Ranks of the Mystics

Historical revisionism and deconstruction have always been the tool of the victors to create a generation that would serve its new masters well. Sometimes it is achieved by using the traitors showered for their lax morality, at others, news ideas are forcefully imposed. One of the examples are the words of Lord McCauley who surveyed the education system of the subcontinent in his 1835 report for the British Parliament.

“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

For years after pseudo-independence civil services system and English medium schools, this vision has become a reality. The deadly part is how deep it has penetrated.

It is a falsehood that Muhammad bin Qasim RA invaded 712 and it was the first interaction of people of the subcontinent with the Muslims. Long before the muslim merchants had arrived in the region. It is exactly because of these savants and mystics that Islam spread in great numbers.

The argument that Islam was spread by the sword must explain a huge population of Hindus in India today. If extermination and plunder were the goals, they certainly didn’t comply with it building roads, schools, hospitals and employing non-Muslim subjects.

Among these mystics, great Sufi saints single-handedly converted the downtrodden untouchables to the egalitarian and liberal religion of Islam. Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmeri, Data Ganj Baksh, Nizamuddin Aulia, Shah Walliullah and other blessed souls spearheaded the proliferation of esoteric chains of Sufism.

Like four schools or Madhhabs, Hanafi, Shaafi, Maliki and Hanbali, the spiritual chain of divine blessings were propagated by four chains of tassawwuf. They are known as Naqshbandia, Qadria, Chistia and Suherwardia, their name taken from their founding sheikhs.

A great many books were written on the nature of the soul and how to purify it from the adulteration of diseases of the world e.g. Envy greed, hate, miserliness and cowardice. All of them stem from an impure heart. Prophet SA’s hadith goes like this “Everything has a polish, and the polish of the hearts is Dhikr of Allah”.

These four great sheikhs not only polished the hearts but embedded these Barakat into their disciples. Many ways of doing this have been in use. From Dhikr of La Ilaha to Pas Anfas method, they all agree on some principles.

  • Before the soul starts traveling towards the higher stations it needs to illuminate these parts to be able to travel.
  • There are certain stations on this path and for all of them, strict following of Prophet SA’s sunnah and noble character is mandatory. There is no Sufism without following shariah.
  • Like cardinal parts of the physical body, the soul has its own parts called Lataif. Some of them suggested 5, some 7 and some 11.

Just like the worldly offices, these spiritual matters also use people in this world to run the divine affairs. Ghaus, Qutb, Abdal, Qayyum are some of the officers of this divine army.

The irony of the situation is how such sublime and exalted path of self-inspection and purification went into the hands of opportunities and clowns. Prostrating in front of graves, wearing crowns, lighting the pile of mud called graves was never what these great saints taught them.

These people arduously converted people who for centuries burned the widows alive with their husbands when they died. They drank cow urine and believed that a carved stone can give them sons they greatly need as opposed to the wretched daughters.

Today true Sufism is hard to find but at the same time, its never hidden from the seekers of the knowledge and wisdom. The path remains open. The prophecy that this ocean of light will never see a dark night, holds true. For some, this will be a heresy, for others, just what they were looking. As for me, nothing is upon us but to convey. The gift Allah gives you, tell the people about it.