SHEIKH IBRAHIM, BROTHER JIHAD
(2006-2010), 83’ min
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Two lives committed to religion in the age of the Western religious crisis, and a commitment to tolerance: In Damascus, the Sufi Sheikh Ibrahim calls to prayer in the mosque – in the mountains of the Syrian desert Brother Jihad reads the morning mass in the Deir Mar Musa monastery. Without comment, Scheich Ibrahim, Bruder Jihad (Sheikh Ibrahim, Brother Jihad) tells of the life and the bond between the two protagonists.
Two lives committed to religion in the age of the Western religious crisis, and a commitment to mutual tolerance: In Damascus, Sheikh Ibrahim calls to prayer in the mosque – in the mountains of the Syrian desert Brother Jihad reads the morning mass in the monastery. Scheich Ibrahim, Bruder Jihad (Sheikh Ibrahim, Brother Jihad) portrays two Syrian clergymen in the context of their religion: Sheikh Ibrahim is a member of the Muslim Sufi order Naqschibandi-Haqqani in the Rukn Edin district of Damascus. Brother Jihad is a priest and monk and lives in the Syrian Catholic monastery Deir Mar Musa. One follows the everyday life of the two protagonists: Ibrahim in his tailor shop in Damascus, his committed work in the community; Jihad in prayer, the work in the monastery and his meditation in the desert. What unites the two is a long-standing friendship, which testifies to their great respect for each other’s faith and religion.
The existential way of life of the protagonists characterizes the film through predominantly long, calm shots and still images, which seemingly without external influence – such as artificial light or commentary – bring the two religious men and their lives closer to the viewer. The narrative style reflects the devotion and fervor with which they live their religion – puristically – like the faith and life of Sheikh Ibrahim and Brother Jihad. In times of material abundance, the film is a plea for reflection on human coexistence.
Background – SCHEICH IBRAHIM, BRUDER JIHAD (SHEIKH IBRAHIM, BROTHER JIHAD)
The monastery Deir Mar Musa al-Habaschi
The Christian monastery Deir Mar Musa is situated on the rocks of the Antilibanon Mountains, on the edge of the Syrian desert. 1500 years ago the prince Moses of Abyssinia retreated into a mountain cave there. A community of hermits gathered around the small basilica, which was built in the ruins of a Roman tower. The monastery was abandoned in the 19th century and Deir Mar Musa fell into disrepair. In 1982, the Jesuit priest Paolo dall’Oglio began to rebuild the monastery as a meeting place for religions. The newly founded ascetic community of nuns and monks is not subordinated to any religious hierarchy and is under the protection of the Syrian Catholic Church. Father Paolo has enriched the monastic rules of prayer and work with the virtues of hospitality and dialogue according to the tradition of the neighbouring desert dwellers, the Bedouins.
The Sufi Order Naqshbandi Haqqani
The Sufi teaching is based on the personal approach and merging with Allah, which is at the same time connected with a suspension of the self. Building on a fusion of pre-Islamic and Islamic teachings, the first Sufi Masters appeared in various places within the new religion of Islam in the 7th century. They preached for the small group of their students an ascetic path of life and a mystical examination of Allah. According to the Sufi concept, the world forms a unity with Allah and in Allah. From this unity results the suspension of the self. The first Sufi orders were formed in the 12th century. They are not based on a monastic organization, but their members meet in mosques and prayer rooms for prayer and dance. With a special emphasis on the divine in all things, Naqshbandi was founded in Uzbekistan in the 14th century by the Sufi master Baha-du-Din Naqsch. The mosque of the Naqshbandi Sufis in Damascus has been run by the Master Sheikh Nazim since the seventies.