Shamanism and Islam: Sufism, Healing Rituals and Spirits in the Muslim World (Hardcover)
The figure of the shaman has always been a prominent motif within the Islamic world, particularly in relation to the mystical domain of Sufism. Here, Thierry Zarcone and Angela Hobart bring together a vigorous and authoritative exploration of the link between Islam and shamanism in contemporary Muslim culture, examining how the old practice of shamanism was combined with elements of Sufism in order to adapt to wider Islamic society. Shamanism and Islam thus surveys shamanic practices in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans, to show how the Muslim shaman, like his Siberian counterpart, cultivates personal relations with spirits to help individuals through healing and divination. Here, two different kinds of healers are examined: firstly, the shaman healers of Central Asia, which belong to several different traditions, and yet all have the common thread of mixing Islam - especially Sufism - with old religious practices.
This 'Islamized shamanism', covering the geographic areas of modern-day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirghizstan, northern Afghanistan, the Turkoman province of Iran and the Uygur district of Xinjian province of China, is analysed through its rituals, represenations and modern manifestations. Secondly, the book explores the examples of healers from different parts of the Islamic world outside central Asia, from Iran to Turkey, and from Algeria to the suburbs of Paris. Using healing rituals that are extremely similar to those performed in Central Asian 'Islamised shamanism', Shamanism and Islam draws out the parallels that exist throughout the Islamic World, and the close relations between shamanism and Muslim mysticism. Exploring the complexities and variety of rituals, involving music, dance and, in some regions, epic and bardic poetry, demonstrating the close links between shamanism and the various arts of the Islamic world, this is the first in-depth exploration of 'Islamized shamanism'. It is thus a valuable contribution to the field of Islamic Studies, Religion, Anthropology, and an understanding of the Middle East more widely.
About the Author
Thierry Zarcone is Senior Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, based at the Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes, Paris. He has held visiting professorships at Kyoto and Fribourg, Switzerland, and is an expert on Islamic Studies and the history of systems of thought in the Turko-Iranian region. Angela Hobart is Honorary Reader at Goldsmiths College London University in Intercultural Therapy (Applied Medical Anthropology) and Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Anthropology, University College London. She also works as a psycho-dynamic therapist at the Helen Bamber Medical Foundation and teaches occasionally at the British Museum, London on Southeast Asian art and culture. She is the director of Centro Incontri Umani (Cross Cultural Centre) in Ancona, Switzerland.