Ever since Wahabism started hogging the discource of Islam and Islamic practices, South Asian Muslims have been expressing fondness for their local flavor of the religion. Sufi Islam, with it’s focus on miracle-working holy men, singing, dancing, qawwali, bhang, relics and shrines is in stark contrast to the austere, harsh religion practised by Mr. Wahab’s spiritual descendants.
BBC News had a piece about the mazaar of Abdullah Shah Ghazi, a local sufi with some experience in granting children to the barren, love to the lovelorn, health to the sick etc. Baba Abdullah now rests literally minutes from my parents house. Here’s a surreal shot that Abby took from the car. The shrine’s in the background, a burqa-clad woman is crossing the street, and there’s cool grafitti on the wall behind her. (It’s also featured in the critically acclaimed documentary Abby Ka Karachi.)
Not that I’m ever one for superstitious mumbo-jumbo, but Karachi’s Baba Abdullah sure beats those crazy Saudis, who’re destroying their own history (not to mention exporting their violent puritanism to the rest of the world.)