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Islam and Sectarianism

The problem though lies within Shiite and Sunni extremism. It lies in belonging to Iran and in the holy sanctification of concepts related to the governance of the jurist and in claiming there is a “Muslims’ consensus over believing in the Imam Mahdi.” The latter was claimed by Hassan Nasrallah during his most recent speech. The dispute about Imam Mahdi is well-known in both Sunni and Shiite legacies, and anyone who is well-acquainted with Islamic legacy knows that…..

 
Balochistan: Unabated Bloodshed
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Balochistan: Unabated Bloodshed
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

The attack on labourers is an act of desperation from the Baloch separatist as their struggle for a sovereign nation has been losing tempo with the recent surrenders of their cadres. Around 500 militants belonging to different banned Baloch militant outfits surrendered to authorities on April 21, 2017....

 
Ahraristan Not Pakistan
Yasser Latif Hamdani
Ahraristan Not Pakistan
Yasser Latif Hamdani

Jinnah’s public pronouncement buried the issue for a time but it came back full force after his death in form of the Anti-Ahmadiyya movement started by Majlis-e-Ahrar in 1949. This led to the 1953 Martial Law in Lahore and the disturbances which led to the downfall of Pakistan’s constitutional order. In 1974 Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto sought to resolve the issue by declaring Ahmadis Non-Muslim or so he thought.....

But when it comes to murders, both the target killings and vigilante actions are commonly attributed to the more militant organisations like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, named after Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, a notorious anti-Shia cleric. It seems to be the main group responsible for Ahmadi and Shia killings across Pakistan. There is a whole spectrum of Deobandi groups, ranging from hard-line Taliban to the Punjab based Ahle-Sunnat-wal-Jamaat (ASWJ) which are known to have instigated or perpetrated violence against Ahmadis on a regular basis....

 

Cosmic war divides the world into good and evil, us and them. We do not have a middle ground; we have to choose a side. The terrorist groups like TTP, LeJ, LeT, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar have clearly chosen their sides. They aligned themselves with the forces of “good” that has been assigned a duty to destroy all those Pakistanis who are allies of “evil” (democracy, music, dance; art, culture and above all America)....

 
Kurram Agency: Sectarian Bloodshed
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Kurram Agency: Sectarian Bloodshed
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

Apart from the recent suicide attacks, the broad trend of decline in sectarian incidents has given some relief to locals. This has, however, come at the cost of a simultaneous increase in terrorist and militant activities from across the Afghan border. While the security situation has witnessed remarkable improvements, particularly after Army operations in North Waziristan, Orakzai and Kurram's adjacent areas of KP, the presence of TTP and IS on the abutting Afghan territory have created new threats for the Kurram Agency....

 
Honour the Baluch
Akbar Ahmed
Honour the Baluch
Akbar Ahmed

"A Baluch woman dressed in her wedding finery and wearing all her jewellery could walk alone from one end of Baluchistan to the other end without ever being molested." Baluch elders said this in response to a query on Baloch character while sitting with the-then Balochistan's Chief Minister, Jam Mir Qadir Khan of Las Bela. The image struck me as a metaphor; a literal sociological reflection on contemporary Pakistan. It has stayed with me ever since....

 

As Sunni political parties move closer to adopting a unified Sunni stance on federalism and national reconciliation, and with Turkey proclaimed as a sponsor for Iraqi Sunnis (just as Iran is sponsoring Shiite parties), sectarian discourse in Iraq is reinforced. Even though some progress was made on the path toward settlement and Iran’s influence was successfully curbed by the US and Arab countries, the absent role of Iraqi national and civil parties on the political level is likely to serve the current sectarian and ethnic divide....

 
HashtagOscarsSoAhmadi
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
HashtagOscarsSoAhmadi
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

An Ahmadi won Best Supporting Actor, a Shia won Best Foreign Language Film, a woman won the Best Actress – if this is not a declaration of war against our sensibilities, what is? By highlighting Ahmadis, homosexuals, and women as representatives of Muslims, they’re trying to marginalise the Sunni Muslim straight men. Fun fact: Ahmadi actors now have 1 Oscar win, compared to zero for Sunni Muslims. But do not expect anyone in the West to create hashtags to underscore our plight....

What if Mahershala Ali visited Pakistan?
Kashif Chaudhry
What if Mahershala Ali visited Pakistan?
Kashif Chaudhry

Despite his extraordinary feat at the Oscars, many prominent Muslim activists refrained from celebrating Mahershala, with some even issuing outright condemnations because of his beliefs. Mahershala also identifies as an Ahmadi, a sect that faces severe persecution at the hands of Sunni supremacists across the Muslim world. ...

Every time there is a blast in the country, the ethnicity which gets the spotlight is the Pakhtuns, along with the Afghans. Over the years, the Pakistani public has developed kneejerk hatred against the Afghan Pakhtuns, which has permeated our cultural zeitgeist. There are news of incidents where even ordinary warnings issued by normal law and enforcement agencies openly draw the focus towards them, and reinforce the prevalent stereotypical views. ....

 

We also need to expose the hypocrites within Islam. There are people who denounce terrorism in public and teach in their madrasas that early peaceful and pluralistic verses of Quran have been abrogated by the later war-time verses asking us to kill the kafir and mushrik. Of course, war-time verses had come in a certain context which no longer exists and so these instructions can no longer apply to us. The first task before us is to come out of denial, accept that our theology and jurisprudence have been corrupted and then start thinking of changing our mindset, so that we can live as peaceful citizens of this inter-connected twenty-first century world....

Religious Minorities under Muslim Rule
Tesneem Alkiek
Religious Minorities under Muslim Rule
Tesneem Alkiek

Religious minorities are often depicted as oppressed and vulnerable victims of their Muslim rulers. This portrayal, however, is far from accurate. This brief paper seeks to reorient our understanding of the rights and responsibilities religious minorities possessed under Muslim rule....

Attack on Qalandar Shrine: Muslims Themselves are the Problem
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
Attack on Qalandar Shrine: Muslims Themselves are the Problem
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

Isn’t it known for a fact that Salafi madrasas equate visitations to shrines as grave worship and therefore consider majority of South Asian Muslims as potential idolaters? The same hate is being peddled in the name of Islamic literature through cheap publications and sermons on televisions. Acts like bombing shrines are a direct result of what is going on in our homes, our schools and in our neighbourhood. There cannot be any dispassionate discussion on the causes of such brutality without asking tough questions about ourselves as to how our own hate mongering about different maslaks (sects) have acquired a new normality within our everyday discourses.....

I would like to situate the current period by referencing prophetic traditions that should provide a metaphysical grounding for what is being experienced. In a prophetic Hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, it is reported that the Prophet Muhammad said, "Time will pass rapidly, good deeds will decrease, miserliness will be thrown (in the hearts of the people), afflictions will appear and there will be much 'al-Harj." They said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is "al-Harj?" He said, "Killing! Killing!" Another prophetic Hadith states, "Islam will be fought with Islam." If taken together with the first one, then it can provide a better grounding to the crisis underway….

Sectarianism: A Profound Ideological Crisis In The Indian Muslim Community
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
Sectarianism: A Profound Ideological Crisis In The Indian Muslim Community
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

The founding editor of New Age Islam, Mr. Sultan Shahin has asked a pertinent question in his recent article:“Sectarian unity is certainly an admirable goal. The intention behind it, however, is also very important. Wahhabi-Deobandi and Sufi-Barelvi sects, who call each other kafir (infidel), are seeking to unite for some months now.  But towards what end?”

Instead of a stage-show of the Barelwi-Deobandi truce, it was high time both Muslim sects’ clergy sincerely reflected on the prevailing sectarian psyche plagued with extremist thoughts. An objective observation reveals that not only the Deobandi-Wahhabi clergy but a section of the present-day Barelwi ulema have also fanned the fire of religious extremism among the country’s gullible Muslims.....

Turkey's Transformation as the Sunni Version of the Shia Theocratic Iran
Tufail Ahmad, New Age Islam
Turkey's Transformation as the Sunni Version of the Shia Theocratic Iran
Tufail Ahmad, New Age Islam

Till 1924, the Islamic world was led by the Ottoman Caliph based in Turkey. During the First World War (1914-1918), the Turkey-led Caliphate began disintegrating. Around this time, Indian Muslims led by Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar and his brother Maulana Shaukat Ali as well as Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad supported the Khilafat Movement for the restoration of the Caliphate, something the ISIS is trying to revive now. The Arab nations, having been mistreated by the Ottoman caliph, disliked Maulana Azad for supporting Turks, though he was respected for his scholarship.....

Pakistani society is still marred by racism and questions of caste, even among Muslims, despite the Qur’an setting out radical equality for all. Across South Asia, Muslims remain divided up by various hierarchical systems. This long trail of caste-related injustice goes back to the beginnings of sub continental societies and seems impervious to the intrusion of other sources of identity such as the nation state or religion....

The Battle for the Souls of Islam
Yasser Latif Hamdani
The Battle for the Souls of Islam
Yasser Latif Hamdani

Most significantly blasphemy is a tazir offence and not a Hadd offence under Islamic law. No religious scholar of Islam will tell you otherwise. This is because the Holy Quran does not prescribe a punishment for blasphemy. This in itself makes the whole issue of blasphemy law a discretionary measure and not binding for a Muslim state to follow. The majority view in Islam has been for the 1000 years that death for blasphemy, in the rarest and most extreme of cases, can only be awarded to an unrepentant Muslim male unless he repents and there is always room for repentance under Islam....

“Sunnis were grabbed in the streets or dragged from their homes and instantly killed. In the first week of the events, militiamen drove around with speakers shouting for Sunni men to come out of their homes. On Jan. 13, more than 100 men were taken and have not been seen since.”...

 

You simply cannot beat an ideology with legal manoeuvring and legislative moves. While we thought hanging Qadri, the gunman, for his disregard for the law would result in establishing some semblance of sanity, what ensued was a stunning mass of his “followers” showing defiance against the writ of the state as they gathered for one of the largest funerals this country has seen. Now there are reports that he is also getting a multimillion shrine built at his burial grounds, which will naturally turn into yet another gathering point for the hardliners....

 

Two men among the children of Israel were the opposite of each other. One of them was a sinner and the other would strive in worship. The worshiper would see the sinner and tell him to stop. One day he found him sinning so he said: Stop! The sinner said: Leave me alone, by my Lord, have you been sent as a watchman over me? The worshiper said: By Allah, Allah will not forgive you or admit you into Paradise. Later their souls were taken and they met in the presence of the Lord of the worlds. Allah said to the worshiper: Did you have knowledge of me or power over what is in my hand? Allah said to the sinner: Enter Paradise by my mercy. And Allah said to the worshiper: Take him to the Hellfire....

In line with Quranic spirit, philosophy, art and poetry and mysticism all exhort us to be humble towards the Real or Truth in order to receive it to eschew stubborn dogmatic attitude, to listen more and speak less, to let the Other or Love dictate terms rather than dictate to them, to forego attempt to solve problem of religious divergence here and leave it to God there, to resist attempts at meaning closure or finality of interpretation, to attend to life with all its mystery, uncertainty, inexhaustible richness and beauty. To identify a sectarian ideologue one can apply a golden test “Empty vessels make much noise.” Truth overpowers us and makes one dumb. “Ripeness is all.” “The rest is silence….

How Syria Defeated the Sunni Powers
Emile Hokayem
How Syria Defeated the Sunni Powers
Emile Hokayem

For Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, this situation raises major moral and political questions: If military victory is no longer feasible, why should they continue to support rebels at the cost of more Syrian lives? Can they and their rebel proxies carve out zones of influence that will allow them to shape Syria’s future? ...

Liberation of mind, for example, has always remained the fundamental of every religion, theosophical movement and sufi paths. It has expressions according to the space, since liberation of mind is usually an act to alleviate beyond the Time. Therefore, faithful, theosophists, and sufis artificially detach from the immediate space which is called Tiag in Sindhi and almost in some other parts of South Asia. This is an attempt of meditative saturation, which basically equates the Time in the space, and the time inside….

 
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