The Violent Truth Behind The Sufi Mask
Following is a presentation of excerpts taken from Sita Ram Goel's works.
M any Hindus have been misled, mostly by their own soft-headed scholars, to cherish the fond belief that the Sufis were spiritual seekers, and that unlike the Mullahs, they loved Hindu religious lore and liked their Hindu neighbours. The Chistiyya Sufis in particluar have neem chosen for such fulsome praise. The orthodox among the Muslims protest that the Sufis are being slandered. But the Hindus remains convinced that they themselves know better. Professor Aziz Ahmad is a renowned scholar of Islam in India. He clinches the matter in the following words : "In Indian sufism anti-Hindu polemics started with Muinal-din Chisti. Early sufis in Punjab and early Chistis devoted themselves to the task of conversion on a large scale. Missionary activity slowed down under Nizam al-din Auliya, not because of any new concept of eclecticism, but because he held that the Hindus were generally excluded from grace and could not be easily converted to Islam unless they had the opportunity to be in the company of the Muslim saints for considerable time."
Of course, the Auliya who lived in a sprawling khanqah and re- ceived rich gifts out of plunder was convinced that he himself was such a Muslim saint. His temper and teachings can be known easily from die, writings of Amir Khusru, the poet, and Ziauddin Barani, the historian. Both of them were leading disciples of the Auliya. Both of them ex- press a great hatred for Hindus, and regret that the Hanafl school of Islamic Law had come in the way of wiping out completely the "curse of infidelism" from the face Hindustan.
A similar Sufi saint who died a mere 79 years before Waliullah's birth, was Ahmad Sirhindi (1564-1624). He was always foaming at the mouth against Akbar's policy of peace with the Hindus. He proclaimed himself the Mujaddid-i-alf-i-sdni, 'renovator of the second millennium of Islam'. Besides writing several books, he addressed many letters to several powerful courtiers in the reign of Akbar and Jahangir. His MaktiibCtt-i-Imdm RabbanT have been collected and published in three volumes. According to Professor S.A.A. Rizvi, "Shariat can be fos- tered through the sword' was the slogan he raised for his contemporar- ies.
A few specimens should suffice to show the quality of this man's mind. In letter No. 163 he wrote: "The honour of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs. One who respects the kafirs dishonours the Muslims... The real purpose of levying jiziya on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that they may not be able to dress well and to live in gran- deur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling. It is intended to hold them under contempt and to uphold the honour and might of Islam." In Letter No. 81 he said: "Cow-sacrifice in India is the noblest of Islamic practices. The kafirs may probably agree to pay jiziya but they shall never concede to cow-sacrifice." After Guru Mun Deva had been tortured and done to death by Jahangir, he wrote in letter No. 193 that "the execution of the accursed kafir of Gobindwal is an important achievement and is the cause of the great defeat of the Hindus."
Sirhindi ranks with Shah Waliullah as one of the topmost sufis and theologians of Islam. Referring to his role, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad has written in his Tazkirah that "but for these letters Muslim nobles would not have stood by Islam and but for the efforts of Shaikh Ahmad, Akbar's heterodoxy would have superseded Islam in India."' Later on, when K.A. Nizami published a collection of Shah Walilullah's letters addresed to various Muslim notables including Ahmad Shah Abdaii, he dedicated it to Maulana Azad. The Maulana wrote back, "I am extremely happy that you have earned the merit of publishing these letters. I pray from the core of my heart that Allah may bless you with the felicity of publishing many books of a similar kind." That should give us a measure not only of 'Muslim Revival- ism' but also of many Maulanas who masqueraded as ardent national- ists in order to fight the battle for Islam from within the Indian National Congress.
It is strange that most of the present-day Muslim scholars refuse to cite the actual statements made about Hindus and Hinduism by their heroes such as Ahmad Sirhindi and Shah Waliullah while praising them to the skies as saviours of Islam in India. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Allama lqbal are shining examples of this intriguing silence. The late Professor Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi published two significant books on the history of Islam in India - Ulema in Politics (1972), and The Muslim Community of the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent (1977). He has devoted many pages to Ahmad Sirhindi and Shah Waliullah in both the books. But he has not cited a single sentence written or spoken by the 'great sufis' on how they looked at Hindus and Hinduism. I have no doubt that Nizami has also suppressed those letters of Shah Waliullah in which the latter has poured out his heart about kufr and the kafirs. It is only Professor S.A.A Rizvi who has taken us into the secret chain- bers so to say. Professor Rizvi is a Shia. And the venom which charac- ters like Ahmad Sirhindi have poured on Hindus and Hinduism is quite comparable to that which they poured out on Shias and Shiism.
Professor Rizvi has cited select passages from the original Persian of Ahmad Sirhindi's letters. It is only recently that the letters have be- come available in Urdu translation. Ahmad Sirhindi wrote to many Muslim notables in the reign of Akbar and Jahangir. Some of these letters were in strong protest against Akbar's policies vis-a-vis Hindus. One of Sirhindi's patrons was Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan whom many Hindus cherish as a Hindi poet and a devotee of Sri Krishna. It is unfortunate that quite a few recipients of these letters cannot be iden- tified straight away because they are addressed by their titles and not by their names. As the letters are not dated, it is difficult to say whether the bearer of a particular title belonged to the reign of Akbar or Jahangir. The same title was given to several persons in succession. I reproduce below some passages from these significant letters in order to show how the mind of this great sufi functioned. He was the leading light of the Naqshbandi sufi silsild, and the foremost disciple of Khwaja Baqi Billah who brought this silsild to India in the reign of Akbar. I may add that the Prophet appeared quite frequently to both Baqi Billah and Ahmad Sirhindi in their dreams or states of trance, and gave guidance to them. Some of his statements are reproduced below:
- It is said that the Shariat prospers under the shadow of the sword (al-Shara' tahat al-sait). And the glory of the holy Shariat depends on the kings of Islam ....
- Islam and infidelity (kufr) contradict one another. To establish the one means eradicating the other, the coming together of these contradictories being impossible. Therefore, Allah has commanded his Prophet to wage war (jihad) against the infidels, and be harsh with them. The glory is Islam consists in the humiliation and degradation of infidels and infidelity. He who honours the infidels, insults Islam. Honouring (the infidels) does not mean that they are accorded dignity, and made to sit in high places. It means allowing them to be in our company, to sit with them, and talk to them. They should be kept away like dogs. If there is some worldly purpose or work which depends upon them, and cannot be served without their help, they may be con- tacted while keeping in mind all the time that they are not worthy of respect. The best course according to Islam is that they should not be contacted even for worldly purposes. Allah has proclaimed in his Holy Word (Quran) that they are his and his Prophet's enemies. And mixing with these enemies of Allah and his Prophet or showing affection for them, is one of the greatest crimes...... The abolition of jizyah in Hindustan is a result of friendship which (Hindus) have acquired with the rulers of this land... What right have the rulers to stop exacting jizyah? Allah himself has commended imposition of jizyah for their (infidels') humiliation and degradation. What is required is their disgrace, and the prestige and power of Mus- lims. The slaughter of non-Muslims means gain for Islam... To consult them (the kafirs) and then act according to their advice means honouring the enemies (of Islam), which is strictly forbidden...
The prayer (goodwill) of these enemies of Islam is false and fruitless. It should never be called for because it can only add to their numbers. If the infidels pray, they will surely seek the intercession of their idols, which is taking things too far... A wise man has said that unless you become a maniac (di-wanah) you cannot attain Islam. The state of this mania means going beyond considerations of profit and loss. Whatever one gains in the service of Islam should suffice..."
- Ram and Kirshan whom Hindus worship are insignificant creatures, and have been begotten by their parents... Ram could not protect his wife whom Ravan took away by force. How can he help others?... It is thousands of times shameful that some people should think of Ram and Kirshan as rulers of all the worlds... To think that Ram and Rahman are the same, is extremely foolish. The creator and the creature can never be one... The controller of the Cosmos was never called Ram and Kirshan before, the latter were born. What has hap- pened after their birth that they have come to be equated with Allah, and the worship of Ram and Kirshan is described as the worship of Allah? May Allah save us!Our prophets who number one lakh and twenty-four thousand have encouraged the created ones to worship the Creator... The gods of the Hindus (on the other hand) have encouraged the people to worship them (the gods) instead... They are themselves misguided, and are leading others astray... See, how the (two) ways are different!
- Before that kafir [Guru Arjun Deva] was executed this recluse [meaning himself] had seen in a dream that the reigning king had smashed the skull of idolatry. Indeed, he was a great idolater, and the leader of the idolaters, and the chief of unbelievers. May Allah blast him! The Holy Prophet who is the ruler of religion as well as the world, has cursed the idolaters as follows in some of his prayers - "O Allah, demean their society, create divisions in their ranks, destroy their homes, and get at them like the mighty one."It is required by religion [Islam] that jihad should be waged against the unbelievers, and that they should be dealt with harshly... it is obligatory on Muislims to acquaint the king of Islam with the evil cus- toms of false religions... Maybe the king has no knowledge of these evil customs... Some Ulama of Islam should come forward, and proclaim the evils present in their (unbelievers') ways... It will be no excuse or, the Day of Judgment that they did not proclaim the tenets of the Shariat because they were not called upon (to do SO) ...
- The Shariat prevails under the shadow of the sword (al Shara' tahat al-saij) - according to this (saying), the Shariat can triumph only with the help of mighty kings and their good administration. But for some time past this saying has been languishing, which means inevitably that Islam has become weak. The unbelievers (Hindus) of Hindustan are demolishing mosques, and erecting their own places of worship on the same sites. There was a mosque in the tank of Kurukhet (Kurukshetra) at Thanesar, as also the tomb of some (Muslim) saint, These have been demolished, and a huge gurudwara has been con- structed on the same sites. Besides, the kafirs are holding many celebra- tions of kuft....It is a thousand pities that the reigning king is a Mussalman, and we recluses find ourselves helpless. There was a time when Islam stood glorified due to the might and prestige of its kings, and the Ulama and the Sufis were honoured and held in high regard. It was with their help that the kings made the Shariat preva. I have heard that one day Amir Taimur was passing through the bazar at Bukhara when, by chance, the inmates of Khwaja Naqshbandi's khdnqah were beating the dust out of the mats used in that place. Because Islam was intact in Amir Taimur, he stopped at that spot and regarded the dust of the khdnqah as musk and sandal. He met a good end."
- Therefore, it is necessary that infidelity should be cursed in order to serve the faith (Islam). Cursing unbelief in the heart is the lesser way. The greater way is to curse it in the heart as well as with the body. In short, cursing means to nourish enmity towards enemies of the true faith, whether that enmity is harboured in the heart when there is fear of injury from them (infidels), or it is harboured in the heart as well as served with the body when there is no fear of injury from them. In the opinion of this recluse, there is no greater way to obtain the blessings of Allah than to curse the enemies of the faith (be impatient with them). For Allah himself harbours enmity towards the infidels and infidelity...Once I went to visit a sick man who was close to death. When I meditated on him, I saw that his heart was layered with darknesses. I intended to remove those darknesses. But he was not yet ready for it... When I meditated more deeply, I discovered that those darknesses had gathered due to his friendship with the infidels. They could not be dis- persed easily. He had to suffer torments of hell before he could get purged of them ...
- Every person cherishes some longing in his heart. The only longing which this recluse (meaning himself) cherishes is that the enemies of Allah and his Prophet should be roughed up. The accursed ones should be humiliated, and their false gods disgraced and defiled. I know that Allah likes and loves no other act more than this. That is why I have been encouraging you again and again to act in this way. Now that you have yourself arrived at that place, and have been appointed to defile and insult that dirty spot and its inhabitants, I feel grateful for this grace (from Allah). There are many who go to this place for pil- grimage. Allah in his kindness has not inflicted this punishment on us. After giving thanks to Allah, you should do your best to ruin that place and their false gods ... whether the idols are carved or uncarved. Let us hope that you will not act slow. Physical weakness and severity of the cold weather, comes in my way. Otherwise, I would have presented myself, and helped you in doing the job. I would have liked to partici- pate in the ceremony and mutilate the stones...