Disclaimer: Originally published in February 2018. It is being republished since it still remains an interesting topic till today.
Sufism is not just the mystical side of Islamism; it’s a divine way of living that a Sufi pilgrim vouches for every single day of her/his life because it’s a kind of life purely dedicated to Allah.
Drastically different from the kind of Islam practiced in most regions where doctrinal teachings of Islam are preached by the Mullahs and sometimes result in sheer radicalization, Sufism is a personal approach to getting closer to God by experiencing Him inside the body, in a pure and non-violent manner.
Hence, it’s no wonder at all that Sufi pilgrims who have dedicated their lives to follow the teachings of the most famous Sufi saints of all time like Shah Abdul Lattif Bittai or Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti feel utmost peaceful and closer to God than anybody else.
Therefore I would like to make you guys take a glimpse at the lives of these mystical people through a collection of beautiful pictures that would make you realize how mesmerizing this whole journey of being a Sufi pilgrim is!
Welcome to The World Of Mysticism And The Sufi Pilgrims
Sufism is the purest form of worship which requires you to get rid of all evil characteristics within you and abstain from materialistic things. Hence, Sufi pilgrims hardly have any belongings. They usually live off food donated at shrines of famous Sufi Saints, spend their time singing and dancing to the mystical music played there and sleep on the cold marble floors beneath them.
Sufi devotees revel in adverse conditions. According to them, there are three important pre-requisites to practice Islam in its truest sense: hardship i.e. Illat, humiliation i.e. zillat and poverty i.e. killat.
The Urs festival is the largest festival for Sufi pilgrims that attracts millions of devotees to famous Sufi shrines from various parts of the world. It’s a three to six-day festival full of dancing, singing and feasting popularly celebrated in Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan and at Ajmer in Rajasthan, India.
Urs actually means marriage in Islam but this festival is celebrated on the death anniversary of the Sufi Saints marking the union between the Sufis and the Divine. A drummer is seen twirling in this picture in front of a gathering of Sufi pilgrims at the Urs of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
The Urs festival attracts Sufi devotees, fakirs and pilgrims from all around the world and the entire festivities include singing and dancing at the magical tunes of the Qawwali sung at the Sufi shrines, offering tributes to the mystical poets and asking for blessings from the Divine.
A major element of the Sufi gatherings at shrines is performing the Dhamaal which is an enraptured kind of dancing. Dhamaal is particular to some South Asian Sufis and it’s done to rid one’s body of the jinn.
This form of dancing includes throwing one’s hands in the air, surrendering one completely to the Divine and whirling one’s head in an ecstatic trance as seen in this picture.
As you can see from the vibrant pictures the life of a Sufi pilgrim is purely devoted to finding oneself by experiencing God and loving one another without any form of animosity. Sufism is the path of spirituality which preaches harmony with all beings and peace with one’s soul.
And I feel that is the purest form to exist on this Earth.
Images Source: Smithsonianmag.org, Google images