Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tens of Thousands of Sufi Mystics Gather in Cairo

Shaykh Akram is head of the Ibrahimiya Sufi order. He became a shaykh at 28, taking over from his father. He has hundreds of followers. It is a huge responsibility, he says, and he admits he sometimes feels confused about his role. In his other life he runs a flower shop in Cairo. [BBC News]

Literally, the word mawlid means birth.
The Tanta mawlid celebrates the memory Ahmed el-Bedawi, a local 13th century Sufi saint. Sufism is a generally defined as Islamic mysticism. Followers perform the dhikr, chanting the name of God over and over again, at an ever increasing tempo. Some achieve a trance-like state.
[BBC News]

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