HOW GREAT SUFIS WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN PROPAGATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND LEARNING IN INDIA

Imam GhazaliThe Sufis of India were great patrons of learning. Some of them were outstanding men of letters themselves. Their belief was that it was impossible to know God without knowledge, and also that ‘an ignorant Sufi is the devil’s plaything’. There are instances when they refused to admit in their folds votaries of striking promise and aptitude until they had completed their education. In future posts on this blog it would be shown in sufficient detail that how the remarkable educational and literary progress of India under the Muslims was due, directly or indirectly, to the encouragement given by the Sufi divines.

The two of the greatest scholars and teachers of the 14th century, Qazi Abdul Muqtadir Kindi and Sheikh Ahmad Thanesari were the spiritual proteges of Khwaja Naseeruddin Chiragh-i-Dehli. The renowned 17th century educationist and teacher, Maulana Lutfullah of Kora Jahanabad was a Sufi saint of the Chishtiya Order and through his pupils, and pupils of his pupils, educational activity was kept going till the 19th century, . More often than not, the Khanqah (Spritual Seminary) and the Madrassa (Islamic Religious Education Institution) formed the natural complements to each other. The Khanqah-i-Rasheediya of Jaunpur, the Madrassa of Shah Pir Mohammad at Lucknow, the seminary of Shah Waliullah at Delhi and the Khanqah of Maulana Rasheed Ahmad at Gangoh were the best examples of it.

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