|History and Biodata
2. Previous functions:
Kabul University Teacher for Education
Director of Appointments and Promotions for Ministry of Higher Education and Secretary of the Shura Brotherhood (20130919)
Head of teachers’ appointment promotion affairs (20141207)
Dean, Faculty of Social Science
Prof Lutfullah Haqqparast was one of the few Sufi sheikhs who refused to submit to the Taliban’s restrictions on Sufism. The preacher – a suit-and-tie-wearing sociologist at a Kabul University who dons a white turban and green robe when officiating Sufi gatherings – was arrested for not caving to Taliban demands to stop his followers’ chanting. But when the Taliban tried to transfer him from Kabul to Kandahar, according to legend, there was such an outcry from religious elders that Haqqparast was released.
Today Haqqparast says Afghanistan needs a balance between Sufism’s mystical passion and the western rationality he teaches. “This traditional society needs Sufis to show it a more open-minded path but also the West to teach it logic,” he told EurasiaNet.org. Haqqparast attends zikrs – devotional Sufi gatherings that often turn ecstatic – at Kabul’s historic Shah-Do Shamshira mosque, a stately yellow building topped by twin navy-blue minarets.
President Hamid Karzai pays greater reverence to the Ulema Shura (Council of Clerics) whose orthodox Muslim views are often opposed to women’s rights, free speech or mystical Islam. On the other hand, Minister of Information and Culture Sayeed Makhdoom Raheem seeks to use Sufism as a moderating force against the Taliban even as he pressures Sufis to tone down their theatrical devotions ahead of reconciliation talks. “Raheem is reviving Sufism and restoring khaneqahs [lodges] that encourage mysticism exactly because he believes that it can act as a tool to stop political Islam and the Taliban,” said Nasir Farahmand, a Kabul-based professor of philosophy who is an avowed secularist.