Thursday, July 25, 2024

The Sufi Truth: A Dark History

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Nupur J Sharma, due to her remarks about Chisti last year, a celebrated Sufi saint, that brought his dark history of rape, bloodshed and hatred for Hindus to light, had received tens of thousands of death and rape threats against not only herself but also her family.

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So what is the truth about Sufism? Let’s take a brief look, that makes up for less than a drop in the ocean, at Sufi History.

When one thinks of Sufism, the first thing that probably comes to mind is good Sufi music or a mesmerizing dance in the court of an emperor. This, however, is not the entire truth. Sufi history has been through phases of denialism and has seen a great deal of white-washing to give it its current secular status. In truth, the much-celebrated Sufi culture, its music and dance is steeped in blood and has the darkest of histories.

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The reader must understand that the many sects of Islam have always warred with one another to claim that they are the true followers of Islam. Sufism, stripped of its contemporary accretions, is no different and was a normative form of Islam.

When the celebrated maulanas of the pre-independence era, Ahmad Sirhindi, Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi and Shah Waliullah Dehlawi of the Indian origin, and Jamal al-Din al-Afghani of a non-Indian origin, had slightly differing views on what sect was the follower of true Islam.

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The Islamic religion, like Christianity, believes in the two-powers theory i.e. the temporal power and the spiritual power. On the loss of temporal powers, i.e. the fall of multipl, celebrated Islamic dynasties, all of these scholars, at various points in history, wanted Islam to return to its purest form to regain its power. Spare Maulana Dehlawi, all of them were of the opinion that Sufism did not denote the purest form of Islam and must, therefore, not exist in an ideal Islamic world.

The Sufis, with a view to not only become acceptable to these different ideologies as a part of Islam but also with the target of the establishment of a global ummah consciousness, that all of these scholars preached, were extremely accepting of the various segments and sects of Islam.

It was observed that the Sufis did not face persecution only when they showed Jihad-tendencies towards the Hindus.

What was never achieved, however, was the Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb, that is the confluence of two rivers denoting the thought processes of the Hindu side and the Islamic side (or rather, the Abrahamic side). Hindus, irrespective of who the scholar was or which sect of Islam is being talked about, remained an open target to everyone. All of these celebrated maulanas openly denounced the syncretic identity that parts of Islam had gained as a result of its interaction with Hinduism. This included various rites such as pir-worship which was viewed to be too close in identity to the Hindu teerth-yatra.

Thus, the Hindu way of life, and its followers, were completely, and in fact openly, discarded by all sects of Islam, and no matter which sect was the follower of true Islam, one thing was sure for everyone- the Hindus were the first target.


Al-Ghazali, who made Sufism a part of the acceptable Islam to many, wrote:


“…followers must go on Jihad at least once in a year and should bring down the fortresses of non-Muslims, they should cut down their throats and drown them and burn their holy books.”


In fact, Sufis butchered tens of thousands of Hindus as a part of Jihad. Chisti, one of the most celebrated, mystic Sufi saints, came to India with Ghauri’sJihadic entourage and openly advocated for not only forced conversions but the slaughtering of cows and the consumption of beef near Hindu places of worship. Other saints, while not openly advocating the same, never advocated for peaceful methods of conversion either, rather than at the edge of a sword. Many Sufi saints, including Chisti, have been accused of rape!

A famous tale goes that Chisti was presented with the captured daughter of a Hindu raja. Accepting her, he named her ‘Bibi Umiya’. (Sufi Biography SiyarAl Aqtab)

It is then, both unsettling and surprising, that the extent to which this part of history has been secularized is so great that Sufi saints such as Moinuddin Chisti as venerated by not only Muslims across the world, but also Hindus, with equal fervour, so much so, that any attempts to exhort true history are met with violence, force and a flood of abuses and rape threats.

The falsification of history presents great dangers. When the history of individuals, any individual, is deliberately denied and attempted to be muddled with confusion and falsities, in an attempt to secularize history, not only does it lead to more intolerance, but also loss of life every time someone tries to bring facts to light. Victims must not be led like silent lamb to the altar of those who unleashed aggression against them with falsified facts.

The slip of a tongue, when Amish Devgan accidently said ‘Chisti’ instead of ‘Khilji’, the narration of the historical facts stated above in the recent case of Nupur J. Sharma, and the quoting of religious documents in the case of Nupur Sharma, have all been met with millions of death and rape threats as well as FIRs.

Sufi history, like all history, must be taken at face value, without prejudices. With the recent carnage following the statements of Nupur J Sharma over Moinuddin Chisti, the reader, now, must decide whether it is acceptable to him to live in a setting where opinions are the norm, and history and historical facts, an unacceptable exception.

Islamic Jihad by MA Khan
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