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Revival of Hussainism in India

by Minhaj

Mujaddid Alf-Thani(RA) and the revival of Hussainism in India

Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi (RA) [1563-1624 AD] who is remembered by the title of Mujaddid Alf Thani, is one of the greatest Muslim thinkers and religious leaders. He led his life during one of the most turbulent times in the history of the Indian subcontinent. During his time , a group of religious scholars led by Mughal Emperor Akbar was systematically attacking Islamic thought and philosophy. The scholars were assisting Akbar in establishing and building an exclusive and modern so-called spiritual organization called the Divine Religion (Deen-e-Ilahi), which was a combination of the practices and beliefs of different religions. Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi (RA) with his religious insight and faith, saved Islam from this danger. He revived the message of Hussainism by raising the word of truth before the tyrant ruler of his time and enlightened the nation with the true philosophy of politics in Islam. He is one of the great personalities who, in difficult circumstances, steered the sinking ship of the Muslim Ummah to safer shores and put it on the path to rise and ascent.

Reforming the Sufism of his time

The mysticism of his time had developed a non-Arabic color. He revived the real Tasawwuf and clarified the importance of Shariah and Tariqah. He emphasized that all the revelations, observations, and states of ecstasy in Tariqah should be based on the shariah. Lest the seeker goes astray from the straight path of Shariah and takes the path of misguidance in the valley of love. He revived the religious and moral values and persuaded the Muslim Ummah to achieve religious and worldly progress by following the pure sunnah of the Prophet(peace be upon him). Instead of the doctrine of Wahdat al-Wujud in Sufism, he introduced the doctrine of Wahdat al-Shuhud (Unity of Witness), which is about activism and movement so that the Muslim Ummah can play an active role in regaining its lost glory and prestige.

The uniqueness of supporting Wahdat al-Shuhud

During the time of Mujaddid Alf-Thani, the turmoil of Akbar’s divine religion emerged affecting the Muslims morally, religiously, politically, intellectually, and spiritually. Sufism could not also escape this chaos during that time. The philosophy of Wahdat ul-Wujud (Unity of Being), which is a perfect means of access to God in Sufism came under the influence of Akbar’s negative tendencies.

Since Akbar used to make those who came to his court prostrate before him, it could have strengthened Akbar’s attitude. It was feared that under existential philosophy that when God is in everything, then this prostration would be taken as not before a non-God. Undoubtedly it was a very superficial interpretation of Wahdat ul-Wujud (Unity of Being), but still it was feared that it would strengthen Akbar’s so-called Divine Religion. Mujaddid Alf-Thani (RA) with his insight, sensed this danger and understanding the delicacy of the situation, analyzed the old theory in Sufism and came up with a new one called Wahdat al-Shuhud (Unity of Witness). This new ideology promoted constant effort and struggle among the Muslims. In such a serious and complex situation, Mujaddid Alf-Thani’s opposition to and denial of the philosophy of Wahdat al-Wujud was justified. His efforts bore fruit and revived the spirit of Sufism and acquainted the Muslim Ummah with its practical picture. He not only worked for the betterment of Muslims of India and the propagation of Islam, but he also spread this great cause in other countries of the world and wrote letters to influential people in Iran, Badakshan and Turan. He tried to convince them to work for reforming the Ummah and for a renaissance of the Muslim Ummah.

Reference Book- Islamic Philosophy and Muslim Philosophers by Dr. Hussain Qadri, Pg 123-125
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