With 10-14 million people, Arbaeen (20 Safar) in Karbala is the largest Muslim gathering in the world
Related post: An open letter to Prof Saleem Ali – by Mustafa
What can Pakistan and the entire world learn from Pakistani Shias? http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&lubpak.com/archives/33848
This article offers a rebuttal to Professor Saleem Ali’s article in Express Tribune (later retracted but republished on his personal blog with some edits) in which he ridiculed and insulted Shia Muslims and their Ashura rituals.
Shia rituals which were so shamelessly detested by the writer
Shia traditions or rituals can be traced back to Prophet’s (pbuh) time rather than cheaply and easily referring them to Safavid times of 16th century. If they are, as suggested by Saleem Ali, a creation of the Safavid Empire, today’s mullah will wreak havoc on Shias. Iran is a Shia State but it doesn’t mean, Shia Muslims take dictation from Iran. On the contrary, majority of Shias in Pakistan and elsewhere refer to Najaf, Iraq, for theological guidance, and many more remain secular in their personal and collective lives.
Saleem Ali has limited knowledge about Shias world wide. There are many states which constitute Shia Muslims as a majority population. Shia population in Iran-96%, Iraq-68%, Azerbaijan-75%, Bahrain-72%, Lebanon-71% of all Muslims, Yemen-47%, Syria-30%, Kuwait-30%, Pakistan-25%, Turkey-20%, Afghanistan-20%, Egypt-15%, Bangladesh-9%, Qatar-6%, India-25% of all Muslims, Saidi Arabia-15%, Malaysia-3% etc. The crowds in Karbala, Iraq (Yom e Ashura -10th of Moharram) at Imam Hussain’s mausoleum were estimated to about 12 million where as in comparison about 2.5 million perform Hajj every year. An estimated 10 to 14 million people visit the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba’een (20 Safar) every year.
Mullah knows all the rituals of Shias are according to the practices performed during Prophet Mohammad’s time. Let’s not forget the incidents of Shahdat of prophet’s (pbuh) uncle Hazrat Hamza in Ghazwa e Ohad and how the Prophet mourned his uncle’s death, the beating of chest and face by Hazrat Ayesha at the death of Prophet (pbuh) and let’s not forget Hazrat Owais Qarni, when he heard one month later that Prophet’s two front teeth were injured in the attack by Kufar during the Ghazwa e Ohad, he broke all his teeth with stone (try breaking one teeth with a stone) and ultimately injuring his whole face and jaw as a token of love and affection for the minor injuries faced by Prophet. If Owais was wrong, Prophet could have easily admonished him for such a wrongful act but rather declared Hazrat Owais as his Sahabi even though they never met and sent two envoys Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Omar to ask Hazrat Owais to pray for the forgiveness of his followers (ummat) and sent his shirt as a gift.
Zuljanah is taken out in Ashura rituals as symbol of the horse which served the grandson of Prophet, when Muslims were hell bent on killing him but that horse remained faithfull to Imam Hussain. Shia-phobes will make no one objects to the sacrifice of millions of animal on the Eid ul Azha. We purchase animal and kids love and we take good care of the animal knowing well that this animal is no where the same as the one sacrificed by Hazrat Ibrahim. That horse protected his master and history tells how he protected him till Imam Hussain himself told him to leave as his time of shadat had come. Matam and Zanjeer are done as a token of love with Imam Hussain, whose blood was shed in the desert by keeping him thirsty for ten days. All the rituals performed by Shia Muslims are a part of the protest to commemorate every year the brutality suffered by Hazrat Imam Hussain at the hands of thousands of Muslims led by an usurper Caliph Yazid ibn Muawiya.
The army of Yazeed wanted to finish of the battle at the earliest as they were getting late for their Juma prayer. Besides the killing of Imam Hussain and his 72 companions on 10th Moharram, his oldest companion was Hazrat Habib Ibne Mazahir who was also Sahabi of Prophet (more than 90 years old at the time) and Imam Hussain’s six months old son, all brutally killed and their heads severed and put on spears and flouted around bazars for days on almost 1000 mile long journey through deserts, mountains and forests.
Karbala did not end on 10th Moharram; the women and children of Imam Hussain and his family were made prisoners including Hazrat Imam Zain ul Abideen son of Imam Hussain and his son Imam Baqir who was barely five years old, Hazrat Zainab (S.A) sister of Hazrat Imam Hussain and four year old daughter of Imam Hussain, Hazrat Sakina (S.A). They faced the torture of Yazeed in the dungeons of Syria. This persecution of descendants of Prophet (pbuh) continued during the reign of Banu Ummayya and then Banu Abbass. Both dynasties are detested by Shia Muslims for their torture of next of kins of the Prophet. Yes Shias have committed the crime of loving the Prophet and his family and cursing their enemies.
We present ourselves every year to such practice. Dear Shia-phobes, try it once for any one of your loved ones. We do it to our self, we don’t bomb and kill innocent people in the name of religion.
Start of the differences of Shia and other sects of Islam
It is a historical fact that Shias are the people who have always stood by the descendants of Prophet known as Ahlul-Bayt and Aal-e-Muhammad. Differences within Muslims started from the succession of the Prophet. But succession of khilafat to Hazrat Ali (A.S) can be ignored as Ali himself did not indulge in the fight or argument for the khilafat. Real clash started when the daughter of Prophet Hazrat Fatima (S.A), in whose respect even Prophet himself would stand on her arrival, had to go to the darbar of the first Khalifa to demand her inheritance (Baghe Fidak, Gardens of Fidak); her inheritance was refused. Later she was attacked in her home by some people; she suffered serious injuries during that attack, which ultimately led to her death merely six months after the death of the Prophet (pbuh). No one is abusing any Sahabi neither it is our faith to degrade any Sahabi. Shias uphold the Sahaba who remained faithful to Prophet. Theirs is only one slogan: “May Allah have his curse on the enemies of Muhammad and his family”. Even though history is full of names of all the culprits, we don’t want to be the judge, we leave it to Allah Almighty to judge who was the enemy of the Aal-e-Muhammad.
Every day protest rallies are held, e.g., when people were out to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, people in those rallies were seen beating their chest but no one objected to that. If anyone had a chance to see when a dead body is taken from the house for burial, loved ones do what comes “natural”, i.e., they cry out a loud and start beating up their chest or their face in utter grief.
Dear Saleem Ali, would you also call this due to testosterone. Every year whole world on 1st May commemorates as Labor day, for a few nameless labourers killed in Chicago about a century ago, rallies and processions are taken out to commemorate that incident, but no one objects to that. But it bothers a few Shia phobes when Shia Muslims commemorate the brutal killings of the Prophet’s family. Shias have been persecuted for fourteen hundred years but these rituals to commemorate or mourn the shuhada of battle of Karbala have spread even at the faster pace.
A family friend and famous poet Josh Malih Abadi said:
Insan ko baidar to ho lainay do
Har qom pukaray gi hamaray hain Hussain