Jamila Rodrigues, “Sufi Women, Embodiment and the ‘Self’: Gender in Islamic Ritual” (Routledge, 2023)

Jamila Rodrigues’s new book Sufi Women, Embodiment and the “Self”: Gender in Islamic Ritual (Routledge 2023) uses her dance and performance studies background to study women’s hadra or zikr experiences of a Naqshbandi Sufi community in Cape Town, South Africa. This ritual includes engagement with sacred texts, music, and bodily movement with the aim of reaching union with Allah. This focused study on women’s bodily movement during zikr and women’s understanding of the mind and soul provides fascinating insights of what constitutes the “self” via ritual and performance studies. Rodrigues also uses auto-ethnography to situate some of this discussion on embodiment. The book will be of interest to anthropologists, Sufi studies scholars, and performance studies scholars.

Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at shobhana.xavier@queensu.ca. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier.

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