Sufi Remembrance Practices in the Meditation Marketplace of a Mobile App
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This chapter explores religion on mobile meditation apps through a focus on Sufi guided ‘meditation’ practices found on the mobile app Insight Timer. Sijapati offers an account of digital presentations of religious practices and considers how representations of religious practices as ‘meditation’ may expand app users’ encounters with religion into a marketplace model. Both the presence and the content of Sufi meditation practices on the app raise fruitful points for consideration of how religious identity, practice, religiosity/spiritualism, and community are intertwined in the digital age and through mobile apps in particular. Examining Sufi practices on this app within the context of a particular Sufi order, and in the context of competing ‘meditation’ practices on the app, she discusses how these app ‘meditations’ facilitate outsider engagement with Sufism, in part through the elision of Sufi and Islamic identity markers.
I would like to thank the many members of the Shadhiliyya Sufi community for their generosity over the past several years in sharing their experiences, thoughts, and insights with me about their devotional ritual practices that help support my analysis of the app practices that are the subject of this essay. Particular thanks to Rayhannah, who agreed to be interviewed for this piece. I am also grateful to Jacqueline H. Fewkes for her helpful comments on drafts of this chapter.
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