Time to reinvent angelic teachings of Sheikh-ul-Alam (RA): Naeem Akhtar

Minister for Education, Mr Naeem Akhtar speaking in a seminar in Srinagar

Urging the academicians to reinvent the teachings of Kashmir’s great Sufi saint, Sheikh-ul-Aalam Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali (RA), Minister for Education, Mr Naeem Akhtar Friday said the saint’s life needs to be iterated as an era of real amity in Jammu and Kashmir.

            “In today’s world where Muslims face internal divisions, the era of Sheikh-ul-Alam is a real example of secularism in Jammu and Kashmir. Like we have to rediscover the message of Quran, we have to rediscover Sheikh-ul-Aalam as a great connector between people of different faiths,” Mr Akhtar said.

            The Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day National Seminar on “Religious Pluralism – Revisiting legacies of Sheikh-ul-Alam and Kabir,” organized by Markaz-e-Noor, Centre for Sheikh-ul-Aalam Studies, University of Kashmir and sponsored by ICSSR, Regional Centre, Chandigarh.

            Urging the participants to move beyond the commonly available interpretations of the works of the great Sufi saint in the light of the global crisis facing the Muslim world, Mr Akhtar said Sheikh-ul-Aalam (RA) expanded the horizons of thought in J&K.

            “If there is an inheritor of the great human legacy of sifting good from bad, it is Sheikh-ul-Aalam. Unfortunately, today it is not whether Muslims can co-exist with the followers of other faiths. The crisis in the Muslim world has brought us to a point where we have to first decide whether we can live with each other,” he said.

            Recalling the trials and tribulations faced by Sheikh-ul-Alam (RA) during his lifetime, Mr Akhtar said given the threat of global warming, the first and most profound statement on ecology came from Sheikh.

            “But when Sheikh said ‘an poshe telli yeli wan poshe’, he didn’t mean just ‘food is subservient to forests’. The survival of entire human race depends on oxygen produced by trees. And it is not merely a question of reinterpretation of Sheikh, but of recreating the message of culture of tolerance and coexistence during his lifetime,” he said.

            Prof Khursheed Iqbal Andrabi, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kashmir delivered the inaugural address at the seminar while Prof Shad Ramzan, the head of Markaz-e-Noor, Centre for Sheikh-ul-Aalam Studies, University of Kashmir, delivered the keynote address. Prof MY Taing also spoke during the opening ceremony.