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  • The ziqr is a form of ritual performed by Sufis, a sect of Islam frequently considered as too liberal and too progressive by the more orthodox theological authorities in Egypt and the Islamic world. Nonetheless, it is practiced in Egypt, particularly in the slums of Cairo and in the country's rural areas. There has been a recent revival of interest in Sufism, and many of Egypt's contemporary Sufis are young, well educated people in professional careers.

    The devotions of many Sufis center on the ziqr, a ceremony at which music, body movements, and chants induce a state of ecstatic trance in the disciples.

    I photographed one of these devotional events, held in a rundown neighborhood of Old Cairo, called Darb Al Ahmar. It was attended by women and men alike...most of them from the neighborhood. Technically, this type of devotional singling is called "medh"...or praise. They're primarily sung in praise of the Prophet Muhammed, his family and his disciples.
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