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Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, the Sufi saint who isn’t just a part of our religious history, but also an essential part of the culture and heritage of Sindh and Pakistan, holds immense importance to many. I am a Sunni, born and raised, and every single time I visited Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s Shrine in Sehwan Sharif, I felt a spiritual and divine connection with the Almighty.
I’ve lived in Karachi all my life, and there have been numerous occasions when I’ve visited Sehwan Sharif. I’ve been to the Shrine with my family, with my friends and there has been a time when I’ve been there alone. There is something special about Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine, a divine connection that beats everything else.
The moment you reach Sehwan Sharif, you can see the shining gold tomb of Lal Shahbaz from a distance. As soon as you cast eyes on the tomb, there is a feeling of satisfaction you get. Hoards of people walk their way towards the shrine. Children, women, men, old people, everyone’s there for a reason or the other. Some go there to seek a way for the fulfillment of their wishes, while others like me visit because we feel that it is a huge part of our culture.
As soon as you enter the shrine, you can see a number of different things. People of every color, caste, creed, religion, and background, with two things in common, smiles and satisfaction. However, there is one thing in common more than anything else, everyone who is around is taking the Almighty and his loved ones’ names. There are local artists performing their cultural tunes, while others are locked into a spiritual blend in the Dhamaal.
The spiritual connection one feels upon entering the tomb cannot be described in words. On top of the tomb and on its walls, astonishing calligraphy of Allah Almighty’s name can be seen, along with names of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and his family. One thinks, how could somebody, in the name of Islam, hurt people who are there offering their presence to the Almighty?
I am a Sunni and I’ve never felt any sectarian discrimination or difference every time I visited the shrine. There is no Sunni, Shia, Deoband, Barelvi or any sectarian difference there. Heck, nobody knows if you’re Muslim or not, and frankly, nobody cares. Everyone is involved in their own lasting connection with the divine.
I can’t even imagine thinking how somebody would take so many lives in the name of Islam when Islam teaches us peace and harmony in every verse of the Holy Quran. Let us pray for those who lost their lives in the tragic blast of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and hope the mystical Sufism in our traditions and heritage lives on.