Inayati Sufi Living Religious Traditions in Private Museum Contexts
In September 2019 the Inayati community, a religious community that ascribes to the mystical Sufi dimension of Islam (formerly the Sufi Order in the West), opened ‘The Sufi Museum’ at their Dutch headquarters in The Hague (Anna Paulownastraat 78; est. 1920). They are opening another museum at their...
|Published in:||Religious Materials: Emic Perspectives - Etic Constructions - Museum Classifications. REDIM Conference 2021|
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|Summary:||In September 2019 the Inayati community, a religious community that ascribes to the mystical Sufi dimension of Islam (formerly the Sufi Order in the West), opened ‘The Sufi Museum’ at their Dutch headquarters in The Hague (Anna Paulownastraat 78; est. 1920). They are opening another museum at their European Headquarters at Fazal Manzil (‘House of Blessing’) in the suburbs of Paris (13 Rue de la Tuilerie, 92150 Suresnes; est. 1922), the European home of the family of the founder of this Sufi movement, Inayat Khan (d. 1927). It comprises the ‘Universel Temple’, the memorial of Inayat Khan’s daughter, Noor Inayat Khan (d. 1944 at Dachau concentration camp), situated on its grounds. The private religious museums (complemented by libraries and archives) give insights into the material practices of assemblages of religious matter that are are—emically speaking—considered to be living and exhibiting agency set in spaces of religious devotion. Their exhibitions build a theoretical understanding of their belief by means of texts, illustrations, photographs, installations, audio-visual media, but give also insight into the pluralistic Inayati ways of conceptualizing and interpreting material reality. Contrary to secular museums, these museums approach their religious objects and installations from an emic (‘insider’s’) perspective inviting visitors to ‘connect’ with their religious heritage. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with exhibition makers and visitors as well as on collections analysis, this paper intends to look both at the emic meaning-making of the Inayati Sufis with regard to the public display of their living religious heritage and its etic construction.|
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