A SUFI SAINT IN PESHAWAR

September 17, 2010

In July 2010, following heavy monsoon rains nearby, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in northern Pakistan was flooded. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lies at the junction where the Hindu Kush mountains give way to the hills and valleys of  the Indus River, flowing down through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. The flood water came cascading down hillsides, sweeping in its torrent man and material alike. It swept away domestic animals and crops besides roads, bridges, public utilities and anything that dared to stand up in its path. Officials estimate the total economic impact to be as much as 43 billion USD. http://cber.iweb.bsu.edu/research/PakistanFlood.pdf

While the rivers were brimming to their dikes, more rain was pouring down as if God had decided, “During the last decade I gave you less, so here is some more.” And all the rivers of Punjab ultimately flow into the Indus which goes into the Arabian Sea. Therefore, the wall of water flowed along its flood plains swept away roads, railway lines, villages, people, animals and crops. Ultimately, the floods have forced the Indus to breach its banks until one-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area was under water.

Map of flooding along the Indus River in 2010

Perhaps because of Pakistan’s reputation as a haven for Islamic terrorists, the reaction of the  International community was slow. Within the country, the floods accentuated the sharp divisions in Pakistan between the wealthy and the poor. Landowners allowed embankments to burst so as to divert water from their land. Local authorities colluded with the warlords to divert funds intended for rebuilding. Ten million people have been  forced to drink unsafe water. Two thousand people have died and over a million homes have been destroyed since the flooding began. Pakistan is reaping what it has been sowing:  violence.

Of the Muslims in Pakistan, only the Sufis are putting up resistance against the mullahs on behalf of the pluralism. Consider the shrine of the poet Rahman Baba, at the foot of the Khyber Pass. This Sufi poet is revered by the Pashtuns living on both sides of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Rahman Baba preached love.

“I am a lover, and I deal in love.”

“Sow flowers so your surroundings become a garden.”

“Don’t sow thorns; for they will prick your feet.”

“We are all one body. Whoever tortures another, wounds himself.”

Abdul-Rahman-MomandRahman Baba‘s tomb is housed in a large domed shrine, or mazar, outside of Peshawar. The site of his grave is a popular place for poets and mystics to collect to recite his popular poetry. Last year, a madrasa was built with Saudi funds near Rahman Baba’s shrine. The students there complained that  women were allowed to pray and seek healing there and eventually the madrasa students placed dynamite around the supports of  the shrine’s dome. The explosion did not destroy the mazar. However, it was so damaged that it had to be torn down in order for it to be totally rebuilt.

Perhaps this is the future for Pakistan  after the floods. The Sufi followers of Rahman Baba do not bomb mazars or kill innocents. But they do say of the Islamic fundamentalists: “Hypocrites who sit there reading their law books and arguing about how long their beards should be, fail to listen to the true message of the prophet.” Perhaps it is time for the world to hear this message as well.

2 Responses to “A SUFI SAINT IN PESHAWAR”

  1. Proud Pakistani, Proud Muslim. Says:

    Who do you think you are man ? i mean just look at you, you look like you just crawled out of the sewer Tejwant,you have no right to talk against any community or country,well thnis site oblviously is a forum owned by an extremist sikh retard who must have lost a fight to some pakistani probably when he was in the force,now he thinks he can badmouth the better nation and get his respect back,close this pointless site,we guys are not like you,badmouthing other communities wont earn you respect,only degrade you even more,and as indian you represent your country on such forums and sites,i personally thought of you guys as friends,but now i see the jealousy withinn such people like yourself, grow up,

    and about your site name, “dontmistakemeforamuslim”,dont worry we wont,you’re not so lucky as to be one,and about the taliban,they are just an extremist outcast group that want to kill at first site,pakistani dont even like them,and you’re talking like we supply them and train them,idiot.

    as for corruption in pakistan you talked about,its not even 0.1% of that in india and you know it,

    i hope this comment will help reduce your idiocy,

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      Dear Proud Pakistani and Proud Muslim,
      Thank you for your comments. I have generally found that when Muslims cannot discuss something like a normal civilized person they lose their cool and start threatening others with dire consequences. Why is it so? Are you under confident that you people tend to frighten others with threats?
      I think you people have been long used to crude and barbaric ways to spread Islam. And now that our world has become small due to inventions in communication and it is the time for one-person-one vote, Democracy, Human Rights, where every religious belief has the right to exist, where all citizens have the right to express their feelings, where child marriage has no place, where you can’t take away the woman and property of a non-believer (as sanctioned in the Koran), where your barbaric belief has no place: You are feeling threatened and isolated.
      If you don’t agree with what I am saying then you should go back in time and read about the time when India’s freedom movement started and the rule of one-person-one vote was coming up as a Democratic system being introduced by the English rulers.
      The Muslims of India were openly talking about their less numbers compared to the Hindus. They were saying that they would get second class treatment in a country where they had ruled over the Hindus with ruthless barbarity. And if you don’t know what kind of barbarity was used I will give you details as recorded by Ibn Batuta the Arab traveler and historian who stayed in India for many decades.
      Therefore they the Muslims of that time imagined a threat from the vast Hindu majority and the idea of Pakistan, a homeland for the Muslims cropped up. The most vocal in this group were former Muslim rulers who had tasted unbridled authority, though a minority over a vast majority. Picture yourself you ‘Proud Muslim’ being ordered about by descendants of those same meek Hindus whom your ancestors cruelly treated, worse than even domesticated animals.
      That is why the Sikhs –though a group of rosary wielding pious sheep- came up as a militarized group into which came not only Hindus but even Muslims. This new militarized group of people was called the Khalsa –this is just to inform you in case you have not read the history of the Sikhs. Once the Khalsa Sikhs established their rule in 12 Misls (confederacies of likeminded fighters) out of the 12 Misls 11 were amalgamated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who made sure all Pathan strongholds were finished in Punjab. Yet after defeating those valiant Pathans he did not maltreat them in the way Muslims had been maltreating those Hindu kings who were defeated in battle. Maharaja Ranjit Singh pensioned off such former Muslim rulers with due respect to their status into the western regions of Punjab. And the general Muslim public was treated with due dignity.
      A Pakistani Air Force officer told me this: “My history teacher used to say that during the Muslim rule in north India, the Sikhs were hunted mercilessly but when they became rulers, they treated their Muslim subjects with due dignity.”
      Do you have any parallel like this in the complete history of Muslim rule anywhere in the world? No you don’t have.
      I will give you another example. My family used to reside in Chak 57 Khayala in the then Lyalpur district which is now called Faislabad. When Pakistan came into being on 14th August we were not worried although some people uses to caution us that you can’t trust the Muslims. We thought this is our homeland and we will live here like we have always lived next to our Muslim neighbors. All the people in our village were Sikhs except for a small section of Muslims who had converted from the lowest caste and they used to work on our farms on yearly contract or as daily labor. Other villages surrounding us were all Syed or Pathan.
      Then the true intention of the Muslim League started showing when their cadre drove into Sikhs villages in trucks and asked the youth to join the newly created Pakistan’s Army and Police. Obviously many young boys voluntarily went with them but there was no word back from them to their waiting families. Then their dead bodies were seen floating in canals and people realized what was going to happen. Thereafter whenever any truck or any vehicle came toward any village all the youth used to run away and hide in sugarcane fields leaving behind middle age men to guard their homes.
      At one stage our village elders came to know that Muslims from the nearby villages were going to attack us. We quickly prepared our swords and spears and the roof tops were piled with bricks. This information somehow reached the Muslims and no attack took place.
      Then they tried another trick. They went and told the Army Brigade in Lyalpur cantonment that the Sikhs of Khayala village had butchered their minority Muslims and have roasted them alive in tandoors. The few British officers who were there took immediate action and sent a force to investigate. Army vehicles surrounded our village on a full moon night and machine guns were fixed pointing at our homes. Our elders went to talk to them and when they heard the false allegation they asked the British officers to accompany them to the homes of the Muslims who were found sound asleep only to wake up frightened on seeing so many men in uniform. That is the time our elders decided that Pakistan was not destined to be our homeland and they left in a bullock cart caravan. Nobody dared to touch us on the way because word had spread that the Sikhs of Khayala were a strong force.
      The first train from Pakistan to India was butchered by Muslim League thugs and in retaliation Sikhs and Hindus of the eastern part of Punjab gave the same treatment. Thereafter no more trains were butchered.
      Have you understood what I am trying to say? It is unfortunately not possible to fully trust Muslims barring a few remarkable exceptions. Therefore time has come to wind up your cruel ways and go to the oil rich desert of Arabia where your philosophy originated and live there OR live like civilized human beings in the neighborhood of other civilized human beings.
      There is another suggestion before I close this chapter. I don’t know if you are aware that Guru Nanak visited Mecca during his journey towards West Asia. He stopped at Baghdad where his place of stay is marked outside the railway station. I have heard from people who have been to Iraq that Langar is held there on Friday.
      After that Guru Nanak went to Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, and through Syria and eastern Turkey he went up to the southern limits of Russia before coming back. Guru Nanak’s Khadawan (wooden slippers normally worn by Indian holy-men) are preserved in a niche near the Kaaba complex labelled ‘Peer Baba Nanak’. This has been confirmed to me by a Muslim Air Force officer of the Indian Air Force who had been to Iraq to train their Air Force in the early 1980s and went for Haj. He said, “I felt very proud that something of India has been so well honoured in Mecca.”
      Guru Nanak’s missions all over West Asia, within India and towards Southeast Asia including Tibet were to preach that Kirtan is supreme: Kirtan is singing the praises of God Almighty. This word has been derived from Sanskrit word ‘Keerti’ meaning ‘Praise’.
      Even scientifically it has been proved that music is good for humans, plants and animals. Plants grow better with classical music and all milk yielding animals like cows, buffaloes and goats give more and healthy milk. When human beings sing or listen to pleasant music their nervous system becomes healthier. And listening or doing Kirtan obviously have many plus points.
      But the Muslims of West Asia did not pay heed to Guru Nanak because someone had gone and written in the Koran that music is evil. By the way, you may not know that the Koran was not written by Prophet Mohammad but was compiled on orders of the First Caliph 16 years after the Prophet left this world. And it took almost 200 years for it to be finalized after Sunnis and Shias kept arguing over it. Even then many amendments were carried out in respect of treatment to Jews and Christians in the course of the subsequent centuries.
      But the Christians of West Asia believed in Guru Nanak and they started singing in their Churches. Before that singing in Churches was not done. This has been confirmed to me by a Christian from America whose ancestors had been missionaries in West Asia.
      Therefore at this difficult juncture in time for the whole world it may be better for Muslims to go back and remove the centuries old dust from Guru Nanak’s Khadawan and do what he said. Your nervous system would cool down we can all live happily.
      Tejwant Singh


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