religious authenticity, both within the academy and to some degree without. A movement focused on recovering and transmitting the purported primordial metaphysics and mysticism underlying the world’s religious forms, Traditionalism was founded by Guénon and further developed by Schuon, including among its proponents a number of prominent authors and scholars such as Ananda Coomaraswamy (d. 1947), Martin Lings (d. 2005), Titus Burckhardt (d. 1984), and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Mark Sedgwick notes that between 1950 and 1999, Schuon and his followers published 220 books, 80 of which were translated into other languages.35 Traditionalist authors have thus disseminated a significant body of literature that frames authentic spiritual practice as occurring exclusively within the context of established ‘traditional’ or ‘classical’ models, developed within pre-modern contexts dominated by a particular religion.36 The frequency with which academics engage in casual dismissals of contemporary forms of spiritual practice that fall outside of traditional frameworks as ‘New Age’ or ‘pseudo’ partially reflects the entrenchment in a number of academic circles of what Sedgwick calls ‘soft Traditionalism’,37 namely the implicit presence of Traditionalist views, or their presence in a somewhat diluted or nondeterminative fashion.   The Traditionalist movement is of course not the only factor shaping such perceptions, but its outsized role in influencing the formation of religious studies in North America during the mid-twentieth century has allowed the movement to have an impact beyond core members and affiliates. Soft Traditionalism permeated North American religious studies departments in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, through the influence of academics affiliated (to varying degrees) with Traditionalists, including Mircea Eliade (d. 1986), 151

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Henry Corbin (d. 1978), Victor Danner (d. 1990), Joseph Epes Brown (d. 2000), Seyyed Hossein Nasr, William Chittick, Sachiko Murata, James Cutsinger and Huston Smith (d. 2016), among others. As some of these figures played formative roles in the North American discipline of religious studies, Traditionalism has had a much deeper impact on North American intellectual and cultural life than it otherwise might have.   The Traditionalist association of tradition and authenticity, and the corresponding inauthenticity of that which deviates from it, has permeated both academia and popular literature on mysticism, forming one of the cultural factors that underlies the contemporary shift towards reordering Sufism. Bringing a Sufi order more in line with classical models arguably helps support a particular teacher and lineage claims to authenticity and legitimacy, especially in an academic environment (and to some degree a cultural one) that associates spiritual authenticity with tradition: otherwise Sufis open themselves up to charges of falling into ‘New Age’, ‘pseudo’, or ‘neo’ Sufism, or of becoming a form of ‘syncretistic’, ‘California’ Sufism. With the proliferation of Traditionalism in the 1970s, it is not necessarily surprising that this is also when we begin to see a shift among North American Sufis towards Islamic identity, and affiliation with an order grounded more in the classical tariqa model, a shift that we have found became particularly pronounced in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Conclusion This chapter has outlined some of the ways in which Sufi movements in America have gone through what we have called a disordering and reordering process. Many Sufi teachers, upon their arrival to America, inherited the challenge of disseminating their teachings of Sufism to a non-Muslim audience, and this, along with their interest in universal approaches to esoteric Islamic teachings, resulted in a disordering of Sufism in its early origins in America. It is important to highlight that there was little option here: Inayat Khan discovered very little in the way of Western interest in Islam at the time, a religion still largely associated with the imperial threat of the Ottoman Turks, alongside negative Orientalist stereotypes in general. As they have institutionalised and established themselves in America, several Sufi groups have reordered their movements in recent decades in more classical directions, especially in contrast to where they were in early-twentieth-century America. In this chapter, we considered some factors that have contributed to this process of reori152

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entation. These factors, though not intended to be comprehensive, include the competitive spiritual marketplace in the West, legal requirements for the registration of a religious corporation in America, the diversification of immigration as a result of globalisation (and consequent establishment of Muslim communities in North America), as well as the global Islamic revival, which in part have also travelled with people across borders. The discourse of traditional Islam centres Sufism as an integral and inherent part of Islam, its heart or its core. This discourse premised on the Islamic orthodoxy of Sufism has a global appeal and reach, as other authors in this volume have noted. This discourse aligns with Traditionalist writers in tying the authenticity of an esoteric path to a classical religious formation. Together these understandings of Sufism permeate the literary and discursive spaces within which the subject is engaged.   As a result of these varying external factors, groups such as the Inayatiyya and the Maryamiyya, have restructured their movements, in effect balancing both a universal (or perennialist) and an Islamic framework for their Sufism, one that is perhaps better referred to as Islamically universal. In contrast, Vaughan-Lee and his branch of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidiyya have not taken on the religious reorientations noted with Nasr and Zia Inayat Khan, remaining basically non-Islamic. Vaughan-Lee has nevertheless emphasised the origins of his movement within a historical and cultural tariqa framework, and increasingly framed his group’s spiritual practice in these terms. In doing so, he calls upon particular theological (Arabic) Sufi registers, but still maintains a generally formless paradigm. These three groups, all led by Sufis with diverse religious, cultural, and ethnic identities, are renegotiating their movement’s relationship with classical Sufism and its system of orders, in effect reordering their groups, invoking traditional Sufi structures, terminology, and practice. Although we have considered case studies within the North American context exclusively, scholars may want to consider case studies in other global contexts to test the explanatory power of the disordering/reordering framework outside of North American Sufi movements, particularly in Europe.   Finally, the process of reordering Sufism seen in recent decades can be historically situated as a repetition of earlier developments within Islam, whereby innovative religious paradigms were retroactively traced back to the Sunnah of the Prophet to cement their ‘traditional’ nature and to situate them within the mainstream of the Islamic tradition. This process, what Vincent J. Cornell calls the usulisation of Islamic knowledge, was particularly apparent during the formation of the Sunni consensus in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries.38  

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It was during this period that Sufis laboured to articulate their path as Sunnahoriented and rooted, much as the formulators of juristic and theological schools were doing. Perhaps today we are witnessing another period of usulisation, as, during a time of globalisation and Islamic revival, Sufis negotiate the complex politics of authenticity by reordering their Sufism according to traditional or classical norms, especially in the American context. Indeed, we suggest that the usulisation of Sufism after the 1990s represents a broad revernacularisation of Western Sufism in a language of classical authenticity that reflects a number of global and local factors in the changing European and North American cultural context, including the demands for carving out a niche in the spiritual marketplace, the establishment of Muslim communities familiar with classical forms of Sufism in North America, the global Islamic revival and response by Sunni Traditionalists, as well as the permeation of Traditionalism in the North American academy. References Ahmed, Shahab, What is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). Albanese, Catherine L., A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion (New Haven, CN; London: Yale University Press, 2008). Aminrazavi, Mehdi, ed., Sufism and American Literary Masters (New York: SUNY Press, 2014). Barron, Laignee, ‘Harlem’s West African Community, “Little Senegal”, honors Legacy of Mystic’, Daily News New York, 4 August 2011: http://www.nydailynews.com/ new-york/manhattan/harlem-west-african-community-senegal-honors-legacymystic-article-1.944166 Berger, Peter L., The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (New York City: Doubleday, 1967). Brown, Jonathan, ‘Scripture in the modern Muslim world: Quran and Hadith’ in Islam in the Modern World, edited by Jeffrey T. Kennedy and Ebrahim Moosa (New York: Routledge, 2014), pp. 13–34. Carrette, Jeremy, and Richard King, Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (New York; London: Routledge, 2005). Cornell, Vincent J., Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998). Curtis IV, Edward E., Muslims in America: A Short History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). Dickson, William Rory, Living Sufism in North America: Between Tradition and Transformation (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015).  

 

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DISORDERING AND REORDERING SUFISM ———, ‘An American Sufism: The Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order as a Public Religion’, Studies in Religion 43 (2010), pp. 411–424. Dickson, William Rory, and Merin Shobhana Xavier, ‘Négociation du sacré à Philadelphie: soufismes concurrents au sanctuaire de Bawa Muhaiyaddeen’, Social Compass 62, 4 (2015), pp. 584–597. Diouf, Sylviane A., Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas (New York: New York University Press, 1998, 2013). Einboden, Jeffrey, Islam and Romanticism: Muslim Currents from Goethe to Emerson (London: Oneworld Publications, 2014). Fitzgerald, Michael Oren, Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2010). Geaves, Ron, The Sufis of Britain: An Exploration of Muslim Identity (Cardiff: Cardiff Academic Press, 2000). Geaves, Ron and Theodore Gabriel, eds, Sufism in Britain (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2013). Geaves, Ron, Markus Dressler and Gritt Klinkhammer, eds, Sufis in Western Society: Global Networking and Locality (New York: Routledge, 2009). Ghanea Bassiri, Kambiz, A History of Islam in America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Godlas, Alan, ‘Sufism, the West, and Modernity’, http://islam.uga.edu/sufismwest. html Grewal, Zareena, Islam Is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority (New York: New York University Press, 2013). Hazen, Julianne, Sufism in America: The Alami Ṭarīqa of Waterport, New York (London: Lexington Books, 2017). Inayat Khan, Zia, ‘A Hybrid Sufi Order at the Crossroads of Modernity: The Sufi Order and Sufi Movement of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan’ (PhD dissertation: Duke University, 2006). Inayat Khan, Zia and the Message Council, ‘Our New Name’, 3 January 2016, https:// www.pirzia.org/our-new-name/ Laude, Patrick, Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guenon, and Schuon (New York: State University of New York Press, 2010). Lipton, Gregory A., ‘De-Semitizing Ibn ‘Arabi: Aryanism and the Schuonian Discourse of Religious Authenticity’, Numen 64 (2017), pp. 258–293. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. ‘Frithjof Schuon and the Islamic Tradition’, Sophia 5 (1999), pp. 27–48. Neihardt, John G., Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008 [1932]). Pittman, Michael S., Classical Spirituality in Contemporary America: The Confluence and Contribution of G. I. Gurdjieff and Sufism (New York: Continuum, 2012). Raudvere, Catharina, and Leif Stenberg, Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community (New York: IB Tauris, 2008).  

 

 

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Roof, Wade Clark, Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American Religion (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999). Schmidt, Leigh Eric, Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012). Schuon, Frithjof, Sufism: Veil and Quintessence: A New Translation with Selected Letters (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2006 [1980]). ———, The Transcendent Unity of Religions (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1993 [1953]). Sedgwick, Mark, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). ———, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). Sirriyeh, Elizabeth, Sufis and Anti-Sufis: The Defence, Rethinking and Rejection of Sufism in the Modern World (Richmond, UK: Curzon Press, 1999). Shah, Idries, The Sufis (London: Octagon Press, 1964). Smith, Jane, I., Islam in America (Columbia: Columbia University Press, 2010). Stark, R., and R. Finke, Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). Werbner, Pnina, Pilgrims of Love: The Anthropology of a Global Sufi Cult (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004). Wuthnow, Robert, America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005). Xavier, Merin Shobhana, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks: Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and Contemporary Shrine Cultures (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2018).  

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IN THE PATH OF THE ANCESTORS THE BĀ ʿALAWῙ ORDER AND THE STRUGGLE FOR SHAPING THE FUTURE OF ISLAM1

Besnik Sinani

Amidst a growing awareness of a ‘resurgence’ of Sufism in the contemporary world, resulting in increased scholarly publications, there are persistent questions on the nature of its teaching and practice, its relationship with or place in Islam, its politics and the methodology of its study. In a recent contribution to the field, one of the preeminent scholars of Sufism in western academia, Alexander Knysh, presents a number of challenges pertinent to our work here, especially given that he awards a generous space to the discussion of the Bā ʿAlawī order, the very same order we are discussing in this chapter. Knysh laments an overreliance of scholars on texts rather than field work on practices and performances, and he concludes in the very chapter where he examines the Bā ʿAlawis, that scholars should maintain the Islam/Sufism dichotomy, given that this dichotomy is maintained by the actors on the ground. Knysh writes: ‘No matter how much we may be opposed to artificially detaching

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Sufism from Islam, actors on the ground have been doing this and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future’.2   Maintaining such dichotomies, however, can pose a number of obstacles. Researchers on Islam will randomly encounter actors who reject these dichotomies,3 and others that will insist on new ones, where Islam/Shiʿism is only the most common that comes to mind in the midst of contemporary sectarian tensions. Wouldn’t these dichotomies risk rendering ‘Islam’ into a conceptually empty term? Wouldn’t it result in what the late Shahab Ahmad lamented as the ‘salafisation’, of the field of Islamic studies, where scholars seem to award certain manifestations of the Islamic tradition (or certain actors) as being more Islamic then others, resulting in an artificial compartmentalised study of Sufism, detached from the milieu where Sufi teachings and practices come to life?4 The question, therefore, can be posed as to whether scholars can follow the actors, as Knysh insists, while avoiding what he rightly regards as artificial detachments of Sufism from Islam.   In studying various manifestations of Islam, an increasing number of scholars have found it fruitful to employ the convergence of textual and field studies in the manner proposed by Talal Asad in his essay on the anthropology of Islam, where he urged the study of Islam as a discursive tradition. To Asad ‘[a] n Islamic discursive tradition is simply a tradition of Muslim discourse that addresses itself to conceptions of Islamic past and future, with reference to a particular Islamic practice in the present’. I follow here Muhammad Qasim Zaman’s reading of Asad in that the view suggested by Asad ‘helps avoid essentialist constructions’ of Islam, while avoiding reducing the variety of sectarian, and cultural expressions into manifestations of something other than ‘Islam’.   Zaman dwells further in his reading of Asad on analysing the conception of ‘tradition’, which is particularly helpful to us here. Quoting William Graham, ‘traditionalism’ is understood as the conviction that ‘a personally guaranteed connection with a model past, and especially with model persons, offers the only sound basis… for forming and reforming one’s society in any given age’ and it is, according to Graham, a defining feature of Islamic thought. It demonstrates, according to him, the Muslim effort to articulate authority, and evaluate claims to authority by positing and reaffirming a connection to the past.5 Therefore, the concept of tradition, Zaman argues, can serve as an analytical tool for analysing competing discourses in the Muslim public sphere, ‘in trying to understand how perceptions and imaginings of the past shape articulations of identity in the present’.6 Key to our understanding of traditionalism as exposed in the teaching of the Bā ʿAlawis is what Jonathan 158

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Brown calls the ‘late Sunni traditionalists’, by which he refers to those scholars who in modern times have argued that ‘closely following one of the accepted Sunni schools of law, believing in the medieval schools of theology… and participating in a Sufi brotherhood provides modern Muslims with all the legal, spiritual and theological tools they need to succeed’.7 It helps us in exploring the teaching and practices of Sufi orders like the Bā ʿAlawis in the complexity of their engagement in various cultural and political settings. How does the Bā ‘Alawī order articulate its place within Islam, and within competing contemporary articulations of Islamic teaching; how are Bā ʿAlawis positioned in the broader community of ‘late Sunni traditionalists’ and what is the nature of their political engagement? This chapter is based on the study of texts written by Bā ʿAlawī scholars, interviews, as well as ongoing fieldwork among Bā ʿAlawī communities in Jeddah, Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, as well as in Egypt and the United States. The Teaching of the Ancestors: The Law and the Reality In April 2016, ʿAlī al-Jifrī, a Saudi-born Yemeni scholar of the Bā ʿAlawī Sufi order, who resides in Egypt, faced a massive crowd of devotees in Sudan, where he was spending a week lecturing around the country. He told the audience of a meeting he had had many years ago in London with an Āyatullāh, a Shiʿi cleric, who had addressed him respectfully in recognition of his status as a sayyid, a descendant of Prophet Muhammad, following his manifestation of devotion with a provocative question, asking al-Jifrī why didn’t he follow the school (madhhab) of his ancestors, but had instead embraced the Shafiʿi school. He had referred to Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq8 as the ancestor, the dominant Shiʿi School of Law being named after him, while the Shafiʿi School is one of the four schools of Sunni Islam. ʿAlī al-Jifrī replied by asking: ‘How do you know you are on the path of Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq?’ The Āyatullāh had replied: ‘From Imām Mūsā al-Kāẓim’, meaning that the path of Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq has been transmitted from his descendants, among the descendants of Prophet Muhammad, all the way to the Hidden Imām, who Shiʿi Muslims believe has gone into a state of occultation. ʿAlī al-Jifrī pressed: ‘Has anyone transmitted from the Hidden Imām?’, to which he replied: ‘yes, so and so, and so and so’. Then al-Jifrī asked him, ‘Are any of them [of those transmitting from the Hidden Imām] descendants of the Prophet (from ahl al-bayt)?’, to which he replied: ‘No.’ Grabbing the loose end of his white turban, al-Jifrī told the crowd what he had told to the Āyatullāh: 159

GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Listen, this khirqa, this turban, was put on me by my teacher, ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Saqqāf, and it was put on him through his chain by his father, Ahhmad b. ʿAbd al-Rahhmān al-Saqqāf, from his teacher, ʿAlī b. Muhhammad al-HHabshi, from his teacher, Abū Bakr b. ʿAbd Allāh al-ʿAṭṭās… from his father Imām al-Muhājir ʾilā Allah Ahhmad, from his father, ʿIsa, from his father, Muhhammad al-Naqīb, from his father, ʿAlī al-ʿUrayḍī, from his father, Mūsā al-Kāẓim, from his father Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq, from his father, Muhhammad al-Bāqir, from his father ʿAlī Zayn al-‘Ābidīn, from his father, our master, the grandson [of the Prophet] HHusayn, from his father, the Imām of the First and the Last, the Gate to the City of Knowledge, ʿAlī b. Abū Ṭālib, the paternal cousin of the Prophet of God, may the Peace and Blessing of God be upon him.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  As al-Jifrī’s enumeration was approaching the names of the earliest grandchildren of Prophet Muhammad, the voices from the crowd were raised emotionally as was the voice of al-Jifrī: ‘I told him: this is entirely the chain (silsila) of the Prophetic Household, chain of gold, all of it from the Prophetic Household… We respect you, we don’t do harm to you, and we don’t excommunicate you like others among us [Sunnis] do, but hold on there… we of the ahl al-bayt have been taught that the companions of our grandfather [Prophet Muhammad] are forbidden [to be abused]’, declaring this position to be the methodology (manhaj) he stood upon.9   Remarkably, one of the common attacks of Salafi opponents against al-Jifrī, has been to accuse him of being a crypto Shiʿi. Speaking at a time when the region is witnessing sectarian tensions, however, al-Jifrī makes a case for Sunni orthodoxy while steering away from excommunication of Shiʿi Muslims. He was referring to what Sunni Muslims complain is the Shiʿi position of cursing the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad. His speech demonstrates facets of orthodoxy construction, claims of authority and markers of sectarian boundaries, that while manifested in a given geo-political context, bear testimony to historical Bā ʿAlawī conceptions of human embodiment, and transmission of knowledge and sanctity through a golden chain of ancestors (salaf).10   This ‘golden chain’ of people transmitting knowledge invests those who are part of the chain with authority, and al-Jifrī’s claim to being part of a sounder chain than that presented by the Āyatullāh stands on his claim that his chain is uninterrupted. Having been challenged to ‘follow the path of his ancestors’, al-Jifrī responds by claiming that he and his teachers represent the true teaching of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, addressing the epistemological question ‘how do you know you are on the path of Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq’, al-Jifrī claims, that as a Sunni, he represents the true teaching of the very eponyms of Shiʿism. His claim to orthodoxy is permeated by representa160

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tions of the present ‘within an authoritative narrative that includes positive evaluations of past events and persons’.11 His claim of being part of this golden chain is based on a claim to knowledge embedded in teachers who proceeded him, and vested him with the authority to transmit that knowledge, as well as in genealogy, for as the Āyatullāh had recognised, al-Jifrī is a sayyid, a descendant of Prophet Muhammad.   In his 800-page exposition of the Bā ʿAlawī teaching, Zayn b. Sumayṭ, head of the Bā ʿAlawī ribāṭ in Medina, Saudi Arabia,12 deals with the issue of what is more virtuous (afḍal), noble lineage (nasab) or knowledge (ʿilm). While he makes it clear that he holds the opinion that knowledge is more virtuous, he quotes a number of scholars among the Bā ʿAlawis and others who thought otherwise. Needless to say, Bā ʿAlawī scholars claim both noble lineage and knowledge. Zayn b. Sumayṭ describes the methodology of the Bā ʿAlawī scholars as based on Shafiʿi jurisprudence, Ashʿari theology, ‘and the teaching of the Islamic sciences, continuing this historical role of theirs from their institutions and ribāṭ from the days of old till today, preserving this methodological transmission in the teaching of the sciences, accompanied by an educational methodology of spiritual purification (tazkiyya)…’13 The Bā ʿAlawī order, he writes, agrees with other Shariʿa-based Sufi orders in their general spiritual methodologies, and is distinguished for basing its actions on knowledge of Islamic canonical texts, that being the focus and the foundational pillar of the order.14 More specifically, Bā ʿAlawis identify themselves as inwardly Shadhili and outwardly Ghazalian. It is described as inwardly Shadhili since the Shadhili way is known for focusing on awareness of divine favours and bounties resulting in gratitude (shukr), while recognising the human incapacity of serving God adequately. The path of al-Ghazali, on the other hand, is characterised by striving through prayers and hunger, and tiring the body through spiritual exercising.15   The order of the Bā ʿAlawis in the contemporary world is informed by a sense of the decline of religious life and the quality of the spiritual struggle, and that is the reason the order has modified practices and requirements to assist the seekers of the spiritual path at times when following the exemplary ways of the early eponyms of Sufism is deemed not only difficult, but for most perhaps impossible.16   For Bā ʿAlawis, the Realities of Sufism (haqīqa) cannot be attained without adherence to the Law (sharīʿa).17 The very purpose of the order (tariqa), wrote Ahhmad Mashhūr al-HHaddād,18 one of the most influential Bā ʿAlawī scholars of the late twentieth century, is to struggle against the ego and to purify it ‘by  

 

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acquiring pleasing traits of character, and to impose the Muhammadan Sharīʿa on it inwardly and outwardly, all in the way followed by our virtuous ancestors’.19 The stations and states of the spiritual journey are described employing language that bears testimony to the order’s connection to the masters of the classical Sufi tradition, especially al-Ghazali.20 Through striving and treading the spiritual path, through its stations and states, the arrival of the traveller constitutes closeness to the Divine.21 The arrival, Abū Bakr al-ʿAydarūs made clear, does not eliminate the differentiation of the Beginning-less Eternal (God) from the contingent being (human).22   Knowledge is true and beneficial only if it is translated into knowledgebased action. The ancestors serve as signs in the path of the wayfarer on the spiritual journey, serving to explain subtle points that can be realised only by those who have gnosis (maʿrifa), as their wisdom and insights are recorded in the biographies of the order. As Zayn b. Sumayṭ titles one of the chapters of his book: ‘All goodness is in the following of the ancestors’.23 First and foremost, knowledge has to be translated into personal devotion, and Zayn b. Sumayṭ provides ample examples of the vigil prayers of the ancestors and their long recitations of litanies. The efforts and trials of the ancestors are recorded for their didactic value. The days of their passing are commemorated together with their trials and achievements. Dedication to knowledge (ʿilm), personal devotion in treading the spiritual path (sulūk), and calling others to the path (daʿwa) constitute the three objectives of Bā ʿAlawī teaching (al-maqāssid al-thalātha) in their efforts to achieve closeness to God.   It is knowledge and this closeness to God that grants Bā ʿAlawī scholars the most valuable currency that attracts the crowds around them: baraka (blessing). ‘Baraka’ together with knowledge, is the answer countless people offer when asked to explain why they attend the gatherings of the Bā ʿAlawis. It is the belief that when sitting in the presence of the hhabīb, as Bā ʿAlawis are referred to by their followers, they partake in the baraka, the immense and intense blessing awarded to the gathering by the presence of the hhabīb, who is at the same time a scholar and a sayyid, combining the baraka of transmitted knowledge and noble descent.   In the most recent Bā ʿAlawī imagination, ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Saqqāf (1912– 2010) has come to represent, perhaps more than anyone else, the embodiment of the saintly life as preached by the ancestors. He is referred to as khalīfa al-aslāf, the vicegerent of the ancestors. The most influential Bā ʿAlawī scholars today trace their scholarly lineage from al-Saqqāf. The most senior Bā ʿAlawī scholar in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Abū Bakr Mashhūr wrote  

 

 

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a 600-page biography of al-Saqqāf.24 His biography is divided in two parts. The first part presents the reader with his lineage (nasab) and brief information on his teachers. The second part is dedicated to his travels and missionary work, and to the circle of scholars whose company he kept. The biography brings together the vertical links of lineage and connection with teachers who preceded him, with the horizontal links of scholarly and saintly companionship, and the geographical realm of his missionary work. It is a blueprint of the Bā ʿAlawī path: pursue learning, call others to God, and keep the company and be at the service of the pious. The geographical route of his travels marks, at the same time, locations of historical Bā ʿAlawī presence: Indonesia, East Africa, Singapore and the Gulf countries. Following the socialist regime’s purges in Hadramawt against the Bā ʿAlawis,25 al-Saqqāf moved to and settled in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia around 1972, where he is credited with establishing circles of knowledge, initially with the participation of members of the sayyid Hadrami diaspora, and later with an increasing number of admirers. From Saudi Arabia he travelled, preached and contacted fellow scholars in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Oman. Followers of the Bā ʿAlawī order in Saudi Arabia accredit him with bringing back the teaching of the order to the Hadrami diaspora, and among other circles in Hijaz, an activity that was later followed by his most celebrated students, particularly ʿAlī al-Jifrī and ʿUmar b. HHafīẓ.   ʿAlī al-Jifrī26 was one of the children from the exiled Hadrami community that studied for ten years with al-Saqqāf.27 He later travelled and studied in northern Yemen before moving to Hadramawt, where he helped establish the Dār al-Mussṭafā College. He is currently the founding director of the Taba Foundation, a centre dedicated to research and publications, with offices in both the UAE and Egypt. The Council of Scholars of the foundation include the former Mufti of Egypt, ʿAli Jumʿa, the Head of the Association for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, ʿAbdullah b. Bayyah, the late Dean of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Damascus, Ramaḍān al-Būṭī, and the late Mufti of Jordan, Nuhh al-Quḍāt. All of them are representatives of ‘late Sunni traditionalism’.   ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Saqqāf ’s students have continued his missionary activity. The author of his biography, Abū Bakr Mashhūr is credited with founding more than 80 educational institutions in Yemen, Indonesia and other parts of Asia. Younger and active preachers, like Muhhammad al-Saqqāf and Fayssal al-Kāf, host their own TV and radio shows in Gulf based satellite channels. In their hometown in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, they hold weekly lectures, gather 

 

 

 

 

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ings of devotional poetry and mawlids, teaching hadith, Prophetic biography, and texts of Sufism. The participants in these gatherings show how the Bā ʿAlawis have transcended their communal Hadrami boundaries and have become one of the most significant Sufi orders in Western Saudi Arabia. Ample time is dedicated to missionary work and travelling constantly to southeast Asia, western Europe, various parts of Africa, the United States and more recently in places like Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.   The most influential of al-Saqqāf ’s students is the current head of the order, ʿUmar b. HHafīẓ. After the assassination of his father by the socialist regime in Hadramawt, he travelled and studied in Bayḍāʾ in northern Yemen, where he studied under Zayn b. Sumayṭ, and later Saudi Arabia, where he studied with ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Saqqāf and other exiled Bā ʿAlawī scholars. The energetic missionary activity of ʿUmar b. HHafīẓ has already attracted scholarly attention. In an article based on his visit to Hadramawt in 1999, Alexander Knysh gave a vivid description of ʿUmar b. Hafīẓ:  

 

Despite his relatively young age, he was treated as the undisputed leader by all the members of his entourage… An eloquent public speaker, ʿUmar has achieved and sustained his wide popularity by constantly travelling across the country giving fiery public sermons and lectures at every stop… Simultaneously, he performed his duties as the director of Dar al-Mustafa, which was quite a task in itself, with the college enrollment of approximately 300 students at various levels of their studies… One may, in fact, speak of nothing short of a new saint cult with the usual paraphernalia described in the local hagiographic narratives: an admiring following, an irresistible personal charisma, and headship of weekly devotional gatherings… His fame has attracted hundreds of disciples from all over the Muslim world, especially from Africa, Indonesia, and Malaysia. At least a dozen of his disciples are European and North American converts to Islam… All this closely resembles the major stages of the formation of a saint’s cult as described in the biographies of the major Hadrami and Yemeni saints.28

  Since 1999, the popularity and following of ʿUmar b. Hafīẓ has increased severalfold. In March of 2017, I was invited by one of his relatives to attend some of his events in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which proved to be an exhausting experience. Students of ʿUmar b. Hafiz that I have interviewed all testify to his nightly devotional life, and very few hours of sleep. The first event of the day I attended was in the Dār al-Zahrāʾ ribāt in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at five in the morning, where he taught hadith and the qualities of people of Sufism. The rest of the day was spent teaching, visiting various people, more lecturing, a mawlid celebration, and he maintained an attentive presence at all times.29 The Dār al-Mussṭafā college that Knysh refers to was opened on the 29th of the  

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Islamic month of Dhū al-Hijja, the day his father, who had been at the time the Mufti of Tarīm, in Southern Yemen, was abducted and later executed. An institution of global reach, it is grounded in the local and personal histories of the Bā ʿAlawī sayyids. And yet, to the admirers of HHabīb ʿUmar, his personal trials and history constitute steps in the formation of his saintly persona in whose blessing they seek to partake.  

The Bā ʿAlawī order in the West In addition to historical Bā ʿAlawī presence in southeast Asia, east Africa and the Gulf, in the last decades the order has become quite prominent in the West, thanks to the missionary activity of Bā ʿAlawī preachers and a network of students and supporters. The 9/11 terrorist attacks imposed on American Muslims the challenge of countering the resulting narrative among their fellow countrymen. The answer for one of the most influential Muslim leaders in the West, Hamza Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College in California, was to present the ‘true’ and ‘authentic’ Islam, by which he meant the Islam taught in the major Muslim colleges for most of Islamic history, and prior to the encroachment of modernity in the Middle East: based on Ashʿari (or Maturidi) theology, the four legal schools, and Sufi spirituality and ethics. As part of his efforts, Yusuf and his associates introduced American audiences to those they considered the true heirs to that tradition. They invited a thirty-year-old sayyid named ʿAlī al-Jifrī to tour the United States.   Yusuf is often associated with his mentor, the Mauritanian polymath, ʿAbdullah b. Bayyah, but in earlier days he had studied with Ahhmad Mashhūr al-HHaddād. Other influential Western Muslims who studied with al-HHaddād include Omar F. Abd-Allah of the Nawawi Foundation in Chicago, and Tim Winter, a Cambridge University professor and Dean of the Cambridge Muslim College. Michael Sugich has written about the time he spent with al-HHaddād in his book Signs in the Horizon,30 bearing testimony to al-HHaddād’s influence among some of the most prominent Muslims in the West. Through these connections, al-Jifrī, ʿUmar b. HHafīẓ and other Bā ʿAlawis were introduced to wider Western audiences and to Muslim communities in the West.   Meanwhile, young Western converts who had been attracted to the message of the likes of Yusuf, Winter and Omar F. Abd-Allah and aspired to study the ‘authentic, traditional Islam’ were directed to places like Syria, Mauritania, or the Dar al-Mussṭafā college in Hadramawt. Education in these places was seen  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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as offering an alternative to Salafi universities like the University of Medina in Saudi Arabia, that was offering scholarships and promising its own version of authentic Islam. The brief online biography of one of this new generation of Islamic scholars, Yahya Rhodus, currently a doctoral student at Cambridge University and resident scholar of Maqasid Institute in the United States, is representative of the trend presented here: Shaykh Yahya Rhodus was born in Kansas City, Missouri. At the age of 19, he embraced Islam in Santa Clara, California. He began his study of Islam with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and visiting Mauritanian scholars… In 1998, Ustadh Yahya traveled to Mauritania to pursue a full-time course of study, where he learned from some of Mauritania’s greatest scholars, including the distinguished, Murabit al-Hajj. He also spent an interim period in Damascus, Syria where he received formal education in the Arabic language, grammar, and Qur’anic recitation. In 2000, Ustadh Yahya moved to Tarim, Yemen to continue his studies at the prestigious learning institute, Dar al-Mustafa. There, he spent his formative years studying with the renowned scholars, HHabībb ʿUmar bin HHafīẓ and HHabīb ʿAlī al-Jifrī, along with other local scholars.31  

 

 

 Upon return, these students founded institutions that teach, translate texts and host visiting Bā ʿAlawī teachers from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere. Other influential preachers who graduated from Dar al-Mussṭafā include the New-Jersey-born Shadee Elmasry, who wrote his PhD dissertation at SOAS on the work of ʿAbd Allah b. ʿAlawī al-HHaddād, the seventeenth-century reviver of the Bā ʿAlawī order, and the British-based founder of the Ihsan Institute, Ahmed Saad Azhari. Other institutions ‘of traditional Islam’ are involved in facilitating the spread of the Bā ʿAlawī message, even if they are not directly connected to or have studied under Bā ʿAlawī scholars, including institutions like the Madina and Maqasid Institutes in the United States, Dar al Turath al-Islami in South Africa or the Seekers Hub in Canada.   The Bā ʿAlawī activism in the West, however, has not gone unchallenged, and the links to Middle Eastern politics, as we will discuss briefly later, have cast their shadow among Muslims in the West. In 2014, Oxford University professor and proponent of a European Muslim identity, Tariq Ramadan, wrote an open letter explaining his boycott of one of the largest Muslim conferences in Canada, the RIS. He wrote:  

 

 

The problem is that some of the participants, scholars or preachers, under the guise of Sufism or in the name of avoiding partisan politics, defend highly politicised positions of support for states and dictatorships. Their silence and their inferences in the heart of the West, in Toronto or elsewhere, constitute visible support for the Gulf petro-monarchies or for despots such as al-Sissi in Egypt…

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IN THE PATH OF THE ANCESTORS They cast themselves as above the conflict, while the ‘Sufism’ they offer is highly politicised and too well adjusted to the boots of the State.32

  ʿAlī al Jifrī’s name is not mentioned in the letter but it is clear that he was one of the Sufis Tariq Ramadan had in mind, and according to followers of al-Jifrī, he has not been invited to attend the conference since. The Politics of Defining Sunni Islam Following the American invasion of Iraq, the Middle East witnessed increased political violence accompanied by sharp sectarian rhetoric. It resulted, among other things, in a soul-searching effort among some Muslims to address questions of extremism, violence and sectarianism. Even in Saudi Arabia, where establishment Wahhabism has maintained since the founding of the kingdom a monopoly on religious discourse, the religious establishment and its doctrine was openly criticised in the government-initiated National Dialogue in 2003 by scholars affiliated with the Bā ʿAlawī order.33  Bā ʿAlawi preachers like ‘Ali al-Jifrī appeared on TV channels all over the region, reminding audiences that none of those perpetrating acts of terrorism had been a Sufi. When challenged that Sufis do not engage in resistance and jihād, al-Jifrī reminded audiences of people like ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jazāʾirī, a Sufi and fighter against colonialism. When challenged that such people belonged to history, and that following the Iraq invasion Sufis were not resisting the occupation, al-Jifrī pointed to a Naqshbandi organisation in Iraq that was engaged in fighting the American occupation. The difference, al-Jifrī would point out, is that Sufis follow the ethical constrains of authentic Islam that has no room for the kind of sectarian violence and terrorist acts witnessed in the region. What was needed, he claimed, was a proper, traditional understanding of Islam, and Sufis and traditional scholars were its carriers.   One of the major initiatives at this time was the ‘Amman Message’ in 2007 aimed at addressing excommunication (takfīr) and sectarianism that was crucial to the kind of discourse that justified violence. All major Muslim scholars and heads of state signed the ‘Amman Message’. ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Saqqāf was only one of three Saudi-based scholars who signed the ‘Message’ which, remarkably, was not signed by a single scholar of the Wahhabi establishment.34 Also, in 2007, in response to a controversial lecture by Pope Benedict XVI, Muslim scholars—ʿAlī al-Jifrī among them—sent a letter to Christian leaders around the world titled ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’, emphasising the shared values and commonalities among both religions. Other confer 167

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ences, like the Mardin Conference in 2010, hosted by the renowned scholar ʿAbdullah b. Bayyah with the participation of ʿAlī al-Jifrī, addressed the scriptural sources used by extremist groups, challenging their scholarly credentials.35 Following the rise of ISIS, many of these scholars were behind the ‘Letter to Baghdadi’, which presented a scriptural refutation of the claims of the Islamic State.36   As the region entered the revolutionary phase known as the Arab Spring, however, the representatives of the ‘late Sunni traditionalism’, especially the Egyptian ʿAli Jumʿa, stood in support of the military rulers, and openly supported the bloody suppression of people protesting the overthrow of the first democratically elected, Islamist president, Muhammad Morsi.37 Later in Syria, the late Ramaḍān al-Būṭī maintained his support for the Syrian government. ʿAlī al-Jifrī appeared in the company of the Egyptian military troops at the time when they were engaged in the repression of the political opposition.38 The fact that ʿAbdullah b. Bayyah’s initiatives are supported and hosted by the government of the UAE, which was quite prominent in its efforts to defeat the elected governments in places like Egypt, charged him with guilt by association. In the eyes of many, proponents of traditionalism were guilty of one of the most serious charges in Muslim historical imagination: support for oppressive rulers. It was the kind of politics to which Tariq Ramadan had referred.   Addressing this kind of criticism, al-Jifrī argues that the Sufis accused of supporting autocratic rulers do not support the rulers, but the state. Obedience to the state, according to him, is in the origin (assl) of the relationship between the ruler and ruled in every society, regardless of whether one likes the rulers or not. This is a well-known Sunni position, he asserts, which has been challenged only in modern times by political Islam, and according to traditional Sunnism, obedience is due unless a ruler expresses open disbelief. He does not deny abuses of power and violations of human rights by rulers, and supports demands for respecting freedom of expression and human rights, but he problematises the kind of political mobilisation championed by Islamists as a mean to demand political change. His main criticism against this kind of political mobilisation, and he includes here protests, revolutions, and the use of explosives, is that they lead to violence and disorder. He points out that even in countries in the West with a long tradition of respect for human rights and freedom of expression, people are willing to forgo their civil rights for the sake of security.39   ʿAlī al-Jifrī argues that Sufis like himself support demands for freedom of expression and human rights with the condition of responsibility. Groups  

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representing political Islam, on the other hand, according to al-Jifrī, were behind the political mobilisation demanding freedom of expression in disregard of the consequences, and at the expense of the right to life and security. By blaming Islamists for the resulting violence in the various upheavals in the Middle East, he points at the alarming number of victims of conflicts across the region. He points out that in the philosophy of Islamic law, the right to life in security has a higher priority than the right of freedom of expression, and by neglecting this order of priorities, Islamists demonstrate, according to al-Jifrī, that they do not aspire to the realisation of the objectives of Islamic law, but rather use religion for political ends.40   Perhaps one of the most obvious issues with al-Jifrī’s argument, as it becomes apparent even from some objections within the Bā ʿAlawī ranks, pertains to the fact that while many would agree that the Sunni normative position proscribes rebellion against the rulers, that does not imply that scholars should serve to legitimise authoritarian regimes, by standing together with rulers accused of bloody repression of political dissent. On the contrary, the normative position that is referred to by traditionalist scholars requires keeping a distance from rulers, as being in their company is feared to have a corrupting effect. Furthermore, such arguments fail to recognise the different manifestations of political mobilisation, by equating peaceful protests with bombings, and seems to absolve regimes of their responsibility in the ongoing political violence. Furthermore, this commitment of the traditionalist camp to the classical, Ghazalian conception of political authority,41 seems to ignore the fundamental ways in which pre-modern political rule differs from the pervasiveness and the power structures of the modern state, such as its ability to control and interfere in the life of societies and individuals in ways in which the pre-modern state could not.   In late August 2016, ʿAlī al-Jifrī organised a conference in Chechnya, which, in addition to his mentor, ʿUmar b. Hafīẓ, was attended by ʿAli Jumʿa, the Sheikh of al-Azhar, Ahhmad al-Tayyib, the Mufti of Egypt, Shawqi Allam, and two hundred other global Islamic scholars, including the Mufti of Syria. The stated purpose of the conference was to define Sunni Islam, which by the end of the conference was defined as being composed of the Ashʿari or Maturidi schools in theology, the four recognised schools of law, and the path of Junayd in Sufism. The lack of any reference to HHanbalī theology or ahl al-hhadīth, or lack of any representatives from the Saudi religious establishment was seen as a clear indication of the exclusion of Wahhabism from the boundaries of Sunni Islam.42  

 

 

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  It was in many ways an impressive achievement. After Sufis have had to be apologetic about their orthodoxy for most of the twentieth century, especially given the attacks from Salafis, here they were claiming to define what it means to be a Sunni Muslim, and gather some of the most senior scholars of Islam to endorse it. But the organisation of the conference in many ways backfired, and ʿAlī al-Jifrī had to appear on TV interviews, especially in Egypt, to try to justify and to a certain extent retract the most important achievement of the conference.43 Was he being sectarian by excluding official Saudi Islam? Why had he chosen Chechnya, part of the Russian Federation, as the location of the conference at a time when Russian airplanes were bombing Muslim civilians in Syria? Even Saudi Sufis felt the need to react by criticising the exclusion of ahl al-hhadīth from the theological schools that comprise the Sunni community. In an article written by ʿAbd Allah Fadʿaq, considered by many as the public face of Saudi Sufism, he wrote that he considers it a mistake to limit the definition of Sunnism, and quoted the paper presented by Sheikh al-Azhar, Ahhmad al-Tayyib in the conference as the correct position, where in addition to the Ashʿari and Maturidi schools he added the ahl al-hhadīth, a term Wahhabis can identify with.44 The most prominent scholar to react to the location of the conference in the territory of the Russian Federation was Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the Union of Muslim Scholars, who, reflecting the divisions of Muslim scholars after the Arab Spring, had not been invited.45 ʿAlī al-Jifrī argued that there had been no exclusion and that the language was inclusive enough, and justified the choice of locality with the recent history of sectarian violence in Chechnya.   Criticism for his support for the Egyptian government and for the conference in Chechnya, however, came even from within Bā ʿAlawī ranks. Abū Bakr Mashhūr has argued that the way of the order is to avoid taking sides in intra-Muslim conflicts and to stay away from the ‘halls of politics’.46 It is a reminder, perhaps, of the difficulty of writing about ‘Sufi politics’ as if it constituted a single unified political position.   What is clear in what he wrote and in his TV interviews, however, is that for al-Jifrī the conference titled ‘Who are the ahl al-sunna’ is part of an agenda that follows previous initiatives like the ‘Amman Message’, ‘A Common Word’, and others that seek to reclaim Islam and define it in terms of the understanding of the ‘late Sunni traditionalists’. It is obvious that al-Jifrī sees this as a mission imposed by the realities of the time, and that there is an obligation on him and his peers to carry this task, as heirs of Sunni classical scholarship, and biological heirs of the Prophet Muhammad.  

 

 

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Conclusions The two events mentioned at the beginning and the end of this chapter, both in Sudan and in Chechnya, are illustrations of attempts to establish the boundaries of, and to define, Islam in the contemporary world. The claimed authority to do so is anchored in concepts of tradition permeated through notions of initiation and authorisation, canons of theological, legal and spiritual schools, as well as genealogical lineages that have come to define the Bā ʿAlawī order, and position it in the larger fabric of ‘late Sunni traditionalism’. So far from accepting an Islam/Sufism dichotomy, the Bā ʿAlawī order, with its dedication to scholarship and missionary work, constitutes part of this larger attempt to define what Islam is in our day and age, how Muslims know and evaluate its authenticity, and how this tradition responds to contemporary challenges.   Following fellow scholars of the traditionalist camp, Bā ʿAlawī scholars like al-Jifrī have stood in support of the state authorities in Middle Eastern countries, even when the security forces of these countries have been involved in brutal repression of political dissent. This position, many of them have stated, is driven by deep suspicion of Islamist political mobilisation, and the conviction that achieving security and safety in these societies should take priority over achieving personal and political rights. While scholars of the traditionalist camp have argued that their understanding of religion, rooted in tradition, provides modern Muslims with the tools they need in confronting the challenges of modernity, it is their political conception that risks appearing archaic, and unresponsive to the aspirations of Muslim masses.   The geographical presence of the order, mentioned in this chapter, bears testimony to the transnational character of the Bā ʿAlawis. Further research is needed on the nature of the transmission and transformation of their teaching in culturally diverse societies, particularly more recently in the West, on how the teaching preserved through the troubled history of the order in the twentieth century in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and later carried in southern Yemen has been negotiated and become meaningful to people from very different backgrounds. References Ahmed, Shahab, What Is Islam: The Importance of Being Islamic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). Asad, Talal, The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam (Washington, DC: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 1986).

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS ———, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993). al-‘Aydarūs, Abū Bakr, Red Sulphur (Amman: Mabda, 2015). al-Azami, Usaama, ‘How not to disown Islamist terrorism’, The Huffington Post, 16 December 2016: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/usaama-alazami/how-notto-disown-islamis_b_8823864.html Brown, Jonathan, ‘Scripture in the modern Muslim world: Quran and Hadith’ in Islam in the Modern World, edited by Jeffrey T. Kennedy and Ebrahim Moosa (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 13–34. Buehler, Arthur F., Recognizing Ṣūfism: Contemplation in the Islamic Tradition (London: IB Tauris, 2016). Fadʿaq, ʿAbd Allah, ‘man hum ahl al-sunna wa al-jama’, Al Watan, 4 September 2016: http://www.alwatan.com.sa/Articles/Detail.aspx?ArticleId=31753#.V8tQS8c CMgY.twitter Fadel, Mohammad, ‘Islamic Law and Constitution-Making: The Authoritarian Temptation and the Arab Spring’, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 53, 2 (2016), pp. 472–507. al-HHaddād, Ahhmad Mashhūr, Key to the Garden, translated by Mostafa al-Badawi (Chicago: Starlatch Press, 2003). al-HHaddād, HHāmid Ahhmad Mashhūr, al-Imām al-da’iya al-HHabīb Ahhmad Mashhūr al-HHaddād: safahāttun min hayātihi wa daʿwatihi (Amman: Dar al-Fath, 2003). al-Jifrī, ʿAli, ‘Storm in a Teacup: A Statement on the Chechnya Conference’, 30 September 2016: http://www.alhabibali.com/en/news/storm-in-a-teacupa-statement-on-the-chechnya-conference/ Kadhim, Abbas, ‘The Sunni Conference in Grozny: A Muslim intra-sectarian struggle for legitimacy’, The Huffington Post, 9 September 2016: http://www.huffingtonpost. in/entry/the-sunni-conference-at-grozny-muslim-intra-sectarian_us_57d2fa63e 4b0f831f7071c1a Knysh, Alexander, Sufism: A New History of Islamic Mysticism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017). ———, ‘The ‘Tariqa’ on a Landcruiser: The resurgence of Sufism in Yemen’, Middle East Journal 55, 3 (Summer 2001), pp. 399–414. al-Mālikī, Muhhammad ʿAlawī, al-ghuluww wa-athāruhu fi al-irhāb wa-ifsād almujtama’, Paper presented at the Saudi Arabian National Dialogue, Mecca, 2003. Mashhūr, Abū Bakr, Junī al-qatāf: min manāqib wa ahwāl al-Imām al-‘alama khalifa al-aslaf ‘Abd al-Qadir bin Ahhmad bin ʿAbd al-Rahhmān al-Saqqāf (Medina: Dar alMuhajir, 1998). ———, Khuruj min al-dair al-ahmar (Np.:2001). al-Qaradawi, Yusuf, ‘bayān samaha al-shaykh Yūsuf al-Qarḍāwī raʾis al-ittihād al-ʿalami li-l-ʿulamāʾ al-muslimīn hiwal muʾtamar ‘man hum ahl al-sunna wa al-jamaʿ’ bi jruzni’, 2 September 2016: http://iumsonline.org/ar/aboutar/nt-lnhd/n-smh-lshykh 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IN THE PATH OF THE ANCESTORS yosf-lkrdoy-rys-lthd-laalmy-laalm-lmslmyn-hol-mtmr-mn-hm-ahl-lsn-olgmaabgrozny/ Ramadan, Tariq, ‘Why I will not attend the ISNA (August 2014) and RIS (December 2014) conferences’, 10 August 2014, https://tariqramadan.com/english/whyi-will-not-attend-the-isna-august-2014-and-ris-december-2014-conferences/ Sayed, Rizwana, The Guide to the Path of Righteousness: Path of the Bani ‘Alawi (London: Sakina, 2016). Sugich, Michael, Signs in the Horizon: Meetings with Men of Knowledge and Illumination (Np.: 2013). al-Turayri, Abdul al-Wahhab, ‘Conference—Understanding Ibn Taymiyya’s Fatwa’, MuslimMatters, 29 June 2010, https://muslimmatters.org/2010/06/29/themardin-conference-%E2%80%93-a-detailed-account/ Sumayṭ, Zayn b., Manhaj al-sawī: sharh usūl ṭarīqa al-sādā bā ʿalawī (Sanaa: Dar al-ʿulum wa al-daʿwa, 2005). Zaman, Muhhammad Qasim, The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002).  

 

 

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PART III POLITICS

9

THE MAKING OF SUFISM THE GÜLEN MOVEMENT AND ITS EFFORT TO CREATE A NEW IMAGE

Florian Volm

Following the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, the Gülen Movement (or Hizmet Movement) has both been promoted as a global Sufi movement or condemned as the ‘terror organisation’ Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü (FETÖ). Turkish media outlets and the AK Parti (AKP) government, including President Erdoğan, claim that the movement is undermining the Turkish state. They assert that the movement, which is based on the ideas of Fethullah Gülen (born in 1941), is forming a ‘deep state’ (derin devlet) and following a powerpolitical and therefore anti-democratic path—resulting in the 2016 putsch attempt.1 However, it is not just political opponents vilifying the Gülen Movement, as critics denouncing various aspects of the movement can be found among all social and religious classes.2 For example, the movement’s inner hierarchy and its conservative version of Islam (including gender segregation) have been under high scrutiny essentially since the mid-2000s, in Turkey as well as in the West.3

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  When a community is undergoing a critical period and facing such allegations (as the Gülen Movement is), whether true or not, it is to be expected that they will develop strategies to minimise or eliminate critical discourse. These strategies often aim to create a different, more positive image. In the case of the Gülen Movement, one can observe various strategies corresponding with particular societal and political environments, including—most recently—its self-presentation as Sufi. Earlier, in the late 1980s and 1990s, Gülen and his followers adopted the idea of a ‘soft’ or ‘light’ Islam (ılımlı İslam), in contrast to Necmettin Erbakan’s political Islam, to gain the trust and support of the ruling powers in Turkey.4 Simultaneously, but outside Turkey, a change in the vocabulary used in non-Turkish commentary and translations of Gülen’s books gave the impression that the Movement was not actually a religious or Islamic actor at all, but merely a civil society organisation. Islamic language was replaced with humanistic and increasingly universal terms, which subsequently raised the question of whether this was tactical adaptation or merely a pragmatic way to appeal to a non-Muslim international audience. Muhammad Çetin, a Gülen follower, does not mention a single Islamic or religious expression when describing the basic principles of the movement’s activism in German.5   According to Gülen himself, the movement is present today in more than 150 countries with about 1,000 institutions,6 yet it is declining in Turkey due to the harsh government repression. Therefore, the outlook and (self-)presentation of the movement is becoming increasingly important, especially in Western states where the (Turkish-)Islamic population is a minority. The Gülen Movement has used different and dynamic images to characterise itself within this environment. In this regard, the self-description of the movement can be summarised as a faith-based, dialogue-orientated and pacifist community.7 Another, more specific (and more religious) aspect is the portrayal of the movement’s Sufism, including the characterisation of Gülen as a Sufi master and preacher. In general, this image has existed since the early days of the movement but was originally used by critics of Gülen to vilify the community by establishing a connection to the (in Turkey, prohibited) Sufi orders (­tarikat). In the early 2000s the Gülen Movement adopted the label itself to emphasise the spiritual side of the religious community. This strategy has been increasingly used over the past few years, especially since Gülen moved to the United States in 1999, and has gained new attention outside Turkey since the coup attempt. Today, positive Sufi attributions can be found in a large number of non-Turkish publications from within the Gülen Movement, turning the 178

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spotlight on the allegedly long-present Sufi foundation of the movement as well as the ‘Sufisation’ of Gülen himself.8   This chapter discusses the Gülen Movement within this spiritual Sufi context and argues that the community is currently adopting mystical elements and a Sufi self-presentation whenever useful, but rejecting those elements if they appear to have potential to harm the movement. Especially in transnational, and particularly Western, contexts, it seems that the movement is ‘making’ itself Sufi because the local population appreciates a spiritual, mystical or even esoteric outlook much more than a mainstream Islamic one. In addition, Sufism emphasises aspects of life that can be associated with universal values like tolerance (hoşgörü) and ethics (ahlak).9 Drawing on German and English texts and arguments from within the movement that are aimed at an external audience, this chapter will outline the Gülen Movement’s prevailing strategy of ‘making’ Sufism. The chapter, however, is not an elaboration upon Sufism or its typical characteristics and elements. Authors from within the Gülen Movement argue that Gülen himself practises a Sufi lifestyle according to traditional-Islamic and Turkish-Islamic interpretations and within a framework of prevailing orthodoxy.10 Being Sufi without the Structure of a Tarikat Looking back on the history and emergence of the Gülen Movement, one can observe different Sufi attributions or even similarities with a Sufi order (­tarikat). Those characterisations, however, are not consistently present. As a classic Turkish-Islamic community (cemaat), the movement originated in the 1960s from a spiritual Sufi tradition, but with some contemporary and also formal adjustments.11 Over time and during the movement’s period of growth within Turkey in the 1980s, it distanced itself from those origins, presenting itself as a modern and secular agent without any tarikat affiliation.12 This strategy generally has not changed, which at first seems to contradict this chapter’s argument. To resolve this issue, one needs to differentiate between a Sufi order and a Sufi way of life.   Since 1923, all Sufi orders in Turkey have been prohibited, though they continued to exist underground and, in the interests of tourism (specifically, the attraction of whirling dervishes), even appear to have been decriminalised. Nevertheless, critics of the Gülen Movement have used the ‘Sufi order’ label since the early 1970s to imply some sort of illegality inherent to the movement.13 Due to the connection between the movement and the illegal organi 179

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sational structure of a tarikat, the followers of Gülen rejected the comparison. Furthermore, a traditional order is associated with attributes that Turkish society disapproves of, including a strong hierarchy, patriarchy, limitation of individuality and the existence of a leading and unquestioned sheikh (şeyh). To this day those aspects are rejected by the Gülen Movement, which states that Gülen himself has never claimed to be a sheikh or leader of the community, but only a source of ideas.14 If anything, their self-portrayal compares the structure of the Gülen community to the model of a grassroots movement, thereby emphasising the alleged loose and de-centralised connection between individual, but spiritually united, institutions.15 To underline the argument, it should be noted that the Gülen Movement does not maintain a tekke or similar facilities.   The movement’s strategy of ‘making’ Sufism thus focuses on the personal rather than the structural. It seems preferable to take on central Sufi elements on an individual level but to keep a distance from the appearance of a tarikat due to its unpopular associations. Gülen also stresses that he lives according to Sufi standards but has never belonged to a Sufi order.16 Consequently, this chapter will now examine the various Sufi elements adopted by the Gülen Movement, either by conviction or for tactical reasons. Being Sufi and Distanced from Worldliness For Gülen, Sufism on a personal level also includes privacy (halvet) and seclusion (uzlet) from the world in general and, in particular, from worldly pleasures, in order to focus solely on the spiritual and ascetic elements in life.17 ‘Worldly pleasures and delights’ can comprise everything from sexual desire to political power to financial wealth. Gülen himself sets a positive example by living in a ‘closet-sized room’, spending all his money on noble causes and all his time on worship.18 Even more interesting is the constructed image behind the rejection of the physical world and its assets. By calling on his followers to stay away from all profane (or more specifically, non-Islamic) things it appears as though the Gülen Movement rejects any involvement with earthly politics, power and authority, and is only interested in God, worship and the hereafter. This effect is intensified by the usage of metaphorical vocabulary. Frequently, Gülen talks about the Sufi as a traveller (yolcu) on earth waiting for the move to another world; equally often he compares this world to a bridge (köprü) that leads to God.19 Hence, the accentuation of personal austerity suggests that neither Gülen nor his supporters seek to 180

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devote themselves to any sort of power-political goal or end—which makes all allegations concerning a deep state or a hidden agenda seem rather absurd. On the contrary, the Gülen Movement appears to be a secluded and even austere movement due to its Sufi-inspired disengagement from worldly affairs.   Despite this turning away from the physical world and its benefits and rewards, the followers of Fethullah Gülen are nevertheless encouraged to engage with society and accomplish charitable deeds. At first glance, this social activism seems to contradict Gülen’s understanding of ascetic seclusion. Nevertheless, it is still in line with those principles if one reinvests profits for the benefit of society. Being Sufi and Inclined to Education and Knowledge Gülen often speaks, in accordance with traditional Sufi interpretations, of two books that are essential for understanding God and Islam: the holy book of the Qurʾan (kutsal kitabı) and the book of the universe or nature (kainat kitabı or tabiat kitabı).20 According to Gülen’s view, every human and every true believer needs to study both books to be able to fully grasp God and His creation. The book of nature is of utmost importance here, with its appeal to conduct scientific activities and research. In the long term, only those who equip themselves with the tools of science, education and knowledge are able to read this book, and ultimately all of God’s manifestations in this world. Gülen therefore equates being Sufi with engaging in science, going to school, receiving a university diploma, and in turn teaching and educating others or even building schools and universities. So far, the Gülen Movement has built more than 136 charter schools in the US and even more private tutoring institutions.21 It can thus be said that supporters of the Gülen Movement are indeed highly educated and well-qualified across different fields ranging from medicine to architecture and business administration. This very practical and publicly perceptible interpretation of a Sufi idea blends in perfectly, superficially at least, with a secular and progressive understanding of education and science and ensures a positive awareness and image of the Gülen Movement in public. Ercan Karakoyun, main representative of the Gülen Movement in Germany, even speaks of Fethullah Gülen as a ‘Sufi education-moderniser’.22 According to Marcia Hermansen, Sufi groups and orders in the US in general enjoy a high reputation among American media outlets especially due to their engagement in the field of education.23   Representatives of the movement claim that Islam and science are not mutually exclusive, but at the same time omit to mention that Gülen himself 181

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approves of ‘Western science’ (bilim) only if it does not contradict Islamic science (ilim). If it does, Islamic science always maintains sovereignty. Furthermore, he emphasises that all science originates from the Qurʾan, which implies that the prerogative of interpretation always remains within Islamic contexts.24 In non-Turkish statements and texts this not inconsiderable distinction has remained mostly unmentioned and is by and large translated simply as ‘science’. Without further contextualisation and specification by external authors, the Gülen Movement has thus managed to establish a self-presentation outside Turkey as a secular and education-oriented Sufi movement, while hiding critical points such as the denial of Darwin’s theory of evolution.25 Being Sufi and Supportive of Global Moral Standards One focus in Sufism, which is true for mystical religiosity in general, is on a particular moral and ethical vision (ahlak) when it comes to the relationship between the adherent and his environment.26 On that basis, Sufism states that God can be witnessed in all things (including all creation and therefore also non-Muslims), which is why everybody and everything on earth has to be treated fairly and respectfully—moral indifference is not an option.27 In practical terms this means that human actions and intentions should always be executed in accordance with God’s creation and out of moral purity, thus establishing a link to the aforementioned disengagement from worldly aims. Gülen wants his followers to be honourable and respectful (sıdk) in social interactions at any time and to help those in need, such as poor people, widows and orphans. In that respect he also mentions generosity, munificence, modesty, trustworthiness and mercifulness.28 To strengthen these ethical instructions Gülen also emphasises individual humility (tevazu) when speaking of the relationship of a Sufi to the world (meaning God’s creation). Foundational points of Gülen’s definition here are the ability to forgive and make peace with your enemies, to act in favour of the benefit of society in general (not just Muslim or Turkish society) and to eventually suppress one’s own ego and desires. This theoretical framework is furthermore complemented by Gülen’s call for good deeds out of moral responsibility (ihsan).29   In Turkish texts, especially Gülen’s own, virtue (fazilet) or even chastity is often added as an important attribute, which mostly concerns the relationship (or distance) between men and women and is associated with topics such as appropriate clothing. In Gülen’s view these ethical characteristics originate from Islam and are regarded as core values of the inner jihad, represented by 182

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the prophet himself. Following this argument, even human rights and secular constitutions can be traced back to the Qurʾan, or would not exist today without it.30   Looking at these moral standards from an external or non-Muslim perspective, and despite the strict reliance on Islamic sources, it seems as if Gülen and the Gülen Movement accept and promote human rights and global moral standards without limitations. Generally, human rights are linked to basic freedoms such as freedom of speech and the development of the individual, and hence the moral set of Gülen’s teachings appears very eclectic and therefore appealing to Western societies. In fact, Hermansen posits that these ethical standards and humanistic ideals are the main reason for the positive outlook and perception of Sufi movements and orders in the United States. Especially after 9/11, Sufis in general are depicted in public discourse as the ‘good’ and ‘moderate’ Muslims within the Islamic community.31   Only if one takes a closer look can one observe limitations of the Islamic ethics of the Gülen Movement. The freedoms are in fact limited to personal matters not dealt with in the Qurʾan or not accepted within Islamic tradition. This mainly concerns the members of the Gülen Movement, their individual decisions and development, and includes a strict focus on traditional heterosexual relationships: the individual must orient him or herself towards the aims of the community and the norms of a conservative reading of the Qurʾan and Sunnah, thereby supressing her or his own wishes or, in Gülen’s words, ego.32 In the movement’s non-Turkish texts these limitations and strictures are not mentioned, which gives the impression that the Sufi-based moral standards of the Gülen Movement roughly cohere with liberalism and individualism, keywords whose positive connotations lead to the positive perception the movement enjoys. Being Sufi and Open to Interfaith Dialogue According to Gülen and his supporters, the aforementioned core moral theme of Sufism not only creates the basis for mutual understanding but also promotes and enables interfaith dialogue (dinler arası diyalog) in everyday life. Especially the Islamic guidelines that seem to be designed to improve social life find an application-oriented interpretation when it comes to the peaceful co-existence with other (at least, Abrahamic) religions. In this respect, Christianity and Judaism are regarded as theological partners because of their shared monotheism and prophets of the Old and New Testaments. 183

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Furthermore, overlaps and common objectives can be found in the most basic moral principles concerning the social and sexual life of the believers (securing of modesty, marriage and so forth). In Gülen’s view, it is of utmost importance not to overemphasise the differences between the three religions but to concentrate on the similarities and to ultimately form a strong ‘unity and community’ (birlik ve beraberlik).33 Particularly in Christian-influenced or Christian-shaped states (or rather, states where the Muslim population is a minority) the Gülen Movement presents itself as committed to interfaith dialogue and a transcendent unity of religion due to its Sufi and spiritual nature. The Sufi character appears to be inevitably linked to the acceptance and fostering of interfaith relations and cooperation, which is also revealed in the names of many institutions, ranging from the ‘Rumi Forum for Interfaith Dialogue and Intercultural Understanding’ (Washington DC) to the ‘Mevlana Rumi Mosque & Dialogue Centre’ (London). Both organisations cleverly play with the link between the names of famous Sufi poets and terms with positive connotations like understanding and dialogue. Combining both elements seems to play positively with the general public, especially in nonMuslim majority societies, and is therefore a frequent feature of the movement’s non-Turkish publications.   However, the movement does not mention the lack of an intra-Muslim dialogue (iç diyalog). Not only is there no interaction with Shiite groups or Arab Sunni Muslims, there is also no evidence of collaboration or cooperation with other Islamic movements in Turkey, but rather rivalry.34 It should also be mentioned here that the Gülen Movement has not managed to establish any institutions in countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia. From this point of view, the efforts to foster peaceful dialogue with Christianity and Judaism appear to function as merely a marketing or publicity tool to gain the acknowledgement of Western non-Muslim societies and politicians. By preventing any dialogue with other Islamic groups (though bearing in mind that the other side may also not be interested in dialogue), the movement can be criticised for trying to promote itself as the sole representative of the Muslim community and the exclusive contact partner for Muslim relations in the respective countries. Being Sufi Means Being Modern and Secular A topic often discussed in the non-Muslim world is the so-called ‘development’ of Islam and the question of how Islam and Muslim communities can 184

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adapt to modern standards. In Western popular perception, mainly ultraconservative Muslims wearing long beards and traditional clothing gain attention; their rigid lifestyle, outlook and language dominate the discussions and media reports. As an allegedly Sufi-based community, the followers of the Gülen Movement primarily focus on the inner self and on distancing themselves from worldly matters—in contrast to many Salafi Muslims, for example. From a different perspective, this also means that Gülen supporters do not feel the need to always present themselves publicly as specifically Muslim. Nancy E. Gallagher mentions that, until a few decades ago, Gülen followers appeared solely as Muslims whereas today they present themselves according to their level of education as academics, doctors and so forth, but not as religious people.35 The only exception is the headscarf for Muslim women. The aforementioned disengagement from worldly affairs allows the followers of the Gülen Movement to live a pious life within the community, their family and other suitable spaces. At the same time, they can adapt to local and secular standards outside of these spheres, which results in their engagement in interfaith and intercultural dialogue, participation in political parties or sports clubs, or simply the wearing of jeans and sneakers.36 In addition, the focus on living according to moral standards that are not exclusively identifiable as Islamic but as universal makes it possible ‘to act Muslim’ without stating or accentuating it. Considering the fact that most (young) followers outside Turkey are born in Western countries, have passed through local school systems and been socialised in ‘Western’ societies or according to ‘modern’ standards, this is not adaption but rather an expected process or outcome. Hermansen characterises this modern and progressive outlook of many Sufi groups as essential for the positive perception and reputation they enjoy in the United States and the non-Muslim world in general.37 According to one author from the Gülen Movement, one of many reasons why Salafi and Wahhabi Muslims reject Sufi thinking, and therefore also the practices of the Gülen Movement, is their engagement with the modern (and in this case non-Muslim) world.38   In this respect ‘being Sufi’ and ‘being modern’ can also be translated into ‘being secular’, meaning that every Gülen supporter lives according to conservative Islamic principles for her- or himself and for the own community without imposing or forcing them on the outside world. The focus on one’s own person and group away from worldly matters not only implies that they are neither trying to proselytise other people nor convert the believers of another religion, but further stands for the ability to accept or even internalise  

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(non-religious) national laws, regulations and constitutions, and consequently the separation between religion and state. The followers of Gülen generally receive those laws, foremost freedom of expression and freedom of religion, well, and see them as an opportunity to live a predominantly unrestricted Islamic life and not to intervene with state authority. Their goal is not to establish an Islamic State or a new Turkish-Islamic Caliphate, but to lead lives according to predetermined values and norms.   This point has been very important regarding the Turkish origin of the Gülen Movement and the political landscape in Turkey to this day. Shortly after the foundation of the Turkish Republic, all Sufi orders were prohibited and officially closed, resulting in a shift of all Sufi activities underground, as has already been discussed. The newly established laicism (laiklik) favoured a state-controlled Islam over a diverse religious landscape, thereby reducing the possibilities for individual religiosity, in public at least. Multiple military coups since the 1960s further reduced the position of religious actors in general (save during the era of the Turkish-Islamic synthesis in the 1980s). Islamic communities had no other alternative than to comply with state guidelines and practise their individual dispositions in private. Any possible ‘secularisation’ of the Gülen Movement can thus be described as a special feature of Turkish Sufi Islam, originating in the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of the Republic of Turkey. Being Sufi and Aware of the Positive Outlook Having analysed the practical and beneficial aspects of the Sufi image of the Gülen Movement, it becomes clear that each of them—jointly and separately—can serve as an attractive feature for the recruitment of new followers, or—even more so—for the positive reception of the movement, primarily in non-Muslim and non-Turkish countries. Non-Turkish texts especially, from the inner perspective, overwhelm the reader with positively connoted expressions lending the movement an aura of peace, spirituality and love. Gülen himself links Sufism continuously to words such as heart (kalb), love (sevgi) and mercy (merhamet).39 Other authors speak of tolerance (hoşgörü) and brotherliness (kardeşlik) when dealing with Gülen’s understanding of Sufism.40 The aggregation of all these positive aspects under the general term ‘Sufism’ makes it possible not to name all the (allegedly) good characteristics of the movement and its supporters separately, but rather to subsume them all under one meaningful catchword. 186

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  The Gülen Movement has even managed to eliminate any negatively or critically viewed connotations linked to the umbrella term of Sufism. The explicit disassociation from a traditional tarikat is a crucial example of this strategy. Despite emphasis on the Sufi character, the Gülen Movement does not want to be perceived as a Sufi order or affiliated with sheikh-like structures because of the negative connotations associated with this in Turkey—limitation of individuality, strong hierarchy and leadership, and so forth.41 If, however, the positive aspects of Sufism, such as spirituality, ethics and selflessness should be highlighted, Gülen supporters still do not shy away from underlining their strong Sufi background and identity.   From this perspective, it seems that the movement ‘cherry-picks’ the Sufi elements that guarantee positive perceptions and consequent support of the local population, while rejecting everything that could portray the Gülen Movement in a bad light. This procedure resembles tactical manoeuvring according to external and non-influenceable conditions. In the case of the Gülen Movement, societal preferences also determine the constructed image of the religious community, since Sufism in the non-Muslim world appears to be much more popular than any other Islamic tradition, especially in the United States.42   In Muslim countries and especially in Turkey, the Movement’s self-portrayal as a spiritual Sufi movement does not guarantee any positive perception, which brings us back to the external and non-influenceable factors in each particular context. Since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, all Sufi orders have been banned, with the Bektaşi Order having already been dissolved by decree of the sultan in 1826. The orders are still forbidden by law today (although decriminalised), which has given them certain negative connotations surrounding illegality and mistrust—perceptions that remain when speaking of the Gülen Movement as a Sufi community. Owing to this, the movement does not present itself as being Sufi in Turkish contexts or publications. In Gülen’s most prominent books in Turkish, Kalbin Zümrüt Tepeleri (Emerald Hills of the Heart, four volumes), there is no immediate connection to Sufism (tasavvuf) to be found; it is not even mentioned in a single subtitle. However, looking at English translations of these books, the title Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism instantly catches the eye. The original title ‘Emerald Hills of the Heart’ is added only as a subtitle. The same holds true for German editions. Here, different image strategies are rooted in differing requirements, leading to a positive or otherwise negative outlook depending on the society and politics of the target audience. 187

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Being Sufi and Adopting the Role of the Victim The beginnings of a recent development in the self-presentation of the movement can be traced back to 2013, the year in which the coalition between the AKP (Erdoğan’s party) and the Gülen Movement ended. It has gained additional momentum since the 2016 coup attempt and the subsequent allegations that Gülen and his group were responsible for it. Whatever the reasons for the split, the ensuing effect on the Gülen community was severe, at the structural as well as the individual level. As tragic as the course of events was, these negative developments and accusations also provided new opportunities and capabilities regarding the (positive) reputation of the Gülen Movement outside Turkey and especially in Christian-influenced or Christian-shaped states. Western news magazines and media outlets were full of reports on Erdoğan’s harsh measures against alleged putschists and enemies of the state. Overall, these reports drew the (indeed realistic) picture of an authoritarian head of state exacting vengeance on innocent people and citizens.   Based on these impressions, the followers of Gülen in Germany were quick to draw comparisons to the holocaust (a questionable strategy for obvious reasons). Another strategy was to depict themselves as peaceful and innocent Muslims in contrast to Erdoğan and his radical cohorts, which was similar to the image management of the late 1980s and 1990s and the idea of a ‘soft’ or ‘light’ Islam (ılımlı İslam). In order to distance themselves from Erdoğan’s political and restrictive Islam, the followers of the Gülen Movement chose to strengthen and broaden their Sufi image. Karakoyun, for example, labels the divergent understandings of Islam of Erdoğan and Gülen as ‘state-Islam’ and ‘Sufi-Islam’ respectively.43 In line with this, Gülen is nowadays called a Sufi master whereas President Erdoğan is understood as an Islamist politician.   The aim seems clear: the Gülen Movement is trying to use the Sufi image to build or construct an identity that is connected to ideas with positive connotations: peacefulness, sincerity, morality and—above all—lack of interest in political action. Currently, this image blends in perfectly with the political situation in Turkey and enables the supposed ‘Gülen Sufis’ to portray themselves as the innocent victims and scapegoats of a political Islam. By referencing Sufism, the Gülen Movement also links itself to larger contexts and joins all tarikatlar that have been prohibited and therefore marginalised since the foundation of the Turkish Republic. Even though the movement does not want to be characterised as a Sufi order, it seems to be quite beneficial to do so when it helps to amplify the role of victim. 188

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Conclusion: Sufism as a Tool to Adapt to Changing Environments Throughout its history since the 1960s, the Gülen Movement has made consistent efforts to establish a positive and appealing image in accordance with the circumstances dictated by the societies and political environments in which the movement operated, to secure the continued existence and sustainable growth of the community in the long term. In the historical context of the young Turkish Republic, this image technique and construction of an outer sphere made good sense and helped the pious Gülen followers, and essentially all cemaatler in Turkey, to establish an inconspicuous appearance. It further enabled them to live according to Islamic principles despite the laicist structures and the restriction of religion to mosques and the private sphere. Later, during the international expansion of the Gülen Movement from the 1990s onwards, the strategy of a modern and secular outlook was a crucial factor for the successful integration into non-Muslim societies, especially in Western Europe and the US. Back in Turkey, Gülen’s seemingly soft or light Islam led to support from the governments of Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel (1991–3) and later Prime Minister Tansu Çiller (1993– 6).44 Even under Erdoğan and his pro-Islamist politics, the Gülen Movement continued to adhere to this strategy. The inner life of the Gülen Movement is characterised by a pious and conservative way of life, strong gender segregation, and a focus on the group rather than the individual. Life outside the community, however, follows non-Muslim regulations, modern education and democratic standards, and lacks any discernible Islamic outlook. The focus on this inner-outer approach appears to have been an effective marketing tool to adapt to changing environments and shifting social (and political) standards.45 Turam calls this outer sphere a window site, thus stressing the construction of a partly artificial image.46 Critics of the movement prefer to speak of a ‘twofaced’ (ikiyüzlü) movement and emphasise its ambiguity (and even duplicitousness).47 In the end, non-supporters are mostly only able to observe the outer domain of the Gülen community, which makes it very hard to determine exactly how conservative the supporters live when out of the public eye.   Outside Turkey, and mainly in western Europe and the US, the Gülen Movement seems to reinforce this dualistic approach due to Islam facing more prejudice and negative connotations there than in Turkey. The rise of the Islamic State as the incarnation of a political and violent Islam, as well as the authoritarian turn of President Erdoğan in Turkey, have intensified the situation. The issue has become even more pressing in light of the post-coup devel 

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opments and repression within Turkey since July 2016. Components such as the distancing from worldly matters and politics, the support for modern education, the focus on universal moral standards (based on Islam, from the movement’s perspective), the engagement in interfaith and intercultural dialogue (with Christians and Jews) and the inclusion in secular spheres without challenging them are all features that make such an Islamic movement appear attractive to non-Muslim and secular societies. It is easier and more convenient for the Gülen Movement to condense all these positive elements into ‘Sufism’, serving as an umbrella term for many positive, yet cherry-picked, singular aspects. Each aspect of the emphasis of mystical and spiritual items within this image technique is eventually aimed at securing a positive outlook in Western (and partly ‘Islam-critical’) societies, and blends in with the historical victim role of Sufi groups in the late Ottoman Empire and the young Turkish Republic. Any possible negative Sufi characteristics such as a strong hierarchy, the role of the sheikh, and patriarchal gender segregation within the movement are never mentioned or even denied in public. Since negative Sufi connotations are historically charged in Turkey, the movement is ‘making’ itself Sufi only outside Turkey, where Sufism is measured positively, with the goal of living a conservative Islamic life without being conceived of as Muslim, or at least being viewed as ‘good Muslims’.   As the cherry-picking of single spiritual elements and their chosen presentation in relation to the societal environment have increased since the coup attempt in 2016, it can be said that the Gülen Movement is ‘making’ itself Sufi out of strategic necessity. Gülen’s ideas and their practical implementation by his followers certainly exhibit aspects of Sufism and can be linked to a spiritual background and foundation linked to Gülen’s career. Nevertheless, it would be an exaggeration to speak of the Gülen Movement as a Sufi movement. There neither exist traditional zikir ceremonies, identifiably Sufi styles of clothing, nor elements typical of other Sufi movements. Therefore, the Gülen Movement is Sufi-esque but not truly Sufi, which is why internal texts written before the coup attempt speak of Fethullah Gülen as a ‘Sufi in his own way’,48 a ‘contemporary Sufi’ (çağdaş bir sufi)49 or a ‘Post-Sufi’.50 In any case, the movement can also be described as a representative of a post-tarikat-Sufism.51 References Agai, Bekim, Zwischen Netzwerk und Diskurs: Das Bildungsnetzwerk um Fethullah Gülen (geb. 1938): Die flexible Umsetzung modernen islamischen Gedankenguts (Schenefeld: EB-Verlag, 2004).

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THE MAKING OF SUFISM Beşer, Faruk, Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi’nin Fıkhını anlamak (Istanbul: Ufuk Kitap, 2006). Bulaç, Ali, Din-Kent ve Cemaat: Fethullah Gülen Örneği (Istanbul: Ufuk Kitap, 2008). Camcı, Selçuk and Kudret Ünal, Fethullah Gülen’in Konuşma ve Yazarlarında Hoşgörü ve Diyalog İklimi (Izmir: Merkür Yayıncılık, 1999). Can, Eyüp, Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi ile Ufuk Turu (Istanbul: AD Yayıncılık, 1996). Çetin, Muhammed, Hizmet: Fragen und Antworten zur Gülen-Bewegung (Frankfurt am Main: Main-Donau-Verlag, 2013). ———, The Gülen Movement: Civic Service without Borders (New York: Blue Dome Press, 2010). Çetinkaya, Hikmet, Fethullah Gülen’in 40 Yıllık Serüveni (Istanbul: Cumhuriyet Kitapları, 2010). Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı, Dini İstismar Hareketi FETÖ/PDY: Olağanüstü Din Şurası Kararları (Ankara: Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı Yayınları, 2016). Ergene, M. Enes, Geleneğin Modern Çağa Tanıklığı: Gülen Hareketinin Analizi (Istanbul: Yeni Akademi Yayınları, 2005). Gallagher, Nancy E., ‘Hizmet Intercultural Dialogue Trips to Turkey’, in Sophia Pandya and Nancy E. Gallagher, The Gülen Hizmet Movement and its Transnational Activities: Case Studies of Altruistic Activism in Contemporary Islam (Boca Raton: BrownWalker Press, 2012), pp. 73–93. Gülen, M. Fethullah, Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism: Emerald Hills of the Heart, Volume 1 (New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2009). ———, Asrın Getirdiği Tereddütler 3 (Istanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011). ———, Çağ ve Nesil 3: Yitirilmiş Cennete Doğru (Istanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011). ———, İnancın Gölgesinde 2 (Istanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011). ———, ‘Fethullah Gulen: Turkey’s Eroding Democracy’, New York Times, http:// www.nytimes.com/2015/02/04/opinion/fethullah-gulen-turkeys-eroding-democracy.html?_r=1 Heck, Paul, ‘Mysticism as Morality: The Case of Sufism’, The Journal of Religious Ethics 34, 2 (2006), pp. 253–286. Hendrick, Joshua D., Gülen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World (New York: New York University Press, 2013). Hermansen, Marcia, ‘American Sufis and American Islam: From Private Spirituality to the Public Sphere’ in Kazan University, Islamic Movements and Islam in the Multicultural World: Islamic Movements and Formation of Islamic Ideologies in the Information Age (Kazan: Kazan Federal University Publishing House, 2014), pp. 189–208. Kalyoncu, Mehmet, A Civilian Response to Ethno-Religious Conflict: The Gülen Movement in Southeast Turkey (Somerset: The Light, 2008). Karakoyun, Ercan, Die Gülen-Bewegung: Was sie ist, was sie will (Freiburg: Herder, 2017).  

 

 

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Koç, Doğan, ‘Gülen’s Interpretation of Sufism’, Second International Conference on Islam in the Contemporary World: The Fethullah Gülen Movement in Thought and Practice, Oklahoma, 3 November 2006. Koç, Doğan, Strategic Defamation of Fethullah Gülen: English vs. Turkish (Lanham: University Press of America, 2012). Sarıtoprak, Zeki, ‘Fethullah Gülen: A Sufi in His Own Way’, in M. Hakan Yavuz and John L. Esposito, Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gülen Movement (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2003), pp. 156–169. Seufert, Günter, Überdehnt sich die Bewegung von Fethullah Gülen? Eine türkische Religionsgemeinde als nationaler und internationaler Akteur (Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, 2013). Sönmez, İ. Adil, Fethullah Gülen Gerçeği: Hukukî Gerçekler Işığında Hoşgörü ve Uzlaşma Aksiyonu Hakkında Bir İnceleme (Izmir: Kaynak Yayınları, 1998). Taşkın, Yüksel, ‘Gülenciler. Dinsel milliyetçilik ve ulus-aşırı dinamizm arasında sıkışan bir hareket’, Birikim 282 (2012), pp. 26–32. Turam, Berna, Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007). Ünal, Ali, and Alphonse Williams, Advocate of Dialogue (Fairfax: Fountain, 2000). Volm, Florian, Die Gülen-Bewegung im Spiegel von Selbstdarstellung und Fremdrezeption. Eine textuelle Performanzanalyse der Schriften der BefürworterInnen (Innenperspektive) und KritikerInnen (Außenperspektive) (Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2018). Yavuz, M. Hakan, Toward an Islamic Enlightenment: The Gülen Movement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). Yücel, Salih, ‘Gülen as a Spiritual Leader in a Global Context’ in Salih Yücel and İsmail Albayrak, The Art of Coexistence: Pioneering Role of Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet Movement (New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2015), pp. 109–129.  

 

 

 

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10

SOUNDING SUFI SUFI-ORIENTED MESSAGES ON SWEDISH PUBLIC SERVICE RADIO

Simon Stjernholm

There are multiple examples of how Sufism has been promoted as a ‘good’, ‘moderate’ and ‘tolerant’ version of Islam in contrast and opposition to ‘intolerant’ and ‘radical’ articulations. Such promotion has been carried out by representatives of Sufi movements, state actors in various countries, and others.1 Often, projects of promoting or sponsoring Sufism have aimed to counter perceived threats of ‘radical Islam’, ‘terrorism’ or ‘Wahhabism’. The kind of discourse that constructs Sufism as a counterweight to such ills tends to emphasise its potential positive contributions to larger collectives or projects such as nation-states or democracy promotion.2 Yet Sufism is also constructed as ‘good religion’ in less grand public ways, such as promoting freely chosen individual religiosity and cultural resources drawn from Sufi tradition.   This chapter contributes to the study of public incorporation of Islam and Muslims in non-Muslim societies by investigating Sufi-oriented messages in a

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highly unconventional genre of Muslim oratory: religious Morning Services broadcast on Swedish Radio’s (SR) channel P1.3 It analyses Morning Services delivered by Muslims with particular attention to how Sufi-oriented ideas, concepts, and authoritative figures are incorporated into speakers’ messages. The material studied comprises Morning Services broadcast during 2013 and 2014 whose speaker was identified as Muslim, a total of 56 broadcasts. This particular period was chosen in order to have a body of material representative of a delimited period and which included a variety of speakers. The period furthermore saw the presence of a high volume of public debates related to Islam and Muslims, for example due to a 2014 general election where the anti-Muslim nationalist Sweden Democrat party made electoral gains, and also due to an increase in refugees from predominantly Muslim countries. Media genre, speakers, and sound The radio show in focus here has been broadcast since 1930 and is one of the oldest SR shows still active. It is currently broadcast each weekday morning at 05:45–05:55 and is estimated to have around 60,000 listeners. Its name, ‘The Morning Service’ (morgonandakten), was once chosen because it reflected a particular church liturgy, but with time it has often come to signify this radio show rather than the liturgy itself.4 In the formal ‘order’ of the show from SR’s leadership to the responsible section manager, it is described as ‘a ritual which includes prayer and blessing and which focuses on a read section from the Bible or the Qur’an’. It further states that a Morning Service speaker should ‘give a personal interpretation’, that the show ‘contains music’, and that it must ‘speak to all of P1’s audience and direct itself to listeners who are interested in religion and philosophy’.5 The name of the show illustrates a history where there have been discussions regarding to what extent the show should ‘reflect’ existing religious communities in Sweden or rather adapt to and make more professional use of the media form as such.6 The latter tendency has largely prevailed, although the relatively recent development of inviting non-Christian speakers shows an ambition to reflect the multi-religious reality of contemporary Sweden. Non-Christian speakers—in practice Jews and Muslims— were first invited to contribute in 2004, since ‘it should be heard’ on SR that Sweden is a multi-religious society.7 SR’s first diversity policy was adopted in 2002, a fact that likely affected the timing of this decision.8 This means that, Jewish and Muslim speakers are now heard on a radio show defined as ‘a ritual’ and originally conceptualised as exclusively Christian. 194

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  The development whereby societal institutions, including religion, are increasingly shaped by the media has been theorised as the mediatisation of culture—including religion.9 While there is a degree of freedom for speakers regarding what to say and how to say it, genre and media type limit this freedom. The show’s producers, among them freelance journalists, invite the speakers by way of personal recommendation or based on the reputation an individual has built through civil society networks. These speakers are not selected by Swedish Muslim communities or due to their formal religious education. They cannot be said to be representative of Swedish Muslims. Rather, they have been approached by the show’s producers as individuals presumed to have something relevant and genre-appropriate to say. The dialectic of incorporation of individual voices on the one hand and genre-bound regulation on the other makes SR’s Muslim Morning Services an interesting case of mediatised religious discourse.   The public sounds of religiosity have their particular context-bound challenges and potentials.10 Being a sonic production, the genre of Morning Services is not only defined by its discursive content, but also by its aural characteristics. It is worth asking how the particular affordances of the Morning Service genre potentially influence speakers’ modes of representing Muslim religiosity.11 Aurally, the show is very calm and introspective. Some speakers use a ‘poetic’ manner of speaking, occasionally even lowering their voice to an intimate whisper. It is reasonable to assume that aural genre characteristics might make certain types of religious messages more easily incorporated than others. Sufism in Sweden While there exists a relatively rich literature (for a small language) in Swedish translations of classical Sufi literature, little research has been carried out on Sufi-oriented practices and actors in Sweden. In literature on Western Sufism, the artist Ivan Aguéli (d. 1917) has often been mentioned as a pioneering figure.12 Moreover, after Inayat Khan visited Sweden in 1924, a branch of the Sufi Movement was established in Stockholm under the leadership of Elsa ‘Ulma’ Haglund (d. 1943). This branch, which was the first example of organised Sufism in Sweden, was active until the 1990s. The Sufi Movement’s participants were not required to identify as Muslims; they devoted themselves to ‘universal worship’, where various texts, prayers, rites from various religious traditions were used.13 Although a pioneer group in 195

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the history of Sufism in Sweden, it is not part of the contemporary landscape. From the mid-twentieth century onwards, Muslim immigrants with diverse religious practices and affiliations gradually became part of Swedish society. Yet Sufi groups and practices in Sweden have received limited attention from researchers.14   In 2016, Simon Sorgenfrei published a ‘situation report’ about Sufism in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö—Sweden’s three largest cities—that was based on contacts with active participants in tariqa-oriented activities. The report was commissioned and published by the Swedish Agency for Support to Faith Communities (SST), a government agency that, among other things, allocates state funding to recognised religious organisations. Most of the groups dealt with in the report, which include several Sufi orders established in various parts of the world, emphasise that they are active within Islamic tradition and identify with one of the four Sunni legal schools.15 Some respondents were reluctant to use the term ‘Sufism’, preferring to simply identify as Muslims following ‘traditional’ practices. Sorgenfrei’s valuable overview shows that Sufi-oriented Muslims have a vital and diverse presence in the broader framework of Muslims in Sweden. Defining Sufi-oriented messages I have used the term ‘Sufi-oriented messages’ above without offering a definition. In this section I will define how I use the term in the analysis. The term ‘Sufism’ does not have a universally agreed-upon definition and is therefore a ‘fuzzy’ concept to start with (as are the equally challenging terms ‘religion’ and ‘mysticism’). Nile Green has offered a useful definition of Sufism as a ‘powerful tradition of Muslim knowledge and practice bringing proximity to or mediation with God and believed to have been handed down from the Prophet Muhammad through the saintly successors who followed him’.16 The word ‘tradition’ is crucial, as it de-emphasises the individual mystical aspect and puts focus on relational, cultural, and interactional aspects. Sufism is not solely identified with individual spiritual masters and their ideas, but also with people and groups in various contexts who refer to, defer to, and take inspiration from narratives about, utterances ascribed to, and practices carried out by such masters. However, although I am sympathetic towards Green’s characterisation of Sufism as a ‘Muslim’ tradition, and the current analysis is concerned with the Sufi-oriented messages of self-identified Muslims, the tradition of Sufism is not the exclusive domain of Muslims. As research on 196

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modern developments has shown, some individuals and groups identify with and refer to Sufi knowledge and practices without self-identifying as Muslims—not least in ‘Western Sufism’.17 Sufi tradition has come to transcend Islamic tradition—depending, of course, on how that is defined.   My use of the term ‘Sufi-oriented messages’ in this particular analysis can be broken down into ideas, concepts and authoritative figures that are commonly deemed to belong within Sufi tradition. I have included the following characteristics in my working definition of Sufi-oriented messages: •  References to the terms Sufism, tassawwuf, mysticism or spirituality. •  References to authoritative figures commonly identified with Sufi tradition, such as ‘friends of God’ (awliya Allah), poets, and prominent representatives of Sufi ṭuruq (sing. tariqa) or orders. •  Uses of ideas and themes commonly deemed central in Sufi tradition, such as emphasis on light, the heart, ‘inner’ meanings, longing for God, and sensory metaphors pertaining to experiences of God.  

  By focusing on Sufi-oriented messages it is possible to avoid making a distinction between individual speakers as Sufi or non-Sufi. Speakers’ personal identification (or not) with Sufi tradition is not a criterion I have used in my analysis. Sufi-oriented messages in Muslim Morning Services Of the eight speakers—five women and three men—represented in my material from the chosen time period, Sufi-oriented messages were found in the Morning Services of five: two of the women and all three men. Rather than treating the oratory of individual speakers separately, I will in the following analysis start by treating references to Sufism, tassawwuf, mysticism or spirituality, continue with references to authoritative figures in Sufi tradition, and finally deal with uses of traditionally prominent Sufi ideas and themes. These three categories are overlapping: sometimes one section of a Morning Service would fit into more than one of the categories.  

References to Sufism, Tassawwuf, Mysticism or Spirituality  

Perhaps the most clear-cut form of Sufi-oriented message in Morning Services is speakers’ explicit use of terms like Sufism, tassawwuf, and mysticism, or phrases like ‘Islam’s spirituality’. In my material, the terms ‘Sufism’ and tassawwuf are used only once:  

 

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Strengthening the believer’s ability for contact with her creator is spirituality’s very essence. This inner cleansing that we Muslims call tazkiyat al-nafs, or in other circles tassawwuf, or, somewhat routinely called Sufism here in the West, is and has been an intimate part of what the religion is.18  

  The quote comes from a Morning Service by Andreas Hasslert that refers to Baha al-Din Naqshband’s (d. 1389, eponym of the Naqshbandiyya tradition) alleged teachings on the importance of disciplining and purifying the ego (nafs), a classical Sufi topic. Nafs signifies the ‘lower self ’ that commonly is associated with each individual’s basic corporeal needs and desires—food, drink, sex and survival. In addition to these aspects, which can be controlled but not eradicated, the nafs is also used in Sufi parlance to speak about such conditions as selfishness or desire for fame, glory, and riches. In short, the nafs in general represents the opposite of ruhh, that spiritual, ‘higher self ’ that each person allegedly also includes. The nafs occupies a very central place in Sufi tradition, as many of the spiritual exercises practised by the various ṭuruq aim precisely to control or discipline the nafs in order to enhance or develop the ruhh and thus reach towards a closer relation with the divine reality.19 In his use of these terms, Hasslert clearly wishes to distinguish himself from what he sees as Western, routine notions of ‘Sufism’, and seems to indicate that a proper understanding of this ‘intimate part’ of Islam is deeper and fuller than such notions. Several of the terms used in this quote contribute to a conceptual framing of its topic: ‘contact’, ‘spirituality’, ‘essence’, ‘inner’ and ‘intimate’. The speaker is clearly interested in communicating that he is talking about something of utmost importance that has to do with individual experience that goes to the core of a person’s being. Later in the same Morning Service, Hasslert also uses the term ‘mysticism’. After citing the Qurʾan’s story of how Iblīs refused to bow before Adam, thus allegedly failing to recognise that god had blown something of his soul (ruhh) into man (Q. 38:71–76), Hasslert continues:  

 

 

 

And this is where mysticism takes over. Humans are more than just plain matter. If you want to be a lump of earth: you’re welcome. But I know that you know that if you search yourself you have a heart. The seat of your soul… Baha al-Din Naqshband says with support from the Qur’an: ‘Only by disciplining your ego, letting the heart rule over the intellect towards the good side, will you attain balance in your life.’ That is Islam.20

  In this section, the listener is urged to ‘search yourself ’ in order to activate his or her ‘heart’, which is invested with spiritual significance. The heart should ‘rule over the intellect’, which echoes a classical Sufi theme where the sought-for 198

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type of knowledge, experiential knowledge (maʿrifa), cannot be attained by intellectual reasoning. This Morning Service not only uses Sufi-oriented terms and themes as well as referring to the eponym of one of the more established Sufi ṭuruq; it also speaks of Sufi spirituality as ‘mysticism’ and equates Islam with the struggle to discipline one’s nafs and attaining balance.   Another speaker talks about ‘spirituality’ somewhat differently. In a Morning Service focusing on silence, Khim Efraimsson relates spirituality to silence and the un-said (or unspeakable): Within spirituality, silence is often related to wisdom, and is surrounded by mysticism… We are music. But for us to sing in harmony we need to distribute silence inside us… Imam ʿAli21 has said: ‘Increase your silence and your thoughts will blossom. Your heart will be enlightened and people will be protected from your hands.’ Silence, that is all we know. Perhaps the best we have.22

  Again, a combination of terms create a conceptual frame for the topic: we may note ‘spirituality’, ‘silence’, ‘wisdom’, ‘mysticism’, ‘thoughts’ and ‘enlightened’. There is an echo of traditional Sufi themes here. For example, one might recall Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s (d. 1111) personal account of his journey from being a celebrated teacher, via a spiritual crisis during which he was unable to speak, through a lengthy self-imposed seclusion, resulting in a higher level of spiritual insights which he was hesitant to put into words.23 The speaker also uses an aural metaphor when ‘we’ (humankind) are said to be ‘music’ who can ‘sing in harmony’ only by having an inner ‘silence’.   This consideration of silence in spirituality is followed by quotations from the Prophet Muhammad on not allowing yourself to become angry: silence is better than angry words, as it allows us to become sources of comfort and peace. This broadcast thereby on the one hand talks about the relationship between silence, the unsaid, and spirituality with references to Muslim authoritative figures, while on the other hand it offers practical advice for everyday life grounded in Islamic tradition. References to Authoritative Sufi Figures Examples of references to authoritative figures in Islamic tradition have already been touched on above. Here I want to develop this aspect by discussing examples of how figures generally recognised as central in Sufi tradition are incorporated into Muslim Morning Services. Although the Prophet Muhammad and ʿAli can both be said to be vital in Sufi tradition throughout the centuries, I have omitted references to them here, as they in themselves do 199

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not signify an appreciation of aspects of Sufi tradition. The same can be said of quotations from the Qurʾan.   In one broadcast, Kerim Hrustanovic spoke about not losing hope when making mistakes: Our god is a forgiving god. Rumi says: ‘Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. It does not matter. Our caravan is not a caravan of despair. Come! Come! Even if you have broken your vow several times. Come again! Come! Come!’ That is why we should never lose hope but instead turn the page and move on. These are the words I constantly remind myself of when I make a mistake.24

  In this Morning Service, a quote from the famous Persian Sufi and poet Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273), who in recent decades has become a globally appreciated figure, is summoned as proof of godly forgiveness without introduction or qualification. There is no talk of ‘mysticism’ or ‘spirituality’; the name ‘Rumi’ is apparently thought to suffice. The manner of referring to Rumi as an authority without any introduction, as something self-evident, shows that the speaker’s position is one where this reference seems natural. It also might reflect the near-universal fame of Rumi as a figure of relevance to ‘spiritual’ issues. There is a dual use of the Rumi quote in the Morning Service: both as personal comfort when having trespassed, and as a reminder to be forgiving when others have trespassed against you.   Another speaker, Khim Efraimsson, quotes Hasan al-Basri (d. 728) in a Morning Service dealing with time. Despite modern humans’ efforts to save time and to use it effectively: We still eat breakfast on the bus on our way to work. We eat dinner in front of the TV… We have been fed with a great lie all our lives, and that is that time is money. Time is not money. Money comes and goes but time vanishes one second at a time and never comes back. Time is life… Hasan al-Basri has said: ‘Not one day when the sun goes up passes without an angel calling ‘Ya ibn Adam!’— sons of Adam—‘this is a new day, and it is witness to your actions, so take good care of it, because this day will never return until Judgment Day.’ So let this day, today, become witness to us having used it well.25

  Again, an authoritative figure from Islamic tradition with relevance to early Sufism is invoked without introduction or qualification. Hasan al-Basri is used here in order to emphasise our inevitable death and the importance of using the quickly vanishing time at our hands productively.   As mentioned above, Andreas Hasslert refers to Baha al-Din Naqshband in one of his Morning Services. In that same Morning Service, Baha al-Din is introduced in the following manner: 200

SOUNDING SUFI Great learned [men] have lived in countries in the East that we in Sweden can barely point out at a map. Such a spiritual master was Baha al-Din Naqshband from Bukhara, who is said to have taught about the relation between the heart, the intellect and the ego, or al-nafs, as it says in the Qur’an.26

  As is evident in this quote, Hasslert does not simply mention a name before a quotation out of context; rather, he shows an ambition to educate the show’s listeners about figures central to the historical development of Islam. But Baha al-Din is not presented as a ‘Muslim scholar’ or a ‘Sufi sheikh’. Instead a more generic term is chosen. Somewhat more specific introductions are used in Hasslert’s references to ‘the female Muslim mystic Rabiʿa al-ʿAdawiyya, from ninth century Iraq’, as well as ‘the Muslim mystic Farid al-Din ʿAttar’, who is also called ‘Sheikh ʿAttar’.27 Rabiʿa (d. 801) is quoted in order to criticise an attitude allegedly shared by ‘many of us who are born in the West’ that makes them renounce spirituality and religion: Rabiʿa expresses her relationship to spirituality like this: ‘I do not worship God out of fear of God’s punishment. And I do not worship God out of hope for God’s paradise. I worship God because I love God’… To constantly be watchful against the human mind’s weakest point, the ego, al-nafs as it is called in Islam, is and will remain all true religion’s spiritual fundament.28

  Once again, this example shows that a central figure in the early history of Sufism is referred to as an authority valid far beyond that figure’s historical and religious horizon. The statements are taken as guidance and inspiration for contemporary religious, or ‘spiritual’, individuals of various persuasions. It is also noteworthy that the speaker classifies ‘true religion’ as being based on struggle against the nafs. It is clear that priority is given to individual and interior dimensions rather than collective and external aspects of religiosity. Uses of Sufi Metaphors and Themes So far, I have only cited male speakers’ Morning Services as examples. This is so despite the fact that five out of the eight represented speakers within the studied time period were women. In my material, the men were more prone to making explicit references (or namedropping), while the women did it less often. The two women in whose Morning Services I identified Sufi-oriented messages did not use the two types of references I have detailed above. Instead, they employed ideas and themes that I have defined as Sufi-oriented.   In a Morning Service about fasting during Ramadan, Sema Ekinci took the opportunity to focus on her struggle against the nafs. After having introduced the concept, Ekinci says: 201

GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS During the month of Ramadan, when the messenger Muhammad, may God preserve him, received the revelation, the believer should strive to strengthen the bond she has to God. One way is through controlling the ego, which is the greatest obstacle she has to her spiritual wellbeing… During the first years that I fasted, the only things that filled my thoughts were food and time… When I stopped craving, I found energy another place. In my heart was all the reverence for God needed to fulfil my worship. When nightfall drew close and I prayed to my Lord I heard the silence inside of me. The voice, my nafs, did not yearn for food to arrive… I long for the serenity and peace that can only be experienced when the worldly desires are restrained and spirituality is given space. I long for God.29

  This quote reflects broader Muslim discourse on the benefits and aims of fasting—to open up for spiritual needs and blessings. But it also includes strong tendencies towards a Sufi-oriented language and outlook. To begin with, the centrality given to the very idea of restraining the nafs in order to increase spirituality is prominent in Sufi tradition, not only in the narratives of the early pious ascetics, but also in later Sufi discourse on how to reach to higher states of consciousness of and nearness to God. The reference Ekinci includes to Muhammad having received his first revelation during Ramadan echoes this emphasis on the value of ascetic practices, as the story of Muhammad’s first revelation puts great emphasis on his alleged lonely ascetic and spiritual practices outside of Mecca. It is also noteworthy that Ekinci speaks of a ‘silence inside’ when craving for food has ceased. We can recall the example cited above of Efraimsson speaking about silence as related to wisdom, enlightenment, and as representing ‘all we know’. In the silence, there is room for what cannot be spoken of or described; Ekinci explicitly relates voice, or non-silence, to her nafs yearning for material things. Silence, on the other hand, gives her a unique serenity and peace, one that cannot be experienced when burdened by the nafs. Having reached this place, what matters most to her is another of the characteristics of traditional Sufi discourse: longing for God (shawq).   Another speaker drawing on Sufi themes and metaphors without referring to particular authoritative figures or employing labels such as ‘mysticism’ or ‘spirituality’ is Similla Silverplatz. She starts a Morning Service entitled ‘Like a stranger’ by quoting Q. 24:35, the so-called ‘Light Verse’, which has often been closely associated with Sufi thought and has been the object of substantial Sufi commentaries.30 As shown above, it is a genre requirement that a Morning Service should be initiated with a quote from scripture. Here, the very selection of passage indicates a Sufi-oriented inclination. Silverplatz goes on to say:  

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SOUNDING SUFI This is a verse I constantly return to. Something in it captures me. The light we receive from God through faith, a faith that belongs to neither East nor West, but is available to anyone seeking it… There was something inside of me [during my late teens] that screamed. That longed for nearness, longed for God. I felt that he was close to me, but there was something in the way causing me not to reach all the way.31

  Light (nūr) is also a very central concept in Sufi tradition, being a metaphor for the human heart’s perceptions of the divine. Here, light is said to be received ‘from God through faith’, as a response to a seeker’s longing. Longing for God is articulated as a starting point of a spiritual seeker’s journey. This longing is furthermore related to a feeling of homelessness, of feeling ‘like a stranger’ everywhere.   In a move away from this feeling of homelessness and strangeness, Silverplatz then describes the experience of ‘finding my faith’ as a feeling of ‘coming home’. She quotes another Qurʾanic verse that speaks about God’s proximity to humans, namely Q. 50:16, and continues:  

When life feels difficult and dark, as it can do sometimes, it is comforting to know that God is close, yes, closer than my own jugular vein. And if I cherish it, I can keep God’s light in my heart. Oh God, place light in my heart, light on my tongue, light in my hearing, light in my sight, light behind me, light in front of me, light on my right side, light on my left side, light in front of me and light below me. Place light in my sinews, in my body, in my blood, in my hair and on my skin. Place light in my soul and make light abundant to me. Make me light and give me light. Āmīn.32

  As in the previous example, experiences of personal hardship are taken as starting point for reflecting on her relationship to God. This speaker juxtaposes the light of God with darkness, and in her poetic supplicatory ending of her Morning Service prays for God’s light to penetrate all aspects of her being. She does not explain how exactly this light-infused state can be achieved. Rather, she appears to wish to give glimpses of how such a life, completely permeated and guided by God’s light, can be attained after having found one’s faith: in her case, Islam. It is evident that the language she employs is inspired not only by the Qurʾanic verses she quotes, but also the Sufi tradition that has focused and expanded on the meaning and significance of these verses. To ‘keep God’s light in my heart’ and to be made into light by God expresses a yearning recognisable throughout Sufi tradition as poets, saints, and seekers have strived towards enhanced spiritual states. This shows how ideas and themes of central importance to Sufi tradition are incorporated into SR Muslim Morning Services without being introduced or explicitly identified as 203

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constituting ‘Sufism’, but simply as being this individual Muslim speaker’s reflections on religiosity based on quotes from the Qurʾan. Summary: What Kinds of Sufi-oriented Messages? To sum up the kinds of Sufi-oriented messages that are present in the Morning Services studied, a few things are noticeable. To start with, speakers are more likely to use the terms ‘mysticism’ and ‘spirituality’ than they are to use ‘Sufism’. This goes hand in hand with an ambition to make Sufi figures and ideas relevant for a wider audience which is primarily non-Muslim. When authoritative figures are cited, they are presented not so much as representatives of a particular tradition or as historically situated agents, but as perennially relevant wisdom figures whose utterances speak to modern-day problems, anxieties, and life choices. They can be mentioned by name without further introduction, but when introduced, the epithet ‘Muslim mystic’ is sometimes used.   Another important aspect of the way these Morning Services construct ‘religion’, including the Sufi-oriented messages examined here, is its fundamentally individual character. There is practically no talk of collective worship or different religious group identities, including Sufi-oriented ones. Collectives such as ‘society’ are referred to as potentially reaping benefits from individuals’ turning to spirituality. In the examples discussed above, the significance of Sufi-oriented insights or experiences are articulated as bringing the individual increased proximity to God, bringing light into the individual’s heart, or an individual being forgiven and forgiving. Emphasising the inner battle of each human being between nafs and soul, this central Sufi idea is picked up by several speakers as they seek to convey their personal religious experiences and feelings. This focus on the individual is at least partly a result of the genre itself, as speakers are required to offer a ‘personal interpretation’ according to the show’s description.   In sum, we can say that the Sufi-oriented messages articulated in the Muslim Morning Services are individualistic and universalistic. This means that they fit well into hegemonic discourses on the self, pluralism, and religiosity in contemporary capitalist society. Concluding discussion I have shown that Sufi-oriented messages have a significant presence in the Muslim Morning Services broadcast by SR during 2013 and 2014. These Sufi204

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oriented messages are, in line with the overall content of these broadcasts, universalistic and individualistic in their rhetoric.33 This concluding discussion will address why Sufi-oriented messages appear to fit well into SR’s Morning Services and why they are rhetorically shaped as they are.   In one of his case studies of American complaints about ‘religious noise’, that of a mosque’s call to prayer, Isaac Weiner (2014) shows how non-Muslim ‘pluralists’ in public debate made space for Muslims ‘to make themselves heard, but only if they could do so in very particular ways’.34 This appears to be an inherent problem for pluralist positions more generally, as it requires a ‘practice of levelling, of smoothing out or polishing religion’s rough edges in order to reduce its diverse forms to mere expressions of personal preference’.35 In this process, a discourse on ‘religion’ is produced where various choices and practices are seen as mere manifestations of the same essence. The analysis presented here shows that Sufi-oriented messages appear to be useful in the process of becoming deemed legitimate in the liberal public sphere by adapting one’s tone and narrative content. The genre’s aural qualities likely also play a role: the calm, intimate, and introspective auditory framing invites speakers to emphasise inner processes, personal narratives and feelings of longing. Had there been a live audience, or several speakers present in the studio, or an inquisitive host, different types of messages—perhaps different Sufi-oriented ones—might have been the result.   It seems that as radio producers search for suitable Muslim speakers for SR Morning Services, and as they edit these contributions, the result easily— though not always—becomes what I call Sufi-oriented. This has to do with the pervasive influence of a rhetoric of ‘individual religion’ and ‘spirituality’ in advanced capitalist societies.36 There are a several examples of contemporary Sufism being expressed through a rhetoric of pluralism, consumerism, individual choice and spirituality in multiple contexts.37 The case investigated here illustrates a similar overall logic and societal development. Yet it also adds a distinct perspective and contribution, as it shows how Sufi-oriented rhetoric is incorporated in religious broadcasting on public service media in a non-Muslim society. Rather than being evidence of a conscious policy regarding what types of Islam to promote, it says something about the adaptability and pervasiveness of Sufi-oriented messages in contemporary Muslim discourses and communities. More than that, it shows that in hegemonic liberal discourses on ‘good’ religion, which follows the logic of pluralism and individualism, certain kinds of Sufi-oriented messages are easily incorporated. Some aspects of Sufi tradition (but not others) lend themselves easily to a dominant discourse on 205

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individual religion. Suitable aspects are, for example, struggle against the nafs; listening to your inner experience; and formulating what is central to religious life from an individual feeling-oriented perspective. Less suitable aspects of Sufi tradition would include, for example, complete obedience to the sheikh; following detailed prescriptions for spiritual practices; and collective experiences and rituals. Muslim speakers in SR’s Morning Services use selected cultural resources from Sufi tradition in their narratives of finding peace, personal enlightenment, and experiences of nearness, rather than collectives, rules, and borders—features that could also, theoretically, have been used to represent Sufism. Sufi-oriented messages thereby contribute to shaping the presentation of Islam in this unconventional form of Muslim religious oratory. References al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid, Al-Ghazali’s Path to Sufism: His Deliverance from Error [Al-Munqidh Min Al-Dalal] and Five Key Texts, translated by R. J. McCarthy (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2000). Bennett, Clinton, and Sarwar Alam, eds, Sufism, Pluralism and Democracy (Sheffield: Equinox, 2017). Carrette, Jeremy, and Richard King, Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (London; New York: Routledge, 2005). Corbett, Rosemary R., Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service, and the Ground Zero Mosque Controversy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017). Efraimsson, Khim, ‘Om tiden’, Morgonandakten i P1: Sveriges radio, 7 May 2014. ———, ‘Stormen före tystnaden’, Morgonandakten i P1: Sveriges radio, 6 October 2014. Ekinci, Sema, ‘Fastan’, Morgonandakten i P1: Sveriges radio, 27 June 2014. El Naggar, Shaimaa, ‘“But I Did Not Do Anything!”—Analysing the Youtube Videos of the American Muslim Televangelist Baba Ali: Delineating the Complexity of a Novel Genre’, Critical Discourse Studies (2017), pp. 1–17. Green, Nile, Sufism: A Global History (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). Haenni, Patrick, and Raphaël Voix, ‘God by All Means… Eclectic Faith and Sufi Resurgence among the Moroccan Bourgeoisie’ in Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam, edited by Martin van Bruinessen and Julia Day Howell (London: IB Tauris, 2007), pp. 241–56. Hasslert, Andreas, ‘Att hitta sin tro’, Morgonandakten i P1: Sveriges radio, 4 October 2013. ———, ‘Hitta in’, Morgonandakten i P1: Sveriges radio, 1 October 2013. ———, ‘Tukta egot’, Morgonandakten i P1: Sveriges radio, 28 January 2014. Hellström, Jan Arvid, Samfund och radio: Återspegling kontra medieanpassning ifråga  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SOUNDING SUFI om den kristna programverksamheten i Sverige fram t o m omorganisationen 1951/52 (Stockholm: Harriers, 1979). Hjarvard, Stig, ‘The Mediatisation of Religion: Theorising Religion, Media and Social Change’, Culture and Religion 12, no. 2 (2011), pp. 119–135. ———, The Mediatization of Culture and Society (London; New York: Routledge, 2013). Howell, Julia Day, ‘Modernity and Spirituality in Indonesia’s New Sufi Networks’ in Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam, edited by Martin van Bruinessen and Julia Day Howell (London: IB Tauris, 2007), pp. 217–240. ———, ‘Sufism and the Indonesian Islamic Revival’, The Journal of Asian Studies 60, no. 3 (2001), pp. 701–729. Hrustanovic, Kerim, ‘Tema försoning’, Morgonandakten i P1: Sveriges radio, 10 September 2013. Hultén, Gunilla, ‘A Vulnerable Diversity: Perspectives on Cultural Diversity Policies in Swedish Public Service Media’ in National Conversations: Public Service Media and Cultural Diversity in Europe, edited by Karina Horsti, Gunilla Hultén and Gavan Titley (Intellect, 2014). Larsson, Rune, Religion i radio och tv under sextio år (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1988). Martin, Craig, Capitalizing Religion: Ideology and the Opiate of the Bourgeoisie (London: Bloomsbury, 2014). Muedini, Fait, Sponsoring Sufism: How Governments Promote ‘Mystical Islam’ in Their Domestic and Foreign Policies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Philippon, Alix, ‘A Sublime, yet Disputed, Object of Political Ideology? Sufism in Pakistan at the Crossroads’, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 52, no. 2 (2014), pp. 271–292. Raudvere, Catharina, ‘Between Home and Home: Conceptions of Sufi Heritage in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Swedish Bosniak Diaspora’ in Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community, edited by Catharina Raudvere and Leif Stenberg (London: IB Tauris, 2009), pp. 49–65. Raudvere, Catharina, and Ašk Gaši, ‘Home, Nation and Global Islam: Sufi Oriented Activities and Community Building among Bosnian Muslims in Southern Sweden’ in Sufis in Western Society: Global Networking and Locality, edited by Ron Geaves, Gritt Klinkhammer and Markus Dressler (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009), pp. 162–179. Rytter, Mikkel, ‘Burger Jihad: Fatal Attractions at a Sufi Lodge in Pakistan’, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 36, no. 1 (2016), pp. 1–16. Sands, Kristin Zahra, Sufi Commentaries on the Qur’an in Classical Islam (London; New York: Routledge, 2006). Schulz, Dorothea E., ‘Mediating Authority: Media Technologies and the Generation of Charismatic Appeal in Southern Mali’, Culture and Religion 16, no. 2 (2015), pp. 125–145.  

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Sedgwick, Mark, ‘Sufis as “Good Muslims”: Sufism in the Battle against Jihadi Salafism’ in Sufis and Salafis in the Contemporary Age, edited by Lloyd Ridgeon (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), pp. 105–117. ———, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). Silverplatz, Similla, ‘Som en främling’, Morgonandakten i P1: Sveriges radio, 27 March 2014. Sorgenfrei, Simon, ‘Sufirörelsen revisited—gamla källor, nya fakta’, Chaos 66 (2017), pp. 31–64. ———, Sufism i Sverige—en lägesrapport från Stockholm, Göteborg och Malmö (Bromma: Nämnden för statligt stöd till trossamfund, 2016). Stjernholm, Simon, ‘Muslim Morning Services on Swedish Public Service Radio’, Journal of Contemporary Religion 34, no. 1 (2019), pp. 57–73. ———, ‘Sufi Politics in Britain: The Sufi Muslim Council and the “Silent Majority” of Muslims’, Journal of Islamic Law and Culture 12, no. 3 (2010), pp. 215–226. Svanberg, Ingvar, ‘Alevismen och invandrade sufiordnar’ in Blågul Islam? Muslimer i Sverige, edited by Ingvar Svanberg and David Westerlund (Nora: Nya Doxa, 1999), pp. 65–83. Weiner, Isaac, Religion out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism (New York; London: New York University Press, 2014).  

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ALGERIAN ‘TRADITIONAL’ ISLAM AND POLITICAL SUFISM

Thomas Joassin

In January 1992, Hadj Ali, a professor at the University of Algiers, published an engaging paper about the first ‘national seminar of zāwiyas’, organised in May 1991 in Algiers, at the beginning of the civil war. The political situation was exceptional. With sheikhs and muqaddams starting to speak in public again and the media passing on their words, Hadj Ali evoked the ‘public reappearance’ of the ‘Islam of the tariqa and the marabouts’.1 The seminar was entitled ‘the opening up of the zāwiyas in front of contemporary challenges’ and it lasted for three days. Despite the political environment, in a context favourable to Islamist movements, the question of the rise of the Front Islamique du Salut (Islamic Salvation Front, FIS) was marginalised. In El Watan, a journalist was surprised that the ‘true issues’ were ‘sidestepped’: ‘they did not talk about Wahhabism, about Shiʿism, which shake the Algerian religious sphere’.2 Even so, Hadj Ali’s article still shows that the seminar offered criticism of the religious atmosphere of the time. Sheikhs and scholars challenged the importation of ‘rites and practices coming from the East’, and the

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rejection of ‘imported doctrines’ stands out from their speeches. A National Association of Zāwiyas was created at the end of the conference, on 30 May 1991. With a high council of 99 members, it was made responsible for the preservation and promotion of the heritage and activities of Algerian zāwiyas, and gave birth, a few years later, to the National Union of Algerian Zāwiyas (Union nationale des zaouias d’Algérie, UNZA).3  

From the National Seminar of Zāwiyas (1991) to the International Sufi Conference (2016) I propose, in this chapter, to bring the reader into the world of these Algerian Sufi conferences, and I mainly focus on the annual conference of the UNZA, which took place in Mostaganem in May 2016. Twenty-five years later, this seminar, like many Sufi conferences in Algeria, was a state-sponsored event and can be analysed in this perspective, notably through its diplomatic dimensions. But the international focus of the seminar, reuniting sheikhs from Asia, Africa and Europe, and its discourses, show how some borders disappear and how some others are created, how national boundaries are crossed while new religious entities arise. In this chapter, I keep these two levels together: first, to understand the ideological use of Sufi orders and events by the Algerian state and to explore their relationship since the early 1990s; and second, to reflect on the politics behind these global manifestations of Sufism.   It was a ‘Sufi’ conference and yet, ‘Sufism’ is a polysemous word and can refer to different traditions. Though I rely in this chapter on my informants’ use of the term, I also analyse, through the example of these conferences, how people in these events make up and generate the production of a Sufi tradition. I do not aim at proposing a definition of Sufism, which is always problematic, but try to reflect on the possible ways a global tradition can be imagined and produced. Such conferences are fascinating, because they offer a reflective dialogue between a tradition and some of its official representatives, being thought and produced at the same time.   The ‘sheikhs’ and ‘followers’ who attended this event came from various countries, with different backgrounds and cultures, but they all think and say that they belong to a common ‘Sufi’ tradition. They situate it and attempt to define it, being in a constant dialogue with its representations, discourses, practices.   They share common references to a Sufi past: though it is difficult to assert when the word ‘Sufi’ was used for the first time, the mythic past of Sufism builds around the first ascetics and mystics (eighth and ninth centuries), 210

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intellectuals and philosophers (tenth and eleventh centuries), and the rise of brotherhoods and organised orders (thirteenth century). ʿAbd al-Qadir alJilani, one of the most famous saints in the Oran region, was born in Baghdad in the eleventh century, and has mausoleums from North Africa to South Asia, in Algeria, Iraq, and Uzbekistan. In Mostaganem, in this month of May 2016, the object of the conference was, in a certain way, the role and future of ‘Sufism’. These groups of people met to think about the contemporary relevance of Sufi practices, beliefs and ideas, and to reflect on their place within the Islamic tradition. This chapter, by exploring the discourses taking place at this international conference in Mostaganem, shows the vitality of this Sufi tradition.   This understanding of Sufism as a vivid tradition may contrast in this chapter with the homogenising discourse of the Algerian state on its ‘traditional Islam’. Tradition, in this context, may be used in the framework of identity discourses. Though the discourses of religious elites come within the scope of global issues (the ‘War on Terror’, the Syrian conflict, the rise of ISIS, the war in Yemen, and so forth), they also respond to national dynamics. This chapter is thus an attempt to understand how these discourses circulate through these conferences and how religious elites manipulate them. May 2016: An International Sufi Conference in Mostaganem With Sheikh Habri. We left Oran at 6am. He came early to pick me up with his car, at my place, three streets away from the zāwiya. It did not take long. Oran and Mostaganem are next door towns and look like each other. Coastal cities of the Algerian West. Mostaganem is famous for its Sufi heritage, for its zāwiyas and mausoleums. The seminar was organised by the UNZA and its president, Omar Mahmood Chalal, had a plan. He wanted to make this city the symbolic capital of the ‘World Union of Sufism’, which this event aimed at creating.   The hotel that welcomed the event was a luxury place beside the sea, managed by the Algerian State and usually reserved, I have been told, for the engineers of the main oil company in the country, Sonatrach. It was where sheikhs of prestigious tariqas stayed for the event. Others were a bit farther out, in the bungalows of a family tourist complex. To inaugurate the event, the UNZA chose one of the beautiful faculties of the University of Mostaganem. Multicoloured banners mingled with Algerian flags. Nestled on a little hill, from a raised area, we could see the sea. 211

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  This seminar was on the pertinence of the ‘Mohammedan referent’ for ‘the challenges of tomorrow’. It started with the singing of the national anthem. Everybody in the large theatre got up. A five-minute film related the great moments of Algerian history, the years of resistance and the struggle for independence. Political figures introduced the session: Lakhmissi Bezzaz, the general inspector of the Ministry of Religious Affairs; Omar Chaalal, the president of the association; Laroussi El Mizouri, a former Tunisian minister of religious affairs; and the wāli, the governor of the region, who ended the introduction.   For two days, with two cycles of conferences, sheikhs and scholars evoked the contemporary role of Islam and Sufism. They talked about globalisation, consumer society and materialism, but also tackled questions of ‘terrorism’ and ‘religious extremism’, which, from their perspective, often constitute the two facets of the same coin. The event lasted for three days, the first two with conferences and cultural events, the third and final day with the writing and signing of a joint text by all the representatives of zāwiyas, with the setting up of a World Union of Sufism. During the first two days, after a morning of conferences, the afternoon was dedicated to visiting the region’s cultural heritage. Sheikhs and foreign scholars were invited to see the zāwiyas, mausoleums, and famous museums of the region of Mostaganem. The first day, they visited the mausoleum of Sidi Lakdar Boukhlef; the second day, they had a lunch at the ʿAlawiyya, next to the famous gardens of the zāwiya, followed by a dhikr ceremony at the Bouzidi zāwiya, and a final visit to the Palace of Culture of Mostaganem. The event, whether it led or not to a concrete political structure, was a media and diplomatic success. Columns and articles in the press were laudatory and celebrated the creation of the World Union of Sufism. Mostaganem was appointed as the cultural capital of the movement, and Algiers as its administrative centre. The Nation’s Struggle against Wahhabism: Observing Religious Modes of Diplomatic Action In such events, religious structures are means for public authorities to maintain and enrich bilateral relations with other nations on a ‘sacred breedingground’.4 As Sufi trends in Islam go beyond the Sunni–Shiʿa divide, Sufi orders often appear as powerful inter-state intermediaries and can be used in the framework of a country’s religious diplomacy. A ‘religious diplomacy’ has various objectives and can be led by state representatives and non-state actors.5 212

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In the Arab-Muslim context, François Constantin defines these activities as ‘Islamic modes of diplomatic action’,6 and states use them to spread their networks, to increase their influence and ‘soft power’.   Two Muslim countries are often cited as having ambitious religious diplomacies, Saudi Arabia and Morocco; Algeria’s relationship with these two countries has a long and complicated history, informing in many ways the trajectory of its religious diplomacy. The Algerian republic has long been shaped by opposition to the Moroccan kingdom, notably in its relationship to religion and in the choice of its diplomatic friendships. On the one hand, Rabat is close to Western nations and Gulf monarchies, and is opposed to Algiers on the Western Sahara issue. The religious dimension of the Moroccan monarchy is strong, with religious elites close to the kingdom, and with an effort to inscribe the royal dynasty in the history of Islam.7 On the other hand, Algeria has long been a symbol of independence for ‘thirdworld’ countries from the 1960s and has developed since this period a tradition of non-alignment and non-interference. As a socialist nation in its first decades, the Algerian state had an ambiguous relationship with religious institutions. It used the symbols of Islam and associated it with its nationalist politics, but aimed at controlling religious authorities rather than giving them political power. But both countries have been facing the spread of Wahhabi ideas for some decades, and Algeria’s religious politics and diplomacy, since the 1990s and its civil conflict, now seem to take their inspiration from the Moroccan strategy. The Algerian state has progressively been redefining its national religious identity by including Sufi culture and ‘traditional’ Islam as major elements, and has started in the last decade to use Sufi orders as diplomatic instruments.   The international conference in Mostaganem, in this respect, was an excellent opportunity to gather anti-Wahhabi religious figures from various countries of the Muslim world. This initiative was not only due to the good will of the UNZA and should be inscribed in a more general system of relations between Muslim religious associations. It can indeed be observed that not only Shi’ite figures from Iraq or Iran are invited to Algerian Sufi symposiums, but that Algerian Sufi sheikhs also travel to countries in south-west Asia for similar events. Sheikh Ahmed Habri, with whom I attended the event in Mostaganem, went to Iraq twice between 2012 and 2017. The UNZA was notably invited to a conference in Baghdad, and Sheikh Habri was asked by Omar Chaalal to represent the association there. Leaders from the three monotheistic religions were invited. It was not only an opportunity for reli 213

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gious dialogue but a diplomatic way to show that the Iraqi political regime was open and liberal.   These events, as academic events, be it in Baghdad or Mostaganem, offer conferences and talks. But they are also cultural events and an excellent opportunity to highlight the religious culture of the host nations. Visits to famous mausoleums in the region explicitly reveal the shared religious heritage. In Mostaganem, sheikhs from India, Iran or Bangladesh were invited to visit the Bouzidi and ʿAlawi zāwiyas, and the mausoleum of Sidi Lakhdar Boukhlef. In Baghdad, Sheikh Habri was pleased to see the shrines of Husayn (Karbala) and ʿAli (Najaf ). For him, it was a ‘smart way to show that Shi’ites are open to other religions’, but it was also a concrete experience, for the Sufi leaders that were invited, of common Sufi heritage.   Religious actors like Shiʿi Sufi sheikhs were thus invited, but also academics and diplomats from Shiʿi nations. Amir, for example, a prominent figure at the Iranian embassy in Algeria, was preparing a doctoral thesis in international relations at the University of Algiers, analysing the future geopolitical roles of Turkey, Iran and Israel in the Middle East. I met him on a bus between two visits, while we were heading to the ʿAlawi zāwiya. His presence was not fortuitous. He evoked Algerian–Iranian relations that ‘get better over the years’, adding that they ‘have many projects together that are coming in’, and that the event in Mostaganem was ‘emblematic of this dynamic’. The Sufi sheikhs from Iran were from Qom, the ‘second capital of Shi’ism, with Tehran’. As religious figures, they did not represent the Iranian state as Amir did, but Sufi Shiʿism, and it was Algeria’s relationship with Wahhabism that was here at stake.   With Wahhabism identified as the common enemy, Sufism was considered a path for reconciliation between the branches of Islam, and the event gave a significant public audience to this voice. The congress started with an enthusiastic call from the UNZA’s president ‘to wipe out Salafists’. Slimane Al Moussaoui, an Iranian academic, later argued that Sufi movements should be able to gather Muslims from all over the world and ‘revive the umma [Islamic nation]’.8 Algerian Sufi sheikhs, Iranian academics, Malian Tijani followers all gather around a supposed shared cause. Religious diplomacy facilitates discussions between these various kinds of actors. Sufism is understood as a common culture that ‘needs to be defended against the rise of Wahhabism’ and as an ideological structure that can be activated against a shared political enemy. In the Algerian case, such events reinforce diplomatic ties with Shiʿi allies in a period of strong geopolitical tensions and are opportunities to oppose Wahhabism as a religious ideology, without breaking ties with Wahhabi coun214

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tries such as Saudi Arabia. In this perspective, international events such as this Sufi conference generate a religious mode of diplomatic action that is much used in other Muslim countries, and also reveal a new global voice in Sufi politics. Globalisation offered excellent means for the proliferation of Wahhabi ideology and there is a sense in Sufi circles that the Sufi orders have been too passive in the last decades. With this new, global voice, a peaceful discourse on interreligious dialogue and tolerance takes place, and which interestingly uses the same words of the Algerian state’s rhetoric on traditional Islam. Peace and Tolerance in Identity Discourses on ‘Algerian’ Islam These conferences are modelled on international academic conferences. They invite not only sheikhs but also academics and scholars to present papers on various religious and societal issues. These go from Sufi poetry to pure Islamic theology, but often relate to the complex relationship between Islam and politics. On top of this, in most conferences, we find a performance of civic discourse, promoting peace and tolerance and supporting interfaith dialogue. In Mostaganem, it was coupled with a concrete performance of diversity and difference. The academic platform produced a complex space, diverse but also aiming at some idealised uniformity. National and regional differences were performed, but the aim of the event was also to present a common, shared Sufi ideological platform. In this respect, the vague, homogeneous performance of civic discourse was key to this collective initiative.   For the second day of the seminar, foreign figures were invited to have lunch at the ʿAlawi zāwiya. I was seated with new friends from Milan and two Sufi figures from India. A few months after the Paris attacks, while numerous countries in the Muslim world have been victims of terrorist violence in the last decades, the question of religious extremism was at the heart of our debates. For Amin, who came from a Sufi order in Mumbai, the dialogue between religions was vital, and he evoked the multireligious experience of India: ‘It is frequent in India, where we work hard to promote such dialogue, with Christians, Jews, Hindus, and it is vital to fighting religious radicalism’.   This international event was not his first interreligious event outside India. He had been invited to Italy, ‘to see the Pope in the Vatican’, and went a few times to Egypt, invited by associations of Christian Copts. From a similar perspective, the event in Baghdad that was mentioned earlier also aimed to promote a certain form of dialogue between religions, while personalities representing the three monotheisms were invited and present. These events are 215

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emblematic of a global trend in Sufi movements to promote interreligious dialogue. This call, fostered by public authorities in many cases, can be observed in Asia and Africa, and also in Europe, where religious orders have gained more influence over recent decades. In spite of their ambition to offer a global response to these issues, putting forward their political autonomy and internationalism, these initiatives often enter into the framework of a strategic national policy, as the promotion of interreligious dialogue finds an echo in Algerian religious policies. In May 2016, at the inauguration of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Bejaïa, in Kabylie (northern Algeria), Mohamed Aïssa evoked ‘a full year of interfaith dialogue… that will notably manifest with a cultural and religious caravan… that will travel through the country’.9 Conferences and seminars play a major role here: sheikhs, public officials and politicians come to these events and make credible the image-building of a peaceful Algerian Islam associated with Sufism; conferences offer public spaces where values of tolerance and fraternity are related to Sufi orders, and where this can gain public recognition.   In the other countries in the Maghreb, similar events take place during the year. In Morocco, the government also sponsors Sufi music events, festivals and conferences, which for the most part advocate similar moral and political values. Muedini (2015) shows that these events bring together academics and performers ‘around a variety of themes such as Sufism, human rights, intercultural dialogue, religious tolerance and human development’.10 The most emblematic festival is the week-long Fez Festival of Sacred Music, which offers ‘exotic representations of an Islam that is inclusive, diverse, and unthreatening’.11 In Tunisia, important works have focused on the staged spectacle ‘elHadhra’. Richard Jankowsky does not consider it a ‘top-down implementation of cultural policy by the state’ but acknowledges that ‘commentators and concert-goers in 2015’ presented the spectacle as ‘a statement challenging religious extremism… through an embrace of the country’s Sufi heritage’.12   In Algeria, two other examples of conferences are pertinent, where political figures promote these values and associate them with Sufism. They took place in March and April 2016; one was in Adrar, in the South of Algeria, the other in Ourgla, another famous city of the Algerian Desert. At the Ahmed-Draya African University of Adrar, under the ‘high patronage’ of President Bouteflika, the Algerian minister of interior affairs, Noureddine Bedoui, praised the ‘effective role’ of the zāwiyas in the civil conflict, and associated Sufism with ‘values of friendship, fraternity and tolerance’.13 Once again, these values were put forward in the context of the region’s ‘struggle against cross216

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border extremism’. In Ouargla, for the fourth edition of the ‘national conference on the Qadiri zāwiya’, sheikhs, imams and diplomats also evoked the role of the famous Qadiri tariqa in the fight against religious extremism and terrorism. This diplomacy completes the ideological discourse of the regime, where Sufi values are presented as ‘the voice of wisdom, tolerance and fraternity’ against the rise of ‘religious intolerance and fundamentalism’.14 Modernity and Algerian ‘Traditional’ Islam This ideological discourse, beyond its moral tone, relies on a call to tradition. It refers to a common past and uses familial figures: grand-parents and ‘ancestors’. In his speeches, when he pays homage to Algerian Islam, Mohamed Aïssa often refers to ‘traditional Islam’, using varying terms: ‘Islam of the ancestors’, ‘ancestral Islam’, ‘Islam of our grandparents’. Calling for a ‘salutary return to our ancestral Islam’, he evokes the ‘moderation’ and openness’ of the Islam that ‘pushes us to accept other religions, and considers that we have links of fraternity with all human beings’, and argues that the ‘Algerian, moderate and healthy tradition’ is ‘marked by maraboutism’.15 Identity is performed with the use of specific words.   In North Africa, this is not specific to the Algerian state. Governments of the two other Maghreb countries also highlighted in the last decade, in various ways, the relationship between their ‘traditional’ Islam and national identity. It is even more explicit for the Moroccan government, which stresses the connection with Sufism. At the Sidi Chiker National Gatherings of Sufi partisans (another important festival in Morocco) in Marrakech, King Mohammed VI stated (in remarks read by the Moroccan Minister of Religious Affairs) that Sufism was ‘indeed one of the characteristic spiritual and ethical components of the Moroccan identity’.16 Mohamed Aïssa uses more generic terms about Sufi, mystical, and maraboutic traditions. Moroccan identity politics and its relationship with Sufism has a longer history, while the image of Algerian Islam has never really been associated with this Islamic tradition. In the region of Oran, from Tlemcen to Mostaganem, most zāwiyas are related to Sufi lineages coming from western regions of North Africa. Moroccan royal families have often been in competition with Berber tribes and Sufi leaders, and governments have learnt over the years how to use the religious legitimacy of Sufi sheikhs, whereas the Algerian government’s interest in Sufi orders is very recent, dating from the 1990s.   This discourse on tradition by the minister of religious affairs is accompanied by a critique of modernity. Though Mohamed Aïssa is critical of what are 217

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generally seen as products of modernity (such as new technologies, globalisation, and consumerism), his use of the word ‘modern’ enables him, for example, to consider that ‘traditional Islam’, ‘as our ancestors transmitted it’, is ‘a modern and tolerant Islam’: modernity is criticised when it refers to values and principles coming from the West, when it is a cultural threat, but is praised when it is a marker of contemporary relevance. The call to tradition, to culture, is made by reference to a true, authentic Islam that is not dependent on modernity or its objects. While many Islamic movements used new technologies, like the Internet, to spread their values, Aïssa considers that Islam, ‘in its authentic sense’, can be found ‘in zāwiyas’, and not ‘in cybercafés, and even less in CDs’.17   Through cycles of conferences taking place during the year, I argue that Algerian Sufi elites also produce this discourse on tradition and modernity. The moral dimension, with the emphasis on peace and tolerance, is also present. It gives an important role to the Sufi tradition in the construction of a moderate, tolerant Algerian Islam, and it is the reason why we should not consider these elites as passive agents of a state agenda. The freedom of speech of these elites shows the living and vivid character of these discourses.   In this chapter, I take the example of Omar Chaalal, the president of the UNZA and the organiser of the international conference in Mostaganem. I met him at his home in Mostaganem a few months after the conference and the advent of the World Union of Sufism. On many issues, his views coincide with those of the minister of religious affairs. But his strong anti-Salafist stance, which differs from the ambiguous position of the state concerning this issue, is representative of the engaged and political discourse of these Algerian Sufi elites. And it goes beyond the Sufi/Salafi debate. I use the example of Omar Chaalal because it echoes the debates taking place in these conferences, which offer, as we saw in the first sections, concrete opportunities to evoke contemporary global issues. Modernity, Salafism and Globalisation In 2016, the ‘war against ISIS’ and the threat of terrorism were the two main global issues. These topics were omnipresent in the discussions, often in an explicit way, sometimes more implicitly, and these debates could not be dissociated from the social and geopolitical context in which they took place. In this respect, ‘modernity’ and ‘globalisation’ are often perceived, with others, as explanation factors of the violence of these phenomena. When I inter218

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viewed him, Omar Chaalal compared the ‘modernists’ to the ‘Salafists’. He made a distinction between ‘moderns’ and ‘modernists’ to show the ideological dimension of ‘modernism’, as an imperial ideology threatening traditional values: ‘The problem we face is terrorism. But is not only Wahhabism, it is also modernity, the so-called modernity. Who are “the modernists”? There are many of them in Algeria. They are not “moderns”, I must make clear, they are “modernists”. And we have the Salafists. We have both’.   Modernity, as he views it, associated with ‘materialist globalisation’, is an instrument of power at the service of European/American culture, and it would be naïve not to see how it is used as a conceptual means of cultural domination. It is not only about ways of ‘being modern’, but it is also about adopting signs and symbols of modernity that are in line with European and North American culture. And as in many studies of people’s experiences of modernity, fashion is an emblematic practice of these modes of consumption: They think that modernity means consumerism; that if you wear jeans or a shirt, you are a modern person. But it is only a matter of appearance. They just want to look like modern individuals. I give you an example. In Algeria, we have a culture, we have a civilisation, we have customary law, we have civil and constitutional law. Why should I want to act like an American? For them, being modern means to be American. But look at Japan, it is modern, but they take care of their traditions. And us, we have people who are modern, and at the same time, they do not disown their cultural heritage. But you cannot be like them for ‘modernists’, you must be an American; otherwise, you are not modern. You must do like the French, but why do the French not do like us? We have the modernists, and we have the Salafists, both are related. They are extremists.18

  In this almost anti-globalist discourse, Salafists and ‘modernists’ are both portrayed as extremists and are symbols of cultural colonisation. Modernity, when it fosters ‘materialism’, ‘consumerism’, or Salafism, thus becomes a way of life that needs to be fought with ideas and values, and Sufism appears as a solution. In the media, Chaalal, also a doctor in medicine and a graduate of the University of Paris, wrote that Sufism was ‘the best treatment for current pains, to free the Muslim nation from materialist globalisation, and revive it’.19   One could even talk about a call for a defensive jihad, defending Islamic and local culture against the invasion of foreign values. When I interviewed Omar Chaalal to learn more about the World Union of Sufism that he wanted to create, his first words were about the past role of the ribāṭ, which preceded the coming of zāwiya, and these words were laudatory. Jihad might be, in his perspective, as in Lara Deeb’s analysis of pious Shi’ite women, a cultural ‘struggle’, as ‘a work of proving to the West that Muslim [women] can be both pious 219

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and modern’.20 It also shows that institutional Sufi Islam, or traditional Islam here, is neither entirely apolitical or quietist, as it is often portrayed as, or passive ‘instruments of state domination’.21 It is also the limit of an analysis of religious diplomacy, which can be accused of describing Sufi orders as passive actors of a state agenda. In North Africa, be it in Algeria or Libya, Sufi brotherhoods were active participants, and often leading ones, in anticolonial resistance, and Sufi ideals of justice were among the values that motivated this call to jihad.   The parallel made between Salafists and ‘modernists’ manifests a will to defend traditional values against the threat of outside foreign cultures, be they Wahhabi ‘Arab’ or ‘modern’ ‘Western’ ones. The call of tradition is used as a cultural rampart, and Mohamed Aïssa and Omar Chaalal both distance themselves from the idea that societies cannot cope with modernity without going away from tradition, and they thus attempt to re-appropriate this concept. The word ‘modern’ is used by Aïssa without referring to North European or North American modernity as he associates traditional Islam with a modern understanding of Islam. The issue here seems to be more in the ‘mono-civilizational definitions of modernity’, to use the words of Göle,22 rather than the idea of modernity as these Muslim intellectuals conceive it. Neither modernists nor pure traditionalists, Algerian Sufism such as it is represented here is in line with the recent history of many Sufi movements. William Shepard speaks of neo-traditionalism, as it is ‘concerned for continuity with the past’ but ‘appreciates the depth of the Western challenge, and selectively adopts Western ideas and practices’.23 The defence of ‘traditional’ Islam in Morocco also takes place in this global context. At the Sidi Chiker National Gatherings of Sufi Partisans in 2008, Mohamed VI evoked ‘the keen desire to preserve the culture specificities of Morocco and protect them against alien trends and influences’.24   Facing the threats of modernity and globalisation, Sufi elites are engaged in a cultural battle. On these issues, their positions mostly agree with that of the state, but their anti-Salafism is more pronounced. Moreover, the sincerity of the state discourse can be challenged, as it can be seen as part of a political strategy. The Algerian regime has been relying, since Bouteflika, on religious movements that it considers as apolitical, and so not susceptible to be politically dangerous for the government. Sufi elites and institutions are the object of this chapter, but we can also observe the goodwill of the state towards quietist Salafists, whose societal ambitions do not threaten the stability of the regime.25 In this respect, the anti-Salafist stance of Sufi elites is clear and strong. 220

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  Furthermore, their relationship with nationalism and the nation-state is ambiguous. Between their patriotism and the internationalist ambition of Sufi orders, I argue that a Maghreb, Mediterranean, even European, regionalism also needs to be taken into account. It responds to tensions generated by the competition, within the Sufi tradition, between other Muslim traditions, be it in the Arab, Persian or South Asian world. Politics of Transnationalism From this perspective, one could think that nationalist attempts to monopolise the Sufi imaginary had to face the strong international dimension of Sufi ideas and orders, but I argue in this chapter that they feed these identity politics. Sufism is not Algerian, nor North African, not even Arab, Berber, or Persian, but Algerian nationalism is not a vacuum.   These conferences, reuniting Sufi elites and taking place throughout the year, mark and signify the multiple identities of the Sufi tradition. The region of Oran, near the Moroccan border, illustrates this perspective. Most Sufi orders of the region come from what is now ‘Morocco’, and the roots of the tariqa system do not respect national boundaries. The sheikhs and muqaddams that I met during fieldwork, in spite of their strong patriotic discourses, were often proud regionalists, having many ties with Morocco and families from the other side of the border. Sheikh Habri’s family, for example, comes from Oujda, a Moroccan city close to the border, and one of his brother looks after the local zāwiya there. It is a famous city in the history of Algeria, also being the place where president Abdelaziz Bouteflika grew up in the 1940s and 1950s, and where he frequented the Qadiriya as a young religion student.   In the Oran region, in Tlemcen, in Mostaganem, Sufi Islam is based on a multicultural heritage, with North African, Mediterranean and European roots, which goes from the Spanish Andalusia to the Kabyle cities and villages. Though people may know that Sufism, as the Islamic tradition, has its roots in many different cultures, the organisation of these events and the topics that are chosen make it explicit. An interesting example can be used to illustrate this perspective.   One of the many conferences that I attended in 2016 took place in November, in Tlemcen another splendid city between Oran and the Moroccan frontier. It was an academic event, focusing on the life of Sidi Abu Madyan, the great Muslim poet who lived in Spain, Morocco and Algeria in the twelfth century AD, and was entitled: ‘Sidi Boumediene, the hub of 221

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Western Islam’. It had many similarities with the international conference of the UNZA. The audience was less international, but the speakers came from many different European and north-west Asian countries (notably: Turkey, Palestine, France and Spain), and it gathered once again many of the local sheikhs that were present in Mostaganem (Omar Chaalal among them).   The taxi driver who brought me to the place was furious about this title, associating ‘the West’ with names such as George W. Bush (and the war in Iraq) and Nicolas Sarkozy (and the war in Libya). To link the name of Abu Madyan, a beloved Saint in Tlemcen, to American neo-conservatism and French neo-colonialism was to him a form of blasphemy. I could not separate his view from his own experience of Europe. He lived in France for a few years, back in his youth, and suffered from his social status in French society, ‘we are still considered as colonised individuals over there’, ‘Europe is not a place for us’. But for the organisers of the event, the University of Tlemcen and the Centre of Andalusia Studies, the event was an opportunity to show the multicultural identity of the region of Oran, and the non-Eastern particularities of North-African Islam. Europe and Islam were not considered as isolated monoliths. And by differentiating Eastern from Western Islam, such events make public the belonging of Sufi orders in the Algerian north-west as part of the history of Europe and the Mediterranean.   Abu Madyan was born in Cantillana (Spain), lived in Fès (Morocco) and Béjaïa (in the Kabyle region), studied with ʿAbd al-Qadir Jilani in Mecca, and died in Tlemcen. As a Muslim Saint of the Al-Andalus period, he is emblematic of the early European dimension of Islam. With French and Spanish speakers invited to talk about Sufi poetry, but also Kabyle academics evoking the intellectual influence of the city of Bejaïa at the time of Abu Madyan, the event highlighted that a brilliant Islamic tradition was taking place outside the classic ‘Arab world’ as most people perceive it. The history of Sufism makes it easier to connect with Europe. With the Al-Andalus period and its great Saints, it underlined the intellectual contribution of Europe to the Islamic tradition and the Islamic, and Sufi, identity of Europe. The place of Islam in Europe is related to the place of Europe in Islam, and these events are interesting from this perspective. Islam, because it is Berber, Andalusian and Mediterranean, is also European: your culture is also ours, and our culture is yours. But it is also an ideological response to those who attempt to monopolise Islamic ‘culture’, showing that culture is not bounded in place. Anthropologists have long been aware of the limits of the ‘culture’ concept, and the event illustrates the idea that Islamic culture does not really exist.  

 

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  The reference to the Andalusian period of Islam is interesting because it does not necessarily contradict the state’s discourse on Algerian Islam. Mohamed Aïssa, in conferences and opinion columns, frequently evokes the Andalusian roots of the Algerian religious tradition. I do not see the connection between these discourses as revealing of the submission of Sufi elites to a larger political project. Sufi elites are not passive agents of the state’s identity discourse. Rather, it shows that the interaction between national and transnational dynamics is not necessarily conflicting. The cultural wealth of the Sufi tradition feeds these nationalist discourses on religion, and Sufi elites take advantage of this relation by putting forward a vivid, engaged discourse that supports their vision of Islam.   On many points, the discourse of Sufi elites affirms and accentuates the voice of the state. When the ministry of religious affairs promotes the Sufi, Berber identity of the ‘Islam of the ancestors’, with an implicit anti-Wahhabi stance, these Sufi elites often go further, with a strong, explicit anti-Salafi position. These discourses seem quite free, not constrained by the state politics and official communication tools. We saw it with Omar Chaalal’s stance on modernity and Salafism, but we can also observe, from these religious elites, the emphasis on a more regionalist view of the Sufi tradition. The Algerian state cannot control the borders of its national religious tradition, and the complexity of the Sufi tradition makes this politics even more complex. In this respect, it can indeed be argued that, in spite of their displayed internationalism, the imagination of Sufi Islam by these Algerian religious elites tends to produce a North African, Maghrebi tradition, in opposition to the Persian or Arab traditions with which they often seem to be in competition. Conclusion Through the perspectives, these Sufi conferences, organised by religious associations and universities, supported by the state, form part of a global environment, but also answer national issues. The state has its own agenda, and promotes a moderate, tolerant, open Islam, with which the national religious tradition is associated. Sufi zāwiyas and ‘maraboutic Islam’ are considered important components of this traditional ‘Algerian Islam’. This chapter highlights the convergence of the Sufi elites’ discourses, in the political and geopolitical context of 2016, also marked by the war in Syria and the rise of ISIS. But it also reveals the complexity of these discourses, not giving in to a binary vision of Islam, which would reduce Sufism to a kind of mystical, apolitical  

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culture. To the contrary, without essentialising, it analyses the political dimension and engaged character of this living, vivid and transnational tradition. References Abourabi, Yousra, ‘Le Maghreb face au sahel: des tentatives de cooperation sécuritaire à l’avènement de diplomaties religieuses’ in Monde arabe; entre transition et implosion, edited by Abidi Hasni (Paris: Editions Erick Bonnier, 2015). Constantin, François, ‘La Transnationalité: de l’individu à l’Etat’ in Les individus dans la politique internationale, edited by Michel Girard (Paris: Economica, 1994). Deeb, Lara, An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi’i Lebanon (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006). Göle, Nilufer, ‘Contemporary Islamist movements and new sources for religious tolerance’, Journal of Human Rights 2:1, (2003), pp. 17–30. Hadj Ali, Smail, ‘Algérie: le premier séminaire national des zaouïas’, Monde Arabe Maghreb Machrek 135 (1992), pp. 53–67. Jankowsky, Richard C., ‘“Absence” and “presence”: el-Hadhra and the cultural politics of staging Sufi music in Tunisia’, The Journal of North African Studies vol. 22 (2017): p. 872. Langlois, Tony, Moroccan Sufism, Music and Power, AHRC/ESRC, University of Leeds in Muedini (2015), p. 80. Luizad, P. J., ‘Le rôle des confréries soufies dans le système politique égyptien’, Monde Arabe Maghreb, Machrek 131 (1991), pp. 26–53. Maghraoui, Driss, ‘The Strengths and Limits of Religious Reforms in Morocco’, Mediterranean Politics vol. 14, no. 2. (2009), p. 195–211. Muedini, Fait, Sponsoring Sufism: How Governments Promote ‘Mystical Islam’ in their Domestic and Foreign Policies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Pinto, Paulo, ‘Dangerous Liaisons: Sufism and the States in Syria’ in Crossing Boundaries: From Syria to Slovakia, edited by S. Jakelic and J. Varsoka, Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows Conference, vol. 14 (2013), p. 1–10. Sambe, Bakari, ‘Tidjaniya: usages diplomatiques d’une confrérie soufie’, Politique étrangère (2010), pp. 843–854. Shepard, William, Introducing Islam (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009). Zeghal, Malika, Religion et politique au Maroc aujourd’hui, IFRI, policy paper, 2004.  

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NEO-TRADITIONALIST SUFIS AND ARAB POLITICS A PRELIMINARY MAPPING OF THE TRANSNATIONAL NETWORKS OF COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY SCHOLARS AFTER THE ARAB REVOLUTIONS1

Usaama al-Azami

This chapter examines the public engagements of five prominent ‘Neotraditionalist’ Sufi scholars in the Arab world in the wake of the 2011 Arab revolutions. These scholars’ Sufi affiliation is not necessarily the primary feature of their public identity, and not all Sufis share in the political orientation of the scholars considered here. These Neo-traditionalist Sufi scholars, however, have become particularly active in Middle Eastern politics after the Arab revolutions, and, as this chapter will argue, their politics is related to their Sufism.   Neo-traditionalist scholars self-identify as Sunnis. However, their ‘denomination’ of Sunnism, which I refer to as ‘Neo-traditionalism’, valorises Sufism more than other Islamic denominations of comparable significance. Neotraditionalism, broadly speaking, emphasises respect for and adherence to one

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of the four schools of law, the Ashʿari or Maturidi schools of theology, and any of a number of Sufi orders.2 All Neo-traditionalists thus valorise Sufism, but not all Sufis necessarily espouse the tripartite Neo-traditionalist understanding of Islam.3   In the Arab world, Neo-traditionalists are in competition with two other major denominations: Salafism (often referred to as Wahhabism), and Islamism (often referred to as political Islam). In the wake of the Arab revolutions, Neo-traditionalists in the Middle East have been drawn into political battles as an important counter-revolutionary force in a way that has reconfigured their relationships with both state power and their ideological competitors, most notably democratic Islamists.   Below, I will introduce the five scholars who are the focus of the present chapter as major representatives of Neo-traditionalism in the Arab world, providing historical, institutional, and other contextual information relevant to the present inquiry. Thereafter, I will briefly describe the geopolitical context in which the current power struggle is taking place, which may be seen as between the pro-revolutionary and pro-Islamist state of Qatar and the counter-revolutionary, anti-democratic, and anti-Islamist states of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with Egypt as a junior partner. I will then turn to major counter-revolutionary and anti-Islamist interventions that these activist scholars have participated in from 2011 to the present. Finally, I will engage in an analysis of the likely motivations behind these interventions. In presenting my reading of these, I hope to contribute my own interpretation to the growing body of literature that attempts to understand the Neo-traditionalist response to the Arab revolutions and counter-revolutions of the early twenty-first century.4 I will conclude the chapter with a brief consideration of what the future holds for Neo-traditionalism given its newfound political significance as a bulwark for Arab autocracy against democratic Islamism. The Neo-traditionalist Network: The Scholars and Institutions Due to the need for brevity, only five scholars and their institutions are considered here. They are briefly introduced in the order of their appearance in the discussion that follows in later sections of this chapter.   Ahmad al-Tayyib (b. 1946), also spelt Ahmed el-Tayeb, is the rector of the Azhar (Sheikh al-Azhar) and thus the most senior figure in the religious hierarchy of the modern Egyptian nation-state. The Azhar is a mosque and university complex that is often described as the most authoritative centre of 226

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religious learning in the Sunni world. Given the oft-cited lack of universally recognised hierarchies in Sunni Islam, it is important to avoid the suggestion that this closely resembles the authority of the medieval Church. However, the Azhar’s more than one thousand year history, and the esteem it continues to garner among many Muslims from around the world, mean that Tayyib, who is also a Sufi, commands considerable respect around the Muslim world by virtue of his office.5 The student body of Azhar and its staff do not necessarily share his statist outlook, which is almost a necessity of his official position as a political appointee and a salaried state functionary.6   Tayyib was placed in his present role by the ousted Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, in 2010. Notably, Tayyib was a loyal member of Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party who initially refused to resign his membership to the party as part of the appointment to the ostensibly non-partisan post of the Sheikh al-Azhar.7 Eventually he relented, but the episode illustrates his commitment to the Egyptian political establishment of the pre-Arab revolutionary era.   ʿAli Jumʿa (b. 1952), also spelt Ali Gomaa, is an Islamic jurist who served as the Grand Mufti of Egypt from 2003 until early 2013. He too had been appointed by the ousted President Mubarak. The Grand Mufti is, in the Egyptian state hierarchy, second only to the Sheikh al-Azhar as a figure of religious authority, but even after his departure from the role, Jumʿa remains arguably the most prominent public figure in Egyptian Islam with a regular presence in all forms of media. Jumʿa is chiefly a scholar who specialises in Islamic law and jurisprudence, who has long been active in public life in Egypt, and indeed beyond. He is also a noted Sufi sheikh who has made innumerable statements on the paramount importance of Sufism.8 During his time as Grand Mufti, he engaged international media by, inter alia, being profiled by and writing op-ed pieces in prominent Western newspapers ostensibly promoting liberal values such as tolerance, religious moderation and democracy.9 Like Tayyib, however, he vehemently opposed the Egyptian revolutions of 2011, issuing fatwas against protesting during that period. The most controversial public engagement of Jumʿa’s career was undoubtedly his support for the Rabiʿa (Rabaa) massacre in Egypt in 2013, which will be discussed in greater detail below.   ʿAbdullah b. Bayyah (b. 1935) is a highly regarded Saudi-based Mauritanian Neo-traditionalist scholar, former politician, and president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies (henceforth FPPMS).10 For several decades, he has been based in the western Saudi port city of Jeddah as a profes 227

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sor at King ʿAbd al-ʿAziz University. Unusually for a Neo-traditionalist, he has long been active in transnational scholarly institutions, and he served as a vice-president to the prominent Islamist scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi at the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) from 2004–13, when he resigned a few weeks after the Rabiʿa massacre in Egypt.   The following year, he established and now leads the UAE-based FPPMS. Alongside the FPPMS, together with Ahmad al-Tayyib, he helped establish the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE), another body of religious scholars headquartered in the UAE that represents one more attempt at harnessing transnational Islamic religious authority. Consequently, the FPPMS and MCE may be viewed as a Neo-traditionalist counterweight to the Qatarbased Islamist-oriented, and apparently more independent, IUMS.11 The development of such bodies, I will argue below, can be seen as part of the UAE’s efforts to bring religious authority under the authority of the nationstate. In this respect, they may be regarded as institutions of secularisation in something like the sense discussed by Zareena Grewal, that is, the complete subordination of religious institutions and authorities to the authority of the secular state.12   Hamza Yusuf (b. 1958) is the president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, and vice-president of the FPPMS.13 Born Mark Hanson, he is the only figure studied here who converted to Islam. The British newspaper, The Guardian, has called him ‘arguably the west’s most influential Islamic scholar’.14 In this respect, he may be viewed as a major bridge between Neo-traditionalism in the Middle East and its analogues in the West. Being a gifted orator, he is particularly noteworthy for his charismatic, rather than academic style. Hamza Yusuf ’s political engagements are especially notable in the wake of the Arab Revolutions of 2011. Though initially enthusiastic about the Egyptian revolution, a few months later his public statements evinced wariness towards the revolutions and the new geopolitical reality they had given rise to, as we will consider below.15 Perhaps partly as a consequence of this, he has regularly been featured on Arab news channels aligned with or based in the UAE, and was appointed by early 2016 as the vice-president of the UAE’s FPPMS.   ʿArif ʿAli al-Nayid (b. 1962), also spelt Aref Ali Nayed, is a Libyan politician, academic, and religious scholar. While he has a PhD in hermeneutics from the University of Guelph in Canada, his religious activities have garnered less attention than the other Neo-traditionalists mentioned above, in part due to his public persona being more political than religious in the postArab revolutionary context. From 2011–16, he served as Libya’s ambassador  

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to the UAE, and in 2015, he was accused on the basis of leaked telephone conversations of ordering the assassination of an opposition political figure in post-Gaddafi Libya.16 Later that year, he was accused of acting on behalf of the UAE to adversely influence the impartiality of a UN-brokered peace in Libya, at a time when the UAE was, according to the New York Times, also breaching a UN-imposed arms embargo in Libya.17 Yet, his scholarly credentials are also significant: he has helped found and directs Islamic religious institutions in his native Libya, and a transnational Islamic institution known as Kalam Research and Media. He also maintains close ties with Ibn Bayyah and the FPPMS.18 Nayid’s political engagements provide a useful segue into the geopolitical dimension of Neo-traditionalist politics, to which I shall now turn. The Geopolitical Context The Arab revolutions of 2011 presented the opportunity for a democratic opening, and were consequently viewed by regional autocrats as an existential threat. One of the few exceptions to this reaction came from the tiny state of Qatar. If its state-owned, mainstream Islamist-sympathising Al Jazeera Network’s response was indicative of its orientation, far from wariness about the rise of democracy, there was mostly enthusiastic support for it on the part of Qatar, despite the country itself not being a democracy.19   Recognising their existential crisis after the Arab revolutions, regional autocracies, aside from Qatar, shifted from the reactive and poorly coordinated modus operandi that characterised their response to the 2011 revolutions to a proactive one. By 2013, regional powers were stockpiling weapons, actively participating in proxy wars, and most significantly for Egypt, bankrolling the so-called ‘deep state’ in order to engineer a counter revolution.20   The UAE’s post-Arab revolutionary regional grand strategy is particularly noteworthy in this regard. In recent years, the UAE has made a determined effort to expand its regional sphere of influence through growing its military and surveillance capacities, building new military bases throughout the region, and hiring military and intelligence experts from around the world to train its own forces and undertake military expeditions.21 Its spokespeople argue that this is about ‘threats at our borders’ rather than ‘the pursuit of regional influence’.22 Of course, it may also be seen as the consolidation of autocracy against threats to the power of the region’s rulers.   The UAE considers the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which has been one of the region’s chief proponents of Islamist conceptions of democracy and free 229

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speech in recent years, a terrorist organisation. Accordingly, the UAE has lobbied hard for Western countries to designate the MB and its affiliates terrorist organisations, mostly without success in the Western legal sphere. At the same time, the UAE has portrayed itself to Western audiences as promoting secularism, and some Western observers have seen it as promoting secularising tendencies.23 This is not a case of separating the spheres of religion and politics, however, but of giving those in political authority control over religion and religious discourse. In some sense, this is the integration of religion and politics, and is clearly part of the UAE’s efforts at consolidating the autocratic state in response to the Arab revolutions.24 Chronology of Political Interventions after 2011 Events after 2011 illustrate how the senior Neo-traditionalists responded to the events of the Arab revolutions. The most important event of the period we are concerned with was, without question, the Egyptian revolution of 2011. By 11 February of that year, Hosni Mubarak, who had served as president for roughly thirty years, had stepped down from power, but not without considerable resistance to protests against him by senior figures of the religious establishment. Both Sheikh al-Azhar Tayyib and Grand Mufti Jumʿa, the two most significant figures in the Egyptian religious establishment, issued fatwas declaring the protests illegitimate (hharām) while trying to assuage protestors regarding their grievances.25   In early 2011, the Neo-traditionalists did not have a unified narrative regarding the Arab revolutions. Nor was there a transnational network of scholars aligned with regional powers that could be harnessed for political purposes. In the week before Mubarak’s fall, Hamza Yusuf came out passionately in favour of the popular Egyptian revolution while defending ʿAli Jumʿa as ‘an honorable and pious man’.26 Yusuf ’s teacher and mentor, ʿAbdullah b. Bayyah, appears to have remained mostly silent through the early days of the revolutionary period. It is difficult to find any statements of his in the first days of the revolution, although in March 2011, a video was uploaded to his official YouTube channel that suggested his grave concern regarding the chaos the unguided masses could precipitate.27   In July 2013, Egypt witnessed the culmination of the counter-revolutionary efforts of the deep state in the coup of the summer of that year. This time, in contrast with the ouster of Mubarak, Tayyib and Jumʿa supported protests against President Muhammad Morsi.28 Tayyib participated in the televised declaration by General ʿAbd al-Fattah al-Sisi that removed Morsi from office  

 

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and suspended the Egyptian constitution, granting the event (Neo-traditional) Islamic religious legitimacy.29   In the weeks that followed, Jumʿa actively encouraged the army to strike at those who resisted the coup. He privately advised the army to recognise the legitimacy of the coup, and the need, indeed the obligation, of killing those who opposed the new order.30 Tensions in Egypt between the army and those protesting the coup culminated in the Rabiʿa massacre of August 2013 in which the Egyptian security forces cleared large pro-Morsi sit-ins protesting the coup with the use of deadly force in what Human Rights Watch declared ‘one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history.’31 These massacres were so appalling that Tayyib issued a public disavowal of any prior knowledge about them, and in a separate statement, diplomatically asked the security forces to avoid harming peaceful protestors.32 In contrast, in the wake of these massacres, Jumʿa publicly defended his stance and also went before the Egyptian military on national television to lionise their clearing of the protests at Rabiʿa and elsewhere.33 He also mocked MB supporters’ appeals to democracy stating that, given their self-designation as ‘Muslim Brothers’, they should be concerned about Islamic law, not ‘Western democracy’ and Western notions of rule of law and political legitimacy. This marks a volte-face from his previous statements in the Western press in favour of democracy.34 Hamza Yusuf and Ibn Bayyah, in contrast, have never publicly expressed a view on the Egyptian coup or the Rabiʿa massacre.   2013–14 marked an important transition point for the Neo-traditionalist movement. The UAE had funded Ibn Bayyah to set up two new religious bodies, the FPPMS and the MCE, both based in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi. By 2016, Hamza Yusuf was appointed vice-president to Ibn Bayyah at the FPPMS and Tayyib officially headed the MCE. The FPPMS’ subordination to the UAE’s foreign policy interests was illustrated in June 2017 with the former issuing a strongly-worded statement condemning Qatar as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and their clients initiated a blockade of that country. This statement had been published by the UAE’s state-owned news agency before it had been published by the FPPMS, suggesting that it had been drafted by the state rather than independently by the Forum.35  

What is behind Neo-traditionalism’s Counter-Revolutionary Posture? At first glance, it seems reasonable to explain the counter-revolutionary orientation of senior representatives of Neo-traditionalism in light of established doctrines of political quietism—what Ebrahim Moosa refers to as the ‘prag 231

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matist norms of early political theology’.36 ‘Classical’ (roughly ninth- to eighteenth-century) Sunni doctrine is said to generally view rebellion against an established political authority to be illegitimate.37 This is intimately tied to the fear of social chaos and strife (fitna) in the absence of a legitimate political authority. Such social chaos can easily lead to bloodshed, and enjoining obedience to one’s rulers was a way of preserving the good health of society. A related doctrine that crystallised in Sunni politico-legal thought was the notion that a ruler that came to power by force was to be obeyed no matter how sinful they were, so long as they did not commit an act that constituted open disbelief (kufr bawāhh).38 Though they may have arrived at power through illegitimate means, once they had established themselves in power, and all competitors were eliminated, they should be obeyed in the interest of preserving order and reducing fitna.39   These doctrines provide only a partial explanation for the actions of the scholars we are considering, however. They make sense of the objection of some of these scholars to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. But they do not explain the support of the same scholars for the ouster of Muhammad Morsi two years later. Arguably, the issue was not the presidency, but the real source of power in Egypt, namely the Egyptian military establishment. The support of Tayyib and Jumʿa for Mubarak, and later the army against Morsi, arguably represented their loyalty to the military. Regardless of the army’s possible faults, to support it was to support the most powerful institution in Egypt that could ensure stability.   But this argument becomes less compelling when one considers the series of massacres that followed the Egyptian coup of 2013, culminating in the Rabiʿa massacre. If the purpose of supporting the army was to reduce bloodshed, as ʿAli Jumʿa claimed, how does one make sense of his support for the massacre of over a thousand overwhelmingly unarmed protestors? The contention that killing a thousand people may have been necessary to prevent the country from falling into a full-fledged civil war does not seem entirely persuasive.40 In fact, it has been argued that the Syrian regime’s killing of protestors was a major, and perhaps deliberate, cause for that civil war.41 An alternative explanation seems necessary, and could be sought in the ideological disagreements between Neo-traditionalism and Islamism.  

Preserving ‘True Islam’ An important element of the Neo-traditionalist animus towards Islamism is an argument about the very nature of Islam. In the course of interviews with 232

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Western Muslim ulama that I conducted, including with students and admirers of Jumʿa, one idea that was occasionally mooted is particularly suggestive. It centred on protecting Islam from the Muslim Brotherhood. Most figures in the Neo-traditionalist movement are relatively coy about arguing this explicitly, despite the history of animosity between the Azhar and the Muslim Brothers going back to at least the middle of the twentieth century.42 Only one of the figures studied here has been forthright about this, namely ʿArif al-Nayid. In a 2015 interview with BBC Hardtalk, in response to a question about destabilising proxy wars on the part of the UAE and Qatar, he states: I think the entire region, the Middle Eastern region, is going through a historical dialectic that is of the utmost seriousness. It is a dialectic regarding what Islam is, who we are, where we’re going. And of course, different countries have taken different approaches to this, there’s no doubt… What I would say is that there is a huge struggle in the Middle East between what I would call the [Neo-]traditionalist narrative of al-Azhar and likeminded institutions of Sunni Islam that is actually quite moderate [and] rooted in the area and the Muslim Brotherhood and a more ideologically driven, politicised Islam.43

  In an interview around the same time with BBC Arabic, he repeated a similar answer to a similar question about ‘alleged’ proxy wars waged in Syria on the part of Qatar, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other countries: The question is not one of proxy wars. In essence I believe that the entire region is undergoing an identity crisis in reality. Who are we? And what is the Islam we accept as our religion?… Indeed, it is an existential question, and there is a major [ongoing] struggle. I believe that there is fascism in the region as a whole that dresses up as Islam, and it has no relation to true Islam (al-Islām al-hhaqīqī)… Unfortunately, there is a fascistic tendency that is closer to the thought of Mussolini and Hitler than anything Islamic, but it uses Islamic terms. Thus, rather than say ‘Reich’ in German, they say umma, but what they intend is a Reich… Let me be explicit: there are countries that support the Muslim Brotherhood, and there are countries that are waging war against the Muslim Brotherhood… This is a regional war—we do not deny it. It is indeed present… What I want to say is that we must realise that there is an actual crisis regarding what Islam must be followed in this region… What are the conceptions [of Islam]? Is it the Islam that we know in… the hallowed al-Azhar, al-Qarawiyyin, and al-Zaytuna, or is it the Islam of Sayyid Qutb and the ideas he gave rise to?44  

  In addition to the foregoing, in an interview with CNN from early 2015, Nayid states that the ideology of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) is drawn from the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’s ideologues’.45 However, as many Western scholars have long recognised, Nayid’s claims about the MB’s supposed fascist or Nazi tendencies, or the influence of Qutb (d. 1966), have little to do with 233

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the actual reality of the organisation since at least the late 1960s, nor with the democratic Islamism it aspires to in the region today.46 This conflation of IS and the MB, that is also suggested in the writings of Hamza Yusuf, may be an attempt to undermine democratic Islamism by association with terrorist groups like IS that are also widely referred to as Islamist.47   Nayid’s stark assertions are rare among Neo-traditionalist public figures. Few appear willing to express the friction between Neo-traditionalism and its main ideological competitor in the region after 2011 (i.e. mainstream Islamism) in the terms that Nayid does. Nayid’s perspective does, however, help make sense of the response of ʿAli Jumʿa to the Egyptian coup and the subsequent Rabiʿa massacre. Defending the killing of a thousand people is extreme by any measure, but if what is at stake is the very nature of the Islamic religion, then perhaps it is a small price to pay to prevent the corruption of God’s revealed path to salvation for all humanity. For such Neo-traditionalists, in the wake of the Arab revolutions, the ends may justify the means. For some of the scholars mentioned above, such as Hamza Yusuf, this arguably contrasts strikingly with their previous perspective on comparable issues. Yusuf ’s willingness to work with the UAE and associate with Neo-traditionalism in the Middle East could be viewed as marking a significant departure from his past positions. In the early 2000s, Yusuf repeatedly condemned the ‘ends justifies the means’ mentality as a cause for terrorist attacks like the ones of September 2001, and excoriated it as a moral principle that was fundamentally antithetical to Islam.48 By contrast, in the context of the post-2013 Middle East, he defended Jumʿa’s scholarly credentials against his critics after the Rabiʿa massacre of 2013, and as noted earlier, he has been a public supporter of the UAE’s ambitions in the region, which has not shied away from engaging in ethically questionable activities in pursuit of its interests.49 Whither Neo-traditionalism? Neo-traditionalism is a much larger trend than the scholars considered in this study. But some of these individuals are representatives of the single most significant educational institution of Neo-traditionalism. There is no question that the Azhar holds a hallowed place at the heart of Neotraditionalism, if not Sunnism as a whole. The alignment of the leaders of such an institution with regional autocracies, alongside senior scholarly representatives of this Sunni denomination, has been a cause for some disquiet in the movement globally. In the West, the Rabiʿa massacre in Egypt 234

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gave rise to both disgust and disillusionment at the behaviour of scholars like ʿAli Jumʿa and Hamza Yusuf.50   It is unclear, however, how long Neo-traditionalism’s relationship with the state will last. Major representatives and institutions of the denomination have tied their fortunes to the anti-democratic autocrats of the Arab world. Many of these states operate extremely repressive regimes that are only sustainable with revenue from the sale of oil, a finite resource that is declining in importance.51 The Arab revolutions of 2011 also demonstrated that the region’s autocrats are vulnerable to protest, and consequently they have done a good deal to shore up their positions in the years that followed. Ultimately, Neo-traditionalism’s support for repressive forces in the region risks making the denomination’s scholars look like uninspiring pawns in the hands of the region’s irreligious autocrats. In the long run, it does not appear feasible for these governments to stay in power without sustained repression. If this persists, then Neo-traditionalism’s image may suffer further in the minds of the lay Muslim, opening up the field for other Islamic denominations or nonIslamic outlooks such as secularism. At this point in time, there is no sign that the major figures of Neo-traditionalism in the region envisage any change to the autocratic status quo. This lack of imagination may ultimately be their undoing. References Ali, Abdullah, ‘“Neo-Traditionalism” vs “Traditionalism”’, Lamppost Education Initiative, 22 January 2012: https://www.lamppostproductions.com/neotraditionalism-vs-traditionalism-shaykh-abdullah-bin-hamid-ali/ Ayoob, Mohammed, The Many Faces of Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Muslim World (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007). Brown, Jonathan, ‘Salafis and Sufis in Egypt’, The Carnegie Papers, December 2011: http://carnegieendowment.org/files/salafis_sufis.pdf. Crone, Patricia, Medieval Islamic Political Thought (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004). Fadel, Mohammad, ‘Islamic Law and Constitution-Making: The Authoritarian Temptation and the Arab Spring’, Osgoode Hall Law Journal 53, 2 (2016): pp. 472–507. Filiu, Jean-Pierre, From Deep State to Islamic State: The Arab Counter-Revolution and its Jihadi Legacy (London: Hurst Publishers, 2015). Grewal, Zareena, Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority (New York: New York University Press, 2013).  

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GLOBAL SUFISM: BOUNDARIES, STRUCTURES, AND POLITICS Keller, Nuh Ha Mim, Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications, 1994). Ketchley, Neil, Egypt in a Time of Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). Mathiesen, Kasper, ‘Anglo-American “Traditional Islam” and Its Discourse of Orthodoxy’, Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 13 (2013), pp. 191–219. Moosa, Ebrahim, ‘Political Theology in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring: Returning to the Ethical’ in Charles Villa-Vicencio, Erik Doxtader, Ebrahim Moosa, eds, The African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab Spring: A Season of Rebirth? (Georgetown: Georgetown University Press, 2015). Nakissa, Aria, ‘The Fiqh of Revolution and the Arab Spring: Secondary Segmentation as a Trend in Islamic Legal Doctrine’, The Muslim World, 105 (2015), pp. 398–421. Osman, Amr, ‘Past Contradictions, Contemporary Dilemmas: Egypt’s 2013 Coup and Early Islamic History’, Digest of Middle East Studies 24, 2 (2015), pp. 303–326. Raudvere, Catharina and Leif Stenberg, eds, Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community (London: IB Tauris, 2008). Schmitz, Charles and Robert D. Burrowes, Historical Dictionary of Yemen, 3rd ed. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018). Sedgwick, Mark, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). Warren, David, ‘Cleansing the Nation of the “Dogs of Hell”: ʿAli Jumʿa’s Nationalist Legal Reasoning in Support of the 2013 Egyptian Coup and its Bloody Aftermath’, IJMES 49, 3 (2017), pp. 457–477. Zollner, Barbara, The Muslim Brotherhood: Hasan al-Hudaybi and Ideology (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008).  

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INTRODUCTION 1. One example is Hamza Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College in California, and prominent Islamic figure in the United States, Cfr. Jocelyne Cesari, Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 2007). Another is Imam Hendrics, engaged in the promotion of LGBTQ rights in Cape Town, Cfr. Francesco Piraino and Laura Zambelli, ‘Queer Muslims in South Africa: Engaging Islamic Tradition’, Journal for Islamic Studies n. 37 (2018), pp. 123–147. 2.  Andreas Christmann, ‘Reclaiming Mysticism: Anti-Orientalism and the Construction of “Islamic Sufism” in Postcolonial Egypt’ in Religion, Language, and Power (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008), pp. 67–90; Linda Sijbrand, ‘Orientalism and Sufism: An Overview’, Orientalism Revisited: Art, Land and Voyage (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013), pp. 98–114. 3. Mark Sedgwick, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016); Mark Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). 4. Henry Corbin, L’imagination créatrice dans le soufisme d’Ibn Arabi (Paris: Flammarion, 1977); Louis Massignon, La passion de Husayn Ibn Mansûr Hallâj (Paris: Gallimard, 1975). 5. Alexander D. Knysh, Sufism: A New History of Islamic Mysticism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017); Sedgwick, Western Sufism; Nile Green, Sufism: A Global History (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012); Ahmet T. Karamustafa, Sufism: The Formative Period (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007). 6. For Salafism in general, see Roel Meijer, ed., Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement (London: Hurst; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). 7. Raymond L.M. Lee, ‘Sai Baba, Salvation and Syncretism: Religious Change in a Hindu Movement in Urban Malaysia’, Contributions to Indian Sociology 16, no. 1 (1982): pp. 125–40.  

 



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8. Alula Pankhurst, ‘Indigenising Islam in Wällo: Ajäm, Amharic Verse Written in Arabic Script’ (1994), pp. 257–276; Jon Abbink, ‘An Historical–anthropological Approach to Islam in Ethiopia: Issues of Identity and Politics’, Journal of African Cultural Studies 11, no. 2 (1998), pp. 109–124; Shaik Abdul Azeez Saheb, ‘A “Festival of Flags”: Hindu-Muslim Devotion and the Sacralising of Localism at the Shrine of Nagore-e-Sharif in Tamil Nadu’ in Embodying Charisma: Modernity, Locality, and Performance of Emotion in Sufi Cults, by Pnina Werbner and Helene Basu (London: Routledge, 1998), pp. 55–76; Yoginder Sikand, ‘Shared HinduMuslim Shrines in Karnataka: Challenges to Liminality’ in Lived Islam in South Asia: Adaptation, Accommodation and Conflict, by Ahmad Imtiaz and Helmut Reifeld (New Delhi: Berghahn Books, 2004), pp. 166–186; Denis B. McGilvray, ‘Jailani: A Sufi Shrine in Sri Lanka’ in Lived Islam in South Asia: Adaptation, Accommodation, and Conflict, by Imtiaz Ahmad and Helmut Reifeld (New Delhi: Berghahn Books, 2004), pp. 273–290. 9. Benjamin F. Soares, ‘“Rasta” Sufis and Muslim Youth Culture in Mali’, Being Young and Muslim: New Cultural Politics in the Global South and North (2010), pp. 241– 57. 10. Gilles Veinstein and Alexandre Popovic, eds, Les voies d’Allah: les ordres mystiques dans l’islam des origines à aujourd’hui (Paris: Fayard, 1996). 11. Herbert Blumer, Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969). 12. Gilles Veinstein and Nathalie Clayer, ‘L’Empire Ottoman’ in Les voies d’Allah, edited by Veinstein and Popovic, pp. 322–341; Martin van Bruinessen, ‘Les soufis et le pouvoir temporel’ in Les voies d’Allah, edited by Veinstein and Popovic, pp. 242–253; Éric Geoffroy, Le soufisme voie intérieure de l’Islam (Paris: Points, 2009); Paul Heck, Sufism and Politics: The Power of Spirituality (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2007). 13. Veinstein and Popovic, eds, Les voies d’Allah; Mark Sedgwick, ‘In Search of a Counter-Reformation: Anti-Sufi Stereotypes and the Budshishiyya’s Response’ in An Islamic Reformation, edited by Michaelle Browers and Kurzman (Oxford: Lexington Books, 2004), pp. 125–46; Isabelle Werenfels, ‘Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading: The Re-Emergence of Sufi Orders in Maghrebi Politics’, The Journal of North African Studies 19, no. 3 (2014), pp. 275–295. 14. Clifford Geertz, Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968); Ernest Gellner, Muslim Society (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981). 15. Ron Geaves, Markus Dressler, and Gritt Maria Klinkhammer, eds, Sufis in Western Society: Global Networking and Locality (London; New York: Routledge, 2009); Ron Geaves and Theodore P. C. Gabriel, eds, Sufism in Britain (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013); Jamal Malik and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh, eds, Sufism East and West: Mystical Islam and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Modern World  

 

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(Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2019); Francesco Piraino, ‘Between real and virtual communities: Sufism in Western societies and the Naqshbandi Haqqani case’, Social Compass 63, no. 1 (2016), pp. 93–108; Catharina Raudvere and Leif Stenberg, eds, Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community (London; New York: IB Tauris, 2009); Pnina Werbner, Pilgrims of Love: The Anthropology of a Global Sufi Cult (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003); David Westerlund, Sufism in Europe and North America (London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004). 16. David Bisson, René Guénon: une politique de l’esprit (Paris: Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2013); Loïc Le Pape, ‘Engagement religieux, engagements politiques. conversions dans une confrérie musulmane’, Archives de sciences sociales des religions 140 (October 2007), pp. 9–27; Francesco Piraino, ‘René Guénon et son héritage dans le soufisme du XXIème siècle’, Religiologiques 33 (Spring 2016), pp. 155– 180; Sedgwick, Against the Modern World. 17. Olav Hammer, ‘Sufism for Westerners’ in Sufism in Europe and North America, ed. David Westerlund (London: Routledge-Curzon, 2004), pp. 127–143; Marcia Hermansen, ‘What’s American about American Sufi Movements?’ in Sufism in Europe and North America, edited by David Westerlund (London; New York: Routledge-Curzon, 2004), pp. 40–63; Mark Sedgwick, ‘The Reception of Sufi and Neo-Sufi Literature’ in Sufis in Western Society: Global Networking and Locality, edited by Ron Geaves, Markus Dressler, and Gritt Maria Klinkhammer (London: Routledge, 2009), pp. 180–197; Sedgwick, Western Sufism. 18. Sidney Griffith, ‘Sharing the Faith of Abraham: The “Credo” of Louis Massignon’, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 8, no. 2 (1997), pp. 193–210; Patrick Laude, Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guenon, and Schuon (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010). 19. Charlotte A. Quinn and Frederick Quinn, Pride, Faith, and Fear: Islam in SubSaharan Africa (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). 20. Rachida Chih, ‘What Is a Sufi Order? Revisiting the Concept through a Case Study of the Khalwatiyya in Contemporary Egypt’ in Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam, edited by Martin Van Bruinessen and Julia Day Howell (IB Tauris, 2007), pp. 21–38. 21. Martin van Bruinessen and Julia Day Howell, eds, Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam (London; New York: IB Tauris, 2007). 22. Werenfels, ‘Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading’. 23. Marta Dominguez-Diaz, Women in Sufism: Female Religiosities in a Transnational Order (London; New York: Routledge, 2014). 24. Jon W. Anderson, ‘New Media, New Publics: Reconfiguring the Public Sphere of Islam’, Social Research: An International Quarterly 70, no. 3 (2003), pp. 887–906; Samira Haj, Reconfiguring Islamic Tradition: Reform, Rationality, and Modernity (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008); Peter Mandaville, ‘Globalization

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and the Politics of Religious Knowledge: Pluralizing Authority in the Muslim World’, Theory, Culture & Society 24, no. 2 (2007), pp. 101–115; Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004); Armando Salvatore and Dale F. Eickelman, Public Islam and the Common Good (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2006). 25. See Piraino in Chapter 4 of this book. 26. Stefano Bigliardi, ‘The Contemporary Debate on the Harmony between Islam and Science: Emergence and Challenges of a New Generation’, Social Epistemology 28, no. 2 (2014), pp. 167–186; Francesco Piraino, ‘Bruno Guiderdoni—Among Sufism, Traditionalism and Science: A Reply to Bigliardi’, Social Epistemology 3, no. 11 (2014), pp. 21–24. 27. David Spieser-Landes, ‘“Postcolonial Islam” Thought and Rapped: Abd Al Malik’s Révolution Pacifique from within the French Nation’, Performing Islam 4, no. 1 (2015), pp. 35–59; Joseph Hill, ‘“Baay Is the Spiritual Leader of the Rappers”: Performing Islamic Reasoning in Senegalese Sufi Hip-Hop’, Contemporary Islam 10, no. 2 (2016), pp. 267–287; Fiona McLaughlin, ‘Youssou N’Dour’s Sant Yalla/ Egypt: A Musical Experiment in Sufi Modernity’, Popular Music 30, no. 1 (2011), pp. 71–87; Shayna Silverstein, ‘Local Meets Global at “World Music Nights in Damascus”’, Syrian Studies Association Bulletin 14, no. 1 (2008). See Brigaglia in this book, Chapter 5. 28. Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love (New York: Penguin, 2011). 29. See the play Soufi mon amour by Hassan El Jaï and Haroun Teboul, on tour in 2017 and 2018. 30. Francesco Piraino, ‘Les Politiques du Soufisme en France’, Social Compass (66, no. 1 (2019), pp. 134–146). 31. Joseph Hill, ‘“All Women Are Guides”: Sufi Leadership and Womanhood among Taalibe Baay in Senegal’, Journal of Religion in Africa 40, no. 4 (2010), pp. 375– 412. See Piraino in this book, Chapter 4. 32. Marta Dominguez-Diaz, Women in Sufism: Female Religiosities in a Transnational Order, (London; New York: Routledge, 2014). 33. Justin McGuinness, ‘Spectacularizing Fès’, Cultures and Globalization: Cities, Cultural Policy and Governance 5 (2012), p. 176. 34. Farooq Haq and Ho Yin Wong, ‘Is Spiritual Tourism a New Strategy for Marketing Islam?’, Journal of Islamic Marketing 1, no. 2 (2010), pp. 136–148. 35. Fait Muedini, Sponsoring Sufism: How Governments Promote ‘Mystical Islam’ in Their Domestic and Foreign Policies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). 36. Alix Philippon, ‘“Bons Soufis” et “mauvais Islamistes”: La Sociologie à l’épreuve de l’idéologie’, Social Compass 62, no. 2 (2015): pp. 187–98. 37. Alix Philippon, ‘De l’occidentalisation du soufisme à la réislamisation du new age? Sufi Order International et la globalisation du religieux’, Revue Des Mondes Musulmans et de La Méditerranée, no. 135 (2014), pp. 209–226; Zia Inayat-Khan, ‘A Hybrid Sufi Order at the Crossroads of Modernity: The Sufi Order and Sufi Movement of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan’ (PhD thesis: Duke University, 2006).

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pp. [5–20]

NOTES

38. Christmann, ‘Reclaiming Mysticism: Anti-Orientalism and the Construction of “Islamic Sufism” in Postcolonial Egypt’; Richard King, Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India and ‘the Mystic East’ (Abingdon; New York: Routledge, 1999). 39. Following Giddens, we consider structures as ‘rules and resources’ that allow binding different (in this case Sufi) phenomena over space and time. Anthony Giddens, The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1986). 1. GLOBAL RUMI 1. Eryk Hanut and Michelle Wetherbee, Rumi: The Card and Book Pack: Meditation, Inspiration and Self-Discovery (Vermont: Journey Editions, 2000). 2. Peter Wilson, ‘The Strange Fate of Sufism in the New Age’, in Peter B. Clarke, ed., New Trends and Developments in the World of Islam (London: Luzac Oriental, 1997), p. 204 3. On the New Age and its aftermath, see Jacob Needleman, The New Religions (New York: Allen Lane, 1970); Nevill Drury, The New Age: Searching for the Spiritual Self (London: Thames and Hudson, 2004); Woulter Hanegraaff, New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought (Leiden: Brill, 1996); Daren Kemp, New Age: A Guide (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004). 4. Reshad Feild, The Last Barrier: A Sufi Journey (London: Turnstone Books, 1976), p. 166. 5. Guru Mirumi, Emotional Fitness with Rumi Yoga, Outskirts Press, https//outsirtspress.com/emotional fitness 6. Idries Shah, The Sufis (London and New York: W.H. Allen, 1964), pp. 115–36. 7. Shah, The Sufis, p. 118. 8. Coleman Barks, The Open Secret, (Aptos Hills, CA: Threshold Books, 1984). 9. Franklin Lewis, Rumi, Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2000), pp. 587–9; Peter Stitt, ‘Bly’, in Ian Hamilton ed. The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 57–8. 10. Rumi, The Glance: Songs of Soul-Meeting, trans. Coleman Barks (New York: Viking/ Arkana, 2001), pp. xiv–xv. 11. Lewis, Rumi, pp. 589–594. 12. ‘Versions of Garrard and Farhadi’s “The Quatrains of Rumi”’ by Coleman Barks (2014): http//wwwdar-al-masnavi.org/qor_versions_by_coleman_barks.html 13. Jorge Luis Borges, ‘The Enigma of Edward Fitzgerald’ in Borges, Selected NonFictions, Eliot Weinberger, ed., (New York: Viking, 1999), p. 368. 14. Walt Whitman, ‘A Persian Lesson’ in Walt Whitman, Complete Poetry and Collected Prose (New York: Library of America,1982), pp. 650–651.  

 

241

pp. [20–25]

NOTES

15. ‘Emerson’ and ‘Transcendentalism’ in James D. Hart, ed., The Oxford Companion to American Literature, 6th ed., (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 197–199; 673–674; John N. Yohannan, ‘Emerson’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 8 (Abingdon: Routledge, 1985), pp. 414–415. 16. E. H. Whinfield, Masnavi-I Manavi, The Spiritual Couplets of Mauláná Jalálu‘Dín Muhammad I Rúmí (London: Trubner, 1887); Lewis, Rumi, pp. 573–574. 17. A. J. Arberry, Oriental Essays: Portraits of Seven Scholars (London: Allen & Unwin, 1960), pp. 197–232; Annemarie Schimmel, The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi, 2nd ed. (London: East-West Publications, 1980), pp. 391–392; E. P. Elwell-Sutton, ‘Arberry’, Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 13, pp. 197–200; Lewis, Rumi, pp. 531–533, 578–579 and see index; Robert Irwin, For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies (London: Allen Lane, 2006), pp. 207–209. 18. Arberry, Oriental Essays, pp. 233–256; Lewis, Rumi, pp. 533–536, 579–580; Irwin, For Lust of Knowing, pp. 243–245. 19. Annemarie Schimmel, Gabriel’s Wing: A Study into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal (Leiden: Brill, 1963); Lewis, Rumi, pp. 482–485; Annemarie Schimmel, ‘Iqbal’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 13, pp. 197–200. 20. Schimmel, Gabriel’s Wing, p. 356. 21. Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, reprint (Lahore: n.p., 2000), p. 121. 22. Lewis, Rumi, pp. 539–540, 567–568 and see index; Irwin, For Lust of Knowing, pp. 273–274. 23. Lewis, Rumi, pp. 544–545. 24. Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, Rûmî and Sufism, tr. Simone Fattal (Sausalito, CA: Post-Apollo Press, 1988), p. 13. 25. Lewis, Rumi, pp. 603–605 26. Andrew Harvey, The Direct Path: Creating a Journey to the Divine Using the World’s Mystical Traditions (London: Rider, 2000), pp. 204–208. 27. Banafsheh in The Fire of Grace Trailer, YouTube, https//www.youtube.com/ watchv=AxqtioVDnDc 28. P.D. Ouspensky, A New Model of the Universe 2nd ed. (London: Kegan Paul, 1934), pp. 386–389. 29. Peter Washington, Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon (London: Secker and Warburg, 1993), pp. 195–196, 389. 30. Sedgwick, Western Sufism, pp. 212–213. 31. Ron Geaves, The Sufis of Britain: An Exploration of Muslim Identity (Cardiff: Cardiff Academic Press, 2000), pp. 169–171; on the Study Society’s quest for the origins of the Gurdjieff/Ouspensky teaching, see Washington, Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon, pp. 342, 343, 369–371; Peter Hounam and Andrew Hogg, Secret Cult (Tring, Herts: Lion Publishing, 1984), pp. 40–42.  

 

 

 

 

 

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pp. [25–30]

NOTES

32. Lewis, Rumi, pp. 602–603, 627, 637; ‘Deepak Chopra’, Wikipedia: https// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepak_Chopra 33. Deepak Chopra and Feerydoun Kia, eds, The Love Poems of Rumi (London: Rider, 1993). 34. Paul Coelho’s O Alquimista was first published in Portuguese in 1988. English translation, The Alchemist, tr. Alan R. Clarke (New York: Harper Collins, 1988). 35. Paulo Coelho, Paulo Coelho Writer Official Site, paulocoelhoblog.com 36. Elif Shafak, The Forty Ways of Love (London: Viking, 2010). 37. Nigel Watts, The Way of Love (London: Harper Collins, 1998). 38. Rafael Lefort, The Teachers of Gurdjieff (London: Gollancz, 1966). 39. On Rauf, see Sedgwick, Western Sufism, p. 241. 40. Lewis, Rumi, pp. 518–9. 41. Lewis, Rumi, p. 525. 42. ‘Litany Against Fear’, Dune FANDOM powered by Wikia-Dune Wiki, dune.wikia. com/wiki/Litany_Against_Fear (last accessed 27 February 2019). 43. ‘Rumi, Bulleh Shah, and The Last Jedi’, Medium, https//medium.com/mastqalandar/rumi-bulleh-shah-and-the-last-jedi-a36e3798d264 (last accessed 3 March 2018). 44. ‘Shahram Shiva’s Unique & Proven Whirling Method’, Rumi.net, www.rumi.net/ learn_to_whirl_main.htm; ‘Shahram Shiva’, Wikipedia, https//en.wikipedia org/ wiki/Shahram_Shiva (last accessed 3 March 2018); Lewis, Rumi, pp. 599–600. 45. Lewis, Rumi, p. 518; Peter Wilson, ‘The Strange Fate of Sufism in the New Age’ in New Trends and Developments in the World of Islam, edited by Peter B. Clarke (London: Luzac Oriental, 1998), p. 195. 46. Lewis, Rumi, pp. 522–4. 47. Alexander Murray, Reason and Society in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 338. 48. The best account of the post-Ataturk Mevlevi and pseudo-Mevlevi groups is found in Kudsi Erguner, Journeys of a Sufi Musician, tr. Annette Courtenay Mayers (London: Saqi, 2005). See also Tim Kelsey, Dervish (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1996), pp. 132–163; Jeffrey Somers, ‘Whirling and the West: The Mevlevi Dervishes and the West’ in New Trends and Developments, Clarke ed., pp. 261– 276; Lewis, Rumi, p. 454. 49. ‘Erdogan praises Sufi mystic Rumi’s heritage’, Anadolu Agency, an.com.tr/en/turkey-erdogan-praises-sufi-mystic-rumis-heritage/91794 (last accessed 3 March 2018). 50. Joshua D. Hendrick, Gülen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World (New York: NYU Press, 2013), pp. 26, 98, 210–211; Fethullah Gülen, ‘Following in the Footsteps of Rumi’ Rumi Forum, rumiforum.org/fethullahguelen-following-in-the-footsteps-of-rumi/ (last accessed 3 March 2018); ‘Fethullah Gülen’, Wikipedia, https//en.wikipedia.org//wiki/Fethullah_Gülen (last accessed 3 March 2018).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pp. [30–38]

NOTES

51. Lewis, Rumi, pp. 493–494; Behrooz Ghamari-Tebrizi, Islam and Dissent in Postrevolutionary Iran: Abdelkarim Soroush, Religious Politics and Democratic Reform (London: IB Tauris, 2008), pp. 11, 221, 225, 286; Abdolkarim Soroush, ‘Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam’ in Mehren Kamrava, ed., The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California, 2006), p. 249. 52. Lewis, Rumi, p. 470–471, 53. Lewis, Rumi, p. 4. 54. Bruce Wannell, ‘Review of Rumi by Franklin Lewis’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 3rd series, vol. 16, no 3 (Nov 2006), p. 315. 55. Lewis, Rumi, p. 399. 56. Rumi, The Glance: Songs of the Soul Meeting, tr. Coleman Barks and Nevit Ergin (New York: Viking/Arkana, 2001), p. xvi. 2. THE ISLAMISATION OF WESTERN SUFISM AFTER THE EARLY NEW AGE 1. Most recently in Mark Sedgwick, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016). 2. Gisela Webb, ‘Sufism in America’ in America’s Alternative Religions, edited by Timothy Miller (Albany: SUNY Press, 1995), p. 251. 3. Marcia Hermansen, ‘In the Garden of American Sufi Movements: Hybrids and Perennials’ in New Trends and Developments in the World of Islam, edited by Peter Clarke (London: Luzac Oriental Press, 1997), p. 155; Hermansen, ‘Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufi Movements’, Muslim World 90 (2000), p. 186. 4. Mark Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 89–91. 5. Sedgwick, Western Sufism, pp. 246–247. 6. Sedgwick, Western Sufism, pp. 213–217. 7. Javier Esteban, Claudio Naranjo. La vida y sus enseñanzas: Un encuentro con Javier Esteban (Barcelona: Editorial Kairos, 2015), p. 105. 8. On the basis that Şuşud’s ‘The Masters of Wisdom of Central Asia’ was published in Bennett’s journal Systematics in 1969 (6, no. 4, March 1969), and dealt primarily with Naqshbandi sheikhs. 9. ‘Hasan Shushud addressing Sherborne House Students’ (1972), at https://www. jgbennett.org/product/1972–04–09-hasan-shushud-addressing-sherborne-housestudents/ (last accessed 1 October 2017). 10. J. G. Bennett, ‘A note on the Zikr of Hasan Şuşud’ (1973), at https://www.jgbennett.org/product/1972–04–09-hasan-shushud-addressing-sherborne-house-students/ (last accessed 1 October 2017).  

 

 

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NOTES

pp. [38–40]

11. Sedgwick, Western Sufism, pp. 236–243. 12. Frank J. Korom, ‘Charisma and Community: A Brief History of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship’, Sri Lanka Journal of Humanities 37, no. 1–2, pp. 19–33. DOI: 10.4038/sljh.v37i1–2.7201, p. 21. 13. Gisela Webb, ‘Third-wave Sufism in America and the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship’ in Muslim Communities in North America, edited by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and Jane Idleman Smith (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994), pp. 91–93. Merin Shobhana Xavier, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks in American Sufism: Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and Contemporary Shrine Cultures (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), p. 35. 14. Serendib is the old Arabic name for Sri Lanka. 15. Xavier, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks, pp. 43–44; Korom, ‘Charisma and Community’, pp. 22–24, 26–27. 16. Xavier, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks, p. 45. 17. Patrick D. Bowen, The African American Islamic Renaissance, 1920–1975, vol. 2 of A History of Conversion to Islam in the United States (Leiden: Brill, 2017), pp. 183, 189, 259–262. 18. Xavier, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks, pp. 48–49. 19. Korom, ‘Charisma and Community’, p. 28. 20. Webb, ‘Third-wave Sufism’, p. 93. 21. Sharon Marcus, My Years with the Qutb: A Walk in Paradise (Toronto: Sufi Press, 2005), pp. 39–44, 51–52 22. For Inayat Khan, Sedgwick, Western Sufism, pp. 159–160. 23. Marcus, My Years with the Qutb, pp. 94–95, 204, 131–134. 24. Sedgwick, Western Sufism, pp. 195–196. 25. Daphne Habibis, ‘A Comparative Study of the Workings of a Branch of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order in Lebanon and the UK’ (PhD thesis: London School of Economics and Political Science, 1985), p. 82. 26. David W. Damrel, ‘Aspects of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani order in North America’, in Sufism in the West, edited by Jamal Malik and John Hinnells (New York: Routledge, 2006), p. 117. 27. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, pp. 84–85. Sheikh Nazim had himself arranged the raising of the funds from Arab sources that had paid for these two mosques. 28. Hermansen, ‘Hybrid Identity Formations’, pp. 187–188. 29. Nile Green, Sufism: A Global History (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), p. 221. 30. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, p. 85. 31. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, p. 220. 32. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, pp. 226–227. 33. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, p. 236. 34. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, p. 262. 35. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, pp. 227–229.  

 

 

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pp. [42–46]

NOTES

36. William Rory Dickson, Living Sufism in North America: Between Tradition and Transformation (Albany: SUNY Press, 2016), p. 103 37. Bruce Miller, Rumi Comes to America: How the Poet of Mystical Love Arrived on our Shores (Decatur, GA: Miller e-Media, 2017), p. 6. My thanks to Mr. Miller for allowing me to use a pre-publication print of this book. Page numbers will differ from the published version. 38. Simon Sorgenfrei, ‘American Dervish: Making Mevlevism in the United States’ (PhD thesis: University of Gothenburg, 2013), p. 115. 39. Suleyman Loras, address, Los Angeles, 19 April 1976. Audio recording available at https://youtu.be/5QrNIP308_A 40. Miller, Rumi Comes to America, p. 47. 41. Dickson, Living Sufism, p. 103. 42. Loras, address, Los Angeles, 19 April 1976. 43. Gregory Blann, The Garden of Mystic Love: Sufism and the Turkish Tradition (Nashville: Four Worlds Publishing, 2005), pp. 560–561. 44. Tosun Bayrak, interview, Spring Valley, November 2012. 45. Gregory Blann, Lifting the Boundaries: Muzaffer Efendi and the Transmission of Sufism to the West (Nashville: Four Worlds Publishing, 2005), pp. 128–129. 46. Blann, Lifting the Boundaries, p. 97. 47. Blann, Lifting the Boundaries, pp. 142–145. 48. Blann, Lifting the Boundaries, p. 155. 49. Hermansen, ‘Hybrid identity Formations’, p. 159. 50. Green, Sufism, p. 221. 51. Marcus, My Years with the Qutb, pp. 243–245, 388–389, 416, 421–423. 52. Webb, ‘Third-wave Sufism’, p. 94. 53. M. Shobhana Xavier, ‘An American Sufi Shrine, Bawa’s Mazar in Coatesville, Pennsylvania’, Object Narrative, in Conversations: An Online Journal of the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion (2016), doi:10.22332/ con.obj.2016.5 54. Xavier, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks, p. 100. 55. Xavier, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks, pp. 99, 103. 56. Xavier, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks, p. 102. 57. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, p. 230. 58. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, p. 234. 59. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, p. 248. 60. Habibis, ‘Comparative Study’, p. 306, 61. ‘Background’, Sheikh Abdullah Sirr Dan al Jamal, 2017, http://sheikhabdullah. net/background 62. Miller, Rumi Comes to America, p. 67 63. Quoted in Sorgenfrei, ‘American Dervish’, p. 127.  

 

 

 

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NOTES

pp. [46–51]

64. Miller, Rumi Comes to America, p. 64. 65. Miller, Rumi Comes to America, p. 69. 66. Bruce Miller, email to the author, 12 October 2017. 67. Sorgenfrei, ‘American Dervish’, pp. 140–141. 68. Sorgenfrei, ‘American Dervish’, pp. 166, 168–169. 69. ‘Our lineage’, Mevlevi Order of America, http://www.hayatidede.org/about/ourlineage/ (last accessed 1 October 2017). 70. Comments based on attendance at a Threshold Society summer school in London in June 2012. 71. Kabir Helminksi, interview, London, 2 June 2012. 72. Kabir Helminksi, lecture, London, 2 June 2012. 73. Observation, Spring Valley, NY, November 2012. 74. Webb, ‘Third-wave Sufism’, p. 89. 75. Blann, Lifting the Boundaries, pp. 52–523. 76. His thesis was ‘Mahāyāna Buddhist influence on the Gauda school of Advaya Vedānta: An analysis of the Gauḍapādakārikā’ (Columbia University, 1976). 77. Lex Hixon, Coming Home: The Experience of Enlightenment in Sacred Traditions (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1978). 78. Lex Hixon, ‘Lex Hixon on Himself ’, SRV Associations, http://www.srv.org/index. php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=241 (last accessed 15 May 2013). 79. Stephanie Golden, ‘Profile: Lex Hixon’, Yoga Journal ( Jan 1991), 22/7, p. 22. 80. Sheikha Fariha, interview, New York, 16 November 2012. 81. Golden, ‘Profile: Lex Hixon’, pp. 25–256. 82. Lex Hixon, Atom from the Sun of Knowledge (Westport, CT: Pir Publications, 1993), p. 340. 83. Bernie Glassman, ‘A House of One People’, Zen Peacemakers, http://zenpeacemakers.org/zen-peacemakers/who-we-are/zen-peacemakers-sangha/dharmatalks/bernie-hoop/ (last accessed 15 May 2013). 84. Sheikha Fariha, interview, New York, 16 November 2012. 85. Observation, New York, November 2012. 86. Rosemary Corbett, Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service, and the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Controversy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017). 87. Quoted in Blann, Lifting the Boundaries, p. 148. 88. Marcus, My Years with the Qutb, p. 230. 89. Webb, ‘Third-wave Sufism’, p. 92. 90. Quoted in Miller, Rumi Comes to America, p. 23, from transcription of audio recording. 91. David Bellak, quoted in Miller, Rumi Comes to America, p. 24. 92. Webb, ‘Third-wave Sufism’, p. 88.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

247

pp. [55–59]

NOTES

3. AFROPOLITAN SUFISM: THE CONTEMPORARY TIJANIYYA IN GLOBAL CONTEXTS 1. HHasan b. ʿAlī Cissé, ‘al-Ṭarīqa al-Tijaniyya: al-khassāʾiss wa l-mumayyizāt’ (speech at the International Forum of the Tijaniyya, Fes, Morocco, 28 June 2007), available at http://www.Tijani.org/Tijani-characteristics-methods-arabic; the twentieth-century Lebanese historian Shakib Arsalan was referring to the West African Jihad of al-HHājj ʿUmar Tāl. 2. Abdallah Schleifer, ed., The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims (Amman: Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, 2014), p. 32. The methodology behind the report’s generation may be highly problematic, but it remains the only such list of its kind. Frustratingly, the report limits the influence of the Tijaniyya to ‘Senegal, Nigeria, Mauritania and much of sub-Saharan Africa’ (p. 28). 3. Cathlene Dollar, ‘An ‘African’ Tarika in Anatolia: Notes on the Tijaniyya in Early Republican Turkey’, Annual Review of Islam in Africa, 11 (2012), p. 30. 4. J. Spencer Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 110. 5. Nile Green, Sufism: A Global History (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), pp. 170, 219–220. 6. Alexandre Knysh, Islamic Mysticism, a Short History (Leiden: Brill, 2000), p. 255. 7. Rudolph Ware, The Walking Qurʾan: Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge, and History in West Africa (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2014), p. 30. 8. For more on Ibrahim Niasse, see Rüdiger Seesemann, The Divine Flood: Ibrahim Niasse and the Roots of a Twentieth-Century Sufi Revival (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Zachary Wright, Living Knowledge in West African Islam: The Sufi Community of Ibrahim Niasse (Leiden: Brill, 2015). 9. Sukina Douglas, Facebook post, 14 February 2018. In the film, Wakanda is the mythical African kingdom ruled by the Black Panther. 10. Achille Mbembe, ‘Afropolitanisme’, Sud-Quotidien (Dakar), 20 December 2005; reprinted in Africultures, 25 December 2005, http://africultures.com/afropolitanisme-4248/ 11. Simon Gikandi, ‘On Afropolitanism’ (2011); cited in Susanne Gehrmann, ‘Cosmopolitanism with African roots, Afropolitanism’s ambivalent mobilities’, Journal of African Cultural Studies, 28, 1 (2016), p. 66. 12. Gehrmann, ‘Cosmopolitanism with African roots’, p. 61. 13. Souleymane Bachir Diagne, The Ink of the Scholars: Reflections on Philosophy in Africa (Dakar: CODESRIA, 2016), p. 4. 14. Severine Grandvaux, cited in Diagne, The Ink of the Scholars, p. 7. 15. Wright, Living Knowledge in West African Islam, p. 268. 16. Bernd Ratke, ‘Sufism in the Eighteenth Century: an attempt at a provisional appraisal’, Die Welt des Islams, 36, 3 (1996), pp. 326–364; Mark Sedgwick, Saints  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pp. [59–62]

NOTES

and Sons: The Making and Remaking of the Rashīdī Ahhmadī Sufi Order, 1799– 2000 (Leiden: Brill, 2005), pp. 27–43. 17. For monographs discussing the early history and doctrines of the Tijaniyya, see Jamil Abun-Nasr, The Tijaniyya: A Sufi Order in the Modern World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965); Jilali El Adnani, La Tijâniyya, 1781–1881: Les origines d’une confrérie religieuse au Maghreb (Rabat: Editions Marsam, 2007); Zachary Wright, On the Path of the Prophet: Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya (Atlanta: African American Islamic Institute, 2005; reprint Atlanta: Fayda Books, 2015). 18. The most important of which was ʿAlī HHarāzim al-Barāda’s Jawāhir al-maʿānī wa bulūgh al-amānī fī fuyūḍ Saydī Abī l-ʿAbbās Ahhmad al-Tijani, completed in 1799. 19. Boubacar Barry, Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 58. 20. For more on the social and political history of Sufi orders in West Africa since the eighteenth century, see Martin Klein, Islam and Imperialism: Sine Saloum, 1847– 1914 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1968); David Robinson, Paths of Accommodation: Muslim Societies and French Colonial Authorities in Senegal and Mauritania, 1880–1920 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000). 21. Seesemann, ‘The “Shurafa” and the “Blacksmith”: The Role of the Idaw Ali of Mauritania in the Career of the Senegalese Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse’ in Scott Reese, ed., The Transmission of Learning in Islamic Africa (Leiden: Brill, 2004), pp. 72–98. 22. Ibrahim Niasse, ‘Nafahhāt al-Malik al-ghani’; cited in Wright, Living Knowledge, p. 95. 23. Niasse, Diwāwīn al-sitt; cited in Wright, Living Knowledge, p. 256. The oppression (jawr) is meant as a reference to European colonial occupation. 24. Statistics presented in HHasan Cissé, ‘al-Ṭarīqa al-Tijaniyya’ (Fes, 2007). 25. This study divided the Shādhiliyya into a few branches, however (Nāsiriyya, Darqāwiyya, Wazzāniyya, and Isāwiyya), which together had more adherents than the Tijaniyya. See Georges Drague, Equisse d’histoire religieuse du Maroc (1951); cited in Johara Berriane, Ahmad al-Tijânî de Fès: un sanctuaire soufi aux connexions transnationales (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2015), p. 60. 26. Ahhmad al-Tijani had famously ordered his designated inheritor ʿAlī Tamāsīnī to take his children out of Fes and back to the desert in Algeria after his passing. For more on the French policy to use al-Tijani’s descendants to displace the Tijani scholars of Morocco, see Berriane, Ahmad al-Tijânî de Fès, p. 51. 27. Berriane, Ahmad al-Tijânî de Fès, 91. 28. Bakary Sambe, ‘Tidjaniya: usages diplomatiques d’une confrérie soufie’, Politique Étrangère 4 (2010), pp. 843–54. 29. In July 2016, the Moroccan government thus helped to sponsor an international Tijani gathering in Dakar under the leadership of Sheikh Tijani Niasse, the eldest surviving son of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse. The government has also helped fund a  

 

 

 

 

 

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pp. [62–64]

NOTES

Qurʾān school outside of Medina-Baye Kaolack headed by Imam Sheikh Tijani Cissé. 30. Author’s observations based on biannual research trips to Fez, Morocco, 2010– 17. 31. Abu Bakr Cisse, former Qarawyn student resident in Fez, interview with author, Fez, Morocco, December 2017. 32.  ʿUmar ʿAbdallāh, ‘Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, a man apart’, Africa Events (September 1985); reprinted Abdul Hakim Halim, ed., Selected Writings About Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse (Detroit, MI: African American Islamic Institute, 2000), pp. 1–9. For sources on Sayyid ʿUmar, see Roman Loimeier, Between Social Skills and Marketable Skills: The Politics of Islamic Education in 20th Century Zanzibar (Leiden: Brill, 2009), pp. 400–409; Kai Kresse, ‘On the skills to navigate the world’ in Articulating Islam, Anthropological Approaches to Muslim Worlds, edited by Magnus Marsden and K. Retsikas (Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2013), pp. 90–91. 33.  AFROL News, ‘Muslim Clerics begin meeting on gender violence, HIV/AIDS’, 14 November 2006, http://www.afrol.com/articles/22605 34. Ahhmad al-Burnāwī had in turn received the Tijaniyya from a Mauritanian Sheikh ʿAbdallāh b. Mubārak. The information here is based on the written correspondence of an Ethiopian Tijani, Adam al-Tijani to Fakhruddin Owaisi and posted on a Tijani Yahoo group chat, 23 March 2009: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/ groups/qutbulmakhtum/conversations/messages/398; further information on al-Burnāwī can be found in ʿAli Ganda’s unpublished manuscript (1943), Kitāb bāb al-wussūl ʿilā nayl jamīʿ al-maqāssid wa l-maʿmūl; cited in Minako Ishihara, ‘The Role of Women in the Tijāniyya: from three Oromo Religious Centers in Western Ethiopia’, Annale d’Éthiopie 30 (2015), pp. 21–43. 35. Faheem Talib, interview with author, Medina, Saudi Arabia, January 2016. 36. See Susana Lliteras, ‘The Tijaniyya Tariqa in Cape Town,’ Journal for Islamic Studies 26 (2006), pp. 71–91. My observations here are also based on my accompanying Sheikh HHasan Cissé on his tour of South Africa in the summer of 2003. 37. After referencing the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence, the organisation’s website thus lists its methodology in theology as ‘Ashari, Maturidi, and non-anthropomorphist Athari.’ See: madinainstitute.org.za 38. For more the West African tradition of Qurʾān schooling, see Ware, Walking Qur’an, pp. 163–202. 39. Sajad al-Tijani (from Kerala, India, previously resident in Qatar), interview with author, Doha, Qatar, February, 2015. I was recently informed that a group of Kerala Tijanis have embarked on translating my book on Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, Living Knowledge in West African Islam, into Malayalam. 40. At least two Pakistanis visited Medina-Baye Senegal and returned to spread the Tijaniyya in Pakistan. One of them, Muhammad Naveed Tijani, reports that there are around 1200 Tijanis in the country, many of whom trace their affiliation  

 

 

 

 

250

 



pp. [65–67]

NOTES

through the Nigerian Tijani Sharīf Ibrahim Ṣālihh. Muhammad Naveed Tijani, interview with author, Medina-Baye, Senegal, August 2005. 41. This at the hands of Indonesian muqaddam Ahmad Nasihin. See: https://groups. yahoo.com/neo/groups/qutbulmakhtum/conversations/messages/328 42. Tijani Cissé, Islam the Religion of Peace (Singapore: Light of Eminence, 2012); Tijani Cissé, Knowing Allah, Living Islam (Singapore: Light of Eminence, 2014). 43. Katrin Bernhardt, Facebook post, 24 February 2018. The original source of the post since deleted the relation of his vision, but it remains elsewhere as in the case of Bernhardt above: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10000907 9618084 44. For more on the Tijaniyya’s relationship to the Islamic ‘esoteric sciences’, see Zachary Wright, ‘Secrets on the Muhammadan Way: Transmission of the Esoteric Sciences in 18th Century Scholarly Networks,’ Islamic Africa 9, 1 (2018), forthcoming. 45. Chanfi Ahmed, West African ʿUlamāʾ and Salafism in Mecca and Medina (Leiden: Brill, 2015), pp. 24–25. 46. Author’s observation while residing in Cairo, 2000–2. I have not been able to confirm whether this is still the case. 47. Ahhmad b. Muhhammad al-HHāfiẓ, interview with author, Chicago, June 2006. 48. Agence France Presse, ‘Sudan palace-museum recalls restive Darfur’s royal past,’ https://www.thenational.ae/world/sudan-palace-museum-recalls-restive-darfurs-royal-past-1.144975; also, Abun-Nasr, The Tijaniyya, p. 159. According to AbunNasr, ʿAli Dinār was initiated into the order by the Malian Tijani Muhhammad b. Fadigh. 49. Seesemann, ‘The takfīr debate: sources for the study of a contemporary dispute among African Sufis’, Sudanic Africa 9 (1998), pp. 39–70; and ‘The takfīr debate, part II: the Sudanese arena’, Sudanic Africa 10 (1999), pp. 65–110. 50. Observations based on author’s visit or residence in these places: Chicago, 2005– 10; Denver, December 2015; residence in Qatar and visits to Gulf environs, 2010– present. 51. Abun-Nasr, The Tijaniyya, p. 161. Wad al-ʿĀliyya may have even initiated the Sultan into the order, according to Abun-Nasr, but this seems doubtful given the Sultan’s close connection to the Shādhiliyya under Sheikh Muhhammad al-Madani (d. 1903), the zāwiya of whom the Sultan often received guests such as Ibn Fadigh. 52. Dollar, ‘An African Tarika in Anatolia’, pp. 32–33. 53. Dollar, ‘An African Tarika in Anatolia’, p. 33. 54. https://www.facebook.com/arifaneilimdernegi/ 55. Author’s Facebook messenger communication with Halil Aka, a student of Ahmet Şahin Uçar and Arifane’s Facebook page administrator, 22 February 2018. Uçar was initiated by Effendi Beşir Arpaci of Ankara in 2011. For more on Arpaci, see: https://www.facebook.com/arifaneilimdernegi/photos/g.511830592283142/20 10763959202207/?type=1&theater&ifg=1  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

251

pp. [67–69]

NOTES

56. See for example: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1054659594620 552&set=g.511830592283142&type=1&theater&ifg=1 57. al-Qassām’s Tijani affiliation, along with that of the Naqshbandiyya and Qādiryya, is alluded to in Abdallah Schleifer, ‘The Life and Thought of ʿIzz-Id-Din al-Qassam,’ Islamic Quarterly 23, 2 (1979), pp. 62–63, 69. Dollar takes al-Qassām’s Tijani initiation for granted, see ‘An African Tarika in Anatolia,’ p. 30. The South African Tijani scholar Fakruddin Owaisi summarised the Tijani perspective after visiting the region and conducting numerous interviews: al-Qassām was initiated by the Algerian Muhhammad b. ʿAbd al-Mālik, who had established many Tijani zāwiyas in the Levant, and who apparently made al-Qassām a muqaddam in the Tijaniyya. See Owaisi, ‘Tijaniyya in the Sham (Syria and Surrounding Areas),’ Yahoo Groups Post, 22 September 2006: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/qutbulmakhtum/conversations/messages/192 58. Abu Sulayman al-Qudsi, interview with author, Jerusalem, April 2017. 59. Ayūb Abū Dhīb, interview with author, Jerusalem, April 2017. 60. Abun Nasr, Tijaniyya, p. 160. 61. Author’s observation in Medina, Saudi Arabia, January 2017; and subsequent WhatsApp correspondence with Sharīf Khaled al-Madani. 62. Qatari muqaddam (name withheld), interview with author, Doha, Qatar, September 2010. 63. For an interesting article on Sheikh Mūsā’s attempt to lead a conflict mediation effort sponsored by the Qatari government, see Rogaia Abusharaf, ‘A Darfur-Doha encounter and a Sufi mystic’s whirling trance for peace’ in Practicing Sufism: Sufi politics and performance in Africa, edited by Abdelmajid Hannoum (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016), pp. 209–225. 64. Such is how the Senegalese Mouride order is often understood. See Edward Curtis, The Call of Bilal: Islam in the African Diaspora (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2014), pp. 53–84. 65. Robert Danin, Black Pilgrimage to Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 82. For an account of a prominent American disciple of Sheikh HHasan, see Rasul Miller and Samiha Abdurrahman, ‘Imam Sayed Abdus-Salam: Great American Sufi’ (15 November 2017), http://africanscholarsandsaints.blogspot. qa/2017/11/imam-sayed-abdus-salam.html; see also Zachary Wright and Abass Umar Muhammed, ‘The Influence of Contemporary West African Islamic Scholarship on the American Muslim Community, with special reference to Shaykh Hassan Cisse and his American Followers’ (Paper presented to the Tokyo Foundation Joint Research and Exchange Program, published Accra: Dodoo Printing, 2003). 66. Ian Boyne, ‘Jamaica’s first Muslim reggae group’, Religious HardTalk, Tele­ visionjamaica.com, republished https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OZIrj ku0mg; this distinction may actually belong to Jimmy Cliff, who converted to  

 

 

 

252



pp. [70–77]

NOTES

Islam some decades ago. See John Doran, interview with Jimmy Cliff (15 May 2013): http://thequietus.com/articles/12237-jimmy-cliff-interview 67. Amir Sulaiman’s ‘I am Danger’ poem on Youtube has over seven hundred thousand hits, for example. 68. Al Jazeera Witness, ‘Hip Hop Hijabis’, posted on Youtube: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=1kSh6bobLTU 69. Niasse, Kāshif al-ilbās ʿan fayḍat al-khatm Abī ʿAbbās (Cairo: al-Sharika al-Dawliyya, 2001), pp. 147–148. 70. Niasse, Kāshif al-ilbās, 57. 71. HHadīth of Ibn ʿUmar, cited in Niasse, Saʿādat al-anām bi-aqwāl Shaykh al-Islām (Cairo: al-Sharika al-Dawliyya, 2006), p. 11.  

 

4. WHO IS THE INFIDEL? RELIGIOUS BOUNDARIES AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN THE SHADHILIYYA DARQAWIYYA ʿALAWIYYA 1. This research has been funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship: ‘Sufism, Ethics and Democracy’, Project ID 751729, H2020. 2. Muhammad Hamidullah, ‘Relations of Muslims with Non–Muslims’, Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs Journal 7, no. 1 (1986), pp. 7–12. 3. Anabel Inge, The Making of a Salafi Muslim Woman: Paths to Conversion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017); Henri Lauzière, The Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015). 4. Gilles Veinstein and Alexandre Popovic, Les voies d’Allah: Les ordres mystiques dans l’islam des origines à aujourd’hui (Paris: Fayard, 1996); Ahmet T Karamustafa, Sufism: The Formative Period (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007). 5. Éric Geoffroy, Le soufisme voie intérieure de l’Islam (Paris: Points, 2009), p. 283. 6. Khaled Bentounes, La fraternité en héritage: histoire d’une confrérie soufie (Paris: Albin Michel, 2009), p. 31. 7. Jean-Henry Probst-Birabenm, ‘La Tariqa Alawiyya’ in Cheikh Al Alawi document et témoignages, Jihan Cartigny (Paris-Drancy: Éditions Les Amis de l’Islam, 1984), p. 79. 8. Éric Geoffroy, Un éblouissement sans fin: La poésie dans le soufisme (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2014). 9. Martin Lings, A Moslem Saint of the Twentieth Century, Shaikh Ahhmad Al-‘Alawī: His Spiritual Heritage and Legacy (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1961). 10. Augustin Berque, ‘Un mystique moderniste: le cheikh Benalioua’, Revue Africaine, 368 (1936), pp. 688–776. 11. Berque. 12. Bentounes, La fraternité en héritage. 13. Francesco Piraino, ‘Pilgrimages in Western European Sufism’ in Muslim Pilgrimage  

 

253

pp. [77–80]

NOTES

in Europe, edited by Ingvild Flaskerud and Richard Natvig (London; New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 157–169. 14. United Nation General Assembly, ‘International Day of Living Together in Peace’ (A72 L26, 5 December 2017). 15. Ahhmad Ibn Mussṭafā Al-ʿAlawī, Lettre ouverte à ceux qui critiquent le soufisme (Paris: Entrelacs, 2011). 16. Patrick Haenni, ‘Le centenaire de la confrérie Allaouia: un réformisme postmoderne de l’islam est-il possible?’, Religioscope Études et Analyses 23 (2009), pp. 1–13. 17. Qurʾan, 3:110. 18. Interview with Bentounes, 2014. 19. Bentounes, La fraternité en héritage, p. 178. 20. Interview with Bentounes, 2014. 21. All disciples’ names here quoted are pseudonyms. 22. Fieldwork notes, 2013. 23. Fieldwork notes, 2013. 24. Éric Geoffroy, L’islam sera spirituel ou ne sera plus (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2009); Geoffroy, Un éblouissement sans fin: La poésie dans le soufisme. 25. Fieldwork notes, 2014. 26. Daniel Gimaret et al., Études de théologie et de philosophie arabo-islamiques à l’époque classique (London: Ashgate, 1986). 27. William C. Chittick, The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn Al-Arabi’s Metaphysics of Imagination (New York: SUNY Press, 2010); Michel Chodkiewicz, Le Sceau des saints, vol. 86 (Paris: Gallimard, 1986); Toshihiko Izutsu, Sufism and Taoism: A Comparative Study of Key Philosophical Concepts (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016). 28. Gregory Vandamme, PhD student at the University of Louvain-La-Neuve, is preparing his dissertation on this notion in the work of Ibn al-ʿArabi. 29. Interview with Bentounes, 2014. 30. Khaled Bentounes, Le soufisme, cœur de l’Islam (Paris: La Table ronde, 1996); Bentounes, L’homme intérieur à la lumière du Coran (Paris: Albin Michel, 1998); Bentounes, Vivre l’islam: le soufisme aujourd’hui (Paris: Albin Michel, 2006); Bentounes, La fraternité en héritage; Bentounes, Thérapie de l’âme (Paris: Albin Michel, 2011). 31. Haenni, ‘Le centenaire de La confrérie Allaouia: un réformisme postmoderne de l’islam est-il possible?’ 32. Karim, 50, Franco-Algerian disciple. 33. Lings, A Moslem Saint of the Twentieth Century, p. 33. 34. Bentounes, Thérapie de l’âme, p. 277. 35. Geoffroy, L’islam sera spirituel ou ne sera plus. 36. Henry Corbin, Le paradoxe du monotheisme (Paris: L’Herne, 1981), p. 181. 37. Fieldwork notes, 2013.  

 

 

 

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NOTES

pp. [80–85]

38.  Ibid. 39. Ibid. 40. Ibid. 41. Interview with Bentounes, 2014. 42. Bentounes, Le soufisme, cœur de l’Islam, p. 31. 43. Abdennour Bidar, L’islam face à la mort de dieu: Actualité de Mohammed Iqbal (Paris: Bourin, 2010); Abdennour Bidar, Self Islam: Histoire d’un islam personnel (Paris: Seuil, 2016). 44. Bentounes, Le soufisme, cœur de l’Islam, pp. 222–223. 45. Geoffroy, L’islam sera spirituel ou ne sera plus. 46. Bentounes, interview conducted in 2014. 47. Geoffroy, Le soufisme voie intérieure de l’Islam; Geoffroy, L’islam sera spirituel ou ne sera plus. 48. Geoffroy, L’islam sera spirituel ou ne sera plus, p. 189. 49. Geoffroy, interview conducted in 2013. 50. Quentin, fieldwork notes, 2013. 51. http://meta-com.ch 52. Fieldwork notes, 2014. 53. Ibid. 54. Bentounes, Thérapie de l’âme, pp. 55–56. 55. Bentounes, Le soufisme, cœur de l’Islam, p. 71. 56. Bentounes, Thérapie de l’âme, p. 64. 57. Geoffroy, Un éblouissement sans fin: La poésie dans le soufisme. 58. Bentounes, interview conducted in 2014. 59. Bentounes, La fraternité en héritage, p. 100. 60. Bentounes, p.  172. 61. Geoffroy, Un éblouissement sans fin: La poésie dans le soufisme, p. 175. 62. I classified these activities into six groups: 1) transmission of Islamic and Sufi heritage; 2) ecology; 3) the structuring of an alternative power; 4) citizenship; 5) women’s rights and 6) interreligious and intercultural dialogue. The tariqa also supports charitable projects for those in need, an example of which was the creation of a women’s cooperative in Indonesia during the post-tsunami period. 63. Bentounes, interview conducted in 2014. 64. Ibid. 65. Geoffroy, L’islam sera spirituel ou ne sera plus. 66. Zidane Mériboute, La fracture islamique: Demain, le soufisme? (Paris: Fayard, 2004). 67. Rusli Kamaruddin, ‘Politics in the Works of Al-Ghazzālī’, Intellectual Discourse 12, no. 2 (2004); Felicitas Opwis, ‘Maslaha in Contemporary Islamic Legal Theory’, Islamic Law and Society 12, no. 2 (2005), pp. 182–223; ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Saṭṭām ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Āl Saʿūd, Sharī‘a and the Concept of Benefit: The Use and Function of Masslahha in Islamic Jurisprudence (London: IB Tauris, 2015).  

 

255

pp. [85–88]

NOTES

68. Francesco Piraino, ‘Le développement du soufisme en Europe. Au-Delà de l’antinomie tradition et modernité’, Scuola Normale Superiore—EHESS (2016); Francesco Piraino, ‘René Guénon et son héritage dans le Soufisme du XXIème siècle’, Religiologiques 33 (2016), pp. 155–180; David Bisson, René Guénon: Une politique de l’esprit (Paris: Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2013); David W. Damrel, ‘Aspects of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order in North America’ in Sufism in the West, by Jamal Malik and John R. Hinnells (London; New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 115–126; William Rory Dickson, ‘An American Sufism: The NaqshbandiHaqqani Order as a Public Religion’, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 43, no. 3 (2014), pp. 411–424. 69. Mark Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). 70. Qurʾan, 7: 187. 71. Fieldwork note, 2013. 72. Bentounes interview conducted in 2014. 73. Bentounes, La fraternité en héritage, p. 168. 74. Karim. 75. Bentounes, interview conducted in 2014. 76. Mark Sedgwick, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). 77. Jeanette S Jouili, ‘Rapping the Republic: Utopia, Critique, and Muslim Role Models in Secular France’, French Politics, Culture & Society 31, no. 2 (2013), p. 74. 78. Karamustafa, Sufism: The Formative Period; Geoffroy, L’islam sera spirituel ou ne sera plus. 79. Francesco Piraino, ‘Between Real and Virtual Communities: Sufism in Western Societies and the Naqshbandi Haqqani Case’, Social Compass 63, no. 1 (2016), pp. 93–108. 80. John Spencer Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971). 81. Danièle Hervieu-Léger, Le Pélerin et le converti: La religion en mouvement (Paris: Flammarion, 1999); Danièle Hervieu-Léger, ‘Pour une sociologie des “modernités religieuses multiples”: une autre approche de la “religion invisible” des sociétés Européennes’, Social Compass 50, no. 3 (2003), pp. 287–295; Chantal SaintBlancat, ‘La transmission de l’islam auprès des nouvelles générations de La diaspora’, Social Compass 51, no. 2 (2004), pp. 235–247. 82. Saint-Blancat, ‘La transmission de l’islam auprès des nouvelles générations de la diaspora’; Franck Frégosi, L’Islam dans la laïcité (Paris: Pluriel, 2011). 83. Khalid Bekkaoui and Ricardo René Larémont, ‘Moroccan Youth Go Sufi’, The Journal of the Middle East and Africa 2, no. 1 (2011), pp. 31–46. 84. Piraino, ‘Between Real and Virtual Communities’.  

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NOTES

pp. [88–96]

85. Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens and Scott Lash, Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007). 86. Ernst Troeltsch, Die Absolutheit des Christentums und die Religionsgeschichte: Vortrag gehalten auf der Versammlung der Freunde der christlichen Welt zu Mühlacker am 3. Oktober 1901, erw. und mit einem Vorwort versehen (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1912); Michel de Certeau, La fable mystique: XVIe-XVIIe siècle (Paris: Gallimard, 1982); Danièle Hervieu-Léger, ‘Le partage du croire religieux dans des sociétés d’individus’, L’Année Sociologique 60, no. 1 (2010), pp. 41–62. 87. Danièle Hervieu-Léger, La religion pour mémoire (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1993).  

 

 

5. EU-RAP-IA: RAP, SUFISM AND THE ARAB QAṢῙDA IN EUROPE 1. Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Vancouver: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005). 2. See Andrew Berwick, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. De Laude Novae Militiae, Pauperes Commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici (London: n.p., 2011). This text, 1,515 pages long, is the manifesto of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian far-right activist who, on 22 July 2011, killed 77 people in two attacks in Oslo and Utøya. Originally self-published by the author, the text is available online at: https:// publicintelligence.net/anders-behring-breiviks-complete-manifesto-2083-a-european-declaration-of-independence/ 3. Oriana Fallaci, La forza della ragione (Milano: Rizzoli, 2004). 4. Michel Houellebecq, Soumission (Paris: Flammarion, 2015). 5. For an insightful analysis of a similar convergence in the context of Senegal, see Joseph Hill, ‘A mystical cosmopolitanism: Sufi Hip Hop and the aesthetics of Islam in Dakar’, Culture and Religion 18, no. 4 (2017), pp. 388–408. 6. Stefan Sperl and Christopher Shackle, ‘Introduction’ in Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa, vol. 2: Eulogy’s Bounty, Meaning’s Abundance: An Anthology, edited by Stefan Sperl and Christopher Shackle (Leiden: Brill, 1996), pp. 2–62. 7. Suzanne P. Stetkevych, The Mantle Odes: Arabic Praise Poems to the Prophet Muhammad (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010). 8. For some preliminary notes on the re-framing of the fakhriyya in the context of the Sufi poetry of the Senegalese Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse (d. 1975), see Andrea Brigaglia, ‘Sufi Poetry in Twentieth-Century Nigeria: A Khamriyya and a Ghazal by Shaykh Abū Bakr al-ʿAtīq (1909–74)’, Journal of Sufi Studies 36 (2017), pp. 199–200. 9. The Persian poet Hafez (d. 1390), and the Arab Ibn al-Fāriḍ (d. 1234) are usually considered as the masters of the Sufi ghazal and khamriyya. See Leonard Lewisohn, ed., Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry (London; New York: IB Tauris, 2015); and Th. Emil Homerin, From Arab Poet to Muslim Saint: Ibn alFarid, His Verse, and His Shrine (Cairo: American University of Cairo Press, 2001).  

 

257

pp. [96–98]

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10. On the wa‘ẓ verse produced by nineteenth-century Nigerian Muslim scholars, mainly Sufis of the Qadiriyya, see Jean Boyd, and Graham Furniss, ‘Mobilize the People: The Qasida in Fulfulde and Hausa as Purposive Literature’ in Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa, vol. 1: Classical Traditions and Modern Meanings, edited by Stefan Sperl and Christopher Shackle (Leiden: Brill, 1996), pp. 429–450. 11. French rapper Akhenaton, for instance, in his autobiography explicitly mentions his debt to the medieval tradition of the Arab qassīda: Akhenaton with Éric Mandel, La Face B (Paris: Editions Points, 2010), p. 190. 12. The verlan form of Arabe, Beur is a colloquial term used to describe French citizens of North African descent. Verlan is a slang version of French popularised by rap artists, in which the words are obtained through syllabic inversion from ordinary French vocabulary. The word ‘ver-lan’ itself is obtained through syllabic inversion from l’en-vers (reverse). 13. The convergence of Rap/Hip-Hop and Islam in the United States has been the object of some insightful studies. See, for instance: Monica R. Miller and Anthony B. Pill, The Hip Hop and Religion Reader (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014); Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, Muslim Cool: Race, Religion and Hip Hop in the United States (New York: New York University Press, 2016). 14. Bruce David Forbes and Jeffrey H. Mahan, ed., Religion and Popular Culture in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005, revised edition). 15. Edward W. Said, Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine how we See the Rest of the World (New York: Pantheon Books, 1997). 16. Jean Baubérot, Histoire de la laïcité en France (Paris: Presse universitaire de France, 2003). 17. For a thorough (sociological as well as aesthetic and musicological) study of this album and its popular reception, see Denis-Constant Martin, Quand le rap sort de sa bulle. Sociologie politique d’un succès populaire (Paris: Irma/Seteun, 2010). 18. From the 2003 album Brut de femme. Available at https://www.dailymotion.com/ video/x9e7rg 19. See the comments of Fadela Amara, former president of Ni putes ni soumises, reported in Yannick Vley, ‘Amara: «Diam’s est un vraie danger»’, Paris Match, 12 February 2010, available at http://www.parismatch.com/Actu/Societe/AmaraDiam-s-est-un-vrai-danger-150197 20. Official clip available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXdfgKjvl4c 21. Mélanie Georgiades, Diam’s: Autobiographie (Paris: Don Quichotte éditions, 2012). 22. See William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (Irvine, CA: Harvest House Publ., 2015). While suggesting that the autobiography of Diam’s could be read in the light of James’ classical psychology of conversion, I am not entirely endorsing his model, the assessment of which lies beyond the scope of the present paper.  

 

 

 

 

 

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pp. [98–100]

NOTES

23. Mélanie Georgiades (dite Diam’s), Mélanie, française et musulmane (Paris: Don Quichotte éditions, 2015). 24. Alain Philippe Durand, ed., Black, Blanc, Beur: Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone World (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002). 25. Hishaam Aidi, ‘Let Us Be Moors: Islam, Race and ‘Connected Histories”’, Middle East Report 229 (Winter 2003), pp. 42–53. 26. Hishaam Aidi, ‘The Grand (Hip-Hop) Chessboard: Race, Rap and Raison d’État’, Middle East Report 260 (Fall 2011), pp. 25–39. 27. Aidi, ‘Let Us Be Moors’, p. 44. 28. Aidi, ‘Let Us Be Moors’, p. 44, quoting from Olivier Roy, ‘Euro-Islam: The Jihad Within?’, The National Interest (Spring 2003). 29. Akhenaton, La Face B. 30. Georgiades, Diam’s. 31. Abd Al Malik, Qu’Allah bénisse la France (Paris: Albin Michel, 2004). 32. Kery James, Banlieusard et fier des lettres (Paris: Don Quichotte, forthcoming). 33. Even in the absence of a religious conversion, the religious element still features prominently in the production of Kery Arkana, where it runs parallel to the texts inspired by the political, alter-globalisation activism for which she is celebrated. One can refer, for instance, to her text Prière (from the 2006 album Entre ciment et belle étoile; available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3luFNPwsII), as well as the various songs in which the revolutionary theme mutates into a dreamlike vision of an apocalyptic/messianic nature, as in Cinquième soleil (from the 2008 album Désobéissance; available online at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=QlS8g9EN3Hc). 34. An author who, contrary to Aidi, seems to have taken the religious side of the experience of European Muslim musicians seriously, is Farid El Asri, in his interesting study Rhythmes et voix de l’islam: Une socioanthropologie d’artistes musulmans européens (Louvain: Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2014). 35. Dwight F. Reynolds has provided an interesting reading of the autobiographical genre in the classical Arab and Islamic tradition that could be applied to the study of contemporary French Muslim rappers (Dwight F. Reynolds, Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001). For Reynolds, what sets the autobiographical genre in the classical Islamic tradition apart from its western (medieval and, to a higher degree, modern) counterpart, is that the first is intended to ‘provide an account of a meritorious life,’ while the second is framed in a confessional mood where the author stresses his/her dark sides, mistakes, and temptations. It would be interesting to evaluate whether the autobiographies of Diam’s, Abd Al Malik and Kery James are closer to the first or the second model. My overall impression is that, while the bodies of these texts are constructed in a confessional mode (thus being closer to the western model), the overall concern of the authors is to suggest the possibil 

 

259

pp. [100–103]

NOTES

ity of a final ‘deliverance from error’ (to echo Abd al-Hamid al-Ghazali) embodied in the conversion to Islam (and Sufism). The move towards such a final moment of deliverance and resolution, probably renders these texts problematic from the point of view of the modern European autobiographical genre, which privileges a view of human existence as eternally entangled in systemic, unresolved contradictions. Due to their final optimism, these texts might sound naïve to an average western reader. 36. This paper will not discuss Sufi rappers active in the Anglophone world, like Brother Ali (born Jason Douglas Newman), who is based in the US; and Muneera Williams and Sukina Owen-Douglas of the duo Poetic Pilgrimage, as well as Rakin Niass, who are all based in England. It is interesting to note, however, that all the aforementioned, just like Abd Al Malik and Kery James, are converts to Islam. 37. The figures of an absent father and of a dedicated, heroic mother, are recurrent ones in the autobiographical songs of French Muslim rappers. See, for instance, Sniper’s Sans (re)père (2003); Abd Al Malik’s Lettre à mon père (2004); Diam’s Sur la tête de ma mère (2009; an interesting critique to L’Algérino’s light-hearted song of the same title); and the first lines of Kery James’ 28 décembre 1977 (2001). 38. Abd Al Malik, Qu’Allah bénisse la France, pp. 26–28. 39. See, again, James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (lecture 8, ‘The Divided Self, and the Process of its Unification’). 40. Abd Al Malik, Qu’Allah bénisse la France, p. 56. 41. Ibid, p.  57. 42. Ibid, p.  60. 43. Ibid, pp.  60–61. 44. Ibid, p.  69. 45. Ibid. 46. Barbara Metcalf, ‘Travelers’ Tales in the Tablighi Jama’at’, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, thematic issue ‘Islam: Enduring Myths and Changing realities’ ( July 2003): pp. 136–148. 47. Abd Al Malik, Qu’Allah bénisse la France, pp. 87–144. 48. Ibid, p.  106. 49. Ibid, pp.  92–93. 50. Ibid, p.  108. 51. Ibid, p.  96. 52. Ibid, p.  95. 53. Ibid, p.  117. 54. Ibid. See also p. 158. 55. Ibid, p.  127. 56. Ibid, p.  133. 57. Ibid, pp.  135–136. 58. Ibid, pp.  138.

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pp. [103–106]

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59. Ibid, p.  148. 60.  Vers l’universel is the title of the chapter of Abd Al Malik’s autobiography dedicated to the narration of his encounter with Sufism (pp. 145–175). 61. On the Budshishiyya, see Mark Sedgwick, ‘In Search of the Counter-Reformation: Anti-Sufi Stereotypes and the Budshishiyya’s Response’ in An Islamic Reformation?, ed. Charles Kurzman and Michaelle Browers (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2004), pp. 125–46. For a critique of the Budshishiyya as an order that serves the interests of the internal religious policy of the Moroccan Kingdom, see Fait Muedini, ‘The Promotion of Sufism in the Politics of Algeria and Morocco’ Islamic Africa 3, no. 2 (2012): pp. 201–26. 62. Keny Arkana, La rage, 2006, available online at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=r1Co1mfz23U 63. Moreover, the excessive romanticising of la haine, too, can have unintended side effects that are not necessarily helpful to a project of social transformation. 64. Full text reproduced in Abd Al Malik, Qu’Allah bénisse la France, pp. 202–204. 65. ‘But now my heart welcomes every form / It is a pasture for gazelles / A cloister for monks / A temple for idols / A Kaʿba for the pilgrim / The tablets of the Torah and the book of the Qurʾan / I profess the religion of love and / Wherever its mount turns, this is my religion and my faith’. 66. ‘I was nothing / Or rather something close to it / I was empty / Just like my pockets / I had the hatred / Mixture of fear, ignorance and boredom / I was crying from pain / From the hollowness of not being myself ’. 67. ‘I have traversed so many roads / Waited your coming for so long / That at seeing you I didn’t know if it was you / If it was me / If it was me / If it was you / Eh, you whom I love / In the desert of the cities I was traversing / I was crying out your name / For sure of your existence / I knew that you would hear me / Eh, you whom I love / Oh, you whom I love’. 68. Stefan Sperl, ‘Qasida form and mystic path in thirteenth century Egypt: A poem by Ibn al-Fāriḍ’ in Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa, vol. 1: Classical Traditions and Modern Meanings, edited by Stefan Sperl and Christopher Shackle (Leiden: Brill, 1996), pp. 65–82. 69. ‘On the strait of Gibraltar, there’s a young Black who cries / A dream that will be born when he has crossed Gibraltar’. 70. ‘On the strait of Gibraltar, there’s a young Black who dies / His stupid life of a gangsta-rapper, but… / On the strait of Gibraltar there is a young man who is going / To be born, who is going to be what the tours were preventing him from being. / On the strait of Gibraltar, there’s a young Black who drinks / In this bar where different hopes jostle with each other, a simple can of Fanta. / He searches like a dog without a collar for the home he has never had, and he says to himself that perhaps, soon he will not search anymore. / And it laughs, around him, and it cries, inside him’.  

261

pp. [107–108]

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71. ‘On the strait of Gibraltar, there’s a young Black who / Is born, who sings, who eventually says ‘I love you’ to life. / And then others hear him, follow him, they want to be gold / For they are copper. / Like this dancing sun, they want to fill themselves with stars, / And to tear apart this fear that veils them. / On the strait of Gibraltar, there’s a young Black who is / No more a slave, who shouts like the braves, and even death / Does not hamper him anymore / He encourages those who have no / Hope, saying ‘let us row all to the same cadence,’ to the same / Cadence / In the bar, there is a pianist, and the piano is on his knees / The young Black claps his hands, shouts like a madman / It had to come out, this deaf rage which was keeping him / Tied, which was dismantling him piece by piece. / On the strait of Gibraltar, there’s a young Black who finally sees the moon pointing at him and the sun taking him in an embrace. / Now, he cries with joy, breathes and sits back down / From now on, only Love has rights over him’. 72. ‘On the strait of Gibraltar, a young Black takes his / Luggage, comes out of the piano bar and exchanges his currency, / Still filled with emotion, he looks behind him and embarks on the boat. / It’s not really late, the sun is still high. / From the strait of Gibraltar, a young Black sails, sails towards / Morocco so near. / He sails towards Morocco, which will make of him a man / On the strait of Gibraltar… on the strait of / Gibraltar… / He sails, sails towards the marvellous Kingdom of Morocco’. 73. Aidi, ‘The Grand (Hip-Hop) Chessboard’, p. 35. 74. Jeanette S. Jouili, ‘Utopia, Critique, and Muslim Role Models in Secular France’, French Politics, Culture & Society 31, no. 2 (2013), p. 72. 75. Jouili, ‘Utopia, Critique, and Muslim Role Models’, p. 74. 76. Olivier Bourderonnet, ‘A “Picture-Perfect” Banlieue Artist: Abd Al Malik or the Perils of a Conciliatory Rap Discourse’, French Cultural Studies 22, no. 2 (2011), pp. 151–161. 77. ‘[Abd Al Malik] represents the projection of the ghosts of the media. And, to a certain extent, he indulges in this image. His discourse is not a destructive one, thus it does not constitute a bad representation. But it does not provoke enough debate, and doing nothing is already somehow doing ill. He is a sort of Swiss soldier, a militant who is armed but never engages in combat.’ Pascal Boniface and Médine, Don’t Panik (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 2012), pp. 51–52. 78. Jouili, ‘Utopia, Critique, and Muslim Role Models’, p. 75. 79. Aidi, ‘The Grand (Hip-Hop) Chessboard’, p. 35. Aidi obliquely hints at Médine’s references to Afghanistan. Incidentally, however, it has to be said that in the lyrics of his Du Panjshir à Harlem (an outstanding song dedicated to Ahmad Shah Massoud and Malcolm X), Médine gives voice to a powerful critique of the Taliban’s project of Islamic fundamentalism (side by side with a parallel critique of the manipulation of the latter by Western imperialism). This critique demonstrates Médine’s awareness of the politics of the Middle East, beyond a simplistic  

262



pp. [109–120]

NOTES

binary reading of a war between ‘Muslims’ and ‘the West.’ By seemingly collapsing Médine’s project with the ‘Islamist rap’ of Mohammad Jandoubi, of Sheikh Terra and the Soul Salah Crew (authors of Dirty Kuffaar), and by indulging in quotes from other European rappers like Aki Nawaz (who, in the song ‘Che Bin Pt 2,’ compares Bin Laden to Che Guevara) or Bushido (‘I am a Taliban, […] I have set your city on fire’), Aidi, in his seeming fascination for any form of ‘rebel’ discourse irrespective of its content, ends up rendering a huge disservice to the cause of Médine’s politically conscious and intellectually solid rap. 80. Jouili, ‘Utopia, Critique, and Muslim Role Models’, p. 74. 81. On his encounter with Skali, see Abd Al Malik, Qu’Allah bénisse la France, p. 167. 82. www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOz6gYXLDF8 83. www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMrtJxca5j0 84. Abd Al Malik, La guerre des banlieues n’aura pas lieu (Paris: Le Cherche Midi, 2010); Abd Al Malik, Le dernier Français (Paris: Le Cherche Midi, 2012); Abd Al Malik, Place de la République: Pour une spiritualité laïque (Montpellier: Indigène éditions, 2015). 85. Kery James, À vif (Paris: Actes Sud, 2017). 86. A notable exception is El Asri, who devotes seven pages of his monograph on Muslim musicians in Europe to Kery James (Rhythmes et voix de l’islam, pp. 178– 185). I am currently working on a forthcoming article devoted to a deeper literary analysis of some of Kery James’ text than the space of this chapter can allow. 87. See A. Nizar Hamzeh and R. Hrair Dekmejian, ‘A Sufi Response to Political Islamism: Al-Ahbash of Lebanon’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 28, no. 2 (1996), pp. 217–229. The Ahbash, or Ṭarīqa Habashiyya, is a Sufi network that emerged in Lebanon around the teachings of the Azhari-trained Ethiopian scholar and Sufi of the Qadiriyya order, ʿAbd Allāh al-HHarārī (d. 2008). On account of their strong emphasis on the traditional corpus of Sunni and Sufi scholarship, the Ahbash can be classified as a traditionalist Sufi movement. Because of their tendency toward the takfir (excommunication) of Muslims who slightly deviate from traditional Ashʿari doctrines, however, the Ahbash have been criticised by more mainstream trends in Sunni Sufi theology. 88. For a definition of Sunni neo-traditionalism, intended as a movement that stands in opposition to Salafi interpretations of the Sunni canon and attempts to revive the classical interpretative corpus, see Innes Bowen, Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam (London: Hurst, 2014), pp. 122–124. 89. Original clip available here: https://www.yooutube.com/watch?v=7pQQK4XuwCA  

 

 

6. CONTEMPORARY MAWLIDS IN CHICAGO 1. Despite the ritual’s popularity, the English-language literature on mawlids remains sparse. For historical accounts of mawlids, see N. J. G. Kaptein, ‘Materials for the History of the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday Celebration in Mecca,’ Der Islam 69  

 

 

 

263

pp. [121–125]

NOTES

 (1992), pp.  193–246; Muhammad’s Birthday Festival: Early History in the Central Muslim Lands and Development in the Muslim West until the 10th/16th Century (Leiden: Brill, 1993); Marion Katz, The Birth of the Prophet Muhammad: Devotional Piety in Sunni Islam (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007). For ethnographic accounts of the mawlid, see Marion Katz, ‘Women’s “Mawlid” Performances in Sanaa and the Construction of “Popular Islam”’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 40, no. 3 (August 2008), pp. 467–484; Samuli Schielke, ‘Hegemonic Encounters: Criticism of Saints-Day Festivals and the Formation of Modern Islam in Late 19th and Early 20th-Century Egypt’, Die Welt des Islams 47, nos. 3–4 (2007), pp. 319–355; The Perils of Joy: Contesting Mulid Festivals in Contemporary Egypt (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2012); Nancy Tappen and Robert Tappen, ‘The Birth of the Prophet: Ritual and Gender in Turkish Islam’, Man 22, no. 1 (March 1987), pp. 69–92. For an Orientalist account of mawlid performances, see C. Snouck Hurgronje, Mekka in the Latter Part of the 19th Century, trans. J. H. Monahan (Leiden: Brill, 1970). 2. Regina Burkhardt Qureshi, ‘Transcending Space: Recitation and Community among South Asian Muslims in Canada’ in Making Muslim Space in North America, edited by Barbara Metcalf (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), pp. 46–64. 3. Marcia Hermansen, ‘Milad/Mawlid’ in The Practice of Islam in America, edited by Edward Curtis IV (New York: New York University Press, 2017), pp. 123–40. 4. Schielke, Perils of Joy, pp. 53–80. 5. Ibid. 6. Pnina Werbner, ‘Stamping the Earth in the Name of Allah: Zikr and the Sacralizing of Space among British Muslims’, Cultural Anthropology, vol. 11, no. 3 (August 1996), pp. 309–338. 7. Justine Howe, Suburban Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 22–43. 8. Chicago Mawlid Committee, http://www.chicagomawlid.com/ 9. Hermansen, ‘Milad/Mawlid’, p. 136. 10. ‘Texts’, Chicago Mawlid Committee: http://www.chicagomawlid.com/texts.html 11. Grewal, Islam Is a Foreign Country, p. 163. 12. Jonathan A.C. Brown, Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Oxford: Oneworld, 2009), p. 243. 13. Zareena Grewal, Islam Is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority (New York: New York University Press, 2014), p. 163. 14. Rosemary R. Corbett, Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service and the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Controversy (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016); Grewal, Islam is a Foreign Country. See also G.  A. Lipton, ‘Secular Sufism: Neoliberalism, Ethnoracism, and the Reformation of the Muslim Other’, The Muslim World 101, no. 3 (2011), pp. 427–440. 15. ‘About Us’, Nawawi Foundation: http://www.nawawi.org/?page_id=7  

 

 

 

 

 

 

264



pp. [125–138]

NOTES

16. Abd-Allah outlined these points in a lecture given in Gambia in 2012. His talk was uploaded on 26 August 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ Jb5GYkJxaY 17. For Abd-Allah’s critique of Wahhabism, see Umar F. Abd-Allah, in Voices of Islam, edited by Vincent J. Cornell (New York: Praeger, 2006). 18. ‘About Ta’leef Collective’, Ta’leef Collective, http://taleefcollective.org/ 19. Interview with the author, 17 October 2014. 20. Courtney Bender, The New Metaphysicals: Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). 21. Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), p. 11. 22. Ibid, p.  2. 23. Ibid, p.  3. 24. On recitation of the Burda, see Hermansen, ‘Milad/Mawlid,’ pp. 129–130. 25. The Pew Research Center finds that 43 per cent of Muslim Americans attend mosque weekly. ‘Muslim Americans: No Sign of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism’, Pew Research Center, 2011: http://www.people-press.org/ files/2011/08/muslim-american-report.pdf 26. Umar F. Abd-Allah, Grand Chicago Mawlid, Chicago Mawlid Committee, 22 April 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07qdJpBzcIE 27. Interview with the author, 17 October 2014. 28. Robert A. Orsi, History and Presence (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016), p. 2. 29. Ibid, p.  4. 30. Ibid, pp. 4, 58. 31. On ritual time and the mawlid in pre-modern Islamic texts, see Katz, Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, pp. 143–163. 32. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Grand Chicago Mawlid, Chicago Mawlid Committee, January 2016. 33. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), pp. 15–16.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. DISORDERING AND REORDERING SUFISM: NORTH AMERICAN SUFI TEACHERS AND THE ṬARῙQA MODEL 1. William Rory Dickson, Living Sufism in North America: Between Tradition and Transformation (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015); Merin Shobhana Xavier and William Rory Dickson, ‘Négociation du sacré à Philadelphie: soufismes concurrents au sanctuaire de Bawa Muhaiyaddeen’, Social Compass 62:4 (2015), pp. 584-597; and Merin Shobhana Xavier, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks: Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and Contemporary Shrine Cultures (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2018).

265

pp. [138–141]

NOTES

2. Peter L. Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (New York: Doubleday, 1967); Wade Clark Roof, Babyboomers and the Remaking of American Religion (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999); Rodney Stark and Roger Finke, Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000); Leigh Eric Schmidt, Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012). 3. Edward E. Curtis IV, Muslims in America: A Short History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, A History of Islam in America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). 4. Zareena Grewal, Islam Is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority (New York: New York University Press, 2013); Elizabeth Sirriyeh, Sufis and Anti-Sufis: The Defence, Rethinking and Rejection of Sufism in the Modern World (Richmond, UK: Curzon Press, 1999). 5. Patrick Laude, Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guenon, and Schuon (New York: State University of New York Press, 2010); Mark Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). 6. The term ‘Sufism’ itself emerged within the colonial period as Western observers looked for a term to describe the mystical philosophy they encountered in Persian mystical poetry and the widespread religious orders they found in Muslim societies. Orientalist authors tended to conceptually isolate Sufism from Islam in a way that would have seemed odd if not incomprehensible to the vast majority of Sufis historically, who have tended to understand Sufism or tassawwuf as the interior aspect of Islamic teachings, rather than something ‘in addition’ to them. For an extended discussion of the history of the English term ‘Sufism’ see Carl W. Ernst, Sufism: An Introduction to the Mystical Tradition of Islam (Boston: Shambhala, 2011). 7. For more on early Sufism see Ahmet T. Karamustafa, Sufism: The Formative Period (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007). 8. See Mehdi Aminrazavi, ed., Sufism and American Literary Masters (New York: SUNY Press, 2014); Jeffrey Einboden, Islam and Romanticism: Muslim Currents from Goethe to Emerson (London: Oneworld Publications, 2014). 9. See Catherine L. Albanese, A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion (New Haven, CN: London: Yale University Press, 2008); Mark Sedgwick, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). 10. Zia Inayat Khan, ‘A Hybrid Sufi Order at the Crossroads of Modernity: The Sufi Order and Sufi Movement of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan’ (PhD dissertation: Duke University, 2006), p. 105. 11. Ibid, p.  109  

 

 

 

 

266



NOTES

pp. [141–146]

12.  Michael S. Pittman, Classical Spirituality in Contemporary America: The Confluence and Contribution of G. I Gurdjieff and Sufism (New York: Continuum, 2012), pp. 101–103. 13. Ibid, p.  127. 14. Idries Shah, The Sufis (London: Octagon Press, 1964), p. x. 15. See Xavier, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks (2018). 16. After his death in 1927, Khan’s movement split. Rabia Martin, the American student of Hazrat Inayat Khan, refused to accept the 1928 election of Khan’s younger brother Maheboob Khan (d. 1948) as head of the Sufi Movement in Geneva, claiming her own right to successorship. Martin led her branch of Khan’s Sufism in California, with Samuel Lewis (d. 1971), another student of Khan’s. Meanwhile in Europe, following Maheboob’s death, his brother Muhammad Ali Khan (d. 1958) was elected as leader of the Sufi Movement. Vilayat Inayat Khan was emerging as a charismatic leader in his own right, and although initially supporting Ali Khan’s leadership of the Sufi Movement, Vilayat withdrew his endorsement in 1956, thereafter leading the Sufi Order International, functioning independently of the Geneva-based Movement. 17. Zia Inayat Khan and the Message Council, ‘Our New Name’, 3 January 2016, https://www.pirzia.org/our-new-name/ 18. Dickson, Living Sufism in North America, pp. 185–187. 19. French esotericist René Guénon (d. 1951) wrote almost thirty books which would constitute the doctrinal base for Traditionalism. The three main themes of his works are (1) a concern with articulating a universal metaphysics underlying diverse religious expressions; (2) defining esotericism as distinct from exotericism; (3) analysing various religious symbols, drawing out their universal implications: see Patrick Laude, Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guénon, and Schuon (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2010), p. 14. Guénon was a practising Sufi and his followers have largely practised Sufism themselves, despite holding to a perennialist understanding of religious truth that sees the world’s mystical paths as equally valid. 20. Frithjof Schuon, Sufism: Veil and Quintessence: A New Translation with Selected Letters (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2006 [1980]), p. 24. 21. For more on how nineteenth-century racial theories regarding the purported Aryan superiority over Semitic peoples influenced Schuon’s reading of Sufism, see Greogry A. Lipton, ‘De-Semitizing Ibn ‘Arabi: Aryanism and the Schuonian Discourse of Religious Authenticity’, Numen 64 (2017), pp. 258–293. 22. Michael Oren Fitzgerald, Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2010), p. 40. 23. Frithjof Schuon, The Transcendent Unity of Religions (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1993 [1953]), pp. 9–10. 24. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, ‘Frithjof Schuon and the Islamic Tradition’, Sophia 5 (1999), pp. 30–31.  

 

 

 

267

pp. [146–157]

NOTES

25. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, interview with William Rory Dickson. Inverness, California, 27 November 2014. 26. See Dickson, Living Sufism in North America (2015). 27. See Berger, The Sacred Canopy (1967); Roof, Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American Religion (1999); Jeremy Carette and Richard King, Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (New York; London: Routledge, 2005). 28. See Robert Wuthnow, America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005). 29. Ibid. 30. Ron Geaves, Markus Dressler, Gritt Klinkhammer, eds, Sufis in Western Society: Global Networking and Locality (New York: Routledge, 2009); Ron Geaves, The Sufis of Britain: An Exploration of Muslim Identity (Cardiff: Cardiff Academic Press, 2000); Ron Geaves and Gabriel Theodre, eds, Sufism in Britain (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2013); Pnina Werbner, Pilgrims of Love: The Anthropology of a Global Sufi Cult (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004); Catharina Raudvere and Leif Stenberg, eds, Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community (New York: IB Tauris, 2008). 31. Laignee Barron, ‘Harlem’s West African Community, “Little Senegal”, honors Legacy of Mystic’, Daily News New York, 4 August 2011: http://www.nydailynews. com/new-york/manhattan/harlem-west-african-community-senegal-honors-legacy-mystic-article-1.944166 32. See Grewal, Islam is a Foreign Country (2013); Sirriyeh, Sufis and Anti-Sufis (1999). 33. See William Rory Dickson, ‘An American Sufism: The Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order as a Public Religion’, Studies in Religion 43 (2010), pp. 411–424; Shahab Ahmed, What is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). 34. For a brief overview of Sunni Traditionalism see Jonathan Brown, ‘Scripture in the modern Muslim world: Quran and Hadith’ in Islam in the Modern World, edited by Jeffery T. Kennedy and Ebrahim Moosa (New York: Routledge, 2014), pp. 13–34. 35. Sedgwick, Against the Modern World, p. 167. 36. The authenticity of the ‘traditional’ for Traditionalists is premised on its rootedness in universal metaphysical principles or truths, the apprehension of which is the point of all genuine tradition, according to this school of thought. 37. Sedgwick, Against the Modern World, p. 38. 38. Vincent J. Cornell, Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998), pp. 12–19.  

 

 

 

8. IN THE PATH OF THE ANCESTORS: THE BĀ ʿALAWῙ ORDER AND THE STRUGGLE FOR SHAPING THE FUTURE OF ISLAM 1. I would like to express my gratitude to the participants in the conference ‘Transnational Ṣūfism in Contemporary Societies,’ for their suggestions and

268



pp. [158–161]

NOTES

 comments on the paper that preceded this chapter, and to the Cini Foundation in Venice, Italy for hosting and organising the conference. I am particularly indebted to Ulrike Freitag and Mark Sedgwick for their comments on an earlier version of this chapter. 2. Alexander Knysh, Sufism: A New History of Islamic Mysticism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017), p. 225. 3. For a refutation of the Sufi/Sunni dichotomy see ʿAlī al-Jifrī: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpcEykNj8i0&feature=youtu.be 4. Shahab Ahmed, What Is Islam: The Importance of Being Islamic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016), pp. 81, 94. 5. Quoted in Muhhammad Qasim Zaman, The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002), p. 4. 6. Ibid. 7. Jonathan Brown, ‘Scripture in the modern Muslim world: Quran and Hadith’ in Islam in the Modern World, edited by Jeffrey T. Kennedy and Ebrahim Moosa (New York: Routledge, 2014), p. 29. 8. Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (700–765) is considered by Shiʿi Muslims the sixth Imām and the Jaʿfari Shīʿi school of law is named after him. Early Sunni jurists and hadith scholars like Abū HHanīfa and Mālik b. Anas equally revered him and transmitted traditions from him. 9.  ʿAli al-Jifrī: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS8q4urDmEA&feature=yo utu.be 10. While the term salaf—ancestors, refers for most Muslims to the Companions of Prophet Muhammad and the two consecutive generations who learned and transmitted from them, for the Bā ʿAlawīs the term is used interchangeably to mean also the previous generations of Bā ʿAlawī scholars, including the seventeenth century reviver of the Bā ʿAlawī order, ʿAbd Allah b. ‘Alawī al-HHaddād. 11. Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam, (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), p. 210. 12. The institution has been closed for several years now by the Saudi authorities. 13. Zayn b. Ibrahim b. Sumayṭ was born in Indonesia in 1936, where he began his studies at a young age attending the lectures of Bā ʿAlawī scholars in the country. He was 14 when he moved to Hadramawt in Yemen and continued his studies in various Bā ʿAlawī institutions. After 21 years in Hadramawt, at the time when the socialist regime mounted a campaign of persecution, abductions and assassinations of the Bā ʿAlawī sayyids, he moved to Saudi Arabia where he founded a school in Medina. He is renowned for his expertise in Islamic jurisprudence, and is referred to as the ‘little Shafiʿi’. In recent years his activities have been limited due to his advanced age and the pressure of the Wahhabi establishment in Medina. Zayn bin Sumayṭ, Manhaj al-sai: sharh usul ṭarīqa al-sādā bā ‘alawī (Sanaa: Dar al-‘ulum wa al-dawa, 2005), pp. 27–28.  

 

 

 

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14. Zayn b. Sumayṭ, Al-Manhaj, p. 30 15. Rizwana Sayyed, The Guide to the Path of Righteousness: Path of the Bani ‘Alawi (London: Sakina, 2016), pp. 43–45. 16. Interview with Adnan al-HHaddād, Jeddah, 5 May 2018 and with Mostafa al-Badawi in Madina, 25 May 2018. 17. Abū Bakr al-ʿAydarūs is commenting here on Qurʾan 26:69: ‘We shall surely guide to Our Paths those who strive for Our sake’ where ‘striving’ refers to the Shariʿa and ‘Our Paths’ refers to Haqiqa. Quoted in Ahhmad Mashhūr al-HHaddād. Key to the Garden., trans. Mostafa al-Badawi (Chicago: Starlatch Press, 2003), p. 107. 18. On Ahhmad Mashhūr al-HHaddād (1907–95) see HHāmid Ahhmad Mashhūr al-HHaddād, al-Imām al-da’iya al-HHabīb Ahhmad Mashhūr al-HHaddād (Amman: Dar al-Fath, 2003). 19. Ahhmad Mashhūr al-HHaddād, Key to the Garden, p. 132. Zayn b. Sumayt reports in his Manhaj similar wording as explanation of the meaning of Sufism from ʿAbd Allah b. ʿAlawī al-HHaddād, p. 489. 20. On the description of the states and stations in the spiritual journey see ʿAbd Allah b. Abū Bakr al-‘Aydarūs, Red Sulphur (Amman: Mabda, 2015). 21. Arthur F. Buehler identifies the transformative-contemplative practice as related to human development as a core characteristic of Sufi teaching. See Arthur F. Buehler, Recognizing Ṣūfism: Contemplation in the Islamic Tradition (London: IB Tauris, 2016), p. 13. 22. One of the most common contemporary Salafi accusations against Sufis pertains to the charge of blurring the distinction between God the Creator and his creation. See ʿAbd Allah b. Abū Bakr al-ʿAydarūs, Red Sulphur, pp. 61–62. 23. Zayn b. Sumayṭ, Manhaj, p. 504. 24. Abū Bakr Mashhūr, Junī al-Qatāf: min manāqib wa ahhwāl al-imām al-‘alāma khalifa al-aslāf ʿAbd al-Qādir bin Ahhmad bin ʿAbd al-Rahhmān al-Saqqāf (Medina: Dar al-Muhājir, 1998), p. 350. 25. Abū Bakr Mashhūr, Khurūj min al-dair al-ahmar (np.: 2001). 26. For an official biography of ʿAli al-Jifrī, see his website: http://www.alhabibali. com/en/biography/ 27. Interview with ‘Ali al-Jifrī in Cairo, 2 December 2017. 28. Alexander Knysh, ‘The “Tariqa” on a Landcruiser: The resurgence of Sufism in Yemen’, Middle East Journal Vol. 55, No. 3 (Summer 2001), pp. 399–414. 29. Field notes, 11 March 2017. 30. Michael Sugich, Signs in the Horizon: Meeting with Men of Knowledge and Illumination (np.: 2013), pp. 135–146. 31. See the biographies of teachers listed in the US-based Madina Institute: http:// almadinainstitute.org/teachers/yahya-rhodus/; field notes, Medina, Saudi Arabia. 32. Tariq Ramadan, ‘Why I will not attend the ISNA (August 2014) and RIS (December 2014) conferences’, Tariq Ramadan website, 10 August 2014: https://  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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tariqramadan.com/english/why-i-will-not-attend-the-isna-august-2014-and-risdecember-2014-conferences/ 33. See Muhhammad ʿAlawī al-Mālikī, al-ghuluww wa-athāruhu fi-l-irhāb wa-ifsad al-mujtamʿa, paper presented at the Saudi Arabian National Dialogue (Mecca: 2003), p. 31. Al-Mālikī was one of the teachers of al-Jifrī. 34. For a text of the message and list of signatories of the Amman Message see the official website: http://ammanmessage.com/ 35. Abdul al-Wahhab al-Turayri, ‘Conference—Understanding Ibn Taymiyya’s Fatwa’, MuslimMatters, 29 June 2010: https://muslimmatters.org/2010/06/29/the-mardin-conference-%E2%80%93-a-detailed-account/; for a critical reflection on the conference, see Yahya Michot, ‘Ibn Taymiyya’s “New Mardin Fatwa”: Is Genetically Modified Islam (GMI) Carcinogenic?’, http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ michot/ITA-Mardin-Conference.pdf 36. Group Authors, ‘Open Letter to al-Baghdadi’: http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/ 37. On the divergent views of the traditionalist and the Islamist camps on religious and political authority following the Arab Spring, see Mohammad Fadel, ‘Islamic Law and Constitution-Making: The Authoritarian Temptation and the Arab Spring’, Osgoode Hall Law Journal 53, 2 (2016), pp. 472–507. 38. Usaama al-Azami, ‘How not to disown Islamist terrorism’, The Huffington Post, 16 December 2016: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/usaama-alazami/how-notto-disown-islamis_b_8823864.html 39. Interview with ʿAli al-Jifrī, Cairo, 2 December 2017. 40.  Ibid. See also ʿAli al-Jifrī, 22 January 2018: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=iQhtRBatMe4 41. Fadel, ibid. 42. Abbas Kadhim, ‘The Sunni Conference in Grozny: A Muslim intra-sectarian struggle for legitimacy’, The Huffington Post, 9 September 2016: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/the-sunni-conference-in/entry/the-sunni-conference-at-groznymuslim-intra-sectarian_us_57d2fa63e4b0f831f7071c1a 43. ‘Ali al-Jifrī, ‘Storm in a Teacup: A Statement on the Chechnya Conference’, Al Habib ‘Ali Official Website, 30 September 2016, http://www.alhabibali.com/en/ news/storm-in-a-teacup-a-statement-on-the-chechnya-conference/ 44.  ʿAbd Allah Fad’aq, ‘man hum ahl al-sunna wa al-jamaʿ’, Al Watan, 4 September 2016: http://www.alwatan.com.sa/Articles/Detail.aspx?ArticleId=31753#. V8tQS8cCMgY.twitter 45. Yusuf al-Qaraḍawi, ‘bayān samaha al-shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī raʾis al-ittihād al-ʿalami li’ulama al-muslimin hiwal mu’tamar ‘man hum ahl al-sunna wa al-jamaʿa’’ bi jruzni,’ 2 September 2016: http://iumsonline.org/ar/aboutar/nt-lnhd/n-smhlshykh-yosf-lkrdoy-rys-lthd-laalmy-laalm-lmslmyn-hol-mtmr-mn-hm-ahl-lsn-olgmaa-bgrozny/ 46. Interview with followers of Abū Bakr Mashhūr in Jeddah, June 2017. I was briefly  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

271

pp. [177–179]

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shown a letter written by Abū Bakr Mashūr in opposition to the conference in Chechnya that was distributed via WhatsApp to some members of the Bā ʿAlawī order in Saudi Arabia. 9. THE MAKING OF SUFISM: THE GÜLEN MOVEMENT AND ITS EFFORT TO CREATE A NEW IMAGE 1. Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı, Dini İstismar Hareketi FETÖ/PDY: Olağanüstü Din Şurası Kararları (Ankara: Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı Yayınları, 2016). 2. Criticism of the Gülen Movement often seems like a common denominator between groups that are otherwise age-old enemies (laicist or even antireligious versus conservative-Islamic, liberal-left versus nationalist-right). For details see Volm, Die Gülen-Bewegung im Spiegel von Selbstdarstellung und Fremdrezeption. Eine textuelle Performanzanalyse der Schriften der BefürworterInnen (Innen­ perspektive) und KritikerInnen (Außenperspektive) (Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2018). 3. See, for example, Berna Turam, Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007). 4. Bekim Agai, Zwischen Netzwerk und Diskurs: Das Bildungsnetzwerk um Fethullah Gülen (geb. 1938): Die flexible Umsetzung modernen islamischen Gedankenguts (Schenefeld: EB-Verlag, 2004), p. 158. 5. Muhammed Çetin, Hizmet: Fragen und Antworten zur Gülen-Bewegung (Frankfurt am Main: Main-Donau-Verlag, 2013), pp. 130–131. 6. Fethullah M. Gülen, ‘Fethullah Gulen: Turkey’s Eroding Democracy’, New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/04/opinion/fethullah-gulen-turkeyseroding-democracy.html?_r=1 7. Mehmet Kalyoncu, A Civilian Response to Ethno-Religious Conflict: The Gülen Movement in Southeast Turkey (Somerset: The Light, 2008), p. 5. 8. Ercan Karakoyun, Die Gülen-Bewegung: Was sie ist, was sie will (Freiburg: Herder, 2017), p. 82. 9. Faruk Beşer, Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi’nin Fıkhını anlamak (Istanbul: Ufuk Kitap, 2006), pp. 109–110. 10. Doğan Koç, ‘Gülens’s Interpretation of Sufism’, Second International Conference on Islam in the Contemporary World: The Fethullah Gülen Movement in Thought and Practice, Oklahoma, 3 November 2006, p. 2. 11. Ali Bulaç, Din-Kent ve Cemaat: Fethullah Gülen Örneği (Istanbul: Ufuk Kitap, 2008), pp. 77–84. 12. Agai, Zwischen Netzwerk und Diskurs, p. 157. 13. İ. Adil Sönmez, Fethullah Gülen Gerçeği: Hukukî Gerçekler Işığında Hoşgörü ve Uzlaşma Aksiyonu Hakkında Bir İnceleme (Izmir: Kaynak Yayınları, 1998), pp. 183–185.  

 

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NOTES

pp. [180–185]

14. Ali Ünal and Alphonse Williams, Advocate of Dialogue (Fairfax: Fountain, 2000), p. 377. 15. Muhammed Çetin, The Gülen Movement: Civic Service without Borders (New York: Blue Dome Press, 2010), p. 112. 16. Sönmez, Fethullah Gülen Gerçeği, p. 277. 17. M. Fethullah Gülen, Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism: Emerald Hills of the Heart, Volume 1 (New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2009), pp. 16–19. 18. Salih Yücel, ‘Gülen as a Spiritual Leader in a Global Context’ in Salih Yücel and İsmail Albayrak, The Art of Coexistence: Pioneering Role of Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet Movement (New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2015), p. 111. 19. Gülen, Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism, volume 1, pp. 142, 147. 20. M. Fethullah Gülen, Çağ ve Nesil 3: Yitirilmiş Cennete Doğru (Istanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011), p. 39. 21. Joshua D. Hendrick, Gülen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World (New York: New York University Press, 2013), p. 217. 22. Karakoyun, Die Gülen-Bewegung, p. 135. 23. Marcia Hermansen, ‘American Sufis and American Islam: From Private Spirituality to the Public Sphere’ in Kazan University, Islamic Movements and Islam in the Multicultural World: Islamic Movements and Formation of Islamic Ideologies in the Information Age (Kazan: Kazan Federal University Publishing House, 2014), p. 196. 24. M. Fethullah Gülen, İnancın Gölgesinde 2 (Istanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011), pp. 143– 7. 25. M. Fethullah Gülen, Asrın Getirdiği Tereddütler 3 (Istanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011), p. 49. 26. Paul Heck, ‘Mysticism as Morality: The Case of Sufism’, The Journal of Religious Ethics 34, 2 (2006), p. 254. 27. Ibid, pp.  258–262. 28. Gülen, Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism, volume 1, p. 81. 29. Ibid, pp.  76–82. 30. Selçuk Camcı and Kudret Ünal, Fethullah Gülen’in Konuşma ve Yazarlarında Hoşgörü ve Diyalog İklimi (Izmir: Merkür Yayıncılık, 1999), p. 223. 31. Hermansen, ‘American Sufis and American Islam’, p. 193. 32. Berna Turam, Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), p. 62. 33. Eyüp Can, Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi ile Ufuk Turu (Istanbul: AD Yayıncılık, 1996), p. 18. 34. M. Hakan Yavuz, Toward an Islamic Enlightenment: The Gülen Movement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 194–195. 35. Nancy E. Gallagher, ‘Hizmet Intercultural Dialogue Trips to Turkey’ in The Gülen Hizmet Movement and its Transnational Activities: Case Studies of Altruistic  

 

 

 

 

 

 

273

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NOTES

Activism in Contemporary Islam, edited by Sophia Pandya and Nancy E. Gallagher (Boca Raton: BrownWalker Press, 2012), p. 80. 36. To mention the usage of modern technology (the internet and so forth) would not be appropriate since Salafi and Islamist movements also use the internet to their advantage. In this respect and in this case, the utilisation of modern technology is not an appropriate indicator of ‘being modern’. 37. Hermansen, ‘American Sufis and American Islam’, p. 202. 38. Karakoyun, Die Gülen-Bewegung, p. 121. 39. Zeki Sarıtoprak, ‘Fethullah Gülen: A Sufi in His Own Way’ in M. Hakan Yavuz and John L. Esposito, Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gülen Movement (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2003), p. 164. 40. Ünal and Williams, Advocate of Dialogue, pp. 352–370. 41. Karakoyun, Die Gülen-Bewegung, p. 82. 42. Günter Seufert, Überdehnt sich die Bewegung von Fethullah Gülen? Eine türkische Religionsgemeinde als nationaler und internationaler Akteur (Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, 2013), p. 22. 43. Karakoyun, Die Gülen-Bewegung, p. 123. 44. After the postmodern coup in 1997 the Gülen Movement as well as all other cemaatler and Islamic groups were marginalised and repressed. 45. Taşkın even terms this process as a starting and slowly preceding secularisation of the Gülen Movement. For more on this see: Yüksel Taşkın, ‘Gülenciler: Dinsel milliyetçilik ve ulus-aşırı dinamizm arasında sıkışan bir hareket’, Birikim 282 (2012): pp. 26–32. 46. Turam, Between Islam and the State, p. 57. 47. Hikmet Çetinkaya, Fethullah Gülen’in 40 Yıllık Serüveni (Istanbul: Cumhuriyet Kitapları, 2010), p. 73. 48. Sarıtoprak, ‘Fethullah Gülen’, pp. 160–169. 49. M. Enes Ergene, Geleneğin Modern Çağa Tanıklığı: Gülen Hareketinin Analizi (Istanbul: Yeni Akademi Yayınları, 2005), p. 357. 50. Doğan Koç, Strategic Defamation of Fethullah Gülen: English vs. Turkish (Lanham: University Press of America, 2012), p. 7. 51. Hermansen, ‘American Sufis and American Islam’, p. 204.  

 

 

10. SOUNDING SUFI: SUFI-ORIENTED MESSAGES ON SWEDISH PUBLIC SERVICE RADIO 1. Simon Stjernholm, ‘Sufi Politics in Britain: The Sufi Muslim Council and the “Silent Majority” of Muslims’, Journal of Islamic Law and Culture 12, no. 3 (2010), pp. 215– 226; G. A. Lipton, ‘Secular Sufism: Neoliberalism, Ethnoracism, and the Reformation of the Muslim Other’, The Muslim World 101, no. 3 (2011), pp. 427– 440; Alix Philippon, ‘A Sublime, yet Disputed, Object of Political Ideology? Sufism in Pakistan at the Crossroads’, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 52, no. 2  

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pp. [193–195]

 (2014), pp. 271–292; Fait Muedini, Sponsoring Sufism: How Governments Promote ‘Mystical Islam’ in Their Domestic and Foreign Policies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); Mark Sedgwick, ‘Sufis as “Good Muslims”: Sufism in the Battle against Jihadi Salafism’ in Sufis and Salafis in the Contemporary Age, edited by Lloyd Ridgeon, pp. 105–117 (London: Bloomsbury, 2015); Rosemary R. Corbett, Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service, and the Ground Zero Mosque Controversy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017). 2. Clinton Bennett and Sarwar Alam, eds, Sufism, Pluralism and Democracy (Sheffield: Equinox, 2017). 3. SR is a non-commercial, independent public service broadcaster owned by a foundation. It was previously financed by a TV license paid by households, which in 2019 was replaced with a tax. The allocations of revenues between SR and the two other public service broadcasters in Sweden is decided by parliament. 4. When searching for the term ‘morgonandakt’ on the website of the Church of Sweden in February 2018, three of the top five results were advertisements for particular priests’ contributions to the radio show. 5. Shared by Louise Welander, 23 November 2017. 6. Jan Arvid Hellström, Samfund och radio: Återspegling kontra medieanpassning ifråga om den kristna programverksamheten i Sverige fram tom omorganisationen 1951/52 (Stockholm: Harriers, 1979); Rune Larsson, Religion i radio och tv under sextio år (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1988). 7. Christina Westin, personal communication, 27 February 2012. 8. Gunilla Hultén, ‘A Vulnerable Diversity: Perspectives on Cultural Diversity Policies in Swedish Public Service Media’ in National Conversations: Public Service Media and Cultural Diversity in Europe, edited by Karina Horsti, Gunilla Hultén and Gavan Titley (Bristol: Intellect, 2014), p. 156. 9. Stig Hjarvard, ‘The Mediatisation of Religion: Theorising Religion, Media and Social Change’, Culture and Religion 12, no. 2 (2011), pp. 119–135; The Mediati­ zation of Culture and Society (London; New York: Routledge, 2013). 10. Isaac Weiner, Religion out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism (New York and London: New York University Press, 2014); Dorothea E. Schulz, ‘Mediating Authority: Media Technologies and the Generation of Charismatic Appeal in Southern Mali’, Culture and Religion 16, no. 2 (2015), pp. 125–145. 11. Cf. Shaimaa El Naggar, ‘“But I Did Not Do Anything!”—Analysing the Youtube Videos of the American Muslim Televangelist Baba Ali: Delineating the Complexity of a Novel Genre’, Critical Discourse Studies (2017), pp. 303–319. 12. See e.g. Mark Sedgwick, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 148–155. 13. Simon Sorgenfrei, ‘Sufirörelsen revisited—gamla källor, nya fakta’, Chaos 66 (2017), pp. 31–64.  

 

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NOTES

14. Ingvar Svanberg, ‘Alevismen och invandrade sufiordnar’, in Blågul Islam? Muslimer i Sverige, edited by Ingvar Svanberg and David Westerlund (Nora: Nya Doxa, 1999), pp. 65–83; Catharina Raudvere, ‘Between Home and Home: Conceptions of Sufi Heritage in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Swedish Bosniak Diaspora’ in Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community, edited by Catharina Raudvere and Leif Stenberg (London: IB Tauris, 2009), pp. 49–65; Catharina Raudvere and Ašk Gaši, ‘Home, Nation and Global Islam: Sufi Oriented Activities and Community Building among Bosnian Muslims in Southern Sweden’ in Sufis in Western Society: Global Networking and Locality, edited by Ron Geaves, Gritt Klinkhammer, and Markus Dressler (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009), pp. 162–179. 15. Simon Sorgenfrei, Sufism i Sverige—en lägesrapport från Stockholm, Göteborg och Malmö (Bromma: Nämnden för statligt stöd till trossamfund, 2016), p. 86. 16. Nile Green, Sufism: A Global History (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), p. 8. 17. Sedgwick, Western Sufism, pp. 1–12. 18. Andreas Hasslert, ‘Tukta egot’, Morgonandakten i P1 (Sveriges radio, 28 January 2014). 19. See e.g. Mikkel Rytter, ‘Burger Jihad: Fatal Attractions at a Sufi Lodge in Pakistan’, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 36, no. 1 (2016), pp. 46–61. 20. Hasslert, ‘Tukta egot’. 21. Despite the speaker’s use of this typically Shiʿi term, there are no other indications in his Morning Services that he identifies as a Shiʿa Muslim. 22. Khim Efraimsson, ‘Stormen före tystnaden’, Morgonandakten i P1 (Sveriges radio, 6 October 2014). 23. Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Al-Ghazali’s Path to Sufism: His Deliverance from Error [Al-Munqidh Min Al-Dalal] and Five Key Texts, trans. R. J. McCarthy (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2000). 24. Kerim Hrustanovic, ‘Tema försoning’, Morgonandakten i P1 (Sveriges radio, 10 September 2013). 25. Khim Efraimsson, ‘Om tiden’, Morgonandakten i P1 (Sveriges radio, 7 May 2014). 26. Hasslert, ‘Tukta egot’. 27. Andreas Hasslert, ‘Att hitta sin tro’, Morgonandakten i P1 (Sveriges radio, 4 October 2013); ‘Hitta in’, Morgonandakten i P1 (Sveriges radio, 1 October 2013). 28. Hasslert, ‘Hitta in’. 29. Sema Ekinci, ‘Fastan’, Morgonandakten i P1 (27 June 2014). 30. Kristin Zahra Sands, Sufi Commentaries on the Qur’an in Classical Islam (London; New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 110–135. 31. Similla Silverplatz, ‘Som en främling’, Morgonandakten i P1 (Sveriges radio, 27 March 2014). 32. Ibid. Variations of this ‘light prayer’ can be found being ascribed to Muhammad in several hadith compilations. 33. Simon Stjernholm, ‘Muslim Morning Services on Swedish Public Service Radio’, Journal of Contemporary Religion 34, no. 1 (2019).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pp. [205–216]

NOTES

34. Weiner, p.  193. 35. Ibid. 36. Jeremy Carrette and Richard King, Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (London; New York: Routledge, 2005); Craig Martin, Capitalizing Religion: Ideology and the Opiate of the Bourgeoisie (London: Bloomsbury, 2014). 37. See e.g. Julia Day Howell, ‘Sufism and the Indonesian Islamic Revival’, The Journal of Asian Studies 60, no. 3 (2001), pp. 701–729; ‘Modernity and Spirituality in Indonesia’s New Sufi Networks’ in Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam, edited by Martin van Bruinessen and Julia Day Howell (London: IB Tauris, 2007), pp. 217– 240; Patrick Haenni and Raphaël Voix, ‘God by All Means… Eclectic Faith and Sufi Resurgence among the Moroccan Bourgeoisie’ in Sufism and the ‘Modern’ in Islam, edited by van Bruinessen and Howell, pp. 241–256. 11. ALGERIAN ‘TRADITIONAL’ ISLAM AND POLITICAL SUFISM 1. S. Hadj Ali, ‘Algérie: le premier séminaire national des zaouïas’, Monde Arabe Maghreb Machrek, 135 (1992), p. 60 2. Ibid, p.  61. 3. Since the 2000s, new laws on religious associations were promulgated and the number of organisations of zawiyas increased. Though they are often in competition, their relationships with public authorities differ. For example, in 2016, the National Organisation of Zawiyas (ONZ) supported a ‘tour of zawiyas’ organised for Chakib Khelil, a friend of President Bouteflika and one of his potential successors, whereas UNZA’s president, Omar Chaalal, strongly criticised this political move and the negative image of religion it conveyed. 4. B. Sambe, ‘Tidjaniya: usages diplomatiques d’une confrérie soufie’, Politique étrangère (2010), p. 847 5. Y. Abourabi, ‘Le Maghreb face au sahel: des tentatives de cooperation sécuritaire à l’avènement de diplomaties religieuses’ in H. Abidi, Monde arabe; entre transition et implosion (Paris: Editions Erick Bonnier, 2015). 6. F. Constantin, ‘La Transnationalité: de l’individu à l’Etat’ in M. Girard, Les individus dans la politique internationale (Paris: Economica, 1994). 7. M. Zeghal, ‘Religion et politique au Maroc aujourd’hui’, IFRI, policy paper, 2004. 8. ‘En Algérie, un premier congrès soufi pour lutter contre le radicalisme religieux’, La Croix: https://www.la-croix.com/Urbi-et-Orbi/Actualite/Monde/En-Algeriepremier-congres-soufi-pour-lutter-contre-radicalisme-religieux-2016-05-20-1200 761596 9.  La Croix, ibid. 10. A. Maghraoui, ‘The Strengths and Limits of Religious Reforms in Morocco’, Mediterranean Politics vol. 14, no. 2, 2009, p. 207; Muedini, Fait, Sponsoring Sufism: How Governments Promote ‘Mystical Islam’ in their Domestic and Foreign Policies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), p. 79.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

277

pp. [216–226]

NOTES

11. T. Langlois, Moroccan Sufism, Music and Power, AHRC/ESRC, University of Leeds, p. 2 in Muedini, (2015), p. 80. 12. Richard C. Jankowsky, ‘Absence and ‘presence’: el-Hadhra and the cultural politics of staging Sufi music in Tunisia’, The Journal of North African Studies vol. 22, (2017), p. 872. 13.  Liberté, 3 April 2016, p. 4. 14.  El Watan, 22 April 2016, p. 3. 15.  El Watan, 10 April 2016, p. 6. 16. Muedini, op. cit., p. 81. 17.  L’Expression, 14 April 2016, p. 9. 18. Author interview with Omar Chaalal, Mostaganem, December 2016 19.  La Croix, op. cit. 20. Lara Deeb, An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi’i Lebanon (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), p. 153. 21. P. J. Luizad, ‘Le rôle des confréries soufies dans le système politique égyptien’, Monde Arabe Maghreb, Machrek 131 (1991), p. 29; P. Pinto, ‘Dangerous Liaisons: Sufism and the States in Syria’ in Crossing Boundaries: From Syria to Slovakia, edited by S. Jakelic and J. Varsoka, Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows Conference, vol. 14, (2013), p. 2. 22. N. Göle, ‘Contemporary Islamist movements and new sources for religious tolerance’, Journal of Human Rights 2:1, 17–30, (2003), p. 19. 23. W. Shepard, Introducing Islam (London: Routledge, 2009), p. 236. 24.  Agence Maghreb Arabe Presse, 2008 in Muedini, op. cit., p. 80. 25. Muedini, op. cit.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. NEO-TRADITIONALIST SUFIS AND ARAB POLITICS: A PRELIMINARY MAPPING OF THE TRANSNATIONAL NETWORKS OF COUNTERREVOLUTIONARY SCHOLARS AFTER THE ARAB REVOLUTIONS 1. I would like to express my gratitude to Mark Sedgwick, Francesco Piraino, and the participants of the 2017 conference on transnational Sufism for their very helpful comments on an early draft of this chapter. I would also like to thank Nesrine Badawi and David Warren for useful written feedback that has helped improve this chapter considerably. Any mistakes it contains are, of course, my responsibility alone. 2. See Kasper Mathiesen, ‘Anglo-American “Traditional Islam” and Its Discourse of Orthodoxy’, Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 13 (2013), pp. 191–219; and Mohammad Fadel, ‘Islamic Law and Constitution-Making: The Authoritarian Temptation and the Arab Spring’, Osgoode Hall Law Journal 53, 2 (2016), pp. 472– 507. Mathiesen and Fadel use ‘Traditional Islam’ and ‘traditionalism’ respectively to refer to this Sunni orientation. I have chosen to use the term ‘Neo-traditionalism’ since some Neo-traditionalists refer to themselves as such. See Abdullah Ali, ‘“NeoTraditionalism” vs “Traditionalism”’, Lamppost Education Initiative, 22 January  

278



NOTES

pp. [226–227]

2012, available at: https://www.lamppostproductions.com/neo-traditionalism-vstraditionalism-shaykh-abdullah-bin-hamid-ali/ 3. This is especially true given the range of approaches to Sufism one finds, especially in modern times, including from groups that are not at all concerned about Sunni, or even Islamic, orthodoxy of any form. See Catharina Raudvere and Leif Stenberg, eds, Sufism Today: Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community (London: IB Tauris, 2008); and Mark Sedgwick, Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). 4. Scholars who have written on this topic include: Mohammad Fadel, ‘Islamic Law and Constitution-Making’; Ebrahim Moosa, ‘Political Theology in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring: Returning to the Ethical’, in Charles Villa-Vicencio, Erik Doxtader, Ebrahim Moosa, eds, The African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab Spring: A Season of Rebirth? (Georgetown: Georgetown University Press, 2015); Amr Osman, ‘Past Contradictions, Contemporary Dilemmas: Egypt’s 2013 Coup and Early Islamic History’, Digest of Middle East Studies 24, 2 (2015); David Warren, ‘Cleansing the Nation of the “Dogs of Hell”: ʿAli Jumʿa’s Nationalist Legal Reasoning in Support of the 2013 Egyptian Coup and its Bloody Aftermath’, IJMES 49, 3 (2017). In this short chapter, I will not be able to directly engage all of these scholars’ arguments, but my arguments generally complement theirs. 5. For his Sufi affiliations, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz7a19qtN44 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU0VbNkmmPk 6. According to changes to the law made in 2012 by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the Sheikh al-Azhar will in future be elected by the SSC. See Ahmed Morsy, ‘The Grand Sheikh and the President’, Middle East Institute, 29 May 2013: http://www.mei.edu/content/grand-sheikh-and-president 7. See Ahmed El-Beheri, ‘New sheikh of Al-Azhar: “I won’t resign from NDP”’, Egypt Independent, March 2010: http://www.egyptindependent.com/new-sheikh-alazhar-i-wont-resign-ndp/; ‘al-Raʾis Mubarak yaqbal istiqalat Shaykh al-Azhar min al-Hizb al-Watanī,’ Al Arabiya, 11 April 2010: https://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/04/11/105588.html 8. See Jonathan Brown, ‘Salafis and Sufis in Egypt’, The Carnegie Papers, December 2011: http://carnegieendowment.org/files/salafis_sufis.pdf 9. See, for example, G. Willow Wilson, ‘The Show-Me Sheikh’, The Atlantic, July/ August 2005: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/07/the-showme-sheikh/304053/; Lawrence Wright, ‘The Rebellion Within’, The New Yorker, 2 June 2008: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/06/02/the-rebellionwithin; Ali Gomaa, ‘Islam, Israel and the United States’, The Wall Street Journal, 7 October 2009: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703298004 574457452301729982; Michael Gerson, ‘Michael Gerson on Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa’, 23 October 2009: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2009/10/22/AR2009102203800.html; Ali Gomaa, ‘In Egypt’s Democracy,  

 

 

 

 

 

 

279

pp. [227–229]

NOTES

 Room for Islam’, New York Times, 1 April 2011: http://www.nytimes.com/ 2011/04/02/opinion/02gomaa.html 10. For his Sufi affiliation, see Ibn Bayyah, ‘al-taʾsil al-Sharʿi li-l-tasawwuf ’, August 2010: http://binbayyah.net/arabic/archives/1185 11. See ‘“Majlis hukamaʾ al-Muslimin” bi-qiyadat Bin [sic] Bayyah wa-l-Tayyib: hal yuwajih “Ittihad” al-Qaradawi?”’, CNN Arabia, 11 March 2014: https://arabic. cnn.com/middleeast/2014/03/11/abudhabi-qardawi-tayyeb 12. See Zareena Grewal, Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority (New York: New York University Press, 2013), pp. 187–200. 13. See: https://zaytuna.edu/our-academics; it is unclear exactly when he was appointed VP. The earliest reference to his appointment I have found is from February 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMg4ZcCPcG0 14. See Jack O’Sullivan, ‘“If you hate the west, emigrate to a Muslim country”’, The Guardian, 8 October 2001: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/oct/08/ religion.uk 15. Contrast his blog from February 2011, Hamza Yusuf, ‘When the Social Contract is Breached on One Side, It’s Breached on Both Sides,’ Sandala, 7 February 2011: https://sandala.org/when-the-social-contract-is-breached-on-one-side-itsbreached-on-both-sides/ with an interview in the UAE from October of the same year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhV791UyT0o 16. See: Emadeddin Zahri Muntasser, ‘Laws matter—even in Libya’, 30 October 2015, PRI: https://www.pri.org/stories/2015–10–30/laws-matter-even-libya 17. See Randeep Ramesh, ‘UN Libya envoy accepts £1,000-a-day job from backer of one side in civil war’, The Guardian, 4 November 2015: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/04/un-libya-envoy-accepts-1000-a-day-job-frombacker-of-one-side-in-civil-war; on illegal arms shipments, see David D. Kirkpatrick, ‘Leaked Emirati Emails Could Threaten Peace Talks in Libya’, New York Times, 12 Nov 2015: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/13/world/middleeast/leakedemirati-emails-could-threaten-peace-talks-in-libya.html 18. See: ‘KRM participates in the Peace Forum 2016’, 1 February 2017: http://www. kalamresearch.com/~kalamres/article.php?artID=93 19. Qatar did not, however, support democratic uprisings in neighbouring Bahrain in 2011. 20. See Jean-Pierre Filiu, From Deep State to Islamic State: The Arab Counter-Revolution and its Jihadi Legacy, (London: Hurst Publishers, 2015); Neil Ketchley, Egypt in a Time of Revolution, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); and idem, ‘How Egypt’s generals used street protests to stage a coup,’ The Washington Post, 3 July 2017: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/ 07/03/how-egypts-generals-used-street-protests-to-stage-a-coup/?utm_ term=.8949aa34b436 21. Rori Donaghy, ‘Falcon Eye: The Israeli-installed mass civil surveillance system of  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pp. [229–230]

NOTES

Abu Dhabi’, Middle East Eye, 28 February 2017: http://www.middleeasteye.net/ news/uae-israel-surveillance-2104952769; ‘The Gulf ’s “Little Sparta” has big military ambitions’, Middle East Eye, 20 April 2017: http://www.middleeasteye.net/ columns/gulf-s-little-sparta-has-big-military-ambitions-1331398998 22. ‘The Gulf ’s “little Sparta”: The ambitious United Arab Emirates’, The Economist, 6 April 2017: https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/217 20319-driven-energetic-crown-price-uae-building-bases-far-beyond-its 23. See James Langton and Haneen Dajani, ‘UAE ambassador explains what secularism means for Middle East governance’, The National, 8 August 2017: https:// www.thenational.ae/uae/uae-ambassador-explains-what-secularism-means-formiddle-east-governance-1.618023; and ‘The new Arab cosmopolitans: Despots are pushing the Arab world to become more secular’, The Economist, 2 November 2017: https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21730899they-are-consolidating-their-own-power-process-despots-are-pushing 24. See ‘Kayfa tuhawil al-Imarat al-saytara ʿala surat al-Islam,’ Sasa Post, 25 April 2017: https://www.sasapost.com/uae-rulers-and-the-image-of-islam/ 25. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQHsK61RCrQ&, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-7sfAoPnQo, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= IQHsK61RCrQ 26. See Yusuf, ‘When the Social Contract is Breached’: https://sandala.org/whenthe-social-contract-is-breached-on-one-side-its-breached-on-both-sides/ 27. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nc-4BNSUJs 28. See ‘Shaykh al-Azhar: al-muʿarada al-silmiyya didd al-hakim “jaʾiza” Sharʿan’, alWatan, 19 June 2013: http://www.elwatannews.com/news/details/204089; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZGNAjpJANQ; https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=LCQqrryBy1E; and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIG YRu6thyg 29. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAiVvXi0qkg; it should be noted that Sisi was also flanked by the leader of the Salafi Nour Party, Yasir Burhami, as well as the leader of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II. 30. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCQqrryBy1E and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIGYRu6thyg; these recordings, which were part of religious programming prepared internally for the armed forces, as Jumʿa acknowledges in a subsequent interview, were subsequently leaked online. See: https://youtu.be/ DcAoD8FttnU?t=26m03s 31. Human Rights Watch notes that in the ‘dispersal of the Rab’a al-Adawiya [sic] sitin alone, security forces, following a plan that envisioned several thousand deaths, killed a minimum of 817 people and more likely at least 1,000.’ See: ‘Egypt: Rab’a Killings Likely Crimes against Humanity,’ Human Rights Watch, 12 August 2014: https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/08/12/egypt-raba-killings-likely-crimesagainst-humanity  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

281

pp. [231–234]

NOTES

32. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKEAxbZKLug; https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=z4cyz7LR9og 33. In his statements, Jumʿa describes the protestors as Khawarij, a reference to early rebels against the Muslim community whom the Prophet reportedly warned against. In this connection, he cites Prophetic hadiths such as: ‘Blessed are those who kill them’ and ‘the Khawarij are the dogs of the Hellfire’. See his statements here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52DMpHZBxE4 and his speech to the military four days after the Rabiʿa massacre here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Fupg_iR6hsk 34. For his remarks in favour of democracy in 2011, see n. 13 above; for his 2013 remarks against democracy, see https://youtu.be/DcAoD8FttnU?t=39m39s 35. See Usaama al-Azami, ‘Gulf crisis: How autocrats use religious scholars against Qatar’, Middle East Eye, 4 August 2017: www.middleeasteye.net/columns/qataruae-forum-for-promoting-peace-in-muslim-societies-gulf-religious-scholars-politics-715865822 36. See Moosa, ‘Political Theology’, p. 116. 37. See, for example, Aria Nakissa, ‘The Fiqh of Revolution and the Arab Spring: Secondary Segmentation as a Trend in Islamic Legal Doctrine’, The Muslim World 105 (2015), p. 399. I adopt Nakissa’s timeframe for ‘classical’ Sunnism. 38. See, for example, Patricia Crone, Medieval Islamic Political Thought (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004), pp. 135ff. For an example of this doctrine being upheld after the Arab revolutions by the notable Salafi scholar, Rabiʿ al-Madkhali (b. 1931), see: Aria Nakissa, ‘The Fiqh of Revolution’, p. 408. 39. See, for example, Mohammed Ayoob, The Many Faces of Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Muslim World (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007), p. 4ff. 40. This is an argument a scholarly admirer of Jumʿa has made to me verbally. 41. See ‘Why is there a war in Syria?’, BBC News, 7 April 2017: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ news/world-middle-east-35806229; Zach Beauchamp, ‘The war in Syria, explained’, Vox, 8 April 2017: https://www.vox.com/2017/4/8/15218782/syriatrump-bomb-assad-explainer 42. See Ahmed Morsy, ‘The Grand Sheikh and the President’. 43. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK8XA4EdTtM; the text of the interview is available on Nayid’s official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ ALnayed/posts/916302371813118 44. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx9WRaYvOfw 45. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzp1raVFowY 46. See: Marc Lynch, ‘Did We Get the Muslim Brotherhood Wrong?’, Foreign Policy, 10 April 2013, http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/04/10/did-we-get-the-muslimbrotherhood-wrong/; for a study of the earliest and arguably most important Islamic scholarly rejection of Qutbism, which also happens to be an internal MB  

 

 

 

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pp. [234–235]

NOTES

document from the 1960s, see Barbara Zollner, The Muslim Brotherhood: Hasan al-Hudaybi and Ideology (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008). 47. I problematise characterising groups like IS as Islamist in a forthcoming work. For Hamza Yusuf ’s suggestion that IS arises from the combination of Wahhabism and the MB, see Hamza Yusuf, ‘The Plague Within’, Sandala, 5 July 2016, https://sandala.org/the-plague-within/; in this article, the references to both Wahhabism and the MB are indirect. They are made explicit in a later interview regarding the piece that may be heard here: https://clyp.it/0kxuerpl (from 27 minutes onwards). 48. For two instances, see Hamza Yusuf, ‘A Time for Introspection’, Q-News, n.d., available at: http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/misc/shhamza_sep11.htm; and a lecture given by Yusuf in California on 30 September 2001, ‘America’s Tragedy: An Islamic Perspective’, transcript available here: http://www.muslimsforjesus.org/ Current%20Affairs/America’s%20Tragedy-An%20Islamic%20Perspective%20 by%20Shayk%20Hamza%20Yusuf%20at%20the%20Zaytuna%20Institute.htm 49. For Yusuf ’s defence of Jumʿa, see the following Facebook post from 2014 by Abu Eesa Niamatullah, a British-based Muslim preacher and activist of a Salafi orientation: https://www.facebook.com/AbuEesaPersonal/posts/344108175752356; Yusuf ’s remarks are corroborated by others. 50. See H. A. Hellyer, ‘Egypt Killed Islam in the West’, The Islamic Monthly, 18 December 2014: https://www.theislamicmonthly.com/egypt-killed-islam-inthe-west/; and this 2014 Facebook post by Abu Eesa Niamatullah: https://www. facebook.com/AbuEesaPersonal/posts/344108175752356 51. The Economist, ‘Electric cars will come of age in 2018’, YouTube, 18 October 2017, https://youtu.be/zGFb6CcG0DA?t=4m11s  

 

 

 

 

 

283

INDEX

al-ʿAlami, Muhammad bin ʿAbd al-Malik, 67 Alamiyah, 142 al-ʿAlawi, Ahmad Ibn Mustafa, 75, 76–7, 79, 83 ʿAlawiyya, 6, 37, 75–89, 144, 212, 214, 215 alcohol consumption, 46, 47, 102 Alfa Hāshim, 65 Alger, William Rounseville, 20 Algeria, 4, 6, 7, 209–24 ʿAlawiyya in, 6, 37, 75, 76–7, 82, 87, 88, 212, 214, 215 civil war (1991–2002), 213 Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), 209 interfaith dialogue in, 215–16 Islamism in, 7, 209 marabouts, 7, 209, 217, 223 Morocco, relations with, 213, 221 regionalism, 221 Tijaniyya in, 59, 62, 65, 66 Union nationale des zaouias d’Algérie (UNZA), 7, 210, 211, 213, 214, 218, 222 Wahhabism in, 209, 212–15, 219, 223 zāwiyas, 7, 209–23

Abd Al Malik, 93, 98, 99, 100–110, 111, 113–14 Abd-Allah, Umar Faruq, 120, 124, 125–6, 130–31, 133, 165 Abdul Rauf, Faisal, 49 ʿAbd al-Hamid II, Ottoman Sultan, 66 ʿAbd Allah al-Daghastani, 40 Abu Dhabi, UAE, 66, 68 Abu l-Hasan al-Maghribi, 67 Abu Madyan, Sidi, 221–2 al-ʿAdawiyya, Rabiʿa, 201 Adda, Sheikh, 77 Advaita Vedanta, 17, 25, 145 al-Afghani, Jamal al-Din, 22 Afghanistan, 108 Aflākī, Shams al-Dīn Ahhmad, 31 Aguéli, Ivan, 195 Ahbash, see Habashiyya Ahhmadiyya-Idrisiyya Shadhiliyya, 85 Ahmad bin ʿUmar, 63 Ahhmad, Muhhammad, 65 Ahmed, Tahera, 132 Aidi, Hishaam, 98–9, 100, 108 Aïssa, Mohamed, 216, 217–18, 220, 223 AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi), 29, 30, 177, 188  

 



 

285

INDEX Ali Khan, Muhammad, 267n Ali, Hadj, 209 al-ʿAliyya, Wad, 66 ʿAli Dinnar, 66 ʿAli ibn Abi Talib, 199, 214 Allam, Shawqi, 169 alterity, 2, 6, 75–89 Amazighs, 75, 87, 217, 222, 223 Amman Message (2007), 167, 170 al-Andalus (711–1492), 221, 222 Andrews, Carolyn ‘Fatima’, 39 Anjuman Islam, 141 Antilles, 98, 113 Arab Spring (2011), 168, 169, 170, 225, 227, 228, 229–30, 235 Arberry, Arthur John, 18, 21–2, 28 Arkana, Keny, 100, 103 Arnold, Matthew, 23 Arsalan, Amir Shakib, 55 asceticism, 1, 39, 87, 139, 180, 181, 202, 210 Ashʿarism, 112, 124, 165, 169, 170, 226 assl, 168 Aslam, Muhammad, 37, 41 Asrári Khudi (Iqbal), 21 Ataturk, Kemal, 29, 66 ʿAttar, Farid al-Din, 201 Augustine, Saint, 101 Australia, 46, 52 al-ʿAydarūs, Abū Bakr, 162 Ayurveda, 47 al-Azhar University, 169, 170, 226–7, 233 Azhari, Ahmed Saad, 166 al-Azmi, Ahmad, 62  

Bā ‘Alawīyya, 63, 157–71 Baghdad, 18, 26, 211, 213, 215 Bahá’í, 30 de Balzac, Honoré, 30

286

Banafsheh Sayyad, 24 Bangladesh, 214 Barjavel, René, 101 Barks, Coleman, 16, 18–20, 26, 28, 31–2 Barons Court, London, 25 al-Basri, Hasan, 200 Bat Ye’or, 94 Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, 19, 38–40, 44–5, 48, 50–51, 52, 142 Bayḍāʾ, 164 Bayrak, Tosun, 43, 44, 48, 52 Beckenbauer, Franz, 16 Bedoui, Noureddine, 216 Bejaïa, Algeria, 222 Bektaşi Order, 187 Belgium, 75 Benedict XVI, Pope, 167 Bennett, John Godolphin, 24, 28, 37, 38, 40, 42, 44, 50, 52, 244n Bentounes, Khaled, 6, 77, 78, 79, 81–8 Berbers, 75, 87, 217, 222, 223 Bergson, Henri, 77 Berque, Augustin, 77 Beshara, 38, 50, 52 Bezzaz, Lakhmissi, 212 Bidar, Abennour, 81 bidʿa, 122 Bin Bayyah, ʿAbdullah, 124, 163, 165, 168, 227, 229, 230, 231 Bin Sumayṭ, Zayn 161, 162 Bly, Robert, 16, 18, 20 Boniface, Pascal, 108 Borges, Jorge Luis, 19 Bosnia 121, 142 Boukhlef, Sidi Lakdar, 212, 214 Bourderonnet, Olivier, 108 al-Boutchitchi, Hamza, 103, 105, 107 Bouteflika, Abdelaziz, 216, 220, 221 Brel, Jacques, 104 Brown, Jonathan, 158–9

INDEX Brown, Joseph Epes, 152 Browne, Edward Granville, 21 Buddhism, 20, 22, 39, 42, 47, 49, 140, 148 Budshishiyya, 87, 99, 103, 104, 109 Bukhara, 201 Bülent Rauf, Ali, 27, 38, 42, 44, 52 Burckhardt, Titus, 151 Burda Sharīf, 126, 127 Burkina Faso, 60 Bush, George Walker, 222 al-Būṭī, Ramaḍān, 163 al-Buzidi Bujrafi, al-Yazid, 76 California, United States, 69 Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 125 Fremont, 125 Los Angeles, 27, 42, 51 Marin County, 146 San Francisco, 37, 41 Santa Clara, 166 Zaytuna College, 125, 165, 228, 233 Camus, Albert, 101 Canada, 39, 69, 142, 166, 228 Caribbean, 69 Castaneda, Carlos, 27 Cathay (Pound), 19 Catholicism, 129 Césaire, Aimé, 101 Çetin, Muhammad, 178 Chaalal, Omar Mahmood, 211, 212, 213, 218–20, 223 Chad, 60 Chakrabarty, Dipesh, 131 chakras, 51 Chaucer, Geoffrey, 18 Chechnya, 169, 170, 171 Chicago Mawlid Committee (CMC), 119, 122–4, 125, 128, 130, 132 Chishtiyya, 27, 28, 140, 143

Chittick, William, 152 Chopra, Deepak, 16, 25 Christianity Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and, 40 Benedict XVI’s Regensburg lecture (2006), 167 Catholicism, 129 Copts, 215 Eastern Orthodox, 49 Feild and, 46 Gülen and, 183, 188 Hixon and, 49 kāfir and, 76 liberation theology, 84 monotheism, 183–4 Ozak and, 43 qassīda and, 96 Rumi and, 21, 22–3 saints, 29 Çiller, Tansu, 189 Cissé, HHasan, 55–6, 63, 64, 68, 69 Cissé, Mahi, 57, 65, 69 Cissé, Tijani bin ʿAli, 56, 57, 65, 67 Coelho, Paulo, 25 colonialism, 60, 61, 62, 65, 77, 108, 109, 167, 220, 222 Comoros, 63 Constantin, François, 213 consumerism, 205, 212, 218, 219 conversion, 98 Corbett, Rosemary, 125 Corbin, Henry, 80, 152 Cutsinger, James, 152 Cyprus, 29, 40, 46  

 

al-Daghastani, ʿAbd Allah, 40 Dalai Lama, 48 Danner, Victor, 152 Dante, 21, 22 Dar al Turath al-Islami, 166 Dār al-Mussṭafā College, 163, 164, 165, 166  

287

INDEX Dār al-Zahrāʾ, 164 Darwin, Charles, 182 De Menil, Dominique 43 Dede, Suleiman, 27, 28, 51 Demby, Robert ‘Khwaja Muhaiyaddeen’, 39 Demirel, Süleyman, 189 Deobandism, 102 Dhū al-Hijja, 165 Diagne, Souleymane Bachir, 58 Diam’s, 97–8, 100 Dick, Philip Kindred, 27 Diop, Cheikh Anta, 101 Divine Comedy (Dante), 21, 22 Dominican Republic, 164 Douglas, Sukina, 70 Drew Ali, 39 Dubai, UAE, 66, 68 Durakovic, Asaf, 142 Durand, Alain Philippe, 98 Efraimsson, Khim, 199, 200, 202 ego, 56, 110, 198, 199, 201–2, 204 Egypt, 4, 5 al-Azhar University, 169, 170, 226–7, 233 Bā ʿAlawī in, 159, 163, 169, 170 Bülent Rauf in, 38 Copts, 215 coup (2013), 168, 227, 228, 230–31, 234 deep state, 229 mawlids in, 121, 128 Muslim Brotherhood, 3, 150, 168, 230–35 National Democratic Party, 227 Rabiʿa massacre (2013), 227, 228, 231, 232, 234 Revolution (1952), 38 Revolution (2011), 227, 230 Syrian War, involvement in, 233 Tijaniyya in, 55, 61, 65–6

288

Eid, 140 Einstein, Albert, 77 Ekinci, Sema, 201–2 Eliade, Mircea, 151 Elliot, Pierre, 42 Elmasry, Shadee, 166 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 20 Emre, Yunus, 50 Epicurus, 101 Erdoğan, Recep Tayyip, 29–30, 177, 188, 189 Erguner, Kudsi, 29 eschatology, 85–6 esotericism, 1, 3, 5, 149, 152 Akenathon and, 99 ʿAlawiyya and, 77 Guénon and, 36–7 Gurdjieff and, 24, 36 Feild, 26 Gülen and, 179 Helminski and, 28 Inayat Khan and, 36, 140 medieval period, 139 Ouspensky and, 36 Ross and, 41 Rumi and, 18 Shah and, 142 Schuon and, 145–6 Traditionalism and, 153 esotourism, 17 ethics, 179, 182 Ethiopia, 55, 63, 113 Eurabia, 94 evolution, 182 excommunication, 167 Facebook, 57, 65, 67 Fadʿaq, ʿAbd Allah, 170 fakhriyya, 96 Fallaci, Oriana, 94 fanāʾ, 59, 70, 96

INDEX Fanon, Frantz, 101 Fard Muhammad, Wallace, 39 Faruq, King of Egypt and the Sudan, 38 Fascism, 233–4 Feild, Timothy ‘Reshad’, 17, 26–7, 28, 38, 42, 44, 46–7, 50, 52 feminism, 98 Fenollosa, Ernest, 19 Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü (FETÖ), 177 Fitzgerald, Edward, 19 Flask Walk, London, 27 Flavin, Daniel, 43 France, 5, 6, 24 ʿAlawiyya in, 75, 78, 80–87, 88 banlieues, 97, 102, 103, 109–10, 111, 112, 113 colonialism, 60, 61, 62, 65, 77, 109, 222 laïcité, 97 Libya intervention (2011), 222 Paris attacks (2015), 215 rap music, 6, 93–114 riots (2005), 103 Tijaniyya in, 69 freedom of expression, 168, 183, 186 Freud, Sigmund, 17 Friday prayers, 45, 49 Friedrich, Philippa ‘Fariha’, 43, 44, 49, 52 Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), 209

Germany, 75, 178, 181, 188 Gesserit, Bene, 27 Ghana, 56, 57, 60, 61 ghazal, 96, 105, 113 al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid, 103, 161, 169, 199 Gikandi, Simon, 58 Glass, Philip, 16 globalisation, 3, 88, 94–5, 100, 153–4, 212, 215, 218, 219 glocalisation, 3 gnosis (maʿrifa) 59, 63, 70, 96, 129, 162, 199 Golden Sufi Centre, 142, 146–7, 148 Graham, William, 158 Grand Chicago Mawlid, 123, 128 Grandvaux, Severine, 58 Great Revolt (1936–9), 67 Grewal, Zareena, 125, 228 ‘Ground Zero Mosque’, 49 Guénon, René, 36–7, 48, 145, 151 Guinea, 61 Gülen Movement, 7, 30, 177–90 Gurdjieff, George Ivanovitch, 18, 24, 26, 36–8, 41–2, 44, 141 Habashiyya, 111–12 hhabīb, 162 Habibis, Daphne, 41 Habri, Ahmed, 211, 213, 214, 221 al-HHaddād, Ahhmad Mashhūr, 161, 165 al-HHaddād, ʿAbd Allah bin ʿAlawī, 166 Hadith, 88, 164 hhaḍra, 38, 82 Hadramawt, 163, 164, 165 al-Hafiz al-Misri, Muhammad, 65 Haglund, Elsa ‘Ulma’, 195 Haiti, 110, 164 Halici, Nevin, 16 al-Hallaj, Mansur, 22, 23 Halveti, 42  

 

 

 

Gallagher, Nancy, 185 gender, 4, 5, 45, 83, 122, 177 dress codes, 102, 122, 185 mawlids and, 120, 122, 132, 133 segregation, 4, 45, 48, 49, 122, 177, 189, 190 Geoffroy, Éric, 76, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 88 Georgiades, Mélanie, see Diam’s

 

289

INDEX von Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph, 20 Hanafi legal school, 31, 102 HHanbalī legal school, 169 Hanut, Eryk, 15, 24 Haqaniyya, 48, 50, 85 Harvey, Andrew, 23–4, 28 Hashim, Alfa, 67 Hasslert, Andreas, 198, 200–201 Hawn, Goldie, 16 Hayba, Baye, 64 hheīra, 78 heliocentrism, 23 Helminski, Camille, 26, 28, 47, 48 Helminski, Kabir, 28, 30, 47, 48 Herbert, Frank, 27 Hermansen, Marcia, 36, 40, 44, 46, 48, 181, 183 Hidden Imām, 159 Hijaz, 67, 120, 125, 163 Hinduism, 2, 18, 30, 39, 40, 46, 51, 52, 76, 140, 145, 148 hip-hop music, 4, 6, 70, 93–114 Hitler, Adolf, 233 Hixon, Alexander ‘Lex’ ‘Nur’, 48–9 homosexuality, 17, 24, 31, 83, 183 hoşgörü, 179 Houellebecq, Michel, 94 Hrustanovic, Kerim, 200 Human Rights Watch, 231 human rights, 168, 183 Husayn ibn Ali, 214 al-Husayn, Musa ʿAbdallah, 69 Huxley, Aldous, 101 hybridity, 4, 44, 45, 46, 94  

 

Iblīs, 198 Ibn al-ʿArabi, 18, 38, 67, 78, 103, 104, 105 Ichazo, Óscar, 37 Idaw ʿAli tribe, 60 idolatry, 79, 81–2, 84, 130

290

Ihsan Institute, 166 ijāza, 66, 68 ılımlı İslam, 178, 188, 189 ʿilm, 129, 161, 162 Inayat Khan, 36, 37, 40, 140–41, 142–3, 144, 195 Inayat Khan, Vilayat, 27, 28, 38, 42, 48, 51, 143, 267n Inayat-Khan, Zia, 143–4, 146, 147, 148, 153 Inayatiyya, 142–4, 146, 147, 153 India, 41, 55, 63, 64, 102, 214, 215 Indonesia, 4, 55, 63, 64–5, 68, 163 infidel, 6, 75–89 initiation rituals, 140 Institute for Conscious Life, 42 interfaith dialogue, 30, 77, 82, 87, 183–4, 215–16 International Day of Living Together in Peace, 77 International Sufi Conference, 211, 213, 214, 215 International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), 228 Iqbal, Allama Muhammad, 21, 22, 23, 30 Iran, 30, 142, 150, 213, 214 Iraq, 163, 167, 201, 211, 213 Islamic Awakening, 150 Islamic Cultural Centre of Bejaïa, 216 Islamic Salvation Front, 209 Islamic State (IS), 168, 189, 211, 218, 223, 233–4 Islamisation, 35–6, 38, 44–52 Islamism, 4–5, 7, 169 in Algeria, 7, 209 and mawlid, 121 Médine and, 108 Muslim Brotherhood, 3, 150, 168, 229–35 neo-traditionalism and, 226, 232–5

INDEX Qatar and, 226, 228, 229 traditionalism and, 4 in Turkey, 29, 189 Islamophobia, 120 istighrāq, 59 Italy, 215 Jaffna, Sri Lanka, 39 jalāba, 77 Jama‘at-i-Islami, 150 Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, 22 Jamila, Tasleem, 132 Jankowsky, Richard, 216 Japan, 75, 219 Javid-Nama (Iqbal), 22 Jawāhir al-maʿānī, 62 al-Jazāʾirī,ʿAbd al-Qādir, 167 al-Jazeera, 229 jazz music, 4, 106 Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq, 159 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 125, 159, 162, 163, 164, 171, 227 Jericho, Palestine, 67 Jerrahi Order, 42, 48–50, 52 Jerrahiyya-Khalwatiyya, 87 Jerusalem, 67 Jesus, 43 al-Jifrī, ʿAlī, 159–61, 163, 165–71 jihad, 60, 94, 110, 128, 167, 182, 219–20 al-Jīlānī, ʿAbd al-Qādir, 112, 211, 222 Judaism, 23, 28, 39, 47, 96, 183, 194 Jumʿa, ʿAli, 163, 168, 169, 227, 230–31, 232, 233, 234, 235 Junayd, 169 Justice and Development Party, 29, 30, 177, 188, 189–90 Kabir, 18, 26 Kabyle people, 221, 222 Kabylie, Algeria, 216

al-Kāf, Fayssal, 163 kāfir, 76 Kalam Research and Media, 229 Kalbin Zümrüt Tepeleri (Gülen), 187 Kanun, Radi, 62 Karachi, Sindh, 64 Karakoyun, Ercan, 181, 188 Kassovitz, Mathieu, 103, 113 Kenya, 63 Kery James, 93, 98, 99, 100, 110–14 khalīfa al-aslāf, 162 khalīfa, 41, 82 khalwa, 63, 140 khamriyya, 96, 113 khankah, 140 Khayyam, Umar, 19 Kia, Fereydoun, 25 King ʿAbd al-ʿAziz University, 228 Kitchener, Horatio Herbert, 1st Earl Kitchener, 22 Konya, Turkey, 16, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 Krishna, 40 late Sunni traditionalism, 124, 163, 168, 171 Lebanon, 40, 113, 163 Lefort, Rafael, 26, 27 Lewis, Franklin D., 26, 30–31 Lewis, Samuel L., 28, 37, 41 liberation theology, 84 Libya, 220, 222, 228–9 light Islam, 178, 188, 189 Lings, Martin, 76, 151 Litany Against Fear’ (Gesserit), 27 Littman, Gisèle, 94 Loras, Jelaluddin, 46–7, 52 Loras, Süleyman, 41–2, 43, 46, 47, 48, 51, 52, 142 LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), 41 Lupe Fiasco, 97

291

INDEX madīhh, 96, 105, 112, 113 Madina Institute, 64, 166 Madonna, 16, 20 madhahib, 139, 159, 165, 196 Hanafi, 31, 102 Hanbali, 169 Maliki, 62 Shafiʿi, 159, 161 madrasas, 96 Maghsoud, Shah, 142 Mahdi, 22, 65, 85 Mahdi, Sheikh, 77 Maheboob Khan, 267n majdhūbī, 59 malakūt, 107 Malaysia, 55, 96 Malcolm X, 101, 108, 125 Mali, 2, 56, 60, 66 Maliki legal school, 62 maqāmāt, 147 al-maqāssid al-thalātha, 162 Maqasid Institute, 166 marabouts, 7, 209, 217, 223 maʿrifa, 59, 63, 70, 129, 162, 199 maʿrifat Allāh, 60 al-maʿrūf, 78 Marcus, Sharon, 50–51 Martin, Rabia Ada, 140, 267n Marvel, 57 Maryamiyya, 142, 144–6, 148, 153 Mashhūr, Abū Bakr, 162, 163, 170 masslahha, 84 Masnavi (Rumi), 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 31 Massignon, Louis, 22, 23 Mathurin, Alix, see Kery James Maturidiyya, 165, 169, 170, 226 Mauritania, 56, 60, 63, 64, 66, 68, 124, 165, 166, 227 Mauroof, Mohamed, 39 Mawlay Sulayman, Sultan of Morocco, 60  

 

 

292

 

mawlid, 6, 68, 119–34, 164, 165 mazār, 45, 53, 149 Mbacke, Ahmadou Bamba, 149 Mbembe, Achille, 58 Medina-Baye, Senegal, 64, 67, 68, 69, 70 Medina, Arabia, 64, 65, 66, 67–8, 159, 161 Mevlana Rumi Mosque & Dialogue Centre, 184 Mevlevi Foundation, 27, 28 Mevleviyya, 16, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28–9, 41–2, 46–8, 49, 50 Mexico, 164 Miller, Bruce, 46 Miller, Richard ‘Abdur-Razzaq’, 45 Milton, John, 21 el-Mizouri, Laroussi, 212 modernity, 185, 218–19, 223 Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb Foundation, 119, 122–4, 125, 128, 130, 132 Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, 217, 220 Moorish Science Temple, 39 Morning Services broadcast, 194–206 Morocco, 4, 221 Abd Al Malik in, 103, 106–8, 109, 113 Abu Madyan in, 222 ʿAlawiyya in, 75, 81, 86 Algeria, relations with, 213, 221 Sidi Chiker National Gatherings of Sufi Partisans, 217, 220 sponsorship of Sufism, 216 Tijaniyya in, 55, 59–60, 61–3, 67 Morsi, Muhammad, 168, 230–31, 232 Mos Def, 97 Mother Meera, 23–4 Mother Theresa, 48 Mourides, 41

INDEX al-Moussaoui, Slimane, 214 Moyne, John, 18 Mubarak, Hosni, 227, 230, 232 Muedini, Fait, 216 Muhammad bin Fadigh, 66 Muhammad, Prophet of Islam, 42, 43, 196 Mujaddidiyya, 142, 146–7, 148 Murabit al-Hajj, 166 Murray, Alexander, 29 Murshid Sam, 28, 37, 41 Mūsā al-Kāẓim’, 159 music hip-hop/rap music, 4, 6, 70, 93–114 jazz, 4 proscription of, 102 reggae, 69 Muslim Brotherhood, 3, 150, 168, 229–35 Muslim Council of Elders (MCE), 228, 231 Mussolini, Benito, 233 mutūn, 112 mysticism, 1, 89, 196, 197, 198, 202 Rumi and, 16, 19, 21, 200 Traditionalism and, 151, 152 nafs, 56, 110, 198, 199, 201–2, 204 Naouale, 103 NAP (New African Poets), 101–2 Naqshband, Baha al-Din, 198, 200–201 Naqshbandiyya eschatology, 85 global reach, 56 Haqaniyya, 48, 50, 85 in Iraq, 167 mawlids, 121 Mujaddidiyya, 142, 146–7, 148 openness, 87 Shah and, 142

in Sweden, 198, 200–201 in Turkey, 29 in United Kingdom, 38, 40–41, 45–6, 48, 50, 52 in United States, 121 nasab, 161 nashīd, 121, 123 Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, 145–6, 147, 151, 152, 153 Nasser, Gamal Abdel, 61 Nation of Islam, 37, 39 National Association of Zāwiyas, 7, 210, 211, 213, 214, 218, 222 National Democratic Party, 227 Native Americans, 145 Nawawi Foundation, 125, 165 al-Nayid, ʿArif ʿAli, 228–9, 233–4 Nazi Germany (1933–45), 103–4, 233 Nazim al-Haqqani, 40–41, 44 naẓm al-mutūn, 96, 112, 113 negative theology, 78, 80 Neihardt, John, 145 Neo-Platonists, 20, 21 neo-traditionalism, 7, 111, 220, 225–35 Netherlands, 30, 37, 75 Network of African Islamic Faith-based Organizations, 63 Neuhof, Strasbourg, 101 New Age culture, 3, 35–52 Rumi and, 16–18, 27, 28, 32 travelling sheikhs and, 6, 35–6, 37–52 New Testament, 183 Niasse, Ibrahim, 56–7, 58, 60–61, 63, 66, 68, 69, 70–71 Nicholson, Reynold Alleyne, 18, 21–2, 26, 28 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 22 Niger, 60 Nigeria, 56, 57, 60, 63

293

INDEX al-Nisāʾ al-Tijāniyyāt (Kanun), 62 Nkrumah, Kwame, 61 Nougaro, Claude, 104 Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community, 48–9, 52 Old Testament, 183 Oman, 68, 163 Orientalism, 1, 5, 22, 23, 56, 151, 152 Orsi, Robert, 129 orthodoxy, 2, 4, 5, 6, 26, 150, 153 ʿAlawiyya, 78 Morocco and, 62 Tijaniyya and, 57, 62 Orwell, George, 101 others, 75–89 Otto, Rudolf, 19 Ottoman Empire (1299–1922), 42, 46, 66, 152, 186, 190 Oubrou, Tareq, 103 Ouspensky, Pyotr Demianovich, 24, 28, 29, 36, 37 Owaisi, Imam Fakruddin, 64 Ozak, Muzaffer, 42–3, 44, 48–9, 50, 52, 142 Pakistan, 30, 41, 55, 61, 63, 64, 68, 96 Palestine, 55, 65, 67, 75 pan-Africanism, 58 paradigmatic sainthood, 60, 66, 71 perennialism, 2, 36, 39, 140 Pilavoglu, Kemal, 66 pork consumption, 47 post-confraternity Sufism’, 81 Pound, Ezra, 19 Probst-Birabenm, Jean-Henry, 76 Qadiriyya, 56, 103, 217, 221 al-Qaradawi, Yusuf, 170, 228 qassīda, 6, 93–6, 100, 104–8, 112–14 al-Qassam, ʿIzz al-Din, 67  

294

Qatar, 66, 68, 69, 226, 228, 229, 231, 233 al-Quḍāt, Nuhh, 163 Qurʾan, 95, 140, 200 ʿAlawiyya and, 78, 79, 83, 85, 88 Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and, 39, 45 Gülen and, 181, 183 Iblīs, 198 Iqbal and, 22 Loras and, 42 mawlids and, 132 on nafs, 201 Rumi and, 31 Tijaniyya and, 62, 64 quṭb, 82 Qutb, Sayyid, 233 quṭbāniyya, 60, 66 Rabiʿa massacre (2013), 227, 228, 231, 232, 234 Radha Mohan Lal, 146 rahhīl, 106 Rahman, Fazlur, 125 Ramadan, 44, 201–2 Ramadan, Tariq, 103, 166–7, 168 Ramana Maharshi, 46, 48 rap music, 4, 6, 70, 93–114 reggae music, 69 Régis Fayette-Mikano, see Abd Al Malik religious diplomacy, 213 Revivalist Islam, 150 Rhodus, Yahya, 166 RIS (Reviving the Islamic Spirit), 166 Robertson, Roland, 3 Roles, Francis, 25 Ross, John ‘Abdullah’, 41, 44, 45–6, 52 Rothko Chapel, Houston, 43, 49 Rothko, Mark, 43 Roy, Olivier, 98 Rückert, Friedrich, 23  

INDEX ruhh, 198 Rumi, Jalal al-Din, 6, 15–32, 200 Abd Al Malik and, 103, 105 celebrity endorsement, 16 Christianity and, 21, 22–3 dance and, 28–9 Divan of Shams Tabrizi, 22 Gülen and, 30 heliocentrism and, 23 merchandise, 15–16 Masnavi, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 31 New Age culture and, 16–18, 27, 28, 32 novelists and, 25–7 pluralism and, 30 psychotherapy and, 17, 23 scholars and, 20–25 sexuality, 24, 31 Shams al-Din al-Tabrizi, relationship with, 16, 22, 25–6, 27, 31, 105 universalism, 23 Rumi Forum for Interfaith Dialogue and Intercultural Understanding, 30, 184 Russia, 24, 63, 170 Rwanda, 55  

al-ssahhwa al-islāmiyya, 150 Sai Baba of Shirdi, 2 salaf, 160 Salafism, 2, 3, 77, 158, 170, 185 in Algeria, 214, 218–21, 223 in France, 102 al-Jifrī, criticism of, 160 neo-traditionalism and, 226 in Saudi Arabia, 166 in United States, 122, 125, 130, 134 ssalāt al-fātihh, 66 ssalāt ʿala l-nabī, 59 ssalāt, 45, 47, 123 Salih, Ibrahim, 65, 66, 69  

 

 

 

 

 

al-Saqqāf, ʿAbd al-Qādir, 162–4 Sarkozy, Nicolas, 222 Saudi Arabia, 125, 226 ʿAlawiyya in, 75 Bā ‘Alawīyya in, 159, 162, 163–5, 166, 167 religious diplomacy, 213 neo-traditionalism in, 227 Qatar blockade (2017–), 231 Syrian War, involvement in, 233 Tijaniyya, 64, 65, 66, 67–8 University of Jeddah, 125 Wahhabism, 67, 167, 169, 170, 215 sayyids, 159, 161, 162, 163, 165 Schaeder, Hans Heinrich, 22 Schimmel, Annemarie, 22–3, 26 Schuon, Frithjof, 36, 142, 144–6, 148, 151 secularism, 185–6 Seekers Hub, 166 sema, 25, 27, 42 Seneca, 101 Senegal, 41, 55, 57, 59, 60, 62, 64, 67, 68, 69, 70, 75, 96, 149 September 11 attacks (2001), 49, 165, 183, 234 Serendib Sufi Study Circle, 39 sex; sexuality Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and, 40 Bentounes and, 83 Gülen and, 180, 183, 184 Rumi and, 24, 31 Shackle, Christopher, 95 al-Shādhilī, Abū’l-HHasan, 112 Shadhiliyya Darqawiyya ʿAlawiyya, 6, 37, 75–89 Shadhiliyya, 6, 37, 56, 75–89, 144, 161 Shafak, Elif, 25–6 Shafiʿi legal school, 159, 161 Shah, Idries, 18, 25, 26, 37, 141 Shah, Ikbal Ali, 141  

295

INDEX Shahab Ahmad, 158 shahāda, 40, 42, 49, 51 Shahram Shiva, 28 Shakespeare, William, 30 Shakir, Zaid, 124 Shakur, Tupac, 99 Shams al-Din al-Tabrizi, 16, 22, 25–6, 27, 31, 105 Sharīfism, 62 shariʿa, 43, 45, 46, 47, 50, 59, 161–2 Shayṭān, 79, 80 Sheen, Martin, 16 Shepard, William, 220 Shirdi Sai Baba, 2 Shiʿi Sufism, 5, 214 Shiʿism, 5, 30, 158, 159–60, 212 Sidi Chiker National Gatherings of Sufi Partisans, 217, 220 Sidi, Ibrahim, 66 silsila, 41 Silverplatz, Similla, 202–3 Simmons, Russell, 69 Singapore, 65, 163 sīra, 129 al-Sisi, Abdel Fattah, 168, 230–31 Skali, Faouzi, 103, 109 slave trade, 60, 149 Smith, Huston, 152 socialism, 163, 164, 213 soft Islam, 178, 188, 189 Soroush, Abdolkarim, 30 South Africa, 55, 63, 64, 166 Spain, 222 Sperl, Stefan, 95, 106 spiritual absorption, 59 spiritual purification, 56, 81, 161 spiritual retreat, 63 spirituality, 1, 148, 149, 150, 165, 197, 199, 202 Gülen and, 30, 186, 187 Inayat Khan, 141

296

Mevleviyya and, 25, 29 mawlids and, 122–7 Native Americans, 145 New Age and, 51, 88 Rumi and, 17, 200 Schuon, 145 Study Society, 25 Theosophical Society, 141 Threshold Society and, 47 Sri Lanka, 37, 38–9, 45, 51, 142 Star Wars franchise, 27 Study Society, 25 Sudan, 59, 60, 65, 66, 68, 159, 171 Sufi Order International, 38, 87, 143, 267n Sufi Orders in Islam, The (Trimingham), 56 Sufi Sam, 28, 37, 41 Sugich, Michael, 165 Sulaiman, Amir, 69 sulūk, 162 Sumayt, ʿUmar, 63 Sunnah, 45, 88, 140, 154, 183 Şuşud, Hasan Lütfî, 38, 44, 50, 52, 244n Sweden Democrats, 194 Swedenborg, Emanuel, 20 Switzerland, 37, 75, 142, 143, 267n syncretism, 88, 152 Syria, 29, 163, 165, 166, 168, 170, 211, 223, 232, 233 Ta’leef Collective, 125 Taba Foundation, 163 Tablighi Jamaat, 102, 104, 150 Tajikistan, 16 takfīr, 167 Tamils, 19, 37, 38 Tanzania, 63 Taoism, 17 Tarim, Yemen, 166

INDEX Ṭarīqa al-Tijāniyya fī l-Maghrib wa l-Sūdān al-gharbī (al-Azmi), 62 tariqa model, 137–54, 179–80, 209 Ṭarīqa Muhhammadiyya, 59 tarot cards, 15, 24 tassawwuf, 150, 197–8, 266n Tawfiq, Ahmad, 55 tawhhīd, 78 Taylor, Charles, 127 Tayyib, Ahhmad, 169, 170, 226–8, 230–32 terrorism, 49, 97, 120, 165, 167, 183, 193, 211, 212, 215, 218, 234 Theosophical Society, 28, 36, 39, 140, 141, 149 Threshold Society, 28, 47–8, 49, 50, 52 Thucydides, 101 al-Tijani, Ahmad, 55, 59, 62, 63, 76 al-Tijani, Muhammad al-Kabir, 62 Tijaniyya, 6, 40, 55–71 Africanité, 57–9, 61, 64, 69, 70 in Algeria, 59, 62, 65, 66 in Asia, 64–5 boubous, 57, 59 in East Africa, 63–4 Fez, establishment in (1798), 59–60 founding of (1782), 59 in Ghana, 56, 57, 60, 61 in Mali, 56, 60, 66 in Mauritania, 56, 60, 63, 64, 66, 68 in Middle East, 65–9 in Morocco, 55, 59–60, 61–3 muqaddams, 56, 57, 67, 68 in Nigeria, 56, 57, 60, 63 ssalāt al-fātihh, 66 in Senegal, 55, 57, 59, 60, 62, 64, 68, 69, 70 in South Africa, 55, 63, 64 Ṭarīqa Muhhammadiyya and, 59 in United Kingdom, 57–8, 68, 69, 70  

 

 

 

 

 

 

in United States, 66, 69–70 Tolstoy, Leo, 22 Touré, Sekou, 61 tourism, 4, 25, 29, 179 traditionalism, 4, 6, 7, 150–54, 158–9 in Algeria, 217 Chicago Muslims and, 120, 124, 125 Guénon and Schuon, 37 Habashiyya and, 111–12 late Sunni traditionalism, 124, 163, 168, 171 Maryamiyya and, 144 in Morocco, 217, 220 neo-traditionalism, 7, 111, 220, 225–35 Traditionalist movement, 138, 144, 150–54 training (tarbiya), 56 Transcendental School, 20 transplant groups, 40, 46, 48 travelling sheikhs, 6, 35–52 Trimingham, John Spencer, 56 Tunisia, 212, 216 Turkey, 29–30 AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi), 29, 30, 177, 188, 189–90 coup attempt (2016), 30, 177, 189–90 crackdown on Sufi musicians (1967), 29 Gülen Movement, 7, 30, 177–90 laicism, 186 Mevleviyya in, 24, 25, 26–7, 28, 29, 41–2 tarikat outlawed (1925), 29, 42, 66, 179, 186, 187 Tijaniyya in, 65, 66–7 tourism, 179 travelling sheikhs from, 37, 38, 40–44, 46, 48, 142 Welfare Party, 29

297

INDEX Tweedie, Irina, 147, 148 al-ʿUbayd, Muhhammad, 66 ʿ ulamāʾ, 2, 3, 233 ʿUmar bin HHafīẓ, 163, 164–5, 166, 169 ʿUmar bin Muhhammad bin Sālim bin HHafīẓ, 124 ʿUmar Tāl, 65, 67 ʿUmar ʿAbdallah bin Abu Bakr, 63 Underhill, Evelyn, 19 Union nationale des zaouias d’Algérie (UNZA), 7, 210, 211, 213, 214, 218, 222 Union of Muslim Scholars, 170 United Arab Emirates, 7, 66, 68, 163, 226, 228–30, 231, 233 United Kingdom, 28–9 ʿAlawiyya in, 75 Bülent Rauf in, 27, 38, 42, 44, 52 Cambridge University, 18, 21 colonialism, 60, 65, 66, 67 Coombe Springs, 24–5 Inayat Khan in, 140 al-Jifrī in, 159 Mujaddidiyya in, 146 Naqshbandiyya in, 40–41, 45–6, 48, 50, 52, 146 Nazim al-Haqqani in, 40–41, 44, 45–6, 52 Oxford University, 23 public schools, 28–9 Study Society, 25 Şuşud in, 38, 44 Tijaniyya in, 57–8, 68, 69, 70 United Nations, 77 United States, 5 African-Americans, 37, 39, 63, 64, 69, 132 Bawa Muhaiyaddeen in, 38–40, 44–5, 48, 50–51, 142, 149 call to prayer in, 205  

 

298

Gülen in, 30, 178, 189 immigration to, 142, 149–50 Inayatiyya in, 140, 142–4, 146, 147, 153 Internal Revenue Service (IRS), 149 Iraq War (2003–11), 167, 222 Jerrahi Order in, 42, 48–50, 52 Loras in, 41–2, 46, 47, 142 Maryamiyya in, 142, 144–6, 148, 153 mawlid in, 6, 119–34 Mevleviyya in, 41–2, 46–8, 49, 50 Moorish Science Temple, 39 Mujaddidiyya in, 142, 146–7, 148 Nation of Islam, 37, 39 Native Americans, 145 Ozak in, 42–3, 44, 48–9, 52, 142 September 11 attacks (2001), 49, 165, 183, 234 Theosophical Society, 28, 36, 39, 140, 141, 149 Threshold Society, 28, 47–8, 49, 50, 52 Tijaniyya in, 66, 69–70 War on Terror, 97, 120, 211 universalism ʿAlawiyya and, 79–80, 87 New Age culture and, 23, 35–52, 195 usulisation, 153 Uzbekistan, 211 uzlet, 180 Vaughan-Lee, Llewellyn, 146–7, 153 Vedanta, 17, 25, 145 Virgil, 22 de Vitray-Meyerovitch, Eva, 22, 23, 24 wa‘ẓ, 96, 112, 113, 114 Wahhabism, 3, 77, 169, 170, 193, 220, 265n in Algeria, 209, 212–15, 219, 223

INDEX Bā ʿAlawiyya and, 167, 169, 170 and modernity, 185 neo-traditionalism and, 226 in Saudi Arabia, 67, 167, 169, 170, 215 Tijaniyya and, 67–8 in United States, 122 Wannell, Bruce, 31 War on Terror, 97, 120, 211 Watts, Nigel, 26 Weber, Maximilian, 3 Weiner, Isaac, 205 Welfare Party, 29 West Virginia, United States, 42 Western Sahara, 213 Wetherbee, Michelle, 15 Whinfield, Edward Henry, 18, 20–21 whirling dance, 18, 24, 25, 27, 28–9, 42 Whitman, Walt, 19–20 Wilson, Peter, 16 Winger, Debra, 16 Winter, Timothy, 165 Wodehouse, Pelham Grenville, 17 women domestic violence, 63, 98 dress codes, 102, 122, 185

mawlids and, 120, 122, 132, 133 segregation, 4, 45, 48, 49, 122, 177, 189, 190 World Music, 17 World Muslim Congress, 61 World Muslim League, 61 World Union of Sufism, 211, 218, 219 World War II (1939–45), 60 wuḍū’, 44 al-Yadali, Muhammad, 68 Yemen, 124, 159, 163, 164, 166, 171, 211 yoga, 16, 17, 39, 42 Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang, 64–5 Yusuf, Hamza, 124, 165, 228, 230, 234, 235 Zaman, Muhammad Qasim, 158 Zanzibar, 63 Zayn bin Sumayṭ, 161, 162 Zaytuna College, 125, 165, 228, 233 Zen, 17, 28 Zimbabwe, 41 Zionism, 67 Zoroastrianism, 22, 40

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