Q. Which of the following is the term used for the practice of pilgrimage to the graves of sheikh?

[A] Ziyarat

[B] Tasawwuf

[C] Dargah

[D] Barakat

Answer: A

Institutionally, the sufis began to organise communities around the hospice or khanqah (Persian) controlled by a teaching master known as shaikh (in Arabic), pir or murshid (in Persian).

  • He enrolled disciples (murids) and appointed a successor (khalifa). He established rules for spiritual conduct and interaction between inmates as well as between laypersons and the master.
  • When the shaikh died, his tomb-shrine (dargah, a Persian term meaning court) became the centre of devotion for his followers.
  • This encouraged the practice of pilgrimage or ziyarat to his grave, particularly on his death anniversary or urs (or marriage, signifying the union of his soul with God).
  • This was because people believed that in death saints were united with God, and were thus closer to Him than when living.
  • People sought their blessings to attain material and spiritual benefits. Thus evolved the cult of the sheikh revered as wali.

Source: NCERT Themes in Indian History.