New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming Sufism "the voice of peace" and "one of the greatest contribution of Islam to the world", noted that none of the 99 names of Allah stands for violence.
In his address at the World Sufi Forum here on Thursday, he said that Sufism promoted peaceful co-existence and celebrated diversity and pluralism.
"Sufism is the voice of peace, co-existence, compassion, equality and a call to universal brotherhood.
"When we think of 99 names of Allah, no one stands for force and violence. The first two names of Allah are compassionate and merciful. Allah is Rahman and Rahim. Sufism is the celebration of diversity and pluralism.
"Sufis experience universal message of almighty that perfection in human life is reflected in qualities that are dear to God. For the Sufis, service to God meant service to humanity."
He hit out at people who spread terror across the world in the guise of religion.
"Those who spread terror in the name of religion are anti-religious. The fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. It cannot be," he said.
Extolling the Sufis, he said: "At a time when the dark shadow of violence is becoming longer, you are the noor or the light of hope.
"When young laughter is silenced by guns on the streets, you are the voice that heals."
Noting Sufism has upheld the highest ideals of Islam and has rejected terrorism, Modi said: "However, to me the message of sufism is not just confined to combating terrorism. The values of harmony, compassion and love for human beings are the foundastion of a just society.
"That is a principle we had agreed of 'sabka sath sabka vikas'. And these values are important to preserve and nurture diversity in our societies."
Citing Sufi saints and poets like Jalaluddin Rumi, Amir Khusro, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, as well as Kabir and Guru Nanak, the prime minister underlined the importance of compassion and inclusiveness and love for all.
Invoking Punjabi Sufi poet, humanist and philosopher Bulleh Shah, he said: "In wisdom of Bulleh Shah, the lord exists in every heart. His values are the need of our times. This is reality of nature. We learn this wisdom in perfect balance and harmony that exists in vast diversity of our forests."
He also stressed on Sufism's "huge" contribution to poetry in India and "its profound impact" on the development of Indian music.
"You have come from different lands and cultures, but you are united by a common faith.
"All are creation of God and that if we love God we must also love all his creations. This is an assembly of those whose lives itself is a message of peace, tolerance and love," said Modi.
"Welcome to a land that is a timeless fountain of peace and an ancient source of traditions and faiths. All our people, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, believers, non-believers, are an integral part of India," he added.
The forum saw a large gathering of mystics and their followers from a number of countries including Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Turkey and US apart from India. (IANS)