Festivities, Reform, and Tension in Tradition

Julian Johansen

in Sufism and Islamic Reform in Egypt

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198267577
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683305 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs

Festivities, Reform, and Tension in Tradition

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The Arabic mawlid denotes the general celebrations at the actual or supposed birthdate of a Saint. It is one of the most immediate and outwardly obvious of the controversial issues which is discussed, and is a good point of introduction to more theological and speculative questions. The questions of celebration, levity, dignity, public order, and reputation are treated in various combinations. The samā' polemic is illustrated. There is no Islamic legal debate over the legitimacy of the more colourful practices about which al-Jabartī is so forthright and to which Sheikh Muṭammad merely alludes. The contribution of al-Ghazālī is reported. It also emphasizes the main ṭaḍra of the Ḥusayniyya at the mawlid of al-Ḥusayn and the private session (majlis) which immediately followed it. The classical perspective of al-Ghazālī on the variables of time, place and participants, and the Muṭammadiyya Shādhiliyya and the Ḥusayniyya Orders are reviewed as well.

Keywords: mawlid; samā' polemic; Sheikh Muṭammad; al-Ḥusayn; Muṭammadiyya Shādhiliyya; Ḥusayniyya Orders; al-Ghazālī

Chapter.  8486 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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