The ancient city of Fez is enjoying a feast of Sufi events. The Fes Festival of Sufi Culture kicks off on April 18th with a stunning program of talks and music. Then, on May 14th - 17th, the International Academic Centre for Sufi and Aesthetic Studies is holding its first international conference on “Moroccan Sufism in Global Context".
In this conference Moroccan Sufism, as well as broader North African and global religious expressions deriving from Maghrebi Sufism, will be in focus.
The location is unique, for no other region in the world, past and present, has won so much acclaim for its Sufi heritage, saintly vision and richness of the soul. Indeed, Morocco remains the homeland of saints par excellence, and the city of Fez, the intellectual and spiritual capital of Morocco —embellished by its historical monuments, shrines and mosques—was founded by the sultan of saints, Moulay Idris.
Framework of the Conference
Historically, Sufism has been a central spiritual, cultural, social, political and even economic component of Maghrebi society, and as such represents one of Morocco’s fundamental social constants. The Sufi heritage, thus, remains ever-present in Moroccan social fabric and moral conscience as well as in the collective imagination within the broader Maghrebi cultural sphere. Sufism is furthermore acknowledged to support national cohesion and, through its encouragement of respect and tolerance, Sufism works for dialogue of cultures and civilisations while promoting peaceful coexistence and positive communication over conflict, hatred and violence.
Despite its local origins and effects, it is abundantly clear that Maghrebi Sufism has transcended the borders of the region through its contribution to the spread of Islam and the edification of public life. In recent years, moreover, much attention has been given to Sufism as a universal tendency that addresses the spiritual void of contemporary humanity and the resultant alienation of life-worlds. This has led people to rediscover the kernel of Sufi ethics that revive chivalry and spiritual values at both psychological and behavioural levels.
Benefits and Opportunities at the Conference
Opportunities will be afforded to have conversations with leading international, scholars on Sufism, such as Dr. Marcia Hermansen (USA), Dr. Mark Sedgwick (Denmark), Dr. Aziz el-Kobaiti Idrissi (Morocco), Dr. Ron Geaves (UK), and Dr Erik Geoffroy (France). Participants may discuss potential future research supervision or collaboration with these and other academics, while also have publications signed by the respective authors.
Participants will be able to benefit from the company of well-known Sufi shaykhs of the world, to have meals with them, and possibly to take souvenir pictures with them. Participants will be able to get fresh answers directly from Sufi sheikhs about the different aspect of Sufi life and Divine knowledge. Among the renowned living Sufi shaykhs who will be in attendance during this event are the current Shaykh of the Muhammaddiyyah-Dabbaghiyya Tareeqah, Shaykh Sidi Ahmad Dabbagh (UK); the current Shaykh of ‘Issawiyyah Tareeqah, Shaykh Ahmad Qata’ani (Libya); the current Shaykh of Western Habibiyya-Darqawiyya, Shaykh Murtadha (Morocco), whereas other leading authorities of worldwide Sufism, such as Shaykh Muhammed al-Ya’qubi, Habib Ali al-Jifri and Dr. Umar Abdallah, have been invited to join the conference and the subsequent retreat.
Uniquely, after the 2-day conference (to be held on 14-15 May, 2015), two-days of spiritual retreat will follow (on 16-17 May, 2015). This will include the wonderful “shrines of Fez” programme—a spiritual tour of the most important monuments of Fez, the spiritual capital of the kingdom of Morocco, including visitation of the most famous Sufi tombs, the oldest university in the world, plus other surprises in the city pathways.
Moreover, during the retreat, Dhikr sessions will be held, bringing together shaykhs, saints, and lovers of the divine, all tasting the delight of invoking Allah.
A gallery of fine arts and religious calligraphy will be offered, displaying the beauty of the Arabic Calligraphy with all its mystical symbolism. The creativity of the most famous calligraphers in the world will be shared, headed by the Moroccan calligrapher Hajj Mohammed Sebri, who has won multiple national and international accolades for his seminal work.
You can download the full program HERE
More Info HERE