Sachal is the whole truth

By Manzoor Chandio
Written on Oct 10, 2006

When the Arabs were conquering the best lands in the East and the West, Mohammed Bin Qasim brought Islam to South Asia in 711.
Today Islam is the faith of millions of people in the region.
Spain had been conquered at about the same time, but Muslims were exterminated from there.
But Islam has not only survived in South Asia but spread far and wide. Respect for all faiths preached by the sufi saints has been perhaps the most important factor behind the flourishing of Islam in South Asia.
The sufi dimension of Islam, which developed into a structured Islamic school of thought, promoted peaceful coexistence and mutual tolerance among different religions. Sufi saints worked for harmony aimed at bridging differences between people and avoided a clash of religions.
The Arab rule over Sindh subsequently collapsed and the Arabs integrated themselves into the indigenous Sindhi society. They adopted local language and culture. Among the Arab families who had come to Sindh was that of Shaikh Shahabuddin Farooqui, the great grandson of Caliph Umer Farooq (RA).
He was the first Muslim ruler in South Asia. Shaikh Shahabuddin was appointed governor of Sehwan after the conquest of Sindh.
In 1739, Abdul Wahab, a child born in the Farooqui family, took up the task of promoting the real image of Islam as the religion of peace. Abdul Wahab Farooqi, who was given the title of Sachal, stands tall among the galaxy of saints who worked for religious amity and coexistence.
Throughout the 88 years that Sachal lived, Sindh witnessed 15 attacks from the Sikh and Rajput rulers.
During the Sachal era, some outrageous attacks were launched on Sindh also by the Muslim rulers of Afghanistan and Iran.
Besides, different families of Sindh fought among themselves to end the Kalhoro rule and set up their family’s rule in the region. Then the British arrived in South Asia and started their conquest of the subcontinent.
Sachal Sarmast was aware that the Muslim rule was declining and realised that the British would eventually occupy Sindh. At that time Punjab and the NWFP of the present day Pakistan were under the Sikh rule.
The people of Sindh were in need of guidance to escape the vagaries of tough times ahead. Sachal’s forefathers had brought Islam to Sindh and he overcame forces of orthodoxy and promoted religious harmony.
He espoused the principles of brotherhood, peace and love. The greatness of individuals was central to his thoughts.
Because of his philosophy, a number of Hindus who were his disciples willed to be buried along with him, instead of being cremated. Sachal took on pretensions clerics whose conduct engendered schism in Islam. And the clerics labelled him an apostate.
He believed that such clerics had harmed the spirit of Islam and that Muslims should not be misled by their divisive preaching.

He says:
Some say one thing,
Some say another,
I am, who I am.
Some say I am an infidel,
Some say I am a believer,
I am, who I am.

Sachal’s passion for man’s dignity can be gauged from his verses which say that a human being whether he belongs to the privileged section of society or the underprivileged deserves respect.

He says:
We are, what are we?
Sometimes we are blessed,
Sometimes we are accursed,
‘Sachoo’ we are that eternally,
What other contract can we make?

Sachal believes that God lives in people’s hearts and, therefore, hurting someone would mean hurting God.

He says:
I truly recognised the Lord,
My companion He sure became;
He is the Creator of all and intrinsic to all

In order to comprehend the spirit of Islam as a religion of peace we need to understand Sachal and his message of coexistence to promote harmony among sects and faiths.

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