Chapter

The Sheikh Cult of Dahmit

Nowal al-Messiri

in Nubian Ceremonial Life

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9789774249556
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617970955 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5743/cairo/9789774249556.003.0004
The Sheikh Cult of Dahmit

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The main components of the sheikh cult of Dahmit were the shrine, the belief and ritual systems, and the organizational elements. Dahmit was comprised of three main social units, the tribe, the naja', and the ‘omodiyya. One outstanding feature of the cult in Old Dahmit was the high number of sheikhs’ shrines, approximately 150, found in the district. This chapter describes the belief system clustered around the sheikh cult of Dahmit. In Dahmit, sheikhs were expected to render to believers certain services, for as saints they possessed baraka (grace, power to bless) and were capable of performing miracles (karāmas). In return, adherents of the cult were expected to express their gratitude and recognition for such services in the form of nadr (vows), ziāra (visits), and mawlids, in addition to building the shrine and caring for it. This chapter also talks about the hierarchy of sheikhs.

Keywords: sheikh cult; Dahmit; naja'; 'omodiyya; baraka; nadr; ziāra; mawlids

Chapter.  18908 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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