We all know that Islam reached the Indian Subcontinent through the work of countless Muslim mystics who spread their message through acts of love and care for other human beings. Ali Hajveri, Daata Gnaj Baksh was one such figure in the history of Indian Islam. There is a legend about his arrival in India. It is said that on his way to Lahore, the young Ali Hajveri camped on the bank of river Ravi before entering the city. He was lucky to share the company of three dervishes during his brief sojourn on the river bank. As they sat and mediated by the river, the river started rising and rose so high that the water reached their chins. Then suddenly the river receded back to its usual flow, upon which the three dervishes opened their eyes and asked: “Who prayed?”
“I did” said the young Ali Hajveri.
“You do not belong with us” said the three dervishes “for every day when the river rises, it goes down by itself: we do not have to pray for it!” So Ali Hajveri thanked his hosts and, having learned a lesson in humility, came to Lahore to share his message of love.
The Taliban foot soldiers and their Wahabi handlers do not know this story. In their version of Islam, there is no room for mysticism or ambiguity, which makes their version of Islam heartless, cold, murderous, exclusionary, and cruel.Cruel enough to kill their own fellow Muslims at a place of peace just to make a statement.
The bombing of Daata Darbar is not just a tragic event: it is rather a declaration of war by the most heartless followers of a terrible version of Islam against those for whom Islam is still a religion of love. This is no ordinary battle: our national future and the soul of Islam itself is at stake.
We must remember that if we lose hope and let the Talibanistic view of Islam win, then there will be no love left in the practice of Islam and all we will end up with is more and more death worlds like the one the Taliban had created in Afghanistan. This is the time to come together as a people to mourn our dead, but to also resolve to never let these murderers impose their fanatical will over all others. This act of cruel murder by Taliban should bring us together and should teach us to stand tall and resolute and to work every day to transform our practices–religious and other–into a praxis of love and care for all other human beings.