بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على رسوله الكريم
I find it ironic that many Muslims, especially those who characterize themselves as orthodox Sunnis, disparage pious figures in the history of our Ummah who contributed much to the work of revivalism, accusing them of having been false prophets or otherwise downgrading the lofty station of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, while simultaneously they revere antinomian heretics, some who claimed divinity for themselves like al-Hallaj and others who taught Satanic doctrines in the name of mysticism. One such antinomian that is sadly revered by many Muslims was Sarmad (d. 1661). He hailed from Kashan in Iran, was of Armenian descent and it is said he was a Jew who converted to Islam after settling in India. While in India, he became a mystic but deviated from orthodox Islam and stopped observing the Shari’ah. He began lusting after a Brahmin boy named Abhi Chand, thus exhibiting the forbidden homosexual tendency, as it is written in the Holy Quran concerning the Sodomites:
اَئِنَّکُمۡ لَتَاۡتُوۡنَ الرِّجَالَ شَہۡوَۃً مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ النِّسَآءِ ؕ بَلۡ اَنۡتُمۡ قَوۡمٌ تَجۡہَلُوۡنَ
What! do you approach men lustfully rather than women? Nay, you are indeed an ignorant people
This unlawful lust apparently drove Sarmad mad and right into the hands of the Devil, again as it says in the Quran:
الَّذِیۡ یَتَخَبَّطُہُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ مِنَ الۡمَسِّ
one whom Satan has smitten with insanity
Sarmad discarded his clothing and went about totally in the nude. He composed lines of poetry that are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Islam:
وَ الشُّعَرَآءُ یَتَّبِعُہُمُ الۡغَاوٗنَ
And as for the poets — it is the erring ones who follow them
The content of his poetry screams of antinomianism. Like the evil “mystics” that preceded him such as Kabir Das (d. 1518), Sarmad disassociated from Muslim identity and put forward a sort of omnist worldview which holds division into communities on the basis of religion and varying spiritual paths to be wrongful. With regret, it has to be said that this tendency was likewise championed by another so-called mystic, Ibn Arabi (d. 1240) who is also held in great esteem by a large number of so-called orthodox Sunni Muslims.
Sarmad’s nudism is considered something positive among a certain understanding of mysticism in India, as it is the well known feature of Digambara Jain monks and Shaivite Naga Sadhus. But from the perspective of the Islamic Shari’ah, it is not only totally forbidden, but when done in the name of mysticism or spirituality it is to be understood as something Satanic and demonic. Therefore, far from being enlightened mystics and saints, these nudists are in fact demon-possessed devil worshippers, the lowest of the low. During his trial before the Mughal emperor Aurangzaib Alamgir رحمة الله عليه Sarmad refused to recite the Shahadah, the testimony of faith, saying only La Elaha “there is no god”. Rightly or wrongly, Sarmad was executed for apostasy and heresy. He is considered a martyr by many so-called orthodox Sunni Muslims, especially those who are attached to Sufism. But in reality, Sarmad was far removed from the principles taught by Islam, the Shari’ah, and orthodox Sufism. His tomb, which has become a shrine or mazar is located in Delhi, where it is revered by local Muslims and those who make pilgrimage to it, another extremely dangerous misguidance that smacks of paganism which is tragically quite prevalent among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. As with other famous religious figures, a legend developed around the “martyrdom” of Sarmad that after he was beheaded, his headless, naked body picked up the severed head and he ascended physically into Heaven, a miracle which supposedly persuaded multitudes of people to embrace the faith or recognize the truth of his sainthood.