Back to the future: Religious mobility among Danish Pakistani Sufi Muslims

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Pakistani migrant families in Denmark are embedded in a transnational social field, one that stretches between the rural villages in Punjab that they left behind in the 1960s and 1970s, and their new home in greater Copenhagen. However, the upcoming generation, born and raised in Denmark, often has an ambivalent relationship with the homeland of their parents. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Sufi tariqa(order, path) called Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Saifi, this article explores how the ritual of ‘zikr Allah’ (the commemoration of God) provides an opportunity for the Copenhagen Saifis to cultivate new connections with Pakistan, beyond the kinship networks and the family village of origin. The ritual is significant for their aspiration to become pious Muslims. In this process, Pakistan comes to be ascribed with new meanings. Whereas the parents’ generation associated Pakistan with family and kin, property, houses, and power connected to the village of origin, these pious Saifis begin to associate Pakistan with spirituality, purity, and love for their shaykh in particular and the Sufi tariqa in general.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Volume44
Issue16 (1)
Pages (from-to)2667-2683
Number of pages16
ISSN1369-183X
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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