Competitor to militant Islam: Daata’s langar closed for first time in 927 years…

Langar at Daata Darbar

The horrific suicide bombings which claimed over 40 lives on Thursday night at the shrine of the revered sufi poet Hazrat Daata Ganj Baksh, the patron saint of Lahore, are a gory reminder of the urgent need for all concerned to join forces against ‘terror’.

A little over a year ago, after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore in March 2009, Siddharth Varadarajan urged India and Pakistan to forget the conspiracies and acknowledge that they face the same threat – ‘Lahore attack shows urgency of joint action on terror‘.

Rehman Baba's shrine damaged in the attack of March 2009

He suggested that “Cricket is the most visible icon of secular Pakistan, and perhaps the only competitor militant Islam faces in its struggle to tame the wayward Pakistani mind”. My response was that there is another, even more deep-rooted competitor that militant Islam faces – the deep-rooted, widespread adherence to Sufi Islam and values, superstition, taweez dhaga etc. “I fear (hope hope hope I am wrong) a major attack on any urs taking place at any of the major shrines any time soon,” I wrote at the time.

Two days later Hazrat Baba Rehman’s shrine outside Peshawar was attacked, thankfully without any casualties.

Today, as a tweet doing the rounds puts it, for the first time in 927 years Daata’s langar is closed – the free kitchen that that has fed countless hungry people for nearly a thousand years. For once even the Jamaat-e-Islami condemned a suicide attack and termed it haram (unIslamic).

Across the border in India, the attack in Lahore reverberated among the Khadim community in Ajmer, as Shoeb Khan of the Times News Network reported from Jaipur: The Lahore shrine has a deep historical and spiritual connection with the 12th century shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chisthi in Ajmer.

“The Lahore shrine has a chilla (a seat of prayer) where Khawaja prayed for 40 days before he left for Ajmer via Multan and Delhi,” said Syed Sarwar Chishty, Gaddi Nasheen, Dargah Ajmer who has visited the Lahore shrine thrice. He said he had called the shrine authorities and offered condolences. He blamed the Taliban for the attack, describing the conservative Wahabbi group as a threat to India, Pakistan and entire humanity.

Varadarajan’s analysis back in March 2009 is as relevant today as it was then: “The kind of threat terrorism poses requires a joint effort by both India and Pakistan, and not the reiteration of meaningless phrases like all options are open. Finding ways to encourage Pakistani cooperation and, more generally, to stabilise that country, are the most important challenges facing Indian diplomacy.”

In addition, what’s direly needed is “a shift in national culture (to) rescue the soul of Pakistan’s Islamic traditions”, as freelance journalist Mustafa Quadri put it in a heartfelt comment in The Guardian this morning, After the Lahore shrine bombings, nothing seems sacred. I’d like to add to that: What’s also direly needed is to actually implement the law and initiate criminal proceedings against those involved in criminal acts.

p.s. Is the arrest of ten suspects in the massacre of some 100 Ahmedis in Lahore just a month ago an indication that the Punjab government is waking up to the challenge?

Bottom line: Things will get worse before they get better. The law must be implemented. Pakistan and India must cooperate.

19 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tunku Varadarajan, Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi, Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi and others. Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi said: : Daata's langar (which feed thousands of poor daily) closed for first time in 927 years… RT @beenasarwar […]


  2. Its not the first time that Pakistanis are facing militant attacks over sacred shires, we have already suffered from major attacks over mosques and places of worship, I agree that we should understand that its not a labeled war but it is a threat for everyone, for every human regardless of religion and identity, and instead of blaming each other we should at least avoid using such terrible attacks for politics.
    Unfortunately, government itself seems confused within its own issues whether it is a issue of degree or of judicial verdicts, in fact government rarely become sincere for public issues. Thats almiya of the story.


  3. It would be nice if this becomes the final straw for a dormant Pakistani public, too easily convinced by conspiracies. Sadly though, even after this attack, many, including the Barelvi Ullema, are pinning blame on “blackwater and qadianis”.

    Regarding the ahmedi attacks, there has been little news about what, if any, information was garnered from those that were arrested.

    Here is to hoping, maybe with naive optimism, that the long overdue operation in Punjab is carried out, the sipahs and lashkars and all -that currently operate freely and with impunity- are rounded up, and the Gov passes laws allowing the authorities to take over any madrassas that encourage violent jihad or proclaim any person or group to be wajib ul qatal.


  4. it is new world order…to kill a Muslim by the hand of Muslim…but actual figure involve is the same always…it can be in the face of Hindu, Jew or any other.

    it is war against Muslimhood….we should understand it…i may not be a big fan of Data sahib but i still believe in the principles of Islam…like any other Muslim

    blaming some Laskar or Fiqah is not the answer….its just a path of escape for all the people in power.

    please dont become a part of this blame game…try to analyze and avoid the practices which can cause such horrible losses


    • To call it a “war against Muslimhood” is to be part of the conspiracy theory and “blame game” you are urging people to avoid. It’s very easy to blame ‘outside forces’ on the problems within. Our own flawed policies led to cultivating these lashkars and jihadis for the Afghan war – a national war of liberation that America, Saudi Arabia & Pakistan injected with religion for political purposes, terming it a ‘jihad’. See the transcript of Dr Eqbal Ahmad’s talk ‘Terrorism, theirs and ours‘ at the University of Colorado in 1999 to understand the trajectory.


    • You mean it is not Muslims killing Muslims. What do you think those who killed Muslim Caliphs used to call them? What about the approval Yazeed took from his Mullahs before carrying out the worst attrocities in the history of mankind? These taliban, alqaeeda or lashkars are the same forces who consider themselves to be the best Muslims and all other Muslims to be Non-Muslims. It is not wise to shift the responsibility towards Jews or Hindus. Remember there are many Muslims which are worst than many Hindus and Jews. I am a Muslim but this is a fact.


  5. Attack on Data Gunj shrine in Lahore is like attack on Golden Temple in Amritsar. Had partition not divided the two, both would have been twin cities today. The scars of attack on Data Gunj will not go easily, as was in case of attack on Golden Temple by state forces, as well as by Khalistani jehadis


  6. Beena, thank you for writing this post. 927 years! It just blew my mind to read it. It goes to show that the people of Pakistan have for centuries believed in a liberal, peace-loving Islam not this hijacked version of the religion that we see now.


  7. We can’t solve these issues untill and unless we believe in human rights. Love for All, Hatred for None.


  8. This in fact is only the practical implementation of what we have been teaching in our teaching institutions and preaching in our mosques for decades together, ”Kill those whom you consider to be infidels (kaafir or mushrik) whereever they are found” without telling them that this was the norm and need of the time when a prophet with direct communcation with God was present. Since every Jahil Mullah now considers himself competent to dub any body as ‘kafir, waajibul-qatl’ they may attack one day the very Kahbah believing that shirk is being committed their in the shape of worship of the Black Stone.


    • An explanation!

      I saw my first post only when I posted the second one. I don’t remember having posted such a post as I desist on making any categorical statment about any faith. May be it was a slip of pen. I would have deleted or amended it suitably if the blog had allowed it. Now I can only express regret and request that my second post be treated as in supersession of the first.


  9. @Taimur says:

    “Remember there are many Muslims which are worst than many Hindus and Jews. I am a Muslim but this is a fact.”

    What a bigoted statement. One calling himself a Muslim may be a ‘fact’, but considering oneself better than others is sheer bigotry, the root cause of bad blood amongst different communities, leading ultimately to terrorism. The truth as what Quran says,”All praises are for Allah”.


  10. It is interesting to see that all discussions finally lead to Religion or God. Any God whether it is Muslim or Christian or Hindu or Sikh will not pardon those who kill innocent people.
    It was heartening to note that Data Ganj is doing Noble service of feeding the needy for 927 years. In Hiduism it is the noblest service to feed poor.
    I firmly believe that feeding hands are nobler than praying hands.


  11. It is interesting to note that all discussions end at Religion/God.
    No God will pardon those who kill Innocent people.
    It is heartening to to read that Langar of Data ganj is feeding needy for 927 years.They are doing noble service. FEEDING HANDS ARE BETTR THAN PRAYING HANDS.


  12. To give full vent to my pent up emotions I have now opened a blog of myself, but I don’t think as a host I can censor any comments by posters on my blog unless they seek specifically my personal comments. This js the practice I have been witnessing since long on ‘’, ‘Teathmaestro’, ATP, Facebook, etc.,


  13. As Salamu Alaykum

    Dear brother and sister on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, it gives us pleasure to extend our warmest greetings to all Muslims worldwide want to give them a blessed Ramadan may Allah accept our fasting and prayers.


    We present the Islamic world’s best web sites! Your blog is very well, with interesting topics and we would be glad to welcome you. Register your blog in a selection of 12 languages. We will create a free banner, suitable for your side.

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  14. Ramzan is the time when the showy ritualism is at its peak among pakies. I once asked a Christian whether they observe fasting ritual like muslims. He said,”We do observe ritualistic fasting with a more rigid regime than muslims as we fast for 24 hrs. without a break as muslims are allowed.” Then I asked that there are a lot of Christians in our institution but I never came across one who made a show of it as muslims do. He said, “It is the first condition of our fasting rules that if one makes a show of his fast his fast would become void.” I think this is the true fasting as this is a ritual the genuineness of the observance of which is known only to God.

    What the Ullema say about it?


  15. @peddada

    “It is interesting to note that all discussions end at Religion/God.”

    The religion in Pakiland has become a veritable ‘Isro-Ghalaal’ (galey ka touq aur peit’h ka bojh). What an idiotic hypocrisy it is to send greetings for coming of Ramzan. This is entirely a new phenomenon which may be called a ‘bid’at’ in Quranic terms. I wonder what would they say at Eid then. Would they send message of sympathy then to one for being deprived of fasting? But why worry you can fast on Eid day even to be entitled for greetings.

    The ritualistic taboos have pervaded our life so much that we cannot move freely without being subjected to one or the other of them, especially during Ramzan. For instance, Islam allows relaxation in the observance of fasting to the ill and the wayfarer, but you find all hotels and shops serving food and drinks closed during the day while you can eat and drink freely in your homes.


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