All India Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Council
|The corridor of peace|
| January 17, 2008|
In December last year, All India Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Council, a Sufi organisation, led a peace march to Parliament, holding placards that read: “Islam says killing of one innocent is killing of humanity. Sufi Corridor can play an important role in establishing peace and unity.”
Despite the overly idealistic veneer, it marks an important milestone in the fight against Islamic terrorism. The Sufis in India are low profile but number close to 10 crore and their religious centres are spread across the country (see map).
The movement to create a Sufi Corridor of peace is therefore a nationwide movement. Several Sufi scholars and saints belonging to various dargahs and khanqahs (Islamic seminaries) had gathered in Delhi recently to formally identify the corridor which stretches from Kashmir to Kerala, Gujarat to West Bengal.
The objective of the movement is to connect all Sufi centres with a view to uniting people against terrorism and try and prevent attacks at places sacred to both Hindus and Muslims. Sufism is based on the principle that “all people are the children of God on earth”.Their philosophy has been to return hatred with love, violence with affection. So far it has largely been Sufi music which has found national resonance. Now, its religious leaders are hoping to do the same with their anti-terror campaign.
This is, in fact, the first-ever attempt to create a kind of civic organisation outside the boundaries of the political establishment to fight terrorism.
The idea behind the initiative, according to internationally revered Sufi Syed Muhammad Jilani Ashraf Kichhauchhvi, a direct descendent of Prophet Mohammad, who heads the Sufi Foundation, Spiritual Foundation and Sufi University, and who was also part of the Delhi conference, is to connect all the famous dargahs and khanqahs, numbering close to 400, and reinforce the message of Sufism (Muslim mysticism) which, in strictly religious terms means cleansing of mind and heart to help acquire the knowledge of God, but in the current context is really to do with the brotherhood of man and coming together to fight terrorism.
Following the bomb explosions at the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer Sharif on October 11, 2007, Maulana Jilani Ashraf, popularly known as Jilani Baba, made spiritual tours to different parts of the country to awaken and unite the Sufis.
The Ajmer blast was preceded by the bomb blast at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad on May 11, which killed 11 people. In fact, 10 days before the Delhi Sufi conference, Uttar Pradesh was rocked by serial bomb blasts in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi civil courts.
These blasts, once again, coincided with the Friday prayers and claimed 14 lives. Shaken by these incidents, Sufis decided to come out of their ‘hujras’ (meditation chambers or prayer cells) to play the role they have historically played in spreading the message of Islam and creating a composite culture in India.
The Sufis, led by Jilani Baba, set up the Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Council (now renamed as the Sufi Federation of India) to bring all Sufis on a single platform and draw a road-map to unite Hindus and Muslims against the dangers of terrorism.
Prominent Sufi leaders from all across the country are part of the initiative. The Sufis and their followers plan to set out on a spiritual voyage asking the people to be aware of their religious and civic duty in strengthening society to identify and condemn terrorist activities which are the handiwork of only a handful of misguided and mischievous elements and are totally against the spirit of Islam.
By October this year a chain of Sufi shrines would be created which would in turn create a ring of followers who would carry the message of peace and unity. These local-level rings would connect with each other to form a larger, nationwide chain the sole aim of which would be to promote peace and brotherhood among faiths.
The progress of the corridor would be reviewed and the future course of action would be worked out at a conference in Bangalore in October this year. Sufis say this approach would work at two levels—it would help the government and its agencies counter terrorism and it would create awareness among the people about the larger threat posed by terrorist groups.
This concept of Sufi Corridor is also seen as the next step to the setting up of the Sufi University that was aimed at reviving the concept of mysticism.
Though most of the orthodox schools of Islamic thought have rejected Sufism as un-Islamic, their message and following has grown, cutting across regions and faiths. Apart from their numbers—the Sufi Foundation of India estimates there are over 10 crore Sufi followers in the country—the greatest contribution of Muslim Sufi saints is the creation of a composite culture in India dating back to the 13th century with the arrival of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer Sharif.
This helped blunt the edge of Hindu-Muslim prejudices by forging solidarity and brotherhood among these two communities.
The movement has been supported by key Hindu religious leaders. “Sants follow the path of peace, love and nonviolence. So the campaign launched by Sufis against terrorism must be supported by all. It might help trace the roots of terrorism and destroy it forever. All the saints and sadhus of Ayodhya support this initiative,” says Acharya Satyendra Das, chief priest of Ram Janmabhoomi, Ayodhya.However, Maulana Khalid Rasheed, president, Ulema Council of India and member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, remains sceptical. “Some Muslim leaders and scholars have started a wrong trend to claim that they are against terrorism. This creates suspicion that the community is feeling guilty.Terrorism has nothing to do with any religion. We saw “terrorism” when the Babri Masjid was destroyed. There is Maoist terrorism across the country. There is Israeli terrorism in Palestine.
Iraq also faces terrorism. The movement will succeed only when Hindus and Muslims campaign together,” says Rasheed. This is what actually Sufis are striving to achieve—to bring together the followers of all religions in their collective fight against terrorism. And not everyone subscribes to Rasheed’s reservations.
“We know there is no bigger traitor than the one who tries to question the faith of the Islamic community. Such protests by the community can be a fitting reply to the miscreants, something that even the Government cannot give,” says Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal.
Despite the sceptics, any initiative against terrorism is to be welcomed, especially when it is undertaken by Muslims and, in particular Sufis, who ultimately have the right credentials to promote peace.
Sufi’s of India United against Terrorism
Alhamdulillah Ta’ala, Delhi witnessed A never seen Sufi Unity on 3rd Dec 2007 in India Islamic Cultural Centre where Sufi Sajjada Nashins belonging to almost all the famous Dargahs assembled on common Objective i.e. to face the Current Challenges like Terrorism, State Injustice towards Muslims, Protection of Muslim Rights, and to form Sufi Corridors through Out India in Order to make a Coordination between Various Khankahs and Dargahs.
Hazrat Jilani Mian of Kachocha Shareef Under the Banner of Sufi Foundation Invited all the famous Khankahs sajjada Nashin in All India Khawaja Gharib Nawaz Conference to form a Council to fight the Current Challenges to establish Communal Harmony and Other related relevant and Important Issues of Community. They strictly demanded a C.B.I Inquiry in the recent Bomb Blast at Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Conference was a big success as Sufis from Kahmir to Kerala and Bengal to Gujarat were Present Including Prominent Sunni Scholars of Country. All were agreed to continue the Movement throughout the Country in Order to Spread the True Message of Sufism which is Peace, Tolerance, Brotherhood and Welfare of Humanity.http://yasayyidi.wordpress.com/2007/12/03/sufis-of-india-united-against-terrorism/