From: Devinder Gulati < >

An essay showing the dark side of Sufism as practiced throughout history and why we must not uncritically swallo…

Contrary to the spiritual mission of Sufism, the cult was primarily introduced in India for spread of Islam with a view to help the Muslim rulers for political domination. By and large the spiritual successors of mystic Islamic saints enjoyed the royal favour of Muslim rulers and gave moral support to the atrocious Muslim invaders and looked other way to ignore the growing social conflict. They also guided the State in political affairs with their experience of regular interaction with common people.

The mission of Shaikh Sirhindi popularly know as Mujaddid was to purify Islam from the influence of Akbar with a view to counter his policy of “the Hindu wielding the sword of Islam” and “Peace with all”. Unhappy with the regime of Emperor Akbar for withdrawal of Jejia tax imposed on the Hindus, Sirhindi made hectic effort to purge Islam of all extraneous influences. He viewed Hindu mystics like Guru Nanak and Sant Kabir contemptible, as they did not follow Sharia.

With contempt against old schools of mysticism for tolerance, Sirhindi condemned the reign of Akbar for his ‘broadmindedness’ and policy of ‘peace with all’. Propagating against the contemporary socio-cultural situation Sirhindi, felt that the attitude of Akbar “sullied the purity of Islam and the political social and cultural life of Muslims” (History of Sufism in India by Saiyied Athar Abbas Rizvi, Volume 2, 1992, Page Page 212). During the closing years of Akbar reign, when his son Salim had revolted against him, Sirhindi spread the virus of communalism with some success “in the beginning of Jehangir’s reign”. He strongly criticised freedom of worship granted to the Hindus.  Hate-Hindu syndrome was so deep in him that “death of Akbar (1605) filled Shaikh Ahmad with hopes that the pristine purity of Islam would be implanted in India” (Sufism in India by Saiyied Athar Abbas Rizvi, Volume 2, 1992, Page 204). “Misguided and greedy Ulama, he (Sirhindi) believed, were responsible for the alleged downfall of Islam in Akbar’s regime” (Ibid. Page 365.)

With his strong contempt against Shia and the Hindus, Sirhind wrote several letters to the nobles in the court of Jehangir for guiding the emperor on the path of Shariat, and for removal of Qafirs (Shias and Hindus) from the administration. He was dead against any honourable status of Hindus in Islamic government. Sirhind wanted the religious freedom enjoyed by the Hindus during Akbar regime to be curbed. Enraged with his too much interference in administration, Jehangir imprisoned him in Gwalier (A History of Sufism in India by Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, Vol. II, 1972, Page 178) but released him after one year. Sirhind not only “injected communal virus into the body politic of the country but also generated hatred, mutual distrust and discord among the various sections of Muslims”(Ibid. page XII). Despite this anti-Hindu tirade of Sirhindi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in 1919 eulogiged the role of Mujaddid (Sirhind),”who did not see eye to eye with the policy of state” (Ibid. Page215)
Iqbal was a known follower of Islamic mysticism of Qadiriyya order. He, synthesied the mystic ideology of Wali Ullah and the modern view on Islam of Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan and made his Islamic mystic approach completely subservient to political domination of the Muslims. Applying modern philosophy in his intellectual exploration of Sufism he gradually turned to an anti-Sufi philosopher. He said, “The present day Muslims prefer to roam about aimlessly in the dusty valleys of Hellenic -Persiam mysticism, which teaches us to shut our eyes to the hard reality around, and to fix our gaze on what it describes as ‘Illuminations’ a blue, red and yellow reality springing up from the cells of an overworked brain” (Sufis and anti-Sufis by Elizabeth Syrrieh, 1999). “Sufi shaikhs constituting a spiritual aristocracy, Iqbal appealed to Muslim youth to cast off the Sufi noose from their neck” (Ibid. Page133). For Iqbal Sufism was a formulation of Islamic Persianism. It was contrary to the purity of Arabic faith in its original version. His rejection of Sufism was influenced by Wahhabi movement of Saudi Arabia, which was more concerned with Islamic power following the decline of Muslim power in eighteenth century.
SUFISM IN INDIA: Its origin, history and politics. | South Asia Analysis Group

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