‘Strong parallels exist between eastern Sufi and western Enlightenment thought’ – Jawaid BhuttoSanjay Mathrani April 15, 2018 (The Daily Times)

Hyderabad: Sufism transcends differences based on caste, colour, creed, ethnicity, language, culture and political affiliations. It is an amalgamation of love, sacrifice, tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Sufism also possesses the enormous potential to serve as a powerful antidote against all forms extremism and terrorism.

These views were expressed by Sindh University vice chancellor Dr. Fateh Muhammad Burfat, while making his presidential speech at a special talk given by US- based Sindhi scholar and former SU Department of Philosophy chair Javed Bhutto on “Understanding Sufism”.

Dr. Burfat said that he was extremely glad to meet Javed Bhutto who was once his batchmate at Karachi University from 1976-1982.

“I am indeed delighted to be here, to meet Mr. Bhutto and to hear his erudite views on mysticism,” Dr. Burfat said.

Citing German philosopher Emmanuel Kant, Dr. Burfat said that there were strong parallels in the conceptual framework of Sufism in the east and those of enlightenment philosophers of the west.

“I understand today’s talk leaves us with a strong message to extend the borders of our love, acceptance, patience and tolerance for one another; and to extend one another honor, respect, help and cooperation.

“Today’s take-away is friendship. Sufism teaches us to ascend out of our shallow cocoons, to overpower our inflated egos, and to transcend taboos that limit our love for one another and blur our vision to see one another beyond the biases,” he stressed, adding that social media platforms had transformed traditional battle zones, and that words not bullets wounded people in modern times.

“If you want to smear anyone’s reputation or credibility today; all you need to do is to make one smart move of placing a picture, posting a status or uploading an update that ill-suits that particular person and you can have his or her image turned into tatters,” he explained.

Dr. Burfat thanked Javed Bhutto for sparing time for the talk at the varsity, complimented STAGS director Dr. Sumera Umrani for efficient coordination and arrangements; and Amar Sindhu and Dr. Ayaz Mugheri of Department of Philosophy for their collaboration.
Earlier, Bhutto said that Sufism cherished and promoted two core values of love and friendship, upon which, he said, the entire idea of world peace was based.
Bhutto said that the best of Sufi thought had spread in the world through art and literature, especially through verse, as both were the most powerful media of expression of human passions.
“Sufism is a passionate, relentless and unyielding striving of human soul to recapture its essential, original identity; to retrieve its lost innocence, glory and divine stature.
This is exactly what heroines in Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s verse symbolise- all six out of seven heroines tend to lapse on one account or the other like us all modern people and then go about reclaiming lost attributes. We must also endeavor to retract our essential nobility and Sufism is the path, the method and the navigation route that will take us there,” Bhutto reiterated.
Paying tribute to Allama I.I Kazi and Esla Kazi, Bhutto said both had made poetry, thought and philosophy of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai an unwavering focus of their intellectual quest and spiritual ascend.
Bhutto thanked the Dr. Burfat, the faculty of Department of Philosophy and STAGS officials for inviting him to deliver the talk based on his scholarly engagement.
Columnist Amar Sindhu later presented a vote of thanks. The session was moderated by Dr. Sumera Umrani and Dr. Ayad Mugheri.
Published in Daily Times, April 15th 2018.

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