While Wahabiyat closes all the doors and windows on intellectual thinking, Sufism encourages freedom of opinion and unity with God. For Sufis, discrimination on the basis of race, religion, colour or creed, is ungodly.
EVERY THURSDAY, thousands of Sufi shrines across the country come to life as rich and poor, men and women, old and young, scholars and the ignorant, Hindus and Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, transvestites and ganja-smoking dancers come together to speak out their hearts in tacit communication; to pray and party with hope and faith. They arrive with different identities but they leave with one message – love.
Today when a bearded, gun-toting, salwar kameez attired soldier with bombs and fierce hate in his eyes has become a mascot for Muslims, it is still possible to discover the places and people where coolness of mind and body prevails. In the past decade, especially since 9/11, the Islamic world has been witnessing the falling popularity of Wahhabbism (so-called radical Islam) and the powerful resurgence of Sufi culture. It is a blunt response to the literalism and ethical bankruptcy of the Wahabiyat followed by Taleban, Sipa-e-Sahaba and Lashkar like organisations.
While Wahabiyat closes all doors and windows on intellectual thinking, Sufism encourages freedom of opinion and unity with God. For Sufis, discrimination on the basis of race, religion, colour or creed is ungodly. Intellectual development and creativity in cultural spheres are the hallmark of the Sufi movement. Sufism (mystic consciousness) calls for peaceful co-existence of all faiths.
The Urs is a congregation for a Sufi saint’s death anniversary. It is not an occasion to mourn but to rejoice. In Sufi doctrine death or ‘fana’ becomes a source of ‘baqa’ or ‘eternity’.“Duniya ki taraf peeth kara, to khuda ki taraf munh hota hai (If you turn your back to the world you will face God),” was the message of Khwaja of Ajmer. The infinite generosity of the lodge (an abode for lovers of God) is the polar opposite of the world of everyday greed and corruption. Khwaja Ajmeri was the disciple of Khwaja Abu Abdel Chisti and came to India with the army of Shihab-ud-Din Ghauri in 1192 AD and made Ajmer his final worldly destination.As the story goes, when Hazrat Waris Ali Shah of Deva Sahrief came to Ajmer, he took off his shoes and did not put them on throughout his life.
Khwaja Ajmeri was himself a great devotee of Hazrat Imam Hussain who was martyred in Karbala (Iraq) 1400 years ago fighting against the tyrant Ummaiyad ruler Yezid. During his life, Khwaja was a symbol of love and amity between all religions and he inspires the same feeling even after his death.