Sufi Soul: The Mystic Music of Islam (5 parts documentary)

"British Channel 4's fascinating program Sufi Soul: the Mystic Music of Islam, presented by William Dalrymple, shows a side of Islam that is a complete contrast with the frightening and negative images of the post-9/11 world. Far from depicting a ‘clash of civilizations’, Dalrymple points out that where Sufism is concerned the clash is more within Islam as the peace-loving, pluralistic and tolerant traditions of most Sufis find themselves at odds with and hounded by the puritans of political Islam...with a dogmatic and fundamentalist view of Muslims increasingly predominant in the Western media, there has never been a more important time to show an alternative view of Islam. Sufism is the mystical dimension of Islam that preaches peace, tolerance and pluralism, while encouraging music as a way of deepening one’s relationship with God...

This documentary explores Sufism and its music in different parts of the Islamic world, including Syria, Turkey, Pakistan and Morocco. Sufi Soul reveals the views and beliefs of devotees while examining the growing threat from fundamentalist Islam and showcasing fantastic performances from some of the world’s greatest Sufi musicians
[Youssou N'Dour, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Mercan Dede, Abida Parveen, Sain Zahoor, Galata Mevlevi Ensemble, Kudsi Erguner, Goonga and Mithu Sain, Junoon and Abdennbi Zizi] emphasizing the divine in all aspects of life, Sufi thinkers, poets and musicians have inevitably remained close to the people...

What stands out in Dalrymple’s journey across Syria, Turkey, Pakistan and Morocco in Sufi Soul is the appeal Sufism continues to hold for ordinary working men and women, on account of its fusion with local culture, syncretic traditions and the psycho-spiritual relief it brings. But the Sufi voice is increasingly under challenge within the Muslim world and beyond. For example, the Bangladesh government has allowed the registration of cases against traditional Sufi baul singers under religious incitement laws, and the more pluralistic approach of Sufism does not easily lend itself to 6 o’clock news soundbites. But perhaps the enduring power of Sufi music will drown out the less tolerant interpretations and visions of Islam..."






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