People of remembrance: archival thinking and religious memory in Sufi communities

Abstract

This paper looks at tariqa-based Sufism, the mystical aspect of Islamic practice, as an example of how archival thinking is used to traditionalize practices by way of religious memory. There is currently a lack of engagement in archival studies with religion and religious practices. Because we are aware of the ways that communities remember through embodied ritual as well as of the powerful relationship between affect and archiving, looking at how religious communities remember seems natural. Key archival concepts of provenance, authenticity, and original order can be seen to be at work in the ways in which Sufi communities seek to preserve both knowledge and spiritual experiences. This has led the author to conceive of tariqa-based Sufism as a system of conscious documentation of spiritual lineages, practices, sacred texts, and experiential knowledge of the Divine.

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Correspondence to Sumayya Ahmed.

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Ahmed, S. People of remembrance: archival thinking and religious memory in Sufi communities. Arch Sci 21, 9–23 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10502-020-09346-9

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Keywords

  • Archival thinking
  • Religious memory
  • Sufism
  • Islamic mysticism
  • Ritual
  • Embodied memory
  • Dhikr (remembrance)