In the following Farsi couplet Hazrat Amir Khusro has described the philosophy of Sufism (Tasawwuf) in nutshell:
“Mun tu shudam tu mun shudi,
Mun tun shudam tu jaan shudi.
Taakas na goyad baad azeen,
Mun deegaram tu deegari.”
I have become you, and you me,
I am the body, you soul;
So that no one can say hereafter,
That you are someone, and me someone else.
It is about the relationship between humans and God. In the shortest words this concept is known as ‘Waḥdat al-wujūd’ which literally means the “Unity of Existence” or “Unity of Being”. There is another concept of Waḥdat ash-shuhūd, meaning “Apparentism” or “Unity of Witness.” It holds that God and his creation are entirely separate. As this essay is a peroration with a political backdrop, it would be necessary to avoid the anthropological, social, historical and ethical domains of the subject. The scribe is taking for granted that most of readers, all well known to Amir Khusro – the father of Urdu and Hindi languages. This topic covered here needs dossiers to do justice. This is just a preface.
In the just concluded ‘Sufi Conference’ in Delhi, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his views about Sufism in the following terms:
“Welcome to a land that is a timeless fountain of peace, and an ancient source of traditions and faiths, which has received and nurtured religions from the world. Welcome to people with an abiding belief in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the World is one family. A belief in harmony with the message of Holy Quran that mankind were one community, then they differed among themselves. A creed echoed in the words of the great Persian Sufi poet Saadi, written in the United Nations, that human beings come from the same source: We are one family. Welcome to the ancient city of Delhi – built by the genius of diverse peoples, cultures and faiths.Like our nation, the city’s heart has place for every faith, from those with few followers to those with billion believers. This is an extraordinary event of great importance to the world, at a critical time for humanity.
At a time when the dark shadow of violence is becoming longer, you are the noor, or the light of hope. When young laughter is silenced by guns on the streets, you are the voice that heals.
In a world that struggles to assemble for peace and justice, this is an assembly of those whose life itself is a message of peace, tolerance and love. You speak different languages, but they blend together in a message of harmony.
And, you represent the rich diversity of the Islamic civilization that stands on the solid bedrock of a great religion.
It is a civilization that reached great heights by the 15th century in science, medicine, literature, art, architecture and commerce. It drew on the immense talents of its people and also Islam’s engagement with diverse civilizations – ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Africa; the Persian, Central Asian and Caucasian lands; the region of East Asia; and, with Buddhism and Indian philosophy and science. As it enriched itself, it also enriched the world.
It set, once again, an enduring lesson of human history: it is through openness and enquiry, engagement and accommodation, and respect for diversity that humanity advances, nations progress and the world prospers.
And, this is the message of Sufism, one of the greatest contributions of Islam to this world.
And, in that spiritual and mystical enquiry, Sufis experienced the universal message of Almighty.
For the Sufis, therefore, service to God meant service to humanity. Above all, Sufism is a celebration of diversity and pluralism, expressed in the words of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, that every people has its own path of truth, beliefs and focus of reverence.
These words reflect the divine message to the Holy Prophet that there is no compulsion in religion; And also that to every people we have appointed ways of worship which they observe.
And, it is in harmony with the soul of the Bhakti saint’s saying in the Hindu tradition, “Into the bosom of the one great sea, Flow streams that come from hills on every side.”
Its message is beyond the confines of schools and sects. It’s a spiritual quest that traces its origin from the Holy Prophet and the fundamental values of Islam, which literally means peace.
And, it reminds us that when we think of the 99 names of Allah, none stand for force and violence, and that the first two names denote compassionate and merciful. Allah is Rahman and Raheem.
Sufism is the voice of peace, co-existence, compassion and equality; a call to universal brotherhood. Sufism blossomed in India’s openness and pluralism. It engaged with her spiritual tradition, and evolved its own Indian ethos. And, it helped shape a distinct Islamic heritage of India. It helped strengthen the inclusive culture that is our great nation’s immense contribution to the cultural tapestry of this world. If India is not paradise, how could it be made the abode of the peacock, the bird of paradise?”
It is this spirit of Sufism, the love for their country and the pride in their nation that define the Muslims in India. They reflect the timeless culture of peace, diversity and equality of faith of our land. They are steeped in the democratic tradition of India, confident of their place in the country and invested in the future of their nation;
And, above all, they are shaped by the values of the Islamic heritage of India. It upholds the highest ideals of Islam and has always rejected the forces of terrorism and extremism.
As a nation, we stood against colonialism and in our struggle for freedom.
The tallest of our leaders, such as Maulana Azad, and important spiritual leaders, such as Maulana Hussain Madani, and millions and millions of ordinary citizens, rejected the idea of division on the basis of religion.
Now, India is moving forward on the strength of the struggles, the sacrifices, the bravery, the knowledge, the skill, the art and the pride of every member of every faith in our diverse and yet united nation.
Let me paraphrase what I have said before: Terrorism divides and destroys us. Indeed, when terrorism and extremism have become the most destructive force of our times, the message of Sufism has global relevance. Terrorism uses diverse motivations and causes, none of which can be justified. Terrorists distort a religion whose cause they profess to support. They kill and destroy more in their own land and among their own people than they do elsewhere.
As I have said before, we must reject any link between terrorism and religion. Those who spread terror in the name of religion are anti-religious.
And, we must advance the message of Sufism that stands for the principles of Islam and the highest human values. The values of harmony, welfare, compassion and love for human beings are the foundation of a just society. That is the principle behind my creed of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikaas”. And, these values are important to preserve and nurture diversity in our societies.
Diversity is a basic reality of Nature and source of richness of a society; and, it should not be a cause of discord. We need just not constitutional provisions or legal safeguards, but also social values to build an inclusive and peaceful society, in which everyone belongs, secure about his rights and confident of her future.
So, let us remember the teaching of Holy Quran that if anyone slew one innocent person, it would be as if he slew a whole people; if anyone saved one life, it would be as if he saved a whole people. Let us remember the infinite humanism in Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi’s words, “Contain all human faces in your own, without any judgment of them.”
And, Guru Nanak Devji’s prayer that Lord, may everyone in the world prosper and be in peace. Let us be inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s appeal against divisions and for people of all religions to hold the banner of harmony, not of dispute. Let us also reaffirm the enduring message of Ahimsa of Lord Buddha and Mahavira.
And, from this forum, in this land of Gandhi. And, of timeless prayers that always end with invocation of Om Shanti; Shanti; Shanti: Peace, Peace, Peace,; Peace within and in the world.
Let us, therefore, send a message to the world:
A melody of harmony and humanity
The embrace of diversity, the spirit of oneness
Of service with compassion and generosity,
A resolve against terrorism, a rejection of extremism
And, a determination to advance peace
Let us challenge the forces of violence with the kindness of our love and universal human values. And lastly, Let us restore the light of hope and turn this world into a garden of peace.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for what you stand for. Thank you for the role you are playing in building a better world. Thank you very much, Thanks a lot.”…The End
The Indian prime minister’s presence at the inaugural function of the World Sufi Forum is being considered in many circles as an outreach to Muslims and a bid to ease concerns that Bharatiya Janata Party is pursuing a Hindu revivalist agenda. It was well written, well delivered document of erudition and would be remembered as one of the finest speeches of Mr. Modi’s career. It was qualitatively and quantitatively superior to his other speech delivered at ‘Art of Living’ festival.
With all the reservations about CRONY Spiritualism as well the politics’ encroachment and infringement into the domain of religion for ulterior motives, I loved what he said.
Unfortunately, the very first reaction sends a chill through my spine. Instead of taking his message forward, the Sangh Parivar objected to Deputy Commissioner AB Ibrahim’s name being on the invite and showing him as one of the hosts of the temple event. The Sangh Parivar said that printing his name on the invitation goes against the Endowment Act, the report states. The Parivar has been quoted as saying that they do not want a Muslim to invite devotees to the temple. “This is a clear violation of the Endowment Act which says a non-Hindu cannot be involved in the temple’s affairs.” A DC could be a guest, but not a host.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Shakunthala Shetty has asked officials to settle the issue and warned that she will print new invitation cards without the officer’s name otherwise. Shetty told the daily that she would not give in to pressure from saffron outfits but that she did want confusion during the celebrations. She reportedly said, “I have asked officials to get a new invitation card printed. If they don’t, I will myself have the new cards printed without mentioning the Deputy Commissioner’s name.” According to BJP local leader, Ibrahim was neither the Executive Officer nor the administrator of the temple. So he could be a guest but not a host.
Bizarre though may seem, but the only analogy to drawn from the above episode is that you can’t change the atmospherics of the country if you fly on the wings of words but you do not believe in them honestly and sincerely. The sheer dazzle of occasions and events can be meteoric at best and the effects could be fleeting without leaving a positive impression.
“Shaktiman” – the army jewel of horse is struggling for life after the criminal attack. Jats are preparing for the next round of their reservation demand. The Uttrakhand Congress Government is about to fall like house of cards. The Haryana’s BJP government is threatening to throttle the supply of drinking water to Delhi and BJP’s stalwarts are preparing a list of those deserve extradition of those who refuse to say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai.”
It is the time of REALITY CHECK for Shri Narendra Modi. Your message is not percolating down your own cadres of party. The ordinary citizen is a far cry.
By Naim Naqvi