A Quest into Islamic Mysticism: Sufism, 10 photographs

Some fourteen years ago Bruno Hadjih embarked on a quest into Sufi Islam, a journey which began in his native country, Algeria, and continued throughout the Muslim world: from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, through Iran, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Egypt, and the Maghreb. In his encounter with the Sufis Hadjih discovered a different, tolerant and free-spirited Islam centered on the notion of love. Underlain by unconventional philosophy, Sufi worship is enacted via performative rituals whose exact nature varies from one order to another: chanting, playing music, dancing, whirling, ecstasy, repeating the name of Allah - all these are ways which ultimately lead the Sufi to unity with the Creator.

Hadjih's point of departure at the outset of the project was one of an anthropologist and a journalist, who objectively observes and documents religious rituals. In the course of time the line dividing the observer from the group was eliminated, as Hadjih no longer settled for mere observation, and started taking an active part in the dhikr rituals. This line-crossing from the status of a visitor and an observer into the Sufi mystical experience is at the core of the photographs which strive to capture the fervor and ecstasy engulfing the participants in these ceremonies.

Bruno Hadjih (1954) was born in Algeria. Lives in France, and takes photographs throughout the Muslim world

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