Tribute to the People of love, peace and harmony

Sufi saints have contributed a lot towards creating a message of love, peace and harmony in the subcontinent. Now there is a need to project their message effectively to acquaint the younger generation with their valuable contributions in the real sense.

In this context, Lok Virsa has dedicated a spacious hall, named as the ‘Hall of Sufis & Shrines,’ within its popular living cultural museum — the Heritage Museum at Shakarparian — to depict and portray contributions and messages of the great sufi saints. The display offers beautiful architecture with extremely artistic intricate mirror work alongside a pigeons’ landmark, which looks as real as one can see at the shrines.

The word ‘sufi’ is derived from Arabic word ‘safa’ meaning purity. Sufism is a mystic tradition encompassing a diverse range of beliefs and practices. This mystic sufi tradition has existed in all parts of Pakistan and is a binding force that brings people of diverse cultures together. The saints whose shrines dot the landscape are the meeting place of the masses — the rich and the poor, the rulers and the ruled — serve as a humanism force in society at both cultural and spiritual levels.

The sufi saints who came to the subcontinent in large numbers played the most important part in spreading Islam all over the region, preserving the religion’s inner spirit and converting a large mass into Muslims. They were indeed the men of high moral characters, who stood side by side with the poor masses in all trails and tribulations of time.

Like other Islamic movements, sufism traces its origin to the Holy Qur’aan and the Hadith. In order to keep sufism within the discipline of Islam, the sufis organised themselves into ‘silsilas’ or orders. The most important and well known among them are ‘Qadriah’, founded by Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani; ‘Naqshbandiah’, called after Khawaja Bahauddin Naqshbandi; ‘Chishtiah’, founded by Khawaja Abul Ishaq Shami; and ‘Soharwardiah’, founded by Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria.

In the part representing the land of the sufi saints, there are life-size statues of musicians in performing postures, singing renditions of sufi saints like Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and Sachal Sarmast. Outstanding Sindhi folk artiste and performer Allan Faqir is also among them. Punjab describes pictures of the shrines of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh, Shah Rukne Alam and Sheikh Bahauddin Zakaria. Malangs and faqirs, who form an integral part of shrines, are also seen, paying rich tributes to the sufi saints.

‘Dali’, an ornamented boat-like monument specially created to express tributes to the famous saint belonging to the capital territory known as Hazrat Barri Imam by his spiritual followers during the annual ‘urs’ celebrations, is also depicted in the display.

Lok Virsa Executive Director talking to ‘The News’. He said that the sayings of the sages and the time-old customs, which express the true genius of the people of Pakistan, are major subjects of the Lok Virsa’s mandate.




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