Sufi, the mystical sect of Islam by Bishwa Nath Singh,Cordinator, Global Peace and Universal Brotherhood.
(.by Bishwa Nath Singh on Friday, May 20, 2011 at 5:01am.)
The very meaning of Sufism is the selfless experiencing and actualization of the truth whereas the substance of Sufism is squarely the truth. The practice of Sufism is the intention to go towards the Truth, by means of love and devotion. This is called the tariqat, the spiritual path or way towards God. The sufi is one who is a perfect lover of truth, who by means of love and devotion moves towards the truth, towards the perfection which all are truly seeking. As necessitated by love's jealousy, the sufi is taken away from all except the Truth. In Sufism, it is by the Tariqat (Spiritual Path) that the self is gradually purified and transformed into Divine Attributes, until there is nothing left of one’s compulsive self. Then all that remains is the perfect divine self. In such extensive and precise work, asceticism and abstinence are virtually worthless. Sufism is basically a religion based on the truth of life. It is a mystic tradition that consists of a varied range of ideas and practices that emphasize on the attainment of divine love and compassion of the heart. In the 14th century, a Sufi saint wrote a book known as the "Principles of Sufism" that defines the essence of Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God". Universal Sufism has been defined by great Sufi masters as a way to travel to the presence of the Divine force and fill oneself with inner beauty and compassion. Read about the teachings and history of Sufi religion. Sufism is said to have been originated near a place called Basra located in Iraq. The Muslims located in this region started off this religion as a path to reach the divine. The divine form who is worshipped in Sufism is Prophet Mohammed and all schools of Sufism consider the Prophet as the manifestation of God. This is one reason why Sufi is considered to have branched from Islam. However, ancient Islamic scriptures have no mention of Sufism in them. Some scholars hold the view that Sufism is the evolution of Islam in a more spiritual and mystic direction. Sufism in its earlier stages was recited and meditated from the Quran India is the land of spiritualism. Some of the major religions of the world have been started over here. Sufism has also been present in India since a long time and even today we find a number of Sufi followers here. Some of the popular Sufi saints of India have been worth remembering. (1) Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti : Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti was one of the most famous Sufi saints in India. He is the founder of the Chishtiya order in India. He was born in Persia and is said to be a direct descendent of Prophet Muhammad. He settled in Ajmer in India from where he preached the principles of Sufism to all. He had a massive following and even today, people irrespective of their religions are adopting his principles of Sufism. Every year, his death anniversary is celebrated in Ajmer at his tomb when thousands of believers gather to pay respect to this great Sufi( saint. 2)Hazrat Nizam-Ud-Din:Another famous Sufi saint of the Chisti order in India was Hazrat Khwaja Nizam-ud-din Auliya, who was popularly known as Hazrat Nizam-ud-Din. His real name was Mohammad and at the age of 20, he became the student of Fariduddin Ganj-i-Shakkar. He was revered saint who is supposed to have been the master of Amir Khusro. His shrine located in Delhi is a popular attraction for Sufi followers. (3)Bulleh Shah:: Baba Bulleh Shah was a revered Sufi saint of India whose real name was Abdullah Shah. He preached his teachings and principles in Punjab. During the time he was at his peak, there was much unrest between Muslims and Sikhs. He preached nothing but the truth and his words of wisdom pacified those affected by the constant tiffs between Muslims and Sikhs. Through his poems, he criticized the orthodox religious systems that were prevalent during his time. His poems were written in Punjabi and Sindhi as these were languages that common people could read and understand..There are various practices in Sufism that form a part of this religion.(a)Dhikr:Dhikr is basically about remembering God for all Sufis. According to Islam, one who engages in Dhikr has awareness of God. It basically includes chanting of God's name and reciting sections of the Quran. It has similarities with the Jewish Merkavah practice of meditation used to attain a higher level of consciousness. This can be done through singing, dance, meditative music, swirling, etc. that finally leads to a trance. (b)Hadhra The Hadhra basically consists of various forms of Dhikr, songs and dances that are used to appeal God and Angels. The word Hadhra is Arabic and it means "Presence". (c) Qawwali: In Sufism, Qawwali is the devotional form of music, which is common in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, etc. The Qawwali is known for its worldly appeal and transcends all bounds and limitations of countries and different regions. Some of the modern day masters of Qawwali are Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Sabri Brothers. and (d) Sama:Sama is an Arabic word which means listening. In Sufis, the holy ritual of whirling dance is known as Sama. It is basically an act of devotion that takes a person to a higher level of consciousness. The right kind of music invokes the right kind of emotion which is elated when one does the whirl dance. This helps in the process of contemplating the divine force. (e)KhalwaKhalwa basically refers to a kind of retreat that a person can experience under the guidance of a Sufi teacher. There is a belief in Sufism that all prophets must have retreated into seclusion at some point of time in order to derive inspiration and divine power. Thus, the Sufis practice retreat in order to concentrate on the divinity of the Almighty. Nevertheless to mention that Shaikh Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani was a Perfect Knower in Sufism and accomplished in asceticism. He is considered to be the Fountainhead of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order and the Wellspring of the Khwajagan (Masters of Central Asia). Shaikh Abdul Jamil, his father, was one of the most famous scholars of his time, and his mother was a princess, the daughter of the King of Seljuk Anatolia. He was born in Ghujdawan, a town near Bukhara (now Uzbekistan). He was a great scholar of Jurisprudence. He established a school of Law in Damascus, which was famous in the region of Central Asia as well as in the Middle East. He was deeply interested in spiritualism. One day while reading the Quran, he came upon the ayat: Call upon your Sustainer humbly, and in the secrecy of your hearts. This prompted him to inquire about the silent dhikr (jikr; jaap, recital or the remembrance of the Almighty). He was the first one in this honorable Sufi Order to use silent dhikr and was later considered the master of silent dhikr. He also coined the principles of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order, which were later adopted by all the Sufi Orders.Let us have glimpse of some important shrines of great sufi saints. (A)Hazrat Shah Turkman Bayabani ‘s shrine is said to be the oldest place in the whole of Old Delhi, as it had been here even before Shah Jahan's new capital city Shahjahanabad was built. Turkman Gate was named after this saint who died in 1240 AD. The saint belonged to a special sect known as Bayabani, who believed in praying and living alone in a secluded place, close to nature, away from the inhabited area. One can very well imagine that this place in the early 13th century must be a densely wooded area quite far from any habitation. The grave is inside this building and is covered with a bright colored cloth and flowers with incense sticks are lighted in a corner. The shrine is quite popular among the local People.Hazrat Sheikh Abu Bakr Tulshi Haideri Kalandari Rahmatullah, was supposed to have come from Iran over 750 years ago. The story goes that one day a thirsty traveller came to him asking for water and the pir offered him water from an earthen pitcher. The traveller then told him that he was suffering from a disease which apparently did not have any cure. The pir said that he would pray for him and when the man returned after some days he was said to have been cured completely of the disease. After the incident, people started thronging the dargah to seek the blessings of the pir. And while they narrated their problems, he would pray for them and the problems would be solved. It is said that the then sultan of Delhi,Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban, was keen to test the powers of the pir. He sent him a platter full of iron balls and mud for a start. It is said that the pir covered the plate and started praying. After a while when he lifted the cover, he found that the iron balls had converted into roasted gram and the mud into gur.The baba then mixed part of the gur with the gram and a part with water which then changed into sweet milk. On account of this even to date, people offer roasted gram, gur ( molasses) and milk in earthen pots after someone’s wish is fulfilled. The baba then was referred to Baba Matka Pir. (b)The saint Hazrat Kalimullah Shah was born in Delhi around 1650 and his father, Sheikh Noorullah, was a well-known astronomer, calligraphist and professor of theology and he studied theology under the guidance of Sheikh Bunharuddin and Sheikh Bahlool, two famous ulemas of the time. After completing his studies, he renounced the world and became a sufi. At the place where the shrine is situated once stood Khanam-ka-bazaar which housed khanqa— a religious abode-cum-inn which was later converted into a college. There are several stories about the miracles performed by the saint including one in which he commanded the Yamuna to behave itself when the river flooded half of Delhi and he was also supposed to cure disease including the blindness of a girl. Across the road from the mazar of Kalimulla Shah, is the shrine of Bhure Shah, another well-known saint while towards the Jama Masjid, the twin shrines of Hare Bhare Sahib and Sarmad Shaheed stand. (c)Hazrat Bibi Fatima Sam is frequently mentioned in the discourses of Shaykh Nizam al Din Awliya' and his disciples. They say that the emperor of the masters, Shaykh Nizam al Din Awliya, frequently meditated in the shrine of Fatima Sam. Shaykh Farid al Din Ganj-I Shakar said , "Fatima Sam is a man sent in the form of woman". Shaykh Nizam al Din said, " When the lion has come out of the forest, nobody asks if it is male or female ; the children of Adam must obey and show respect ,whether it is male or female. Bibi Fatima Sam is buried on the outskirts of Indrapat township. Her shrine has become the place where people go for help with their needs. (d) Shaikh Salim Chisti (1418-1572) was one of the famous Sufi saints of India. Salim Chisti was greatly revered saint, and the Mughal emperor Akbar also kept him in high regard. The legend states that Akbar was not getting any offspring, and he prayed through Salim Chisti. Salim Chisti blessed Akbar, and a son was born to him. He named the child Salim in the memory of Salim Chisti. Salim succeeded Akbar and ruled in the name of Jahangir. Tomb of Salim Chisti: a white marble encased tomb within the Jama Masjid's courtyard situated in FATEH PUR SIKRI of U.P. State of India has become a place of pilgrimage where more than thousands people visit every day to offer their obeisance to the shrine.There are many shrines like that of ALA HAZRAT was a prominent Muslim Alim from Bareilly, a city in Northern India during the late 19th and early 20th centuries whose tomb is located in Bareilly of U.P. State of India. Marehra has been the heart throb of millions of Sunni Muslims around the world right from the time of Mughal emperor Jehangir. The great seer and the direct descendant of the Holy Prophet, Mir Abdul Jaleel Bilgrami settled in Marehra around eleventh century and his spiritual circle covered the entire region of Braj (from Agra to Bareilly), Rohailkhand (from Bareilly to Kanpur), Awadh (from Kanpur to Kalpi) and Bundel Khand (from Kalpi to Jhansi). His was a dynasty of established scholars, well recognized poets in Braj, Hindustani, Urdu, Persian and Arabic. It is also noted that Bahraich in U.P.State of India is very famous because of the Dargah of Ghazi Syed Salar Masood, a famous eleventh century Islamic saint and soldier. His Dargah is a place for reverence for Muslims and Hindus alike. It was built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq. It is believed that people taking bath in the water of this Dargah become free of all skin diseases. The annual festival (Urs) at the Dargah ( tomb) is attended by thousands of people coming from far-off places of the country. Besides them, there are many sufi shrines spread round Mumbai and other places in the country who have become place for pilgrimage for all people belonging to different religions and faiths. Let us join to pay our humble obeisance to the lotus feet of all Sufi saints and their shrines scattered round the country and seek their bliss for well-being of all living –being of this universe!
(Photos-four . (1)Tomb of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (2)Tomb of Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (3)Sufi Saints. and (4)A Portrait of Sufi Saint
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
The contribution of the Indian Sufis to society has been great in fostering unity amongst people belonging to different religions and faiths. They had dedicated their entire life to struggle to find a unity for the heterogeneous elements t...hat make up its totality. They had appreciated the multi-racial, multi-religious and multilingual pattern of Indian society and, to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s words, ‘set at naught all differences of men, by the overflow of their consciousness of God’. For them God was not a logical abstraction of unity, but a living reality who can be approached through the service of mankind. Their efforts were, therefore, directed towards the creation of a healthy social order free from dissensions, discords and conflicts. It was a Herculean task but they undertook it as a divine mission. In love, faith, toleration and sympathy they found the supreme talisman of human happiness. Shaikh Nizam-u’d-din Auliya often cited in his assemblies a remark of Shaikh Abu Sa’id Abul Khair (born in. 1049) that though there were myriads of routes and roads leading to God, none was quicker and more effective than bringing happiness to the hearts of men. Ibn Battuta found in Damascus a trust which existed for providing balm to afflicted hearts.lLet us join to pay our humble obeisanceto the lotus feet of all Sufi Saints who strived hard to bring unity amongst people even in diversities and seek their bliss for well-being of all living-being of this universe!
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Bishwa Nath Singh
The very meaning of Sufism is the selfless experiencing and actualization of the truth whereas the substance of Sufism is squarely the truth. The practice of Sufism is the intention to go towards the Truth, by means of love and devotion.
..( Photo of a book written on Sufism)
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.Bishwa Nath Singh:
@Anirudha Ji.The whole write-up is on Sufism.Sant Kabir had established Kabirpanth -a sect with difference to Sufism hence his name was not included.
Sd Sharma :
Lekin aaj jo singers Sufi geet gate hain, voh Sufism ka matlab bhi nahin janate. Voh to bas itana janate hain ki is tarah ke gaane gaane se unhen achhi kamayi ho jati ha iphir paisa chahe desh se aaye ya videsh se aaye.