|Living Sufism: A different Islam
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|Yazar:||desert [ 25.08.10, 22:44 ]|
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MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2010
An Inner Meaning
By Amira el-Noshokaty,
*Living Sufism: A different Islam*
- Al-Masry Al-Youm - Cairo, Egypt
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
In his latest book of photographs on his favorite topic, Nicolaas Biegman unveils the details of the enchanting world of Sufism.
*Living Sufism* (AUC 2009) effortlessly showcases the rich and deep philosophy of the main Sufi sects.
Sufism has always been an intriguing part of Islam. Sufis are known for their modesty, spirituality, and rejection of of materialism. Their eternal quest to purify their souls and reach the utmost truth continues to attract millions of followers worldwide. Egypt’s 15 million Sufis are divided into some 70 sects.
The opening lines of this documentation of Sufi rituals state that “this book is about a different Islam.”
As opposed to fundamentalist Islamists who are exclusive, politicized, and vociferous, “wedded” to their literal interpretation of the holy text, Sufis are “mystics within Islam who are in love with God. Rather than clinging to the letter, they believe in an inner meaning of texts and rituals. They respect different creeds and opinions and they abhor violence. Music and rhythmic movement are an essential part of the rituals that allow them to draw closer to God.”
In addition to being an accomplished photographer, Nicolaas Biegman holds a PhD in Balkan History, is an expert on Islam, a Goodwill ambassador to the United Nations Development Funds (UNFPA), and a member of Netherlands Foreign Service. Having lived in Egypt in the 60s and 80s, Biegman instantly fell in love with the Sufi world.
This panoramic view of Sufi rituals covers the Middle East and the Balkans, and is a treat for those interested in either Sufism or photography. With an eye for details and a short but thorough accompanying text, this book zooms into the faces of Sufis from very different backgrounds.
From Belbies, Egypt, where Sheikh Zaher al-Rifaa’i is the head of the Refaa’i Sufi sect, to Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
These photos were taken with a loving eye that managed to capture the essence of the human spirituality of Sufis in their endless quest to God.
Angles and light tones captured their movement, making them floating and quite vivid; the serenity and ease of Biegman’s lens was able to effectively capture the subjects while maintaining the photographer’s position as among the “respectful outsiders.”
This book adds to Biegman’s catalogue of great photography books on Egypt and Sufis. In 1990, he published a book of photographs called “Egypt: Moulids, Saints, and Sufis,” which was translated into Arabic last year.
The book is available at AUC bookstores.
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