Huff Post: by Abdi Guled.
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Hundreds of sweating Sufis chant and sway as the lead sheik moves into the middle of a circle of worshippers and bursts into a chant louder than anyone else’s
Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, is having a major comeback since al-Shabab, an armed militant Islamic group, was pushed out of Somalia’s capital in August 2011. The Sunni insurgents had banned Sufis from gathering and prevented them from worshipping. Sufi sheiks, or elders, were attacked, graves of their saints were desecrated and rituals and celebrations became rare or secretly performed.
Beyond the circle of worshippers are dozens of women, some of them so moved that they are crying. Nearby is the grave of a Sufi saint where the worshippers go to pray to show reverence. Free food, including toasted coffee beans fried in oil, is distributed in wooden containers.
“With Allah’s wish, we are here free and worshipping today,” said Sheik Abdullahi Osman, a 72-year-old Sufi cleric, who has beads dangling from his neck. Sufis in Mogadishu spend hours feasting, praying, and invoking Allah’s name.