It is worth reading article shared by Zafar Khizer.
Personality cults have mostly remained a significant characteristic of totalitarian regimes. Ideas attributed to individuals are propagated with the intention of bringing about radical transformation in society.
Gradually, the ideas become subordinate to the individual; while his own role in society becomes all-important. He is worshipped as a hero and regarded as someone playing a significant role in creating history.
In our society, which is plagued by religious extremism, terrorism, lawlessness and disorder, intellectual groups and politicians rely on ‘personalities’ rather than ideas, concepts and thoughts to counter these issues. For example, some intellectuals believe that reviving the teachings of the Sufi saints, and dissemination and preaching of Sufi thought and poetry, could be used to weaken or even wipe out religious extremism from our society. Since you cannot revive the past, nor implement traditions and values of the times of yore, the idea may prove futile.
In the subcontinent, the Sufis emerged during the medieval period to support the Muslim rule by preaching religious tolerance among the Hindus and the Muslims. Later, Sufi shrines became the centre point for disciples and common people to gather and pay homage to Sufi saints; as well as pray for fulfilment of their wishes and desires. Based on the assumption that they inherit spiritual powers from their ancestors; the successors or sajjada nashin of the Sufi saints assumed a position of authority, became spiritual leaders and earned themselves a high status in the society.
Becoming political leaders, winning elections from their constituencies and getting into the parliament is not difficult for them as they have a secure vote bank in their disciples who vote for them irrespective of their ability or merit. If Sufi culture was revived, these individuals would be at a further advantage. Considering the above, will the revival of Sufi teachings really eliminate religious extremism from our society?
An analysis of the negative impact of religious prejudice and the positive influence of religious tolerance shows that a society with sectarian and religious conflicts suffers politically and socially. On the other hand, religious harmony creates peace and prosperity and all people are treated equally irrespective of their religion or sect. Religious tolerance should be propagated as an idea by itself without attributing it to the Sufis.