Piri-Muridi in the Twin Cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan


  • David Hansen




Sufism, piri-muridi, in Pakistan is an overlooked aspect of Muslim religious experience. This article sheds light on how respondents of the Twin Cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan, relate to this overlooked aspect, and tries to situate changes to piri-muridi in a historical context. As this article finds, being orthodox does not necessarily hinder adherence to piri-muridi. Rather, people of all sects, and even non-Muslims, regularly attend ‘urs, keep a relationship with a pir, or visit the shrines on occasions – as ways of exhausting all possibilities to find comfort, seek spirituality, or solve practical problems in their lives. This aspect, then, breaks down the apparent divide between the orthodox and the traditional in the sense that many people pick bits and pieces and make those pieces into their own practiced form of Islam. Yet, piri-muridi in the Twin Cities is experiencing a purification process where its opponents try their best to discredit it as ‘un-Islamic’, and its adherents are often critical of certain practices and rituals but still obey it.