Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Moulid El Badawi

Literally, the word moulid means birth.

The Tanta moulid celebrates the memory Ahmed el-Bedawi, a local 13th Century Sufi saint.

Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam. Followers perform the zikr, chanting the name of God over and over again, at an ever increasing tempo. Some achieve a trance-like state.

About 3,000 moulids are held in Egypt every year. Part pilgrimage, part carnival, part mystical Islamic ceremony, they are a mass phenomenon that is increasingly attracting the attention of the Egyptian authorities.

Sufism has between six and seven million followers in Egypt, about 10% of the population.

From BBC

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