World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


MEETING PLACE OF TWO OCEANS (MAJMA'AL-BA'RAYN): MULTI-DIMENSIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF MIDDLE EAST - 4/5: Sufis and Saints Facing the Government and the Public - II (101) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: TUE 20, 11.30 am -1.30 pm

· 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. The panel proceeds in one stretch with 2 panels time duration.

Chair: Masayuki Akahori (Sophia University, Japan)

Discussant: Sanaa Makhlouf (American University of Cairo)

Paper presenter: Kazuhiro Arai (Keio University), “The Media, Saints and the Sada in Indonesia and Hadramawt”
This paper explores the position of the Sada, the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, in Islam in Southeast Asia through the analysis of an Islamic magazine al-Kisah. Run by the Sada from Hadramawt in South Arabia, many articles in alKisah are on the ‘ulama and saints of the Sada origin, and their contents reflect a “conventional” view on the role of the Sada in the history of Islam in Southeast Asia. The magazine, however, inspired a discussion among the Sada themselves. The paper argues that the discussion on alKisah indicates the difference between the Sada and non-Sada Indonesians on how the descendants of the Prophet should be presented in the media.

Paper presenter: Kenichiro Takao (Graduate School of Doshisha University, Faculty of Theology), “Shaykhs facing to Orthodoxy and Aggiornament”
This paper indicates Sufi cases that try to obtain the banner of Islamic orthodoxy and worldwide religious ‘Aggiornamento,’ mainly focusing on Ahmad Kuftaru, a leading Shaykh of Naqshbandi Sufi order in Damascus. The paper has mainly 2 aims: to show the Sufi genealogy of Kuftaru, and to indicate his activities that could make him a ‘moderate religious leader.’ As for the first, the paper clarifies his Islamic genealogy through the Damascene networking of the 19th and 20th centuries’ Naqshbandis committed to Damascene society. As for the second, the paper shows Kuftaru’s public-interest activities such as interfaith dialogue with religious groups abroad. By indicating these aspects of Kuftaru, the paper shows how Kuftaru could remain his Sufi figures in public spheres.

Paper presenter: Nobuo Misawa (Tokyo University), “The First Japanese Contacts with Islam”
This paper indicates the details how Japan found Islam, both orthodox Islam and Sufism in their first contacts. Before the second half of the 19th century, there were few exchanges between Japan and the Islamic world due to the Japanese blockage policy with the foreign countries. After the Tokugawa Shogunate had relaxed the restriction, Japan tried to collect any information about foreign countries. In 1868 newly established Meiji Government came out with the new positive policy about the exchanges with any foreign countries. In this course Japan began to contact with the Islamic world with both officially and privately.