Official celebration

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A religious scholar holding a lecture at the mawlid in honour of the television preacher sheikh Muhammad Mutawalli al-Sha'rawi (d. 1998) in Daqadus

Many mawlids also have an official reception attended by local political and religious dignitaries with speeches, lectures and an atmosphere quite different from the streets. In the streets, everyone is part of the festival and there is hardly a difference between performers and the public. But in the official celebration, people are seated in rows and listen quietly to the speakers. This is a way of celebration that is much less controversial because it better suits the authoritarian political culture and official religious discourse in Egypt. This is why also some Sufi groups that want to gain public recognition, try make their celebrations look more official and formal.

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Daqadus, June MMIII, small frame colour negative, scan from c-print
(c) Samuli Schielke