Segments in this Video

Sufi Music (03:31)


Sain Zahoor sings at Sufi shrines in Pakistan. Islamic hardliners see music as a distraction from god; the Quran does not specifically forbid music. Around the world, Sufi music fuses with local traditions.

Religious Confluence (02:01)

In Syria during the Byzantine period, Christian hermits lived in caves and wandered the desert; the first Sufis adopted their clothing. William Dalrymple discusses elements Islam adopted from Christianity; Muslims pray at the Christian Convent in Saidnaya.

Early Sufi Brotherhoods (02:07)

The first Sufis gathered in Muslim towns by the 8th century; records show they used music in their worship. Sufi brotherhoods in Aleppo hold dhikrs.

Sufi Mystic (03:48)

Jalal ad-Din Rumi represents the ideals of Sufism; his shrine and tomb attract pilgrims from around the world. Rumi's followers spread throughout the Ottoman Empire and became known as the Whirling Dervishes. Mevlevi Sheikh Nail Kesova explains their dance.

Whirling Dervish (04:09)

Dalrymple explains the legend behind Rumi's whirling; music is part of Rumi's philosophy and poetry. Kudsi Erguner describes how the ney is an analogy for humankind. The Sema is a four part ceremony.

Underground Sufism (02:48)

In 1925, Kemal Ataturk banned the Sufi orders and closed their tekkes; the Gala tekke is now a museum. Dalrymple reflects on the paradox of modern Turkey's relationship with Sufism and visits a Sufi brotherhood meeting.

Cult Success of Sufi Mercan Dede (02:43)

Mercan Dede combines electronic beats and Sufi philosophy; Mira Burke whirls to the music. The music unifies the audience.

Lahore, Pakistan (02:20)

Lahore is famous for Punjabi food and Bhangra; the dhol drives the music. See how musicians use the dhol at Sufi shrines.

Qawwali (03:49)

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is an ambassador of the Sufi music that blends Hindustani music and devotional poetry; Sufi music and poetry spread the message of Islam to a wider audience. Hear music composed by Amir Khusrau in the 13th century.

Amir Khusrau Tomb (02:14)

Khusrau, a father of North Indian classical music, is buried in Delhi next to Nizamuddin Auliya. Dalrymple visits the tomb and reflects on the violence between Hindus and Muslims.

Hard Line Islam (02:20)

Jamaat-e-Islami is the most powerful religious political party; they believe the Sufi veneration of saints is idolatrous and condemn their use of music. Publisher Jugnu Mohsin says the mullah's creed is extremely exclusionary.

Urs Festivals (03:05)

The festivals celebrate a saint's death. In Bhit Shah, Dalrymple visits the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif; Abida Parveen performs.

Latif's Music (01:50)

Shah Abdul Latif was Sindh's greatest saint and poet. Musicians play his music every night at his shrine.

Sufi Heritage (01:57)

For many Pakistanis, Sufi poets remain a living part of their culture. Hear "Sayonee" performed by Junoon. Salman Ahman discusses hard line Islam's position on music.

Aissawa Sufis (04:33)

Fes is a center of learning in the Arab world. Abdennbi Zizi, a tannery worker, is a member of the Aissawa brotherhood; he looks forward to the alms ceremony. In the countryside, women play music and are renowned for their spiritual healing.

Fes Festival of Sacred Music (04:45)

Faouzi Skali explains the purpose of the festival; it juxtaposes music from around the world. Youssou N'Dour discusses the violent image associated with Islam and music's ability to correct it.

Credits: Sufi Soul: The Mystical Music of Islam (00:36)

Credits: Sufi Soul: The Mystical Music of Islam

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Sufi Soul: The Mystical Music of Islam

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



As Muslim extremists dominate the headlines, writer and historian William Dalrymple explores an altogether different side of Islam. This program follows Dalrymple on a personal journey into the mystical and musical side of Islam as he charts the traditions of Sufi music in Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Morocco.

Length: 49 minutes

Item#: BVL114445

ISBN: 978-1-68272-698-3

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.