The Bad Sufi – the client faith of the American Empire

Sufism – once just another variant of Islam, now bankrolled by Britain and the US as a ‘moderate’ form of the religion that could help counter extremism in Pakistan. But what is Sufism? Where did it come from? And what role does it play today? In the first of a two-part series on Sufism, Qalandar Bux Memon argues that modern Sufi leaders have become part of Pakistan’s corrupt ruling elite, favoured by the West not for their ‘moderation’ but for their compliance.

It is often assumed that Sufism stands opposed to Wahhabism. Wrong. Sufism and Wahhabism, in fact, share a fatal characteristic – they are religions of the status quo. In Pakistan, Sufism legitimises barbarities of inequality and starvation – ‘do nothing, it’s god’s will’ – while at the same time justifying structures of oppressive power, Pirism and landlordism, rather like Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia. Contemporary Sufism, rather than being a solution to Pakistan’s problems, is the cause.

Editor’s note:
Only the truth based on fresh revelation brought by Promised Messiah is the solution. Other than Ahmadiyya Islam, every other version of Islam has been corrupted beyond recognition. Whether it is sufism, or any other sect, it has been distorted beyond all rationality.

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2 replies

  1. Sufis of the times past were true followers of Islam. They had dedicated their lives to acquiring knowledge. Some of them are known as beacons of religious light. Imam Abu Hanifa, Sheikh Abdul Qader Gilani, Khawaja Muinuddin Chishti were either Sufis themselves or followers and admirers of Sufis. They spent their youths traveling from one town one country to another country another town to be with a scholar or to “read a book” from a renowned scholar. They usually would settle down in their middle ages and start teaching and preaching and would often acquire a position of worldly authority as a Qazi or as a courtier to the ruler of the state. But at heart they were sufis and lived simple and exemplary lives.
    One of the Muslim Astronomers was known as AsSufi (al-Sufi, Latinized Azophi). He lived during the tenthcentury. (A lunar crater by the name of Azophi is named after him, as well as a minor planet.) Sufi was a way of life that required living simply, in the true Islamic tradition. Becoming wealthy did not affect their way of life and being poor did not change their esteem in the eyes of their admirers and their followers. Maulana Roomi and Sheikh Saadi were sufis too, in their own way. Being a Sufi does not stop you from becoming a religious scholar or a scientist.
    The trouble started when there became a tradition of building tombs of the big saints and sufi, and people started worshipping the remains of the saints, the tombs and the descendants. Apparently the not very pious children of the saints saw the opportunity. They invented miracles (karamat) of their elders and started teaching incantations and mantras and started suggesting procedures to “achieve” spiritual elevation. Then decadence worsened and we have the current situation.
    So, modern Sufism is bad and could be considered the opiate of the masses but it has no link whatsoever with the original Sufism. The source of the corruption, in my opinion is poverty, and the attitude that the poverty would go away, if one can somehow please God without making an effort. This attitude takes the ordinary folks to Shrines, to Pirs, and to other religious figures. In the subcontinent of India this tradition took deeper roots because of the Hindu influence. Apparently we took the bad part of the Hindu tradition of adopting incantation and mantras as wurood and wathaif, left the good part of Hindu tradition of respect for quality and art (kala). So, two Pakistani followers of two Muslim creeds hate each other, ignoring all the good qualities. (Sadly, Hindus are fast losing this quality of appreciating the virtuosity. To hate you, they now need only know that you are a Pakistani with a Muslim name.)
    There is no point in blaming the West for patronizing the modern form of Sufism. I think part of their interest is academic and part perhaps is to see if Pakistanis can be tamed using Sufism. But then, remember, they gave opium to the Chinese! No crusading spirit was involved in making a huge chunk of the Chinese population addicted to opium. Every empire tries to spread its influence and to gain some profit in the process.
    Now the question is how to curb the spread of this drug this opiate, the modern version of Sufism? My answer is simple. Try to create a direct link with God, reading the Quran and pondering over it. Do what God says and follow what the Prophet (SAW) has left as his Sunnah. Shun all those who seek to cause strife among the Ummah. If you hear anything do not act until you verify from the alleged source. God tells you to work for a better worldly life and comfort and for a better after life. If you make a resolve to do that here is the promise from God Almighty: Al-Quran [29:70] And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways. And verily Allah is with those who do good.
    I hate writing lengthy posts, but I sort of sensed a kind of wish on the part of the author of the article to spread dislike of the elite without telling us how to tackle them. The only way, of tackling the Pirs the syeds and the Mullahs and the Sufis is to not let them exploit your weaknesses and your hatreds.

    PS. By the way there is no Western conspiracy involved in honoring Abdur Rahman Al-Sufi, by naming a crater of the moon. He was a well known Astronomer and quite respected in the West for his suggested corrections to Ptolemy’s work. He translated AlMagest and wrote a book “Fixed Stars”.

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