Joining and belonging

Joining and belonging

I had gone with Ahmed to his Sufi group a couple of times, and this time there was an initiation rite for several new disciples. The initiation rites followed the more familiar activities of a sermon, ritual prayers and quiet chanting. After this the initiands gathered in a small group, a long scarf from the saint (the pir) went around the circle and all involved held on to it. There were ritual words and readings and then the pir touched each disciple to show where they had a special connection with the divine. For some it was the spleen, for others it was liver, heart or other bodily organs. The session ended with joint prayers and then a meal. For such disciples in South Asia, belonging to a Sufi group (a Sufi Torika) is a key part of their religious life.

(Featured Image: Ashkan Forousani, Unsplash)

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