Hindu or Muslim, they are flocking to Ajmer Sufi shrine (Letter from Ajmer)June 25th, 2009 - 10:34 am ICT by IANS
By Firoz Bakht Ahmed
Ajmer, June 25 (IANS) Pilgrims, both Hindu and Muslim, are thronging the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer for his 797th annual Urs or death anniversary, which is not treated as a sad occasion but a celebration of the soul’s union with god.
About 250,000 to 300,000 pilgrims visit Ajmer during the Urs, which this year begins Thursday and will go on till June 30. The dargah (shrine) of the saint, who was popularly known as Khwaja Gharib Nawaz by his devotees from both communities, symbolises a touching synthesis of the hopes and prayers of various faiths and communities.
Revered for his simple teachings, ecumenical approach and eclectic philosophy, the saint believed that no spiritual exercise, penitence or prayer had greater value than bringing succour to distressed hearts and helping the needy. He directed all his efforts towards alleviation of human misery, and his mission was to provide consolation and emotional security to seekers, to help diffuse tension, and bring inner peace and tranquillity within everyone’s reach.
“Develop a river-like generosity, a sun-like bounty and an earth-like hospitality,” Chishti exhorted, stressing one’s life could have divine significance only if one firmly rejected all material attractions.
Real happiness, according to him, lay not in accumulating money but in giving and spending it on others, helping those in need and never hurting the feelings of anyone, which was one of the two ways of exhibiting devotion - the other being prayers, fasting and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Sheikh Moinuddin Chishti believed in pacifism and non-violence, contending violence created more problems than it solved. In forgiveness, large-heartedness and tolerance lay the supreme talisman of man’s happiness.
He advised his disciples to be good to their enemies too and often recited Persian verses to support his philosophy: “He who is not my friend, may God be his friend/ And he who bears ill-will against me, may his joys increase. He who puts thorns in my way on account of enmity/ May every flower that blossoms in the garden of his life be without thorns.”
“Forgive a person who has committed a wrong and thus eliminate your anger. Forgiveness and not retribution is the way to happiness in society,” he said.
Chishti of the Chishtiya order followed in the tradition of great Sufi leaders who came to India, beginning with Sheikh Ali-bin-Usmani, popularly known as Data Ganj Bakhsh. Chishti had a number of prominent followers including Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki of Ush (Turkmenistan), Sheikh Fariduddin Ganj Shakar of Multan, Sultan-ul-Mashaikh Hazrat Nizamuddin Mehboob-e-Ilahi of Badaun, Sheikh Naseeruddin Chiragh Dehlvi, Sheikh Sirajuddin Usman, Shah Burhanuddin Gharib and Syed Mohammed Gesu Daraz.
Chishti believed Islam meant submission to God and submission to God meant serving the creation of God without prejudice. He also stressed self-control and self-criticism as the best methods of reducing tension in society. When wronged, he would consider it a divine reprimand for something that had gone wrong.
He said, “If a man finds fault with me or accuses me of wrongdoing, I should first search my own heart and see whether that fault is in me. If it is, I should not be ashamed at being apprised of it by someone else. If I do not have that fault with me, I should be grateful to God that I have been protected and I should not find fault in others.”
A tradition about him says that he observed day-long fasts and kept vigils at night for the whole of his life. His daily meal at the iftar (breaking of fast) was also a meagre amount.
Chishti was a true mystic and stood for everlasting values. That is why even today his shrine draws thousands of pilgrims of all faiths.
(The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Crowds throng Ajmer for Sufi saint's Urs - Jun 03, 2011
- Zardari fourth Pakistani leader to visit Ajmer - Apr 03, 2012
- The journey to Ajmer Sharif - from Akbar to Zardari - Apr 05, 2012
- Zardari may be gifted flowers instead of sword at Ajmer - Apr 04, 2012
- Ajmer shrine authorities mum on Zardari visit - Apr 03, 2012
- Sonia Gandhi sends her offerings to Sufi saint's shrine - Jun 14, 2010
- Manmohan Singh sends his offerings to Sufi saint's shrine - Jun 15, 2010
- Zardari prays at Ajmer Sharif, donates $ 1m - Apr 08, 2012
- 'Bilawal is like Rahul Gandhi' - Apr 08, 2012
- Ajmer shrine custodians protest administrator's remark on Bollywood stars - Jul 24, 2012
- SC grants bail to Pakistani doctor Chisty - Apr 09, 2012
- 3,000 cops deployed at Ajmer shrine - Apr 07, 2012
- Precious gifts, special prayers for Zardaris at Ajmer shrine (Lead) - Apr 07, 2012
- Delhi sets up transit camp for Urs pilgrims - May 28, 2011
- Zardari prays at Ajmer dargah, donates $1mn (Lead) - Apr 08, 2012
Tags: alleviation, chishti, dargah, death anniversary, devotees, ecumenical approach, emotional security, human misery, inner peace, nawaz, pacifism, penitence, pilgrimage to mecca, s union, sad occasion, spiritual exercise, succour, sufi saint, supreme talisman, union with god