Rise of Sufism in Medieval India

Rise of Sufism in Medieval India

Trace the rise of Sufism in medieval India.

- Sufism is a mystic interpretation of Islamic life which consists of a range of ideas and practices that focus on the attainment of divine love and compassion.

- Liberalism in sufism was one of the important elements where they believed in the unity of all religions.

- Sufis preached spirituality through music and philosophy that would bring about union with God.

- Iran was the birth place of Sufism which found a congenial atmosphere in India under the Turkish rule.

- The emphasis on piety, tolerance, sympathy and concept of equality attracted many Hindus.

- Sufi saints such as Moinuddin Chisti and Nizamuddin Auliya were the pioneer sufïs who are still respected and honored in India.

Rise of Sufism in India:

- Muslims entered India in 711 CE under Muhammad ibn Qasim, by conquering Sindh and Multan. From here began the historical connection between South Asia and the Muslim empire.

- Invasion of Ghazni brought with him a wealth of scholars establishing the first Muslim culture inspired by Persia succeeding prior Arab influence. By 1186 CE, northern India was a combination of Iran's cosmopolitan culture mixed with Persian-Turkic traditions of the Ghaznavid court which accelerated Sufi intellectualism in India.

- This brought about an integration of scholars, poets, and mystics from Central Asia and Iran. Between the late 12th and 13th centuries Sufism was firmly consolidated in the northern India.

- Mazars (tombs) and Takias (resting places of Muslim saints) also became the centers for the propagation of Islamic ideas. These were patronized both by the nobility as well as the common people.

- The Sufis were organized into religious orders or silsilahs as they are known which were named after their founders such as Chishti, Suhrawardi, Qadi and Naqshbandi.

- According to Abul Fazl, the author of the Ain-i-Akbari, there were as many as fourteen silsilahs in India during the sixteenth century.

- Ajmer, Nagaur and Pak Pattan developed as important centres of Sufism. Music and poetry played an important role and in order to attain mystical ecstacy, the sufis would listen to these.

- The poetries were originally in Persian, but later switched to Hindustani. They preached the unity of God and self surrenderence.

Thus Sufism that entered India during the medieval period witnesses a huge following until today and has become a part of the country with its music especially having found a foothold in India.
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