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Sufi Knowledge (Ilm Tasawuf), Sufi Culture, and the Sufi Paradigm

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Abstract

The seventh chapter continues by highlighting the decisive main actors involved in the making of the Sufi paradigm. It focuses on a Shia Muslim who belonged to a “social downgraded” group: Mirza Qalich Beg (1853–1929). Mirza Qalich Beg, who worked for the British administration his entire life, perfectly embodied the growing contradiction between the traditional and modern conceptions of Sufism, that is Sufism conceived as a path imposing total submission to a master, who was also most of the time a feudal landowner, and Sufism as a paradigm on which a modern, multi-religious, and liberal society can be founded. He was indeed constantly wavering between highlighting a vernacular Sindhi Sufism that produced key values for the society based on tolerance/shared religious legacy and the continuity of vernacular Sufism with Arabic and Persian Sufism as if they were the sole relevant pattern for anything related to Sufism. In the early twentieth century, its main “continuator” was Jethmal Parsram (1886–1948), a young Hindu scholar. In 1924, Parsram published Sind and Its Sufis, the first book devoted to the Sufi paradigm in English, which is still regularly republished both in Pakistan and in India. This chapter uses unknown data, namely unpublished works authored by Mirza Qalich Beg, which were generously provided by Mirza Aijaz Ali Beg, Mirza Qalich Beg’s grandson.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for South Asian StudiesSchool for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS)/National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)ParisFrance

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