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Zikr (Remembrance)

Zikr (Remembrance)

Zikr (remembrance) is a ritual most often practiced by Sufis, although elsewhere, forms of zikr are also practiced by shamans and groups of non-Sufi Muslims. The effects of zikr can range from simple devotion to ecstasy. This genre is now rare in Central Asia, partly because the principal Central Asian Sufi brotherhood, the Naqshbandiyya, practices only silent (or mental) zikr and does not use music, and partly because Soviet authorities strongly suppressed the brotherhoods. Here, the dervishes utter sacred words with rhythmic breathing, while a group of singers chants mystic songs. (During, Levin 2001)