By Roshan Shah, New Age Islam
28 November 2016
The Walis or friends of God are drowned in the remembrance of Him. They have their ways, which you and I may sometimes find strange. Have you heard of a Wali who was known as ‘The Silent Baba’? And of one of his disciples, who was called ‘The Duck-Guardian Baba’?
‘The Silent Baba’ got that name because he would generally remain silent. He spoke only very occasionally, and those whom he said a few rare words to, were considered very fortunate. And as for the ‘Duck-Guardian Baba’, he got this name because he would sit about in meditation on the banks of a lake while many ducks would flock around him.
‘The Silent Baba’ was born in a Muslim family and ‘The Duck-Guardian Baba’ in a Hindu one. But Babas like these don’t know any differences of caste and creed. They know no Hindu or Muslim, no Christian or Buddhist. They are immersed in the One—Allah or Ishwar or Khuda, Who is also known by innumerable other names.
About ‘The Duck-Guardian Baba’, I don’t know much, but I’ve been to his shrine, which is not far from my village. An annual festival is held there in his memory, which carries on for three days. It attracts a huge number of people, Hindus and Muslims, from all castes. Many shops come up on the occasion.
One year, I set up a tea-stall there during the festival and I saw what happens. It’s a remarkable sight! There are Muslims there, doing their Namaz and Zikr, and Hindus, taking the name of Hari and doing Bhajan-Kirtan, singing devotional songs—all of them in the same large space! Huge amounts of khichadi—made of rice, Daal and vegetables—are made in giant vats and distributed among the people. Everyone—people of different faiths and castes—eats together.
Isn’t this just wonderful? There are so many lessons we could learn from this.
It tells us that God is one, and whether you call Him Allah or Ishwar or by some other name, it is one and the same.
It tells us that all of us, Hindus, Muslims and everyone else, are one—fellow human beings.
It tells us that we can and should live together in peace and amity.
It tells us that while following the religion of our choice, we should accept others who follow other religions.
It’s a wonderful demonstration of how people from different castes and religions can gather to celebrate and be joyful together, as God wants us to!
(This article is based on conversations recently with my friend Saifuddin, who is from a village in eastern India and works as a guard in the apartments where I presently live. Saifuddin’s background is a reminder that every single human being is a wonderful treasure-trove of great stories like this one!
I have narrated this article as if it is Saifuddin who is talking. Any errors I may have made in narrating what I learnt from Saifuddin are mine and I ask to be forgiven—Roshan Shah)
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