Posts Tagged ‘egypt tours operator’

Sufism in Egypt

Sufism (tasawwuf)is an Islamic modality that emphasizes self-purification and the attainment of spiritually advanced states through the assumption of specific practices and disciplines, typically through affiliation with a particular brotherhood and its leader, a sheikh. Sufism has deep roots historical roots in Egypt, and the Egyptian landscape is marked with hundreds of sites significant to historical and contemporary Sufis. Today, roughly 15% of Egyptians are either members of Sufi brotherhoods or participate in Sufi practices, and there are 77 officially recognized Sufi orders (tariqat, sing. tariqa). Popular Sufi practices in Egypt include the recitation of litanies collectively and individually (zikr), the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad during mawlid ceremonies and other expressions of love for the Prophet and his family, and visitations to saintly figures’ tombs (ziyara).

Sufism in Egypt : Sufis, sheikhs and charlatans - Qantara.de

The Supreme Council of Sufi Orders, founded in 1903, is the government body responsible for the regulation of Sufi brotherhoods. The Council oversees the appointment of sheikhs (Sufi authorities), grants permits for mawlids, and performs a variety of other duties. The body is charged with ensuring that Sufi practices are consistent with Islamic norms and laws, and includes ten elected members representing sheikhs from different tariqas as well as five appointment members who represent al-Azhar University (where many of the upper faculty are respected Sufis), the Ministry of Religious Endowments, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Culture, and Local Administration. Law no. 118 (1976) states that Sufi orders are barred from engaging in any activities not authorized by the Supreme Council.

In Search of Spiritual Ecstasy: Egypt Goes Whirling | Egyptian Streets

The creation of bureaucratic institutions intended to regulate Egyptian Sufism is consistent with changes to the state and the expansion of the state into religious affairs. Additionally, it points to a changing public discourse around Sufism over the course of the 20th century, during which criticism from Islamic reformists and the wider public—calling Sufism unorthodox, superstitious, and heretical—forced a response from Sufi leaders emphasizing its consistency with Islamic orthopraxy.

The development and rising popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood was one such challenge. Hassan al-Banna criticized modern Sufism (he himself was a member of a Sufi order prior to the Brotherhood’s creation) but praised the Sufi asceticism of the early Islamic period. The Muslim Brotherhood’s structure is noteworthy for its similarities to Sufi orders. Brotherhood members then and now tend to view Sufism as a corrupt form of Islamic practice, bordering on un-Islamic. Salafis condemn Sufism as heretical, and in recent years have been implicated in the destruction of Sufi sites in Egypt. However, disapproval of and hostilities towards Sufism may be colored by political in addition to religious views, particularly by the Sufi orders’ and prominent Sufis’ support for the government—including the current post-coup military government—and their opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sufis thrive in Egypt despite radicals

Sufism is rarely political; for this reason, they were largely tolerated under contemporary Egyptian presidents and were supportive of past regimes. However, a number of Sufi political parties formed in the wake of the Arab Spring. For example, the Rifa’iyyah formed Sawt al-Hureyya (The Voice of Freedom Party) and the ‘Azmeyyah announced Tahrir Masr (The Egyptian Liberation Party). Sufi leaders have been divided on these changes; Grand Sheikh of the Sufi Orders, Sheikh Abdul Hadi al-Qassabi, denounced the formation of political parties and suggested that it could lead to greater societal rifts. Proponents of the parties insisted that their formation was necessary to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Salafi political parties from eroding freedoms and protections granted to Sufi orders. With changes to the constitution banning political parties based on religion, these parties have secularized their rhetoric and have aligned with larger secular political coalitions.

Tannoura Dance'.. 7 centuries of Sufi Dance

The Rifa’iyyah

The Rifa’iyyah Order is among the largest orders in Egypt, and is especially popular among lower socioeconomic classes. It was founded in 12th century Iraq by Ahmad al-Rifa’i, and members were known for miraculous acts during heightened spiritual states including snake-charming, fire-swallowing, and piercing their cheeks. These practices inspire tremendous wonder in those who participate and observe, but are also frowned upon by members of other orders and non-Sufis who regard them as excessive and even heretical.

The Shadhiliyyah

The Shadhiliyyah Order is the largest Sufi brotherhood in Egypt, where it been popular since the 14th century, and is notable for its flexibility and lack of complex institutional structure, permitting it to adapt to a wide variety of contexts. It has over 70 branches globally, many of which are present in Egypt. The Order emphasizes Sunni Islamic piety grounded in the Qur’an and hadith, self-purification, and Sufi mysticism. Its founder, Abu’l-Hasan al-Shadhili (d. 1258) was born in Morocco, where the Shadhiliyyah first took hold, and followed al-Shadhili to Egypt, where he settled and is buried in Alexandria. Among the most celebrated Egyptian Sufis is Ibn Ata’ Allah al-Iskandari (d. 1309), the third sheikh of the Shadhiliyya, whose aphorisms and discourses remain an important contribution to the body of Egyptian Sufism, and Imam al-Busiri (d. 1294), author of “Poem of the Burda,” the most commonly recited poem in the Sunni Muslim world.

For more information about travel to egypt check our website
https://www.sarahtours.com/egypt-tours

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Tours and Expeditions to Africa | No Comments »

THIS IS EGYPT

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Tours and Expeditions to Africa | No Comments »

EGYPT

Home of the ancient Pharaohs, Egypt is a dazzling destination of temples and tombs that wow all who visit. It’s not all historic treasures, though. With vast tracts of desert, superb scuba diving, and the famed Nile River, there’s something for everyone here.

Beach lovers head to the Sinai to soak up the sun, while archaeology fans will have a field day in Luxor. Cairo is the megalopolis that can’t be beaten for city slickers, while Siwa oasis and the southern town of Aswan offer a slice of the slow pace of the countryside.

Egypt has so much for travelers to see and do, it’s the perfect country for a mix of activities combining culture, adventure, and relaxation. Find the best places to visit with our list of the top tourist attractions in Egypt

Pyramids of Giza

Pyramids of Giza

The last surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza are one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks. Built as tombs for the mighty Pharaohs and guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx, Giza’s pyramid complex has awed travelers down through the ages and had archaeologists (and a fair few conspiracy theorists) scratching their heads over how they were built for centuries.

Today, these megalithic memorials to dead kings are still as wondrous a sight as they ever were. An undeniable highlight of any Egypt trip, Giza’s pyramids should not be missed.

Luxor’s Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings

Karnak Temple

Famed for the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the Nile-side town of Luxor in Upper Egypt has a glut of tourist attractions. This is ancient Thebes, power base of the New Kingdom pharaohs, and home to more sights than most can see on one visit.

While the East Bank brims with vibrant souk action, the quieter West Bank is home to a bundle of tombs and temples that has been called the biggest open-air museum in the world. Spend a few days here exploring the colorful wall art of the tombs and gazing in awe at the colossal columns in the temples, and you’ll see why Luxor continues to fascinate historians and archaeologists.

Islamic Cairo

Islamic Cairo

The atmospheric, narrow lanes of the capital’s Islamic Cairo district are crammed full of mosques, madrassas (Islamic schools of learning), and monuments dating from the Fatimid through to the Mameluke eras. This is where you’ll find the labyrinth shopping souk of Khan el-Khalili, where coppersmiths and artisans still have their tiny workshops, and stalls are laden with ceramics, textiles, spice, and perfume.

Surrounding the market is a muddle of roads, home to some of the most beautiful preserved architecture of the old Islamic empires. There is a wealth of history here to explore. Visit Al-Azhar Mosque and the dazzling Sultan Hassan Mosque, and make sure you climb to the roof of the ancient medieval gate of Bab Zuweila for the best minaret-speckled panoramas across the district.

Aswan

Feluccas on the Nile at Aswan

Egypt’s most tranquil town is Aswan, set upon the winding curves of the Nile. Backed by orange-hued dunes, this is the perfect place to stop and unwind for a few days and soak up the chilled-out atmosphere. Take the river ferry across to Elephantine Island and stroll the colorful streets of the Nubian villages. Ride a camel to the desert monastery of St. Simeon on the East Bank. Or just drink endless cups of tea on one of the riverboat restaurants, while watching the lateen-sailed feluccas drift past.

There are plenty of historic sites here and numerous temples nearby, but one of Aswan’s most popular things to do is simply kicking back and watching the river life go by.

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel

Even in a country festooned with temples, Abu Simbel is something special. This is Ramses II’s great temple, adorned with colossal statuary standing guard outside, and with an interior sumptuously decorated with wall paintings. Justly famous for its megalithic proportions, Abu Simbel is also known for the incredible feat, which saw the entire temple moved from its original setting — set to disappear under the water because of the Aswan dam — during the 1960s in a massive UNESCO operation that took four years.

Egyptian Museum

Egyptian Museum

A treasure trove of the Pharaonic world, Cairo’s Egyptian Museum is one of the world’s great museum collections. The faded pink mansion is home to a dazzling amount of exhibits. It’s a higgledy-piggledy place with little labeling on offer and not much chronological order, but that’s half of its old-school charm.

Upstairs is the golden glory of King Tutankhamen and the fascinating royal mummies exhibits, but really every corner you turn here is home to some wonderful piece of ancient art or statuary that would form a highlight of any other museum.

White Desert

White Desert

Egypt’s kookiest natural wonder is the White Desert, where surreally shaped chalk mountains have created what looks like a snowy wonderland in the middle of the arid sand. The landscapes here look like something out of a science fiction movie, with blindingly white boulders and iceberg-like pinnacles. For desert fans and adventurers, this is the ultimate weird playground, while anybody who’s had their fill of temples and tombs will enjoy this spectacular natural scenery

Siwa Oasis

Siwa Oasis

Way out west, Siwa is the tranquil tonic to the hustle of Egypt’s cities. This gorgeous little oasis, surrounded by date palm plantations and numerous fresh water springs, is one of the Western Desert’s most picturesque spots. The town is centered around the ruins of a vast mud-brick citadel that dominates the view. This is a top spot to wind down and go slow for a few days, as well as being an excellent base from which to plan adventures into the surrounding desert.

Alexandria

Alexandria

The most European of Egypt’s cities, Alexandria has a history that not many others can match. Founded by Alexander the Great, home of Cleopatra, and razzmatazz renegade city of the Mediterranean for much of its life, this seaside city has an appealing days-gone-by atmosphere that can’t be beaten. Although today, there are few historic remnants of its illustrious past — feted in songs and books — this is a place made for aimless strolling along the seashore Corniche, café-hopping, and souk shopping.

South Sinai

South Sinai

Egypt’s center for beach fun is the South Sinai region on the Sinai PeninsulaSharm el-Sheikh is a European-style resort full of luxury hotels, international restaurants, and bags of entertainment options. Dahab is a low-key beach town with a budget-traveler heart, which is just as much about desert excursions and adventures as the sea.

Up the coast, between the port town of Nuweiba and the border town of Taba, are the bamboo hut retreats that offer complete get-away-from-it-all respites from life. Wherever you choose, the South Sinai is all about diving. The Red Sea is one of the top diving destinations in the world, and the South Sinai region is home to most of the best dive sites.

 Abydos Temple

Abydos Temple

Dusty Abydos town wouldn’t make much of a rating on the tourism radar if it wasn’t for the incredible temple on its doorstep. Abydos’ Temple of Osiris is one of ancient Egypt’s most fascinating artistic treasures. Its chunky columns and walls, covered in beautiful hieroglyphics and intricate paintings, are spellbinding sights, and even better, you can admire them without the crowds as despite its dazzling beauty, it receives few visitors compared to the temples in nearby Luxor.

Nile Cruising

Egypt is defined by the Nile. For many visitors a multi-day cruise upon this famed waterway that saw the rise of the Pharaonic era is a highlight of their Egypt trip. Cruising the Nile is also the most relaxing way to see the temples that stud the banks of the river on the route between Luxor and Aswan, plus sunrise and sunset over the date-palm-studded river banks, backed by sand dunes, is one of Egypt’s most tranquil vistas.

The two famous sights on a Nile Cruise are the Temple of Kom Ombo and Edfu’s Temple of Horus, where all the big cruise boats stop. If you’d prefer a less crowded and slower experience though, and don’t mind “roughing it” a bit, you can also cruise the Nile by felucca (Egypt’s traditional lateen-sailed wooden boats), which also allows you to create your own itinerary. Cruise boats depart from both Luxor and Aswan, but feluccas can only be chartered for multi-day trips from Aswan.

Saqqara

Pyramid and ruins at Saqqara

Everyone’s heard of Giza’s Pyramids, but they’re not the only pyramids Egypt has up its sleeve. Day-tripping from Cairo, Saqqara is the vast necropolis of the Old Kingdom pharaohs and showcases how the Ancient Egyptians advanced their architectural knowledge to finally create a true pyramid with the Step PyramidBent Pyramid, and Red Pyramid being among the highlights here. The various tombs of court administrators, with interior walls covered with friezes describing daily scenes, scattered throughout the archaeological site are just as much a reason to visit as the pyramids themselves.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Tours and Expeditions to Africa | No Comments »