On the evening of Thursday 17th March 2016, Prime Minister addressed the World Sufi Forum at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan. The four-day event, which has been organized by the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board, brings together several international dignitaries from 20 countries. The event witnessed the presence of spiritual leaders, scholars, academicians and theologists from Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, UK, USA, Canada, Pakistan and other nations.
PM Narendra Modi’s extensive address focussed on the rich and glorioius history of Sufism, the vitality of tolerance and compassion and on the need for all humanitarian forces to join ranks and challenge forces of terror and hatred. The Prime Minister categorically denied any link between religion and terror and added that those spreading terror in the name of religion are nothing but anti-religious. The Prime Minister’s speech was widely appreciated by those at the programme and by eminent commentators.
The Prime Minister described the World Sufi Forum as an assembly of those, “whose life itself is a message of peace, tolerance and love.” “At a time when the dark shadow of violence is becoming longer, you are the noor, or the light of hope. When young laughter is silenced by guns on the streets, you are the voice that heals,” the Prime Minister told the assembled gathering of Sufi scholars and spiritual leaders.
The Prime Minister said that Sufism has emphasized an enduring lesson of human history – that it is through openness and enquiry, engagement and accommodation, and respect for diversity that humanity advances, nations progress and the world prospers.
Elaborating further, Prime Minister opined that for the Sufis, service of God meant service to humanity. “In the words of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, of all the worships, the worship that pleases the Almighty God the most is the grant of relief to the humble and the oppressed,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister explained that the message of Sufism, is in harmony with the soul of the Bhakti saint’s saying in the Hindu tradition, “Into the bosom of the one great sea, Flow streams that come from hills on every side.”
It reminds us that when we think of the 99 names of Allah, none stand for force and violence, and that the first two names denote compassionate and merciful. Allah is Rahman and Raheem,” the Prime Minister said. Sufism is the voice of peace, co-existence, compassion and equality; a call to universal brotherhood, he added.
Shri Narendra Modi explained how Sufism has helped strengthen the inclusive culture that is India’s great contribution to the world’s cultural tapestry.
The Prime Minister said that India is moving forward on the strength of the struggles, the sacrifices, the bravery, the knowledge, the skill, the art and the pride of every member of every faith in our diverse and yet united nation.
Referring to the global challenge of terrorism, the Prime Minister said that “when the spiritual love of Sufism, not the violent force of terrorism, flows across the border, this region will be the paradise on earth that Amir Khusrau spoke about.”
When terrorism and extremism have become the most destructive force of our times, the message of Sufism has global relevance, he added.
Referring to the horrors unleashed across the world by terrorists, he said the impact of terrorism cannot be captured by statistics alone. “There are forces and groups that are instruments of state policy and design. There are others recruited to the cause in misguided belief”, the Prime Minister said.
Describing the battle that mankind must fight against terror, he said that this “is not a confrontation against any religion. It cannot be. It is a struggle between the values of humanism and the forces of inhumanity.” He said that this is a battle “that must be won through the strength of our values and the real message of religions.”
He said that the message of Sufism is not just confined to combating terrorism, but also encompasses his creed of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikaas”.
Quoting extensively from holy scriptures and great mystics, the Prime Minister called for challenging “the forces of violence with the kindness of our love and universal human values.”
Earlier, delivering the open remarks to the gathering, Hazrat Syed Mohammad Ashraf, Founder President of the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board, said that the Muslims of India, stand confident of their future in this country, and committed to upholding the unity, integrity and territorial sovereignty of the nation. Cabinet Minister Najma Heptulla was present at the occasion.