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A Symposium by THE COMMONGROUNDS: Global Crises and Sufism 


By Fida Shah, Director,  The Commongrounds 

The Commongrounds, a non-profit Inter-Faith Religious Organization, situated in Northern Virginia, hosted a Symposium on Global Crises and Sufism on March 4, 2008, organized by Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Kazmi, Executive Director of the Commongrounds. Dr. Kazmi is a well-known Islamic Scholar who has contributed extensively on peaceful co-existence between the three Abraham faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His efforts have culminated in the establishment of a Peace Embassy in Lahore, Pakistan holding several seminars to promote inter-faith harmony.

The symposium was held at the tastefully decorated banquet hall of the Chutney Restaurant – a famous Pakistani restaurant in Springfield, VA, frequented by the Indo-Pakistani community and public at large. The invitees were Muslim scholars and intellectuals from a cross section of Sunnite and Shiite schools of thoughts, academia, including two priests representing Christianity and journalists from Pakistan Media and Voice of America (VOA). However, some of the invitees could not come due to a violent rain storm raging in the Washington Metropolitan Area causing a deluge and flooding in some parts of the Metro area.

The keynote address was delivered by Hadhrat Allama Muhammad Maqsood Qadri, ‘Khateeb of Data Darbar Lahore, Pakistan, a renowned Islamic Scholar and Sufi of the Qadria Sufi Order. ‘Data Darbar’ is a distinguished Sufi Shrine on the outskirts of the City of Lahore. Millions of people pay homage to this renowned saint, Syed Ali Hajweri, including the President, Prime Minister of Pakistan and other high government dignitaries. Hadhrat message throughout his short sermon was nothing but love and peace around the world.

Hadhrat Allama Maqsood Qdri was among a large number of Muslim Religious Scholars throughout the world at a conference in New York in October, 2001 – right after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Hadhrat Sahib condemned in unequivocal terms terrorism in all shape and form and delivered a message of peace and love, the underlying philosophy of Sufism.

At the conclusion, the invitees were glowing in the atmosphere of love and tranquility and hugging each other keeping their entire so-called differences aside and pledged to promote for reconciliation and betterment of humanity.

This beautiful gathering was then shifted to a reserved area of the Chutney Restaurant where a sumptuous buffet dinner awaited the guests; comprising of Rice Pilaf (Biryani), succulent grilled lamb, chicken, and beef kabobs, delicious curries and crisp Tandoori Nans (baked bread) followed by dessert and tea/coffee.

I earnestly hope that the Commongrounds would continue to provide a platform for meaningful dialogues between different faiths to augment reconciliation and promote peaceful coexistence around the world.

A Short Introduction of Sufism

Sufism is a form of Islamic mysticism that through devotion transcends a human being into the realism of absolute and is considered the right path to God Almighty by cleansing ones soul of all the worldly pollutants of hate, greed and unfairness that reside in the human subconscious. There are many stages of this devotion and quite a few transcend to the realism of absolute.

History is full of famous Sufis of different Orders throughout the world. ‘Maulana Rum’ – Rumi – is one of the most read about Sufis (Mystics) by the Western reader.

I quote below a passage from Rumi – Reference “Essential Sufism”, edited by James Fadiman & Robert Forager:

“Every form that you see has its original in the divine world. If the form passes away, it is of no consequence, because its origin was from eternity… The fountainhead is always bringing forth water. Since neither cease, why should you complain? Keep regret out of your thought and keep on drinking from the rivulet. Do not be afraid. The water is limitless…”

Another Sufi – Jami - says:

“When you see beauty and perfection in this world, it is nothing but a sign of Him. A beautiful creature is merely a single blossom from the vast garden of God. But remember that a picture fades, a flower dies, and the reflection in the mirror is eclipsed by the real Light. It is God who is real and remains so forever. So why waste your time over something that is here today and gone tomorrow. Go directly to Source without delay.

About the Author: The Author is an experienced travel writer having lived in various parts of the world; interacting with people of different beliefs, cultures and ethnic background. He serves as Director The Commongrounds

Our Mission :To promote a better understanding of Islam in America, to improve relations with all Religions and to foster a climate that would encourage acceptance and the positive reception of the Islamic truth.