Sufism & its main themes …by Dr. A Qaiyum Rafiqi | Part 2


Orthodox Sufi & Rishi Activities

The ramifications of the orthodox mind assumed diverse forms. They were reflected in efforts to sustain the contour of the structure of doctrinal Islam. Such activities ranged from building mosques. Constructing educational institutions, attitudes of respect and patronage for learned divines to systematic inculcation of the virtues, norms and observances of Islam.

The Rishis’ inspiration, on the other hand, was almost wholly popular. They preached love of mankind and did not concern themselves with Islamic missionary activities of the establishment of madrasas and kept themselves aloof from the ruling classes. In fact, whether consciously or unconsciously, the stressed values associated with the liberal and generous attitudes of Rumi. They added elements such as the mortification of the individual soul and hard ascetic exercises borrowed from the Yogis, coupled with hatred of wordly life. They did not claim any sufic ancestry and did not hesitate to borrow the ideas and practices of the Hindu ascetics, especially those of the Saivites of Kashmir, with their emphasis on the individual salvation and indifference to the fact of others.

The mystical ideas represented in the sayings and practices of the Rishis make a significant study. From the whole mass of their sayings and practice emanate notions that are characteristically familiar one in the corresponding local framework. There is a clear attempt by the Rishis to introduce locally known mystical techniques and formulas.