Sufism is a form of Islamic mysticism that has spread throughout the world. It is divided into paths (tariqas) which contain separate fraternities. Sufism is based on the special connection between the master and the followers (murids), implying complete submission for the sake of truth-seeking. It allows Sufi leaders to quickly turn scattered groups of people into a monolithic team with iron discipline.
It is not surprising that Sufism was established in the East Caucasus with the arrival of Russian troops in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. United by this ideology, the highlanders resisted the invaders for decades and turned the conquest of the Caucasus into the longest war in Russian history. Since then, the influence of the Sufis showed a tendency to strengthen during the harder times. Zikr — the Sufi rite of remembrance of God — was performed on the ruins of Grozny in the 1990s and during the mass Ingush protests in the fall of 2018.
The lack of understanding and strained relationships between the authorities and the Sufis sometimes turn into time bombs which can explode decades later. That’s why a sound knowledge of Sufism is essential to understand the Caucasus and prevent local conflicts. The photographer worked with the Chechen, Ingush and Kumyk Sufis for almost three years to capture all types of zikrs of the Qadiriyya tariqa practiced in the region.
AUTHOR: Vladimir Sevrinovsky RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Vladimir Sevrinovsky is a Russian journalist, photographer and producer of documentaries. Born in 1975, Russia, Moscow.
Vladimir has Ph.D. in Economics. In 2011 he abandoned successful career in business to become a traveler and an independent journalist. He visited all 85 regions of Russia and wrote multiple award-winning stories. Later he began to support them with photos. Now his dominant sphere of interest in the Northern Caucasus. He became one of the leading experts on the ethnography of local nations. He also uses every chance to explore different cultures in other parts of Russia. He is regularly published both in the leading Russian mass media (Meduza, TASS, Russian reporter) and the leading photo magazines (National Geographic, Bird in flight). Vladimir produces documentaries for TV companies of Switzerland, Germany and Great Britain. He is also the head of direction «Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan» of the Caucasus Explorer, a Russian tour operator.