By Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
March 17, 2016
Wahhabi Terrorism or the Sufi Saints' Peace Path
By Shaykh Dr. H. Noor Ahmed Shah
Dr. Shah Noor Baba Astana (Samsthan), 2 vols. 1080 pp., USD37.50 hardbound
[Note: This text appears as a Foreword to the noted book.]
Bismillah ir-Rahman iIr-Rahim
This exhaustive, two-volume study of the confrontation between Wahhabi radicalism and spiritual Sufism in Islam was created by an Indian civil servant motivated clearly by nothing other than love of God (Allah Subhana Wa Ta’āla) and of humanity.
The work is indeed an encyclopaedia of the Islamic intellect, documenting many biographies of illustrious Shuyukh and providing numerous photographs of important Sufi structures. One particularly beautiful image is that of the shrine of Shaikh-ul-Aqbar Muhyid'din Ibn Arabi, in Damascus. The Sufi saint's catafalque lies under a glass canopy. Let us all pray for its preservation during the current bloody conflict in that country. The collection also includes photographs from as far away as the United States, Africa, and China.
Dr. Noor Ahmed Shah, the esteemed author of this compendium, is himself a Sufi devoted to the Qadri, Shuttari, Chishti Nizami Bandanawazi, and Suhrawardi orders. Explaining Sufism as an alternative to Wahhabi terrorism (and its South Asian variants, Deobandism, inspirer of the Taliban, and the radical Jamaat-e Islami founded by Maududi) he must needs take up many things. These include the metaphysical principles in common between Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, the origins of Sufism and Shiism, the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and the doctrines of the outstanding Sufis.
The author concentrates considerable worthy attention on Ghousul-Azam Dastagir, an important Qadri Shaykh, as well as more familiar figures such as Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. As he is an Indian Muslim, he has written eloquently on the great symbol of Sufism in the subcontinent, Hazrat Khwaja Moinudeen Hassan Chishti Ajmeri.
He further offers a firm defence of Sufi traditions, shrines, and security against the aggression of the Wahhabis and their imitators, including the destruction of the holy cemeteries of Makkah and Madinah. He inventories a library of Islamic scholars' condemnation of the extremists.
Wahhabi Terrorism or the Sufi Saints' Peace Path, published in India, deserves to be circulated and read throughout the English-speaking world, wherever Islam is discussed.