Three-year-old Sufi Dervish dancer Anas al-Kharrat dances at his home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
Three-year-old Sufi Dervish dancer Anas al-Kharrat dances at his home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
AFP Photo

In Syria, members of the Kharrat family are one of the largest Damascene families trying to preserve the Sufi whirling ritual aka Semazen often performed in public during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Whirling -- a sort of moving meditation through which Sufis seek to commune with the divine -- sees performers twirl to the hypnotic rhythm of prayer until they reach a trance-like state. The ritual is particularly popular in Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkey.

(L to R) Sufi Dervish dancers Yasser, Anas, and Muayad al-Kharrat, members of the Kharrat family, dance at a restaurant in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 5, 2021.
(L to R) Sufi Dervish dancers Yasser, Anas, and Muayad al-Kharrat, members of the Kharrat family, dance at a restaurant in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 5, 2021.
AFP Photo
Sufi Dervish dancer Mahmoud al-Kharrat (R), 34, applauds other members of his family as they dance at a courtyard in their house in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
Sufi Dervish dancer Mahmoud al-Kharrat (R), 34, applauds other members of his family as they dance at a courtyard in their house in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
AFP Photo
Sufi Dervish dancer Muayad al-Kharrat, 28, dances with his lit dress at a restaurant in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 5, 2021.
Sufi Dervish dancer Muayad al-Kharrat, 28, dances with his lit dress at a restaurant in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 5, 2021.
AFP Photo
Sufi Dervish dancer Muayad al-Kharrat, 28, dances with his lit dress at a restaurant in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 5, 2021.
Sufi Dervish dancer Muayad al-Kharrat, 28, dances with his lit dress at a restaurant in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 5, 2021.
AFP Photo
Three-year-old Sufi Dervish dancer Anas al-Kharrat dances with his family members at a restaurant in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 5, 2021.
Three-year-old Sufi Dervish dancer Anas al-Kharrat dances with his family members at a restaurant in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 5, 2021.
AFP Photo
Three-year-old Sufi Dervish dancer Anas al-Kharrat dances at his home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
Three-year-old Sufi Dervish dancer Anas al-Kharrat dances at his home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
AFP Photo
Sufi Dervish dancer Muayad al-Kharrat (behind), 28, dances with his three-year-old son Anas (front) by their home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
Sufi Dervish dancer Muayad al-Kharrat (behind), 28, dances with his three-year-old son Anas (front) by their home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
AFP Photo
Sufi Dervish dancers of the Kharrat family don their costumes at their home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
Sufi Dervish dancers of the Kharrat family don their costumes at their home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
AFP Photo
Sufi Dervish dancers of the Kharrat family don their costumes at their home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
Sufi Dervish dancers of the Kharrat family don their costumes at their home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021.
AFP Photo
Sufi Dervish dancer Mahmoud al-Kharrat (C top), his brother Muayad (R behind), Muayads son Anas (C below) and other members of the Kharrat family pose for a picture in costume at their home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021
Sufi Dervish dancer Mahmoud al-Kharrat (C top), his brother Muayad (R behind), Muayads son Anas (C below) and other members of the Kharrat family pose for a picture in costume at their home in the Shahgur district of the old city of Syrias capital Damascus on May 6, 2021
AFP Photo

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