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Egypt's millennials turn to Sufism

In the years following Egypt's two most recent uprisings, and possibly as a reaction to the influence of Wahhabi teachings in the most populous Arab country, young Egyptians are searching for spiritual fulfillment through a creed that has long been misinterpreted in the mainstream.

During his upbringing in a Sufi family in the 1990s in Cairo, Muhammad Sami never heard the word “Sufism” at home. At some level, he recognized that his peers were not all raised to pray at Al-Hussein Mosque on Fridays or to read Al-Busiri’s poem Al-Burda, yet he also had little understanding that his family’s practices were condemned by a parallel Islamic current.

As a university student during the Egyptian revolution, Sami was driven to seek personal meaning amid political turmoil. “I had an existential crisis for some time; I didn’t want to have contradictory beliefs. I thought, if religion doesn’t have a deeper meaning, if it’s not true and divine, I might as well not want it,” he recounts to Al-Monitor, explaining his search for the spiritual and intellectual aspects of faith.

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