Khwaja Ahrar and Politicization, Sufism and its orders appealed a great way to people because of their doctrines pertaining to love for people, simplicity and finding the true meaning of life. Several orders of Sufism had varying ideas that compelled their followers into adopting them but Naqshbandi Order compelled people from far and wide into believing in its views because of rationality, answers to the contemporary issues and for the reason that it didn’t segment religion from politics, economy and the way of life.
Khwaja Ahrar and Politics
The contributions of Khwaja Ahrar in politicizing Naqshbandi Order can’t be undermined. He was never afraid of the rulers of time as compared to other Sufism leaders; instead, the Sultans held him in high esteem and gave value to his opinion and advice.
He achieved that reverence by being sagacious and powerful with the wealth and knowledge he had, though he always advised his followers not to attach their hearts to material possessions and wealth. He astutely made the customary law prevalent as it had the solution to the problems of common people. Unlike conventional religious leaders, he gave importance to Ijtihad, which is an integral part of Islamic teachings.
Khwaja Ahrar proved his point on politicizing the Sufi order in these words,
“Times have changed, and therefore the best deed is to be with the court of ruler so that one can help the people and the repressed.”
(Excerpt from Carnegie Papers by Martha Brill Olcott)
Though many people criticized Khwaja Ahrar for not supporting the Sharia law (which he, in fact, was the first Sufi leader to stand for in fact) but revisiting history reveals that Sharia governing laws and norms were exploited by Timurids during their reign of 1470-1506. Khwaja Ahrar was a man of wisdom and he foresaw that people would be left oppressed and deprived if the laws weren’t tweaked. He had traders, craftsmen and political leaders as followers and he utilized his influence for social reforms.
Khwaja Ahrar, wanted an inclusive Islamic Sharia doctrine to be integrated in politics as it was the only and comprehensive solution to the problems of those times. He faced a lot of criticism and hurdles in that but he was staunch in his principles and ideals.
Another worth mentioning contribution of Khwaja Ahrar in making Naqshbandi Order the most reliable doctrine is that he promulgated the concept of one regional leader instead of having many, this strengthened the doctrine further and also made his authority more credible.
Khwaja Ahrar didn’t object his followers on accumulating wealth, he however always preached detachment from snobbery; this led to the increased influence of Naqshbandi followers in the region, as they were the wealthiest and hence was of significance in the politics as well.
Khwaja Ahrar thus gave a whole new landscape to the politics of those times and played an effective role in bringing comfort to the needy and oppressed. He set an example for his followers that Islamic law truly is the answer to all questions and problems!