Obama’s obeisance to Islamic customs/ tradition.
The American President has offered a red coloured, richly embroidered ‘chadar’ (holy cloth) that will be offered at the mausoleum of the Garib Nawaz on the inaugural day of the weeklong Urs.The celebrations are for the revered saint Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisty of Ajmer.
This was the first time that the US Government was sending a Chadar there. It is always done by Muslims leaders from Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. He has never shown the same reverence to other faiths.
Dargah Sharif or Ajmer Sharif is a Muslim shrine to Moinuddin Chishti located at Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. The shrine has the grave (Maqbara) of the saint, Moinuddin Chist. The Chaddar with a message ‘Greeting of Peace’ from Obama was given to Haji Syed Salman Chishty, Director of the Chishty Foundation by the US Ambassador in India Richard Verma.
As one of my Indian readers pointed out to me, “even the New Indian Prime Minister has not gifted such things to this mosque, but on Monday, which coincides with the 1st day of Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, the urs officially starts with the ‘mehfil-e-sama’ in the Dargah Sharif.”
He explains it this way:
A Dargah is a shrine built over the grave of a muslim saint. Both muslims and non muslims can enter a Dargah. Please note that Dargah and mosque are different. Mosque is a place where muslims go, perform namaz and come back but in a Dargah apart from performing Namaz people also come to take blessings of that muslim saint whose grave is there in the Dargah. So Dargah in short is a place for a muslim to get blessings & also perform namaz. The Chadar is put on the grave of the muslim saint. Its a Muslim tradition…..So, Obama is taking blessings from a Muslim saints…
A true history of this Dargah is that (Hindu version)- 12 YEARS BEFORE HAZRAT KHWAJA MOINUDDIN CHISTI CAME TO INDIA, PRITHVIRAJ CHAUHAN’S MOTHER HAD A DREAM , AND SHE WARNED HER SON NOT TO TRUST A SUFI SAINT WHO WOULD COME IN AS A SPY FOR AN INVADER FROM THE NORTH. SEE HOW DREAMS BECOME TRUE, FOR CHISTI WAS A SPY FOR MOHAMMED GHORI. Prithviraj Chauhan paid the price for ignoring his mother’s advise. Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti had told his followers that at Mecca , he was instructed by Mohammed the Prophet to convert Hindus into Islam. His Sufi followers poisoned the lake waters ( Pushkar lake and Anagasar lake) from which the king’s army elephants, horses and camels drank, as was standard warfare tactics in the deserts ( poisoning the oasis waters ) . The defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan also marked the end of Hindu rule in Delhi and the turning point in Indian history. Ghori’s lieutenant, Qutb-uddin Aibak later ruled India and founded India’s first Muslim ruling dynast. Muslim rule in free India, for 650 years before the British rule.
So why this masque/ Chisti Dargah ? It is because lots of Muslims (Muslims claim that people of other religions also come here) consider this as a Pilgrimage & consider Moinudding Chisti as universally recognized figure in Sufism & Islam.
Now there could be several reasons/ possibilities as to why Obama think it is important-
1) *) He may be a believer or a follower of Muslim saint (like I am your follower) and he wants Allah’s blessings by offering a Chadar.
2) *) He is a practicing Muslim as it is Muslim tradition to offer Chadar at Durgah. Not a tradition of any other religion.
3) *) He may want to appease muslims community by doing like that as he is the first ever President/ Leader from non south Asian country to do so (Indian PM Narendra Modi has not done that but Pakistani PM does send such Chadar gift every time) . Dargah’s Chief Khadim or chief priest Syed Salman Chisty said-“ very important initiative for world peace and a very good and welcome gesture on the part of President Obama”.
Moinuddin Chishti is said to have been born in Seistan (East Persia) also known as Sajistan, around 533 Hijri (1138-39 A.D.) [historical region in present-day eastern Iran (Sistan and Baluchestan Province), southern Afghanista]. It is a well known historical fact that in spreading the ethical and spiritual values of Islam (?), major and effective contributions have been made by the walis (saints) of Allah. He visited centers of Muslim culture, and acquainted himself with important trends in Muslim religious life. He became a disciple of the Chishti saint Usman Harooni. Chishtī turned towards India, reputedly after a dream in which Muhammad blessed him to do so. After a brief stay in Lahore, he reached Ajmer along with Mu’izz al-Din Muhammad, and settled down. In Ajmer, he attracted a substantial following. It was during the reign of Akbar (1556–1605) that Ajmer emerged as one of the most important centers of pilgrimage in India. The Mughal Emperor undertook a journey on foot to Ajmer. Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti was a famous Sufi saint who was the forerunner of Islam religion in India and preached the Qur’anic philosophy in India.
Obama’s ‘chadar’ presented in Ajmer Sharif Dargah,” Zee news, April 205, 2015 (thanks to Kafir)
Ajmer/Mumbai: A ‘chadar’ (sacred cloth) sent on behalf of the people of United State of America and President Barack Hussein Obama, was ceremonially presented at the Dargah Ajmer Sharif on Monday morning.
The ‘chadar’ was presented by Haji Syed Salman Chishty, the ‘Gaddi Nashin’ to mark the 803rd annual Urs celebrations of Hazrat Khawaja Moinudeen Hasan Chishty, a revered Sufi saint.
US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, had handed over the ‘chadar’ on behalf of President Obama to Haji Chishty in New Delhi last week.
“On behalf of the United States government, I convey greetings of deepest friendship and respect to the community of Dargah Ajmer Sharif and the people of Ajmer,” said a message from Verma which was read out on the occasion.
“On this day, the 803rd Annual Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Moinudeen Hasan Chishty, our thoughts are with the community in Ajmer and we give thanks for the work of the Dargah Ajmer Sharif and its legacy of striving for understanding, peace, and respect between all faiths and peoples of the world,” the message said.
Quoting President Obama, it added: “Whatever our beliefs, whatever our traditions, we must seek to be instruments of peace, and bringing light where there is darkness, and sowing love where there is hatred.
On behalf of the US government, Verma commended the Dargah Ajmer Sharif for its commitment to these noble goals and conveyed the goodwill of the American people and partnership of the US Embassy in their work to make the world a better place.
“It’s a historic day and a welcoming moment. It’s the first ever gesture of extending spiritual greetings of peace to Ajmer Dargah Sharif from a non-South Asian country’s Head of State,” a pleased Haji Chishty told IANS, on the gift of the ‘chadar’.
The 32-year-old Gaddi Nashin explained that such ‘chadars’ and offerings are received with much respect and grace from presidents or prime ministers and other top leaders of several South Asian countries, including regulars like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
“This is the first time that any non-South Asian country’s head has sent a ‘chadar’ to the Ajmer Dargah Sharif. It will set a new trend for global peace among communities,” said Haji Chishty who represents the 27th continuous generation of ‘Gaddi Nashin’ of the world famous Dargah Khawaja Saheb.
Hundreds of thousands of Zaireens, or pilgrims from all over the world, who have converged for the 803rd Urs, witnessed the ‘chadar’ presentation at the Dargah, said Haji Chishty, who is director of Chishty Foundation, Ajmer Sharif here.