Majalis-i Dawat-i Fana

It almost resembles the practice of the ruhani majalis prevalent in the Indian tradition. When one dies, his family members and relatives assemble in his house for three days, known as the dawat-i fana. His family does not cook food for three days, but only a lamp is kindled. Major J. Biddulph writes in Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh (Karachi, 1977, p. 123) that, “On the evening of the appointed day, a caliph comes to the house, and food is cooked and offered to him. He eats a mouthful and places a piece of bread in the mouth of the dead man’s heir, after which the rest of the family partakes. The lamp is then lighted, from which the ceremony is called “Chirag Roshan,” and a six-stringed guitar called gherba being produced, singing is kept up for the whole night.”

The dawat-i fana exhorts that when a believer dies, it is his physical death not spiritual. His soul quits the earthy body and assumes celestial body (jism-i falaki). He was a dark himself on earth, but now he becomes light. The brightness is thus eluded symbolically in the lamp. There is a separation among bodies, but not in the light. There is nothing except union in the light after death. It emanates in another interpretation that the fire denotes ardent love and its light is the knowledge, therefore, unless a believer burns in the fire of love with Imam, the light of knowledge is not sparked in his heart. It will be interesting to note that Missionary Muhammad Murad Ali Juma (1878-1966), known as Bapu died in Bombay on February 4, 1966. In his message of February 14, 1966, the Imam said: “I grieved greatly the loss of one of my most devoted spiritual children. His services were above reproach and he was a Candle of Light and example to my jamats.”