Religion Past and Present

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Zār Cult
(104 words)

[German Version]

In Sudan, Egypt, and (through migration) some countries of the Persian Gulf region, cults centered on possession and healing (Sickness and healing: II), which probably originated in sub-Saharan Africa, are called Zār cults, a term deriving from the Arabic verb zāra, “visit.” Today Zār is found primarily in the rural areas of these countries or in the traditional quarters of the large cities. It is practiced primarily by women of Muslim but also Christian background who are exposed to strong social pressures.


I.M. Lewis et al., eds., Women’s Med…

Cite this page
Heine, Peter, “Zār Cult”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 17 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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