Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Love-Based Sufi Islam Thrives In Pakistan

This is good news. From Fjordman:

The mystical form of Islam espoused by Sufi saints for hundreds of years continues to thrive in Pakistan despite opposition from religious hardliners and the authorities. As the sun sets on a Thursday evening, hundreds of working class people descend on a shrine to the eighth-century mystic, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, in Karachi.

The shrine is located on a hill in the upmarket Clifton district of Pakistan's financial capital, flanked by swanky shopping malls and the posh residential area of Defence. In the grounds below the shrine gather electricians, plumbers, construction workers, vagabonds, transvestites, prostitutes. Encircled by a cheering crowd, men take turns in a weightlifting competition.

Sufism has historically provided Islam with an alternative to orthodoxy and has won it most of its converts. Sufi saints created mass appeal through their merging with pre-existing faiths of the region and their ability to align themselves with popular interests.

That's not all. Sufi Islam is a love-based relgion. In it's emphasis on love as being central to understanding God, and to having a relationship with Him, it is in a category of two; itself and Christianity.

Sufism combines this emphasis on love with a Hindu-like mysticism. Here's some more information:

The central concept in Sufism is "love". Dervishes -- the name given to initiates of sufi orders -- believe that love is a projection of the essence of God to the universe. They believe that God desires to recognize beauty, and as if one looks at a mirror to see oneself, God "looks" at himself within the dynamics of nature.

From what I know of Sufism, it is among the most peaceful of religions. Could Sufism save Islam?