The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality
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The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality

Chapter 16


By Khurram Ali Shafique

“The purpose of the Muslim's life is to exalt the word of God,” says Iqbal. “Jihad, if prompted by land hunger, is unlawful in Islam.”
A king is devotedly visiting Mian Mir, a Sufi in Lahore a few centuries after Ali Hajvery. The king is asking the saint to pray for his victory in an impending war of conquest. Just then, a poor disciple arrives and offers a coin to his master. “This money ought to be given to our Sultan,” the Sufi advises his disciple. “He is the most penniless of all human beings since his eye is fixed on the table of strangers. In his self delusion and ignorance he calls pillage by the name of empire but both his own troops and those of his enemy are cloven in twain by the sword of his hunger. The beggar's hunger consumes his own soul but the Sultan’s hunger destroys state and religion. Whoever shall draw the sword for anything except God, his sword is sheathed in his own breast.”


  • If jihad is unlawful when prompted by land-hunger, is it lawful when carried out for the sake of “exalting the word of God”?
  • What do you think is the source of Mian Mir’s courage?

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A parable about the Sufi saint Mian Mir shows that territorial conquest was no part of the original program of Islam.
Persian text

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