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Nubian Ceremonial LifeStudies in Islamic Syncretism and Cultural Change$
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John G. Kennedy

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9789774249556

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774249556.001.0001

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The Sheikh Cult of Dahmit

The Sheikh Cult of Dahmit

(p.61) Chapter 4 The Sheikh Cult of Dahmit
Nubian Ceremonial Life

Nowal al-Messiri

American University in Cairo Press

The main components of the sheikh cult of Dahmit were the shrine, the belief and ritual systems, and the organizational elements. Dahmit was comprised of three main social units, the tribe, the naja', and the ‘omodiyya. One outstanding feature of the cult in Old Dahmit was the high number of sheikhs’ shrines, approximately 150, found in the district. This chapter describes the belief system clustered around the sheikh cult of Dahmit. In Dahmit, sheikhs were expected to render to believers certain services, for as saints they possessed baraka (grace, power to bless) and were capable of performing miracles (karāmas). In return, adherents of the cult were expected to express their gratitude and recognition for such services in the form of nadr (vows), ziāra (visits), and mawlids, in addition to building the shrine and caring for it. This chapter also talks about the hierarchy of sheikhs.

Keywords:   sheikh cult, Dahmit, naja', 'omodiyya, baraka, nadr, ziāra, mawlids

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