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SeC
04-18-2006, 01:21 PM
Growing popularity of Sufism in Iran

Roxana Saberi
BBC News Tehran

The lights are dimmed in a home in northern Tehran. The men, women and teenagers gathered in the large living room close their eyes and rock back and forth to the beat of live music.

As the tambourine and drums beat louder and faster, some members of the group climb to their feet. They begin to swirl slowly in circles and raise their hands to the ceiling. A few fall into trances.

"You can somehow touch relaxation," says 22-year-old Mahsa, who believes that music and dance can provide a direct route to Allah.

"It's a very good sensation, and you think your soul is flying, that somehow you're not in your body."

These Iranians consider themselves Shia Muslims, as do most Iranians, and look to the first Shia Imam, Ali, as a spiritual guide.

But they also call themselves Sufis.

Sufis believe that at the core of all religions lies the same truth and that God is the only reality behind all forms of existence.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4907406.stm