Rise from your grave O Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, your nation cries out for you

Sun comment masthead

November 20, 2013

Finding Islam in the Hindu heartland

Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun

More than 700 years ago, a Muslim saint was born in India, who laid the foundations of an Indian Islam.

Today, that faith seems to be reverting back to the harshness of the Muslim invaders, who came from Arabia, Persia and Central Asia to plunder the sub-continent.

We Muslims of the Indian subcontinent know this saint as Nizamuddin Auliya, a sufi who died in Delhi in 1325.
Last weekend, I went to his grave, his “dargah”, to pay my respects to a man we need to bring back to life.

That is, if we Muslims wish to take back our future from the misery so many have embraced in our joyless lives of anger, bereft of music and laughter.

That anger seems to have enveloped us, as if a burka had been thrown over our souls.

After all, where else in the Islamic world would you find a holy Islamic site where musicians would be singing songs while playing harmoniums?

Where Hindus and Sikhs would freely mingle with Muslims?

Not in Cairo or Baghdad, certainly not in Islamabad or, dare I say, Mecca.

An American tourist explains to me the value of the intricate in-laid lattice surrounding the inner walls of the 'qabar'.

An American tourist explains to me the value of the intricate in-laid lattice surrounding the inner walls of the ‘qabar’.

I stood beside the grave as a white, American, non-Muslim explained to me the intricacies of the architecture, while a Sikh friend was free to take photographs, without being frowned upon by anger-filled, self-righteous defenders of the faith.

So who was Nizamuddin Auliya of the 14th century and why do I want him to rise from his grave to salvage my Muslim community?

By contrast to today, when the clergy of Islam often brandish machine guns and wave swords demanding the establishment of Islamic states, Nizamuudin Auliya had nothing but disdain for political power and what we now call political Islam or Islamism.

One story alone illustrates the piety of Nizamuddin Auliya.

He is believed to have said, “My kanqah (home) has two doors. If the Emperor enters through one, I will leave through the other.” This does not mean the Saint was a monk-like pacifist.

He used his influence to create political resistance as a vehicle for his messages of humility, mercy and religious tolerance.

While the rest of the Islamic world’s caliphs and sultans were exploiting non-Muslims by imposing on them their second-class Dhimmi status and levying the Jizyah tax, Nizauddin was on record rejecting the concept of differentiating people on the basis of religion or race.

He said, “We are all God’s Dhimmis. No human being can be another person’s Dhimmi”.

This secular universalism in Nizamuddin’s teachings appealed directly to the marginalized of society, making his home a haven for people of low social status and class, including Hindus who were persecuted under Muslim sultans.

Compare that to the Muslim leadership of India today and one wonders what has happened to my saint’s legacy.

Here is what one of India’s most prominent Muslim clerics, Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliyar, the general secretary of the All India Sunni Jam-Iyyathul Ulema, recently told a newspaper:

“Muslim women should not work in a place where only a woman and a man are present. They should go for a job only in a place where there are enough number of women and trustworthy men. About 90% of jobs do not require man-women mingling. These rules cannot be changed. The obstinacy still continues.”

Rise from your grave O Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, your nation cries out for you.

15 comments for “Rise from your grave O Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, your nation cries out for you

  1. Farid Khan
    November 20, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    A good read, only if i remove the thought of a dead person coming back to life. There is no concept and saying, either in Hadith or anywhere, where any of the prophets, or any saint, has come back to life. only Isa Alahissalaam (Jesus for Christains), is the one who is not dead and will come during end of days.

    • Kanu
      August 2, 2018 at 3:33 PM

      He knows that the dead can’t come to life.It is an universal truth and you need not quote your Hadhith. He just wants to draw your attention that you need the Islam of India and not the political Islam of Arabastan. The Saint and his all inclusiveness is missing in India. As such Tarek miss him.

  2. Naveed
    November 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Tarek which Arab invaded India except MBQ

    • April 11, 2017 at 9:30 AM

      He meant it “generally” about the crusaders and or plunderers, including Sultan Mahmud.

  3. Raghu Ram EX
    March 5, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Tarek Fatah, Dargah worship is forbidden in the Holy Qur’an! The work that happens is Dargah’s are well known..

    Where is the belief of oneness of god when you are worshipping the grave of a dead HUMAN!!??

    Very sweetly put line ” That anger seems to have enveloped us, as if a burka had been thrown over our souls. ”

    In this context i would say your ego is the burkha thrown upon your soul!

    The whole world can cry for that person to wake up from his grave, never will it happen..

    He will rise on the day of judgement, an Allah subhana wa tallah will be the one he’ll answer to!

    All I see your doing is showing hatred towards Islam by saying things in a lovely way!

    Your Twitter account is filled with hatred! An yes i do not support so called jihadis and extremists and dont enjoy the misery of the innocent.

    They are small in number, propose their own propaganda.. just like how you are proposing yours! ( Perception )

    But what is there in the book is there an cannot be removed.

    Out of say 100% muslims throughout the world, the percentage of hypocrites ( munafiqs ) and people with terrorist/ violent intentions are about 1%!

    So I would say most of your thoughts might appeal well to the western world, but holds no good in india!

    You need to be open about the fact as to why you have hatred towards Islam.

    • Brajanarayan
      March 29, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      Mr Tarik has a free mind and that is why he can have an independent assessment of any situation or issue.People, who have not freed themselves from the baggages of ignorance cannot appreciate Mr Tarik and will blame him as anti-religion.

    • Arjun
      December 13, 2016 at 2:40 AM

      Why do almost every of the 55 or so muslim controlled nations have institutionalized laws that deprive non-muslims of basic equal religious rights (only exception being Hindu influenced Bangladesh and Army controlled Turkey perhaps) ? Does this tell you about something Islam or do you have any honest theories about this ?

    • Raghu Ram (True)
      December 13, 2016 at 3:11 AM

      The fact that you despite being a Muslim had to use a Hindu name to express your hatred for Tarek shows your bigotry and hypocrisy. Hindus pay homage at saints’ samadhi too. So paying homage at a saint’s dargah and asking blessings to walk on the path of Allah as saint did is not wrong. Just because something is or isn’t mentioned in a holy book should not be taken literally. Use your logical and empirical thought process to see light of truth. Allah has given you brains to use. Blind faith in anything is dangerous specially when it’s preached by those who claim to be the sole proprietor of Allah’s grace.

      1% of 1.6 billion Muslim population is 16 million. And if 16 million people have terrorist/ intentions angriest non-Muslims then it’s definitely a cause of worry.

      How does Tarek hate Islam if he proposes to follow Allah’s Islam over Mullah’s Islam?

      If you are a true seeker you will ask the following questions:

      1. Who am I?
      2. What is this world/creation?
      3. Why am I in this world/creation?
      4. Who is God/ Allah?
      5. What makes him/her God?
      6. Is everything about the God unlimited?
      7. If so, then can’t there be more ways than one to find that God?
      8. Is God free to change his/her mind (if he/she had one, because if yes than does mind control the God)?
      9. Why am I suffering in this world?
      10. If God is unlimited then his creation is unlimited, that means this world is not the only habitable planet. Then what religion do inhabitants of those planets follow?
      11. How were people finding and reaching to God before Prophet was born? Why can’t God send more prophets if he/she decides to change his/her mind seeing the mess humans have created on this earth.

      As the saying goes in Vedanta “Atatho Brahm Jigyasa”…..start with the inquiry into the Divine. Question all that is preached to you and be curious about everything, don’t just surrender blindly or you ll be short-changed.

    • Aditya Bawari
      December 14, 2016 at 2:58 AM

      Sir, I think you haven’t understood the message in Mr. Fateh’s article. Like most “non-thinking” Muslims, you are taking the article literally, with deliberate “non-appliaction” of mind.

      Here calling upon Nizamuddin Auliya to rise up from the dead is a metaphor for bringing to fore the Saint’s ideology for a more genteel, inclusive, emphatic society.

      Insofar, as worshipping a Dargah is concerned… At a Dargah, the Saint is revered as a Holy Man, a man who is connected to his Maker, one who has worked for bringing peace and happiness to his people. He is not worshipped. He is just remembered for what he has done.

      Heaven and Earth are here on Earth. It is what you want to make your life to be… You can either believe that a life filled with hatred and violence against a fellow human being will beget you “Jannat” in afterlife. Or you can try to create a “Jannat” here on Earth for people less fortunate than you.

      Insofar as what is written in the”Book” is concerned…. The “Book” itself has been written by humans… And it was collected and revised after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, with other copies being destroyed violently… (infact some of the verses were abrogated by the Prophet himself during his lifetime)…. It would help if you read Islamic history and the writing of the Book, without getting all upset, and calling others “Munafiq” or “Kuffar”.

      I disagree with you when you say that the article will not get any support in India. Mr. Fateh’s message is humanitarian, and given the syncretic culture of this land, it holds more relevance to India than anywhere else in the world!

    • Mangu
      April 9, 2017 at 4:20 AM

      Ha ha using a Hindu name…kya miya aap bhii

    • Rabbi
      August 2, 2018 at 5:30 PM

      so according to you around 1.6 Crore Muslims (1% of Muslim Population) are terrorist? isn’t that a Big number? isnt not a reason enough to Check the Book?

  4. Godiyal
    December 13, 2016 at 2:31 AM

    An informative, as usual hard-hitting and excellent piece, sir.

  5. Triveni Shukla
    December 13, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    I learnt about Nizamuddin Auliya from Khushwant Singh’s Delhi. I was aching to visit and I did last year. To my utter disappointment, I and my friend on being identified as non muslims weren’t allowed to enter Amir Khusrao’s grave to pay our respects. Such irony! The saint who embraced everyone irrespective of religion, gender or ethnicity is now under the “guard” of people who don’t imbibe his teachings.

  6. December 13, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    Spirituality is not something which lies in temple, musjid or church etc. Rather its something to realize the truth, to perceive the reality, to understand the human creation etc.

    Actually believing on something gives us faith to win over evil or -ve thoughts/feeling. In real faith works, neither the gods nor the daemons. Please read the blog below.


  7. Anup Martin
    April 10, 2017 at 6:32 PM

    Very well remembered and the article taught me about a person I barely knew.

    Thank you Mr Fatah.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *