By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam
25 May 2022
Spirituality Relates To Spirit And Inner Consciousness. It's Your Heart To Heart Tete-A-Tete With Your Creator. So, Why On Earth Does A Muslim Need A Traditional Stone-Wall Structure Called Mosque and A Hindu, A Temple?
1. Worship The God That's Immanent And Not Outside.
2. Humans Need To Evolve Spiritually.
3. Just Leave Places That Are Shrouded In All Sorts of Controversies.
But Bhi Rakkhe Hain, Namazein Bhi Ada Hoti Hain
Dil Mera Dil Nahin Allah Ka Ghar Lagta Hai
(Idols are kept there and Namaz is also offered/My heart has become Allah's abode).
The aforementioned couplet by Bashir Badr is the perfect example of Qaumi Ittihaad and defiance of religio-structural symbolism for both Hindus and Muslims in these exceedingly turbulent times of rabid communal antagonism. When every other day, some brainless person claims to find a temple under a mosque and communal hatred increases immediately, isn't it advisable that both Hindus and Muslims should stop visiting their respective shrines and offer their religious obeisance at their homes?
Didn't Rumi famously say in Persian, ' Dil Dairo-Haram Ast ' (Heart is temple and mosque) or Sanai in Pashto Tarke-ifa'ar, Khuda Zakaar (Abandon all shrines, yet find the Supreme Being). Ifa'ar is the plural of Ifar (a shrine) and Zakaar is realization in classical Pashto. A very sagacious advice, I must say. I don't urge people to leave their religions and gods. That's well-nigh impossible for most of the humans on earth. But at least, they can bid adieu to their shrines, esp. in these times when even a speculative presence of a shrine (of other faith) can wreak havoc.
Moreover, all shrines are structural symbolism of spirituality. When we talk about spirituality, it goes a notch beyond the primitive and literal religiosity. Spirituality relates to spirit and inner consciousness. It's your heart to heart tete-a-tete with your Creator. So, why on earth does a Muslim need a traditional stone-wall structure called mosque and a Hindu, a temple? Ancient ecclesiastical historian Eusebius of Caesarea, used to say, ' Le'est emi flema evita' (I carry my own shrine). Yes, you carry your own shrine.
You don't require a place to worship at. This has been the motto of all mystics and Gnostics for centuries. The great mystic Kabir aptly said, ' Kaankar-Paathar Jori Ke Masjid Lai Chunay/Ta Chadhi Mulla Baang De Kya Bahira Hua Khuday? ‘(After building a mosque of pebbles and stones, the Muazzin shouts from the rooftop/Is Allah hard of hearing?).
So many centuries have elapsed, yet the Mulla is still unchanged and now he resorts to loudspeakers to call the faithful followers to mosque! Whether Hindus or Muslims, all are Lakeer Ke Faqeer (dyed in the wool). Now when places of worship have become bones of contention, shouldn't they be left? But don't leave your religion, god, books and all that jazz. Just leave places that are shrouded in all sorts of controversies. Humans need to evolve spiritually. Muslims will concur with me that the logic behind remembering the entire Al-Furqan and becoming Hafiz-e-Quran was that even if all the physical copies of the Book were destroyed, yet there'd be people who memorized all the verses to recreate the Book. That the Muslims, esp. the youngsters, still memorise the Quran like parrots and waste their precious time is inconsequential. To cut the matter short, sacredness is in your heart and divinity is within. Your heart itself is a holy place: Baith Ke Farsh-E-Dil Pe Padh Lee Namaaz Maine (sitting on the floor of heart, I offered my Namaz). You needn't go anywhere. Furthermore, nowadays all shrines are symbols of ostentation, pomp and grandeur. Nida Fazli aptly said in one of his Dohas:
Bola Baccha Dekh Ke Masjid Aalishaan/Allah Tere Rahne Ko Itna Bada Makaan! (Seeing a grand mosque, a child exclaimed, Allah, you require such an enormous place to live in!).
An innocent query, but full of profundity. Ruminate over it and worship the god that's immanent and not outside. Your god or Allah, if at all it does exist, will not be so fussy, finicky and fastidious like you as to be annoyed if you don't visit a shrine to worship it (sorry, no Him/Her.......why sexualise god and give it a masculine gender?).
An occasional columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian.
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