Sufism and Cultural Integration

    By Amir Hussain Tehsini for Times Headline.com

    The basal fact that Islam is not a monolithic religion is evident in its evolution in the Indian subcontinent. The majority of the Muslims in India have historically followed the Sufi strain of Islam, which is liberal and spiritual — it is not based on the outer trappings of Islam but focused on the inner essentials of the religion. Over the centuries of co-existence and cultural intermingling, there emerged a mixed and mosaic-like Hindu-Muslim culture in the Indian Subcontinent. Sufi saints like Khwaja Moin-ud-Deen Hasan Chishti popularly known as Ghareeb Nawaaz of Ajmer, Mahboob-e-Ilahi Auliya of Delhi came to be with equal reverence by Hindus and Muslims alike for their simplicity, mystic powers and the role they played in spreading compassion and harmony.

    The Hindu community appear to be greatly attracted by the ideas of social equality and fraternity of Islam, to witness the evidence of this fact one should visit Ajmer Shareef where millions belonging to other communities gather to find a spiritual shelter in the veil of Ghareeb Nawaz. Thus the simplicity, toleration and liberation of the Sufis in India led to a sort of cultural synthesis.

    Such cultural adaptations would be considered absolutely heretical by the Wahhabi school of thought to which ISIS subscribes.

    Even the domestic Barelvi school of Islam which is an interpretation of the global Sufi Islam in India has rejected the fanatic ideology, On 10th Dec, 2015 a U.K based newspaper ‘Independent’ reported- during an annual religious congregation in Bareilly (U.P) more than 70,000 Barelvi-Sufi clerics issued a Fatwa against ‘terrorism’ and rejected the Wahhabi cult of Islam, this Fatwa is a modern day version of Fatawa Hussam al’Haramain- The Sword of two sanctuaries on the slaughter point of blasphemy ,written 100 years back by the Barelvi leader Aalahazrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi against the radical ideologies.

    India is a place where Indus Valley the world’s oldest civilization flourished and prospered, thus it’s among the very few places on earth where there is so much diversity in culture. It’s an honor to be a citizen of such a Multicultural Nation where Religions having different ethnic identities and values come together meet each other under one name one culture and one identity, this is India, though we are different, our practices differ instead we are one, despite our beliefs differ we share same values towards humanity, Our constitution gives us every right to follow our religious identity freely, wherever, whenever and anywhere the way we like, intolerance whether from inside in the name of politics or outside in the name of extremist ideologies will never achieve any support of the Indian Muslims, their reluctance to resort to extremism is grounded in its civilization, roots of harmony, tolerance, mysticism and diversity.

    This feature story has been contributed to TimesHeadline.com by Amir Hussain Tehsini.
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