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Sudanese National ICH


(16) Sufi dances and rituals
Social Practices, in Eastern Sudan / All Sudan | Nationally recognized

A religious Procession held by followers and devotees of Sheikh Hamad Al-Nil, accompanied by musicians carrying traditional instruments.

People’s attention is drawn towards the eastern entrance to the dome of Sheikh Ḥamad al Nil, where at a distant two green banners appear from afar. Two of the followers stand holding these red-edged flags inscribed in yellow with the words, Lā Ilāh illa Allah Muḥammad Rasūl Allah al Jaily Ḥabīb Allah "There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is his Messenger, al Jaily is his Devotee", These two followers stand a few meters apart, facing the Dome of the Sheikh to the west, wearing green garments with red or black edge trims. The rest of the followers and devotees arrange themselves in the procession, keen to line up according to a precise hierarchical system. In front of the first row between the two banners, four elderly devotees stand, followed by a group of followers lined up parallel to the two banners. They are dressed in a rich variety of costumes. Behind them is the queue of musicians carrying traditional instruments consisting of the Nauba (slung drum), tambourine, and kass, followed by other rows of followers. As the procession approaches, Ẓikr begins with slow bangs on the Nauba and repeated chanting of the name of Allah in a protracted tempo. The beats from the tambourines, cymbals and kases (hand-held small drum) are also slow and irregular. As the procession draws nearer to its destination (The Sheikh Shrine), the drumming quickens and the chanting is changed to Lā Ilāh illa Allah followed immediately by a second group repeating the name of Allah in consonance with the accompanying music. The procession comes to a sudden halt when it is directly before the shrine. All attendants raise hands in full submission and pray to Allah. They turn afterwards to the tombs of a number Sheikhs around, and beseech Allah to grant mercy to them. Then they retire to the open space in front of the shrine where a tall mast resting on a round stone platform. Followers and spectators then form a wide circle around this mast and start the Ẓikr event feverishly, which will continue for several hours.


NCCH (National Council for Culture Heritage and the Promotion of National Language