Pakistan's Ahl-e-Hadith Muslims remain misunderstood and mistreated.
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There are long held adverse stereotypes and misperceptions about the Ahl-e-Hadith (Salafi or Wahhabi) Muslims in Pakistani society.
Some of these adverse stereotypes include:
1. All Ahl-e-Hadith are a part of Jihadi-sectarian militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) aka Jamaatu-ud-Dawa (Jud);
2. They are blasphemers of the Prophet (pbuh);
3. They are blasphemers of the family of the Propeht (pbuh);
4. They support violence against other Muslim sects (e.g., Sunni Barelvis, Shias etc), and are responsible for the ongoing target killing of Shias, Barelvis, Ahmadis etc in Pakistan;
5. They are funded and supported by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and other Arab countries…. etc
While some of the above stereotypes may be applicable to only a tiny minority of the Ahl-e-Hadith Muslims, the majority of the Ahl-e-Hadith do no fall into the above described categories or stereotypes.
A dominant majority of Pakistan’s Ahl-e-Hadith Muslims are as peaceful, tolerant and moderate as are a majority of Pakistan’s Sunnis, Shias, Ahmadis, Christians and other communities.
They are neither a part of nor do they support Jihadi-sectarian militants (e.g., JuD-LeT, SSP-ASWJ, Taliban etc).
Their love and respect for the Prophet (pbuh) and his family is no less than other Muslims.
They do not support violence against other Muslims sects or non-Muslim groups.
Unlike Kharijis or Takfiris of Sipah-e-Sahaba and Taliban, they don’t issue fatwa of kufr (religious decree of apostasy) against other sects (e.g., Shia, Barelvi, Deobandi etc)
They earn their living through halal (legitimate) means in Pakistan. They don’t need any financial support from Saudi Arabia or any other country.
They condemn violence against and target killing of Shias, Sunnis, Ahmadis and other persecuted and target killed communities of Pakistan.
For example, Maulana Muhammad Ishaq of Faisalabad (Punjab) is Pakistan’s most eminent Ahl-e-Hadith scholar who promotes Sunni Shia unity and rejects all forms of violence against Muslims and non-Muslims.
Here is another example. Recently in November 2011, Ahl-e-Hadith people and scholars took out a public demonstration in Islamabad against an extremist Saudi-funded Jihadi-sectarian group Jamaat-ud-Dawa declaring them as Khariji terrorist organization which does not represent Pakistan’s Ahl-e-Hadith Muslims.
In yet another example, on 29 Feb 2012, Ahl-e-Hadith Muslims of India alleged the JuD-LeT duo and its parent body Markaz Dawa-wal-Irshad of Hafiz Saeed of being a part of a global conspiracy to bring bad name to Islam and Muslims. Here is a copy of the news report which was published in DNA, India.
LeT Taliban maligning Islam
Islamic scholars of Ahle Hadees faith here on Wednesday accused their Pakistani counterpart representing the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and its parent body Markaz Dawa-al-Irshad of being part of a global conspiracy to malign Islam. The Markazi Jamiat Ahle-e-Hadees, which is hosting the Imam of Holy shrine of Islam in Makkah, Dr Saud Bin Ibrahim Al Shoraim, here on March 2-3, said their faith even does not recognise street protests, and strongly denounces hijacking, bombing, or suicide missions. The main feature of two conferences of Markazi Jamiat Ahle-e-Hadees would be the presence of Imam-e-Kaaba Dr Alsharami. The Saudi Islamic scholar is also travelling to world famous Islamic seminary Deoband on Saturday. The organisers are expecting Shankaracharia Swami Adokshanand and some Buddhist leaders also to join the Imam of Kaaba at the Ramlila grounds on Friday. Often labeled as ‘Wahabis’ and accused of promoting radical brand of Islam, secretary general of the host organisation Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mahdi Salfi said suicide bombing and terrorism has done a great harm to Islam. “Even logically if a Palestinian bomber kills four or five Israeli Jews, the cost of retaliation is too heavy. Israelis in retaliation kills many more or arrest hundreds of Palestinians. There is no incentive. Even against oppression, there is need to continue peaceful struggle and create international awareness,” said the Maulana. “We believe Hafiz Mohamamd Sayeed, the chief of LeT, is a Khawarij (seceder or the rebel) and needs to be punished under the book,” he said. The Ahle Hadees sect often comes under attack in India for sharing ideology with the LeT or Dawa al Irshad headed by Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed. Clarifying his stance, Maulana Salfi said both Hafiz Sayeed and Taliban were part of an international conspiracy. He called these groups marauders and said their struggle was nowhere near ‘jihad’. He pointed out how America promoted these very groups when they were aligning with it to fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Claiming that a majority of Ahle Hadees followers in Pakistan were also up in arms against Hafiz Sayeed for taking over their mosques and establishments, Maulana said Islam does not believe taking extreme lines.
Source: Taliban, LeT maligning Islam: Scholars, DNA, New Delhi, Published: Thursday, Mar 1, 2012
Note: Some parts of this post are adapted from Aamir Mughal’s excellent blog: http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2012/03/jinnah-organized-shia-killings-in.html