The Sound of Silence: An Ethnography on the Sama 'Ritual in the Nematollahi Kaneqah in Toronto
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This thesis examines the Sufi ritual of Sama as practiced by the Nematollahi order in Toronto and will explore how music induces trance in Sufis during their ceremonies called Sama. My approach is ethnomusicological. Sama, includes poetry and music through which Sufis enter into trance. The structural coupling theory may be applied to understand how Sufis participate in ritual and through active faith, undergo physical and physiological changes. The Sufis are coupled to the ritual through a common history, music, or previous participation (conditioning), practiced consciously by a group of individuals. A Samas script is never predictable; it is always improvisatory. A good Sama is when the Sufis emotional arousal matches the intensity of the music and a transcendent symbiosis occurs. Based on my interviews with the Sufis in the Nematollahi Kaneqah, each experienced the central factors of happiness, which is synonymous with well-being, however subjective this term may be.