Sufi Sites as Oases of Resonance: Jamal Malik on “Architectural Resonance”

Prof emeritus Jamal Malik commented on the notion of “architectural resonance” in Muslim cultural history, during the book launch of Architektonische Resonanz. Das Mausoleum des indischen Sufi-Meisters Shah Vajihudin Alvi by Sara Keller. Amongst other things, he noted how a Sufi shrine vibrantly interacts with its surrounding, transforming the Sufi convent into a Resonance oasis. Prof. Dr. Jamal Malik discussed the new book by building archaeologist and historian of space Sara Keller, Architektonische Resonanz. Das Mausoleum des indischen Sufi-Meisters Shah Vajihudin Alvi (Schnell & Steiner) during at the Max Weber Centre on 3 July 2023. In this publication, she introduces the notion of “architectural resonance” as an application, in the field of architecture, of Hartmut Rosa’s theory of Resonance.

The podcast below presents Jamal Malik’s enlightening commentary during the book launch. Susanne Rau, professor for spatial History in Erfurt and author of the preface of the book, introduced the event, while Hartmut Rosa also discussed the book in the light of his own theory (see Hartmut Rosa’s podcast here).

Abstract of Jamal Malik’s commentary

For Jamal Malik, the book sparks multiple meaningful discussions on Sufism, architecture and space, as it demonstrates how a Sufi shrine interacts emotionally and cognitively with its surroundings. “By expanding resonance theories in spatial studies, the book deepens our understanding on how design shapes our perception and interaction with built environment.”

Jamal Malik underlined the fascinating profile and multifaceted persona of Shah Vajihudin Alvi, a jurist who is affiliated to an ecstatic Shattari Sufi order. This raises the question of shared yoga practices amidst political challenges, whereby such practices generated socio-cultural resonances transforming bodies into vibrating spaces.

The book relies less on written accounts and more on research data, which provides useful supplement to sometimes unreliable hagiographical information. The detailed architectural study of the mausoleum and its surrounding Sufi convent (khānqah) brings to light several topics such as the early exchanges of technologies between South Asia and West Asia, the interplay of symbol, techniques and expertise, and the activation of the three resonance axes as described by Rosa. To conclude, the vibrant system of the mausoleum generates resonance that keeps the spirit of the Sheikh alive. For Malik who also works on the theory of resonance in the context of Sufism, Rosa’s theory is particularly relevant and “Keller lays the foundation for architectonic resonance theory.”

Further reading

 Malik, Jamal. 2023. “Analytic Essay: Sufism in Western Regional Settings.” In Sufism in Western Contexts, edited by Marcia K. Hermansen and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh. Brill: 165-198.

We thank Yanitsa Ganeva, Mika Hagedorn and Zainab Jafri for their help with the recording.

OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
urbrel (October 23, 2023). Sufi Sites as Oases of Resonance: Jamal Malik on “Architectural Resonance” Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations. Retrieved July 18, 2024 from

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