By Abbas Haider Jafri:
Dismissing outright the contention of conversion was forcible, Eaton ascribes it to the influence of living qazis and buried saints, arguing that the shrines of saints who had died, exercise a great hold on population then a living saint.
There is much support to Eaton’s contention. The Sultan could vanquish the Raja, but he could not vanquish the Sadhu. To meet the Indian people at the spiritual level, a Sufi was needed. As we have seen, Khwaja Moinudin chishti could enter the domain of Prithviraj Chohan before Ghauri. The sword of Sultan was a double edged. It created the political space for conversion and simultaneously created ill-will among Hindus, not a sentiment inductive of a change in religion. So an impetus of change was created in reality by the love, harmony and kindness of Sufis. (Writes Mr. Kazmi in his book Concise History of Pakistan Oxford publication in chapter of conversion from Hindus to Muslim)
The word Sufi is derived from the word Safa, meaning purity in Arabic. Sufis are mystics who aim for a closer union with a God. The earliest historical figure to be identified as a Sufi was Hasan Al Basri ( 728 A.D) reputedly a disciple of Imam and caliph Ali Ibne Abi Talib. It was the figure of Ali which encouraged Sufis to be called Wali ( plural Awlia). Leaving the luxuries, flamboyance and extravagance of the world and leading the life of austerity, humbleness and chasteness are the hallmark of Sufism. Sufism is the aspect of Islam which makes me proud of being a Muslim. Sufism is the feather in Islam’s cap and no doubt Sufis are the protagonists of Islam and cultural heritage of sub-continent.
I am vivified when I see Amir Khusro`s contribution to the music. Khusro composed new ragas, he was hailed as a Nayak, one proficient in theory and practice of past and present music. He contributed equally to the evolution of folk music and Qawwali, the devotional Sufi music. He is also credited with inventing, among the other instruments, the sitar .It makes me ebullient when I see the likes of Madhu Lal Hussein, his name was Shah Hussein but he is known to the world as Madhu Lal Hussein. It was because Shah Hussein’s love for a Hindu boy Madhu Lal that they both are often referred to as a single person. Madho`s tomb lies next to Hussein’s in the shrine. This shows how Muslim Sufis were cheek by jowl with other religions like Hinduism. We are lovers of humanity our ancestors have shown this, we do not make differences on the basis of religion. I feel elated when I see the glory of Sakhi Shahbaz Qalandar, I see the people of every class, creed, caste and religion on his shrine together, dancing( dhamaals) , singing( qasidas) and giving the message of peace and harmony. There are no differences; everyone is welcomed with open arms. It makes me complacent when I see poor people from every section of society getting three times a day free of cost food( Langar) from the tomb of Data Ganj Bakhsh. These shrines are not only the sanctified graves but they are also institutions of social welfare. Likewise, the teachings of every saint or ascetic when came to light made me aware of serene ingenuity of my religion.
I am a Pakistani who is proud to have such a garish and eclectic cultural history of awlia Allah and Sufis. I am a Muslim and I am not a terrorist. My ancestors were not terrorists. They were the source of enlightenment to the whole world. They were ultra modern in providing me with the heritage of poetry, music, dance and the prodigious monuments. I represent Pakistan, my land is the symbol of love, it is the symbol of affection, it is the symbol of kindness, and it is the symbol of peace and friendship.
And I disown and curse the elements spreading hatred to mankind, whatever their religion may be. I lament over the killings of innocent. I anathemise over those who desecrated the grave of Rehman Baba, who attacked on the shrine of Data Ganj Baksh, Bari Imam and Hussein Shah Ghazi. I bemoan over the attacks on Mosques, Imam Bargahs, churches and temples. I execrate those who are killing the Hazara community. I detach myself from those who killed hundreds of Iraqi children, for killing two American soldiers who came to distribute candies among the children in the school. Pity on the bestial mindset which killed Salman Taseer and on General Jihad Molvi Zia Ul Haq during the reign of whom a blind girl was stoned to death, her only mistake was that she was raped but was unable to provide four pious Muslims as witnesses. Consequently, she was charged of adultery and stoned to death in the cover of Hadood Ordinance.
Mysticism is one of the surreal abstracts of Islam. Many people consider mysticism as heavenly abode for their soles and it gives them some surreptitious cherishment.
I am a Muslim and disown, refute, curse and condemn any tinge of hatred, bigotry and rigidity. My religion is the religion of the Saints who devoted their lives for humanity, who worked for the betterment of society, who never differentiated people on the basis of religion. I tell the world that there are some surly goons who have entered in a peaceful religion and are contaminating it. We don’t belong to these philistines but we belong to the hollowed saints and their secular teachings.
Our book Holy Quran Says
:There is no compulsion in religion ( Q2:256)
And if thy Lord willed, all who are in the earth would have believed together. Wouldn’t thou( Muhammad) compel men until they are believers?( Q10:99)