Embracing Interfaith Harmony: A Journey of Love and Peace in Pakistan

by James Breedon
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Growing up in Lahore, one of the most religiously diverse cities in Pakistan, Naveed was raised in a Muslim household where the concept of “interfaith” was regarded with disdain. However, his personal experiences painted a different picture. Surrounded by friends of various religious, spiritual, and humanistic beliefs, including Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Sikhs and Muslims, they witnessed the beauty of diversity firsthand As he entered their teenage years, a fundamental question began to haunt his thoughts: “Who am I, and what is the reality of human beings?” This existential inquiry proved to be a mental labyrinth, leaving Naveed’s mind in a constant state of turmoil. Despite seeking medical help to alleviate this inner struggle, no remedy could be found. One fateful day, driven by a desperate yearning for solace and understanding, he found himsrlf drawn to the shrine of the renowned Sufi, Hazrat Mian Mir, situated near his home with the Guardianship of a living Sufi Saint Syed Haroon Ali Gillani Warsi Awaisi, a prominent descendant of Saint Dr. Muhammad Jan Shah Warsi Awaisi of Haripur Hazara, Engaging in meditation and practicing Muraqba, an Islamic form of meditation akin to yoga, he discovered a sense of relief and tranquility.

This spiritual awakening ignited a deep desire within him to contribute to humanity and promote social change through interfaith harmony. Saint Mian Mir, who was the true picture of Interfaith Harmony, his historical act for Interfaith Harmony, is written not only in the Indian history but also prominent in the writings of the European Historians.According to the Tawarikh-i-Punjab (1848), written by Ghulam Muhayy-ud-Din alias Bute Shah, Mian Mir laid the foundation of the Sikh shrine Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), at the request of Guru Arjan Dev.This is also mentioned in several European sources. Even the Report Sri Darbar Sahib (1929), published by the Harmandir Sahib temple authorities, have endorsed this account. In that memory thousands of Sikhs come to the shrine of Saint Mian Mir to show the real symbol of Interfaith Harmony at the shrine of Mian Mir, Naveed served for almost 25 years at the shrine of Saint Hazrat Mian Mir and hosted the programs for Sikh community visiting Shrine of Saint Mian Mir. In the 9th grade, Naveed took a bold step and established a non-profit organization, rallying his school classmates to unite under the banner of interfaith harmony.

Embracing Interfaith Harmony: A Journey of Love and Peace in Pakistan

Through the organization, he organized gatherings, delivered speeches, hosted dinner parties, and conducted training sessions during school holidays. The aim was to spread a message of love, peace, and harmony while fostering dialogue and understanding among individuals from diverse religious backgrounds. By bringing together Shia Muslims, Deobandi Muslims,Wahabi Muslims Ahal e Hadis Muslims,Shia Muslims, Christians, Atheists, and Hindus under one roof, they aimed to challenge the prevailing radicalism that plagued Pakistani society, even within different sects of Islam. Interfaith harmony, deeply rooted in Pakistani culture, is a concept that seamlessly integrates diverse belief systems within the fabric of society. Despite the complexities that arise from such diversity, Pakistani culture thrives on accepting and evolving with various religious and spiritual practices. Whether it is the following of Sikh gurus, the teachings of Hindu Yogis, or the observance of Christian customs, the Pakistani people embrace and celebrate the richness of these different faiths. Among the myriad traditions that have fascinated and influenced seeking minds in Pakistan, Sufi asceticism holds a special place. With a history spanning over a millennium, Sufism emerged during the Delhi Sultanate as a mystical and syncretic philosophy that resonated with individuals seeking solace and unity. Over time, Sufi mysticism seamlessly merged with the Bhakti Movement, a Hindu devotional movement, sharing theological notions and contributing to the pluralistic nature of Pakistani society. Sufi shrines have become revered places of worship, transcending religious boundaries. People from all religious persuasions, be it Hindus, Sikhs, or Muslims, flock to these shrines seeking miracles and spiritual solace. Ajmer Sharif, Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh, Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi, Hazrat Madhu Lal Hussain, Baba Fareed Gunj Shakar, Hazrat Shah Jamal, and Sakhi Lal Shahbaz Qalandar are some of the prominent names that come to mind. These Sufi mystics and saints have played a pivotal role in spreading love, peace, and fostering interfaith harmony. Through education, rituals, and music, Sufism has undeniably enriched Pakistan’s collective spiritual experience and cultural heritage. It prompts us to contemplate whether tolerance, acceptance, and mutual respect are the virtues that ultimately shape the destiny of a composite culture.

Naveed has dedicated their life to serving humanity, passionately advocating for Sufi Islam, which transcends religious discrimination and embraces love, peace, and interfaith harmony for all. Sufism’s doors remain perpetually open, inviting individuals from all walks of life to partake in a celebration of unity and understanding. By promoting interfaith harmony, he strives to build a brighter future, where diversity is cherished, and acceptance forms the bedrock of Pakistani society.

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