The daf, instrument of the sacred

Do you know the DAF?

Of Kurdish origin, this large circular drum is a musical instrument generally characterized by rings nailed inside its wooden frame.
Today, it is mostly played in the Middle East.
In Sufism, he embodies mystical Love*. Rumi, a thirteenth-century Persian poet, celebrated it in his verses:
“The daf said, ‘Hit me on my face,
The more you hit me, the more I’ll tell you new stories
I am in love and, like lovers, kind
If you hit me, if you hurt me, I’ll talk to you like that.” »

The daf, a metaphor for the human condition

It is said that the spherical shape of this instrument represents the Earth and, its rings, the humans who inhabit it. The sound generated by these small metal circles banging on the skin of the daf symbolizes the men and women knocking in vain at the door of God.

Prisoners of their earthly life, beings can only free themselves from their condition through separation. By analogy, the rings are also prisoners of the daf. When one of them breaks off, it is said that a soul has gained eternity.

The divine mission of the daf player

Traditionally, the daf is associated with Kurdish Sufi ceremonies. Thanks to the heady rhythm produced, the musician takes the dancer to the desired ecstatic state and maintains the intensity of the Zikr*. Its role is therefore essential. The daf player sees himself as an intercessor between the visible and the invisible: he makes hear, by the sounds that pass through him, the beating of God’s heart.

The soul of the daf

During the ritual, musicians can be dozens. In addition, it happens that the skin of a daf is torn. He then becomes “shahid”, that is, he served God and joined him as a martyr. In this case, Sufis will hold a funeral to honor his soul.

If the daf is not buried, it will be hung on the wall. In memory of the manifestation of the divine. Today, these traditions tend to disappear, but they remain present in the Kurdish villages of Iran and Iraq.

A therapeutic musical instrument

For Sufis, daf has therapeutic virtues. If, according to them, its vibrations purify the body and heal pain, they also improve the condition of people suffering from depression or even melancholy.

To heal the “sick”, the daf players surround him or her and cover him with a white sheet to protect his or her soul. These practices, free, are always supervised by the Sheikh, a spiritual master.

A mystical bath of sound

Playing the daf allows you to enter another dimension: Sufi rhythms all have names relating to the divine or nature.
For example, Hay Allah (“God is alive”) is played at the opening of the ceremony. This slow rhythm, punctuated by evocative silences, marks the irruption of the invisible. He invites us to welcome the mystery…
Daem (“continuous”) refers to the infinite cycle of life but also to the strength that emanates from galloping horses.
Each rhythm takes us on a journey through a story deeply linked to Sufi spirituality.
So, let yourself be tempted. Live the experience!

To take a Daf course online: Register
To buy a DAF: Buy

École Internationale de Danse Soufie méthode Rana Gorgani

Date limite d'inscription le 06 juin 2024.

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