The Mediatization of Sufism: A Content Analysis of Urdu Newspapers
Keywords:Sufism, Islamic Mysticism, South Punjab, Media and Religion, Newspapers
This research intends to examine and analyze the coverage of Sufism in Urdu newspapers of South Punjab, Pakistan. For this purpose, our study applied qualitative measures to investigate feature writings of national newspapers published from the city of saints, Multan. To provide a comprehensive picture of Sufi publications, this study analyzed special editions printed at the occasions of ‘Urs’ in three leading newspapers, Jang, Nawa-i-Waqt and Khabrain, to contribute to the contemporary studies of religion and news press. We randomly selected two years of new millennium to examine the content and presentation of Sufism in print media. In this period, 27 editions were published to cover prominent local and foreign Sufis. The study found that most of the publications focused on hagiographical writings, however, on some extent, we found features of Sufi poetry and its explanations as well. These writings presented Sufis’ religious, social and political achievements, and spiritual triumphs to disseminate Sufist ideology among the folks. Paying tribute to Sufis, these writings drew a holy picture of saints and presented them as successful men of mundane and eternal life. In this background, this research study, with its results, is an important addition for better understanding of the association of religion and media.
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