The intent behind?
Why Sufism is being promoted by the West?
DISTORTION - MUBASHIR MUFTI
The West has all of a sudden shown interest in Sufism and the Sufi scholars. Rumi has become a household name in the West. Sufism is increasingly being perceived and promoted as apolitical, non violent and flexible concept of Islam, which is palatable to the West.
With the disintegration of Russia, world order has undergone a radical change, with United States of America emerging as a superpower. The Americans however got involved with its own Frankiestein (TALIBAN) in Afghanistan, thereafter its expansionist plans made the Americans to invade Iraq. This antagonized the Muslim world. The persecution of Muslims led to the backlash on 9/11. The incident of 9/11 exposed chinks in the Bush’s military armour. The world again became bipolar, with Muslims on one side of the fence, all other religions joining together on the other side, supporting Americans in the war against terror. This was done to combat the growing influence of Islamisation. Post 9/11 all Muslims around the globe were treated with suspicion especially bearded men. Sufism, as understood by the West, has now become a viable alternative concept which serves as a bond for inter cultural harmonization in democratic and pluralist societies.
RAND, Research and Development organization of U.S.A. ,a non profit, non governmental, policy think tank has urged all the world governments to promote Sufism, so as to counter talibanisation of Islam. Non Muslims perceive Sufis as peace loving meditative seekers of the divine. Sufis abhor violence and believe in peaceful coexistence. Prof. Andrew G. Boston has written that Sufism has been linked integrally to Muslim institutions of Jihad.
The Sufi psychology was spread in the West by Robert Frager, a sufi teacher trained in Jerrari order. Frager was a trained psychologist, born in United States who converted to Islam and wrote extensively on sufi psychology.
In Britain, government ministers are advised to read the book of Ed.Hussain, ex-Islamist who formed Sufi Quillian foundation. In Moracco young men and women find that Sufi principles of beauty and humanity allow them to enjoy the art, music and love without abandoning their religious obligations. According to Ahmad Kostos expert on Sufism in Moracco, Progress and change are basic tenets of Sufi psychology making the old spirited traditions popular among youth.
According to Rida Haider, a student from Delhi modern School, unveiled women are neither condemned by Sufis and entertainment is not banned. The forces which are worried about Islamisation particularly in the West, the popularity of this religion among western audiences, stark reality which touch their soul and they embrace Islam in large numbers, has forced policy makers around the world to frame a policy to thwart the Islamic renaissance. That is why policy think tank of U.S.A. RAND has concentrated on Sufism as a viable counter alternative to restrict what they call Talibanisation of Islam. What the West has perceived about, and is projecting about Sufism is alien to, what Sufism is all about. Total surrender before Almighty and love for Him alone, does not at all mean that one has to forego the fundamental principles or core principles, on which your faith rests. The concept of Sufism as promoted by these forces paint it as a devotional theme which allows music, dance and shuns violence.
India is also emulating the West in promoting Sufism, with a population of around, it is concerned about the growing tendency of Islamists. Already having trouble in Kashmir, UP is becoming a launching pad for renaissance of Islamisation in India and is taking other parts of India within its fold, the country plagues with casteism, is finding difficult to counter this onslaught. Army has undertaken renovation of Shrines in Kashmir valley as part of its Sadbhavana Programme, and is promoting Shrine worship as akin to Sufism. It is organizing lectures on Sufism for its officers to sensitize them on the subject. Sadia Dehlvi recently wrote a book “Sufism and Islam”. This book received wide coverage and was released by leading journalist Kushwant Singh at Dehli. Many articles are being published in National and local newspapers to promote the concept of Sufism.
The Question which crops up in our mind will be, Is Sufism contrary to the teachings of Quran and Shariat? Ordinary Muslim is baffled by the interest shown by West in promoting the concept.
The early stages of Islam concentrated on the spread of its message and internationalization of its message. According to some historians, the genesis of Sufism is traced directly from Quran, constantly recited, meditated and experienced while others believe it is a strict emulation of way of Prophet (SAW), through which the bond with God can be strengthened. Esoteric teaching of Sufism were transmitted to those who had the capacity to acquire direct experimental gnosis of God. Uwais al Karni, Hassan binhas, Hassan basri are considered first Sufis. All Sufis trace their Silsilla (origin)chain of transactions back to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Except Naqashbandi order which traces its origin to Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA).
Imam Gazali in his greatest treatise “Revival of Religious Science and Alchemy of Happiness” has argued that Sufism originated from Quran and was thus compatible with Islamic thought and did not contradict Islamic laws of Shariah.
In South Asia four major orders of Sufism persist: Chisti order, Qadiriyah order, Naqashbandi order and Suhurwardia order. The Doebandis of Darul aloom Deoband and Barelivis are two Islamic movements in this region. Sufism spanned across countries, continents and cultures. In many places a lodge was constructed called as khankhah to provide a gathering place for seekers of knowledge.
The Sufi literature took recourse to allegorical language. For instance much of Sufi poetry refers to intoxication, which is forbidden by Islam. This indirect usage of language and interpretation by people who had no formal training in Islam or Sufism led to doubts being cast over the validity of Sufism as part of Islam. Some groups considered themselves above shariah and discussed Sufism as a method of bypassing rules of Shariah in order to attain salvation directly. This was disapproved by scholars of Islam and is now being promoted by forces inimical to Islam. For these reasons, the relationship between traditional Islamic scholars and Sufism is complex. It is being promoted as a bridge between conflicting communities.
(Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my blog muftimubashir.blog.com References:Khaleej Times, the times of India, wikipedia.org)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Dec 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Dec 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Dec 2009 00:00:00 IST
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