Female Sufism in Chefchaouen
Sufism is spiritual Islamic belief and practice in which the Muslims pursue the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. It involves a variety of spiritual paths that are intended to establish the nature of humanity and of God and to simplify the experience of the presence of divine love and wisdom in the world.
The Sufi music occupies a significant role in the life of most Sufis. It is a way for the believer to get closer to God, dissolving the physical realm into the spiritual one by polishing the heart and enhancing the spiritual aspect of the human being over the physical being.
The Sufi chants consist of Dhikr, or God's remembrance, "Mawlid Annabawi," praising and blessings of the prophet and Allah. It is done out loud or within the silence of the heart. Dhikr is also considered as a form of meditation to connect to God and draw the divine energy into the world of matter. "Mawlid, “celebration or prophets’ birthday is an expression of love towards the prophet and God.
Before 2004, “Hadra Chefchaoueniya" female Sufi music band from Chefchaouen, did not extend beyond the boundaries of tents and party halls where weddings and special events are held. But now this ancient Sufi art has become known, not only in Morocco but also abroad. This group of women from the city of Chefchaouen, led by the artist Erghum al-Baqali, has broken the rules and became the first female Sufi music band in Morocco.
The Chefchaouen “Hadra” or “Presence” group founded in 2004 was not accidentally established. It was born as a result of 20 years research accumulation in ancient Andalusian music. Before 2004, this mystical art was, "a raw material". Women used to sing at weddings and private parties. And it has to be in the presence of women only. It was not recorded on radio or television, although this ancient art has its roots extending to five centuries ago. It was orally transmitted from one generation to another.
One of the goals of establishing Chefchaouen “Hadra” group was directing this heritage art from its narrow range to a wider horizon. Additionally, the aim was to break free from the “masculinity” domination of the Sufi art. Today it prides itself on the fact that the Chefchaouen “Hadra” group is the women's group and the only one among the Arab and Islamic Sufi groups is participating in international festivals.
Furthermore, the goal behind founding of the Chefchaouen "Hadra" female Sufi band is to change the idea that women cannot create and perform outside the scope of weddings and private parties when it comes to Sufi Music. Besides, they are capable of creativity and excellence, as are men. This group has invested what has been accumulated for over 20 years of studies and research to promote this female art. What the group seeks to attain is the indoctrination of Sufi art, especially that Chefchaouen "Hadra " Sufi band is constituted of the largest number of women.
The Chefchaouen "Hadra" Sufi female group is considered a unique experience in Morocco and in the Arab and Islamic worlds. They have also managed to restore respect to the traditional Moroccan costume worn by women in the north, which dates back centuries. This costume is unique. It has been handed over by our ancestors. The costume worn by all members of the band are given much importance. It is chosen with great care, and from the depths of Moroccan history. It makes of the band an integrated heritage painting, which makes the ear sing and enjoy the view together.
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