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The tolerance of Shaykh Nizamuddeen Awliya(R.


Khwaja Nizamuddeen Awliya(R.A) also known as Mehboob-e-Ilaahi is well known to Muslims from the Indian sub-continent. He is a popular Chishti Shaykh whose mausoleum stands in Delhi. Through him the Chishti Sufi order gained a lot of momentum and spread to all corners of India. Like all sufi masters the Shaykh was imbued with a lot of tolerance. He embodied the principles of Islam and set the example for countless Muslims to follow. Shaykh Nizam ad-din Awliya was a firm believer in pacifism and onviolence. Violence, he said, created more problems than it solved. In forgiveness and large-hearted tolerance lay the supreme talisman of human happiness. "If some man places a thorn in your way," he said, "and you place another thorn in his way, there will be thorns everywhere." He advised his disciples to be good even to their enemies and very often he would recite the following verses of Shaykh Sayf ad-din Bakharzi: He Who is not my friend - may God be his friend And he Who bears ill-will against me, may his joys (in life) increase. He Who puts thorns in my way on account of enmity, May every flower that blossoms in the garden of his life, be without thorns Not only in action but also in thought the Shaykh preached a approach oflarge-hearted forgiveness. In patience and tolerance he saw the secret of social well-being. He used to say: "[If] one man vents his wrath on another and the second man is patient, the Virtuous attitude belongs to him Who is patient and not to him Who gives vent to his wrath." He advised his disciples against suppression of anger because suppression forces the virus into other channels of thought and action. "Forgive the person Who has committed a wrong and thus eliminate your anger," was his advice. One day a person reported to bim: "People speak ill of you from the pulpits and elsewhere. We cannot bear hearing it any longer ." The Shaykh replied: "I forgive them aIl; you should forgive them." Forgiveness rather than retribution was the real way to peace and happiness in social relations. The Shaykh said: If there is a contention between two persons-say, between

me and some other person, its solution is this: I, for my part should cleanse my heart of all ideas of revenge. If I succeed in doing that, the opponents desire to do some harm to me would also be lessened. The shaykh analyzed the basis of human ex change as reflecting three possible types of relationship with other human beings: (a) He may be neither good nor bad to others. This is what happens in the nonliving world (jamadat). (b) He may do no harm to others but only what is deemed good. (c) He may do good to others, and yet if others harm him still remain patient and not retaliate. This last option was the one adopted by "truthful persons." It was an approach grounded in the Sufi interpretation of human nature. The Shaykh used to say that there is nafs (the animal soul) and qalb (the human soul). Nafs is the abode of mischief, animosity , and strife, while qalb is the center of peace, resignation, and good will. If someone acting under the influence of nafs is dealt with by one acting under the direction of qalb, the strife would end. On the other hand, if nafs is met by nafs, there wilI be no end contentions and enmities. Since every human action covers the stages of knowing, feeling, and willing, all programs of reform should be initiated at the stage of knowing. Complete trust (tawakkul) in Allah and resignation to His will leads to blissful contentment in life. It helps the individual in breaking the trammels of society and living a life that can be called one's own. The Fawaid-al-Fuwaad is a collection of the sayings of the Shaykh and is now available in english. In a world so disturbed by violence and lack of tolerance, a reading of Khwaja Nizamuddeen Awliya(R.A) is a must.