By New Age Islam Special Correspondent
01 March 2016
Keeping in mind the urgent need to tackle continued violation of human rights through use of terror by jihadist forces, more than 200 international dignitaries from 20 countries will be attending the first World Sufi Forum to be held in the national capital in March. The recently established World Sufi Forum aims to position India as the global centre for moderate ideology in Islam.
This four-day Sufi event is slated in this month (from 17 to 20 March) which is being organized by All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB). It will involve discussions by leading global Sufi scholars, academicians, social workers on various important issues pertaining to Islam and modern issues. The event is focused on finding constructive ways to spread the Islamic message of peace and tolerance as counterpoint on the ever rising global violent extremism. The event organizer - AIUMB is India’s apex body for Sufi shrines and for Muslim religious leaders such as Ulema, Imams and Muftis.
This prime concern of hosting over 200 delegates from India and abroad at world Sufi forum is to discuss role of Sufism in countering rising global terror. According to the chief coordinator of the World Sufi Forum event, Syed Shah Hasan Jamee, national secretary of the All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board, delegation from 20 countries which includes spiritual leaders, scholars, academicians and theologises from Pakistan, USA, UK, Canada, Egypt, and other nations will attend the 4-day event in New Delhi from March 17-20.
The media coordinator of the event, Mr. Sanu Nair reported that “event will witness discussions on the current scenario and challenges faced by Islam in the modern world. The event will also debate long-term alternatives to counter rising issues of radicalization and use of terror in the name of Islam”. He further told that “Over one Lakh people from across India are expected to attend the final day of the event which will be held at the Ram Lila Ground, Delhi on March 20th Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
Speaking on the importance of organizing this mega event in India, Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf, founder-president, AIUMB and one of the most influential Sunni-Sufi leaders in India said “We believe it is high time for us to create a platform to seriously ponder over the radical interpretations of Islam by terror groups for political gains. The spread of terror and tyranny by jihadist forces in Syria and other parts of the world has damaged the image of Islam more than ever before. However, we are of the belief that Indian Muslims can provide a real alternative to all the bloodshed being spilled across the world in the name of Islam by promoting their rich history of Sufism.”
“Sufism stands for Peace, Tolerance and Unconditional Love and we aim to promote these virtues of Islam through our World Sufi Forum event. Through World Sufi Forum we intend to make India the global centre for moderate ideology in Islam” added Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf.
At World Sufi Forum, AIUMB has gathered the brightest Sufi visionaries and intellectuals from around the world to discuss the issues of extremism and find ways to work out effective counter-narratives. The event provides a platform to explore new alternatives in response to the ever-evolving socio-politico-economic nature of modern society by exploring the relevance of Sufi teachings, tradition and culture. Few of the leading speakers and attendees of the event include Dr Tahir ul Qadri (Pakistan), Shaykh Hashimuddin al-Gaylani (Sajjada Nashin: Khanqah Qadria, Baghdad, Iraq), Stephen Suleman Schwartz (Founder and Executive Director of Centre for Islamic Pluralism, USA), Shaykh Afeefuddin Al-Jailani (Founder and Chairman of Al-Wariseen Trust, Iraq), Sheikh Mohammad Bin Yahya Al-Ninowy (Sufi Leader, USA), among others.
Stressing on the need promote and reinforce Sufism in India to counter imported doctrines and ideologies of extremist groups, Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf said “Islam was warmly accepted and then later grew in India largely due to the teachings of Sufi masters who promoted concepts such as mutual respect, tolerance, brotherhood and love towards other communities. However, in the recent past import of radical and extremist ideology which claims to be representative of true Islam has brought immense loss to image of Islam and Muslims in India. Any extremist organisation such as Daesh or ISIS waving Islamic flags and misusing the holy Qur’an has actually no endorsement in the ambit of Islam. They are nothing but terror outfits which are tarnishing the image of Islam. It is therefore important to realize and unearth the propaganda of such people and organizations that are funded by foreign entities to spread hatred and intolerance to disrupt peace and harmony in a country such as India.”
Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf also said that World Sufi Forum will encourage Indian Muslims to promote an environment of peace and pluralism in the country as well as the world over. The 4-day World Sufi Forum will be inaugurated on March 17th at Vigyan Bhavan; followed by two-day session at India Islamic Cultural Centre, Delhi. The final day will witness congregation of over one Lakh followers of Islam in India who will be reaching Delhi from across India to attend the final session of the Forum at the Ram Lila Maidan in Delhi on March 20th.
A not-for-profit institution based in New Delhi India with over 30 units across the country, AIUMB aims to celebrate the wisdom and teachings of Sufi Orders and Spiritual Leaders. Grounded on the beautiful, profound and moderate spiritual theories, this institution is particularly focused on de-radicalisation. It believes in complete cessation of fanatic ideologies, extremist fringes, religio-fascist cults that engage in religious misinterpretations to justify violence and intolerance.
With World Sufi Forum, AIUMB desires to gather the brightest Sufi visionaries from around the world and empower them to create lasting spiritual connections that will produce peace, love and tranquillity in the world.