Rise, Development and Effects of Sufism in Gujarat
Sufi Saints and Sufism arrived in India during the period of Turk Afghan rule. But it was the liberal religious policy followed during the Mughal period especially the liberal school of thought of Emperor Akbar assisted in the spread of Sufism. In this article the spread of Sufism and its effect in Gujarat has been discussed.
Sufism spread in Gujarat firstly due to the encouragement of the Muslim rulers, secondly due to literary writing of intellectuals and lastly due to the teachings and practices of Sufi saints. The main principles adopted by Sufi saints in spreading Islam were: Always presented opinion or thought gently, kept the principles of “Tohid” of Islam (principles of monotheism) in the center, and accepted with pleasure the stories of Hindu religion. Sufi Saints placed before the people the teaching of socioeconomic equality and brotherhood of Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) in a modest style. As a result a number of lower class Hindus who were vexed with Hindu caste system based on the four classes had turned towards Islam.
Communal union had spread among the people of Gujarat because of spread of spiritual thought of Sufi saints .The aim of Sufi saints was not merely spread of Islam, but also meant spread of spiritual values in society. As a result, these saints had become a bridge in achieving coordination between Hindu-Muslim religion and culture. Thus communal goodwill and unity cultivated in religious faith and social, cultural, food, lifestyle and dress among the people of Gujarat was the contribution of Sufi saints.
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