Segments in this Video

What Is a Sufi? (02:56)


Sufis attempt to come personally into contact with God, and to bridge the gap between God and mankind with love.

Comparison of Sufism with Islam (03:27)

Sufism is a mystic version of Islam mixes with elements of Hinduism. Sufis venerate their saints from the past in ways that are opposed by more orthodox Muslims. Pakistanis listen to a public performance of Qawwali music.

Sufi Ceremony of Initiation (04:40)

After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, most of the Sufi sacred places were taken over by the State. Brotherhoods of dervishes in Pakistan gather for a "zikr," a ceremony to attain a state of ecstasy. Rhythmic invocations bring on various altered states.

Initiation Into the Dervish Brotherhood (01:48)

The last phase of ecstasy is called "fana," or total immersion in God. Once attained, the disciple is initiated into the brotherhood.

Sufi Worship Rituals (02:33)

In Sufi communities, life follows a regularity of chores and worship. Sufi faith continues to spread through the northern regions of Pakistan today.

Sufism: Worship of Saints (03:28)

In the beginning Sufism generated some of the greatest literature in Islam, yet today it has evolved into a worship of saints, both alive and dead. The tombs of saints are sources of spiritual power.

Sufism, Culture, and Other Religions (04:09)

Local cultures influence different Sufism manifestations. In the Balkans, dervishes often live in conflict with local establishments. After the fall of communism, Macedonia is a breeding ground for many different religions including Christianity.

Sufi Initiation and Festivals (03:36)

An initiate goes through the final stages of his initiation and acceptance into the brotherhood. Many brotherhoods gather together to celebrate special festivals. Breathing and chanting helps dervishes become one with the rhythms of the universe.

Trance, Violence, and Emotion to Achieve Spiritual Ecstasy (04:04)

Rituals both violent and emotional take the dervish to a high level of spiritual ecstasy. Dervishes pierce themselves with swords and pins to prove they are "out of body." These rituals are not accepted by all brotherhoods. (Graphic imagery)

Function of Music in Ecstatic Rituals (02:54)

Musical instruments have a definite function in some "zikrs," even though they are forbidden in orthodox Islam. Music helps participants to follow the right path to God. In the "sama," whirling dervishes concentrate their hearts on God.

Sufi Master (02:59)

In Lahore, Pakistan, Sufi Master Jamat Ali is a saint's representative on earth. He is seen in public only once a year.

Sacred Music: Qawwali (02:53)

Musicians perform sacred music (Qawwali) specially written for the occasion of the "Urs" when the Sufi master comes out of seclusion. The music helps the audience become one with God in their ecstasy.

Music to Spread Islam (03:25)

In honor of the saint, musicians play for three days straight, one group after the other. One of them is Pakistan's greatest mystic singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The music is meant to spread Islam throughout the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.

Musical, Spiritual Ecstasy and Union with God (06:08)

Already an integral element of Hinduism, music was brought into India by Sufi sages. Through musical gatherings, one feels a union with God. With mystical dimensions that everyone can learn from, religions all have the same objective.

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I Am a Sufi, I Am a Muslim

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This program introduces Sufism, a branch of Islam which is much less well known in the West than some of the more fundamentalist forms which are frequently in the news. The program travels to India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Macedonia to explore exactly what Sufism is and observe how it is practiced in various parts of the world today. Among the many aspects of Sufism featured in the program are the whirling dervishes of Turkey, who find God through ecstasy; ecstatic fakirs in Macedonia, where there is a big revival in popular Sufism; and the vital role of music in Sufism in India and Pakistan. The program also features Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, perhaps the most well-known performer of Qawali music. (50 minutes)

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL6553

ISBN: 978-1-4213-2069-4

Copyright date: ©1994

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Featured in the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 1997 FilmFest.

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.