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Friday, 14 January 2011

HAZRAT’S ATTITUDE VIS-À-VIS THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

Hazrat never allowed himself to be influenced or over-awed by the power and authority of the British Government of the day, and steadfastly refused to yield to the overtures which that government made from time to time to win over his sympathies. At the same time, he firmly avoided supporting or taking part in movements, which were contrary to the dictates of the Quran and the Prophet’s Sunnah (P.B.U.H).
Refusal to participate in the Coronation Darbar of the British Emperor
In connection with the Darbar (formal installation ceremony) held in Delhi (India) in 1911 to celebrate the coronation of George V, King of England and the political Emperor of India, Hazrat also received an official invitation to participate in it. In reply, he requested to be excused from such participation. Since Hazrat had a wide following, not only in the Punjab Province and other parts of British India but also among the free tribes and Pathans of the Northwest, the Government earnestly wished him to attend the Darbar and felt truly concerned at this negative response from him. 
The British Commissioner of the Rawalpindi Division accordingly sent emissaries to Hazrat to persuade him to reconsider his decision. These included a Pathan magistrate (Muzaffar Khan) and a devotee of Hazrat named Shaikh Ahmad of Gurmani Village in the Muzaffargarh district. These persons assured Hazrat that his comfortable two-way transportation would be fully taken care of, and that all he would be expected to do was to offer his salaam (salute) to the Emperor along with other religious leaders and to pray for the stability of the British regime. Hazrat, however, stuck to his earlier decision, and wrote to the Commissioner as follow: 
“I am a dervish and attendance of royal courts has never been looked upon with favour by dervishes. Nevertheless, since the present Government has not imposed any restrictions upon the adherents of our true faith of Islam, I pray for the King from my abode here”.
British Government’s reaction to Hazrat’s refusal of its invitation
A report on the proceedings of the Darbar published later in the London Times indicated that Hazrat’s refusal to attend the Darbar was rooted in the recalcitrance of the North-West Frontier tribes and pathans whose spiritual and religious leader he was. The Government should, therefore, keep a vigilant eye on the political implications of this refusal. The Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, Sir Louis Dean, accordingly observed in a meeting of his Council at Shimla that his government would investigate the reason for the Pir of Golra’s refusal to attend the Darbar and would “take appropriate action” in the light of the findings. Following this, the Commissioner of Rawalpindi sent a message to Hazrat (R.A) to meet him in order to exchange views on the matter. Once again, Hazrat refused to comply with the summons and asked the Commissioner to come to Golra if he wished to meet him.
This caused a good deal of concern and agitation in the Frontier and the Punjab Provinces. Some influential people met the Lieut.-Governor to apprise him of this situation, and confidential reports about it were also provided to Government by its intelligence agencies. Simultaneously, the Government's legal Remembrances advised that non-participation in the Darbar, or refusal to be associated with the inquiry ordered by Government into this matter, by a person who was neither a government servant nor a recipient of its largesse in any other form, did not infringe any rules. In consequence of all this, the Lieut.-Governor directed the Commissioner of Rawalpindi to see Hazrat personally (in Golra) and try to end the state of agitation among the circle of his devotees. Accordingly, the Commissioner visited Golra and met Hazrat personally, along with Magistrate Muzaffar Khan and Mian Karim Bukhsh Sethi of Peshawar (a close devotee of Hazrat), in order to clear the atmosphere of perturbation and tension that had been caused by the Government's earlier action.
Around this time, some people enviously disposed towards Hazrat decided to exploit Hazrat's refusal to attend the Royal Darbar at Delhi in another way. They brought up the charge that Hazrat was the Pir (Spiritual leader) of the thieves and robbers living in the neighbouring villages, and that he was providing means of livelihood to dependents of escaped convicts of the area. The death of a dacoit named Jahandad, and Hazrat's participation in his funeral prayers gave these people a further occasion to promote their vicious designs. They charged that while other ulama had refused to join the funeral prayers of this dacoit, Hazrat had readily done so. On learning about this, the Deputy Commissioner (District Officer) of Rawalpindi asked Hazrat to clarify the matter. Selected excerpts from Hazrat's self-explanatory reply to the Deputy Commissioner are reproduced below:
         i.           If, by virtue of your office of Deputy Commissioner, you consider theft, robbery or murder of an innocent person to be evil acts, we (as Muslims) also consider these acts to be sinful on the basis of divine guidance contained in the Holy Book (i.e., The Quran) and dictates of reason.
       ii.           The aforesaid crimes can be committed or abetted only by a person who is highly ignorant or greedy.
      iii.           A Pir is expected to provide everyone coming to him with correct guidance in accordance with the Divine Book. Conversely, only a person who acts in accordance with the Pir's guidance deserves to be called a true murid (disciple). By the Grace of Allah, we and our ancestors have always enjoined upon our murids to do good and to shun evil. Those who do not follow our guidance do not deserve to be our murids in the real sense.
      iv.          Since our Great Creator provides ample sustenance to us directly, without the intervention of criminals, we do not need to please such criminal or to be beholden to them for any help.
       v.           If you, as Deputy Commissioner, desist from encouraging evil acts because of the fear of accountability to your superiors (such as the Divisional Commissioner or the Governor), how can the fear of our Supreme Lord permit us to do the same? Furthermore, in case we behave like this, how can the thousands of knowledgeable, learned, and honest people who have entered into bonds of discipleship with us continue to be loyal to us and not sever those bonds?
      vi.           Undoubtedly, the children and widows of such criminals do, on very rare occasions, come to the langar here in search of food and other sustenance. If, however, the Government, out of sheer mercy, does not deport such people from its territory despite the criminal record of their heads of families, what is wrong with some well-to-do person providing occasional sustenance to them as human beings?
    vii.            It is also true that the dependents of such criminals sometimes do come to us for prayers according to their own way of thinking. In such cases, we pray that Allah provide them with correct guidance so that they desist from, rather than continue to do, criminal acts and escape punishment in future.
   viii.           If the Christians approach their priests for prayers in similar circumstances, and the latter pray on the lines aforementioned, would the priests be treated as abettors of crime?
      ix.           Those different persons who have forwarded complaints to you on this point have failed to realize the difference between the true murids and those who are so in the name only, and have also construed acts of charity towards the dependants of convicted criminals as amounting to the encouragement of crime. This is based obviously on either ignorance or jealousy and ill-will.
       x.            Our principle “weakness” is that we are by nature apposed to flattery and sycophancy in any form. As a result, those who seek such flattery from us are apt to be disappointed and to resort to libel against us in their reports to you.
      xi.           In case under consideration, I just happened to be present in the Jamia Mosque on a Friday. At the end of the prayers, a call was made in accordance with the usual custom that the dead body of a person was awaiting funeral prayers. I therefore joined the prayers along with the other people present in the mosque. Does this mean either that the deceased was a pious man, or that we were pleased with his misdeeds. It has also to be seen whether Islam permits the offering of funeral prayers for such a person or not. Even if the reply to this question be in the negative, those participating in the prayers cannot by any stretch of imagination be accused to be either happy at the misdeeds of the dead person or his abettors. This has never happened so far in history.

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