The ziqr is a form of ritual performed by Sufis, a sect of Islam frequently considered as too liberal and too progressive by the more orthodox theological authorities in Egypt and the Islamic world. Nonetheless, it is practiced in Egypt, particularly in the slums of Cairo and in the country's rural areas. There has been a recent revival of interest in Sufism, and many of Egypt's contemporary Sufis are young, well educated people in professional careers.
The devotions of many Sufis center on the ziqr, a ceremony at which music, body movements, and chants induce a state of ecstatic trance in the disciples.
I photographed two of these rituals; one in the Old Cairo area of Darb Al Ahmar, and the other in a small village called Manawat. (Click the small arrow to start the slideshow).
A large version of this multimedia photo essay is here.