Home > PM's speech at the World Sufi Forum
PM Narendra Modi addresses World Sufi Forum
On the evening of Thursday 17th March 2016, Prime Minister addressed the World Sufi Forum at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan. The four-day event, which has been organized by the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board, brings together several international dignitaries from 20 countries. The event witnessed the presence of spiritual leaders, scholars, academicians and theologists from Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, UK, USA, Canada, Pakistan and other nations.
PM Narendra Modi’s extensive address focussed on the rich and glorioius history of Sufism, the vitality of tolerance and compassion and on the need for all humanitarian forces to join ranks and challenge forces of terror and hatred. The Prime Minister categorically denied any link between religion and terror and added that those spreading terror in the name of religion are nothing but anti-religious. The Prime Minister’s speech was widely appreciated by those at the programme and by eminent commentators.
The Prime Minister described the World Sufi Forum as an assembly of those, "whose life itself is a message of peace, tolerance and love." "At a time when the dark shadow of violence is becoming longer, you are the noor, or the light of hope. When young laughter is silenced by guns on the streets, you are the voice that heals," the Prime Minister told the assembled gathering of Sufi scholars and spiritual leaders.
The Prime Minister said that Sufism has emphasized an enduring lesson of human history – that it is through openness and enquiry, engagement and accommodation, and respect for diversity that humanity advances, nations progress and the world prospers.
Elaborating further, Prime Minister opined that for the Sufis, service of God meant service to humanity. "In the words of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, of all the worships, the worship that pleases the Almighty God the most is the grant of relief to the humble and the oppressed," the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister explained that the message of Sufism, is in harmony with the soul of the Bhakti saint’s saying in the Hindu tradition, “Into the bosom of the one great sea, Flow streams that come from hills on every side.”
It reminds us that when we think of the 99 names of Allah, none stand for force and violence, and that the first two names denote compassionate and merciful. Allah is Rahman and Raheem," the Prime Minister said. Sufism is the voice of peace, co-existence, compassion and equality; a call to universal brotherhood, he added.
Shri Narendra Modi explained how Sufism has helped strengthen the inclusive culture that is India's great contribution to the world's cultural tapestry.
The Prime Minister said that India is moving forward on the strength of the struggles, the sacrifices, the bravery, the knowledge, the skill, the art and the pride of every member of every faith in our diverse and yet united nation.
Referring to the global challenge of terrorism, the Prime Minister said that "when the spiritual love of Sufism, not the violent force of terrorism, flows across the border, this region will be the paradise on earth that Amir Khusrau spoke about."
Referring to the horrors unleashed across the world by terrorists, he said the impact of terrorism cannot be captured by statistics alone. "There are forces and groups that are instruments of state policy and design. There are others recruited to the cause in misguided belief", the Prime Minister said.
Describing the battle that mankind must fight against terror, he said that this "is not a confrontation against any religion. It cannot be. It is a struggle between the values of humanism and the forces of inhumanity." He said that this is a battle "that must be won through the strength of our values and the real message of religions."
He said that the message of Sufism is not just confined to combating terrorism, but also encompasses his creed of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikaas”.
Quoting extensively from holy scriptures and great mystics, the Prime Minister called for challenging "the forces of violence with the kindness of our love and universal human values."
Earlier, delivering the open remarks to the gathering, Hazrat Syed Mohammad Ashraf, Founder President of the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board, said that the Muslims of India, stand confident of their future in this country, and committed to upholding the unity, integrity and territorial sovereignty of the nation. Cabinet Minister Najma Heptulla was present at the occasion.
PM Narendra Modi at the World Islamic Sufi Conference in New Delhi
Syed Mohammad Ashraf, Founder President, All India Ulama and Mashaik Board
It is a civilization that reached great heights by the 15th century in science, medicine, literature, art, architecture and commerce.
It drew on the immense talents of its people and also Islam's engagement with diverse civilizations - ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Africa; the Persian, Central Asian and Caucasian lands; the region of East Asia; and, with Buddhism and Indian philosophy and science.
As it enriched itself, it also enriched the world.
It set, once again, an enduring lesson of human history: it is through openness and enquiry, engagement and accommodation, and respect for diversity that humanity advances, nations progress and the world prospers.
And, this is the message of Sufism, one of the greatest contributions of Islam to this world.
From its origins in Egypt and West Asia, Sufism travelled to distant lands, holding aloft the banner of faith and the flag of human values, learning from spiritual thoughts of other civilisations, and attracting people with the life and message of its saints.
In the different settings of Saharan Africa or in Southeast Asia, in Turkey or in Central Asia, in Iran or India, Sufism reflected the universal human desire to go beyond the practice and precepts of religion for a deeper unity with the Almighty.
And, in that spiritual and mystical enquiry, Sufis experienced the universal message of Almighty:
That perfection in human life is reflected in the qualities that are dear to God.
That all are creations of God; and, that if we love God, we must also love all his creations.
As Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya said, "Almighty holds dear those who love Him for the sake of human beings, and those who love human beings for the sake of Almighty."
This is the message of oneness of humanity, of all of Almighty's creations.
For the Sufis, therefore, service to God meant service to humanity.
In the words of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, of all the worships, the worship that pleases the Almighty God the most is the grant of relief to the humble and the oppressed.
In a beautiful imagery of human values, he said, human beings must have the affection of the Sun, the generosity of the river and the hospitality of the earth, because they benefit us all, without discrimination and distinction among people.
And, its humanism also upheld the place and status of women in society.
Like the strings of sitar that each produces a note, but come together to create a beautiful melody.
This is the spirit of India. This is the strength of our nation.
All our people, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, the micro-minority of Parsis, believers, non-believers, are an integral part of India.
Just as it once came to India, today Sufism from India has spread across the world.
But, this tradition that evolved in India belongs to the whole of South Asia.
That is why I urge others in the region to nurture and revive this glorious heritage of ours.
When the spiritual love of Sufism, not the violent force of terrorism, flows across the border, this region will be the paradise on earth that Amir Khusrau spoke about.
Let me paraphrase what I have said before: Terrorism divides and destroys us.
Indeed, when terrorism and extremism have become the most destructive force of our times, the message of Sufism has global relevance.
In the centres of conflict in West Asia to calm cities in distant countries, in the remote villages of Africa to the towns in our own region, terrorism is a daily threat.
Each day brings us terrible news and horrifying images:
In this digital century of new promise and opportunities, the reach of terror is growing and its toll is rising every year.
Since the beginning of this century, tens of thousands of families have lost their loved ones in thousands of terrorist incidents globally.
Last year alone, I am talking about 2015, over 90 countries experienced terrorist attacks. Parents in 100 countries live with the daily pain of their children lost to the battlefields of Syria.
And, in a globally mobile world, one incident can claim citizens of many nations.
Every year, we spend over 100 billion dollars on securing the world from terrorism, money that should have been spent on building lives of the poor.
The impact cannot be fully captured in statistics alone. It is changing the way we live.
There are forces and groups that are instruments of state policy and design. There are others recruited to the cause in misguided belief.
There are some who are trained in organized camps. There are those who find their inspiration in the borderless world of cyber space.
Terrorism uses diverse motivations and causes, none of which can be justified.
Terrorists distort a religion whose cause they profess to support.
They kill and destroy more in their own land and among their own people than they do elsewhere.
And, they are putting entire regions to peril and making the world more insecure and violent.
The fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. It cannot be.
It is a struggle between the values of humanism and the forces of inhumanity.
It is not a conflict to be fought only through military, intelligence or diplomatic means.
It is also a battle that must be won through the strength of our values and the real message of religions.
As I have said before, we must reject any link between terrorism and religion. Those who spread terror in the name of religion are anti-religious.
And, we must advance the message of Sufism that stands for the principles of Islam and the highest human values.
This is a task that states, societies, sages, scholars and families must pursue.
However, to me, the message of Sufism is not just confined to combating terrorism.
The values of harmony, welfare, compassion and love for human beings are the foundation of a just society.
That is the principle behind my creed of "Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikaas".
And, these values are important to preserve and nurture diversity in our societies.
Diversity is a basic reality of Nature and source of richness of a society; and, it should not be a cause of discord.
We need just not constitutional provisions or legal safeguards, but also social values to build an inclusive and peaceful society, in which everyone belongs, secure about his rights and confident of her future.
This is also a time of great flux and transition in the world. The middle of the last century was an important turning point in history. A new world order emerged. Many new nations were born.
At the beginning of a new century, we are at yet another point of transformation on a scale rarely seen in human history.
In many parts of the world, there is uncertainty about the future, and how to deal with it as nations and societies.
These are precisely the times that the world is most vulnerable to violence and conflicts.
The global community must be more vigilant than ever before and counter the forces of darkness with the radiant light of human values.
So, let us remember the teaching of Holy Quran that if anyone slew one innocent person, it would be as if he slew a whole people; if anyone saved one life, it would be as if he saved a whole people.
Let us be inspired by the message of Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti,
With your spiritual light, dissolve the clouds of discord and war and spread goodwill, peace, and harmony among the people.
Let us remember the infinite humanism in Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi's words, "Contain all human faces in your own, without any judgment of them."
Let us also live the sermon of Bible that calls us to do good, seek peace and pursue it.
And, oneness in Kabir's observation that a river and its waves are one.
And, Guru Nanak Devji's prayer that Lord, may everyone in the world prosper and be in peace.
Let us be inspired by Swami Vivekananda's appeal against divisions and for people of all religions to hold the banner of harmony, not of dispute.
Let us also reaffirm the enduring message of Ahimsa of Lord Buddha and Mahavira.
And, from this forum, in this land of Gandhi,
And, of timeless prayers that always end with invocation of
Om Shanti; Shanti; Shanti: Peace, Peace, Peace,; Peace within and in the world.
Let us, therefore, send a message to the world:
Let us challenge the forces of violence with the kindness of our love and universal human values.
and Lastly, Let us restore the light of hope and turn this world into a garden of peace.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for what you stand for. Thank you for the role you are playing in building a better world. Thank you very much, Thanks a lot.