This is one in the series of things I agree with the Economist magazine. They usually involve cool Islam. As it is Ramadan I thought I might flag this information with respect to those of my friends who are Muslims.
Last week in Sehwan, a town in central Sindh, half a million Sufi pilgrims gave a demonstration of this fact. They are followers, like most Pakistanis, of the heterodox Barelvi school of Sunni Islam. And so they whirled, chanted prayers, blew kisses and smoked massive quantities of dope to celebrate the 755th anniversary of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a Sufi saint. “We are the anti-Taliban,” claimed Ahmed Bhutto (no relation), in a room thick with the scent of incense and rose petals. “We stand for love, tolerance and the great infinity.”
this is from the 15th September issue page 35
Now who do these people remind me of? I could be giving you more criticism of the Liberal Democrat Conference but this seemed a bit more important.
Here is what the wiki oracle says about Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, he sounds really cool, promoting peace and poetry....and of course the Prophet.
The real name of ‘Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’ was Syed Usman Marandi who was born in 1177 AD in Marwand,in then Iran. His father, Syed Ibrahim Kabiruddin, was a virtuous and pious dervish, and his mother was a high-ranking princess. His ancestors migrated from Iraq and settled down in Meshed, from where they again migrated to Marwand. During the Medieval period, Meshed and other cities of that region were renowned centers of learning and civilization.
He preached peace between Hindus and Muslims. "Lal Shahbaz" of Sehwan, as he is also popularly known as, became the Sufi saint of Sindh. His shrine stands today where the king Vikramaditya is believed to have worshipped Shiva in 50 B.C. Lal Shahbaz is also believed to have preached love and tolerance in Sindh.
The famous Qawwali by Abida Parveen and many other singers of Muslim religious songs, 'Lal Meri Pat Rakhiyo ...' is in honour of Shahbaz Qalandar. Another even more famous qawwali was sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan named "Shahbaz Qalandar".
This famous mystic often quoted the teachings of Maulana Jalal ad-Din Rumi. A book detailing his life is called "Solomon's Ring" by Gul Hasan.
Shahbaz Qalandar's shrine is located in Sehwan, Sindh, where thousands of pilgrims travel every year to honor the great Sufi philosopher, poet and Qalandar. He knew many languages including Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Sindhi and Sanskrit.
Shahbaz Qalandar's famous Persian verses showing his love and honour for Hazrat Ali are engraved on his shrine:
“ Haiderium Qalandram Mastam
Banda e Murtaza Ali Hastam
Peshwa e tamam Rindanam
Ke Sag e Koo e Sher e Yazdanam!
I am Haideri (relating to Haider, a second name for Ali ibn e Abu Talib), Qalandar and Mast (intoxicated with inspiration)
I am a slave of Ali Murtaza
I am leader of all saints
Because I am a dog of the lane of "Allah's Lion" (referring to Ali)
I believe that Barelvi is the largest Muslim group in Britain. Qalandar has a website here....take a look!