Gnosis of Sufism: a time to celebrate Data Ganj Bakhsh

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Data Ali Hajveri or Data Ganj Bakhsh, as he is more commonly known, may be one of the more popular Sufi saints to have lived in the region that is now part of Pakistan.

During the three-day ‘Urs’ festival of the patron saint, the shrine is lit up with candles and lights and donated food is prepared for the people who come from across the world, with Sufis dance and music, for hours.

Renowned Islamic saint and mystic Junaid Baghdadi (RA) said that “None achieves that degree of truth, until a thousand honest people have testified that he is a heretic.”

Ali Hajveri is a significant and historic Sufi who came to the subcontinent for the spread of the teachings of Sufism among the people during the 11th century AD.

The original name of the 11th century Sufi mystic was Ali bin Usman. However, he was famously known as Abu al-Hasan Data Gunj Bakhsh, a Hashmi Syed by caste. He was born in 400 AH (After Hijrih) in Hajver, a locality in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

To acquire knowledge, the saint is known to have travelled to various holy places for at least 40 years including Persia, Syria, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Tabaristan, Khorasan, Kerman and Baghdad.

Islamic scholar and Minhajul Quran International (MQI) President Dr Hussain Mohiuddin Qadri said Ali Hajveri solved a lot of social and spiritual problems of the people of his time. “The teachings of the saint have a torch-bearing effect on modern-day issues such as religious intolerance.”

He further said that the teachings of Hazrat Data Ganj Bukhsh, at first stage oblige a traveler of the path of spiritualism to adopt ‘excellency’ in his morality. “After adoption of ethics and morality, one becomes a candid traveler of this path by moulding his life accordingly, which is the second stage.”

Defining the third stage, he explained that the final or third phase is ‘gnosis’ (ma’arifat) which was very close to understanding of the reality. “The first two stages of spiritualism were related to effort, whereas the final stage gnosis is bestowed as a blessing.”

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