World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010

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MEETING PLACE OF TWO OCEANS (MAJMA'AL-BA'RAYN): MULTI-DIMENSIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF MIDDLE EAST - 3/5: Sufis and Saints Facing the Government and the Public - I (065) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: TUE 20, 9.00-11.00 am

· NOT_DEFINED institution: Sophia University (Japan)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Masayuki Akahori

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: *This series of panels consists of two panels:
-Sufis and Saints Facing the Government and the Public-I
-Sufis and Saints Facing the Government and the Public-II

By focusing on the states of Sufism and saint veneration in modern, the panel aims to show and discuss about the ‘publicity’ of Sufism and saint veneration in Muslim world today. The panel pays attention especially to the forms and implications of Sufism and saint veneration in public spheres. Each presenter, focusing on the state of publicity of modern Sufis, Tariqas, saints, Sayyid/Sharifs, show their topics indicating the modern features or states of these phenomena, with several themes: Revivalism of Sufism and saint veneration, Sufi dialectics to Salafism, Sufism/saints veneration and secularization. These topics proceed under the issues of Anthropology, Islam studies, Hisory, Religious studies, based on the specific area cases. We prepare 6 presentations and 2 commentators. 2 of us are from France since this panel is born at the Sufism, Tariqas, saints, Sayyid/Sharifs studies between Japanese and French academics. As for the later, we especially have been under the successive partnership with CNRS(Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), Paris.

Chair: Masayuki Akahori (Sophia University, Japan)

Discussant: Yasushi Tonaga (Kyoto University, Japan)

Paper presenter: Kei Takahashi (National Institutes for the Humanities/ Sophia University, Japan), “Revaluating Tariqas for the Nation: Muhammad Tawfiq al-Bakri (1870-1932) and his Reform of al-Turuq al-Sufiyya”
This paper explores the logics and the strategies of Sufis by which they defended Tariqas against opponents and claimed its value in modern Egyptian society, through the examination of Muhammad Tawfiq al-Bakri’s view on Tariqas. As al-Bakri was Supreme Head of Egyptian Tariqas (Shaykh al-Mashayikh al-Turuq al-Sufiyya) and was responsible for the Tariqa reform carried out from 1895 to 1905, his view can be seen as one of “official” responses by the Sufis to the controversy over Tariqas, which had become intensified by the end of 19th century among nationalist circles. Given that the nationalists’ discourses reflected modern values, TAKAHASHI’s paper intends to reveal in al-Bakri’s view how these modern values were also reflected –or rather rejected - in contemporary Sufis’ discourses.

Paper presenter: Daisuke Maruyama (Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Japan), “Sufism and Tariqa Facing the State: A Case Study of the Contemporary Sudan”
This paper focuses on the relationship between Sufism and Government in the contemporary Sudan. In 1995, the Sudanese government founded the National Committee for the Remembrance and Those Who Remember (al-Majlis al-Qawmi li-l-Dhikr wa-l-Dhakirin). It is remarkable that the term sufi is replaced with ahl-al-dhikr (people of the remembrance [of Allah]) or al-dhakirun (those who remember [Allah]). This terminology can be regarded as one of the political attitudes toward Sufism. Through the consideration of the strategies and activities of this committee and the response from Tariqa, the paper tries to clarify the present situation of Sufism and Tariqa in Sudan facing the government and society.
Paper presenter: Marc Toutant (Centre of Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Central Asia Studies- CETOBAC, EHESS- CNRS, Paris), “Materialist ideology facing a great Sufi poet. The case of Ali Shir Nawâ’î in Soviet Uzbekistan : from concealment to patrimonalisation”
This paper focuses on Central Asian case through Ali Shir Nawâ’î. Ali Shir Nawâ’î has always been a major literary figure in Central Asia and became a central feature of the cultural heritage of the region during the Soviet period. Due to his acquaintances with great Sufi figures like Djâmî and the prominence given to Sufism in his own work, the Soviet authorities tried to conceal him at first but soon had no choice but to take him into consideration in a way that would not detract the materialist ideology. Thus emphasis was put on his “humanism” and the role he had played in the formation of the Uzbek language ; nevertheless, as a matter of course, the religious aspects were totally neglected, and sometimes attempts were made among the Uzbek scholars to turn him into a pre-materialist writer. Then Nawâ’î took place in the making of the “homo islamo sovieticus” that contributed to typify the Brejnev period in Central Asia.