Sufi residents of Mosul's Old City celebrate the final few days of Ramadan in their own special way. The Mosul Scholars Forum have held a mass iftar that fed over 900 residents.
The province of Nineveh is unique in the diversity of its citizens. One of the most historical groups to live in the capital of Nineveh, Mosul, are the Sufi Muslims whose mystical chants are part and parcel of Mosul’s identity. During ISIS’ reign, the militant group silenced the Sufis and forced them underground. However, after the liberation of Mosul, Sufis have been openly practicing their rituals without any fear of retaliation.
According to Sufi scholars, one of their core beliefs is coexistence and tolerance. As a result, Sufis in Mosul have hosted a mass iftar on the ruins of the Grand Nuri Mosque and the Hadbaa Minaret, both of which were destroyed last year by ISIS before fleeing the city. The iftar which was launched by the Muslim Scholars Forum in Mosul fed more than 900 people in the Old City.
“This initiative…aims to consolidate the principles of peaceful coexistence and social communication between the components of Nineveh and for the people of the Old City to share their times of sorrow and joy,” said Sheikh Saleh al-Ubaidi, the head of the Muslim Scholars Forum.
In addition to the iftar, the celebration included Sufi chanters and singers playing the tambourine and other musical instruments while singing the praises of the Prophet. The chanters recollect their memories under ISIS and the group’s banning of Sufi rituals. “Mosul has been deprived of this atmosphere and the atmosphere of praying to God and his Messenger Muhammad during ISIS’ control,” said Abdul Sadiq al-Nu’mi, a Sufi religious chanter.
During ISIS rule, Sufis and Shi’a Muslims were considered heretics by the militants and were persecuted and killed. Similarly, holy sites and shrines revered by Sufi and Shi’a’s were under constant attack or threats by ISIS militants.
However, after ISIS’ defeat, Sufis are back in Mosul to practice their religious rituals and restore their cultural heritage in the city.
“We ask God to preserve this province and its people and bless them so its citizens can return to it.”