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Sufis at the Hamid el-Nil Tomb

February 5, 2017

Every Friday late afternoon Sufis gather at the Hamid el-Nil Tomb in the grounds of a cemetery to show their love for Allah. It is a festive occasion and starts in a small way with two followers walking in a small circle, chanting and hitting a hand drum. They joke with the odd tourist, ask for a handout so they can take the ‘Haj’, there is the odd arm thrust skyward. People laugh, call out.

Then things start to happen when a truck load of adherents turn up, big drums belting out the rhythm. The big ‘Boss’ arrives in a car. The circle grows, we are pushed back. The loudspeakers are switched on. The chanting increases ‘Allah is Great’ Allah is Great’ The bowing starts, the arms start to swing. The circle expands, it bows and straightens, bows and straightens. In the middle the leaders move around increasing the tempo. Some whirl, some do handstands. Sweat runs down their faces. It is mesmerising. The drumming and chanting hits deep into your chest.

It continues for 90 minutes, until prayer time at 6.30. Then they start again until midnight. Some I spoke to come every Friday, it helps cleanse the spirit.

This event was not for the tourists. There were a few of us there but this was their show. Unfortunately Joan was too sick to come

One Comment
  1. denis & Sandy permalink

    Sounds exciting, but we’ll leave it to you. Hope Joan is not too sick… Stomach trouble?
    Chemo starts Tuesday, and trying to stay positive.
    Love to you both
    Denis & Sandy

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