and the Sufis
As I traveled in India I noticed the Islamic
community and how it operates. Islamic women still wear the veil and dark clothing.
Muslims stay apart from Hindus in their own communities, which are often ghettos. Clearly
there was a major cultural difference between Hindus and Muslims.
I wondered why the Sufis, who follow a mysticism like Ibn
El Arabi that has much in common with Vedantic monism, did not project a more positive
model of Hinduism for orthodox Muslims to emulate. I researched the Sufis further. I
discovered that the Sufis were a diverse group representing various intellectual and
mystical trends in the Islamic world, both orthodox and unorthodox. Some Sufis were indeed
free spirited individualists with a direct communion with the Divine at a high level. The
medieval Persian poet Rumi is perhaps the best example of this type of Sufi. Such Sufis
were often oppressed, if not killed by the Muslim orthodoxy, like Al Hallaj in the ninth
century, who was dismembered for making the rather Vedantic proclamation of "I am
Other Sufis were simply the Islamic equivalent of the
Jesuits and could be militant, if not fanatic. Such Sufis encouraged and guided Muslim
attacks against Hindu India. This was particularly true of organized Sufi orders like the
Naqshbandis, which have long aimed at the conversion of India to Islam. These Sufi
orders are spiritual soldiers for Islam and, like Christian missionaries, have little
respect for other traditions, particularly those of India, which they still denigrate as
pagan, heathen and kafir. Most Sufi activity in the world today is under their control.
The other question was whether Mohammed, the founder of
Islam, who had many mystical experiences, was a tolerant figure whose teachings were
distorted by militant Islam, or an intolerant figure that militant Islam followed