Thousands of devotees have thronged Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar district to participate in a week-long celebrations of annual Urs Hazrat Shah Asrar-ud-Din (RA).
Jammu and Kashmir's Governor, N.N. Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Dr. Farooq Abdullah paid obeisance at the Dargah.
Sufism has been flourishing among the hills of erstwhile Doda district since long.
Doda has traditionally been a place where religion has dominated the discourse and knitted people of different faiths together.
The historical manuscripts written mostly in Persian maintain that Sufism flourished in Doda district during the 15 century when Sufi saints from various parts of India reached Doda.
Sufism, however, gained prominence with the arrival of Hazrat Shah Mohammed Farid-ud-Din Baghdadi (RA) and his two sons Hazrat Shah Asrar-ud-din (RA) and Hazrat Shah Akhyar-ud-din (RA) during the 17th century.
These revered saints propagated Islam and value based education among the people of all religions, castes and creeds.
Researchers maintain that before Hazrat Shah Mohammed Farid-ud-Din Baghdadi (RA) arrived in Doda, the region had already been visited by some other great Sufi saints, which included Hazrat Shah Hamdan (RA), Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani (RA) and Hazrat Zain-ul-deen Rishi (RA).
These revered saints taught people basics tenets of Islam and pleaded with them to come out of the darkness of illiteracy and ritualism. These revered saints propagated love and brotherhood. They taught tawhid or monotheism (oneness of Allah) asked people to follow teachings of the Holy Quran and the Hadith.
Many of these Sufi preachers, who came to district Doda and propagated Islam, have earned a distinct place for themselves across the world. Their tombs are still respected as holy places, with people from all walks of life visiting and praying for earthly prosperity and spiritual salvation. By Tahir Nadeem Khan (ANI)