Jewish Sufi Dervishes 1922
“Because of its specific association with Sufism and its ensuing identification with Islam, dervishhood is an order comprised almost exclusively of Muslim practitioners.
The two Jewish dervishes pictured here in this rare photograph are among the very few who had successfully been integrated into the order without converting to Islam.
Like the Jewish practitioners of a traditional Iranian sport in the houses of strength (zurkhaneh) — a sport that is profoundly intertwined with Islamic ritual — these dervishes represent a uniquely Iranian hybrid of Judaism and Islam.
Each of the Jewish dervishes seen here is displaying emblematic accouterments of dervishhood:
1) The cloak, an outward sign of his state.
2) A kashkul (begging bowl) often made of such materials as mother-of-pearl.
3) A gourd, a coconut shell, or carved wood suspended from the wrist by…
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