Every time he reads or hears of violence targeting the innocent in the name of Islam or Hinduism, Mustafa Arif (59), a Hindi poet, says something dies within him.
A follower of Sufism, Arif takes pride in introducing himself as ‘Pundit’ since this honorific was bestowed upon him by the All Indian Brahmin Samaj for his services to an Ujjain temple 17 years ago.
His “20-year-long desire” to neutralise those seeking to drive a wedge among people in the name of religion has led Arif to set upon himself the arduous task of composing the world’s longest Sufi poem in Hindi that would have 10,000 verses.
Arif’s work-in-progress has already attracted the attention of Guinness World Records, the universally recognised authority on record-breaking achievements.
Till now, over a period of a year, Arif has penned 1,204 verses — known as hamd in Sufi literature. Each hamd consists of 13 lines.
“The poem will be a rhymed collection of 10,000 verses composed in conversational Hindi,” said Arif.
Titled Raah e Khuda (Path to God), the poem aims to act as a bridge amid Hindus and Muslims, says Arif.
“There are a lot of misconceptions, sometimes due to the acts of a few misguided men in our community itself, regarding Islam in the country... Raah e Khuda will bring out the innate goodness that is there in the Quran e Sharief that exhorts Muslims to be noble and peace loving.”
“The Guinness World Records’ authority recently informed me that once my poem is composed and recited in front of their observers, they would consider it as a record,” said Arif.
Till now, Arif has finished writing 1,204 verses and is keen to wrap up the rest soon. “Once the poem is done, I will have to recite it non-stop. That might take more than 48 hours.”
“Yeh kaisa jihad hai? Yeh kaisa ittehad hai? Allah se darne walon, yeh kaisa shankhnaad hai? (Of what sort is this jihad? What is this unity? If you really honour Allah, what is this clamour about?” reads an angry verse from his collection.
Another verse presents his take on the essence of religious identity.
“Hinsa se dur rahein woh Hindu kehlata hai, salamati de saarey jag ko Islami woh ho jata hai… (Hindu is one who stays away from violence, A true Muslim provides succour to the world).”
Arif writes only when “inspired”, across scrapbooks that are carefully preserved by him. “Two of the verses I wrote, I believe, were dictated to me in a sub-conscious state by divine powers,” he said.