Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Traditionalism fading somewhat from the Boutchichiyya

A correspondent has brought me up to date on the Boutchichiyya in France.

The Boutchichiyya is the Moroccan tariqa that is not Traditionalist, but includes among its followers many former and/or semi-Traditionalists, especially in France.

Its most notable semi-Traditionalist member is Professor Faouzi Skali, the creator of the Fes Festival of world sacred music and the author of several books, most notably La voie soufie. Skali is the tariqa's representative in France, but is now less involved, and with this--and as the tariqa is growing--it is becoming somewhat less Traditionalist.

  • The Boutchichiyya now has five groups in Paris and other groups (defined as over four people) in twelve French provincial cities.*

  • Separate groups without Western converts or Traditionalists have come into being. First, in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil, is a group based around shaykh Hamza’s grandson, Mounir al-Boutchich, who lives there. Then there are non-Western groups alongside the Western groups in Avignon and Marseilles. There is also a purely non-Western group in Vauvert (near Nîmes).

  • Although there are still plenty of Traditionalists, often former Freemasons, in the Western groups, new arrivals are generally moving away from Traditionalist ideas towards the approach of the non-Western groups.

  • Some of Skali's ventures have ceased, including the Rencontres Méditerranéenes sur le Soufisme, the magazine Soufisme d’Orient et d’Occident, and Le Derviche, a tea shop in Marseilles.

  • Soufisme.org is still going strong. Check it for news of coming events in France.

* The twelve provincial cities are Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Bayonne, Bordeaux, Lyons, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice, Strasbourg, Toulouse, and Vauvert (near Nîmes).


Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting this information.
The Rencontres Parisiennes sur le Soufisme still take place in Paris, organized by the Boutchichiya. Faouzi Skali will be coming.

You must understand that the Boutchichiya is becoming increasingly less "traditionalist" because it is progressingly opening up to the islamic mainstream French population, that often see sufism as a heresy.
As a faqir pointed out once, "Avant, le soufisme était une voie de la réalisation ; maintenant, c'est une voie de la justification !"

Could you translate that, Mr Sedgwick ?

By the way, I'm still ready to translate Against the Modern World into French. I've got plenty of time (I'm a french school teacher !).



Mark Sedgwick said...

"Once, Sufism was a Way of Realization; now it is a means of justification."

Thanks for the offer, but there is already a French translation, and even a publisher. All we need is for the publisher to publish!