It hit me during this Ramadan night, I was browsing twitter when I found people sharing El Halaj poetry tagging it #الخواجة_عبد_القادر , I was like people but this is Kazem ElSaher, chanting El Halaj’s poetry, there are no Abdel Kaders here, let alone khawaga. I then realized that it is an Egyptian series that tackles a love story, I started watching it and connecting the increased admiration and association with the Sufi streak being demonstrated throughout the main tagline *ربنا يدوق عينيك رؤية حبيبك*
Although the hardcore Sufi Community is not new to Egypt and has been deeply rooted throughout the years, yet the embracement of Sufism and spirituality has been on the rise for a while, and I can safely say it is “in”.
I have been a goer to zikr and sufi chanting circles since 2005/2006 and I can tell you, I haven’t seen that number of attendees and embracers like the past few months, people recite the chants, know the moves, wash up in appreciation of the collective energy and serenity.
You can hear Zein Mahmoud, El Touni and, Yassin El Tohamy in a friend’s car, or recurrently see the name in a music list. Halaj, Rab3a El 3adaweya, Rumi, and Ibn El Fared are being quoted during casual discussions! And the next thing you see is chanting circles and even Mouled El Hussein have Facebook events.
As superficial as this may sound; it strips the hardcore of Sufism to soft-core spirituality – and of course as many would say it is just the “hip”- yet I find it a counter reflection to the current humongous negative vibe instigated by the radicalism of the Islamic current or to be more precise high pitch.
In history, Sufism has risen in many countries like Pakistan or Iran to defy radicalism and intolerance. No one can deny that over the past few years “Religion” has been the visible façade for everything oppressive, turbulent and vandalistic , that the only logical counterweight was turning towards the peaceful, mystical, and “existential unity of being and vision”.
As baffled and bewildered, I popped the question on Twitter; Is Sufism in?
Ola Abbady (@OlaAbbady) said: “I had a book -referring toبحار الحب عند الصوفية – that related the rise of Sufism to the loss of faith in times of turmoil, in religious figures. For some it is either atheism, or Sufism.”
Nermeen Refai (@Nerminism) who has recently started delving into Sufism, she said “I find myself in there, in Sufi love, a book, a poem, a chant, a dervish’s journey. It is fascinating, Sufism explain God through love and how you get lost in longing words let it be meant for God or the beloved”
In his book بحار الحب عند الصوفية., Ahmed Bahgat simply stated that Sufis are those whose hearts have been polished “الصوفية هم الذين صفت قلوبهم”. Although the statement capsulate the heart of Sufism and reflects the universal and simple define, yet the Sufi Order is much complicated and gradual in terms of connectionوصل
Whether the increased appreciation and endorsement of Sufism and Spirituality is because it is “in” or a social defense mechanism in defiance to the community hyper-aggression, and unavoidable mind and body crashing stress levels, I would say let it be. It is a good cholesterol, quite needed and encouraged. Like Mawlana Jalaludin Rumi Said:
Come, Come, whoever you are.
Worshiper, wander, lover of leaving; ours is not a caravan of despair