This is the first in a series of blogs on the creation and philosophy of Pakistan and its key actors. These accounts are based on historical facts and references are linked at the bottom.The year is 1732. A thirty-year old man is sleeping in the precincts of the Holy Kaaba. In his dream he sees Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who tells him that he has been chosen for a special task in the history of Islam.
His name is Shah Waliullah and he is a scholar of hadith from Delhi. After waking up, he returns to India and starts writing a book about “the secrets of religion.” For centuries, these secrets had been kept hidden in monasteries but Waliullah believes that the time has come when the entire society can be “initiated” into these. He names his book The Conclusive Argument of God.
It is a strange coincidence of our history that a senior contemporary of Waliullah (1702-1762) was Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai of Sindh (1689-1752), who prepared groundwork for a very similar experiment in a different province. Unlike Waliullah, Bhittai expressed himself through poetry, parable and music – collected as Shah Jo Risalo. Indeed there seems to be a vast difference of form and appearance between the works of these two, but then Sufism is not about form or appearance. In terms of essence and purpose it seems that various Sufis and scholars in the first half of the 18th Century began, somehow simultaneously, to prepare for the birth of a new society based on Sufi principles.
You can find out more about Shah Waliullah at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah_Waliullah
and about Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah_Abdul_Latif_Bhittai