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Extremists of Love: Cosmological Activism among Pakistani Sufi Muslims

Ida
Photo from Ida Sofie Matzen
Lecture
On Thursday 23 March 2017, 16.00 Ida Sofie Matzen will hold a lecture entitled: "Extremists of Love: Cosmological Activism among Pakistani Sufi Muslims in Lahore, Pakistan" at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES seminar room, Finngatan 16, Lund). The lecture is jointly organized by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and SASNET at Lund University.

When: 23 March 16.00- 17.15 (4 pm)

Where: CMES seminar room, Finngatan 16, Lund

What Ida Sofie will talk about: 

Since the advent of the so-called “war against terror,” Sufi shrines in Pakistan have been attacked, supposedly by factions of the Taliban or ISIS affiliated groups. The most recent suicide attack took place at the shrine of the major saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar on February 16, 2017 and claimed the lives of more than 80 people. In this presentation I shall attend to some of the Sufi responses to, and absorption of, these kinds of events in order to explore some of the multiple political forms of Sufi Islam in Pakistan. Sufism is often described as the ‘spiritual’ and ‘soft’ dimension of Islam. Moreover, Sufi followers in Pakistan – the majority of the country’s almost 195 million people – are frequently characterized as disengaged in worldly affairs, if not outright apolitical. Based on twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in Lahore between 2009 and 2012 for my PhD thesis, I argue that Sufi cosmological concepts and practices also amount to more or less explicit forms of political activities and visions. Through an ethnographic exploration of the ways in which Sufi followers conceive the world and the cosmos to be governed, I attempt to answer the question: What are Sufis’ own politics? I suggest that practices of deliberate passivity, self-cleansing ritual practices (such as zikr or recollection of Allah), the search for peace and tranquility (sukoon) and, above all, love are all different forms of what I call ‘cosmological activism.’ 

Time: 
23/03/2017 - 16:00 to 17:15
Location: 
CMES seminar room, Finngatan 16, Lund

About the event

Time: 
23/03/2017 - 16:00 to 17:15
Location: 
CMES seminar room, Finngatan 16, Lund