Sufis and Sufism

Sufism is the mystical dimension and expression of the out come of a grand cultural mix that took place in Persia and greater Indian subcontinent. It is the direct outcome of inter mingling of, as well as a jealous struggle between the fundamental religions of this region. Through Sufism, the pure hearted and simple non political folks of this vast region, who were fed up with the never-ending struggle between the different religious, political and social stake holders of the region, found a pure hearted expression of their spiritual quest and day to day mundane issues.
For a simple non traditional Sufi also called a dervish, believing in purity of intention, faith and a belief in nonviolence, is generally more important, than the method or “tariqa”. The stress always remains on purifying one’s inner self and freedom of spirit in devotion to divine.
Many scholars of sufism claim that it is rooted in Muslim culture and tradition, whereas there also are factions of Islam — like Salafism and Wahhabism which consider Sufism heretical.
I In fact agree with Idries Shah, and believe in Sufi philosophy being universal in nature, its roots predating the arising of Islam and the other modern-day religions.
The lexical root of Sufi is rooted in soof or "wool", referring to safā or "purity". Sufism’s greatest message is that we may be woven in different patterns, designs, textures or colors of our physical existence, but peace lies in never forgetting that deep down at the level of our souls we all are pure wool and that purity is worthy of all pursuit, hence sufism stresses on universal brotherhood and tolerance. Sufism preaches the pursuit of 'pure colourless wool' or 'suf ' state of mind as opposed to the materilistic, never ending pursuit of colour, texture and design, which is nothing more than an illusion or 'maya'. The word sufi may also have originated from the Greek word Sophia meaning "wisdom". In Sufism a seeker abandons all notions of dualism and pursues nonndualism to ultimately reach a stage of "un-al-haq", I am God, meaning that a drop of ocean is a drop as well as the ocean,but the very moment its drop conciousness falls apart to realise its oneness with the vastness of ocean, it becomes the ocean, and the drop is no where to be found.
Every one including the scholars or followers of Sufism agree that Sufism cannot be learned through books alone. It can best be learnt by Murshad and Mureed System or the Guru Shishya Parampara. In teaching Sufism, an extensive use of parable, allegory, and metaphor is made.This widely accepted, and a very effective method of training used extensively by the modern management science, is infact a part of Sufi tradition. Sufism stresses up on learning all that is there to be learnt. just to reach the ultimate stage of learning, which is the stage of unlearning, which is quite different from non learning. In other words A sufi learns to learn so as to be able to unlearn again, keaping in mind that what ever has been learnt can change, refreshed or renewed by the greater forces of change in the universe. For a Sufi change is the only true constant in this ever expanding and changing universe.
"Har goshae kayanaat ko chaana maine, jo kuch jaan sakta tha vo jaana maine,
sab kuch jaan gaya jab main aye dost mere, kuch nahin jaanta is baat ko jana maine".
I searched all corners of the universe for what ever could be known with my limited capabilities, and after having known all I know one thing for sure, that I know nothing-
Sufi's by all means deny any rituals or superstitions. They dont believe in the concept of God being an aloof judge sitting in high place waiting for the judgement day to pass his harsh judgements against those who did not follow some specific way and reward those who pleased him with some pre-prescribed method. A sufi on the other hand looks at God as an all forgiving lover equally eager to embrace his beloved (a sufi) because the pining is there on both sides. In sufism God is the greatest manifestation of pure love and is not at all far from a loving and pure heart. Another great element of sufism is the ultimate reverence to the Guru,master or Murshad.
"Guru gobind dou khare ka ke lagun paaye.
balihari Gguru aapne jis Gobind dia milaye"
(Both my Master and God stand here in front of me ,
to whom should I pay my respects first,
I decide to honour my master first because its only because of him that i know or realise God)
The role of the Murshad is given the greatest importance and the place of greatest revrence also belongs to him. This is the reason that either a living master or his tomb is a place of pilgrimage for a sufi. This becomes very clear in the most famous poetry of Saint Sultan Bahu presented by me in the text of this writing.
Sufis believe in the concept of empty book. When a sufi (mureed) (disciple) is graduated by his Master (Murshad), he is given a symbolic empty book, Signifing no set of rules preached by the master and to be followed by the disciple. It is expected that once a disciple is truly enlightened , he can guide others or be guided him self by his pure concious alone. A sufi masters greatest goal is to take his student to a stage of wisdom and a state of enlightenment where no rules, no shariya can possibly apply.
Sufis for that matter dont think of building a Utopia, but certainly do believe, and in my experience do succeed as well in creating Utopian citizens for sure, thus doing the greatest service to the society. In an ever changing world, where all fundamentlist forces through out history, and even today, have worked and are working towards polarising humanity, thus creating conflict in society, Sufism stands tall as the champion promoter of universal brotherhood , love and peaceful co-existence.
The devotional practices of Sufis from different regions of Globe differ widely as a result of inherent nature of sufism to blend with local culture and tradition of the concerned region, but with factors like. tolerance, universal acceptance, love and above all devotional, meaningfully philosophical and mesmerizing music and dance being central to all of them.
For the purpose of this very short writing I am taking Sufi Saint Sultan Bahu’s case as an example. Just like the other great Sufi Saints,His mystical poetry is an expression of disillusionment with formal, legalistic and institutionalized forms of religion, and of optimistic faith in the possibility of a personal, individual spiritual relationship with God.

Kalam Sultan Bahu
Alif allah chambe di booti, mere murshad man vich laai hu.
Nafi asbaat da paani mileyo, har ragge har jaai hu.
Andar buti mushk machaiya, jaan phulaan te ayi hu.
Jeeve murshad kaamil bahu, jaen eh booti laayi hu.
Allah pareyon haafiz hoiyon, na geya hijaabon parda hu,
Parh parh aalim faazil hoiyon, taalib hoiyon zar da hu.
Lakh hazaar kitaban pariyan, zaalim nafas na marda hu,
Baajh fakeeraan koi na maare, eh oh chor andar da hu.
Eh duniya zan hauz paleeti, keti mal mal dhounde hu.
Duniya kaaran aalim faazil, goushen bah bah ronde hu.
Duniya kaaran lok vichaare, ik pal sukh na saunde hu.
Jina chhadi duniya baahu, kandhi chadh khalounde hu.
Andar hu te baahar vi hu, har dam naal chalenda hu.
Hu da daag muhabbat vaala, har dam peya saddenda hu.
Jithe hu kare rushnaai, chhad andhera vendha hu.
Men kurbaan tinhaan ton baahu, jo hu sahi karenda hu.
Imaan salaamat har koi mange, ishk salamat koi hu.
Mangan imaan, sharmaavan ishkon, dil nu gairat hoi hu.
Jis manzal nu ishk pahunchaave imaan khabar na koi hu,
Ishk salaamat rakhin bahu, diyaan imaan dharoi hu.
Eh tan mera chashma hove, murshad dekh na rajjaan hu,
Loo loo de vich lakh lakh chashma, ik kholan ik kajjan hu.
ena vekhiyan sabr na aave, hor kidey val bhhajaan hu
Murshad da deedaar hai baahu, lakh karoddaan hajjaan hu.

Eh tan rabb sachhe da hujara, vich pa fakira chhaati hu.
Nakar minat khawaajkhizar di, tere andr aab hayaati hu.
Shauk da diva baal anere, mat labhi vasat khaddaati hu.
Marne to pehlan mar jande, jinaan hakk di ramaz pachhaati hu.

One of the best ways to experience the Sufi spirit and understand sufi perspective of God is through Listening to Sufi music. Qawaalli is one of the most easily available formats prevalent today. It has the power to give you a direct experience of divinity. Traditionally the credit for devising this format goes to a great Sufi Saint of Delhi, Hazarat Amir Khusro Sahib from the silsila or lineage and tradition of Saint Hazrat Nizmudin Aulliya. Saint Amir Khusro is also credited with the invention of Tabla, most popular rhythm instrument of the sub continent and Tarranaa , another singing format. Here is a sufi composition by poet Naaz Khiaalvi sung by NFAK
The words of this qawaalli are reproduced here for your convenience.

Kabhi Yahaan Tumhen Dhoonda, Kabhi Wahaan Pahuncha
Tumhari Deed Ki Khaatir Kahaan Kahaan Pahuncha
Ghareeb Mit Ga’aye, Pamaal Ho Gaye Lekin
Kisi Talak Na Tera Aaj Tak Nishan Pahuncha
Ho Bhi Nahin Aur Har Jaa Ho
Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho
Har Zarre Mein Kis Shaan Se Tu Jalwa Numaa Hai

Hairaan Hai Magar Aqal, Ke Kaisaa Hai Tu Kia Hai
Tujhe Dair-O-Haram Mein Dhonda Tu Nahi Milta
Magar Tashreef Farma Tujhe Apne Dil Mein Dekha Hai,
Dhoonde Nahi Mile Ho, Na Dhoonde Se Kahin Tum
Aur Phir Ye Tamasha Hai, Jahan Hum Hain Wahin Tum
Jab bin Tere Koi Doosra Maujood Nahi
Phir Samajh Mein Nahi Aataa Tera Parda Karna.
Harm-O-Dair Mein Hai Jalwa-E-Purfaan Tera
Do Gharon Ka Hai Charaagh ik rukhe Roshan Tera.
Jo Ulfat Mein Tumhari Kho Gaya Hai,
Usi Khoye Hoay Ko Kuch Mila Hai
Na Buut-Khane,Na Kabe Mein Mila Hai,
Magar Tute Hue Dil Mein Mila Hai
Adam Bun Kar Kahin Tu Chup Gaya Hai,
Kaheen Tu Hast Bun Kar Aa Gaya Hai
Nahi Hai Tu To Phir Inkaar Kaisa,
Nafi Bhi Tairay Honay Ka Pata Hai
Main Jis Ko Keh Raha Hoon Apni Hasti,
Agar Wo Tu Nahi To Aur Kia Hai
Nahi Aaya Khayalon Mein Agar Tu,
To Phir Mein Kaisay Samjha Tu Khuda Hai
Hairan Hoon Is Baat Pay, Tum Kaun Ho Kia Ho
Haath Aao To Buut, Haath Na Aao To Khudaa Ho
Aqal Mein Jo Ghir Gaya La-Intiha Kiyon Kar Ho
Jo Samajh Mein Aa Gaya Phir Wo Khuda Kiyon Kar Ho
Falsafi Ko Behas Ke Ander Khuda Milta Nahi
Dore Ko Suljha Raha Hai Aur Sira Milta Nahi
Pata Yun To Bata Dete Ho Sub Ko La-Makaan Apna
Ta’ajub Hai Magar Raehte Ho Tum Toote Hue Dil Mein
Jab Ki Tujh Bin Nahi Koi Maujood
Phir Ye Hangama Aye Khuda Kia Hai
Chupte Nahi Ho, Samne Aate Nahi Ho Tum,
Jalwa Dikha Ke Jalwa Dikhate Nahi Ho Tum
Dair-O-Haram Ke Jhagre Mita’te Nahi Ho Tum,
Jo Asal Baat Hai Wo Batate Nahi To Tum
Hairaan Hun Mairay Dil Mein Samaaye Ho Kis Tarah,
Haalan Ke Do Jahan Mein Samaate Nahi To Tum
Yeah Ma Butt O Haram, Yeah Qaleesa-o-Dair Kiyoon,
Harjaayi Ho Jab hi To Batate Nahi ho Tum
Dil Pe Hairat ne Ajab Rung Jama Rakha Hai,
Ek uljhi Hui Tasveer Bana Rakha Hai
Kuch Samajh Mein Nahi Aata K Ye Chakkar Kia Hai,
Khel kia Tum Nai Azal Say Ye Racha Rakha Hai
Rooh Ko Jism Ke Pinjre Ka Bana Ker Qaidee,
Us Pay Phir Maut Ka Pehra Bhi Bithaa Rakha Hai
De ke Tadbeer K Panchi Ko Uraaney Tum Ne,
Daam-E-Tadbeer bhi Her Simt Bicha Rakha Hai
Kar Ke Araish E Qounain Ki barnuu tu ne,
Khatam Karne Ka Bhi Mansooba Bana Rakha Hai
La-Makaani Ka Bahr-Haal Hai Dawa Bhi Tumhein,
Nahl-O-Akrab Ka Bhi Paighaam Suna Rakha Hai
Ye Buraai, Wo Bhalaai, Ye Jahannum, Wo Bahisht,
Is Ulat Phiar Mein Farmaao To Kia Rakha Hai
Jurm Aadam Nai Kiya Aur Saza Beton Ko,
Adl O Insaaf Ka Mi’aar Bhi Kia Rakha Hai
De ke Insaan ko Dunya Mein Khilafat Apni,
Ik Tamasha Sa Zmaaney Mein Bana Rakha Hai
Apni Pehchaan Ki Khaatir Hai Banaya Sub Ko,
Sub Ki Nazaron Say Magar Khud Ko Chupa Rakha Hai
Nit Naye Naqsh Banatay Ho Mita Dette Ho,
Jaane Kiss Jurm-E-Tamanna Ki Saza Dette Ho,
Kabhi kankkar Ko Bana Dete Ho Hiire Ki Kani,
Kabhi Heeron Ko Bhi Mitti Mein Mila Dete Ho
Zindagi Kitney Hi Murdon Ko Ataa Ki Jis Ne,
Wo Maseeha Bhi Saleebon Pay Saja Dete Ho
Khuwahish-E-Deed Jo Kar Baithey Sir-E-Toor Koi,
Toor Hee Bark e Tajaali Say Jala Daitay Ho.
Naaley Namrood Mein Dalwatay Ho Qudrat Na Khaleeq,
Khud Hee Phir Naar Ko Gulzaar Bana Dete Ho
Chahey Kin-Aaan Mein Phainko Kabhi Maah-kinaan,
Noor Yaqoob Ki Aankhon Ka Bujha Dete Ho
Bech Ke Yusuf Ko Kabhi Misr ke Bazaaron Mein,
Aakhir- Kaar Shah-E-Misr us ko Bana Dete Ho
Jazb-O-Masti Ki Jo Manzil Pe Pahunchta Hai Koi,
Baith Ker Dil Mein Anal-Haq Ki Sadaa Dete Ho.
Khud He Lagwate Ho Phir Kufr K Fatway Us Par,
Khud He Mansoor Ko Sooli Pe Charha Dete Ho
Apni Hasti Bhi Wo Ik Roz Gawa Baithta Hai,
Apne Darshan Ki Lagan Jis Ko Laga Dete Ho
Koi Ranjha Jo Kabhi Khoj Mein Nikle Teri,
Tum Usay Jhang K Bele(medows) Mein Rula(lost) Dete Ho
Just-ju Le keTumhari Jo Chale Qais koi,
Us Ko Majnu Kisi Laila Ka Bana Dete Ho
Jot? Sassi ke Agar dil mein Tumhari Jaage,
Tum Use Tapte Hue thull(desert) mein Jala Dete Ho
Sohni Gar Tum Ko Mahiwaal Tassavur Kar Le,
Us Ko Bikhri Hui Lehron mein Bahaa Dete Ho
Khudh Joh Chaho To Sar-E-Arsh Bula Kar Mehboob,
Ek Hi Raat Mein Meeraaj Kara Dete Ho.
Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho
Aap Hi Apna Pardaa Ho
Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho
Jo Kehta Hu, Maanaa tumhen Lagtaa hai Buraa Sa,
Phir Bhi Hai Mujhe Tum Se Baharhaal Gilla Sa
Chup Chaap Rahe Dekhtey Tum Arsh-E-Barin se,
Taptay Hue Karbal Mein Mohammad Ka Nawasa
Kis Tarah Pilata Tha Lahuu Apna Wafa Ko,
Khud Teen Dino Say jo agarche tha Piyasa
Dushmun To Bahar Haal The Dushman Magar Afso's,
Tum Ne Bhi Faraaham Na Kia Pani Zara Sa.
Har Zulm Ki Taufeeq Hai Zaalim Ki Wirasat,
Mazloom ke Hisse mein Tasalli Na Dilasaa.
Kal Taaj Saja Dekha Tha Jis Shaqs ke Sir Pe,
hai Aaj Usi Shaqs ke Haathon Mein Hi kasa
Yeh Kia Hai Agar Puchoon To Kahte Ho Jawaaban,
Is Raaz Se Ho Sakta Nahi Koi Shanasaa.
Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho
Hairat Ki Ik Dunya Ho, Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho
Har Aik Jaan Pey Ho, Lekin Pataa Nahin Maloom
Tumahra Naam Suna Nai, Nishaan Nahi Maloom
Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho
Dil Say Armaan Jo Nikal Jaa’ye To Jugnu Ho Jaa’ye,
Aur Aankhon Mein Simat Aaa’ye To Aansoo Ho Ja’aye
Ja Pe Ya-Huu Ka Jo Be-Hu Karay Hu Mein Kho Kar,
Us Ko Sultaniyaan Mil Jaen wo Baahu Ho Jaaye
Baalgi Ka Na Kisi Ka Ho Churrii Ke Nichey,
Halk-E-Asghar Mein Kabhi Teer Tarazu Ho Jaaye
Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho
Kis Qadar Beniyaaz Ho Tum Bhi
Daastan-E-Niyaaz Ho Tum Bhi
Raah-E-Tehqeeq Mein Her Gaam Pay Uljhan Dekhun,
Vanhi Halaat-O-Khayalaat Mein Anaban Dekhun
Ban Ke Rah Jaata Hoon Tasaveer Pareshaani Ki,
Gaur Say Jab Bhi Kabhi Duniya Ka Darpan Dekhun
Ek He Khaaq Pay Fitrat Ke Tajaadaat Itne,
Itne Hisson Mein banta ek Hi Angan Dekhun
Kahin Zehmat Ki Sulagti Hui Pat-jhar Ka Samaa,
Kahin Rehmat Ke Barastey Hue Saawan Dekhun
Kahin Phunkartey Darya, Kahin Khaamosh Pahaar,
Kahin Jungle, Kahin Sahra, Kahin Gulshan Dekhun
Khoon Rulata Hai Yeh Taqseem Ka Andaaz Mujhe,
Koi Dhanwaan Yahaan Pe Koi Nirdhan Dekhun
Din Ke Haathon Mein Faqat Ek Sulagtaa Suraj,
Raat Ki Maang Sitaron Sey Muzayyan Dekhun
Kahin Murjhaaye Hue Phool Hain Sach’chaii Ke,
Aur Kahin Jhoot Ke Kaanton Pay Bhi Joban Dekhun
Shams Ki Khaal Kaheen Khinchti Nazar Aati Hai,
Kaheen Sarmad Ki Utarti Hui Gardan Dekhun
Raat Kia Shey Hai Sawera Kia Hai,
Yeah Ujala Yea Andhera Kia Hai
Mein Bhi Naayab Hun Tumhara Aakhir,
Kiyoon Yeh Kehte Ho Ke Tera Kya Hai
Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho
Dekhne Wala Tujhe Kia Dekhta
Tu Ne Her Rang Se Pardah Kar rakha hai,

Masjid Mandir Yeh Mehkhaney,

Koi Yeh Maaney Koi Woh Maaney
Sub Tere Hein Jaana Kaashaney,
Koi Yeh .........................
Koi hone Ka Tere Qaaiil Hai,
Inkaar Pe Koi Maaiil Hai
Ik Khalq Mein Shaamil Karta Hai,
Ik Sab se Akelaa Rehtaa Hai
Hain Dono Tere Mastanay,
Koi Yeh ................................
Sub Hain Jab Aashiq Tumhare Naam Ke,
Kiyoon Yeh Jhagre Hein Rahim-O-Raam Ke
Dair Mein Tu, Haram Mein Tu
Arsh Pe Tu, Zamin Pe Tu
Jis Ki Pahunch Jahaa Tak hai,
Us K Liye Wahin Pe Tu
Har Ik Rung Mein Yaksa Ho
Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho
Markaz-E-Justuju, Aalam-E-Rung-O-Boo,
Dum-Ba-Dum Jalwagar Tu Hi Tu Chaar-Su
Hu-Ke-Mahool Mein Kuch Nahi Illah Hu,
Tum Bohot Dilruba Tum Bohot Khoobaru
Arsh Ki Azmatein Farsh Ki Aabroo,
Tum Ho Qonein Ka Haasil-E-Aarzoo
Aankh Ne Kar Lia Aansu'on Se Wazu
Ab To Kar Do Ataa Deid Ka Ik Sabu
Aao Parde Se Tum Aankh ke Ru-Baru,
Chand Lamhe Milan, Do Ghari Guftaguu,
Naaz Japta Phiray Ja Baja Qu-Ba-qu
Wahda-huWahda-hu la Shareeka-La-hu
Allah Hu Allah Hu Allah Hu Allah Hu Allah Hu
To savour this great composition in the immortal voice of Nusrat Fateh ali Khan, click on this link.
video with the english translation of the qawaalli
...Balwant Gurunay...

1 comment:

  1. This is the best article on sufism that I have ever come across. Its beautifully and simply written. In spite of the brevity the essentail details are all present. The sufi compositions were like the icing on th cake after reading the article. The Qawalli sung by Nusrat FAteh Ali Khan is undoubtely one of the best. You'll be surprised to know that the poet of this qawalli, Naaz Khialvi, of Gujranwala (Pakistan) was paid peanuts for this composition and we need to appreciate that the strength of this composition truly comes from its poetic genius.
    Great work! I'm surely going to follow this blog.