Friday, November 4, 2011

Rise, Development and Effects of Sufism in Gujarat : Prof. Mehboob Desai

1. Origin of Sufism:

In the foundation of Sufism there is Islam. That universally acknowledged matter is not the point of discussion. Giving explanation of Sufism ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ says,

"Ṣūfism, also spelled Ṣūfiism, mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. It consists of a variety of mystical paths that are designed to ascertain the nature of man and God and to facilitate the experience of the presence of divine love and wisdom in the world."1

This spiritualism of Islam is called ‘Tasawwuf' in Arabic and ‘Sufi’ in Persian. ‘Tasawwuf' means woolen clothe wearer. Meaning of ‘Sufi’ also ‘suf’-it has come down from ‘wool’. Mostly Sufi saints used to put on the basic of it, their school of thought would have begun to be known as Sufism. But it is not proper to identify any school of thought simply through the dress, and to name and interpret it accordingly. About the origin of the word ‘Sufi’ it has been written in the preface of ‘Tazkirtul Auliya’ a Persian book describing the life-incidents of Sufi saints in effective style,

‘Suf’ is a Persian word. In Persian, Hakim (physician) and donors are called philosophers. ‘Phil’ means ‘Muhib’, i: who loves. And suf means donors who love dexterously. In that sense ‘Sufi’ means who loves God with concentration. Similarly, the word ‘Tasawwuf' has been used in Arabic for Sufi. While clarifying its meaning, Allama Ibne Maldum writes,

"‘Tasawwuf’ means to remain concentrated in worship. Relinquishing wealth and worldly pleasures to worship only God with concentration"2

Above interpretations of ‘suf’ and ‘Tasawwuf' brighten spiritual aspects of Sufi. Let all may accept material interpretation of Sufi as one who puts on woolen clothe, but it does not express the real deeds of Sufi saints, Instead of limiting our interpretation of the word ‘Sufi’ upto spiritual terms, it is necessary to reach the origin of Sufi tradition.

While examining the history of Islam, the roots of Sufi tradition would be found buried upto ‘Masjid-E-Nabvi’, the oldest and most well knowen mosque of Islam. The leading prophct of Islam Hazrat Mohamed Saheb(S.A.V.) himself had constructed ‘Masjid-E-Nabavi’ the second mosque of Islam in Madina. He had made a room in one corner of that mosque. It was meant for the people who had no residence-like Aalims and fakirs. Such Aalims and fakirs used to gather there and discussed the prnciple of Islam. Mohamed sahib had given a clear instruction that whenever some food came to the mosque, it should first of all be given to Aalims and fakirs. Such room is called ‘suffah khand’. In Islamic history, only those who sit on it are called ‘Asahabe suffah’, that is, the companions of Mohamed Sahib, sitting under the ceiling of its shadow. About this ‘Suffah Khand’, in Sirte-E-Sarkare-E-Madina has written,

"Several persons who had become Muslim had no shelter from the earlier times. Several other coming from outside and after accepting Islam, stayed over in Madina to learn ‘Ilm-E-Din’. There was no space for their stay. For such fakirs this ‘chabutara’ (a raised high stand for feeding birds was a blessing. The greatest Islamic historian and writer of prophet Mohamed shaheb’s life-style and his great follower Hazrat Hurairah (R.D.) was also one among this ‘Asahab-E- suffah"3

This place of Islamic knowledge-learing is the root of the rise of Sufism in its real sense because in stead of literal meaning of the word sufi’ as a wearer of woollen cloth that word (‘Sufi’) is nearer to the original aim of the place ‘suffah’.

2. Definition of Sufism:

The life and philosophy of Sufi saints are based on three cardinal doctrines-muhabbat or the Love of God, marifa or the knowledge of God and tawhid or the unification of God.
Persian book ‘Tazkirtul Auliya’ the philosophy of life of Sufi saints through
their own life incidents has been tanslated into Gujarati as ‘Muslim Mahatmas’ (Great men). Biographies of 92 sufi saints have tried to give directly or indirectly definitions of Sufism. Giving definition of Sufi Hazart Zannun Misari says,

"Sufi’ is one who keeps unity in one’s act and word. His silence itself is the acquaintance of his state. He remains always free from worldly bondage"

Explaining the meaning of ‘Taswoof’ Hazart Bayzid Bustami says,

"Tasawwuf means sacrifice of happiness and acceptance of sorrow"

Hazarat Mansur Al Hallaj writes,

"They only are Sufis who are free from attachment of life and whose vision is only focused on God"

Hazarat Ibn Ata says,

"Sufism means peaceful co-existence with God"

Sufi saint Abu Amr Najaud says,

"Tasawwuf is to be patient under commandment and prohibition."4

In all these definition spiritual aims of sufi saints are expressed. Sufi saint remains absorbed in God’s love, forgetting themselves, they remain one with God.

‘Sufi believe that he is absent from himself and present of God’s

Giving terminology of God's such lovers Hujiri says,

"The lover is he dead (fani) in his own attributed and living (baqi) in the attributed of his Beloved"

That is, 'Sufi is non-existent for himself but he is a living being for God’s love’
These definitions of Sufi saints and Sufism are enough to express their fundamental

3. Spread of Sufism in India:

It is believed that advent of Sufism in India took place during the Mughal rule. However, even during the Turk Afghan rule (A.D 1206 to 1526) several Sufi saints had come to India. But during that age, their spread had not become effective. During Mughal period of rule (A.D 1526 to1707) they had got the benefit of liberal religious policy, such as liberal school of thought of Emperor Akbar to respect a number of religious sects, gave free ground to Sufism. Even then orthodox Muslims have not got inclined towards it. Famous saint Mir Abdul Vahid Milgrami had written a Sufi book named ‘Hakki Hind’ in A.D.1566.There after progressive development had taken place in Sufi beliefs, ideas and practices. During the same time school of thought of Sufism ‘Vahad-al-vajud’ spread in India.’Vahad-al-vajud’ means oneness of soul. Against this school of thought, Nakshabandiya school of Sufism gave predominance to ‘vahad-al-Shahad’, that is to the thought of unity of vision. Unity of vision is more important than the unity of life, whose growth is inevitable. To spread this thought in India, Sarehind sheikh Ahmed (A.D 1564 to 1624) played important role. Shaikh Ahmed had written a number of Sufi books among them, ‘Risale Tahliliya’, ’Risala fi Ithat al Nabuvat’ were main. But he is better known among their followers through ‘Muktubat’ written in Persian.

In the 18th century Sufi saint of Dellu Shah Vali Allah tried to achieve reconciliation between both these Sufi school of thought. He translated Quran-e-sherif into Persian the state (political) language of Mughul-India. During the same period Urdu poets like Mirdard also conveyed up to the common people Sufism incorporating it in their poems. Mughal rulers also gave force to the Sufism spreading in to India. Akbar himself was the supporter of chishti sect of Sufism. In the 16th century Kadri sect of Sufism entered in India. His chief exponent was Saiyed Mohamed Gothe. He spread this sect in Sindh and Kashmir. In Kashmir a Sufi saint named sheikh Mohamed Mir had propagated kadariya sect. Sufi saint Abdul Kadir and Moosa propagated this sect in Agra. Sheikh Abdul Kadir was even given estate by Akbar. Seventeenth century Sufi saint sheikh Mir Mohamed had also played noteworthy role in the spread of Sufism.
Besides these saints, saints like Mejan (existed in A.D 1504),Kutban (1449), Jayasi(1521), Usman(1614), Rahim(1521), Noormohamed (1745) also had contributed to the spread of Sufism. Kabir (1518), Dadu Dayal (existed in 1544),Aari saheb(1556) and other Sufi saints are known as independent Sufis. These saints were not connected with any sect of Sufism. Yet giving prominence to God’s love only, they had played important role in spreading communal conciliation.

4. Spread of Sufism in Gujarat:

During the Muslim rule (A.D.1206 to1707) Muslim Sultans of Gujarat had given asylum to Sufi saints. Being with the 18th century of Christ till the arrival of Turks, most of the Sufi and fakirs had settled in Gujarat through Arabia and Iraq by sea or land route through Afghanistan crossing mountains for the spread of Islam.8 A number of Hindus were attracted toward them, being impressed with high character of such saints, worship, simplicity and selfless life. Such saints were putting before the people Mohamed saheb’s principles of socio-economic equality and brotherhood in simple style. As a result a number of lower class Hindus who were vexed with Hindu caste system based on the four classes had turned towards Islam.

4.1 Encouragement through rulers:

Muslim rulers had too much respect for Sufi saints. Due to their generous attitude spread of Sufism had become possible all over India. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s son Dara shikoh (died in A.D 1659) was a famous Sufi saint. It was because for the excess of his Sufi thoughts that he was hanged till death. Akbar had deep faith in chishti sect of the Sufism. Jahangir was born as s result of the blessings of Sufi Saint Salim Chishti (1480-1570).5 Contemporary Shaikh Salim chishti, Saint Abdul Aziz Chishti also was a famous Sufi saint. Akbar’s guardian Behram khan was his greatest worshipper. Following the footsteps of Delhi rulers, Sultans of Gujarat also had respectfully given refuge to Sufi saints. Since the time of Ahemed shah(1411-1442) the first saints and preachers of Sufi sect had started spreading in Gujarat for the expansion of their sect. Sufi saint like shaikh Ahemad khattu Ganjabaksh (A.D 1337 to1445), Saiyad Burhajidin Abu Mohamaed Bukhari ali as kutube Alam (died 1452),Shaikh Mohamud Iraji (died 1458), Saiyad Mohamed shah-e-Alam (A.D.1415 to1477),Saiyad Ahmad Jehan shah(died 1594 to 1595), Shaikh Jamaludin Aliaj Jamma(died 1533) and Allauddin Alta Mohamed(died 1578-79) had settled in Gujarat. They used to receive financial help from sultans. As a result, spread of branches od Sufi sect namely, Chishtiya, Soharvardiya, Shattariya, and Migribiya had become possible in Gujarat. Hazrat khwaja Mouninuddin chisti (12th Century) belonged to chistiya Sufi sect. His sect is there in Ajmer. Yet he carried influence over sultans and people of Gujarat. Ahmad shah, the first was the greatest, devotee of Sufi saint Ahmed khatu Ganjbaksh. Among Muslim rulers of Gujarat Kutub-E-Aalam sahib was respected also highly in Gujarat. His father Nasirudin Muhamed uchha was the son of famous chief of saints Saiyad Jalaluddin Makhdum Jehaniya Bukhari. It is believed that independent power of Gujarat had been achieved by the original man of sultan of Gujarat through blessing of Makhadum Jahaniya sahib. When sultan Ahemad shah once begged for his blessing kutub-E-Aalam had said my grand father (Maldum jahaniya) has already given blessing to your family for the throne of Gujarat Ahmed shah had said,

"That blessing was meant for the family,but you may bless the city of Ahmadabad".

While blessing kutub-E-Aalam had said
"Ahmadabad abdul Aabad" that means by God’s grace, Ahmadabad will always remain prosperous.10 Similarly sultan Mohmad Begda was the devotee of Sufi saint
Shah-E-Aalam. During that age, a book ‘Hikayat-E-Shahi’ expressing his miracles and preaching was very well-known. Imamshah Piranawala, Saiyad Mohamed Jonpuri (Imam mahedi ) and Shiya Abdula Dai-such saints also who had settled permanently in Gujarat and become favorite, had got co-operation of rulers from time to time. Due to this reason, rulers had provided them whatever facilities were possible to settle in Gujarat or to spread their religious sect.11

Thus through respect and encouragement to Muslim Sufi saints by Muslim rulers they (i.e. Muslim rulers) had given some laxity in the spread of Sufi saint. But no religious sect can spread or propagate its sect as long as it does not become acceptable to the common society and does not receive favorable attitude of the rulers.

4.2. Ideal thinking and life of Sufi saints:

By the life practices of Sufi saints who came to Gujarat, not only rulers but common people also were impressed for that ideal life of Sufi saint. While studying life stories of Sufi saints, certain specialties of their life were such that they influenced common society.
For example:

1. Life of Sufi saint was full of simplicity.
2. They owned (i.e. Sufi saints) clean and transparent character.
3. There was no difference between their life and principles.
4. They always used to remain absorbed in warship.
5. They were above social and economic discrimination.
6. They were self-less and benevolent.
7. They used to respect other religions or sect and accept their good principles and thoughts.6

Islam being at base of Sufism mostly Sufi saint used to think and reflect on the commands given in Quran and Hadith. They continuously recite God-Allah’s name and
remained intoxicated in it. Only sometimes they used to neglect matters like commands of Quran-e-sherif, namely ‘Namaz (prayer), Roza (fasting), and Hajja ( holly pilgrimage). However, high level Sufi saint strictly used to obey commands of Islam.
Saints like Hazrat Imam Gazali had played leading role in making Sufism ideal form of Islam. A big contribution of Sufi saints of Gujarat was that by removing so-called strict staunchness of Islam from common society, they had become successful in putting Islam as religion of man before the people. This led the oppressed lower class of Hindu society to put their steps towards Islam. Sufi saints had gladly welcomed the ‘satvik’ (derived from ‘satva’) thoughts also of Hindu religions along with social equality. For spreading their own thoughts, they also made use of philosophy of Hindu religions along with Islam. Thereby, to Indian or Guajarati Hindu society these Sufi saints seemed to belong to them. Like Hindu saints and sages people had started keeping faith and respect towards them also.
Of course, besides thought and ideal life-stories of Sufi saints people were attracted towards them also because of miraculous stories composed around Sufi saints.But over and above miracles, the picture of Sufi saints which stood out in society was the center of attraction for common people. Philosophy such as remembering God-Allah mediums of music, dancing, devotional songs.’kavali’,’Rubais’(metrical stanza of four lines in Arabic Persian or Urdu) ‘Ghazals’etc.had impressed all-like thinkers, writers, poets, lords and nobleman, officers along with common class of Gujarat.

4.3. Intellectuals

Contribution of intellectual class of Gujarat is not small in coveying suffism to the common society. Among such class can be included high officers and thinkers. This class had taken Sufism or Sufi saints at a high place in society by often expressing Sufi school of thought in their thought related exchange or writings. Unpublished writings of such lords and nobleman or thinkers are available duly collected somewhere even today in the form of manuscript in Persian.

"In the history of Gujarat at one time, that is, as long as there was Muslim regine over Gujarat, Persian was prevalent as a state or political language .Government orders were issued in the same language.Government correspondence also was carried out in the same language. Court language also was the same."7

As a result intellectual class of society was doing maximum use of Persian. Government directives or spiritual thoughts were doing thought related exchange in this language only. In so many unpublished but book in written form deep discussion of Sufism can be found. Ahmed Shah sultan (1390-1482) was very learned. He was fond of Sufis and has written"kashidas" in appreciation of Hazrat kutub-E-Aalam. Mansuur Bin Chand Mohamed also was very popular among Sufis Sheikh Abul Kasim was in Ahmadabad till A.D.1446. In hand written book "Risaltul Kabir",there is detailed discussion of training, sea-voyage, debates, miracles, along with Sufism also. Shikh Ahmed had settled in Sarkhej (1336-1445). He was the lion of the field of Sufism. "Tohfa"and "Alkabir" was the importance among his books. Extensive word-pictures about ‘Ishk-e-Ilahi’(love-making with God),and‘Pashtatap’(Repentance),’Niti’(morality)and ‘Gunbuddhi’(quality of intellect) can be found in them. Shikh Rasshidudin was a native of Ahmadabad. He was a profound scholar of Sufism. Shah khubniya chishti(dided A.D.1664) was also a native of Ahmadabad. ’Amvaje khubi’,’khubtarang’,and ‘jame jahanuma’ are his famous compositions. All these books dwell on Sufism. Hazrat pir Mohamedshah (A.D.1688-1749) also was a very learned saint. He has mostly written on Murshido and Muridos’ series in the form of poetry. All his book is mostly full of ‘Tasawwuf' and ‘Nasihats’. Saiyad Jafar was (1614-1674) a scholar of high caliber .He has written a number of books but the most famous among them is ‘Rozate shahiya which has twenty four parts, and twenty parts of it contain biographies of great men whereas other four pants contain ‘Taksir’,’Hadis’ and other matters. Till to date that books is not published. But its manuscript was much prevalent in that age. In the ‘kutubkhana’ located in the shrine of Hazrat pir Mohmedshah specimen of his writings exist even today Saiyed Jalaludin (1594-1649) was awarded the ‘Ilkab-e Maksud-e Alam’. He had learnt Sufism under his father Saiyad Mohamed. He was a good poet. His pen-name was ‘Raza’. Many of his ‘Rubais’ (metrical stanza of four lines in Arabic, Persian or urdu) written in appreciation of Mohamed shaheb had created craze among the people of that age. Original native place of Mohamed Kasim Bin Saiyad Abdual Rehman chishti was Sindh. But he had settled in Ahmadabad. He was a learned man of high caliber. He had close relations with chishti great men and had written a book named ‘Safinatus sadal’14

During the Middle age in Gujarat a number of such Sufi saints and lovers of Sufism were there. They had played noteworthy role in conveying Sufism among the high and middle age of society through their thought and pen. Of course such hand written books are not available today. But during that period when for spread of thoughts mostly handwriting manuscripts only were customary, their books provide powerful medium to spread Sufi thought in society.

4.4. Literary writers:

One more powerful medium of the spread of Sufism was literacy writers. Such writers had managed to give Sufism the place in people’s heart drawing it out of the boundaries of religion. They were leading lovers of realizing God’s love, becoming away from religious discriminations. Sweetness of Sufism which is therein Kabir’s couplets can be enjoyed by only someone who understands them.

चार वेद पंडित पढ़या, हरी सो किया न हेत
माल कबीर ले गया, पंडित ढूंढे खेत

(A learned man studied four Vedas, he did not love God. Goods (stuff) taken away by Kabir learned man searches in field)

लिखना, पढ़ना, चातुरी ये सब बाते सहेल
काम, दहन, मन वश करन, गगन चढ़न मुश्केल8

(Writing, reading, cleverness-all these are very easy, To burn lust, to control mind and to climb the sky-and all these very difficult)
To spread Sufi thought Muslim poets also had done effective compositions. A Sufi poet named Saiyad jalalidin born in A.D.1594 had made a number of compositions in Persian In one of them he writes:

अज कस्बे हुनर मुराद माल अस्त अय दिल
वज इल्मो अमल गरज कमाल अस्त अय दिल
मतलूब ज़े आशकी विसाल अस्त अय दिल
मकसूद ज़े हस्तीअम जमाल अस्त अय दिल

(O heart, to acquire skill means to earn wealth; to acquire knowledge means to reach the climax, but ‘Ashki’ means meeting with God and the aim of our existence means to reach light of God)
In Gujarat Akho(a Gujarati poet) is also well-known for his Sufi composition.

अखा, खुद को मत मारे
मारा "खुदी" मिले खुदा 9

(Akha do’t beat the self if you beat ‘khudi’,God will surely be obtained)

Sufi saint Dadu Dayal, who belonged to the period prior to Akha, had written compositions which were well known among common society in that age. Dadu Dayaal had discussed Sufism with Akbar for forty days. His compositions expressing Sufi thought were enjoyed by the people.

आपा मेटे हरी भजे, तन मन तजे विकार
नीर बैरी सब जिवसो, दादू यहू मत सार

(If you worship God yourself body and mind will give up passion. All life is not enemy. Dadu that view is the essence)

Thus in the spread of Sufi thought and Sufi literature its literary writers have played important role. Sufi philosophy has created such profound effect on these literatures that without it, Persian and its related other languages like ‘Turkey, Urdu, Sindhi, Pasto and Punjabi might lose their attraction.10

4.5. Spread of Religion:

Muslim rulers of Gujarat have given acquaintance of their favorable attitude in the spread of Islam. However, no religion can spread under favorable attitude or force of the rulers and can sustain. It has also written clearly in Quran, the holy book of Islam:
‘La Iqurah fiddin’, that is there should not be any kind of composition in matters of religion. About spread of religion everywhere guidance has been given in Quran-e-sherif.In one of the precepts of Quran it has been said:

‘Don’t enter discussion with those who have got other religious books. And if you do, do it with very sweet words. Then if someone becomes obstinate and does not believe, let him not believe but tell them that we believe in the book God has given us, and we believe in that. Your and our Allah is the one and only. And we bow our head before the same one Allah” 11

Sufi saints have literally carried out the execution of the above fundamental precepts of Quran. Two main principles adopted by Sufi saints in spreading Islam reflect in them:

1. Always present your opinion or thought gently.

2. Keeping the principles of “Tohid” of Islam (principles of monotheism) in the center, accept with pleasure the best stories of Hindu religion.

Such distinct style of the spread of Islam by Sufi saint had made deep effect on the common society. Rumors of miracles created around substantial life of these saints had also caused boundless attraction towards them among the people.

As a result Sufi saints like sheikh Ahmed khattu Ganjbaksh, Kutub-E-Aalam had achieved fine success in spreading Islam. All these saints presented Islam as peace and worship-centered religion in society and people accepted it with pleasure. Moreover, discrimination less equal policy of these saints had also made effect on society. Lower class of society was vexed with castism and discrimination between the high and the low under Hindu religion. Sufi saints had played major role in nursing and realizing their ardent desire to get equal respect and place in society. As a result the success obtained by Sufi saints in the spread of Islam remained more successful than the efforts of the ruler’s authority.

4.6. Rise of new class

On account of the influence of Sufi saints, a number of Hindu castes accepted Islam. . As a result, a new class of native Muslims grew up. Their social form was born out of the co-ordination between Hindu-Muslim cultures. There is no place for caste system in Islam. But in Gujarat classes which accepted Islam came from different castes and occupations. A number of castes came out from them. Customs, Traditions, Life-styles of this new class were quite similar to those of Hindu culture. In place of marriage, they started the custom of ‘Nikah’. But marriage songs recited at marriage now began to be heard at the time of ‘Nikah’. The custom of ‘Mameru’ (presents given by the parents to married daughter), the custom of ‘Paheramani’ (presents given by bride’s father to bridegroom and his relatives) remained the same under ‘Nikah’ ceremony also. Similarly, new surnames like identity of community of Muslims converted from Hindus came into existence. A number of castes like Pathan, Saiyad, Mughal, Baluchi, Makrani, Kureshi, Ghori, Multani, Kazi, Babi, Ghanchi, Molesalam Garasiya, Kasbati, Kumbhar, Khatri, Dhobi, Bhisti, Khoja, Rangrej (dyers), Gidi, etc. came into existence.

Religious and social co-ordination that took place in Gujarat was owing to Sufi saints. Because of Hindu-Muslim co-ordination and because of marriage-Nikah, a new species was born, which is called ‘Bayasar’. For a child born out of the two different species, arrangement was made in Muslim madresas for Islamic training. Yet effect of Hindu religion culture was found e.g. Molesalam Garasiyas were originally Rajput landlords. They accepted Islam. Yet, Hindu traditions and cultural specialties were preserved in their society.12

This class of native Muslims celebrated Hindu festivals also along with Muslim festivals. Along with non-vegetarian food they also used to take their original food. Such Muslim class in Ahmadabad and Saurashtra used to eat ‘Khichadi’ (dish made from mixture of rice and pulse) at night and in Surat in the morning. Ahmed shah, the first, and Sufi saint Sheikh Ahmed Khatta Ganjbaksh both used to eat ‘Khichadi’ at night. 13

4.7. Influence of Rulers:

Sufi Saint also influenced politicians of the country. To prevent political policy from diverting and to lead it on religious path, they have made efforts. There are many such examples in the history of India. Examples of Hemchandracharya and Vidyaranya are well known Sufi Saints had again given shape to the above thought. It is said Ahmed shah, the first, had taken advice of Sufi Saint Ahmed Khattu Ganjbaksh while laying the foundation of Ahmadabad City for settlement. That Sufi Saint asked for the permission of Hazrat Ali Khijar. He replied,

‘The foundation of Ahmadabad City be laid at the hands of four holy saints having the same name ‘Ahmed’ who have never missed Namaz for five times. Obeying this
command, the foundation of Ahmadabad was laid at the hands of Ahmed shah, Sheikh Ahmed Khattu Ganjabaksh, Saint of Patan Kazi Ahmed Juda and Malik Ahmed. Over and above these four saints named Ahmed, twelve ascetic-fakirs had also played important role in setting the city of Ahmadabad. 14

This incident expresses the influence of Sufi Saints on sultans. Sufi saints Ahmed Khattu Ganjbaksh carried deep effect on Ahmed shah, the first. He himself was very spiritual and devoted to religion. He was doing justice, weighing it completely. He had hanged his son-in-law on gallows and kept him in the same condition for the whole day. In such preservation of values, it was the spiritual influence of Sufi Saints of Ahmed shah.

During the period of Ahmed shah, the first, well known Sufi saint of Vatva, Hazrat
Kutub-E-Aalam and Ahmed Butt Ganjbaksh of Sarkeh (A.D. 1338 to 1446) were leading. Before the establishment of Ahmadabad Muzafarshah, the first (A.D. 1407 to 1411) and his son Muhamedshah were disciples of these saints. Rulers of Gujarat following Ahmed shah had also accepted both these saints as their ‘Pir’. They had expressed their desire to keep their tombs in their vicinity. Accordingly, three emperors of Gujarat have slept permanently under their shadows. The greatest Sultan of Gujarat, Mohamed Begda, his son Muzafar shah have slept permanently in the vicinity of these saints.

Leading saint of Gujarat, Kutub-E-Aalam also has left his influence over most of the rulers of Gujarat. The first disciple of Kutub-E-Aalam, Saiyad Usman Sheikh Burhani also was a well known saint. Due to his influence, people used to give him plentiful of gifts. But relinquishing all of them he preferred to live by setting a tent on the bank of river Sabarmati. That place later developed as Usmanpura. His mosque and tomb exist even today in Usmanpura. They had been built by Sultan Mohamed Begda. He had written a number of Sufi books. Among them, ‘Madarij-ul-Maharij’ is famous. In one of his Sufi Ghazals, he has written about state administration.

"State administration is the carpet of fakirs’ compound.
Sorrow is the wealth of fakirs.
Through the cloak of fakirs one gets permanent wealth (knowledge of the self). By harassing fakirs, one suffers from misery.
Their blessing creates love by converting hatred".15

Such preaching and association with Sufi saints had inspired the rulers of Gujarat to cultivate spiritual approach. Because of it, it would not be considered improper that policy, values and justice in administration would have received special predomin

4.8. Communal Harmony:

Communal union had spread among people of Gujarat because of spread of spiritual thought of Sufi saints in Gujarat. The aim of Sufi saints were not merely spread of Islam, but is also meant spread of spiritual values in society. As a result, these saints had
become a bridge in achieving co-ordination between Hindu-Muslim religion and culture. Because of the coming of Sufi saints, sweetness of Arabic and Persian also came down into Gujarati language. Islamic traditions entered Hindu culture. Sweets like ‘Gulab jamun’, ‘Barfi’, ‘Sakkarpara’ mixed in Indian culture. Life style, customs and dress of the new Muslim class remained the same. Influence of Sufi saints over common society had increased. The celebration of Death anniversary of saints began in the form of ‘Ursh’. As a result, such celebration became the platform of emotional unity of both Hindu-Muslim Societies. Under ‘Ursh’ Sufi music and songs and ‘Kavalis’ became the attraction of both the societies. 16
Such goodwill appearing in social contacts, flourished more in religious places of faith. A large number of Hindu Society could be seen offering coconuts or flowers with faith on the shrines and mosques of Sufi saints. Not only in Gujarat but Sufi saint Khwaja Garib Navaz whose Dargah is out of Gujarat attracted a large number of disciples and devotees in Gujarat. He became the center of faith of both Hindu-Muslim societies.
Thus communal goodwill and unity cultivated in religious faith and social, cultural, food, lifestyle and dress among the people of Gujarat was the contribution of Sufi saints.

5. Conclusions:

With the coming of Sufi saints in Gujarat it made Sufism an indivisible part of society. Its wide effect can be seen right from religion to literary fields. among sub-classes of ‘Sufi sect, Kadariya, Nakshbandi, ‘Badvi’, ‘Bektashi’, ‘Maulai’, ‘Rafai’, ‘shaghili’, ‘Sattari’ and ‘Sanoosi’ are included. But in Gujarat Kadariya, Nakshbandhi sects could be found in particular. Today even grand celebrations of ‘Ursh’ take place at the shrines of Sufi saints. Above the discriminations of castes, every society involves in it. They keep vows, offer flowers, and coconuts. Even today mosques of Sufi saints like symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity reminding of their grand past are spread all over Gujarat and they will remain forever.


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10. Bharat Gyankosh, p. 67.
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Baroda, 1970, 335, 336.
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16. Bharat Gyankosh, p. 101.

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