Sufism Meets the New Age Discourse Part 2

Ethnography among the Nasqhbandiyya-Haqqaniyya in Italy


  • Francesco Piraino Ca’ Foscari University of Venice



Sufism, New Age, Islam, Eschatology, Esotericism, Discourse, Naqshbandiyya-Ḥaqqāniyya, contemporary Italian religion


In the first part of this two-part article it was argued that the New Age could be understood as a discourse instead of a movement, a modality of belief, or a set of doctrines. It identified the key elements of this discourse, stressing the differences from other religious discourses, such as esotericism. In the second part of this article, the conceptualization of the New Age as discourse will be applied to the Sufi order Naqshbandiyya-Haqqaniyya in the Italian context. The main aim is to understand how this Sufi order has been influenced by the New Age, shaping its doctrines, rituals, practices and organizational structures. This article will show that the coexistence between the Islamic tradition and the New Age discourse entails internal tensions and ambivalences, coexistence and tensions that are justified and mitigated by the Naqshbandi millennialism. This article challenges the dichotomous conceptualizations of Islamic/non-Islamic contemporary Sufism influenced by the New Age, stressing both its continuities and discontinuities.

Author Biography

Francesco Piraino, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Francesco Piraino obtained his Ph.D. in Sociology in 2016 at the Scuola Normale Superiore (Florence) and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), and he was Marie Curie Research Fellow at KU Leuven. He is currently postdoctoral scholar at the IDEMEC-CNRS (Institut d'ethnologie méditerranéenne, européenne et comparative) and he is the director of the Centre of Comparative Studies on Spiritualties and Civilisations at the Cini Foundation in Venice. He has recently published Global Sufism Reconfiguring Boundaries, Structures and Politics with Mark Sedgwick for Hurst, and for the Journals Religiologiques, Social CompassCritical Research on Religion, and Correspondences.


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How to Cite

Piraino, F. (2022). Sufism Meets the New Age Discourse Part 2: Ethnography among the Nasqhbandiyya-Haqqaniyya in Italy. International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 11(2), 235–256.