Sufism: Practices at Sufi Shrines in Punjab: (A Case Study of Baba Lasoori Shah, Lyallpur).

Byline: Abdul Qadir Mushtaq, Zil-Huma Rafique and Fariha Sohil


Lyallpur is a major city of central Punjab that is known due to industry and industrial products which are exported to the whole world. It is a city of wealthy persons, educated middle class and the poor labor class. Wealthy persons are Ashraaf of this city which include businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats. Educated middle class consist of those persons who came here for studies and settled here. The poor labor class is called Ajlaaf that consist of marginal class. Ashraaf often visit the shrines for barakat and contribute in langar for blessings. Educated middle class visit shrines but as routine matter. The Ajlaaf are in great majority and form the real culture of the shrines. They have adopted the different professions and the Urs celebrations at the shrines are great opportunity for them to earn and participate in the Urs celebrations. According to Werbner.

"For low caste peasants or Urban workers membership in the cult is a source of status. They derive their personal standing vis-a-vis others form their connection with an illustrious, important and famous saint. In this sense the respect accorded to Zindapir by high level politicians, civil servants or Army officers is not only for pragmatic purposes, but, perhaps even more significantly, it confirms, the saint's elevated status in the eyes of the many villagers who form the main body of his disciples, and bring together the high and low in a single "family" of "disciple brotherhood". The various status derived from the membership in an important order of this type is seen by these disciples as conferring a meaningful and dignified gloss on their lives."1

It is also pertinent to mention here that the lower classes and the upper class tend to be more affiliated with Sufism that the middle class. Werbner has also mentioned that.

"Sufism remains attractive to apparently westernized high ranking civil servants, army officers, politicians, businessmen and professionals as well as to large numbers of relatively uneducated villagers. Zindapir had a large army following, including many brigadiers and generals. Among his disciples and supplicants were also politicians and high ranking civil servqants. Sufism....thus appeared to appeal to the relatively educated and powerful, as well as to the vast mass of low ranking followers." 2

Most of the poor people indulge in professions not seen appropriate. They are unable to perform regular prayers due to their profession or some other reasons. They do not have the money to pay Zakat, perform Haj or observe fasting due to nature of their profession. Same story prevail in the upper class and they do not pay Zakat, perform regular prayers. Most of them are indulged in drinking, prostration and many other such social evils. Werbner thinks that the these two classes are the regular visitors of the shrines because they think that it is the key role of the saint to...

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