Monday, May 9, 2011

Sai Baba: an Encounter at Puttaparthy

Allah, the Most High has always been raising His Messengers with a single message: to preach the Unity of God. They come to confront the people’s practices of worshipping false gods- be it images, human beings or nature. Like all messengers before and after them, Hadhrat Ibrahim (as), Moses (as),  Jesus (as) and the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) have  preached their non-negotiable stand on the Unity of God against all odds and that too in the den of polytheistic practices of their times! 

It is spiritually appealing to think that in these times when the Unity of God/Tawheed doctrine is being challenged and undermined through polytheistic practices among the human beings of all religions and fractional groupings in the world, God has raised someone as a renewer of Faiths, the true spirituality of Oneness of God in all traditions of people's beliefs. "Sathya Sai Baba", the Indian godman who died recently, had hundreds of thousands of people who looked upon him as the personification of God Himself. While speaking on the larger theme of the eventual fall of criminals irrespective of their religious identity or sectarian orientation, the Khalifathullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauriritus briefly touched upon the story of his encounter with the Sai Baba in 2005 at his place - Puttaparthy, India.

Read the extracts from the Friday Sermon of May 06, 2011:

Like you are all aware, the Sai Baba died on Sunday 24 April 2011 at the age of 84. Lots of people used to take him as god on earth and there are many of his adherents in Mauritius, whom I know personally, who pray him. There is a quote which says: When you do not believe in one God, then you shall believe in a million gods. By the grace of Allah, here in Mauritius, the devotees of the Sai Baba invite me in their several conferences to address them, and thus, it is on these occasions that I seize the opportunity to talk on the unity of Allah.

A Conference visit to Puttaparthy

In 2005, I was invited in Puttaparthy in India to participate in an inter-faith conference whereby different religious leaders of all communities were present and invited to address the audience. My family and I went there in the month of July (the 11th) 2005. Many of Sai Baba’s devotees all round the world were present at the place of conference. 

The next day of our arrival there, a programme was scheduled where the Sai Baba was present and he was supposed to address his devotees. That day, all guests, the religious leaders and I, were present at the front. I was sitting in front of him; and it was then that there occurred a heart-to-heart conversation between him and me. Everybody awaited him to talk but he did not do so, neither that day, nor the rest of the days till the conferences are over.

On the last day of the conference, all religious leaders were present to pass on their messages, and I was again sitting in front of the Sai Baba. This happened on 22 July 2005, after having gone to perform my Jummah in Mecca Masjid. It was on that day also that Imam Abdur Rahman Sahib and 23 other people took the oath of allegiance from my hand. When I returned back to the conference (after Jummah), a Christian priest was talking, and after him, a Jewish priest addressed the audience.

A Trap and a Divine Message

I was supposed to speak next, but to my surprise another Sunni Jamaat’s Maulana from Delhi came forward to address the audience, and when he finished talking, he fell at the feet of the Sai Baba and the latter gave him a ring. ( Inset: India's then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the then President of the Republic, Pratibha Devisingh Patil paying obeisance to the godman. For a video of the "PADANAMASKAR"/Foot-worshipping ritual in 2010, click here). 

I must precise here that all devotees of the Sai Baba expected him to address them. There never has been a programme or conference in Puttaparthy when he had not addressed them and therefore they were anxious why their Guru (and pseudo god) did not address them. Instead they were completely taken aback when they saw their Sai Baba, their god came into the conference room in a special car, and he descended therefrom in a wheel chair. His name was in the programme leaflet that he was supposed to address them all, but as he did not do so, therefore after the Sunni Maulana, it was a Jewish priest who came along with his guitar to do a prayer, while at the same time playing the guitar and praising Baba.

On the spot I received a message from Allah: to get up and go, and not to participate in this conference for Sai Baba wants to make you fall into his trap, so that (like others) you may fall at his feet.” Therefore I did not lose time to comply with this divine message. 

I got up before some 20,000 people present in the conference Hall (before I could address them) and took the direction of the exit. When I arrived at the door, there were many journalists (from “Enadu”, “Vaartha” and many others) outside and as soon as they saw me, they began to ask me a series of questions and I answered them and explained that I came there (in Puttaparthy) to talk on the unity of God, and not to fall at the feet of Baba, nor to pray him. Allah sent me to make people conscious to pray Him (Allah) alone, and not to pray creatures, nor pray Baba.

Escape from Puttaparthy

After this meeting (interview) with the press, Allah (Glory be to Him) gave me a message that my family and I should leave Puttaparthy: 

“Go because your live and that of your family are in danger; the Sai Baba and his devotees have not appreciated at all (that which has happened – with this humble self preaching the unity of Allah) and they are hatching plans to attack you.”

Therefore I had to disguise myself, wrapping myself in a large cover, and my family also had to hide themselves in large sheets and it was Saturday night. That night Allah made manifest a torrential rain so that nobody could circulate in the yard and there were only 4 security guards at the central gate and thus disguised as we were, having our luggage in hand, we spotted a man with a bicycle and we paid him for transport. He put our luggage on his bicycle and afterwards he left us at a place where it would be easy for us to have a transport, and by the grace of Allah, we got a one quickly and we head towards the railway station.

I have related to you only a summary of what happened, how Allah (Glory be to Him) had protected my family and I and saved us from this predicament. At that moment it was Allah Himself who put fear in the hearts of those who were acting as security guards.

Sai Baba was not god

The Sai Baba is a person like us. He was not god. There is only one God and it is Allah. When I heard the news the day he died (24 April 2011), the devotees of Sai Baba were saying that Baba was their god, the eternal, was dead – they take Baba as god when he possess no power. He could not save himself from death! Then how can he save you (the devotees of Baba) from your distress, and illnesses? 

These people (especially his devotees) were saying while I was there for the conference, that Baba has prophesised that he shall live till the age of 96 and that after him, it is in a lady that he shall be reincarnated, and therefore that lady shall be god for all the devotees of Sai Baba. Unfortunately these people believe in such incorrect belief!

Muslims as devotees of Sai Baba

And what shocked me all the more is the great number of Muslims who have left Islam and become devotees of Sai Baba. I had got the opportunity to talk to some of them, and I told them

“Do you give an associate to Allah, one who cannot create anything, while he himself has been created by Allah? Sai Baba cannot come to the help of any of you. If a misfortune befalls you, he cannot do anything for you and if a misfortune befalls him, he cannot help himself from this predicament. You are praying a person like yourselves and you are taking him as god. You came here (in Puttaparthy) to pray him; see if he is answering your prayers, or removing these problems from you? You have left Allah who brought you into existence and one day you shall have to return back to Him and there you shall have to account to Him. You leave Allah and you go to pray Sai Baba?”

Here itself in Mauritius, in my numerous Dawa, I have met some Muslim families who left Islam and became the devotees of Sai Baba and some also joined the Mission Salut et GuĂ©rison”. I went to meet them on 3 occasions and told them that which they have done is very serious, whereby they left Allah and turned towards a creature and took him as god. If they follow the path of Allah and turn to Allah, Allah (Glory be to Him) shall show them how to differentiate between good and evil, Allah shall restrict them from committing bad deeds, and He shall forgive them. 

It is only with Allah that there are great favours, and He gives them to whomever He wants. The truth is that Allah never changes favours which He gives people, unless they themselves want to change (and deprive themselves of these favours).

For the Summary of the Friday Sermon, click here