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