Saturday, 25 May 2013

Sufi Saints Photo Workshop: Sacred & Profane

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
Islam is monolithic...Islam is homogeneous...Islam speaks with one voice... and so goes on the nonsense we get from our media.

I wish the so-called pundits who speak of Islam's homogeneity with such authority would have been with me at the commemoration of Moin'Uddin Chisti's death anniversary in Ajmer (India).  

One of the largest Muslim religious gathering in the world; following the Haj in Mecca and the Biswa Ijtema in Bangladesh, the Ajmer Urs gathered approximately 700,000 pilgrims of various religious denominations over a few days.

Muslims (Shi'a and Sunni...Sufis and non Sufis), Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and non-believers congregated to pay homage to the most important Sufi saint of South Asia.

Circumambulating the shrine, throwing fragrant roses on the saint's tomb, tying orange ribbons on its jalis, women shrieking in their trances, vagabonds cracking whips and popping their eyeballs, vagrants and fakirs drawing deeply on their opium-laced chillums, and the transgender hijras taunting and teasing the pilgrims from balconies....yes, all very "Islamic" indeed.

Faith is what you make of it...not what others tell you it is.