Popular Sufism of Eastern Europe examines aspects of popular Sufism among selected societies in Eastern Europe, past and present. Muslims - whether they are descended from Asian invaders (Cumans, Turks and Tatars), or are converted Slavs (Bonjaks and Pomaks) or Illyrians (Albanians) - have left a deep mark on the popular culture of Eastern Europe. They too have been influenced by Christianity and by pre-Christian religions. Many have sustained contact with fellow believers in the Muslim heartland of the Middle East, especially through the annual Meccan pilgrimage. Sufi life in Eastern Europe derives its strength from a number of sources including the Volga, the Southern steppes of Russia and the Balkan countries, where Islam is either the prevailing religion (as in Albania or Kosovo), or is of major significance (as in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Bosnia). Sufism, at every level and in every form amongst these Muslim peoples, is discussed.
Contents: The geographical setting of popular Sufism in Eastern Europe -- Sufi brotherhoods and the impact of Sufism on national identity within the Balkan Muslim communities -- The Krstjani and the Bosnjaks. the abiding memory of the medieval Bosnian church -- Islamic antinomianism, 'heterodoxy' and Persian Monism in the literature and the thought of the Albanians. The Sufi inspirations of Naim Frash??ri, Albania's greatest poet -- Popular Sufism in Bulgaria and Macedonia ; Demir Baba Akyazili, the Kizilbash saints of Deli Orman and the neo-Malamiyya of Muhammad Nur al-??Arabi -- The 'heterodox' hero, the mythical Sari Saltik and his many tombs in the Balkans and in Tatar lands -- The popular expression of the Dhikr amongst the Sufi communities of Eastren Europe ; A description, byJ. de Asboth of a 'zikr' of the howling dervishes which was held in the Sinaniyya 'tekke' in Sarajevo in 1890. Margaret Hasluck's unpublished account of a dhilkr of the Rifa??iyya brotherhood in the early years of the 20th century -- The Bektashiyya brotherhood, its village communities and inter- religious tensions along the border between Albania and Greek Epirus at the beginning of the 20th century -- A future role for Balkan Sufism and the revival of Popular Sufism among the Tatars of the Crimean Peninsula.
Published: 9th October 2006