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Islam and Sectarianism

At the end of day between the different sects of Islam we have more similarities than we have differences. I can say on the week of Muharram, at a Shia mosque, I have firsthand experience being the only Sunni Muslim amongst the entire Shia congregation could not have felt more at home....

 

We never learn about the murder of the Prophet’s ﷺ grandsons at the hands of his Ummah. We never learn about the betrayal from a son of Bani Ummayah. We never learn about the theft of Khilafat from the righteous. We never learn about Muawiyah’s warning his son to not “meet God with his [Imam Hussain’s] blood.” We never learn about the gross disobedience to his father, his soul’s nature, his sense of inhumanity, to the Prophet he claimed to love ﷺ....

 

Delve in to the history of your religion and you will see that the masses mourned Hussain and the tyrants used fear to silence his revival, for his death was the greatest revival of our faith. He rekindled the love for the Prophet in even those who were silent witnesses to his murder that they regretted and came back to true faith afterwards. How great can a man be that his name has rekindled hearts of non-Muslims through the ages? Yet my Muslim brothers and sisters from other sects are silent?...

 
Iraq’s Sunni Minority: The Day After
The Economist
Iraq’s Sunni Minority: The Day After
The Economist

Attempts at reconciliation feel tortured, but at least the sects are again talking, not boycotting. “In the past each sect used to sit in separate corners of the parliamentary canteen,” says a Sunni MP from Mosul. “Now we argue at the same tables.” Quenching the schismatic flames depends on countries beyond Iraq’s control, like Iran and Saudi Arabia. But restoring Sunnis’ place in a post-IS Iraq would be a good place to start reducing the heat...

 
Who are the Zikris of Baluchistan?
Muhammad Akbar Notezai
Who are the Zikris of Baluchistan?
Muhammad Akbar Notezai

On the 27th of Ramazan, Zikri Baloch say special prayers at Koh-e-Murad, which is considered to be a sacred place for them? “They are simply Muslims; with great affinity to Shiites. They are simple people, having four enemies. One is the wolf that attacks their live stocks; second is drought; third is the thief who steals from them; fourth is conflict among the tribes. And to prevent the last, they have a simpler set of beliefs,”...

 

Wahhabism’s most dangerous deviation, in the eyes of the Sunnis who met in Chechenya, is that it sanctions violence against non-believers, including Muslims who reject Wahhabi interpretation. Isis, al-Qaeda and the Taliban are the principal foreign adherents to this creed outside Saudi Arabia and Qatar...

Today, around the world, Shia Muslims will be celebrating an occasion of vital importance to them; an event that it is widely considered to be the one that split the Muslim world. Eid al Ghadir is named after the event in which Shias believe that Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), was appointed as the religious authority and leader after the Prophet by Allah (swt)....

The same scenario had played out in previous Islamic eras. Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (671-741), an Islamic jurist who was close to the Umayyads, issued a fatwa calling for pilgrimage to Jerusalem instead of Mecca, which at the time was under the control of the Ibn al-Zubayr caliphate, the Umayyads’ main rival. The situation prompted Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik to build the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. The Qarmatians stole the Black Stone of the Kaaba and hid it for 22 years to prevent their Abbasid rivals from reaping the lucrative hajj proceeds....

 

The CPEC cuts through the entire north-south length of Pakistan and is aimed at giving China access to the Gwadar Port that it has helped construct on the Balochistan coast. The total cost of the project was projected at $46 billion, but recent reports in Chinese state-run media have hinted concern in Beijing at the "increasing cost of security" and "potential setbacks"....

 

Saudi Arabia is home to Wahhabism (who themselves prefer the term Salafis and scripturalists), an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam, under the Hanbali school of Islamic law. Generally speaking, the reverence that Muslims have for Saudi scholars stems from the symbolic significance of Islam’s 2 holiest sites being in Saudi Arabia, as well as the unmatchable funding that Saudi Arabia uses to propagate its ideology and promote its policies....

The Crisis of Mohajir Identity in Pakistan
Harris Khalique
The Crisis of Mohajir Identity in Pakistan
Harris Khalique

Mohajirs as a category today would mean those whose ancestors migrated from areas of India other than Punjab. Derogatory words like Tilyar, Makkar, Matarwa or Panahgir – based on names of migratory birds or insects with certain characteristics, or even the term shelter-less – were also not used for immigrant Punjabis. ‘Hindustani’ was a more serious and respectable term used by the elderly in Punjab and Sindh...

 
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Slow Burn
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Slow Burn
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

The Mardan court suicide attack comes just hours after terrorists of JuA attacked the Christian Colony in the Warsak Dam area of provincial capital Peshawar in the morning of September 2. One civilian, one Levies official and four suicide bombers were killed in an exchange of fire with Security Forces (SFs) in that incident....

 
Pakistan Waging Dirty War on Its Balochs
Makhan Saikia
Pakistan Waging Dirty War on Its Balochs
Makhan Saikia

The continued slaughtering of the minority Hazaras, Shias and currently the Punjabis, either by the Taliban or by the extreme sectarian groups like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), is further complicating the situation in Balochistan. Indeed the outfits like the LeJ are committed to eliminating the minorities like the Hazaras from the face of the country and the Pakistani State is a mute spectator....

 

Since there is an urgent need, and minorities have a longstanding demand, now even the Senate committee has once again recommended that instead of blaming media and NGOs for defaming Pakistan, government must bring this matter to parliament, and introduce legislation to stop the ongoing forced conversion of girls and women belonging to minority religions...

 

The Ahmadiyya community regards its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian in Punjab, as a prophet and, for that reason; mainstream Muslims do not recognise them as a part of their community. But the fundamental declaration of faith in Islam — there is none to be worshiped but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet — does not expressly say that Muhammad was the “last” prophet....

“The main victims of this violence are the people of Balochistan who are being systematically targeted by paramilitary groups, allegedly sponsored by the Pakistani authorities. Extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances are the most common practices,”....

 

Today, Iran uses Hazara Shias as cannon fodder to fight its war in Syria. Poor Afghan Hazaras residing in Iran are offered Iranian citizenship to fight in Syria. While some Afghans are offered carrots, others are offered sticks. There are indications others—including poor, illegal workers in Iran—are compelled to go fight in Syria....

 

Unfortunately, far from being challenged, the “Shias versus Sunnis” theme is still lazily rehearsed in much of the mainstream media. But while the mainstream media fails to challenge IS’s sectarian propaganda, Iraqi activists, bloggers, and citizens are constantly trying to establish a counter-narrative, encouraging a language of unity and highlighting national identity beyond ethnicity or religion....

 
Strife within Different Streams of Islam
Makhan Saikia
Strife within Different Streams of Islam
Makhan Saikia

The so-called guardians of the two prominent branches of Islam, Iran and Saudi Arabia, by now, must call for a political truce; else, once known as one of the rare cradles of human civilisation, the nations of the Middle East will soon turn out to be a graveyard for sure....

The Nation State’s Fatal Defect
Khaled Ahmed
The Nation State’s Fatal Defect
Khaled Ahmed

The process of “expelling the trash” goes on among many nations. It is visible as is intolerance in India these days but without the sanction of law. Many nations have done it in the past through “pogroms” and concentration camps, but in the 21st century it is the Muslim state that is particularly afflicted by it, at times under law but also with impunity....

 
Making Art from Pakistan’s Chaos
Aatish Taseer
Making Art from Pakistan’s Chaos
Aatish Taseer

Pakistan, founded in 1947 as a homeland for India’s Muslims, once had a very strong identity. But it has been discredited, at first through successive military coups that undermined civilian governments, and later through terrorism, insurgency and the vanishing writ of the state from great sections of the country....

 

"My main intention was to objectively address as many key issues as possible that one sect may have towards the other sect, and then break down the misconceptions so that some kind of bridge could be built once they realise they have so much in common"....

 

Ahmadis differ with other Muslim sects over the finality of Prophet Muhammad as the last Prophet. The Ahmadi branch of Islam was founded on March 23, 1889, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian town of pre-partition Punjab. They believe in the Prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and have endured discrimination and violent persecution for holding this belief....

 
Ahmadi Embarrassment
Khaled Ahmed
Ahmadi Embarrassment
Khaled Ahmed

Pakistan was created in the name of Islam because all Muslims in south Asia presumably felt like a nation. No one bothered to check if there were any footnotes to this feeling. But soon after they got Pakistan, Muslims started feeling odd living together. The first “exception” were the Ahmadis...

 
The Barelwi-Deobandi Truce? More Than Meets The Eye
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
The Barelwi-Deobandi Truce? More Than Meets The Eye
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

Thus behind the veil of protecting Muslim youths framed up on terror charges, something much more fundamental may be going on. Both the Deobandi and the Barelwi leadership derive much of their legitimacy and power from being the custodians of the Muslim religious sphere. Any challenge to their understanding of Islam is a direct challenge to their religious authority and therefore it is no wonder that the erstwhile enemies are now talking to each other.

 
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