Shab-e-Barat (Laylatul Bara’at): Is it Incompatible With True Islam?

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi

Every moment, second, minute, hour, day or night that is spent in the submission and obedience to Allah, the Almighty and His beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) is exceedingly meaningful and highly valuable. But there are some specific days, nights and months, which have their own weight due to extra importance attached to them. Among those nights, is Shab-e-Bar’at that is the best of all nights after Laylat ul Quadr or Shab-e-Bara’at in the estimation of Allah.

How and Why Muslims Celebrate Shab-e-Bara’at?

Therefore, devoted Muslims of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan celebrate the Shab-e-Bar’at on the 15th day of Sha’aban. Although this night is not celebrated in the Arab countries, Shab-e-Bar’at also known as Laylat ul Quadr or Laylat ul Nisf min Sha’aban is a traditional Islamic festival in the South Asia.

This year, Shab-e-Bar’at will be celebrated on the 24th of June, 2013. The celebration generally includes worshipping Allah throughout the night, asking for His forgiveness, reciting the Quran and making a great deal of supplication to Allah, the Almighty. Since the night is believed to be full of divine bounties and spiritual blessings, Muslims customarily clean and decorate their houses with chains of lights and candles. Symbolizing the especial grace of God bestowed on this night, the clusters of decorated houses look very beautiful in the shimmering lights. As lightening is a clear sign of rejoicing divine bounties, it is done as an expression of gratitude to Allah, the Almighty who bestows uncountable rewards and blessings on His worshippers especially on this night. It is also a kind of salute to Him, as it is established by scores of authentic Islamic sources that on this night God writes the destiny of all living creatures for the upcoming year. Muslims with a good festive spirit add to their delights by arranging sweets and sending them to their relatives and friends. Some people organize delicious feasts and invite others to their houses to eat together. Thus, they endeavour, on this night, to adopt the noble Islamic behavioural beauty of “Sila Rahmi” (Maintaining bonds of kinship) in their daily lives. Islam has given it paramount importance as the Prophet is reported to have said:

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should maintain the bonds of kinship” (Bukhari)

Among the most prevalent customs to celebrate this night are giving in charity, distributing clothes, foods and other commodities of daily use to the poor and needy. Thus the observance of this night sets good examples of Islamic righteousness mentioned as “Birr” in the Quran, which carries huge weight in the estimation of Allah and earns His immense pleasure. This concept of ‘Birr’ is beautifully illustrated in the Holy Quran:

It is not Birr (righteousness) that you turn your faces (in prayer) towards East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in God and the Last day, and the Angels and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your wealth – in spite of your love for it – for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God – minded (Qur’an, 2:177).

So, this is how the night of mid Sha’ban is celebrated by mainstream Muslims especially in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Keeping in view the above norms, the core essence of celebrating Shab-e-Bar’at can be summed up in three fundamentals of Islamic worship: Ibaadat (Worshipping God), Sila Rahmi (Maintaining bonds of Kinship) and Birr (acts of righteousness). All the above-mentioned ways of celebrating the night exhort us, in one way or the other, to fulfil our duties towards both our Lord and fellow human beings. While the sleepless night spent in various forms of worship is a gratitude to God, giving in charity, helping the needy, sending sweets to friends and relatives, inviting others to the feasts and things like these are, obviously, effective means to maintain bonds of kinship and attain righteousness. These are the clear objectives of celebrating Shab-e-Bar’at as intended by millions of South-Asian Muslims today.

Wahabi View on this Celebration:

But what can we do when our Wahabi zealots and Salafi puritans declare everything we do as shirk (heresy) and Bida’ah (innovation)? They reject our religious congregations and Islamic celebrations outright even if they are observed with complete regard to the Qur’an and Hadith. The same holds true to the celebration of Laylat ul Quadr (known as Shab-e-Barat in the Indian subcontinent). Despite its having been authenticated and scrutinized by scores of Sahih Hadiths approved by their own imams such as Sheikh Al-Bani, a renowned scholar of Hadith, Wahabis are hell bent on classing it as Bida’ah. Their argument is; since it is not observed in Wahabi-influenced Arab, so it should be banned in all parts of the world. But mainstream Muslims, particularly Indian Muslims are not too naive to tolerate the Wahabi Arabisation of their religion and culture!

Recently, we caught up with an article titled as: Shab-e-Bar’at: Haqiqat Kya hai? (Shab-e-Bar’at: What is the reality?) By Muhammad Asif Iqbal, New Delhi, published and circulated in several Urdu newspapers of India including Jadeed Khabar and Sahafat, published from New Delhi. The crux of the argument in this article is that the celebration of Shab-e-Bara’at has no basis or authority in Islam and it is nothing more than an innovation which was started after the demise of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The writer says in the second Para of this article:

“The reality is that Muslim Ummah today has given this night the status of a celebration associating with it a number of specific customs and rites that they observe with strong faith and gaiety. Just as Muharram (the first Islamic month) has been made a number one celebration, similarly the night of mid Shaban is observed as a number two celebration. But in fact, it is a false and man-made celebration. Neither it is mentioned in the Quran nor does Hadith approve of it. Similarly, we don’t find any mention of it in the history of Sahaba (Prophet’s Companions) or any approval by our clergy of earliest Islamic period. Obviously, Islam is not a religion of celebrations.” (Page no.3, Daily Jadeed Khabar, New Delhi, Friday 21, June, 2013)

He goes on to the extent of declaring it a custom of Iranian fire worshippers (known as Baramikah). In a bid to prove his point, he concocts a baseless story that goes like this: “the celebration of Shab-e-Bar’at was first invented by the Iranian fire worshippers who entered Islam in the 132th year of al-Hijrah, when Banu Abbas made alliance with Iranians and other Ajamis (non-Arabs) hatching a conspiracy to take over the Umayyad caliphate that was backed by Arab militants. Though the Iranians had embraced Islam, but their inbuilt love for the fire could not evade. Therefore, they sought to keep worshipping fire by innovating a custom of lightening the mosques. When Banu Abbas took over the Umayyad caliphate, they allied with the newly converted non-Arab Muslims. As a result, many Iranians reached the big posts of the government. Baramikah were given such high positions in the Islamic state that Khalid Barmaki was made a minister. When he died in 163 AH, the Caliph Haroon al-Rashid appointed his son Yahya as the minister of Baramikah. Since Baramikah were fire worshippers in their early days, their minister Yahya invented a weird custom of lightening sacred fire in the era of Caliph Haroon al-Rashid. Associating some good deeds with the mid night of Shaban, he innovated the custom of lightening on this night. The objective behind his lightening was to evoke love and respect for the fire in the hearts of people. It was he who innovated the Bida’ah of lightening in mosques so that his people could worship the fire. Thus, the custom of firing and lightening in Islam was started 150 years after its advent. With the passage of time, it continued with various forms and changes. Today, the new shape of this custom is before our eyes.” (Page no.3, Daily Jadeed Khabar, New Delhi, Friday 21, June, 2013)

Refutation:

The Holy Qur’an States: “Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind].” (44:3)

Although the majority of the Qur’an exegetes consider the “blessed night” in the above verses to refer to the Night of Decree which is considered to be in the month of Ramadan, some commentaries also mention that this “blessed night” may be that of mid-Sha`ban. This view is based on the scores of Ahadith about the great merits of the latter. Consequently, a great number of the Quranic exegetes and scholars of Hadith have unanimously agreed upon the observance of this night. The famous scholar of Islam, juristic expert and the approved exegete of the Quran Imam Suyuti writes: “As for the night of mid-Sha`ban, it has great merit and it is desirable (Mustahab) to spend part of it in supererogatory worship.” [Haqiqat al-sunna wa al-bida’t aw al-Amr bi al-Ittiba` wa al-Nahi `an al-Ibtida Page No. 58]

Authentic Ahadith about the merits of Shab-e-Bara’at

Usually the Wahhabis/Salafis/Ahle Hadith are seen claiming that all Hadiths about the merits of Shab-e-Bar’at are “Daeef” (Weak). First of all, the Hadith of Ibn Habban is termed as “SAHIH” by classical scholars of this technical Islamic science. Even if any follower of such groups does not believe in the classical scholars of Hadith, here is a compelling evidence from the Salafi/Wahhabi so-called Mujaddid of the last century and a reputed scholar of Hadith, Nasir ud Din Albani. He declared Hadiths of 15th Shabaan as “Sahih” (authentic). See: (Silsilat ul-Ahadith-as Sahiha, Nasir ud din Albani, Volume No. 3, Page No. 135)

Among the Hadiths stressing the importance of 15th Sha`ban (Laylat al-Quadr) is the following:

(1) Narrated by Aisha (r.a), I missed Allah’s Messenger during the night and found him in al-Baqui’. He said: Were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger would deal unjustly with you? I said: Allah’s Messenger, I thought that you had gone to some of your other wives. He (the Prophet) said: Verily Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, comes down to the heaven of the world in “the middle night of Sha’ban” and forgives sins even more abundant than the hair of the goats of Kalb. [Sunan Tirmidhi Volume 001, Hadith Number 670, Ibn Maja Volume 002, Hadith Number1379]

(2) Narrated by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, Allah’s Messenger said, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious looks down on “the middle night of Sha’ban” and forgives all His creation, except a polytheist or one who is mushahin(one bent on hatred). [Sunan Ibn Maja Volume 002, Hadith Number 1380]

(3)  Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn al-‘As Allah’s Messenger said, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious looks down on “the middle night of Sha’ban” and forgives all His creation except two people, the Mushahin (one bent on hatred) and the murderer. [Musnad Ahmad Volume 003, Hadith Number 6353]

(4) It is reported by Abu Thalaba that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: On the 15th night of Shabaan, Allah looks over at his creation and forgives all the believers except for the one who begrudges and hates. He leaves them in their enmity. [Bayhqi, Tafsir ad-Dar al-Manthur under the Verse 44:3]

(5) It is reported by Muaz bin Jabbal that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah looks at His creation in “the night of mid-Sha`ban” and He forgives all His creation except for a Mushrik (idolater) or a Mushahin (one bent on hatred). [Ibn Hibban, Sahih, ed. Shu`ayb Arna’ut Volume 012: Hadith Number 5665]

(6) Narrated by A’isha: She said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) stood up in prayer during part of the night and made his prostration so lengthy that I thought his soul had been taken back. When I saw this I got up and went to move his big toe, whereupon he moved, so I drew back. When he raised his head from prostration and finished praying, he (pbuh) said: “O A’isha, O fair little one (Humayra’)! Did you think that the Prophet had broken his agreement with you?” She replied: “No, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, but I thought that your soul had been taken back because you stayed in prostration for so long.” He said: “Do you know what night this is?” She said: “Allah and His Prophet know best.” He said: “This is the night of mid-Sha`ban! Verily Allah the Glorious and Majestic look at His servants on “the night of mid-Sha`ban, and He forgives those who ask forgiveness, and He bestows mercy on those who ask mercy, and He gives a delay to the people of envy and spite in their state.”

[Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman Volume 003: Hadith Number 3835]

(7 IImran bin Husain (ra) reported, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) having said to him or to someone else: Did you fast in the “Middle of Sha’ban?” He said: No. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: If you did not observe fast, then you should observe fast for two days. [Muslim Book 006, Number 2607]

  Scholarly Opinions

The virtue of the night of mid Shaban has been established right from the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself and has come from multiple channels of transmission from Abdullah bin Amr, Muadh, Abu Hurairah, Abu Thulabah, Awf bin Malik, Abu Bakr, Abu Musa, Aishah (May Allah be pleased with all of them) each of the narrations strengthening each other.

Imam Shafi’i writes:

“Verily, Dua is accepted on five nights: the night of Juma’, the night of Eid Al-Adha, the night of Eid Al-Fitr, the first night of Rajab, and the 15th night of Shabaan”. [Al-Umm, Volume 001, Page No. 231]

Imam Shurunbulali Hanafi writes:

“It is desirable to revive the last ten nights of Ramadan, two nights of Eidain (Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha), ten nights of Zil Hijjah, and the 15th night of Sha`ban.” [Noorul Eidhah Page No. 63]

Shaikh Abu-Ishaq Ibrahim Al-Hanbali writes:

“It is desirable to revive the time (with Salat and Ibadah) between the two E’sha’s (Maghrib and E’sha) because of the Ahadith. Many scholars say: Similarly with the night of Ashura, the first night of Rajab, and the 15th night of Sha`ban”. [Al-Mubdi Volume 002, Page No. 27]

Sheikh Mansoor Bahoti Hanbali writes:

“As for the 15th night of Sha`ban, it is a night of virtue. Some of the Salaf prayed the whole night, although establishing congregational prayers (on this night) is good innovation. And the reward of Ibadah on “the 15th night of Sha`ban” is the same as the reward of Ibadah on the night of E’id. [Kash-shaful Qina, Volume 001: Page No. 444]

Sheikh Mubarakpuri (Salafi scholar) writes:

“You should know that a sufficient number of Ahadith have been narrated confirming “the virtues of the 15th night of Sha`ban”. All these Ahadith prove that it has a basis.

After relating many Ahadith about the importance of this night, he says:

“The sum of all these Ahadith is strong evidence against the one “who thinks there is no proof” of the virtue of the 15th night of Sha`ban” and Allah knows best. [Tuhfat ul Ahwadhi Volume 003: Page. 365-367]

Ibn-Taimiyyah when asked about the 15th night of Sha’ban replied:

‘‘As for the 15th night of Shabaan, there are many narrations and Athar (quotes from the Sahabah) regarding its virtue. It has been reported of the Salaf that they prayed in this night. Therefore, praying alone on this night, having precedence in the Salaf, is sufficient evidence and something of this kind surely cannot be denied”.

At another occasion, Ibn-Taimiyyah was asked the same question and he replied:

“If one prays on this night alone or in a select company of people as many groups amongst the Salaf did, “then it is good”. [Fatawa Ibn Taimiyyah Volume 23, Page 131-132]

Conclusion:

To sum up, the virtues of the blessed night of mid Sha’aban are established by a Qur’anic verse, scores of authentic Ahadith and a group of the Salaf (سلف “predecessor” is an early Muslim of the first three generations of proponents of the religion). So, it is highly recommended to celebrate this night and stay up on it, and the Wahabi view declaring it Bid’ah (innovation) is a “Reprehensible” (Munkar) opinion.

सब्र शुक्र और मोहब्बत मोमिनों के यही हथियार हैं -सय्यद मोहम्मद अशरफ

नवगढ़:ऑल इंडिया उलमा व मशाईख़  बोर्ड के राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष  सय्यद मोहम्मद अशरफ किछौछवी आज एक जलसे में शिरकत करने सिद्धार्थनगर के नवगढ पहुंचे यहाँ उन्होंने जनसमूह को खिताब करते हुए कहा कि मुसलमानों  को हर समय  तीन बातों का ख्याल  रखना चाहिए, न सिर्फ मुसलमानों को अगर सभी इस बात का ख्याल रखें तो देश  में अमन के दुश्मन नहीं कामयाब हो सकते, हज़रत ने कहा कि सब्र शुक्र और मोहब्बत यही वह तीन बातें  हैं ।
हज़रत ने अवाम  को आगाह किया कि लोग हमारे देश  पर बुरी नज़र लगाए हुए हैं, वह हमें  आपस में लड़वाना चाहते हैं ताकि हमारे देश  का अमन खतरे में पढ़ जाये और हम विकास न कर पाएं, अब यह देखना होगा कि कौन हैं वह लोग जो अमन खतरे में डालना चाहते हैं । हमें  एकजुट होकर उनका मोहब्बतों से मुक़ाबला करना है, हमारे पास सब्र शुक्र  और मोहब्बत के तीन हथियार हैं जिससे हम इन्हें हरा देंगे ।
हज़रत किछौछवी ने कहा कि हमें  हरगिज़ ऐसा कोई काम नहीं करना चाहिए जिससे किसी और की धार्मिक भावनाओं को चोट पहुंचे, उन्होंने साफ़ तौर पर कहा कि गाय के ज़बीहे पर पूरी तरह रोक लगनी चाहिए, हम सरकार  से माँग करते हैं  कि इसे मुकम्मल तौर पर पूरे देश में बंद किया जाए, उन्होंने लोगों से कहा कि अल्लाह के रसूल जनाब हज़रत मोहम्मद मुस्तफा  सल्लल्लाहु अलैहि वस्सल्लम ने फ़रमाया कि गाय के गोश्त में बीमारी है और इसका दूध दवा और इसके घी में शिफा है तो बीमारी की तरफ क्यों बढ़ा जाए बल्कि  उससे बाज़ आया जाए  अगर कोई सरफिरा ऐसा करता है तो उसे रोका जाना चाहिए ।
हज़रत ने आगे कहा कि मोहब्बतों को आम कीजिए,  हर इंसान कि मदद कीजिए, बिना मज़हब और मिल्लत का फ़र्क़ किए  यहाँ तक कि जानवरों के साथ भी नरमी बरतना इस्लाम है। हज़रत ने अंत  में कहा कि हम वही पैग़ाम लेकर आए जो  हज़रत ख्वाजा गरीब नवाज़ ने दिया जो इस्लाम की असल तालीम भी है यानि ‘मोहब्बत सबके लिए नफरत किसी से नहीं’ सबको इसी पर अमल करना होगा, यही कामयाबी है। प्रोग्राम  का समापन सलात व सलाम के बाद देश और दुनिया में अमन की दुआ के साथ हुआ।

हथियारों से नहीं मोहब्बत से बचेगी दुनिया – सय्यद मोहम्मद अशरफ

मुजफ्फरपुर :बिहार के मुजफ्फरपुर में सरकार मदीना कॉन्फ्रेंस में शिरकत करने पहुंचे ऑल इंडिया उलमा व मशाइख़  बोर्ड के राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष हज़रत मौलाना सय्यद मोहम्मद अशरफ किछोछ्वी  ने जनता  को सम्बोधित  करते हुए कहा दुनिया में जिस तरह से नफ़रतें पनप रही हैं, लोग धर्म  के नाम पर लड़ रहे हैं, खून बहा रहे हैं, दुनिया में फसाद  फैला हुआ है और दुनिया के नेता हथियारों द्वारा  शांति की स्थापना करना चाहते हैं जो नामुमकिन है ।
न कभी इतिहास में हथियारों से शांति आई  है न कभी भविष्य में आऐगी, हमेशा नफरतों को मोहब्बत से मिटाया गया है, इस्लाम यानि सलामती का धर्म यानि वह धर्म  जिसमें सिर्फ मोहब्बत है नफरत के लिए कोई जगह नहीं यहाँ तक की दुश्मन से भी नफरत का हुक्म नहीं उस धर्म को कुछ गलत सोच  के लोग आतंकवाद  से जोड़ रहे हैं जो इस्लाम के साथ ना इंसाफी है, इसकी पुरज़ोर निंदा  करते हैं! ऑल इंडिया उलमा व मशाईख़  बोर्ड ने पूरी दुनिया को साफ़ बता दिया है कि आतंकवादी  कौन हैं और मुसलमान किन्हें कहते हैं !
सूफियों ने उस  तालीम को आम किया जो नबी सलल्लाल्लाहु अलैहि वसल्लम ने अता की , उनके जीवन में कहीं नफरत का अंश तक नहीं मिलता, हर अच्छे बुरे को उन्होंने अपने पास बिठाया और उसे मोहब्बत वाला बना दिया, हक़ीक़त में  जो तालीम हमारे नबी सलल्लाल्लाहु अलैहि वसल्लम ने दी वही तालीम दुनिया से नफरतों को मिटा सकती है, यह बात सब जानते हैं और  दिलों से मानते भी हैं लेकिन ज़बान और अमल से लोग इक़रार करने को तैयार नहीं हैं।
हम पूरी दुनिया के शासकों से अपील करते हैं: अपना मूल्यवान छोड़ दीजिये दुनिया तबाह होने की तरफ बढ़ रही है, इसे बचा लीजिये, मोहब्बत का सन्देश सभी के लिए है, हथियारों से अमन नहीं आ सकता जो लोग भटक गए हैं उन्हें सही रास्ता हमें दिखाना  होगा!

राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष ने विशेष  तौर से भारत की  सरकार से मांग की कि हमारे प्यारे हिंदुस्तान  में नफरतों को पनपने से रोक दीजिये, जो धार्मिक  नफरतों के नाम पर घिनौना खेल लोग खेल रहे हैं इसे रोका जाना चाहिए उन्होंने मुसलमानों से भी अपील की कि इस्लाम की तालीम पर अमल कीजिये दुसरे मज़हबों का सम्मान कीजिये उनकी आस्थाओं का सम्मान कीजिये! हमारी तरफ  से पूरी कोशिश की जानी चाहिए कि लोग चाह कर भी हमसे नफरत न कर पाएं, समाज सेवा में बढ़ चढ़ कर हिस्सा लीजिये, जिस चीज़ में दुसरे धर्मों  की  आस्था है उससे बचने की कोशिश  कीजिये ।
अमन बड़ी चीज़ है इसकी सबसे ज़्यादा ज़िम्मेदारी मुसलमानो पर है क्योंकि अल्लाह ने और उसके रसूल जनाबे मोहम्मदुर रसूलुल्लाह सलल्लाल्लाहु अलैहि वसल्लम ने हमें अमन क़ायम करने  की तालीम दी है तो हम हर उस काम से बचें  जिससे किसी का दिल दुखे और  शर का खतरा हो । सरकारे मदीना कॉन्फ्रेंस में हज़रत अल्लामा कमरुज़्ज़मा खान आज़मी साहब  भी मौजूद थे जिन्होंने अमन का पैग़ाम दिया ।

सुनहरे बोल : हज़रत सय्यद मखदूम अशरफ जहाँगीर सिम्नानी रहमतुल्लाह तआला अलैहि

 4th December,Lucknow,
Seminar: Sufism and Humanity

اقوال زریں 
تارک السلطنت حضرت مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمۃ اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ
ایمان و توحید کے بعد بندہ پر سب سے پہلے عقائد حقہ شریعہ کا جاننا فرض ہے۔
علم حاصل کرو کہ زاہد بے علم شیطان کا تابعدار ہوتاہے اور عابد بے فقہ کمہار کے گدھوں کی طرح ہے۔
علم ایک چمکتا ہو اآفتاب ہے اور تمام ہنر اس کی شعائیں ہیں۔
خدا کا دوست جاہل نہیں ہوتا۔
عالم بے عمل ایساہے جیسے بے قلعی کا آئینہ۔
عالم دین اورعالم دنیا میں فرق وہی ہے جو کھرے اورکھوٹے چاندی میں ہوتاہے۔
جاننا شریعت ہے ، جاننے کے مطابق عمل کرنا طریقت ہے اور دونوں کے مقصود ہوتو ان کا حاصل کرنا حقیقت ہے۔
جو شخص بے محل علمی گفتگو کرتا ہے تو اسکے کلام کے نور کا دو حصہ ضائع ہوجاتا ہے۔
اگر کوئی جان لے کہ اب اسکی زندگی میں صرف ایک ہفتہ باقی رہ گئے تو چاہیئے کہ علم فقہ میں مشغول ہوجائے کیونکہ علوم دین سے ایک مسئلہ جان لینا ہزار رکعت سے افضل ہے۔
کسی کو حقارت سے نہ دیکھو اس لئے کہ بہت سے خداکے دوست اس میں چھپے رہتے ہیں۔
سلوک میں اگربارگاہ نبوی و سرکارمصطفوی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی فرمانبرداری واطاعت کے راستے سے کچھ بھی انحراف ہو تو منزل مقصود تک پہونچنا ممکن نہیں۔
بند وں کے دل میں اللہ کی محبت پیدا کرنا اور ان کے دلوں کو اللہ تعالیٰ کی دوستی میں مستغرق کرنا مشائخ طریقت کا کام ہے۔
پیر وہ ہونا چاہیئے کہ طالبان طریقت و سلوک کی ایک جماعت نے اس کی تربیت کی پناہ میں اور احباب اس کی درگاہ حمایت میں اپنے مقصود کو پہونچی ہو۔
ولی وہ ہے جس کا دل حق سبحانہ وتعالیٰ سے انس رکھیاور غیرحق سے متواحش اور گریزاں ہو۔
شرط ولی یہ ہے کہ گناہوں سے محفوظ ہو جس طرح نبی کی شرط یہ ہے کہ معصوم ہواور جس کسی پر بھی ازراہ شریعت اعتراض ہو پس وہ مغرور اور فریب خوردہ ہے ولی نہیں ہے۔
ہر بزرگ کی کوئی بات یاد کرلو اگریہ نہ ہوسکے تو ان کے نام ہی یاد کرلو کہ اس سے نفع پاؤگے۔
؂اگر علم کا چراغ ولی کے دل میں نہ ہو تو اسے شر کی خبر نہیں ہوسکتی اور وہ صحرائے ظلمت اور دشت کدورت میں مارا مارا پھرتا رہیگا۔
صالحین کا ذکر اورعارفین کا تذکرہ ایک نور ہیجو ہدایت طلب کرنے والوں پر ضوء4 فگن رہتاہے۔
شیخ طبیب حاذق اور تجربہ کارحکیم کی طرح ہے جو ہر مریض کا علاج اور اس کی دوا اس کے مزاج کے مطابق تجویز کرتاہے۔
جس شخص کا قدم شریعت میں جم جائے گا طریقت کا راستہ خودبخود کھل جائے گا اور جب شریعت کے ساتھ طریقت حاصل ہوجائے گی تو حقیقت کی تجلی خود بخود رونما ہوجائے گی۔
صوفی وہ ہے جو صفات الہیہ سے سوائے صفت وجوب (وجب الوجود) اور قدم موصوف ہو۔
اگر کسی صوفی کو دیکھو اور وہ تمہاری نظر میں نہ جچے تو اس کو ذلیل نہ سمجھوکہ یہ محرومی اورحجاب کی دلیل ہے۔
حسن خلق اس بلند پایہ گروہ یعنی صوفیہ کی خاص خصلت ہے جو انہیں ہی زیب دیتی ہے کہ یہ حق کے زیور اور کلام کے لباس سیروشن ہوتیہیں تمام اقوال وافعال میں صوفی کی نظر چونکہ حق تعالیٰ پر ہوتی ہے۔ اس لئے لازم آتاہے کہ وہ تمام مخلوق سے خوش اخلاق کا برتاؤ کرے۔ اگر شریعت کیمطابق کسی محل پر سختی درکارہے تو سختی کرے ، لیکن باطن کے مطابق اسی وقت اللہ سیمغفرت طلب کرے۔
شیخ کے لئے ضروری ہے کہ وہ مرید کے احوال سے واقف ہو ، ترک دنیا اور تنہائی کے علوم کا عالم ہو تاکہ اس کی خیر خواہی کرسکے اور مرید کو راہ راست دکھا سکے۔ اس کے حال کے مناسب اس کو اس راہ کے خطرات اور فسادات سے آگاہ کرسکے۔ اگر شیخ اس اوصاف مذکورہ سے متصف نہیں ہوگا تو اس کی پیروی کرنا کس طرح جائز ہوسکتاہے۔ اور ان سے کلاہ حاصل کرنا کس طرح روا ہوسکتا ہے۔
مرید کے لئے ایک شیخ کامل ضروری ہے جس کی اقتداء4 کی جائے کیونکہ وہ رفیق سفر ہے اور جا ن لو کہ اس امر کے لئے کسوٹی اور معیار ہے اور وہ قرآن و حدیث و اجماع امت با ایمان ہے تو جو معیار کے موافق ہوا اور کسوٹی سے کھرا اور آمیزش سے صاف نکلا تو وہ ٹھیک ہے اور جو اس کے خلاف ہوا وہ فاسد اور بے کار ہے۔
شیخ کو چاہئے کہ مرید کا بیکار اور غلط کاموں کا مواخدہ کرے۔ خواہ وہ کم ہویا ذیادہ۔ صغیر ہو یا کبیر۔ اس سلسلہ میں مواخذ ہ کو نظر انداز نہ کرے اور تساہل کو روزانہ رکھے۔
پاک غذا ایک بیج کی طرح ہے جو معدہ کی زمین میں بویا جاتا ہیاگر وہ بیج پاک اورحلال غداکا ہے تواس سے اعمال صالحہ کا درخت پیدا ہوگا اور اگر مشتبہ روزی کا بیج بویا گیا ہے تو اس خطرات فاسدہ اور عبادت میں کسائل پیدا ہوگی یعنی عبادت میں سستی اور دل میں وسوسے پیدا ہوں گے اور اگر حرام روزی ہے تو معصیت و نافرمانی کا درخت نشودنما پائے گا۔
مرید کو چاہیئے کہ اس کا مقصود ومراد اپنے پیر کے سوا کوئی نہ ہو اور سارا مقصد اس کا ، ذاتِ شیخ کے سوا کچھ نہ ہو کیو نکہ شیخ کی صورت میں حق تعالیٰ کی تجلیاں ہیاور جس کو چاہے ہدایت دے اور جس کو چاہے گمراہ کردے۔یہ اللہ تعالی ٰ کی شان ہے پیر بیچ میں سبب ہونے سے زیادہ کچھ نہیں ہے

Sufism set the tone for religious co-existence:Sunday Guardian Live

By RAZIUDDIN AQUIL | 19 March, 2016
The belief that a soul can achieve union with God brought Sufis into conflict with Islamic orthodoxy.

The political use of Sufism is not a new thing. Rulers have always tried to invoke popular religion and spirituality for the legitimation of their power. Conversely, men of religion and spiritual leaders have also tended to intervene in matters of politics and governance.

Historically, in India, interactions between political and spiritual domains have created conditions for general public weal through inclusive political theory and practice, as well as recognition of shared and pluralistic cultural traditions with space for diversity and difference. Sufism has contributed immensely to these processes, marking India’s civilisational achievements with peace and tolerance as defining features. It is important that these virtues of Sufi-oriented Islam are highlighted, especially in these times of hatred and violence.

Sufis or Muslim holy men styled themselves as lovers of God. The early Muslim mystics, who were often charismatic leaders with popular appeal, were eventually organised or institutionalised in silsilas, or orders, branching into quite a few competing strands. To start with, the living Sufi master (referred to as sheikh, khwaja, pir) guided followers or visitors at his dwelling place (khanqah/jama’atkhana), but later the shrines (dargahs) of Sufis of previous generations became important and grew into places of pilgrimage, eventually carving a whole sacred geography of Sufism, called wilayat.

What distinguished Sufism from other forms of Islam was its belief that a human soul could achieve union with God, a belief later formulated in the doctrine of wahdat-ul-wujud (unity of existence, or monism as a reality). This doctrine often brought Sufis into conflict with Islamic orthodoxy (represented by the Sunni Hanafi ulama or theologians). The latter believed that God was unique and therefore to suggest that a human’s soul could achieve union with God was to imply that there was no distinction between God and human beings. It is for this reason that we find that even before Islam came to India, Sufis were persecuted for heresy. Sufis were also targeted by the ulama for their occasional indifference to formal religious practices such as regular congregational prayers (namaz/salat), instead focusing on meditations and spiritual exercises which included music.

Sufis played a significant role in the growth and development of the vernacular literature (Urdu, Hindi, Deccani, etc). Their contribution to the spread of poetry and music is equally notable (mahfil-i sama or qawwali). Sufi orders such as the Chishtis used song and dance techniques of concentration and for creating spiritual ecstasy. The wahdat-ul-wujud and several forms of meditation brought the Sufis spiritually very close to certain strands of non-Muslim religious traditions. For example, Advaita Hinduism claimed that atma (a human soul) and parmatma (God) were one and the same, a theory similar to wahdat-ul-wujud. Similarly, Sufis found much to learn from Hindu spiritual disciplines such as yoga, which influenced their techniques of meditation such as pranayama (breath control).

If Sufis learnt from non-Muslim traditions, the local, Indic, traditions (local, foreign, Indic are sensitive categories which must be used with care), were also powerfully affected by the principles of Islam as represented by the Sufi saints. In the teachings of Kabir and Nanak one can see the clear imprint of Sufi Islam. The criticism of idol worship, of useless ritual, emphasis on equality, emphasis on one God, are all to be traced to Sufism. Its greatest contribution to Indian culture is considered to be the example it set in the field of religious and cultural co-existence. Indian Sufi orders showed that Muslim and non-Muslim religious traditions could prosper side by side and learn from each other.

In conclusion, Sufis dedicated themselves to the love of God, which in turn meant love for all His creations—translating into charitable endeavours, blessings and benediction, and notions of egalitarianism; service to humanity through feeding (langar), healing (jhar-phuk, blowing and touching, charms and amulets), etc., were considered a better form of worship than ritualistic prayers; control of the lower self, nafs, and cultivation of the heart, qalb, through a variety of meditational-cum-bodily practices and withdrawal from this-worldly demands, tark-i duniya, with the same kind of intensity as the madness of Majnun and yet superior to him, for the latter sacrificed his life for a perishable Laila, whereas Sufis devoted themselves for an eternal God. In an ecstatic love for God, Sufis could also sing and dance, not in a vulgar manner, but in the most aesthetically sophisticated forms developed through centuries of practice, teaching all along the virtues of tolerance and peace. When Sufis passed away, celebrated as marriage or union with God, Urs, they left behind memories to be cherished forever. The shared legacy of Sufism coupled with inclusive political practices have shown it is possible to address the aspirations of a variety of people, leading to peaceful co-existence in what is aptly referred to as unity in diversity.

تصوف وصوفی اورحضرت مخد وم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی

صوفی 
حضرت عبد الرزاق نورالعین نے حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ سے درخواست کی کہ تصوف کے نا م کا اطلا ق اس کی کیفیت اور صوفی نام کا کس طرح آغاز ہوا اور اس کی تعریف کے سلسلہ میں کچھ ارشاد فرما ئیں ، حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ نے ارشاد فرما یا کہ (رسالہ) قشیریہ میں اس طرح ہے :
’’اللہ تعالیٰ تم پر رحم فرما ئے، تم کو معلوم ہو کہ رسول اکرم صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کے بعد جو حضرات بزرگ شمار ہو تے ہیں ان کو کو ئی نام نہیں دیا گیا یعنی وہ کسی علمی نام سے موسوم نہیں کیے گئے ، اس لئے رسول اکرم ﷺ کی محبت سے بڑھ کر کو ئی فضیلت نہیں تھی اس لئے ان اصحاب کو صحابہ کہا گیا (صحابہ افضل نام سے موسوم کیے گئے)اور ان کے بعد کے زمانہ والوں کا جنہوں نے صحابۂ کرام سے فیض صحبت حاصل کیا تھا ، ان کے لئے تابعین کانام رکھا گیا کہ ان کے لئے یہی سب سے بڑی اور بزرگ علا مت تھی ۔ ان کے بعد جو حضرات گزرے ان کو تبع تابعین سے موسوم کیا گیا ، اس کے بعد اپنے مراتب کے اعتبار سے مختلف طبقات میں بٹ گئے ۔ تبع تابعین کے بعد جو لوگ خواص شمار کیے جا تے تھے اوردینی امور میں کا فی اہتمام کر تے تھے، ان کو زاہدوں اور عابدوں کے نام سے موسوم کیا جا نے لگا ۔ان حضرات کے بعد بہت سی نئی نئی باتیں ظہور میں آ ئیں اور بہت سے مدعی پیدا ہو گئے اور گروہوں میں بٹ گئے اور ہر فریق یہ دعویٰ کر نے لگا کہ وہ زہّا د میں ہے ۔ پس اہل سنت والجماعت سے جو حضرات خواص تھے وہ ان سے الگ تھلگ ہو گئے، وہ اپنے اوقات اللہ کی یاد میں صرف کرتے تھے ، اپنے دلوں کی نگرانی کر تے تاکہ غفلت کی راہوں پر قدم نہ پڑے ، انہوں نے لفظ ’’تصوف ‘‘کو اپنے لئے مخصوص کر لیا ۔ اور یہ نام دوسری صدی ہجری سے قبل ہی مشہور ہو گیا۔ ‘‘(اور یہ خواص اہل سنت والجماعت صوفی کہلا نے لگے۔)
صوفی کا لقب
حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ نے فرما یا کہ اس گروہ میں سب سے پہلے صوفی کے لقب سے جس بزرگ کو موسوم ملقب کیا گیا وہ ابوالہاشم صوفی ہیں ۔ آ پ سے پہلے جو بزرگ گزرے ہیں وہ اپنے زہد سے موصوف تھے اور توکل و عبادت اور طریق محبت میں مشہور و معروف تھے ۔ا ن میں سے کسی کو بھی صوفی نہیں کہا گیا، ان حضرات کو زاہد ، عابد ، متوکل کہا جا تا ہے ۔ حضرت سفیان ثوری قدس سرہٗ سے نقل فرما یا کہ وہ فرما تے تھے کہ اگر ابوالہاشم صوفی نہ ہوتے تو ہم ’’ریا‘‘ کی باریکیوں کو نہ سمجھ پا تے ، وہ یہ بھی فرما یا کر تے کہ جب تک ہم نے ابوالہاشم صوفی کو نہیں دیکھا تھا ہم کو معلوم نہیں تھا کہ صوفی کو ن ہو تا ہے ۔
پہلی خانقاہ
پہلی خانقاہ جو صوفیوں کے لئے بنا ئی گئی وہ شام کی ایک پہاڑی پر بنا ئی گئی تھی ۔ خانقاہ کی تعمیر کا سبب یہ ہوا کہ ایک عیسائی امیر شکار کے لئے گیا ہوا تھا ، راستہ میں اس نے دو افراد کو دیکھا کہ وہ ایک دوسرے سے ملے ،بغل گیر ہو ئے پھر اسی جگہ بیٹھ گئے اور کھانے پینے کا جو سامان ان کے پاس تھا ،ان دونوں نے نکا ل کر سامنے رکھا اور دونوں نے مل کر کھا یا ۔اس کے بعد وہ دونوں اپنے اپنے راستہ پر روانہ ہو گئے ۔ عیسائی امیر کو ان کا یہ طریقہ بہت پسند آیا ، ان میں سے ایک فر د کو بلا کر دریافت کیا کہ وہ دوسرا شخص کو ن تھا ؟ انہوں نے جواب دیا مجھے معلوم نہیں ! کہا، تمہارا اس سے رشتہ کیا تھا ؟ انہوں نے کہاکہ کچھ بھی نہیں ۔ امیر نے کہا کہ وہ آیا کہاں سے تھا؟ تو انہوں نے کہا مجھے یہ بھی معلوم نہیں ۔ اس امیر نے کہا ،یہ محبت کیسی تھی جو تم نے آپس میں کی ؟ انہوں نے جواب دیا کہ ہمارا یہ دستور اور طریقہ ہے ۔ امیر نے کہا کہ تمہارے پاس کو ئی ایسی جگہ بھی ہے جہاں تم سب لو گ جمع ہو تے ہو ۔ درویش نے کہا نہیں ہمارے پاس کو ئی جگہ نہیں ۔ امیر نے کہا کہ اگر تم کہو تو میں تمہارے لئے جگہ کا انتظام کر دوں جہاں تم سب یکجا ہو سکو ۔ درویش نے کہا کہ آپ کو اختیار ہے ، پس حاکم نے شام میں رَملہ کے مقام پر ایک خانقاہ بنوادی ۔
صوفیہ کو صوفیہ کیوں کہا ں جا تا ہے ؟
حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہنے شرح’’ تعرف ‘‘سے یہ قول نقل فرما یا کہ اس میں آ یا ہے کہ : جب پوچھا گیا کہ صوفیہ کو صوفیہ کیوں کہا جا تا ہے تو انہوں نے فرما یا کہ صوفی کو اس وجہ سے صوفی کہا جا تا ہے کہ ان کا ظاہر و باطن پا ک ہو تا ہے ،اس کا ہر باطنی راز اور ہر ظاہری اثر درست و راست ہو تا ہے ۔ یعنی ان کا ظاہر و باطن روشن ہو تا ہے ۔ باطن کی پاکیزگی یہ ہے کہ حق کے سوا ہر چیز سے انہوں نے اپنے باطن کو الگ کر لیا ہے (غیر حق سے باطن کو پاک کر لیا ہے )نہ غیر خدا سے امید رکھتے ہیں اور نہ غیر خدا سے کچھ سوال کر تے ہیں اور جو چیز ان کو حق تعالیٰ سے باز رکھے اور مشغول کر ے ،اس سے قطع تعلق کر تے ہیں اور آثار ظاہر کی پاکیزگی ہے کہ ان میں ریا نہیں ہوتا ، عجب و غرور سے پاک ہو تے ہیں اور غرض و طمع سے کو ئی تعلق نہیں ہو تا ۔ خدمت زیادہ کر تے ہیں ، اتنا ہی زیادہ اپنے آپ کو قصور وار سمجھتے ہیں ۔ بعض حضرات نے صوفی کی تعریف اس طرح کی ہے کہ صوفی وہ ہے جس کا معاملہ اللہ تعالیٰ کی طرف سے اس کو بزرگی و کرامت کی نیست عطا کی گئی ہو ۔
حضرت عبدالعین نورالعین نے صوفی کی تعریف دریافت کی ، آپ نے حضرت معزسے نقل کیا کہ صوفی تو ’نیست‘ ہو تا ہے اور اگر’ ہست‘ ہے تو صو فی نہیں اور وہ یوں ہے کہ اس نے کہا حالانکہ وہ اس کی طاقت سے نہ تھا ،خبر نہیں کہ اس نے کہاں سے اور کس سے سنا تھا ۔ سبحا ن اللہ اس سے زیادہ عجیب امر کس نے دیکھا کہ جہاں میں نہیں ہے اور اگر ہے تو کسی لباس میں پوشیدہ ہے اور وہ کہتا ہے کہ وہ مع اس جسم کے میرے دل میں گم ہے اور دل وجان میں ہے اور وہ اس سے ہمیشہ زندہ ہے ۔
حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ فرما تے تھے کہ کسی نے شیخ ابوالحسن خرقانی سے پوچھا کہ صوفی کون ہے ؟فرما یا صوفی سجادہ و مرقع سے صوفی نہیں ہو تا ، رسم و رواج سے صوفی نہیں ہوتا صوفی وہ ہے کہ نیست ہو بلکہ اس کا دن ایسا ہو کہ اس کو آفتاب کی حاجت نہ ہو ، رات ایسی ہو کہ چاند اور تاروں کی ضرورت نہ ہو، ایسا نیست ہو کہ اس کو ہستی کی حاجت نہ ہو ۔صوفی ہو نے کے لئے شرط ہے کہ رات دن حق تعالیٰ کی یاد میں بیدار ہو اور صوفی کی بیداری کے لئے شرط ہے کہ جب یادِ حق کر ے تو اس کا سر سے پا ؤں تک حق تعالیٰ کی یا د سے با خبر رہے نہ یہ کہ صرف لباس بدل ڈالے اور صوفی ہو جا ئے ۔
حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ فرما تے تھے کہ حضرت شیخ عبدالرزاق کا شی کی خدمت میں یہ فقیر اور حضرت میر سید علی ہمدا نی اور مشائخ زمانہ کا ایک گروہ سب بیٹھے ہوئے تھے کہ تصوف کے معنیٰ اور اہل عرفان کی با ت نکلی ۔ مجلس شریف و محفل لطیف کے حاضرین سے ہر ایک نے القاءِ وقت اور اپنی رسائی کے موافق معانی تصوف وارباب تعریف کو بتکلف کلام درربار اور گو یا ئی گوہر نثار سے بیا ن فرما یا ۔ کسی نے کہا تصوف بالکل ادب ہے اور کسی نے کہا تصوف بالکل فضول کو ترک کر دینا ہے ۔ کسی نے کہاتصوف اب نام سے نہ کہ حقیقت اور پہلے حقیقت تھا نہ کہ نام ہی نام ۔ رویم سے تصوف کے بارے میں سوال کیا گیا تو کہا کہ صوفی وہ ہے کہ نہ کسی چیز کا ما لک ہونہ کسی کو مالک بنا ئے ۔یہ بھی کہا کہ تصوف کے متعلق دریافت کیا گیا تو فرما یا کہ وہ بالکل ادب ہی ادب ہے ۔ جب سب بزرگوں نے باری باری معانی کے موتیوں کو رشتۂ بیان میں پِرو دیا، حضرت عبدالرزاق کا شی نے صاحب فتوحات سے نقل کیا کہ فر مایا ’’تصوف خلق کا حق سبحانہ وتعالیٰ میں گم ہو جا نا ہے، فر ما یا تصوف خار ج ہو نا ہے اور داخل ہو نا ہے یعنی تم سے نکلنا اور تم میں داخل ہو نا۔ ‘‘
حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ نے شیخ عبدالرزاق کا شی سے پوچھا کہ حضرت شیخ اکبر نے صوفی کے بیان میں کیا فرما یا ہے ؟فرما یا صوفی وہ ہے جس کا نہ کو ئی نا م ہے نہ رسم ہے اور نہ وصف ہے اور اس کی نشا نیاں مٹ چکی ہیں ۔ فر ما یا صوفی وہ ہے جس میں کو ئی وصف قابل بیا ن نہیں پا یا جا تا اور نہ ان کا پہچا ننا خلق پر مشتبہ ہے ۔ فرما یا جس نے دنیا کو اہل دنیا کے لئے اور آخرت کو اس کے طالب کے لئے اور انانیت و غرور کو شیطانوں کے لئے چھوڑ دیا اور جہل کی تاریکی اور علم کی روشنی کے درمیان سے نکالا اور شرکِ خفی سے بچا اور ما سوا اللہ سے نظر ہٹا لیا تو اس کے باطن قلب نے جمال صدیقیت کے نور کو عرش پر حاصل کیا اور یہ پہلی صفت صوفی ہے ۔
حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ نے فرما یا کہ بعض اکابر مشائخ نے تفصیلی طور پر اور بہت سے بزرگوں نے تاویل کے ساتھ معانی بیا ن فر ما ئے ہیں لیکن مجھے ان تمام تعریفوں میں حضرت سیدالطائفہ جنید بغدادی قدس سرہٗ کا مقالہ بہت پسند آ یا ہے ۔ انہوں نے ارشاد فر ما یا ہے : التصوف کلہ ادبٌ(تصوف تمام تر ادب ہے)اس لئے کہ تصوف کے تمام مجموعی معانی بلکہ ابتدا سے انتہا ء تک تصوف کا جو کچھ مقصود و مطلوب ہے اور جو کچھ اصحاب و ارباب تنبیہ کے لئے ہے وہ سب کچھ اس میں موجود ہے ۔ اس طائفہ علیہ کے اکثر احوال اور صوفیہ کرام کے مقامات موجود ہیں ۔ مثلاً اولاً اِس جملہ میں یا اِس تعریف میں وحدانیت کا اقرار ہے اور فردانیت کی اطلاع موجود ہے ۔ درویشوں کی خدمت کے تمام لوازم آداب میں داخل ہیں ۔ تمام عبادات و معاملات جیسے نماز ، روزہ اور اس طرح کے دوسرے امور سب کچھ ادب ہے ۔ سلوک میں جس قدر مختلف اذکار و اشغال ہیں اور جلسہ ہا ئے متنوعہ، مراقبہ ، مشاہدہ اور تمام دوسرے امور جو اِس گروہ کے لئے مخصوص ہیں وہ حقیقت میں ادب ہی میں داخل ہیں ۔
سبحان اللہ ، سبحان اللہ اس ادب سے بالا تر اور کون سا ادب ہو سکتا ہے کہ صوفی دوست کی عظمت و کبر یا ئی اور اس کی بزرگی کے ملاحظہ کے بعد’’ ہمہ اوست‘‘ کا نعرہ بلند کرتا ہے اور سالک کو مراقبہ وحدت اور کثرت میں مشاہدہ وجہ خاص سے فناء الفناء حاصل ہوتا ہے اور حقیقی بقاء البقاء سے مل جا تا ہے ۔
حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ حضرت پیر ہروی قد س سرہٗ سے نقل فرما تے تھے کہ وہ کہتے ہیں ’’تصوف اور تصرف نہیں ہو تے ، تصوف اور تصرف جمع نہیں ہو تے اور دنیا کا افسوس کرنا اور اس کی قیمت رکھنا انسان کو تصوف کے دائرہ سے نکال دیتا ہے ، بالکل اس طرح جیسے خمیر سے با ل نکا ل لیتے ہیں ۔ صوفیوں کی نظر میں دنیا کی کو ئی قیمت نہیں ہے اور اس کے لئے وہ غمگین نہیں ہو تے ، اگر تم دنیا کو ایک لقمہ بنا کر صوفی کے منہ میں ڈال دو تو یہ اسراف نہیں بلکہ اسراف یہ ہے کہ اس کو حق تعالیٰ کی رضا جو ئی میں خرچ نہ کرو ۔ حق تعالیٰ تم سے ترک دنیا اس قدر نہیں چا ہتا جتنا کہ وہ دنیا کی دوستی اور محبت کو تمہارے دل سے مٹانا چاہتا ہے یعنی تم دنیا کی محبت کو ترک کردو! دنیا تو تمہارے لئے ایک مٹی کا ڈھیلا ہے اور تم کو اس سے غیرت ہے ۔
شیخ ابوالوفاء خوارزمی نے حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ سے دریا فت کیا کہ ان حضرات (فقراء)کو صوفی کس اعتبار سے کہا جا تا ہے ؟حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ نے ارشاد فرما یا کہ دو اعتبار سے ان کو صوفی کہا جا تا ہے :صفاء اسرار کی وجہ سے یا اِس لئے کہ وہ صف میں اول ہو تے ہیں ۔ باعتبار اِن دونوں معنیٰ کے صوفی ان کو سب نے کہا ہے۔ اکثر لوگ تو اس لحاظ سے ان کو صوفی کہتے ہیں کہ انہوں نے صوف کا لباس اختیار کر لیا ہے (صوف کے لباس پہنتے ہیں)اور صوف پیغمبروں( علیھم السلام ) کا لباس ہے۔
حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ نے فرما یا کہ اصحاب تصوف کی نسبت صفا وارباب صفت سے نہیں لیکن یہ ضرور ہے کہ صوفیوں کے اخلاق اصحاب صفہ سے لے گئے ہیں ۔ صفہ مدینہ منورہ میں اس جگہ کا نام ہے جس کو قبا کہا جا تا ہے ۔ مدینہ منورہ سے یہاں کا فاصلہ فرسنگ کا ہے ۔ وہ درویش جو رسولِ اکرم ﷺ کے اصحاب تھے ، یہاں رہتے تھے ۔ یہ حضرات دنیا اور اصحاب دنیا سے الگ تھلگ رہا کر تے تھے ۔
اصحاب صفہ اور صوفی
حدیث شریف میں ہے کہ ایک وقت ایسا بھی گذرا ہے کہ اصحاب صفہ جن کی تعداد چالیس افراد تھی، صرف ایک ایک خرما (کھجور)کھا کر وقت گزارا کرتے تھے اور ان کے پاس پہننے کے لئے بہت کم کپڑے تھے ، اکثر برہنہ رہتے تھے اور یہ حضرات خود کو ریت میں چھپا لیا کرتے تھے ۔جب نماز کا وقت آتا تو سب کے لئے صرف ایک جوڑے کپڑے تھے ۔ ایک فرد یہ کپڑے پہن کر نماز ادا کرتا ،باقی ریت سے جسم ڈھانکے رہتے ۔ یہ شخص جب نماز ادا کر لیتا تو یہ کپڑے دوسرا شخص پہن لیتا اور نماز ادا کرتا ، اس طرح یکے بعد دیگرے سب اسی ایک لباس سے نماز ادا کرتے ۔ مذہب تصوف کی اصل اسی سے ہے۔ یعنی دنیا سے اعراض کرنا ، مخلوق سے خصومت نہ کرنا، جو کچھ مل جا ئے اس پر قناعت کرنا اور جو ،نہ ملے اس کی طلب و جستجو نہ کرنا ، توکل پر زندگی بسر کرنا اور اختیار اللہ تعالیٰ کے حوالہ کرنا اور قضائے الٰہی پر راضی رہنا ۔ اہل وطن اور دوستوں سے الگ تھلگ رہنا ۔ یہ تمام صفتیں اہل صفہ کی تھیں اور بعینہٖ یہی تمام صفات اصحاب تصوف کی ہیں اور صوفیہ کا اصل طریقہ یہی تھا ۔ ابتدائے زمانہ سے یہ تمام صفات تبا ہ ہو گئیں جس طرح اور بہت سی خرابیاں دوسرے معاملات میں پیدا ہو ئیں ۔
اصل زہد میں طعن نہیں بلکہ طعن تو اس شخص کے بارے میں ہے جومذہب کے خلاف کرتا ہے ۔ مثلاً اگر کو ئی سودا گر خیا نت و بد دیا نتی کر تے تو اس سے اصل تجا رت پر حرف نہیں آ تا بلکہ قصور سارا تاجر کا ہے (نہ کہ تجا رت کا )یا کو ئی غازی میدانِ جنگ سے بھا گ جا ئے تو اس سے جہاد پر حرف نہیں آ تا ، کوئی عالم دنیا کا طلب گار بن جا ئے تو اصل شریعت تباہ نہیں ہو سکتی ، بادشاہ ظلم و ستم پر کمر باندھے تو بادشاہت کا قصور نہیں ۔ ہر زمانہ میں ہر گروہ ایک دوسرے کے لا ئق ہو اہے(بہر روزگارے ہر گروہے در خودیک بدیگر باشند)صوفیہ بھی اصل میں اسی طریقت کے حامل گزرے ہیں ۔
حضرت سید مخدوم اشرف جہانگیر سمنانی رحمہ اللہ سے ایک عزیز نے دریافت کیا کہ صوفیوں کے لئے دست بد(زوال)کیا چیز ہے ؟ آپ نے فرما یا کہ پیر ہروی فرما تے ہیں :حال محال اور کلام میں باطل اشارات۔

(حوالہ :لطائف اشرفی ،لطیفہ۴)

Who Was Makhdoom-e-Pak Hazrat Ashraf Jahangir Simnani (R.A.)?

 

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Hazrat  Syed Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Simnani (1287–1386 CE) was a revered Indian Sufi of Persian origin and an ardent follower of Shaikh-e-Akbar Ibn al-Arabi. He was particularly imbued with Ibn al-Arabi’s spiritual doctrine of Wadhat-ul Wujud (Unity of Existence). Blessed with the 14 different chains of Sufism, he rendered remarkable services to the development of Chishti and Qadiri Sufi orders in India.

Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir was born in Simnan, Iran, in a family descended from the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). After an untiring spiritual journey of a seeker, he eventually settled in India and established his khanqah in what is today’s Ambedkar Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh. He was a disciple of the 13th century eminent Chishti Sufi saint of Bengal Hazrat Alaul Haq Pandavi, the disciple of another prominent Chishti Sufi of Bengal, Khwaja Akhi Siraj Aaina-e-Hind. Makhdoom-e-Pak formed his own Sufi order (silsila) through his spiritual disciple Hazrat Syed Shah Abdur Razzaq Nur-ul Ain, the 11th direct descendant of the renowned Sufi Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r.a). Attributed to the name of Ashraf Jahangir Simnani (r.a), the disciples of his Silsila are called “Ashrafi”.

Makhdoom-e-Pakleft behind his spiritual theories and ideas in a book in the Persian language titled Lataif-e-Ashrafi, which essentially means subtleties of Ashraf explaining the anecdotes of Sufism. After I went through a large chunk of the spiritual discourses presented in Lataif-e-Ashrafi, I felt the need to share a very interesting and pertinent discourse that Makhdoom-e-Pakhas delivered with regard to the basic Islamic tenet, Tawheed (monotheism or oneness of God). In this discourse, he sought to deepen his disciples’ understanding of the very first and foremost pillar of Islam, that is, belief in Tawheed.

Makhdoom-e-Pak on Sufi Definition of Tawheed

 

At the very outset, Makhdoom-e-Pak gives a very touching and mystically moving definition of Tawheed, which can be loosely translated as: “Monotheism means annihilation of the lover in attributes of his/her Beloved”.

In this context, Makhdoom-e-Pak has aptly quoted Sayyid al-Taifa Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi, one of the most renowned early Persian mystics of Islam and a central figure in the golden chain of many Sufi orders. His quotation on Tawheed goes on as a remarkable Sufi proverb in Arabic, which means “When one develops the true essence of Tawheed, all external forms of belief and ritualistic customs vanish away and the only thing that remains intact is the existence of one and only God, in the same form as it has remained for ages”.

Buttressing his perspective on Tawheed as an inclusive, all-embracing and comprehensive term, Makhdoom-e-Pak has described different degrees of Tawheed in detail. He has put it into various categories, mainly (1) tawheed-e imani (oneness in conviction), (2) tawheed-e ilmi (oneness in intellect) and (3) tawheed-e hali (oneness in personal state). He beautifully dwells on each category of Tawheed in a manner imbued with spiritual connotations.

With regard to the tawheed-e imani, Makhdoom-e-Pak says:

Tawheed-e imani can be explained as an act of the servants of Allah, confirming by heart and verbally acknowledging the uniqueness and individuality of His divine virtues in accordance with the injunctions given in the Quran and Prophetic traditions.

 Explaining tawheed-e ilmi, Makhdoom-e-Pak says:

“This second degree of Tawheed is attained within oneself; through inner spiritual knowledge. This is also called ilm ul-yaqeen (confirmed knowledge), which is one of the initial stages of Tasawwuf that exhorts one to believe and confirm that there is no existence other than Allah almighty and He is actually the only present and pervading entity. All other personas, virtues and actions are nothing in comparison to His persona, virtues and actions. In this degree of Tawheed, one is supposed to acknowledge the growth of each and every person as a manifestation of the divine persona of Khudawand (God), considering each virtue as reflection of the Absolute Source of all virtues”.

Makhdoom Simnani’s view of tawheed-e hali

Having explained the above degrees of Tawheed, Makhdoom-e-Pakgoes on to dwell on the term tawheed-e hali, which he considers a state of faith standing in the third degree. This is how he illustrates what he thinks the term means:

“It implies that the haal or state of Tawheed is the most essential virtue of the spiritual practitioners. All darkness of the existence is lost in the light of Tawheed. In this state, one should be overwhelmed by the light of Tawheed in such a way as the stars lose their light in the sun. And at the crack of dawn, its light begins to prevail and gradually overpowers the light of all the stars”.

Makhdoom-e-Pak continues:

“Having attained this higher culmination of Tawheed, the state or haal of Muwahhid (believer in one God) gets completely lost in the deepest cognition of Wahid (the One and Only), to the extent that he/she sees nothing except the beauties of His zaat (existence) and His sifat(virtues and attributes). In this process, the observer (mushahid) goes to the extent that he begins to consider his own existence as that of the Almighty and his own observation (mushahida) as an attribute of His. Thus, as he gets more and more deeply immersed in the sea of Tawheeed, his existence attains complete synergy with that of the Almighty”.

Thus, Makhdum-e-Pak concludes that “a muwahhid (believer) is like a drop in the roaring ocean of Tawheed”. He says: “Tawheed is an ocean and the muwahhid is just a drop in it with no influence, appearance or power of its own”.

 

Written By
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi

Lataif-e-Ashrafi: Sufi Anecdotes of Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Simnani On the Islamic Doctrine of Tawheed-New Age Islam

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi,
New Age Islamlogo

4 Jan 2016

Hazrat  Syed Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Simnani (1287–1386 CE) was a revered Indian Sufi of Persian origin and an ardent follower of Shaikh-e-Akbar Ibnal-Arabi. He was particularly imbued with Ibn al-Arabi’s spiritual doctrine of wadhat-ul-wujud (Unity of Existence). Blessed with the 14 different chains of Sufism, he rendered remarkable services to the development of Chishti and Qadiri Sufi orders in India.

Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir was born in Simnan of Iran in 708 (A.H). After an untiring spiritual journey of a seeker throughout the Islamic world at that time, he eventually settled in India and established his Khanqah in today’s Ambedkar Nagar of Uttar Pradesh which is known as “Aastana-e-Hazrat Makhdoom Jahangir Simanani”. His family is a descendent of Prophet Muhmmad (pbuh) through the lineage of Imam Hasan (r.a). In spirituality, he was a disciple of the 13th century eminent Chishti Sufi saint of Bengal Hazrat Alaul Haq Pandavi, the disciple of another prominent Chishti Sufi of Bengal Khwaja Akhi Siraj Aaina-e-Hind. Makhdoom Simnani formed his own Sufi order (silsila) through his spiritual disciple Hazrat Syed Shah Abdur Razzaq Nur-ul-Ain, the 11th direct descendant of the renowned Sufi Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r.a). Attributed to the name of Ashraf Jahangir Simnani (r.a), the disciples of his Silsilaare called “Ashrafi”.

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Makhdoom Simnani left behind his spiritual theories and ideas in a book titled “Lataif-e-Ashrafi” which essentially means subtleties of Ashraf explaining the anecdotes of Sufism. In fact, it is a historical document on different glorious dimensions of Sufism that was written and compiled in the 8th Century Hijri. Based on the malfoozat (the spiritual exhortations), it is an unparalleled rendition of Sufi precepts and practices, edicts and narratives. Its originality and authentication stand up to scrutiny because it was written and compiled by Makhdoom Simnani’s most senior and the closest disciple Nizam Yamani. Moreover, it was approved and authenticated by Syed Ashraf Jahangir (r.a) himself.

After I went through a large chunk of the spiritual discourses presented in Lataif-e-Ashrafi, I felt the need to share a very interesting and pertinent discourse that Makhdoom Simnani has delivered with regard to the basic Islamic tenet, Tawheed (monotheism or oneness of God). In this discourse, he sought to deepen his disciples’ understanding of the very first and foremost pillar of Islam, that is, belief in Tawheed. In fact, he has adopted and interrelated a Sufi approach to profess and practice this basic Islamic doctrine.

Sufi Definition of Tawheed

At the very outset, Makhdoom Simnani gives a very touching and mystically moving definition of Tawheed. Hesays it in Arabic:

“التوحيد فناء العاشق في صفات المحبوب”

It can beloosely translated as: “Monotheism means annihilation of the lover in attributes of his/her beloved”.

In this context, Makhdoom Simnani has aptly quoted Syyid al-Taifa Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi, one of the most renowned early Persian mystics of Islam and a central figure in the golden chain of many Sufi orders. His quotation on Tawheed goes on as a remarkable Sufi proverb in Arabic:

“التوحيد معنى تضمحل فيه الرسوم و تندرج فيه العلوم و يكون الله كما لم يزل”

It means that “when one develops the true essence of Tawheed, all external forms of belief and ritualistic customs vanish away and the only thing that remains intact is the existence of one and only God, in the same form as it has remained for ages”.

Buttressing his perspective on ‘Tawheed’ as an inclusive, all-embracing and comprehensive Islamic term, Makhdoom Simnani has described different degrees of Tawheed in detail. He has put it into various categories, mainly (1) tawheede imani (oneness in conviction), (2) tawheed e ilmi (oneness in intellect) and (3) tawheed e hali (oneness in personal state).He beautifully dwells on each category of Tawheed in a manner imbued with spiritual connotations. I am briefly reproducing below the gist of his key reflections on the meanings of each term.

tawheed e imani (oneness in conviction)

With regard to the tawheed-e-Imani, Makhdoom Simnani says:

“Tawheed e Imani can be explained as an act of the servants of Allah, confirming by heart and verbally acknowledging the uniqueness and individuality of His divine virtues (Sifat-e-Bari) in accordance with the injunctions given in the Quran and Prophetic traditions. Thus, Tawheed e Imani requires deep conviction and confirmation about the holy Prophet (pbuh) and firm belief in the truthfulness of his messages”…… Hence, Sufis and all faithful Muslims should be wary of the fulfilment of this basic requirement of belief”.

tawheed e ilmi (oneness in intellect)

Explaining tawheed-e-ilmi, Makhdoom Simnani relays:

“This second degree of Tawheed is attained within oneself; through inner spiritual knowledge. This is also called “ilmulyaqeen” (confirmed knowledge) which is one of the initial stages of Tasawwaf that exhorts one to believe and confirm that there is no existence other than Allah almighty and He is actually the only present and pervading entity. All other personas, virtues and actions are nothing in comparison to His persona, virtues and actions. In this degree of Tawheed, one is supposed to acknowledge the growth of each and every person as a manifestation of the divine persona of Khudawand (God) considering each virtue as reflection of the Absolute Source of all virtues”.

tawheed e hali (oneness in personal state)

Having explained the above degrees of Tawheed, Makhdoom Simnani goes on to dwell on the term “Tawheed e Hali”, which he considers a state of faith standing in the third degree.This is how he illustrates what he thinks the term means:

“It implies that thehaal or state of Tawheed is the most essential virtue of the spiritual practitioners. All darkness of the existence is lost in the light of Tawheed. In this state, one should be overwhelmed by the light of Tawheed in such a way as the stars lose their light in the sun. And at the crack of dawn, its light begins to prevail and gradually overpowers the light of all the stars”.

Makhdoom Simnani continues:

“Having attained this higher culmination of Tawheed, the state or haal of Muwahhid (believer in one God) gets completely lost in the deepest cognition of Wahid (the One and Only), to the extent that he/she sees nothing except the beauties of His zaat (existence) and His sifat (virtues and attributes). In this process, the observer (mushahid) goes to the extent that he begins to consider his own existence as that of the Almighty and his own observation (mushahida) as an attribute of His. Thus, as he gets more and more deeply immersed in the sea of Tawheeed, his existence attains complete synergy with that of the Almighty”.

Thus, Makhdum-e-Simnan concludes that “a Muwahhid (believer) is like a drop in the roaring ocean of Tawheed”. He says:

“التوحید بحر والموحد فيه  قطرة لم يبق منه  أثر”

It means that “Tawheed is an ocean and the Muwahhid is just a drop in it with no influence, appearance or power of its own”.

In this regard, Makhdum-e-Simnan has also quoted Shaikh Abu BakrShibli (861 – 946), an eminent Sufi figure and a disciple of Junaid Baghdadi. Shaikh Shibli said on Tawheed:

التوحید غریم لایقضی دینہ وغریب لایودی حقہ

It means: Muwahhid is a creditor who cannot repay his debt and he is a poor who cannot fulfil his dues. Makhdum comments on this quotation: “In Tawheed e Hali (oneness in state), what happens to the practitioners is that all customs and symbols perish for him for all the practical purposes”. He gives an example of lightening and says that “just as a flash of light comes for a moment and then it ends immediately, similarly, to a Sufi practitioner, all human customs emerge momentarily and vanish after a very short while. This is the stage where he negates the heresy in its entirety”.

In this book, Makhdum Ashraf Jahangir Simnani is often mentioned as “Qudwatul Kubra” (a person looked to by others as a great example to be emulated).

Originally, Lataif-e-Ashrafi was written in Persian and was first rendered into Urdu translation (only first 9 chapters) by Hakim Nazar Ashraf, grandfather of Syed Muhammed Madani Ashrafi Al Jeelani. Then, the complete Urdu translation was undertaken by Allama Shams Barelvi, a well-versed Islamic scholar and accomplished translator with profound literary skills in Urdu, Persian and Arabic. The Urdu translation of sizeable Indian Islamic literature from Persian and Arabic goes to his credit. For instance, among his most notable translation works are the Urdu translations of “Mukashaftul Qulub” written by Imam Ghazali and “Madarij an-Nubuwwah” (Stations of Prophethood), a seminal Sufi work by the eminent Islamic scholar Shaikh Abdul Haque Muhaddith Dehlvi.

Owing to the failing health of Allama Shams Barelvi, the task of comparing and authenticating the original manuscripts with the earlier translations was assigned to Dr. Khidr Naushahi, a distinguished scholar of Persian language, literature and history with a strong background in Sufi sciences (Uloom-e-Tasawwuf). The book was published under the instruction and supervision of Nadhar Ashraf Shaikh Muhammad HashimRida Ashrafi, former executive director of the Muslim Commercial Bankof Pakistan and Khalifa of Sayyad Mukhtar Ashraf known as Hazrat Sarkar-e-Kalan.

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-personalities/ghulam-rasool-dehlvi,-new-age-islam/lataif-e-ashrafi—sufi-anecdotes-of-makhdoom-ashraf-jahangir-simnani-on-the-islamic-doctrine-of-tawheed/d/105861

SUFISM A SHIELD AGAINST RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM-The Moroccan Times

NOV 28TH, 2015morocco1

Growing radicalization in Muslim societies, particularly through mosque sermons and extremist madrasa teachings, and terrorists’ recruitments on social media is a common knowledge now. Young and naive Muslims with impressionable minds are being drawn into extremism through different channels. Seductive messages, in the false grab of Islamic doctrines, have caught the imagination of the Muslim youths in US, Europe and even the in Indian Subcontinent. Inspired by the neo-Kharijite extremist ideology, jihadists in thousands travel to the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria, for terrorist training that sometimes brings the cancer of extremism back home. Most regrettably, we have acute cyber threats against our peace, pluralism and multiculturalism. Given this, there is a pressing need for a categorical and collective clerical effort to counter the extremist ideology that underpins slaughtering innocent children, wantonly killing women and even Muslims offering prayers in the mosques.

To counter the dangerous radial ideology of the terror outfits, particularly ISIS (also known as Daesh in Arabic), prominent Sufi organisation in India All India Ulama & Mashaikh Board is planning to organise an international Sufi conference in Delhi, India, which will be followed by an international seminar titled: the First World Islamic Spiritual Summit. In the wake of Sufi Indian clerics’ joint fatwa against IS, declaring it un-Islamic, this world Islamic spiritual summit is aimed to counter the ideological misinterpretations of Islam by the Daesh and other extremist and radical outfits. “The Islamic State is the most un-Islamic outfit as it kills innocent people. It tarnishes the image of Islam. There is no justification for killing innocents in Islam, whatever the motive, whatever the reason or whoever the perpetrators” said Syed Muhammad Ashraf Kichchawchwi, the founder president of All India Ulama & Mashaikh Board. He added saying that “a few brainwashed Muslim boys in India had joined the IS driven by the massive recruitment in Europe and the US”. “But we will not let India fall prey to the extremist onslaught of ISIS. Peace is in the DNA of Indian Muslims”, he averred.

While the extremism has penetrated the Muslim countries in different forms, Sufi luminaries, Ulama & Mashaikh, Imams and muftis from all parts of the world need strong consensus to contain the menace of radical thoughts and religious extremism. They need to propound truly unique and immaculate spiritual theories, which can enlarge the ambit of modern approaches to peace, non-violence and conflict resolution.  Interestingly, Sufis are not social scientists but their blends of ideas are highly significant for peace and conflict resolution. They have been speaking emphatically about importance of peace, reconciliation and counter extremism. Now, they should begin to explore new paradigms to respond to the imperatives of modern contexts. Given their enormous faith in the synergistic role of the diverse streams of Islamic civilization for the purpose of peace, their proactive role and support is vital to foster peace and pluralism and curb extremism, hatred, conflicts, or intolerance in the name of religion.

A number of Sufi-minded Islamic scholars, writers and activists are brainstorming effective ways to spread the Islamic message of peace and tolerance as a counterattack on the violent extremism that is on the constant rise across the world today. They are constantly on the lookout for ways to work out effective counter-narratives. So far, Sufi scholars and their organisations, not only in Indo-Pak but also in the wider Muslim world, have held back the tide of extremism among the Sufi-oriented Muslim practitioners. In a bid to counter extremism on the religious grounds, they are articulating an Islam-based approach to peace and de-radicalization.

In India, the Sufi Shaikh Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichauchwi and the organization, All-India Ulama & Mashaikh Board is one of the most notable anti-extremism Sufi Sunni organizations. It is all set to take this gigantic task ahead. To take a glance at this recent development in India, one must consider what the Sufi cleric Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichauchwi and his anti-extremism organization, All India Ulema & Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) is currently doing. It’s worth mentioning that All India Ulema & Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) is an apex body of Sufi-oriented Muslims in India, which was established with a clear objective of propagating peace, pluralism, tolerance, religious moderation and reconciliation among different faith traditions. As clearly stated in its draft, it particularly aims at disseminating Sufi teachings and practices to foster a composite Indian culture as an anecdote to radical ideologies in the country.

In his recent address to the First Asia & Pacific Countries Muslim Religious Leaders’ Summit organized by the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey (DİB), Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichauchawi stated: “Islam came to India through ocean and landed in Kerala, but it was widely propagated by the great Sufi luminary Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (R.A.) in the country’s heartland. Sufis like Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti connected with all peoples in an effort to impart spiritual wisdom of Islam, spreading its essential messages of peace, harmony, unity, co-existence and unconditional love”. There is no denying the fact that Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti was an ardent crusader of peace, which remains the defining credo of his social work spanning the entire undivided India. His entire mission symbolised peace and nonviolence.

It’s noteworthy that Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichhowchhwi was among the chief members of the Sufi delegation that met the Indian PM on Aug 26, 2015 to raise the concerns of growing extremism in the name of Islam.  The delegation members said the spread of terrorism in the name of Islam represents a danger to peace all over the world, and there is urgent need to take action to marginalise the forces which are promoting extremism for social, economic or political considerations. The Sufi delegation said that there is need to spread awareness among the Muslim community that organisations such as the ISIS and al Qaeda, do not represent the path of Islam. The members, including the heads of prominent Sufi shrines and hospices in India, gave concrete suggestions for the promotion of Sufi thought and culture in India, including creation of a “Sufi circuit” to promote tourism, and steps for the revival of Sufi way of life among the Indian Muslims.

Written by:

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi

http://moroccantimes.com/2015/11/17400/sufism-shield-religious-extremism

The sufi solution

Mayank Austen Soofilogo43

Fri, Feb 03 2012. (Archive)

On entering, the white dome attracts your attention. It’s not the architecture or the gold centrepiece at its top. Nor the birds circling it. This dome seems to shape and consecrate every moment of this place. The fakirs (ascetics) near the ablution pool face it. So do the pilgrims in the marble courtyards. The Khwaja’s tomb is directly below.

The heart of Sufism: Pilgrims carrying flowers for Moinuddin Chishti.

Four months later, when Rajasthan’s desert winter has given way to the heat of June, the dargah will be filled with lamps. Its assembly hall, resounding with the sound of the qawwals’ harmoniums, will herald the 800th urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer. Smaller groups of musicians will draw their own listeners within the various courtyards and sama (a gathering listening to mystical verse) music will echo in the streets. The terraces surrounding thedargah will come alive with their own qawwali gatherings and the last melodic strains will die only when the early morning prayer is called by the muezzin.

As the cliché about the intolerant Muslim refuses to go away, as Sufism remains anathema to a section of Muslims, what is the significance of South Asia’s most important Sufi shrine?
“The 800th urs is taking place in a troubled world where the religious discourse has been hijacked by the rhetoric of rage,” says Syed Salman Chishti, a khadim (caretaker) whose family has served at the 13th century shrine for generations. “The world must turn its attention to Ajmer, where people from different faiths gather in one assembly to share and not to impose their beliefs.”
The world instead turned its attention to a city 120km from Ajmer, where a protest by a handful of Muslims compelled the organizers of the Jaipur Literature Festival to cancel novelist Salman Rushdie’s video appearance last month. While all practising Muslims this reporter talked to expressed discomfort with Rushdie’s references to Islam in his banned novel The Satanic Verses, many pointed out that his case must not be used to judge the Muslim character and that the essence of India’s Islam lies in Ajmer.

The gold crown at the dome was offered by a brother of the nawab of Rampur in 1896.

“Moinuddin Chishti’s dwelling place became a nucleus for the Islamization of the central and southern parts of India,” noted the late Annemarie Schimmel, an expert on Islam, in her book Mystical Dimensions of Islam. South Asia’s most revered Muslim, Moinuddin Chishti occupies a principal position in Sufism, the mystical aspect of Islam. He established the Chishti silsila (order) in the subcontinent; its spiritual successors were Sufis like Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki of Mehrauli, Baba Farid of Pakpattan in Pakistan, and Hazrat Nizamuddin of Delhi. Known as Sultan-e-Hind and Gharib Nawaz, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti—khwaja meaning “master” in Persian—is visited by millions each year. Since no contemporary account of him has survived, Moinuddin Chishti’s life is depicted through a series of legends.

He died in 1236. The death anniversary of a Sufi saint’s death is not mourned, it is celebrated. Urs means “wedding” in Arabic and it symbolizes the union of the lover with the beloved, who is God.
“The 800th milestone doesn’t signify much in our religion but it lets us pause to commemorate the central place of Gharib Nawaz in the idea of India,” says film-maker Muzaffar Ali, who will present the 10th edition of his annual Jahan-e-Khusrau Sufi music concert in Delhi in March. “In a multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-religious country, nothing could be more relevant than Gharib Nawaz’s message of love.”
“Ajmer is the little Medina,” says Sadia Dehlvi, author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam. “Sufism is about making linkages to God through his friends. In Medina, there is the spiritual presence of Prophet Muhammad. In Ajmer, one experiences the same closeness to God, for Khwaja sahib is a direct descendant and lover of the Prophet,” says Dehlvi.
Outside Ajmer, the news from the world of Sufis is not only about sama, fana a(dissolution) or the chartbuster film song Kun Fayakun. “We can no longer keep ourselves inside our dargahs,” says Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kachochavi, the general secretary of the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), which was formed in 2005 and claims to represent the majority of Muslims in India. Last year, it held four Sufi Maha Panchayats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that were attended by hundreds of thousands of people, according to news reports. “We are telling India’s non-Muslims that the people the media and the government treat as spokespersons of our community, are not our leaders. Those who issue fatwas from seminaries like Deoband are inspired by extremists.”
South Asia’s Islamic community is largely composed of the Barelvis and Deobandis, both named after towns in Uttar Pradesh. The former, who have their theological school in Bareilly, are followers of Sufism, while the orthodox jurists in Deoband are against the concept of intercession to God through saints. In November, Deoband passed afatwa against celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, calling it un-Islamic, an occasion traditionally held with great fanfare in Ajmer and other dargahs.

Ajmer dargah caretaker Syed Salman Chishti (right) with calligrapher Abdul Qayyum Saharanpuri.

“Considering that these orthodox seminaries are opposed to the dargahs,” says Dehlvi, “one only has to look at the sheer number of Muslims from India’s villages and towns who descend on Ajmer, particularly during urs, to recognize how irrelevant they (the orthodox seminaries) really are. Their fatwas have little or no relevance in the community.”

“While it’s incorrect to say that our fatwashave no influence you should note that we don’t issue them on our own,” says Maulana Qari Syed Mohammad Usman, the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) teacher at Deoband and president of the political party Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind. “We only give one if somebody asks for clarification on a certain matter. We don’t take any action if thefatwa is ignored.”
Explaining Deoband’s stand on Sufism, Usman says: “In Islam, there is only Islam, no Sufism. We don’t mind if people go to tombs to recite fatiha (prayer for the departed souls) but we are against the dargah traditions, especially on attending urs festivals. Spend your time thinking of Allah, not listening to qawwalis.”
“The Deobandis subscribe to a more textual analysis of the Quran,” says historian Mushirul Hasan, the author of Islam in the Subcontinent: Muslims in a Plural Society. “Barelvis take a more eclectic view and have practices that can be described as composite. Their daily life is closer to the customs of other Indian communities. If you go by the population, Barelvis both in India and Pakistan are greater in numbers. But Deobandis are politically better organized and so are more visible in the public space.”
“Sometimes even Deobandis come here to seek the Khwaja’s blessing,” says Syed Anwar-ul-Haq Chishti, an elderly khadim sitting cross-legged in the Ajmer dargah. A long queue is forming for the sunset ceremony of Dua-e-Roshni (prayer of lights). Each evening as khadims carry large yellow candles to the durbar, the tomb-chamber, hundreds of birds suddenly land on the branches of the mursali tree. Little else is heard in the courtyard except for their chirping. As the drummer strikes, the candles are lit amid the chanting of a Persian invocation to Gharib Nawaz, acknowledging him as the foremost friend of God on the face of the earth.
“Ajmer Sharif is the extension of what I am,” says film-maker Mahesh Bhatt. “Being the son of a Shiite mother and a Brahmin father, my biological construct is a union of Muslim and Hindu cultures. There are more Hindus visiting the dargah than Muslims. It is the Khwaja’s wide appeal that has kept his cult going.”
In 2011, some of the celebrities who visited the dargah included actors Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Priyanka Chopra, producer Ekta Kapoor, cricketers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Zaheer Khan.

The Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra mosque.

While the aforementioned list might reflect a present-day curiosity for Sufism, throughout its history Ajmer has been a star attraction. The Mughals, particularly, attributed their success in India to the blessings of Moinuddin Chishti. Emperor Akbar visited the dargah 14 times, once walking all the way from Agra. Jehangir lived in Ajmer for almost three years. Shah Jahan built a marble mosque in the dargah. Princess Jahanara raised the marble porch Begumi Dalaan (Begum’s courtyard), opposite the entrance to the durbar. Even the orthodox Aurangzeb, who did not believe in the Sufi doctrine, was seen paying his respects at this dargah.

In 1911, when Delhi was established as British India’s new capital, Queen Mary passed through the pilgrim town, paying for the restoration of the ablution pool.
On 11 October 2007, during Ramzan, a bomb exploded below the same mursali tree. Three people died. The alleged suspects were first thought to be Islamic extremists and later, Hindu.
“The aim was to oppose the stream of thought on which Ajmer is built,” says Bhatt. “The idea of the Other is not a threat in the Khwaja’s dargah, which is like a garden where the rose is not frightened of the mogra. Both have a distinct fragrance and together they make the scent.”
As the winter sun sets behind the barren Aravalli hills, the marble floor gets cold.Qawwals sit facing the durbar; some listeners look lost, others gaze at the dome. Among the devotees, the Kashmiris stand out in their loosely hanging pherans. A woman in a red sari has her hands folded in prayer. She is sobbing.
Although people of all religions visit Ajmer Sharif, its daily rituals revolve around the five mandatory prayers of Muslims. This is not surprising since Moinuddin Chishti was one of the pioneers of Islamic mysticism in the subcontinent. His arrival from central Asia in 1192 coincided with the conquest of India by Muhammed of Ghor, who defeated Prithviraj Chauhan, one of the last Hindu kings to rule Delhi. After settling in Ajmer, a Hindu pilgrimage town close to the holy lake of Pushkar, Moinuddin Chishti won the respect of both believers and non-believers. He lived in the cell in which he lies buried. The tomb is built over a series of cellars which, according to The Shrine and Cult of Mu’in al-din Chishti of Ajmer by P.M. Currie, might have formed part of an earlier temple.
“Before reaching Ajmer”, says Raza Rumi, a writer and political analyst from Pakistan, “Moinuddin meditated in Lahore for 40 days at Data Darbar, the shrine of Usman Hajvery. Gharib Nawaz consequently is cherished in Pakistan and hundreds of Pakistanis visit his dargah.” India issues special visas to Pakistanis for the urs.

The bazaar outside the dargah.

Fifteen minutes away from the dargah is the majestic Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra mosque situated in the foothills of Taragarh. One of South Asia’s earliest Islamic structures, its outer walls are sculptured with theKalimah (“the word of Islam”). The monument, now overlaid with graffiti, includes crude sketches of peacocks on the stone floor. Indifferent to the discords of the past, goats meander along with pilgrims who stray from the dargah to sightsee. Only a few offer prayers at the mosque here.

“The majority of Indian Muslims were Hindus,” says Dehlvi, “and accepted Islam because of Gharib Nawaz and the Sufis who spread his message. The Khwaja allowed his followers to express the love of God through inclusive traditions such as music. This sanction gave birth to diverse devotional expressions that thrive to this day.” The food cooked in the dargah’s giant copper cauldrons, distributed after the morning and evening prayers, is always vegetarian.
Rumi says, “The Chishti school of Sufism did not exclude any religion and gave way to a plural Indian identity. This is why the extremists in Pakistan, especially the Taliban, are against such devotional practices.” In 2010, the dargah of Baba Farid in Pakistan, another saint of this Sufi order, was bombed.
As with most places in India, the bazaar in front of the dargah is a world of contrasts. Immaculately dressed men in crisp white salwar-kurta walk beside open drains. Beggars line the road that leads to the shrine of the patron of the poor. The alm-seekers might not have money for clothes but their bowls are filled with chameli garlands. Plastic flowers decorate the tongas that go as far as the Khwaja’s chillah, the hilltop cave where he meditated. Overlooking the Ana Sagar lake, the chillah is deserted. Cats prowl beside tombs. A stall offers amulets and booklets on Ajmer Sharif.
After the night prayers, while the qawwals are rendering verses in the courtyard, the worshippers are asked to leave the durbar, which is then cleaned by three khadims with brooms made of peacock feathers. As the last functionary comes out of the chamber, everyone gets up and the qawwals recite Karka, a musical verse in Persian, Sanskrit and Brij. The Khwaja’s chamber is locked until the pre-dawn prayer.

The basant festival being celebrated in Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah last month.

During urs, the durbar is closed at a later hour. One week earlier, a green and red flag is hoisted on the Buland Darwaza gateway to signal the arrival of the festival. By thenmalangs (non-conformist Sufis), fakirs (ascetics) and qalandar s (non-conformist Sufis) from all over India are midway to Ajmer, walking. They assemble at thedargah of Khwaja Qutubuddin Kaki in Mehrauli, Delhi and from there walk to Ajmer Sharif, a journey that takes 17 days.

The nine-day urs begins after the sunset prayers, for the Islamic day changes at the twilight hour. Attending it is not easy. Ajmer is packed far beyond its capacity. The lanes overflow with a sea of humanity. People queue for hours to enter the durbar to touch the Khwaja’s tomb. From large hotels to roadside guesthouses, every place is occupied. Verandas too are taken over by beds.
For the Qul, the prayer on the final day of urs, every roof and window is taken over by crowds jostling to get a view of the crammed dargah. It is as if all of Ajmer is resounding with prayer.
Though the town gets back its breathing space a day later, the crowd at the dargahnever dissipates. Divided by religions and countries, the devotees of the Khwaja, spread across South Asia and beyond, challenge these rifts each time they come to his durbar.
http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/zG3aMfKAuC26PNQsW8ODZJ/The-sufi-solution.html