Those aware of the history of Delhi would know that a sobre and assuring voice emanating from revered sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia had kept intolerance and hatred away from religion. To an imperial decree to leave Delhi in 12th century, the sagacious saint loved by many, elites and plebian, had calmly said “Hunooz Delhi Door ast (Delhi is far away).”
Delhi being one of the most revered places, Sufis will be carrying this tradition of Sufism by hosting a four-day World Sufi Forum from Thursday. This initiative by All India Ulama Masharikh Board (AIUMB), the apex body representing Dargah in India, is being seen as attempt to present an effective antidote to terrorism masked as religious ideology. Thousands of scholars from across the world will attend the conference and speak their mind. The conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to organisers, 'good Muslim/bad Muslim' has essentially became a binary through which Islamic world is often defined of late. Despite serious attempts by scholars to delink religion with terror, dreaded outfits like the Islamic State (IS) used the religion as convenient pretext to propagate its philosophy of hate and intolerance.
Sufism, a variant of Islam largely prevalent in Asia, belies all the notions which Salafi Islam or Wahabbism stand for. Traversing from Central Asia to Pakistan and India, Sufism incorporated various local religious practices and music which are out rightly rejected by radical Islam
Though the conference would make a determined attempt to project various strands of Sufism which spread love and affection across the world, it will make a determined attempt to disabuse people of the false propaganda of the IS and other radical variant of Islam. Most significantly, Prime Minister Modi who took keen interest in hosting the meet, is expected to articulate his views on Indian Islam and secularism in this conference.
This conference comes in the backdrop of a congregation of Bohra Muslims that was held in Delhi recently. Bohras who are recognised as Muslims in Pakistan form a sizeable population in Gujarat and are known for their commercial enterprise across the country. Apparently, the World Sufi Forum is seen as a move by international Islamic scholars to present a most benign and progressive of Islam to counter the narrative weaved by Jihadists.