From Rajeev Sharma
New Delhi: Amid worries over the growing menace of terrorism across the globe, Delhi is all set to host the World Sufi Forum for four days beginning March 17. The Indian Prime Minister Mr. Modi will inaugurate the event at Vigyan Bhawan. Around 200 delegates from home and abroad will participate. Some of the important participants are: Dr Tahirul Qadri (Pakistan), Shaykh Hashimuddin al Gaylani (Sajda Nashin Khanqah Qadaria (Baghdad/Iraq), Stephen Suleman Schman Schwartz (founder and executive director of Centre for Islamic Pluralism, USA), Shykh Afeefuddin Al-Jailani (founder and chairman of Al-Wariseen Trust, Iraq), and Sheikh Mohammad Bin Yahya Al Ninowy (Sufi leader, USA). The All-India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) is the organizer.
Here are the excerpts from an interaction with the board’s Founder-President, Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf:
India represents unity in diversity. The Muslim population in the country is only second to Indonesia’s. But Muslims in Indonesia are in a majority, in India they are a minority. But the Constitution of India grants full respect to Islam. In this way, India has become an example of unity in diversity. India is like a ‘guldasta’
that has flowers with many colours. This has to be preserved and protected. No flower can be put aside at the cost of others. Whatever is happening in the name of Islam today is misleading. The real Islam is one, which has been interpreted in the Holy Qur’an. And the Nabi says thrice with all the emphasis that one cannot be a ‘momin’ (believer) who has not kept his neighbor safe and satisfied by his words (zuban) and deeds (hands). The neighbor means that each individual belongs to God. Islam talks about humanity throughout the world.
Khwaja Ghareeb Nawaz has talked about it…Mehboob-e-Ilahi Makhdum Ashraf Jahangir…These are some of the great souls who while on earth in physical form, and now when they are interred, continue to spread a message of peace and harmony. How can I accept that whatever is happening in the name of Islam is Islam? Bombs are placed in markets and innocents are killed, what kind of Islam is this? Any extremist organisation waving Islamic flags and misusing the holy qur’an such as Daesh and ISIS have actually no endorsement in the ambit of islam.They are nothing but terror outfits which are tarnishing the image of islam. It is therefore important to realize and unearth the propaganda of such people and organizations that are funded by foreign entities to spread hatred and intolerance to disrupt peace in a country such as India.
A meeting with the Indian PM
As this is a major event to be held in Delhi, our 40-member delegation met the Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently to convey our sincere desire for his presence in the event. He heard us with patience and agreed to participate. He showed a great amount of warmth by shaking hands with each member of the delegation. He was informed that AIUMB is India’s apex body for sufi shrines and for muslim religious leaders such as Ulama,Imams and Muftis.
For the first time such a large congregation of Sufi scholars is arriving in Delhi. These scholars, drawn from madarasa,Khanqah’s and various dargahs, will present their research papers. This will take the shape of a 1,000-page book. The programme will take place on 18th and 19th March at Indian Islamic Cultural Centre. A rally is going to be held on March 20 at Ramleela ground which will be addressed by Tahirul Qadri and many well-known scholars. A large number of people have already started arriving. We believe it is high time for us to create a platform to seriously ponder over the radical interpretations of Islam by terror groups for political gains.
The spread of terror and tyranny by jihadist forces in Syria and other parts of the world has damaged the image of Islam more than ever before. However, we are of the belief that Indian Muslims can provide a real alternative to all the bloodshed being spilled across the world in the name of Islam by promoting their rich history of Sufism. We intend to make India the global centre for moderate ideology in Islam.