Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fez Festival of Sufi Culture - Day Six Review

Morning Round Table
"The Mughal moment: Sufism in India" - Sufism has a history in India evolving for over 1,000 years. The presence of Sufism has been a leading entity increasing the reaches of Islam throughout South Asia. Following the entrance of Islam in the early 8th century, Sufi mystic traditions became more visible during the 10th and 11th centuries of the Delhi Sultanate. A conglomeration of four chronologically separate dynasties, the early Delhi Sultanate consisted of rulers from Turkic and Afghan lands. This Persian influence flooded South Asia with Islam, Sufi thought, syncretic values, literature, education, and entertainment that has created an enduring impact on the presence of Islam in India today. Sufi preachers, merchants and missionaries also settled in coastal Bengal and Gujarat through maritime voyages and trade.

Various leaders of Sufi orders, tariqa, chartered the first organised activities to introduce localities to Islam through Sufism. Saint figures and mythical stories provided solace and inspiration to Hindu caste communities often in rural villages of India. The Sufi teachings of divine spirituality, cosmic harmony, love, and humanity resonated with the common people and still does so today. Music and poetry were just two of a myriad of influences that helped spread Sufism and a mystical understanding of Islam, making India a contemporary epicentre for Sufi culture today.

Afternoon Round table:
"Sufism and Bahkti at the Confluence of the Two Oceans"

The afternoon session concentrated on the Bhakti movement that swept over east and north India from the fifteenth-century onwards, reaching its zenith between the 15th and 17th century CE.

Bhakti poetry and ideas influenced many aspects of Indian culture, religious and secular, and became an integral part of Indian society. It extended its influence to Sufism.

The afternoon audience was treated to beautifully sung carnatic song performed by Shiva Prakash

Evening Concert

First part:  A poetic and musical recital by Shiva Prakash, Katia Légeret and Bhavana Kandadai. The performance was given a standing ovation and a well-deserved encore. The performers acknowledged the presence in the audience of the Indian Ambassador to Morocco, Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya.

Bhavana Kandadai explained that Fez was having its own Diwali Festival of Light - and that Sufism was about seeking that light. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, celebrates the victory of good over evil and the triumphant return of Lord Ram to the city of Ayodha after vanquishing Ravana in the kingdom of Lanka

Katia Légeret provided French translation and explanation of the lyrics
Bhavana Kandadai - explained the cultural and historical context in English
Shiva Prakash,-accompanied by a simple drone, sang in gentle beautiful tones

- Second part: Tariqa Wazzaniya-Sqalliya

Hajj Muhammad Bennis led the 19 man Tariqa Wazzaniya- Sqalliya, in a beautiful evening of high-powered Sufi chanting.

After about 45 minutes the tariqa split into two groups. One group formed a line in front of he stage, were joined by members of the audience and provided "vocal percussion" for the second group who remained on stage.

The tempo and volume increased to a frenetic pace accompanied by a single large drum. By the time they reached the climax, the audience were joining in, bobbing and swaying in time.

The performance was a fine example of a Sufi Brotherhood, totally in command and immersed in their  repertoire.

Electronics and Sufism
Sufi followers are not averse to adapting technology to help them along. E-incense made its first appearance during the evening concert, producing small clouds of fragrant oud incense.

It is said that prayers rise with the scented smoke of agarwood incense and carry the prayer to the Creator and that the angels are attracted to the scent and Oud smoke. In which case, the angels must have been pretty happy tonight.

Tomorrow's programme

Friday October 20th
10am: Round Table: "Can we teach Sufism today as a culture?

4 pm: Round table: "Rûmi or the religion of Love: poetic of the spiritual journey"

8 pm: Jnan Sbil Park
- First part: poetic and musical recital of Leili Anvar, Frédéric Ferney and Fady Zakkar

- Part Two: Tariqa Naqshbandiya - Image result for Naqshbandiya

The Naqshbandi (Persian: نقشبندی‎‎) or Naqshbandiyah (Arabic: نقشبندية‎, translit. Naqshbandīyah‎) is a major Sunni spiritual order of Sufism. It was founded by Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari and traces its spiritual lineage to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, through Abu Bakr, the first Caliph and Muhammad's companion.

Photographs and text: Sandy McCutcheon

Click on links to read a full review of each day

Who are the Sufis?
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight

The View From Fez is an official Media Partner of the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture


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