The Sufi path at Ajmer

The shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is a pillar of the philosophy of synthesis and religious tolerance.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2006 11:23 IST

They come from all faiths to Ajmer, the followers of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, the great Sufi saint.

In Delhi, they can be seen paying obeisance at the shrines of Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia at Nizamuddin and Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki near Mehrauli as it is the principle that before visiting the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin, one should visit these two shrines in Delhi.

The shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is a pillar of the philosophy of synthesis and religious tolerance that has been the essence of India for centuries. Both Hindus and Muslims remember him as Khwajaji. Both revere him. Both claim him. A visionary is one who is not bound by the attachment of worldly pursuits but the eternal one of loving the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).

It is, therefore of paramount importance that a devotee must learn the spiritual aspect of his religious existence. Sufism or tasawwuf ('mystic consciousness' in Persian) advo cates the peaceful co-existence of all faiths. Some define it as the purification of thought, others as a way to truth renouncing everything other than God.

In India, the very existence of Sufis, was a revolt against the unequal distribution of wealth and the unjust actions of tyrants. The true essence of Sufism comes from this remark of Sufi woman saint Rabiahal-Adawiyah of Basra in Iraq: "O my Lord, if I worship Thee from fear of hell, burn me in hell, and if I worship Thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me thence, But if I worship Thee for Thine own sake, Then withold not from me Thine eternal beauty!"

Sufism, is a synthesis of Islam and Vedantism. Phillip K. Hitti in his 'Islam: A Way of Life', makes a special mention of the Sufi thought in India and researched that most of the concepts of Sufism had already been enunciated in the Upanishads. Sufism also follows the concept of Atma and Paramatama. Besides, there is a common bond between the concept of Advaita and Sufism. This beautiful synthesis is India's gift to the world.

First Published: Nov 10, 2006 11:48 IST