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Connection between Sufism, mysticism discussed

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Talk: Syed Shah Khusroo Hussaini speaking after inaugurating a seminar in Gulbarga on Friday.
Talk: Syed Shah Khusroo Hussaini speaking after inaugurating a seminar in Gulbarga on Friday.

Special Correspondent

Gulbarga: Sajjada Nasheen of the Hazrath Khwaja Banda Nawaz Dargah Syed Shah Khusroo Hussaini said there is a marked difference between Mysticism and Sufism. While Sufism is a science based purely on spiritual experience, mysticism may contain philosophical ideas and concepts mixed with spiritual experiential knowledge.

Dr. Hussaini, an authority on Sufism, has penned several books on Sufism and its relevance. He was speaking after inaugurating a two-day national seminar on “Sharana Mystic and Sufi Traditions of the Deccan” organised jointly by Central University of Karnataka, Sahitya Akademi, and Gulbarga University in the main campus of Gulbarga University.

“Everything has two sides, external and internal or exoteric and esoteric. Religion is no exception. The esoteric aspect of religion is nothing but Mysticism”, he said.

The followers of Sufism or “Taswawwuf” who are called as Sufis were interpreters of Islam. “The Sufis followed the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad”. Their monasteries were open to one and all irrespective of caste, creed or religion.

Sufi literature and biographies are replete with instances and stories regarding discussions that they engaged in with yogis and non-Muslims on almost every topic or subject, including religions. “Islam and Sufism may connote two contradictory meanings to some people even today”, he added.

Theologians and orthodox scholars of Islam have always taken the view that Sufism was the outcome of influences external to Islam. “They argued that the teachings and practices related to Sufism were unislamic.”

Dr. Hussaini said it has also been suggested that the mystical aspect of Islam emerged due to the influences of Neoplatonism, Christianity, Judaism and Indian religions. “To discuss whether or not these assumptions were true is a topic of research in itself,” he added.

On the influence of Sufis in South India, Dr. Hussaini said that the earliest Sufis who came down to Deccan were known as Seven Quadris. Along with Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, who shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, Sufi saints moved to Deccan. Among them were a number of disciples of Nizamuddi Awliya, ShaykhBurhanuddin Gharib was one of the important successors of Shaykh Nizamuddin Awliya, who propogated Chishti doctrines in Deccan initially. “Be it Gulbarga, Bijapur, Bidar, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Hyderabad or almost every part of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the Chishti doctorines and Chishti orders was accepted as the most popular Sufi order. The Chishti order, through Khwaja Banda Nawaz, penetrated into almost every other order in the South”.

Dr. Hussaini pointed out that the teachings of the 12th Century Sharanas and Veerashaiva saints were similar to the teachings of the Sufi saints.

The teachings of Saint Sharanabasaveshwara and Khwaja Banda Nawaz had glaring resemblances and a few scholars had regarded Khwaja as the originator of the Chaitanya School which has disciples spread all over India.

“Even today the procession of the Annual Sharanabasaveshwar fair starts only after the arrival of Holy Chalice from the Khwaja Banda Nawaz Darga”. Sufism and Mysticism gave meaning and direction to life.

Gulbarga University Vice-Chancellor B.G. Mulimani spoke on the occasion.

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