Sai Baba, a Hindu or Muslim ?

Many people wonder if Shri Sai Baba was a Hindu or a Muslim. In the “Shri Sai Gyaneshwari” Sai Baba himself indicates that we should not concern ourselves with this distinction: “Noble people who believe in God do not bother with such irrelevant issues!”

In the Shri Sai Gyaneshwari we read:

Once the priest Mahalsapati said to a Fakir that he couldn’t enter the temple. He said: “This temple is of a Hindu God and it is not a place of worship for a Muslim. This is a place of worship of Hindus. You look like a Muslim from your dress and appearance. So you must go to a nearby mosque for your prayers.”
Listening to Mahalsapati, Shri Sai was surprised and said: “Oh, knowledgeable priest, both Hindu and Muslim people are made by One God. Hindu and Muslim words might look different, but they are actually the same and have no difference in the eye of God.
Noble people who believe in God do not bother with such irrelevant issues.
Everyone must have faith in their religion and must follow their religion and rituals. All paths of devotion lead to God.
God is present by numerous names, but he is One and present everywhere.
Wherever there is a temple or mosque on earth, noble people don’t insult any of them, as every place of worship is a place of God; they don’t see any difference between them.”’

So it is clear that for Baba the question of whether one was a Hindu or a Muslim was totally irrelevant. Why then should we concern ourselves with whether Baba was a Hindu or a Muslim?
It is true that according to Hindu custom, Baba had pierced ears during his life. But he dressed as a fakir and lived in a dilapidated mosque which he strangely called Dwarkamai. He also kept a sacred fire (Dhuni) burning there. And outside the mosque stood a Tulsi Bindraban: a sacred plant in the Hindu faith. Ram Navami (the birth festival of god Rama) was celebrated just outside the mosque and Sai Baba was happy to participate. And he had no objection to the local Muslims joining the sandal procession on that day.

In short, it is clear that we cannot characterize Sai Baba as neither Hindu nor Muslim. And again, according to Sai Baba, it’s an irrelevant issue!