Recently, a beggar died in a street. He had Rs 200.000 ( 3000 €, 3500 US$) in his pockets. Amazingly, he died of ailments which could have been cured. I’m not going to write another post about indian beggars, how many there are, how much they earn,… This one died at Ajmer ( Rajasthan), near the “Dargah sharif”, a mausoleum where is buried Moinuddin Chishti, the main sufi master of the indian sub-continent. He lived in the 12°-13° centuries and delivered a message in favour of the poor. So, the surroundings of the “dargah” are full of poor men ( and women, but mostly men) waiting for meals or money given by the pilgrims who come to visit the shrine.
Such men are called fakirs. They are muslim mendicants who dedicate their life to Allah. They are not magicians : they do not perform miracles ( no confusion with some hindu ascetics ) such as lying on a bed of nails, eating fire, raising bodies,… even if some of them do mortifications. Fakirs are errants condemned by orthodox Islam ( they are not allowed to enter the shrine, something amazing when you consider M. Chishti protected them !) which reproaches their bohemian style of life, their lack of sense of responsibility ( they don’t work, they have no children ( well, few have !)).