Thursday, June 12, 2008

As a quick follow-up to my last post-- I will, at some, point go into the differences between semah, dhikr, hadra, and some of the differences in style of dhikr between the different orders. I do want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that this is all one tradition-- there are certainly very important distinctions to be made. And, in terms of the political climate of Turkey today and in the past, the interests of the Alevi/Bektashi and the Naqshbandi couldn't be more different, so lumping it all together as Sufi doesn't do the situation justice. There's a bit of a difference in a Rifa'i saying, from a certain comparative point of view, that the Naqshibandis are a bunch of Wahhabis vs. actually thinking that the Naqshbandis literally have nothing to do with Sufism at all. It is important to realize that there are some commonalities between tariqas in general and that there has always been considerable dialogue and sometimes even influences between them. More on all of this later, inshallah.

It's a sliding scale. Some Sufis are extremely liberal, some are mid-level conservatives by world standards. Not all Sufis are sweetness and light, Rumi-reading hippies like myself! ;) Some, though admittedly few, can be quite intolerent. On the other hand, it is astonishing to me that there are many in Turkey today who believe that connection to a tarikat or the practice of zikr are actually signs of fundamentalism. When I hear things like that, I tend to think... wow, you should meet some of these dudes at the masjid I used to go to!

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