Title: Shrine visiting as heritage

Authors: Shadia Taha

Addresses: Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, 106 Barton Road, Cambridge, CB3 9LH, UK

Abstract: Shrine visiting is a prevalent phenomenon throughout Sudan and the Islamic world and deeply entrenched in local traditions. Based on ethnographic research, this paper aims to gain an insight into the intangible aspects of shrine visiting. The article explores the paradoxical popularity of shrine visiting and the tension between popular Islam and orthodox Islam, and examines the continued significance of shrines. The research illustrates shrine visiting is an integral aspect of Suakin's holistic heritage values. Yet, shrines are not protected under Sudanese law. The case study demonstrates the value of what is considered mundane heritage on the maintenance and transmission of cultural heritage and argues that the living religious heritage of shrine visiting needs to be considered as heritage. Furthermore, it suggests that shrines and rituals are central for peoples' religious and cultural identity. Nevertheless, the intangible association with the shrines has been neglected by conservation practices in Sudan and in most of the Islamic world.

Keywords: Sudan; Suakin; shrines; Ziyara; rituals; practices; cultural heritage; intangible heritage; diversity; multiplicity of values; religious communities; popular Islam; orthodox Islam; shrine visits; ethnography; site protection; case study; cultural identity; religious identity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2016.076805

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2016 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.71 - 94

Accepted: 02 Dec 2014
Published online: 31 May 2016 *

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