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Karachi

December 14, 2011

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Need stressed to spread values of Sufism to end strife

Need stressed to spread values of Sufism to end strife

Karachi
Love and tolerance, which forms the edifice of Sufism, was highlighted at a lecture titled, “Sufism in Islam”, at the Goethe-Instut on Tuesday by Prof Dr Jurgen Wasim Frembgen.
The lecture highlighted the mystical thoughts and values embedded in Sufi poetry, which serves to build bridges by spreading the message of love, harmony and tolerance. In addition to the field of philosophy, practical tolerance is exemplified within the devotional religiosity at the shrines of Sufi saints in Punjab and Sindh.
Expressing concern over the danger faced by the cultural heritage of Pakistan owing to the current socio-political conditions, Frembgen said this Sufi heritage was worth conserving as it was the surest panacea for the religious and cultural strife that had engulfed society today. He said that Sufi values of universal brotherhood, love and tolerance were enshrined in the Holy Quran. To consolidate his thesis, he said that Muslims of the subcontinent often drew on the mystical poetry which characterises Sufi Islam.
In ethical terms, he said, Sufism preached non-interference in the religious beliefs of others and acceptance of every viewpoint. In this context, he cited the oft-quoted axiom, “Apne aqeede ko mat choro, doosron ke aqeede ko mat chero”, (Stick steadfastly to your beliefs, don’t comment on the beliefs of others). Sufis in the subcontinent, Frembgen said, had all along promoted the saying, “Mohabbat sab ke liye, nafrat kisi ke liye naheen” (Love for everybody, hatred for none). The Sufis, he said, believed that love was all that existed in the world and was the force that kept the world and mankind going. For them, he said, divine and human love was the edifice of religion.
Absolute unity and uniqueness of God, Frembgen, said, was the key to the Sufi tradition. “For those who love, there are no Muslims, no Christians, but all are the equal sons and daughters of Allah Almighty, all of them equal masterpieces of His creation,” he said.
He said that Sufism in Islam was the exact antithesis of the rigid caste system of Hinduism. Sufis, he said, warn strictly against religious exclusivism as they firmly believe that whichever way one turns, there’s Allah. Talking expressly on the Sufi tradition in the subcontinent, he frequently quoted Baba Farid, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Bulleh Shah and Odero Lal and their message of universal love transcending all religious differences and uniting mankind into one large homogenous family, all a creation of the loving Allah Almighty.
Frembgen is the curator of the Oriental Department at the museum of ethnology Munich, Germany, and a private lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Munich.

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