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SUFISM vs WHIRLING IN PERFORMANCE ART

In continuing the theme of the next month, Whirling and Movement, I am excited to share my insights and experiences of this practice, both spiritual and physical. When people see whirling, they often associate it with Sufi practices, particularly the mesmerizing performances of the Mevlevi dervishes and the mystic poet Rumi . While these are not the only practices in the world that utilize whirling, in the world of performance art, specifically Middle Eastern dance, it is often labeled as Sufi dance.


In today's blog, I’d like to delve into this topic. The word Sufi derives from the Arabic word "Suf," which means wool. It is that the Sufis are practitioners of Islam, often following the Shia sect, and practice Mystic Islam. Islam is a religion that has five pillars for its followers:


Shahada (faith),

Salat (prayer),

Zakat (charity),

Sawm (fasting),

and Hajj (pilgrimage).


When one becomes a Sufi, they diligently perform all five pillars and aim to devote themselves even more to the greatness of Allah. The term Sufi, deriving from the word "Souf" meaning wool, described the scratchy wool clothes that Sufis were often seen wearing as a symbol of renouncing all comforts and pleasures from this world, known as the Dunia.

Now, the question arises: is it appropriate or accurate to label performance art as Sufi? For those who do not practice Islam, many scholars would argue that it is not accurate, as Sufism and Islam are often seen as inseparable.





"Sufism and Islam cannot be separated, in the same way that higher consciousness or awakening cannot be separated fromIslam. Islam is not an historical phenomenon that began 1,400 years ago. It is the timeless art of awakening by means of submission. Sufism is the heart of Islam. It is ancient as the rise of human "

Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri- The Elements of Sufism


My approach is to teach all practices, whether they be spiritual or not, from a non-denominational position. This way, people are not turned off thinking they’re joining a sect, and for the practitioners of any religion they are still able to derive benefits. Perhaps, in experiencing these practices, they might even encounter a spiritual rapture.

In this journey of exploration, it is crucial to understand the significance of whirling in various cultural and spiritual contexts. It is not limited to one tradition or belief system, and its universal appeal lies in its ability to transcend boundaries and touch the essence of human experience. As we venture into the realm of whirling and movement, let us open our hearts and minds to the diversity of interpretations and the universal language of dance, art, and spirituality.


Absolutely, the physical, tuning, and mastery of the body are transformative practices that can benefit people from all denominations and belief systems. When we delve into the realm of movement, breath work, and physical discipline, we discover the remarkable capacity of the human body to transcend the limitations of the mind and connect with higher states of consciousness.

One such example is the Wim Hof Method, which encompasses a powerful combination of breath work, cold exposure, and commitment to physical training. Through this practice, individuals can tap into the innate power of their bodies, unlocking the potential for endurance, clarity of mind, and resilience. Offering a pathway to altered states of awareness, enabling practitioners to explore the depths of their own being and connect with the fundamental forces of life.


By incorporating breath work and physical discipline into the exploration of whirling and movement, we create a holistic approach to self-discovery and spiritual awakening. The breath becomes a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms, allowing us to harness its transformative power as we embark on the mesmerizing journey of whirling.



Enjoy this clip of my beautiful students from Montreal Canada 2018.


In the upcoming "Whirling Magic" workshops, we will delve into the profound connection between breath, movement, and transcendental states, drawing inspiration from ancient and contemporary practices that celebrate the unity of body, mind, and spirit. Together, we will unlock the extraordinary potential that resides within each of us, channeling the artistry of whirling into a transformative experience that transcends cultural, spiritual, and physical boundaries.


As we prepare to embark on this enlightening journey, I encourage you to open your heart and mind to the boundless possibilities that await. Whether you seek inner peace, creative expression, or a deeper connection with your body and breath, these workshops invite you to embrace the magic of whirling and movement as a pathway to discovery and transformation.


Together, we will create a space where diverse perspectives converge, and the language of movement becomes a conduit for connection and understanding.

Stay tuned for more insights, updates, and exclusive content as we embark on this enlightening journey together. In the meantime, mark your calendars for the upcoming workshops, and let’s prepare to unlock the enchanting world of whirling and movement.

 and further explore it in my upcoming workshops, "Whirling Magic," taking place online on Sunday February 4 and then in person live in Cairo on February 17.


With Love,


Nawal


Check this interesting article :

The Spiritual Experience of Sufi Whirling Dervishes: Rising Above the Separation and Duality of This World


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