Sufi life and shrine reforms

Dr. Hassnain Javed

October 08, 2018




Since the advent of this universe, the changes in this universe bear witness to the fact that there are periods of ups and downs, eruptions’ and disruptions’, sorrow and relief, success and failure of time where all scientific inventions and research are being safeguarded in the depths of this world. This universe is also aware of how many civilizations have been germinated in its soil, sprouted into seedlings, grew as beautiful fruit laden trees and later went extinct.

It leads question in human mind that why the Creator has given birth to this universe and for what purpose has he created this earth and human? This law of action and reaction with associated movements and consequences has been beautifully explained by Holy Prophet (SAW) in these words: “This world is the land of cultivation for the Hereafter”.

At this stage, human physical body and its pure soul needs affiliation to revert back to its Creator where the state of law of nature is balanced. This affiliation was acquired from Sufi saints, glorified soul, holy beings and the chosen one in the path of the Creator. Sufi is the one who embraces the philosophy and practices which aim at direct communion between the Creator and man. Sufism is the divine knowledge bestowed by the Creator upon a selected few for the benefit of humanity.

They neither propagate nor impose the positive or negative image of religion. Sufi gatherings act as the celebration of diversity and pluralism. They are the voice of peace, co-existence, compassion, equality which is a call for universal brotherhood. These gatherings primarily focus on creating a psychological balance between moral values and ethics through the following three principles.

Firstly, they aim at creating equality by bridging the gap between have and have’s not in the society, by ensuring everyone have the equal share and distribution of the basic necessities. No rich is superior over any poor, no white is favoured over a black. Secondly, providing social rehabilitation through the sharing of ideas to educate an individual with morals and love rather than sermons.
It is a very meaningful ideology as those who believe in humanity they will ultimately aim at building human civilisation on love not on hatred. Love is the weapon that leads to tolerance and demolishes all movements based on extremism and exclusive truth. Because one who loves all of humanity will always adopt an inclusive approach and feels that truth cannot be the monopoly of some exclusive group.

Lastly, these Sufi saints listen and act as modern day psychologists, as an invisible teacher to relax and guide the depressed individual. All of these three principles sum up in creating a conquest of happiness in the depressed, rejected, deprived souls and physical bodies of the society at worse of the their time when the dark shadow of violence is becoming longer and they act as beacon of hope. Thus, a Sufi soul is devoted in the remembrance of the Creator whereas the physical bodies are at disposal for the welfare of humanity without any restriction of time and appointments.

The above glance at Sufi’s mystics explains they practice Nero Linguistic Programing (NLP) through generation of social network. According to the recent stats by World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million out of the total world’s population and 34 percent of the Pakistan population is suffering from mild to severe form of depressions. This ratio has persistent increase over time. In contrast, the picture was altogether different in the start of eighteenth and early nineteenth century when the world renowned Sufi saints were practicing their above stated principles. Thus, keeping in view Iqbal’s thought:”Come out of the monastery and play the role of Shabbir, for monastery’s faqr is but grief and affliction”.

So, we all should join hands to foster social rehabilitation and reform the existing Khanqahi system. The effective restructuring of the system is possible in three ways. Firstly, there should be strict check and balance on the revenue generated on a daily basis at multiple Dargahs of the region as the concerned authority AUFAQ and Ministry of Religious Affairs is providing misleading numbers as it states that there is only 8 percent annual increase in income from shrines. In contrast, a recent media report the income of Data Dabar went up by Rs. 15 million to Rs 230.97 million i.e. 93 percent increase annually for the accounting year 2016-17. So, it clearly depicts the misrepresentation and channel of money flow from devotes to donation boxes and later to Sajadanishan’s (the descendants) pockets. It is proposed a proper microfinance institution should be developed at Dargahs and small loans should be provided to homeless, needy, widows etc. But, again there should be proper inquiry and channel of transaction to be followed. We can take Aukhwat (a microfinance bank) as reference model.

Secondly, diverse range of individuals come and visit the holy places with different aims and upon closer inspection some of them our highly skilled and talented but due to no peace of mind have decided to spend rest of their lives in Dargah and labelled as Faqirs. It is proposed to have use of these resources as well by establishing small training and vocational institutes within the premises of the holy shrines. It will help in knowledge sharing and enhancing the skills of deprived souls just like the saints.
Thirdly, upon closer look and repeated visits at multiple shrines I have observed there is no proper system of food distribution among the devotees. Thus, it is proposed to have a proper food network system and concept of dignity of food should be launched. Some part of the shrine should be reserved for serving food to improve the hygiene and avoidance of waste.

If the proposed problems and given solutions are effectively inspected by the concerned authority it will definitely help in shaping the strong system and holy shrines as one of the organs in socio-economic rehabilitation initiatives. Last but not the least, Sajadanishan’s (the descendants) should play the role of psychotherapist like their ancestors. They should devote themselves for community development rather over-filling their pockets, building huge palaces and showing off their material possessions gained in terms of nazrana’s (material things given by devotees).