Attacking shrines: The new fundamentalism
The explosions at the shrine of the Sufi saint Abdullah Shah Ghazi are yet another glaring testimony to the belief that a new-fangled brand of ‘Islamic’ fundamentalism has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. But under the garbed reality of civilian genocide, intelligence failure and staggering chaos which have devastated the lives of the Karachites, a more scathing assault has been launched on the Naqshbandi Sufi order.
Upon glancing at Trimingham’s The Sufi Orders of Islam some months ago (the contents of which have been sourced mainly from Taj al-Din ibn Mahdi Zaman al-Rumi’s Risala fi sunan al-Ta’ifa al Naqshbandiya), I became acquainted with the principles of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order. Astounded by the attributes of peaceful spirituality embedded in each precept, I was compelled to visualize how different the fabric of social life in Pakistan would be if everyone internalized these principles that extolled the existence of God.
However, the twin blasts at Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine serve not only to demonstrate the that Naqshbandi Sufi values have lost ground in Pakistan, but also highlights the ideological conundrum of those who are paradoxically known as ‘Islamic terrorists’.
Which Muslim would desecrate the sanctity of a renowned saint’s sepulchre and turn its hallowed grounds into a battlefield?
Certainly it is someone who doesn’t value the existence of God and the pain of human suffering.
Thus, as the weekly celebrations at the mausoleum are halted and the lights that once spread an exquisite glow – symbolic of spiritual insight – fade into the gathering darkness, I begin to ponder over the idea of resilience.
According to Sufism, one must submit to God’s will. But God’s will does not lie in the growth of fundamentalism and sacrilege.
Or am I being too idealistic here?
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