The mystic Muslims of Sudan’s stylish Sufi order spin in technicolour
At the western edge of Omdurman, the largest city in Sudan, there lies a dry and dusty necropolis. Each Friday, under the westering sun, brethren of the country’s Qadiriyya Sufi order tread carefully across the cemetery’s shallow, sandy graves passing half-buried car tyres. The path leads toward the onion domes and conical roofs of Sheikh Hamed Al Nil mosque, which houses the tomb of its 19th century leader.
A pile of brightly coloured jelly sandals collects at the entrance to the mosque’s qubba, left behind by worshippers uttering prayers and exchanging salutations inside.
Some kneel at the late sheikh’s sarcophagus to take a handful of sand from his grave or to kiss its green linen kiswah; others wait to receive grace from the order’s incumbent sheikh, the son of Sheikh Hamed Al Nil. Many simply smoke Bringi cigarettes outside, sipping the sweet hibiscus chai offered by Khartoum’s popular ‘tea ladies’ as they patiently wait for the order’s weekly dhikr to begin
“During dhikr, we fly to the heavens”