|Nizamuddin’s two schools of faith: Mysticism & orthodoxy|
The 14th century mystic Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s shrine on one side of the locality represents Islam’s heterodox Sufi tradition rich in music, dance and poetry while the international headquarters of the revivalist, austere Tabligh Jamaat, on the other side represents the faith’s opposite strain that considers veneration of saints a cardinal sin.
Tablighis believe that worldly woes are a divine means to test their faith and endurance and a punishment for their sins and lack of adequate piety. They insist, rather than struggling for political power or even protesting against oppression by non-Muslims, faithful must first devote themselves to becoming good, practicing Muslims to win the God’s pleasure.
Unlike Sufis, who place music at the heart of devotion and have produced some of the most beautiful art, poetry and music, Tablighis consider hedonism as a distraction from otherworldly pursuits. Sufis say Tablighis are too ritualistic and don’t understand human weaknesses. The saint is believed to have said that rituals and fasting were for the pious, but love was everywhere and the surest route to the divine. The saint insisted that divinity could best be reached through heart and not the external ritual of the mosque or temple. -- Sameer Arshad
Photo: Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s Shrine represents the heterodox Sufi tradition rich in music, dance and poetry while Tabligh Jamaat represents the faiths opposite strain