Gaza (Al-Monitor) – 07/02/2022. 07:09
Sufis in Gaza targeted by Hamas
- A number of Sufi mosques are spread all over Gaza, and each sheikh practices his own way of Sufism
- Hamas has closed many Sufi zawiyas, claiming that Sufis pose a danger to society in Gaza
- Sufism in Palestine can be traced back to the Mamluk era, and some Sufi families were famous in Gaza, such as the Sa’afin and Khalidi families.
A number of Sufi mosques are scattered throughout GazaAnd every sheikh exercises his own way of Sufism. However, they all participate in performing the weekly “jilsa” which is a Quranic session in which supplications and prophetic praises are recited.
Sufism in Palestine can be traced back to the Mamluk era, and some Sufi families were famous in Gaza, such as the Sa’afin and Khalidi families.
Sufism has always generated controversy among some Muslims, but it remains a very important issue as many have studied Sufism in an effort to come to a conclusion about Sufi thought. However, many Sufis refused to speak to Al-Monitor for fear of repercussions from Hamas.
An Alawite sheikh told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity: “The origins of our regime go back to [المؤسسة الدينية] To Sheikh Ahmed bin Alawi. Sufism is one of the foundations of the Islamic faith. The weekly session we hold is a purification from worries and sins. The followers gather to remember God and the verses of the Qur’an without distortion as some describe them, and without holding celebrations and beating drums.”
He said that he maintains good relations with the Palestinian factions in Gaza, but refused the order to rule agitation It stems from the group’s insistence on ruling by force of arms. “There is nothing in the Book of God or the Sunnah that motivates me to fight those who resist me with arms, because God says: And speak kindly to all people.”
One of the Ahmadiyya Sufis told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity: “The society’s negative view of Sufism stems from the new generation’s ignorance of the true meaning of Sufism. Our only goal is to bring back the time of the Prophet Muhammad, and Sufism is working on self-reform away from the inclinations and malice of political parties and their interests. the only one to hold political positions.
When Hamas took power in 2006, it closed many Sufi zawiyas (meeting places) on the grounds that they posed a danger to society.
Nasser al-Yafawi, a historian from Gaza who opposes Hamas’ actions against Sufis, told Al-Monitor, “The Sufis are wonderful. I visited the Qadiriyah, Jaririyah and al-Rifai orders and witnessed a full weekly session with them. There is no difference between the requests. Their session is a spiritual imagining of God and their celebrations are considered a religious dance.” to get closer to God.
He said: “At the beginning of its rule, Hamas closed many Sufi zawiyas, claiming that Sufis pose a danger to society in Gaza. This is a big false accusation because Hamas wants to monopolize the leadership of Islamic movements. I do not support Hamas’ viewpoint and its unjustified actions. It wants to govern what It is called Islamic movements, and it differs with all parties, not just Sufis.”
Al-Yafawi pointed out that “some rumors spread about the practice of the Masonic rituals by the mystics and that they were carrying out acts that violate social values. Hamas closed some corners of the Ahmadiyya, Shadhili, and Alawi sects, restricted their movements and prevented them from holding religious ceremonies and weekly sessions. This is a violation of freedom of expression. I verified this personally and found out that these are all malicious rumors and false arguments.”
In the meantime, many support closing the Sufi angle. Saleh al-Raqab, a professor of Islamic faith at the Islamic University in Gaza and a former minister of endowments, told Al-Monitor, “Sufism in Gaza consists of groups affiliated with sheikhs outside the enclave, such as the Shadhili and the Alawites. The orders, and they have many heresies and legends as we see in their many angles, Like dancing in mosques. They have very corrupt beliefs, but in the Gaza Strip they apply them without understanding their meanings, like begging the Prophet Muhammad to meet their needs.”
He said: It contains a lot of polytheism, and this was embodied in their book “The Unity of Being” by Ibn Arabi. This person is an atheist because he sees existence as one and believes that there is no difference between the Creator and the creature. Sufis here in Gaza practice their rituals without the slightest understanding. They kneel before their sheikhs and we kneel to God. Rather, they kiss the hand of the sheikhs, and this indicates polytheism and disbelief in God. Sufis do not offer anything to Islam, but separate religion from politics. They are using social media nowadays to attract the younger generation, and this is a disaster.”
Al-Raqab indicated that dozens of young people join Sufism in the Gaza Strip because they have a great spiritual void that must be filled. I am not aware of the fact of Hamas closing the Sufi zawiyas, nor of restricting their movements and festivities, because I have seen many zawiyas open. But it needs to be shut down before it spreads further.”
Al-Raqb explained that his doctoral thesis was about Sufi sects from an ideological point of view, and he also teaches these topics to university students because he believes that Sufism in the entire Arab world has major deviations and is completely contrary to Islam.