Archive for March, 2012

Tehelka – India’s Independent Weekly News Magazine

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Matter of faith A moulvi at a Sufi shrine Photo: Faisal Khan

From Tehelka Magazine,
31 Mar 2012

Wahhabis. Deobandis. Tablighi Jamaat. Orthodox outfits have been turning the Valley into a bastion of puritanical Islam. But the Sufis are fighting back to regain their moorings.

By Riyaz Wani

A COLOURFUL procession stretched a mile long along the picturesque Dal lake. A truck carrying preachers in green turbans was followed by thousands of faithfuls waving green flags. Some people were busy at makeshift kitchens on the roadside where tehri (turmeric-dyed rice), salt tea and kehwa were served to the devotees.

The occasion was not a political rally but the celebration of Eid Milad (Prophet’s birthday) on 12 February. Organised by Minhajul Islam, a newly-floated Barelvi outfit, the procession was a not-so-veiled attempt to reassert the Valley’s Sufi tradition and reclaim the religious space ceded to the conservative Wahhabi Islam. It was the first time in the past two decades that the festival attracted such a massive crowd — estimated to be around 1 lakh people.

Similar events were held at shrines housing the Prophet’s relics. Bazaars and government offices were lit up, adding to the festive air. Understandably, this uninhibited display of festivities didn’t go down well with the adherents of puritanical Islam, who want celebrations to be “austere and exclusively devoted to worship”.

Read more of this article via Tehelka – India’s Independent Weekly News Magazine. – Shariah: Who Defines It?

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

By: Dr. Aslam Abdullah


In the US, with each passing day, the debate about Shariah is getting complicated. There are those who perceive Shariah as a threat to the US constitution and then there are those who view Shariah as a way of life lived according to principles promoted and protected by the US constitution. For some, it is the ideology of enemies and for others, it is a style of life of patriots. Some say that Shariah is totalitarian, demonic, authoritarian, and militaristic, others say that it is humane, compassionate, divine and peaceful. Some say that less than one percent Muslims of the US population wants to impose Shariah and others ask is the democracy in America so fragile that it would allow a minority to impose over the majority and they point out that over the years, the Christian evangelical community, much larger than the Muslim community, has not succeeded in putting prayers in schools…

more on this article via – Shariah: Who Defines It?.

Ultras ape Taliban, target Sufi leaders – India – DNA

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

This kind of thing has been going on increasingly frequently in the past decade. Flush with money and influence, these groups are doing the dirty work of Salafist forces which would like to have total control over the population. The moderating forces of Sufism work against that and so they are a target.

Published: Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012, 8:00 IST

By DNA Correspondent | Place: Jammu | Agency: DNA

Seemingly taking a cue from Pakistan’s Taliban notorious for attacking mosques and shrines, suspected militants in Kashmir are trying hard to flare up sectarian tension by increasingly attacking moderate Sunni Muslim leaders, who believe in Sufi saints and shrines.

More about this story via Ultras ape Taliban, target Sufi leaders – India – DNA.


gulfnews : Symbols of tolerance in India’s Ajmer

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Millions of people — Muslims, Hindus and Christians, and celebrities and rulers — visit Moinudddin Chisti’s ‘dargah’ every year

Contrary to a defamatory recent article about the rise and spread of Sufism (especially the Chishtiya) in Chakranews this article from the GulfNews gives a far more accurate account and stresses the tolerance and fairmindedness of two of the Chishtiya’s most well known figures – Moinuddin Chishti and Nizamuddin Auliya. Many thanks to Talat Halman for pointing this article out on Facebook.

IndiaSymbols of tolerance in India’s Ajmer

Two shrines in India continue to cut through distinctions of faith and class because of the saints who once lived there

By Meher Murshed, Senior Hub Editor

Published:  March 16, 2012

Image Credit: Anupa Kurian

Moinuddin Chisti passed away in Ajmer in 1230, and his prayer room, where he was buried, became a shrine

It was sometime in the 1560s, a band of wandering minstrels was exhorting Moinuddin Chishti to be their guiding star, when the great Moghul emperor Akbar heard the strains of the melodious music … he knew he had to go to Ajmer.

From then on, every year, for years to come, Akbar wound his way to Ajmer in Rajasthan to pray at the shrine of the Sufi saint and distribute alms among the poor. Whether it was to celebrate a battle or pray for a son, the emperor looked to Moinuddin Chishti. Sometimes he would undertake the journey of 300km from Agra, other times from Fatehpur.

Read more of this very interesting article via gulfnews : Symbols of tolerance in India’s Ajmer.

Jewish, Muslim scribes keep calligraphy art alive – World –

Friday, March 16th, 2012

In this Tuesday, Jan. 17 2012 photo, calligraphy expert Avraham Borshevsky practices in his studio in Jerusalem.

Jewish, Muslim scribes keep calligraphy art alive

By BERNAT ARMANGUE – Associated Press

JERUSALEM – In a world overwhelmed by electronic gadgets that have changed the way we read, write and learn, the Jewish and Islamic arts of calligraphy have preserved their methods for generations.

Parchment, feathers and “qalams,” a pen made of dried bamboo, are still used by sophers – Jewish scribes – and khattats – Muslim calligraphers. Calligraphy is one of the main art forms in Judaism and Islam, reflecting how central the word is to both religions.

The Quran has played a major role in the spread of the Arabic language and alphabet, as have Judaism’s Torah and other holy books in the preservation of Hebrew.

Both Muslim and Jewish scribes say deep knowledge of religion infuses the graceful lines of their calligraphy and is essential to the art, which they say ensures the art’s survival into the future – something no electronic tool will be able to bring.

The original story via Jewish, Muslim scribes keep calligraphy art alive – World – includes many more very wonderful pictures of people and the process used to make the calligraphy.