Textual Dimensions of the Public Ḥaḍra in Egyptian Sufism


  • Michael Frishkopf University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada




Sufism, Islam, ritual, poetry, mysticism


The article explores the crucial role of text in Sufism, especially in the central corporate ritual, ḥaḍra. Using Egypt as a case study, and thoroughly analyzing one particular ḥaḍra performance, the article uses concepts of intertext and interauthor to demonstrate how text supports socio-spiritual relationships.


Download data is not yet available.


ʿAbd al-Hadi, Shaymaʾ. 2022. “48 shaykhan min 72 shaykhan li-l-t.uruq al-s.ufiyya yusharikun bi-intikhabat al-majlis al-jadid.” [“48 of the 72 Sheikhs of the Sufi Orders Participate in the Elections of the New Council.”] Bawabat al-Ahram. Posted May 6, 2022. https://gate.ahram.org.eg/News/3538813.aspx.

Abdel Haleem, Muhammad. 2011. The Qurʼan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Abu al-Huda al-Sayyadi, Muhammad ibn Hasan. 1980. Qiladat al-jawahir fi dhikr al-Ghawth al-Rifaʿi wa-atbaʿuhu al-akabir. [Necklace of Jewels in Remembrance of the Ghawth al-Rifaʿi and His Great Followers.] Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-`Ilmiyah.

Abu al-Mawahib, Jamal al-Din Muhammad. 1998. Qawanin hikam al-ishraq ila kaffat al-Sufiyah bi-jamiʿ al-afaq. [The Principles of Illumination for Sufis of All Levels.] Beirut: Dar al-Huda lil-turath.

Abu al-Mawahib, and Edward Jabra Jurji. 1978. Illumination in Islamic Mysticism. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press; Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Abu Madyan. 2011. Diwan Abi Madyan Shuʿayb Al-Ghawth. [Collected Poetry of Abu Madyan Shuʿayb al-Ghawth.] Beirut: Kitab Nashirun.

Ahbab Sidi Ahmad al-Badawi Shaykh al-ʿArab. [Devotees of Sidi Ahmad al-Badawi, Shaykh al-ʿArab.] [احباب سيدي احمد البدوي شيخ العرب.] [n. d.]. Facebook. Accessed May 9, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/182190981968702/posts/­266310500223416/.

Ahmed, Shadi. [n. d.]. “Our Master Abu Al-Mawahib al-Shadhili.” al-Sufi. Accessed May 15, 2022. https://www.alsufi.net/page/details/id/666.

Al Faruqi, Lois Ibsen, and Yusuf Qaradawi. 1994. Music: An Islamic Perspective. Minna, Niger State, Nigeria: Islamic Education Trust.

al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid. 1988. Maʿarij Al-Quds Fi Madarij Maʿrifat al-Nafs. [The Ascent to the Divine Through the Path of Self-Knowledge.] Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya.

al-Jili, ʿAbd al-Karim. 1997. Al-Insan al-Kamil. [The Perfect Human Being]. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya.

“al-Jili 5.” [n. d.]. ahlamontada. Accessed May 10, 2022. https://alshrefalm7sy.ahlamontada.com/t895-topic.

al-Qushayri, ʻAbd al-Karim ibn Hawazin. 2011. Al-Qushayri’s Epistle on Sufism. Translated by Alexander D. Knysh. London: Garnet.

al-Tariqa al-Hashimiyya al-Habibiyya al-Darqawiyya al-Shadhiliyya. [الطريقة الهاشمية الحبيبية الدرقاوية الشاذلية.] [n. d.] Facebook. Accessed May 9, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/320709631333233/posts/667020570035469/.

Al-Tuhami, Sheikh Yasin. 1998. Magic of the Sufi Inshad. Long Distance France, B000009DHJ, compact disc.

ʿAllaf, Ibrahim Khalil. 2021. “Diwan al-Bazzaz fi tabaʿatihi al-jadida.” [“A New Printing of al-Bazzaz’s Poetry.”] Azzaman (blog). May 11, 2021. https://www.azzaman.com/%d8%af%d9%8a%d9%88%d8%a7%d9%86-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a8%d8%b2%d8%a7%d8%b2-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d8%b7%d8%a8%d8%b9%d8%aa%d9%87-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ac%d8%af%d9%8a%d8%af%d8%a9/.

Allah rabbi wa al-Islam dini. [God is my Lord and Islam is my Religion.] [الله ربي والإسلام ديني.] [n. d.]. Facebook. Accessed May 9, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/147696948731420/posts/384808011686978/.

Atef Elhawa. [الشيخ عاطف الهوى.] [n. d.]. Facebook. July 23, 2018. Accessed May 9, 2022. ­https://www.facebook.com/1297585210305500/photos/a.1297648480299173/19309835­06965664/.

Austin, John L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Barthes, Roland. 2006. Translated by Richard Miller, preface by Richard Howard. S/Z. Malden, Oxford, and Victoria: Blackwell.

Campo, Juan Eduardo. 2016. “Rifai Sufi Order.” In Encyclopedia of World Religions: Encyclopedia of Islam, edited by Juan Eduardo Campo, 592–593. New York: Facts on File.

Chittick, William C. 2000. Sufism. Oxford: Oneworld.

“Dirasat fi al-Turath.” [“Studies in Tradition.”] [“دراسات في التراث.”] 2019. al-Antulujiya. Posted May 25, 2019. Accessed May 9, 2022. https://alantologia.com/blogs/18304/.

Ernst, Carl W. 1994. Words of Ecstasy in Sufism. New York: S. Abdul Majid & Co.

Ernst, Carl W. 1997. The Shambhala Guide to Sufism. Boston, Mass.: Shambhala.

Faure, A. 2012. “Ibn Sabʿīn.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, edited by P. Bearman et al. http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/ibn-sabin-SIM_3342?s.num=0&s.rows=20&s.mode=DEFAULT&s.f.s2_parent=encyclopaedia-of-islam-2&s.start=0&s.q=%28ibn+sabin%29.

Frishkopf, Michael. 1996. “Lailat Al-Shaykh Abu Shama.” YouTube video, 1:20:25. April 23, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgRDDPTiue8.

Frishkopf, Michael. 1998. “Five Sufi Hadras: Sufi Chanting in Egypt 1996–1998.” Personal video. February 26, 2011. https://vimeo.com/20409830.

Frishkopf, Michael. 1999. “Sufism, Ritual, and Modernity in Egypt: Language Performance as an Adaptive Strategy.” PhD diss, University of California, Los Angeles.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2000. “Inshad Dini and Aghani Diniyya in Twentieth Century Egypt: A Review of Styles, Genres, and Available Recordings.” Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 34 (2): 167–83. DOI: 10.2307/23064126.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2001a. “Tarab in the Mystic Sufi Chant of Egypt.” In Colors of Enchantment: Visual and Performing Arts of the Middle East, edited by Sherifa Zuhur, 233–269. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2001b. “Changing Modalities in the Globalization of Islamic Saint Veneration and Mysticism: Sidi Ibrahim al-Dasuqi, Shaykh Muhammad ʻUthman al-Burhani, and Their Sufi Orders.” Religious Studies and Theology 20, no. 2: 37–67.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2002. “Shaykh Yasin Al-Tuhami in the Public Hadra: A Typical Layla Performance.” In Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 6. New York: Garland.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2003a. “Authorship in Sufi Poetry.” In “Literature and the Sacred,” edited by Shabab Ahmed. Special issue, Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 23: 78–108. DOI: 10.2307/1350077.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2003b. “Spiritual Kinship and Globalization.” Religious Studies and Theology 22, no. 1: 1–25.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2008. “Music.” In The Islamic World, edited by Andrew Rippin. London: Routledge.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2009. “Globalizing the Soundworld: Islam and Sufi Music in the West.” In Sufis in Western Society Global Networking and Locality, edited by Ron Geaves, Markus Dressler, and Gritt Maria Klinkhammer. London, and New York: Routledge. http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=435596.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2013. “Against Ethnomusicology: Language Performance and the Social Impact of Ritual Performance in Islam.” Performing Islam 2, no. 1: 11–43.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2018. “Paralinguistic Ramification of Language Performance in Islamic Ritual.” Yale Journal of Music & Religion 4, no. 1. https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/yjmr/vol4/iss1/2.

Frishkopf, Michael. 2021. “The Sonic Performance of Islamic Congregational Prayer: S.alāh in Mainstream Egyptian Practice.” Performing Islam 9, nos. 1–2: 5–114. DOI: 10.1386/pi_00012_1.

Ghanem, Tarek. 2019. “The Law of Repentance.” masud.co.uk. June 11, 2019. http://masud.co.uk//the-law-of-repentance.

Gilsenan, Michael. 1973. Saint and Sufi in Modern Egypt: An Essay in the Sociology of Religion. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Hamasāt al-rūh.. [Whispers of the Spirit.] [همسات الروح.] [n. d.]. Facebook. Accessed May 10, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/Freeazm/posts/513947058676754/.

“Hasan Al-Bazzaz.” [n. d.]. In Muʿjam Al-Babtain Li al-Shuʿraʾ al-ʿArabiyya Fi Qarnayn al-Tasiʿ ʿashar Wa al-ʿishrin. [Al Babtain Dictionary of Contemporary Arab Poets: Poets’ Biographies.]. Accessed May 15, 2022. https://www.almoajam.org/lists/inner/1921.

Hoffman, Valerie J. 1995. Sufism, Mystics, and Saints in Modern Egypt. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.

Hoffman, Valerie J. 1999. “Annihilation in the Messenger of God: The Development of a Sufi Practice.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 31, no. 3: 351–369.

Hoffman-Ladd, Valerie J. 1992. “Devotion to the Prophet and His Family in Egyptian Sufism.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 24, no. 4: 615–637.

Homerin, Th. Emil. 2001. From Arab Poet to Muslim Saint Ibn Al-Farid, His Verse, and His Shrine. Cairo and New York: American University in Cairo Press. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=113017.

Ibn ʿAjiba, Ahmad ibn Muhammad. 1985. Iqadh al-himam fi sharh al-hikam. [Awakening of the Aspirations: Commentary on The Maxims (of Ibn ʿAtaʾ Allah al-Iskandari).] Cairo: Dar al-Maʿarif.

Jong, Frederick de. 1976. “Cairene Ziyara Days: A Contribution to the Study of Saint Veneration in Islam.” Die Welt Des Islams 17, nos. 1–4: 26–43.

Jong, Frederick de. 1978. Turuq and Turuq-Linked Institutions in Nineteenth Century Egypt: A Historical Study in Organizational Dimensions of Islamic Mysticism. Leiden: Brill.

Jong, Frederick de. 2000. Sufi Orders in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Egypt and the Middle East Collected Studies. Analecta Isisiana. Istanbul: Isis Press.

Knysh, Alexander D. 2019. Sufism: A New History of Islamic Mysticism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Lings, Martin. 1999. What Is Sufism? Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society.

MacDonald, Duncan B., and al-Ghazzali. 1901. “Emotional Religion in Islām as A.ffected by Music and Singing (Part II: Continued from p. 252, April Number, 1901).” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 705–748.

Maqrizi, Ahmad Ibn ʿAli al-, and Mahmud al-Ghalili. 2002. Durar al-ʿuqud al-farida fi tarajim al-aʿyan al-mufida. Mujallad 1. [Singular Pearls from the Useful Biographies of Notables.] Beirut: Dar al-Gharb al-Islami.

Marçais, G. 2012. “Abū Madyan.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, edited by P. Bearman et al. http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/abu-madyan-SIM_0226?s.num=0&s.f.s2_parent=s.f.book.encyclopaedia-of-islam-2&s.q=abu+madyan.

Nawawi. 2014. Riyad as-salihin. [The Gardens of the Righteous.] Clifton, NJ: Tughra Books.

Nicholson, Reynold Alleyne. 2005. Studies in Islamic Mysticism. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press.

Qadri, Muhammad Riyaz. 2006. The Sayings and Teachings of the 101 Great Mystics of Islam. New Delhi, India: Adam.

“Qalbi Ilaykum.” [n. d.]. Accessed May 9, 2022. http://www.albwhsn.net/vb/showthread.php?t=1030.

“Qasaʾid li-l-Hallaj wa-l-ʿAllawi, wa-l-Suhrawardi fi umsiyya li-l-inshad al-ʿirfani wa-l-Sufi bi-l-nadi al-thaqafi al-yawm.” [“Poems of al-Hallaj, al-ʿAllawi, and al-Suhrawardi in an Evening of Mystical Sufi Song in the Cultural Club Today.”] 2015. Jaridat al-Ruʾya al-ʿUmaniyya. [Al Roya Newspaper of Oman.] June 23, 2015. https://alroya.om/post/136674/قصائد-للحلاج-والعلاوي-والسهروردي-في-أمسية-للإنشاد-العرفاني-والصوفي-بالنادي-الثقافي-اليوم.

Racy, Ali Jihad. 2003. Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Reeves, Edward B. 1995. “Power, Resistance, and the Cult of Muslim Saints in a Northern Egyptian Town.” American Ethnologist 22, no. 2: 306–323.

Ritter, H. 2012. “ʿAbd Al-Karīm, K.ut.b al-Dīn b. Ibrāhīm al-Ḏj̲īlī.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, edited by P. Bearman et al. http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/abd-al-karim-kutb-al-din-b-ibrahim-al-djili-SIM_0099?s.num=1&s.f.s2_parent=s.f.book.encyclopaedia-of-islam-2&s.q=djili.

Salamah-Qudsi, Arin. 2018. “The Concept of Jadhb and the Image of Majdhūb in Sufi Teachings and Life in the Period between the Fourth/Tenth and the Tenth/Sixteenth Centuries.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 28, no. 2: 255–271. DOI: 10.1017/S1356186317000530.

Schielke, Samuli. 2006. “On Snacks and Saints: When Discourses of Rationality and Order Enter the Egyptian Mawlid.” Archives de Sciences Sociales Des Religions 51, no. 135: 117–140.

Schimmel, Annemarie. 1975. Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Schimmel, Annemarie. 1982. As through a Veil: Mystical Poetry in Islam. Lectures on the History of Religions. New York: Columbia University Press.

Stetkevych, Suzanne Pinckney. 2010. The Mantle Odes: Arabic Praise Poems to the Prophet Muhammad. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Taylor, Christopher Schurman. 1998. In the Vicinity of the Righteous: Ziyara and the Veneration of Muslim Saints in Late Medieval Egypt. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. 2018. “Maddah al-rasul: al-Mulla Hasan al-­Bazzaz al-Mawsili.” [“Praiser of the Messenger: al-Mulla Hasan al-Bazzaz al-­Mawsili.”] [“مداح الرسول: الملا حسن البزاز الموصلي.”] YouTube video, 13:07. Accessed May 10, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MKAmcUfKq8.

Tourneau, R. le. 2012. “ʿAbd Al-Salām b. Mas̲h̲īs̲h̲.” Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, edited by P. Bearman et al. http://referenceworks.brilonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/abd-al-salam-b-mashish-SIM_0127?s.num=8&s.f.s2_parent=s.f.book.encyclopaedia-of-islam-2&s.q=abu+madyan.

Trimingham, J. Spencer. 1998. The Sufi Orders in Islam. New York: Oxford University Press.

Watt, W. Montgomery. 2012. “Al-G̲h̲azālī.” Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, edited by P. Bearman et al. http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/al-ghazali-COM_0233?s.num=3&s.f.s2_parent=s.f.book.encyclopaedia-of-islam-2&s.q=ghazali.

Waugh, Earle H. 1989. The Munshidin of Egypt: Their World and Their Song. Studies in Comparative Religion. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.

Waugh, Earle H., and Michael Frishkopf. 2011. “Technology, Change, and the Music of Sufi Chanting in Egypt.” Musica Humana 3, no. 1: 9–40.

Wright, William, C. P. Caspari, W. Robertson Smith, M. J. de Goeje, and Pierre Cachia. 1996. A Grammar of the Arabic Language. Beirut: Librairie du Liban.




How to Cite

Frishkopf, M. (2022). Textual Dimensions of the Public Ḥaḍra in Egyptian Sufism. Musicological Annual, 58(1), 61–99. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.58.1.61-99