A prominent youth-oriented Kashmiri organisation Voice for Peace and Justice organised a regional-level Sufi conference at Syed Qamar-ud-Din Bukhari RA in Jammu and Kashmir's Ganderbal on Thursday.
The conference was organised with the aim to restore peace, communal harmony, brotherhood, and tolerance in the valley. The event of the annual Urs (death anniversary) of famous Sufi saint Syed Qamar-ud-Din Bukhari, which was observed this year after remaining suspended for more than 33 years, was attended by people from different corners of the Jammu and Kashmir valley.
The annual Urs of Syed Qamar-ud-Din Bukhari has a historical background and had to be suspended because of the stiff opposition from the followers of radical Islam.
Despite the strait jacket concept of Islam advocated by the Jamaat-e-Islami and Ahle Hadis school of thought, the iconic Urs at the Sufi shrine in Ganderbal stands out to prove that Sufism has deeper roots in Kashmir.
Till its suspension, the Urs at Ganderbal would attract thousands of devotees who would come to pay obeisance at the saint's mausoleum.
Sweetmeat sellers, fruit sellers, garment stalls, and entertainment avenues for children would be the other highlights of the Urs.
"We had to restrict the Urs for the last 33 years because of turmoil. We had, however, performed nightlong prayers at the shrine during all those years," the shrine visitors averred.
"This year, the grandeur and gaiety for which Syed Qamar-Ud-Din Bukhari's Urs is known throughout the Valley are again returning to Ganderbal," said a member of the shrine's management committee.
One significant highlight of this Urs in the past used to be the participation of Kashmiri Pandits alongside their Muslim brethren.
During the conference, several Sufiyana music segments were performed by the Kashmiri singers of the valley which attracted a good audience including writers, poets, authors, students, and other intellectuals.
Speaking on the occasion, Molvi Manzoor Ahmad, said that extremist groups are attempting to destroy Kashmir's cultural traditions and that Sufism is the only way to restore peace, communal harmony, and brotherhood.
While Molvi Ghulam Rasool Shah emphasized that Sufi saints have travelled tremendous distances to unite the people of all creeds, castes, and religions. He also stated that in order to restore the peaceful atmosphere in Kashmir, Sufism must be promoted and practised.
"The Voice for Peace and Justice must be supported for their steadfast efforts to bring back Sufism in Jammu and Kashmir," he said further.
President of Voice for Peace and Justice, Farooq Ganderbali said that Kashmiris have always set an example of communal amity and brotherhood even during the worst times because they believed in Sufism.
"The mainstay of Kashmir's tolerance and co-existence has been our Sufism. Unless Sufism is restored to its centuries-old glory, we cannot have a peaceful, tolerant and progressive society," he said.
"Sufism is a path of spiritual advancements, an expansion of consciousness, leading to awareness of self and the universe. The substance of Sufism is selfless experiencing and actualization of the truth. The practice of Sufism leads to the development of innate spiritual and intuitive abilities," Ganderbali added. (ANI)