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Sufism to counter extremism

November 14, 2012

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 14: Sufism and radicalism are two parallel branches of thought. But Sufism is the perfect antidote for extremism.

These were the views of Prof Dr Ravish Nadim at the International Islamic University Islamabad, during a lecture on Wednesday.

He said that during the 8th and 9th centuries, kingship represented State power, while Sufism represented the society, due to which both became rivals.

“In simple words it was a struggle of left and right. Sufis of Iran Abul Hashim, Hasan Al-Basri and Rabia Basri played their role for the promotion of Sufism. Besides, Mansoor Hallaj became a threat for the kings, so they had to kill him,” he said.

The powerful feared that if the people started following Mansoor, they would stop respecting the kings.

So Mansoor was executed in public in Baghdad and his body was cut into pieces and then burnt.

“Later Sufism spread in the subcontinent and Sufis played an important role in preaching Islam,” he said.

Adding that Sufism almost ended in the 20th century and was limited to the shrines of the Sufis.

But now once again Sufism is being activated as a counter for extremism.

While talking to Dawn Dr Ravish said that in the 70s and 80s the West, especially the United States wanted to promote extremism to counter USSR, so the US discouraged Sufism but now it’s the other way round.

“After 9/11 US once again started promoting Sufism because Sufis are against violence,” he said.

“Despite all the efforts, it will take decades to revive Sufism in Pakistan,” he predicted.