“What has he found who has lost God?
And what has he lost who has found God?”
:- Ibn’Ata’iilah al-iskandari
India is a land of mysticism. Sufism is one of the most prominent in that context. With advent of Islam in India during medieval era, a new ideology came into being. Sufism has a basic concept ‘Wahdat al-wujud’ which means ‘Unity of Being’ in Arabic. The whole ideology behind Sufism is about to lose yourself in God. They simply believe that God is an ocean and we are the droplets of water and one day we will merge into it. As said by someone “The happiness of the drop is to die in the river”.
The things they practiced were not only accepted by their Muslim subjects but also the common folks of India especially Hindus. They used music in order to preach or reach the supreme power and yes this concept was somehow taken from India itself. Sufism helped in bringing different religions in one place with their teaching of ‘Unity of Being’.The ultimate path for Sufis was to attain Fannah, which means to be a friend of Almighty.
Sufism with time helped Islam to flourish in India and the sufi saints were respected by all. There were two types of sufis- Bashara (those who follows shariat) and Beshara(those who follow sama, not allowed in shariat). The most sought out group or silsilas of sufis in India were Chishtis, Suhrawardi and Naqsbandi. The prominent in among them were Chishtis.
Their preaching was simple and was in a manner that attracted lots of disciple to it. There was no differentiation on the basis of caste. Everyone was equal in the eyes of God which made it popular day by day.
Their main stress was on the relationship between Pir (guru or saint) and Murid (disciple).The death of a sufi saint is termed as Urs and its significance is ‘Unison with God’. The table talks of sufis were referred as ‘Malfuzat’. With simple ideology and their way of preaching they had patronage from many royal courts.
The first Sufi saint in India was Khawaja Mouindeen Chishti who settled in Ajmer and later on became an important sufi saint in India. The most prominent of all sufi saints was Hazart Nizamuddin Auliya who settled in Delhi. Qutab Minar was named after the saint Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki.
With time the followers of Sufism increased and Urs at the Dargahs of saints are held yearly.