BY HAROON RASHID BHAT
“It is the versatility and beauty of his verses (Kalam) that it is being chanted or sung by the Muslims as well as the Kashmiri Pundits on special occasions”
Rishi is a person who immerses himself in the Divine self. The spiritual thoughts nurtured by Rishis are not abstract. It is reflecting both the philosophical and pragmatic aspects of faith in its truest form. Let us take a glance at the biography of our beloved Sufi saint Sheikh-Ul- Alam RA who came forth with an indigenous face of Islam which was subsequently known as the Rishi Order of Sufism. He not only propagate Islamic philosophy and ideals in a very lucid way but strictly adhered to its guiding principles. His expressions in the form of verses popularly known as “Sheikh Shruk” have a universal message for all. He used similes, metaphors, hyperbolas, and other forms of expression. His poetic compositions are a treasure of unique culture, reflecting the spiritual bond between the Creator and His creature.
Aashiq Suey Yuess Ashiqey
Sunn Zan Pazles Punuy Paan
Asheqey Dooud Yess Wanijey Sazey
Suey Adey Watey La Makan.
The Sheikh stressed the need for creating a congenial and friendly environment, devoid of any division, bias, or distrust. His verses are emblematic of his belief in universal brotherhood and religious unity. He did not address a particular class or group of people, but his aim was mankind at large. It is the versatility and beauty of his verses (Kalam) that it is being chanted or sung by the Muslims as well as the Kashmiri Pundits on special occasions. He advocated total surrender before God and compassion for all. His tour across the valley has a socio-ethical connotation. During his tour, he witnessed heights of social injustice, feudal oppression, and general discontent among the masses and through his poetic compositions, the Sheikh gave expression to people’s sentiments. The Sheikh voiced against such injustices and represented the collective sentiment and genuine aspirations of the people making them believe that they were not all alone in their struggle against injustice and oppression. Sheikh-ul-Alam accepted everyone irrespective of color, caste, creed, or gender. What he was against was the hypocrisy of the people claiming to be custodians of religion. So, throughout his life, he made it a priority to make people understand the real religion and for this purpose, he used the common poetic language. It is the ever-relevant ethos contained in his poems that grants him a significant place in the consciousness of the masses. His poetry expresses the cultural style of a great civilization in a local setting and also portrays the quality of the human spirit that flourishes within it.
One of the renowned Kashmiri historians Ishaq Khan a former professor of history at Kashmir University illustriously says, “I must confess that no translator can reproduce the sublimity and comprehensiveness of the words used by the Sheikh ul Alam, which means so much in a single symbol. The beauty of his verses is that they have a social, moral, cultural message. He was determined to mend society from being the worst to best. He toured too many places of Kashmir, even he prescribed the names to some unknown villages, and he became successful in his mission of spreading the teachings of Islam to common people through their mother tongue so that they could understand the religion of Islam properly”. Another scholar, Muhammad Asad Ullah Wani went one step further and said, “It the holy Quran in the Kashmiri language similar to Maulana Jalal Uddin’s Roomi’s Masnavi, the Quran in Persian”.
Today when the entire world community is confronting with numerous problems and challenges like socioeconomic inequality, political instability, religious intolerance, racism, sexual assaults, killings, ferocity, global environmental issues, etc. his philosophy of life is endowed with love, respect, kindness, foresightedness can prove the guiding principles for all of us to solve aforementioned issues.
Organizing annual day events, or poetic Symposium (Mushaira) is not enough. There is a need to organize national and international seminars so that the global community knows such personalities and their grand works. For that matter, our educational institutions like AIR Srinagar, DDK Srinagar, and Academy of Art, Culture JK, and language can play a significant. History is filled with numerous examples where a nation promoted its indigenous heroes and their contributions to the global community.
No doubt, Personalities like Asadullah Afaqi, Gh. Nabi Gohar, G. N. Adfar, Aziz Hajini, etc contributed a lot as per their capacity and knowledge to explore his dynamic personality, translating his verses into English and Urdu But there are many more facets of his life that are yet to be touched and need more focus
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher and columnist , can be reached at [email protected]