Today is 21 Ramadan (Ramzan), the day when almost 1350 years ago, Ali (a.s.), the first Imam of Shia Muslims and the fourth Rightly Guided Caliph of Sunni Muslims was martyred in Kufa, Iraq by a Kharijite or Takfiri terrorist. For a brief insight into Imam Ali’s struggle against Islamism, takfirism, intolerance and hypocrisy, refer to my friend Shaheryar Ali’s excellent article.
On social media, my timeline is currently full of showers of praise for Ali by his Shia, Sunni and non-Muslim admirers.
Sadly, it seems that quite a few, not all, of those quoting or eulogizing Imam Ali on my timeline, in practice, follow Muawiya, the political opponent and anti-thesis of Ali. Opportunist, populist, greedy, compromised, tyrant, coward, cunning.
One cannot be a folllower of Imam Ali without negating all what Muawiya stood for. Ali and Muawiya represent two different lifestyles, two entirely different approaches to Islam, life and humanity.
The sycophants who flatter those in positions of power or influence, champion populist causes but otherwise remain neutral, vague or silent are followers of Muawiya.
Those who uncritically circulate agenda-driven lies of mainstream media but cunningly ignore or obfuscate valuable alternative perspectives and articles of independent volunteers are followers of Muawiya.
Those who routinely remain silent or vague on daily massacres of Sunni Sufi and Shia Muslims, Christians and other communities by radical Deobandi and Salafi terrorists are followers of Muawiya.
Those who choose populist topics but remain careful not to criticize powerful Tahir Ashrafi and the commercial liberal lobby that tries to paint the Deobandi hate cleric as a prophet of peace are followers of Muawiya.
Those who routinely hide the common Deobandi Takfiri identity of terrorists massacring innocent people in Pakistan by using generic descriptors (Islamists, Sunnis, Jihadists, extremists etc) are followers of Muawiya.
Those who deny or justify the State and non-State atrocities against Palestinian and Israeli civilians, Balochs, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Gilgiti-Baltis are followers of Muawiya.
Those activists who slavishly champion causes and slogans dictated by Iran, Saudi Arabia or the United States but remain indifferent to or clueless about more pressing human rights issues within or outside their own country are followers of Muawiya.
Those who support puritanical Islamist causes without any regard for equal rights of all human beings are followers of Muawiya.
Those who openly and/or secretly spew venom against Ahmadis, Jews, Christians, or against Sunnis or Shias are followers of Muawiya.
“I have never argued with an ignorant fool and won; nor have I argued with a rational person and lost.” — Imam Ali
Appendix: Video of a Pakistani Noha on martrydom of Imam Ali
Pakistani Shia Muslims recite a Saraiki Noha as a tribute to Imam Ali. This is a beautiful combination of Islamic faith and South Asian culture.