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Islam Sufism - Were All Sufis Alike


Jul 3, 2004
It is a popular notion that all Sufis advocated peace, equality and brotherhood of mankind.

However I cam across the following interesting link.

Perhaps if we have a Sufi follower amongst us, he/she can shed more light on this:


Shaikh Ahmad Sarhindi (1564- 1624):

Shaikh Ahmad Sarhindi, who was popularly known as Mujaddid (Renovator of Islam) had traced his descent from Caliph Umar. Rejecting the 'heterodoxies' of the great Mogul Emperor Akbar , this eminent Islamic mystic of his time and a hardcore Sunni Muslim strongly refuted the Shia point of view in his writing entitled "Risala Tahliliyya” and made a major contribution towards rehabilitation of orthodox Islam in India. He tried to influence the courtiers of Akbar and continued his tirade against the Hindus as well as Shia Muslims aggressively when Jahangir ascended the throne of Delhi. He is widely known among the Muslims for his letters written in Persian not only to his disciples but also to the influential Muslims in the court of Jahangir. His letters exercised great influence in turning the heterodoxies of Akbar to orthodoxies, which were pursued by all the subsequent Muslim rulers from Jahangir to Aurangzeb. He was so rigid in his approach towards Islam that he did not bend before the emperor as per the prevalent custom when he was summoned to the court of Jahangir. His plea that bending down before anyone except Allah was un-Islamic, annoyed Jahangir, who ordered for his imprisonment in Gwalior jail due to his discourteous behaviour. After a year however, Jahangir under the influence of his Islamic writings released him from jail and offered huge gifts to him. His tomb at Sarhind in Patiala is still an object of veneration (Islamic Encyclopaedia, Vol. I, Page297).

Shah Wali Ullah (1704-1762):

Shah Wali Ullah another Islamic mystic of the Sufi tradition of Sunnism who claimed his lineage from Quraysh tribe of Prophet Mohammad and of Umar, the second caliph was found more concerned with the political disorder after the death of Aurangzeb and the fading glory of Muslim power. With his religio-political thought that was based on the 'Persio -Islamic theory of kingship' (Shah Wali Allah and his Time by Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, page 397) he wanted the Muslim society to return to the Prophet era for the political unity of the then Muslim rulers. He translated the writings of Sarhindi from Persian to Arabic to inspire the Muslim Indians and also invited Ahmad Shah Abdali, the king of Afghanistan to fight against the Marathas to save the subjugation of Muslims by the Hindus. His letter to Abdali was a part of his hate campaign against the Hindus. He did not believe in Indian nationhood or any national boundary for Muslims and therefore, invited Shah Abdali, Amir of Afghan to attack India (Third battle of Panipat 1761), in which Marathas were defeated. In his letter to the Afghan king he said, "…All control of power is with the Hindus because they are the only people who are industrious and adaptable. Riches and prosperity are theirs, while Muslims have nothing but poverty and misery. At this juncture you are the only person, who has the initiative, the foresight, the power and capability to defeat the enemy and free the Muslims from the clutches of the infidels. God forbid if their domination continues, Muslims will even forget Islam and become undistinguishable from the non-Muslims" (Dr. Sayed Riaz Ahmad in his book 'Maulana Maududi and Islamic state' - Lahore People's Publishing House, page 15 - 1976).

The political rise of non-Muslims like Maratha, Jat and Sikh powers and consequent danger to Islam of its political heritage was unbearable to Shah Wali Ullah. The slogan of 'Islam is in danger' - is profoundly embedded to his hate-non-Muslim ideology. The successive Muslim thinkers drew inspiration from his religio-political thought and carried forward his mission, which ultimately gave birth to the Islamic politics in India.

A great Muslim thinker and promoter of one of the most emotional chapters of Islamic revivalist movements in Indian subcontinent his political thought had brought the Indian Muslims under perpetual siege of Islamic orthodoxy. The on going Hindu-Muslim communal controversy in contemporary India is deeply rooted to his political Islamic theory. The most significant contribution of Wali Ullah(Allah) for his community is that his teachings kept alive the religious life of Indian Muslims linked with their inner spirit for re-establishment of Islamic political authority in India. It was the political theory of Wali ullah that kept the Indian Muslims emotional social disorder and deprived them of a from forward-looking vision.

Being proud of his Arab origin Wali Ullah was strongly opposed to integration of Islamic culture in the cultural cauldron of the sub-continent and wanted the Muslims to ensure their distance from it. "Waliullah did not want the Muslims to become part of the general milieu of the sub-continent. He wanted them to keep alive their relation with rest of the Muslim world so that the spring of their inspiration and ideals might ever remain located in Islam and tradition of world community developed by it". (The Muslim Community of Indo-Pakistan subcontinent by Istiaq Hussain Qureshi, 1985, Ibid. page 216). "In his opinion, the health of Muslim society demanded that doctrines and values inculcated by Islam should be maintained in their pristine purity unsullied by extraneous influences" (Ibid. page 215). The religio-political ideology of Wali Ullah made a permanent crack in Hindu--Muslim relation in this sub-continent, which undermined the self-pride and dignity of integrated Indian society.

Ahmad Barelavi (1786-1831):

Waliullh's son Abd al Aziz (1746-1823) carried forward the legacy of his father and as a result India faced violent communal disorder for decades. Aziz's disciple Saiyid Ahmad of Rai Bareli under the deep influence of the jehadi spirit of the faith propounded by Waliullah and Sunni extremism of Maulana Wahab of Saudi Arabia launched jehad against the non-Islamic power of the Sikh kingdom of Ranjit Singh with a view to restore Dar-ul-Islam (A land, where Islam is having political power). Though, he was killed in battle of Balkot in May 1831, Indian Muslims continue to regard him as martyr for the cause of Islam. Tired with their failures in re-establishing Muslim rule the followers of the jehadi spirit of faith kept their movement in suspended animation for decades due to the firm grip the British established on this country.

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