The festival promises nine days of intellectually stimulating roundtables, cultural experiences, and performances from international Sufi singers.
Rabat – The 12th Fez Festival of Sufi Culture will take place from October 19 to 26, 2019. The Fez Festival of Sufi Culture aims to honor all things Sufi and “to make Moroccans discover or rediscover a culture that is theirs and offer them access to this artistic, intellectual and spiritual wealth.”
Sufism is a mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God.
The festival, which has been held under the patronage of King Mohammed VI since its first appearance in 2007, will follow the theme “Sufi culture, a spiritual humanism for our time” this year.
The combination of spiritualism and humanism, a movement typically associated with Western atheism may seem strange to some, a statement from the festival points out.
However, Faouzi Skali, the president of the festival, believes that “the unforeseen relationship between the two can indeed be fruitful at a time when religions also know the excesses of a desiccating formalism that comes to deny the most obvious values of our humanity.”
“It is the conjunction between these two dimensions that we would like to address during the festival through the culture of Sufism,” said Skali.
Opening weekend of the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture
As well as having a particularly interesting theme this year, the festival is offering a jam-packed program this October. The first day of the festival, Saturday, October 19, will kick off with a conference and the official opening ceremony at the Salle de Prefecture in the Fez medina.
Following that is performances from a variety of international singers: French-Moroccan Francoise Atlan, Spanish flamenco singer Curro Pinana, Moroccan singer Marouane Hajji, and the Moroccan ensemble Al Shushtari. Moroccan Sufi singer Mostafa Amri will finish off the night.
Day 2, Sunday, October 20, promises plenty of intellectual stimulation to get the brain going. The day will start early with a roundtable discussion of this year’s theme at the Merdesa Bouananiya.
Afterwards will be a private showing and meet and greet with artist Sami-Ali and then a musical and poetic performance from Amal Ayouch. Sami-Ali will then be present at another roundtable. Organizers have not yet determined the location of both the private show and roundtable.
A week full of musical performances and intellectual stimulation
Monday, October 21, promises yet more treats for anyone interested in Sufi culture. The day will start with a roundtable discussing how Sufi culture can revive the spirit of Fez, often referred to as Morocco’s cultural and spiritual capital.
Later that afternoon, another roundtable will cover an equally fascinating topic: Societal and spiritual challenges in the face of transhumanism. Both roundtables will again be at the Bouananiya Medersa.
The day will end on a musical note, with a performance from Moroccan Sufi singer Tariqa Sharqawiya at Fez’s famous Jnan Sbil Park.
The next day, Tuesday, October 22, will begin with a roundtable on “the practice of
non-violence in daily life.”
Following that will be a tour of Fez’s historical sites, in order to learn about the city’s great spiritual history. The day will end with a performance from Sufi singer Tariqa Rissouniya at Jnan Sbil Park.
Day 5 of the festival, Wednesday, October 23, will kick off with another roundtable, this time on the relation between Islam and human rights. That evening, attendees will experience a poetic and musical Azzedine concert at the Glaoui Palace.
The next day, Thursday, October 24, will begin with a roundtable on the spiritual interpretation of the Qur’an according to Ibn Ajiba. A musical performance will follow from Leili Anvar and Farzaneh Joorabchi at the French Institute, who will be debuting their act “The Tales of the Persian Sages.”
Following that will be a performance from Tariqa Sqalliya and Tariqa Halvetiya Ussakiya at Jnan Sbil Park.
A closing weekend well worth attending
Day 7 of the festival, Friday, October 25, promises an especially packed program. The day will begin with a roundtable on the subject of prayer, followed by a conference from Leili Anvar on “The musk of secrets: perfume and desire in Persian poetry.”
After that will be a master class and workshop with master perfumer Abderezzak Benchaabane, location yet to be determined, and a performance from Tariqa Wazzaniya at Jnan Sbil Park.
The eighth and final day of the festival, Saturday, October 26, will be equally packed full of enticing events. The day will begin with a particularly important roundtable, discussing the creation of a platform for Sufi culture.
Then, that evening, the festival will finish with a bang with a well-crafted closing ceremony. The ceremony will focus on “The Secret Language of Flowers and Perfumes,” with performances from Moroccan singer Fatima-Zohra Qortobi, Iranian singer Farzaneh Joorabchi, and Turkish singer Ferhat Oguz Korc.
A full pass to the eclectic festival is available for purchase online for MAD 1,000. Other ticket options are available if you only wish to attend specific events.