Guest lecturer: Delhi University professor urges soft image of Sufism

By PPI
Published: May 20, 2011
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"Sufis helped resolve conflicts in the medieval ages and alleviated a sense of justice among people," says visiting Indian professor. PHOTO: SABA CHANNA

"Sufis helped resolve conflicts in the medieval ages and alleviated a sense of justice among people," says visiting Indian professor. PHOTO: SABA CHANNA

KARACHI: 

Sufism portrays a positive image of Islam, while the Sufis give a soft image of the religion through their pacifist attitude, said University of Delhi History Professor Dr Fatima Hussain.

She gave a lecture at the Karachi Gymkhana on Wednesday evening. According to her, Sufism provided a way out, at least in the South Asian context, where Sufis and mystic divines have devoted themselves to loving humanity. “Sufis helped resolve conflicts in the medieval ages and alleviated a sense of justice among people because they were different from the Sultans back then,” she said.

Neo-imperialism and consumer culture, propelled by unbridled capitalism, have led to conflict around the world, forcing people to adopt violent means to react to injustice, she added.

The literary and linguistic scenario of South Asia, throughout history, flourished in a complex interplay with the language of the ruling elite but Sufis played an important role because they preached to the people in a common language.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Ahmer
    May 20, 2011 - 8:18AM

    So, this was a PR / Image management session?
    Contrary to popular belief, Sufism was not so pacifist.
    It had a certain exclusivist strain and yes, it did look down upon
    Hindus and non-Muslims in general as Kafirs.
    What we need to learn and practice as Mussalmans,
    is to reject this idea of moral and spiritual superiority,
    over those who don’t accept Islam.
    We have yet to understand that a peaceful and progressive humanity,
    has to live and practice the golden rule;
    “DO UNTO OTHERS, AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.”Recommend

  • May 20, 2011 - 4:19PM

    Very nice Ahmer – completely agree with you. No religion can be considered superior to the other – and the concept of non-believers (kafir) should be replaced with those who believe in another religion. Along with sufism, you had the Bhakti movement in India – where saints such as Tukaram, Namdev, Gyaneshwar etc preached in vernacular languages, broke the supremacy of the brahmin, priestly class and gave the people the concept of devotion to God. My point is, the good professor and the students would do well to study other religions of the subcontinent to understand how they evolved over time. Recommend

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