Tradition is on a steady decline not in the West only, but in the East as well. The loss of faith in long lasting values especially religious values is a common phenomenon.
Religious places and learning centres are losing credibility, family as an institution has been passing through the most difficult times. The political system has also lost credibility. However with all these concern it would be naïve to jump the conclusion that 'De –Traditionalisation' or decline of tradition is a common phenomenon.
Muslims have long history of prolific scholars, saints and authors who have kept tradition alive amid an imminent fall.One among such traditionalists is Mir Sayid Ali Hamadani (R.A) born in Hamdan on Rajab714/22 October 1314. He was a religious scholar, prolific writer, political theorist and a widely travelled Sufi. He was author of about 170 books. Besdies he was a staunch traditionalist who never evades tradition, be it the field of Politics, Society, Economics or Religion.
The doctrines of Hamadani's philosophy are based on traditions taught by known traditionalists like Ibn-i-Arabi, Junaid, Mansoor Halaj,Ghazali, Najamudin Kabra, Ibn-i-Farid, Simnani etc. He had a deep influence of ancestral traditionalists who represent the tradition of sacred knowledge system of Islam and Muslims.
He was both an alim (scholar) and an arif (Sufi). He used to guide rulers of the time. His Risala-i-Maktubat, a collection of letters, comprises letters to rulers in which he gives them guidance on political and religious matters from a traditionalistic perspective. His treatise- Zakhiratu'l-Muluk- contains regulations (Qawa'id) regarding both the "Spiritual (M'anwi) and mundane (Suri)" matters. Though he always remain way from rulers.
Fallowing the tradition he strongly prescribed Master-Disciple (Peer-Muridi) Islamic teaching which many Ulemas are now opposing. He like all other traditional sufis believes that no one can travel the path of Allah without the guidance of a preceptor. He says that a person with religious knowledge's and mystical experiences can lead an individual from darkness to light. Sayid like most of the Sufis in a traditional way hold that love of Allah emerges from gnosis (Ma'rifa), 'greater the Ma 'rifa, greater is the Love of Allah'.
One of the remarkable contributions of Mir Sayid Ali Hamadani (RA) is socio-economic development after his arrival in Kashmir. He introduced traditional arts and crafts to treat a fragile socio-economic structure of Kashmir. Hamadani adeptly introduced sacred traditional art [more or less] while preaching Islam. Introducing Khanquahs, wood-carving especially in religious paces, wooden architecture, Persian arts and shawl weaving – he will be remembered for all such glorious traditions
History is a witness that when Hamadani arrives in this part of Asia, social system was pluralistic, culturally diverse and economically weak. But by carrying his sacred traditional knowledge, teachings and experiences he changed history. Without studying him, we can't understand the history and tradition of Kashmir.
(The author is Secretary Literary Forum Bandipora)