Lok Virsa, National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage established on Monday a spacious hall on “Sufis and Shrines” within its Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology, popularly known as the Heritage Museum, at Shakarparian.
The hall depicts the contributions and messages of great sufi saints. Here, one can visit and see the architecture with intricate minor work done in an artistic way. There were also pigeons landmark which looked as real as one can see in the shrines.
In the portion presenting the Sindh province, there were musicians standing in performing posture singing renditions of sufi saints like Laal Shahbaz Qalandar, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and Sachal Sarmast. Outstanding Sindhi folk artist and performer Alan Faqir was among one of them.
Under Punjab, pictures of shrines of Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh, Shah Rukne Alam and Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria were on display.
Malangs and faqirs, who form an integral part of shrines, were also seen paying rich tributes to the Sufi saints.
Explaining details, Lok Virsa’s Executive Director Khalid Javaid said “Sufi saints in the Sub-continent have contributed a lot towards creating love, peace and harmony among the masses.
“Now it is the need of the hour to project their message in an effective manner, so that the younger generation can get acquainted with their valuable contributions in the real sense. Sayings of the sages and the time-old customs which expressed the true genius of the people of Pakistan were the major subjects of Lok Virsa’s mandate,” he added.
Dali, an ornamented boat-like monument specially created to express tributes to the famous saints belonging to the capital territory known as Bari Imam by his spiritual followers during the annual Urs celebrations was also depicted in the display.
The display also throws light on the four basic pillars of Sufism which included Shareeyia (Islamic lifestyles), Irfaan-e-Haqiqat (journey towards the embodiment of God), Maarfat (journey towards the introduction to Allah) and Tareeqat (acting upon real teachings of Islam).
“Quran, the book of Allah invites us to concentrate and think over the creations and manifestation of Allah to get clues for advanced thoughts and ideas. Scientists, scholars and researchers adopt this method of thinking. Muslims were the first who adopted this way of thinking and laid the foundation of modern science, mathematics, astronomy, etc.,” Javaid added.
The word Sufi was derived from the Arabic word Safa, meaning purity. Sufism was a mystic tradition encompassing a diverse range of beliefs and practices. This mystic Sufi tradition had existed in all parts of Pakistan and was a binding force that brought people of diverse cultures together.
The saints whose shrines dot the landscape were the meeting place of the masses, the rich and the poor, the rulers and the ruled serve as a humanising force in society at both cultural and spiritual levels.
The Sufi saints who came to the sub-continent in large numbers played an important part in the spread of Islam, all over the region, preserving the inner spirit of Islam and to convert a large number of people into Muslims. They were indeed the men of high moral characters.
They stood side by side with the poor masses in all trails and tribulation of the time. The concept of equality and brotherhood of mankind preached by the Sufis attracted the large number of poor people.
Like other Islamic movements, Sufism traces its origin to the Quran and the Hadith.
In order to keep Sufism within the discipline of Islam, the
Sufis organised themselves into Silsilas or orders.
There were many Silsilas or sub-silsilas. Qadriah was founded by Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Naqshbandiah was named after Khawaja Bahauddin Naqshbandi, Chishtiah founded by Khawaja Abul Ishaq Shami and Soharwardiah founded by Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria, were the most important and well known.
Besides establishing the display on Sufism, Lok Virsa had also published a series of books on the works of Sufi poets and saints such as Sultan Bahu, Baba Bhullay Shah, Sachal Sarmast, Laal Shahbaz Qalandar, Waris Shah, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh and others, and this effort was still on-going.