When I used to visit a Sufi gathering in the 80’s with my mother, it was perhaps one of the most mesmerising experiences that I had with her, which I miss desperately since she passed away. Of course then, and as now Islam has not been kind to music or heightened self expression.
My mother and I would sit at the back and listen as the chanting turned into a beautiful rendition of desire and love for the supreme creator. Small children, girls and boys aged 6 and over would go into a trance like state and rock from side to side and I feared that they would bang their heads into one another, causing a bloody explosion.
So when I came across and extract of ‘Mystic Iran’ a documentary by from filmmaker Aryana Farshad’s film exploring sacred locations in Iran, I was struck by the women and their defiance of orthodox Islam that is so prevalent in Iran and that has gripped so many other parts of the world.
The documentary was shot in 2002 and is 52 minutes in length. Aryana Farshad’s ‘Mystic Iran’ is a testament to those who defy conservative and right wing elements in Islam and who continually reach out for a self defined expression of worship.