Western Sufism

Western Sufism

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Alami Tariqa of Waterport, New York

A new book by Julianne Hazen, Sufism in America: The Alami Tariqa of Waterport, New York (London: Lexington, 2017) examines a little known American tariqa, the Alamiyya, which, as the title indicates, is based in Waterport, a small settlement on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, some 50 miles from the Niagara Falls. The Alamiyya is of Balkan origin (in the Khalwati-Hayati tariqa), was established in America in the late 1970s, and now has a following that is mostly American, about equally Caucasian and African American.

The book is based on a 2011 PhD dissertation defended at SOAS, and consists of five chapters, with an introduction and a conclusion. The first chapter places the tariqa in its American Sufi, Islamic, and religious contexts. The second chapter traces the tariqa from the Balkans to New York. The third chapter looks at why people join the tariqa. The fourth chapter looks at acculturation, arguing that while the tariqa has accommodated America in many ways, it still strives to follow the Sharia. The fifth chapter looks at the spiritual path that the murids follows.

For those who cannot wait for the book, the original PhD dissertation is available online.

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