Category Archives: Dargahs in Bangalore

Dargahs in Bangalore

Hazrath Pir Sayyid Hyder Shah Qadri Jilani Dargah, Bangalore, India, 2018, credits: Aminah Mohammad-Arif

SITE – Basic information

Country: India
City: Bangalore, Karanataka
Location: Somwar Peth
Type of religious site: Several Dargah
Religious communities attending: “ordinary” Sunnis, reformist Sunnis, Shias, Hindus, Christians.

SITE – Overview of the site

Reformist Islam considers devotional practices associated to Sufism and particularly to shrine worship as unlawful innovations (bida), and hence strongly condemns them. Yet some Muslims associated with reformist movements, like the Tablighi Jama’at, continue to go to dargahs. Not that it comes as a great surprise since ideological positions are constantly negotiated and subject to change but the conceptions and practices of these people partake of an internal plurality reflecting fluctuating boundaries within Islam, which in turn are symptomatic of power conflicts and attempts at internal hierarchy among various Islamic groups in India. To highlight these negotiations and conflicts, I will conduct an ethnographical study in different Sufi shrines in Bangalore (where I have been doing fieldwork on Islamic movements for years). My study will be three-fold:

1)     I will first explore the “regimes of justification”: do they borrow from Islamic tradition? Or do they borrow from other repertoires like family, caste, region of origin and so on?

2)     I will then compare the conceptions and practices of reformist Muslims (including motivations) inside the shrines with those of “ordinary” Muslims. How significantly different are they? Do the former develop practices of dissimulation inside the dargahs?

3)     I will then examine the interactions and mutual representations between these groups.

SITE – Bibliography pertaining to the site


Green, Nile. 2006. Indian Sufism since the Seventeenth Century: Saints; Books and Empire in the Deccan. London: Routledge.

Green, Nile. 2014. Terrains of Exchange: Religious Economies of Global Islam. London: Hurst.

Reetz, Dietrich. 2006. “Sufi Spirituality Fires Reformist Zeal: The Tablîghî Jam’â’t in Today’s India and Pakistan.” Archives de sciences sociales des religions. 135. July-September.

 Fieldwork conducted by Aminah Mohammad-Arif