Place: Shahyar county, Aqsu prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Date: August 2009
Recorded by: Rachel Harris and Aziz Isa
Pious Uyghur village women, led by ritual specialists called qushnach, recite a zikr: Subhan’Allāh wa bihamdihi, subhan’Allāh il adhīm (Glory to Allah and praise him, Glory to Allah the supreme). This zikr comes towards the end of a three-hour long ritual which they term khätmä which includes a series of group zikr, solo recited passages from the Qur’an, sung hikmät poetry and a sama dance. The qushnach perform various rituals like this one, which usually take place in family homes, for different purposes related to healing and other spiritual benefits. The rituals are emotionally highly charged, and the qushnach say that the weeping and trancing which are provoked by the zikr are an important part of the ritual’s efficacy. This recording forms part of a ritual which is performed during the festival of Barat, the ‘Night of Forgiveness’. Through it the women attempt to intercede on behalf of those in their community who will die, asking that their souls be admitted to Paradise.
Tags: China, Islam, Islamic Soundscape of China, Shayar, SiC, Sounding Islam China (SiC), Subhana, Uyghur Islamic ritual, Uyghur muslim, Uyghur women's ritual, Xayar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region