“ . . . will be of interest not only to those concerned with Pakistan and the new Muslim presence in Europe, but also to those interested in an anthropological study of religion.” —Barbara Metcalf, University of California, Davis
Pnina Werbner traces the development of a Sufi Naqshbandi order founded by a living saint, Zindapir, whose cult originated in Pakistan and has extended globally to Britain, Europe, the Middle East, and southern Africa. Drawing on 12 years of fieldwork in Pakistan and Great Britain, she elucidates the complex organization of Sufi orders as regional and transnational cults, and examines how such cults are manifested through ritual action and embodied in sacred mythology and global diasporas. A focus of the study is the key event in the order’s annual ritual cycle, a celebration in which tens of thousands of people gather at the saint’s lodge in Pakistan and in the streets of Britain. Werbner challenges accepted anthropological and sociological truths about Islam and modernity, and reflects on her own role as ethnographic observer. Pilgrims of Love is a major contribution to our understanding of disaporic Islamic practices, highlighting the vitality of Sufi orders in the postcolonial world.