Sufism under attack?

Sufism under attack? invites its readers to debate current topics on this forum.

Sufi Islam has recently been coming under attack across the country. A number of shrine caretakers in Sindh have been mysteriously murdered. Last week, in Buner, Taliban militants locked down Pir Baba’s shrine and continue to guard its entrance. Last month, Sufi mystic Rehman Baba’s shrine in the outskirts of Peshawar was bombed by militants.

What explains these assaults on the symbols and practitioners of Sufi Islam? Do the militants view Sufism’s continued popularity as a threat? And do you think that it can be effectively used to counter the increasing popularity of hardline Salafi Islam?


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147 Responses to “Sufism under attack?”

  1. Richard says:

    Friends come and go, but relatives tend to accumulate.

  2. Rabia says:

    I believe that people should be free to follow whatever sect they feel best explains ‘Islam’ to them. Destructions of Masjids or shrines belonging to Sufis, ahle Hadith or deoband and indeed non-Muslim shrines is simply wrong and unIslamic. I don’t think only Sufism teaches love and tolerance – Islam teaches love and tolerance. Members of all Islamic sects who follow the basic principles of Islam are tolerant and that includes non-Sufi Muslims too. The Sufis are also coming across ‘intolerant’ in their bid to support and promote Sufism.

  3. saifullah says:

    I believed government has to pay attention to rebuild them again and take care of those precious old building all that government and people involved in those area can do it. In UK all old castles are still safe because white people keep maintain them so why not our nation.

  4. kabul says:

    does any one think collecting jaziya tax is islamic? Please take steps to stop jaziya tax.

  5. Sufi Sindhi says:

    Before going into details of the sufisim lets see what history has shown. Whenever you think of Islam, It comes up with the wars with the non-muslims, conflicts with the people who were forced to accept islam. But Sufism gives a crystal view of non-violence aspect of Islam. We need a platform where there is no difference of sects,races and religions. Sufisim gives that platform where people from across the all religions comes and learn the lesson of humanity, peace, brotherhood, tranquility and non-violence.

  6. adam says:

    I do not pretend to know much about sufi tradition but it sounds much more like what I would live under then the false religion practiced by the salafists. I say no compromise. Every single taliban should be caught and punished in public. I am usually very tolerant but anyone who forces religion down my throat, I am extremely intolerant of. I should be free to live my life how I want to. After all I am the one who will have to face my maker on the day of judgment.

  7. shridharV says:

    There is no religious text I have seen that is devoid of confusion or contradiction. This is because of the nature of life. Context matters all the time.

    There will always be the orthodox followers of faiths, moderate followers, mildly agnostic as well as rabidly atheistic folks.

    Depending on the power balance at the moment any one or these types can oppress the others. Swat being one type (super orthodox) and the great cultural revolution in china as another (super atheistic).

    It is incumbent on the critical mass of tolerant citizenry to keep these extremes at bay.

    The success of a society is determined by how it is able to build this critical mass.

    The way to do this consists of many steps in many dimensions, four key ones being;

    – inclusion of all (specially women)
    – enshrining dissent in the culture
    – building a foundation of jurisprudence
    – education & awareness for all

    if we can keep these four pillars of a solid society stable, then the crazies can never take control.

    The texts themselves are unequivocal: they are perfect in all their parts. By their light, religious moderation appears to be nothing more than an unwillingness to fully submit to God’s law. By failing to live by the letter of the texts, while tolerating the irrationality of those who do, religious moderates betray faith and reason equally.

    Unless the core dogmas of faith are called into question – i.e., that we know there is a God, and that we know what he wants from us — religious moderation will do nothing to lead us out of the Swat, errr… wilderness.

    – Sam Harris, The end of faith

  8. shridharV says:

    One cannot ask a rhetorical question to a religion or a philosophy. It can appear provocative, even if the intention was not so.

    Finally the answers to this question are provided by human beings.

    Any religion accretes ideas, customs and attitudes as it goes along. Nothing remains the same forever. Same thing is true of Islam. A major example is the Shia sub culture. There are those who are ok with that and then there are others who are not.

    Same thing here regarding Sufism.

    We have to stop painting with just one color.

  9. Kuldip Gupta says:

    Can Islam tolerate Sufism.The founder of Sufi sect himself was killed by Religious Muslims.Rumi says I have taken only the main extract from Kuran and thrown away the rest.It is useless.Can islam accept such a statement.

  10. Neeraj says:

    Sufi Islam was instrumental to convert the people of India to Islam, i’d say 70% of Pakistan’s population, would have been converts from Hindu’s. That is why Afgan’s like Ghuri and Ghazni’s could not make Indians follow islam, But Mughals did. That is bec. they brought with them culture of Sufi islam the music, watch the movie Jodha Akbar. There are shrines like Ajmer sharif and Haji ali in Mumbai, that people of all relegion visit.

  11. Norooz says:

    The texts themselves are unequivocal: they are perfect in all their parts. By their light, religious moderation appears to be nothing more than an unwillingness to fully submit to God’s law. By failing to live by the letter of the texts, while tolerating the irrationality of those who do, religious moderates betray faith and reason equally.

    Unless the core dogmas of faith are called into question – i.e., that we know there is a God, and that we know what he wants from us — religious moderation will do nothing to lead us out of the Swat, errr… wilderness.

    – Sam Harris, The end of faith

  12. Ayaz nizamani says:

    Why it is imagine that Sufism only depends on shrines and religion? this is not the case the concept of Sufism is so vast.It is better to talk about what Sufism is? this is request to people who wants to share their views.

  13. s.a.chughtai says:

    Dear Readers:

    People of Pakistan would never never never accept selafist theocracy in Pakistan. Islam
    brought a message of peace and human dignity. The Holy Prophet’s efforts and struggle was to eliminate exploitation of human beings by the elite classesof Mecca. Message tohumanity was bring harmony, happiness andprosperity to the human beings.

    Let us all try to condemn the attack of Selafizm…..It will be a jehad to put them back on the track. My countrymen, now is the time to come on the streets for Peace Walks…..Let people understand that accepting selafizm would be dangerous weapon to destroy all of us.

  14. Shridhar V says:

    Over 25 years ago I was touring Mysore and came upon a Tipu Sultan era mosque. It was hot and we were tired so we stopped the Ambassador and went in. The old caretaker and teacher was a great host providing us water and taking us around.

    There was a beautiful old illuminated Quran, among other things. As we were talking he told us about the money being offered by Arabs to fund the mosque, but the money came with conditions. One of these conditions was to not teach girls in the facilities. We were all younger than did not understand who and why they would do something like this.

    He said while the older people were against taking this money, they were overruled by some younger folks. He said he is unhappy with these changes but does not know what to do.

    This was in 1983.

    Since then I have seen this poison soaked money wreak change Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

    In the land where the twin Punya Bhoomis of Mecca and Medina exist, there is a source of anti-social philosophy, which coupled with oil money is proving to be toxic to the world.

    There lies the cause of the violence against the Sufis and all the others. We have to take back our culture from this artificial and horrible world view. Anyone who can harm sufi’s has to be really over in the dark side.

    It is crunch time folks.
    Purity does not come at the end of a gun…

    Instead of bluster of war and violence, it is time to remember Badshah Khanji who was and continues to be an inspiration to all of us. For him and others like him the teachings of Mohamedji was of tolerance and justice towards all including humans, animals and the environment.

  15. Naushad says:

    What have we achieved in the last 60+ years as a ‘secular’ (non-theocratic) state, except creating political parties like PMLs, PPPs, MQMs… who, in fact, are warlords… each one of them and none any less destructive than TNSM and TTP?

    Secondly, it is the same script as Afghan Taliban… a prelude to full-blown Western invasion. Why else would ANP, Zardari and Rehman Malik cede to this pact? I wouldn’t be surprised if PML-N and MQM are also in on this deal. So hold on to your backsides and prepare to be sent back to prehistoric times… way beyond 1400 years ago.

    The only solution, to tackle both external and internal threats simultaneously and effectively, is to implement Quran and Sunnah in letter and spirit across every facet of our individual and national lives. Anything less may be a recipe for culinary arts, but not survival, success, and prosperity for our future generations.

  16. Sam says:

    Naim Naqvi,
    Living together peacefully is everyone wants.

    But you have white washed view of history.
    You can read many articles about how arabs/central asians have waged a genocidal war against Hindus, in order to loot and grab terroritory in current day Afghanistan/Pakistan/India…

    There are some estimates, according to which upto 80 million Hindus are killed by ruthless invaders who call themselves Muslim.

    Please just dont read one-sided, white washed history.
    It does not do any good, if you do not read for example ChachNama, historical accounts written by muslims themselves glorifying killings of Hindus.

  17. Ragu says:

    Taliban and the likes seem to have a long list of things, people and concepts they hate enough to kill.

    Pakistanis should ask themselves a key question- How come Taliban is good enough to be exported to rule Afganisthan, in the name of strategic depth, but too harsh to govern Pakistan. Get a taste of Taliban ruling Islamabad for a few years and then may be ISI will have second thoughts about Taliban.

  18. Naveed Afridi says:

    Pakistan was created as a secular State within which Muslims would be free to practice their religon as other religons could practice.

    The focus on the Islamic State and the revisionist history that now dominates the discussion is a result of Zia ul Haq’s policies.

    Sadly, while the Talibs in their cosmic battle for a new world order are dedicated to their nonsense, many ordinary people are still swayed by the arguments of “Ummah and Sharia”

    Decent laws, lack of corruption and basic rights is fairly close to Islam.

    Head chopping, hand cutting, flogging women in the street, blowing up schools, banning music except for holy war songs is not.

  19. Anadil says:

    People need to understand that Jinnah created Pakistan as a secular state.He clearly stated that under no circumstances should Pakistan become a theocracy!

  20. indian says:

    This is to Naim Naqvi,
    in my writing I had duly accounted the explosion of 11 Oct 2007 with a sweeping sentence:”The bomb explosion was an spordic incidence, of the miscreant who keep on attempting to create rift between the community , but always fail.”
    You should remember that this was one of the many explosions taking place in place of worship of hindus as well as muslims at various places in India, and primary purposewaxs to createrift between the two communities. However, Indians have clearly realised that these acts are dividing the society hence there is no more violent reactions to such incidences.
    I appreciate ur understanding of our spirit of co-existance, we need to strenghthen it further for collective good of this subcontinent.

  21. Rais says:

    I am surprised why Pakistan armed forces kept quite on open threats from “dehshat gard” group of Taliban & Sufi Mohd. Pakistani forces should step in with full force and throw these dehshat gards out.
    I love Pakistan, I love Pakistan Army, Navy & Air Force.
    Mr. Pervez Musharraf I want you to come back and lead Pakistan to get rid of terrorism and to get rid of so-called mullaas.
    Pakistan Zindabaad

  22. Plato says:

    Over the years after analysing the present & historical events I have come to the conclusion that peace can not and will not be offered in a platter. To obtain peaceful social order one has to fight for it as anarchist, terrorist are doing to implement their brand of social order.
    The basic drawback of all peace loving & just ppl is that they consider since they are peace loving either fair society should automatically come or somebody else fight for them.
    No body wants to fight for fairness and justice by themselves. They always wish someone from the MARS make sacrifice for their cause.
    Until this thinking is corrected their is not a 0.0001% chance of peace and fairness to prevail.

  23. Abdul Mujeeb Khan says:


    If Taliban claming something good to give people of Pakistan, they can get beautiful lesson from Sofia karma’s life history. Sofia’s had spent their life according to Holy Quran and Sunnah, as a result their humble way, spiritual power, Tasawwuf and endeavors entered millions of people in Islam.
    Besides what people were practicing at shrine, in this vicinity, might be different subject and seems irrelevant for discussion in this forum. An idea here for people of Pakistan that they should offer their prayers and follow Quran and Sunnah and respect other religions which is golden teaching of Islam. Now look at these Taliban though only name is ok but their actions not only destroy image of Pakistan internationally but also destroy image of Islam in western world at large. In conclusion this is big challenge for Zardari, Nawaz Shrief, ANP and all democratic forces to safe the public from Psychopaths.

    Note: Psychopaths are group of people who have no feelings for others and kill every day innocents in large amount then they get satisfaction.

  24. Naim Naqvi says:

    To INDIAN with love

    The blast ripped through the shrine of Khwaja Moin Uddin Chisti on 11 Oct 2007 and not just after partition as someone had told you.
    I am not to criticizing but sharing with you the above information.
    Coming to our Ganga Jamuni culture of Indian subcontinent I would just share with you two couplets that were written by Non – Muslim poets to pay homage to Prophet Mohd (P.B.U.H) and his grand son Imam Hussain:
    1. Kunwar Mahedra Singh Bedi says about Sarka-e-do-Alam:
    Ishq ho jaye kisi se koi charah to nahin,
    Sirf Muslim ka Mohd (P.B.U.H) pa ujarah to nahin.
    Mr. Mathur says about Hazrat Imam Hussain:
    Jannat men bhee yeh keh ke chaley jayen ge Mathur, Shabbir ke qadmon ke nishan dhoondh raha hoon.
    We have great culture and heritage and our destinies are intertwined. Our ancestors have lived together with peace, love, mutual respect and harmony and that is what these great saint have thought us.
    If you are interested you can reads my comments that do often come in INDIAN EXPRESS email editions.

  25. The rigid extremist movements like Taliban tried to dominate our beloved religion Islam in all these 14 centuries after Rasool Allah ( peace be Upon Him) but they always wiped out by the course of time the only thing remains is the peaceful loving & adorable message of Islam. The real Islam of co existence and tranquility not of some rigid obscurantists. on Facebook on Facebook