What role do divine interventions play in Egypt’s current political climate? Is Abdel Fattah el-Sisi a Sufi? Is the Muslim Brotherhood anti-Sufi? To understand the interplay of religion and politics in Egypt today, it is not enough to pay attention to political parties, constitutions, and political slogans. We need to also look at how the invisible and the divine are invoked in the public sphere. The belief in divine interventions, divinely inspired dreams and visions, and direct contact with the prophet Muhammad and his saintly descendants is often associated with Sufism. In recent months, however, dreams and visions have also figured in the supposedly moderate, liberal, secular Sisi camp and in the supposedly Islamist Muslim Brotherhood camp.Read the rest of The politics of divine intervention.
Amira Mittermaier is Associate Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on Islam in contemporary Egypt. She is the author of the award-winning Dreams that Matter: Egyptian Landscapes of the Imagination (University of California Press, 2011). Her current research examines Muslim practices of giving against the backdrop of the Egyptian uprising and its call for social justice.