Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Joshua Landis calls attention to the Qubaysis, a female Muslim order based in Syria becoming known as much for its services as its religious values. Salika Sufisticate has more:
"Before I continue, I should probably explain what a Qubaysi is. They are women who are at the forefront of the revival of Islam in Syria, particularly in Damascus. They are kind of like a movement I suppose. They tend to be Shafi’ in fiqh, Ash’ari in aqida, and Naqshbandi in tasawwuf. I did study with them very very briefly one summer and my impression of them was very mixed. Anyhow, it was started by a lady- I forget her first name but her last name is Qubaysi. Her shaykh was Shaykh Ahmed al-Kiftaro (may Allah have mercy on him) who was the mufti in Damascus not so long ago."

Judging from the article, the Qubaysis are basically a new Sufi tariqa, with Miss Mounira al-Qubaysi as the shaykh or pir and various levels of initiation leading up to proximity to her. (For some reason, the Arabic "sufiyya" from the al-Hayat article was translated "Sophists" in English.) Like many classical Sufi orders, they are getting a mixed reaction from those whose spirituality is more shari'a-based, and baraka, or divine blessing, is attached to the holy person at the order's head. If the Qubaysis continue this almost textbook pattern, her tomb will eventually become a place of pilgrimage.

I've read somewhere about the Syrian government trying to encourage a Sufi order to counter the Muslim Brotherhood, but have no idea if this is related or what the broader context is in Syria. It is, however, striking that in recent weeks I've read about Sufi revivals in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and now Syria. That's starting to look like a pattern, and it may be that the Sufi movement which once dominated Muslim religious life in the Middle East is making a comeback on its home turf.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home