The time of the great fair had come again. I would have been deprived of the tremendous opportunity to view it had I not left home to buy for my father some medicines from the market. The heat was on; rhythmic sounds of the drums, a long series of outstretched golden shawls1, devout youth with red lips2 and their lively dance with bare feet, all revived the picture that roams before my eyes when I ponder on the damage caused by mysticism. The devoted young fellows were headed for the shrine of Miyan Mir3 to humbly enshroud his grave with those sacred shawls on the annual‘Urs (anniversary celebrations). Their dance would turn into wild and frantic African rumba if some ladies happen to watch the devotees from over their balconies. It is very likely that one dancer should lose his senses and faint owing to dancing ‘faithfully’: this is indeed desirable and commendable; because he, it is erroneously believed, gets a chance in his faintness to see and converse with the Great Mystic, Miyan Mir. Securing awe and applaud from people standing on both sides of the road, the procession moved on to the holy shrine carrying the shawls with utmost respect. Generous as people were on the way, they would drop into the shawls currency of varying denominations, though one should not suffer from the illusions that they pay Zakah as much devoutly that is imposed on them by their True Master.

A more despicable picture comes to view as one enters the precinct of the shrine. It is always packed to the fullest at this time of the year with the mixed gathering of males and females of all ages. Oddly enough, sentimental enthusiasm mesmerizes the Muslim ladies more effectively who, with a lot of make up on, come to attend the ceremonial event in gay dresses. This event also provides to the forlorn lovers a wonderful opportunity to deceive their families and obtain a chance to meet. Side by side, the business of prostitution finds yet another safe haven to be transacted in a place that is originally intended to be holy. In many circles of the Qawwal (vocalists), tribute is paid to the mystic in words that entail transgression in terms of polytheism. Many ladies are observed to ambulate around the tomb of Miyan Mir much like the way the Muslims circumambulate around the House of the Lord. Away from this frenzied state of affairs, the spiritual disciples are observed to sit in various groups; some are found preoccupied with struggles to cross the boundaries of mind and body with the help of marijuana, and others are heard to give a vent to the slogan Haideri Qalandri4 while enjoying the hemp they prepare to make most of the event. Thus, the ceremony, with all its activities, runs quite averse to the scheme of the religion of Islam.

The Lord has blessed us with as clean and fine a soul as a transparent object is. Like glass is left with the traces of our fingers – if nothing else – once we touch it, our soul gets contaminated with even the slightest of blemish when we expose it to evil influences. The Holy Qur’an vehemently proclaims that the Almighty wants us to come back to Him with a cleansed and purified soul. He has created us in His image. We are supposed to preserve this image at every cost. Our life may become a bit dull, replete with the treadmill of routine, and devoid of much fun but we need to adhere to the image that is all good and exclusive of evil in all forms and faces.

As Muslims, we strongly believe that this world is transitory in nature, and that a Day is soon to come when the good will be separated from the bad; the first pocket will be rewarded fabulously and the second will be cast into the abyss of destruction in accordance with the sublime principles of perfect justice. In addition to this, what we need to always keep in view is the criterion introduced by the Holy Qur’an that will demarcate an evident line between the good and the bad. The Book of Allah asserts that good is indeed the person who saves his soul from all contaminations and nurtures what is decent in it. In other words, success in the afterlife is destined for those who succeed to purify their soul in this life period provided to them. To quote the words of the Holy Qur’an:

 

He succeeded who purified his soul and remembered his Lord and offered the Prayer. But you prefer the life of this world when the Hereafter is better and more lasting. (87:14-7)

 

At another place this idea has been explicated in the following words:

 

He succeeded who purified his soul and he failed who contaminated his soul. (91:9-10)

 

After studying the Holy Qur’an, the picture of a believer that springs to mind is like a humble man who stays miles away from activities that are likely to undermine the purity of his heart. He knows that the time he has now must be spent wisely and not to be dissipated in trivial engagements. He does not loathe the members of the opposite sex nor does he endeavor to destroy their repute. He extends to them the same respect as he does to his parents and siblings. He firmly believes in the principle of lowering gaze and preserving modesty. His eyes are always set on the reward of the Hereafter instead of the pleasures of this world. In his heart and mind, he is fully convinced that there is no intermediary between Allah and him as the Book of Allah has stressed. In addition, he knows that every person, in the Hereafter, shall be judged on an individual basis and none will be able to transfer to him some good deeds or share his burden. The realization of these facts definitely plants within him a deep sense of accountability that compels him to lead a responsible life in this world. He faces boldly the perils of life taking them as an integral part of the trial of life and never resorts to drugs to overcome the obstacles.

On the other hand, if he is placed at the helm of the state affairs, he makes arrangements to ensure that citizens are not caused to go astray and ultimately be a party to spreading disorder in land. Without restraining their freedom to practice the religion they wish to, he issues necessary orders and commandments that morality is not sacrificed under any circumstances. His foremost priority is to help conduct every ceremony in a manner as endorsed by the dictates of his sense of morality. He ensures that people are able to nicely discharge their responsibilities – which they perceive to be their religious responsibilities. In a nutshell, a true believer, whatever sphere of life he is placed in, epitomizes the moral ideals by leading and helping others lead a good moral life.

(Jhangeer Hanif)



1. These shawls are carried to the shrine of a Sufi and laid on his tomb as a symbol of respect and veneration.

2. Allusion is to the custom of chewing betel leaves with catechu on such occasions of which the juice reddens the lips.

3. Miyan Mir (d:1635) is a renowned Sufi who belong to the Qadariyyah Silsilah. He pledged Bay‘at at the hand of Khizar Savistani. After a considerable period of training and making accomplishments in this Silsilah, he came to Lahore in the era of the Mughal emperor Jalal-ul-Din Akbar. He considered the Shari‘ah to be binding and himself adhered to it. He was most respected by emperors of his time, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. (Saleem Hasan Mirza, Hazdrat Miyan Mir, (Lahore: Allied Press, 1405 Hijrah)).

4. Haideri has reference to Ali (rta); his second name was Haydar.Qalandri perhaps refers to the title of another Sufi, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. This expression is a typical slogan of Majzub Sufis and indicates that they are inebriated.

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