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16 January 2009

An Islamic Solution...

... to Islamic extremism in India
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Surajit Dasgupta
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This article is not to suggest that the only security problem India is facing at the moment owes to the intolerant part or interpretation of Islam. For sure, the Hindutwa movement, increasingly turning violent in several parts of India, is a cause for concern. And so is the Christian evangelical zeal that entails abusing Hindu beliefs, which is being practised largely in southern India, providing ample provocation to those who would have us believe that Hinduism is facing the threat of extinction. But there is no dearth of counsellors teaching lessons of restraint to Hindu extremists. As for Christian extremism, which has stayed away from bombing the country so far, mercifully, it is a subject matter of a separate article. Let us first look for solutions within the religion that has produced most of the terrorists and for the longest period of time. For, sane voices from Muslim moderates are not being able to stop an increasing number of youth from the community from joining the violent form of جهاد/jihAd; "الجهاد في سبيل الله"/al jihAd fI sabIl Allah (striving to be in the path of God) is being interpreted by major sections of both believers and Islam's detractors in a manner as if destruction of those who do not believe in a certain philosophy alone pleases God.

My introduction to Islam in a formal manner began in 1991 when my passion for poetry took me to an unlikely centre for Islamic studies: the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Gol Park, Calcutta. I began by getting myself enrolled for a two-year course on Urdu. In course of my learning, I realised my education was going to be as incomplete in Urdu without the knowledge of Arabic and Persian as that in Hindi would have been had I not learnt Sanskrit as well. But getting admission in more than a course at a time was not permitted under the administrative rules of the RK Mission. So I sought my استاذ/Ustaaz's ("ustaad" in colloquial) help, who readily agreed to my visiting his house to take lessons on Arabic and Persian.

Mohammed Rafique Shibli was an octogenarian Sunni (a member of the community أهل السنة‎/ Ahl as Sunnah) residing in the city's Park Circus area. A terrific teacher, he was the first linguist I had come across who wouldn't teach a language through the hackneyed method of first making students memorise the rules of grammar. Instead, he would narrate tales and lores of Islam, leave them half way and ask us to do further research, come back to the class the next day and narrate the rest. While we did that, he would correct and refine our grammar as well as diction. It was thus that Mohammed's days as a salesman, his marriage to a trader, his becoming 'The Prophet', his hijr to Medina, subsequent fights, defeats and victories in battles, his grandson Hussain's martyrdom at Karbala, etc unfolded to this writer.

In hindsight, in every story that I learnt from Ustaaz Shibli, one thing that I do not find admirable anymore is the way he talked about شيعة/Shi'ahs. From the way they commemorate the incident of Karbala during Muharram to the way the kingdoms of Siraj-ud-daulah and Tipu Sultan fell, he saw a Shi'ah demon behind them all. Back then, all us Hindu students the teacher had, however, took his word for gospel truth and gradually saw in every Shi'ah the face of a Mir Jafar or a Mir Sadiq.

Time passed and I migrated to New Delhi, went for higher education to Glasgow (Scotland), worked in Vanves (France) and Sydney (Australia), before returning to this country's capital once again. Given that about 85% of the world's Muslim are Sunni, that is the community I ran into in all my interactions with Muslims in all these said places. And I found none in the sect who had an elevated opinion about the remaining 13% of Muslims, let alone the smaller creeds that make the rest of 2%. So, expectedly, my knowledge about the Shi'ahs remained prejudiced until I met with some stiff resistance from some Hindu right wing journalists while working with The Pioneer. Two supporters of the (Indian National) Congress who worked with us too saw in the fall of Siraj and Tipu a blessing in disguise for India. Ergo, they wouldn't see a 'sin' in the treachery of the two 'Mir's partly responsible for the British victory in the battles of Plassey and Srirangapatna.

Alongside, several incidents were happening on the Islamic front in India: the rape of an Imrana Bibi by her father-in-law and the demand by a former husband to get back his wife Gudiya who had been married off to another man when the former couldn't be traced in the Indian Army which he used to serve. The sensibility of India, by and large a society not aware of the intricacies of the شريعة/Shari'ah, stood thoroughly shaken by the counsel (it wasn't a فتوى‎/fatwa) that the Deoband-following village panchayats gave to Imrana. It seemed as though Islam said a rapist became a woman's de facto husband! While that notion was repudiated by the Muslim clergy, where they certainly were categorical was in the ruling that Imrana's marriage with her husband was no longer valid.

The predicament of Gudiya was no less riveting. In her place, a Hindu, Sikh or Christian woman wouldn't, in all probability, have bothered to ask a religious 'house of lords' whether she could return to her first husband, stay with the second, carry the foetus implanted in her womb by the latter up to delivery or abort it or ask the first husband to accept the child whose biological father he wasn't. A poker-faced news presenter of Zee News made her plight worse by grilling the poor village woman on camera for more than three hours.

Throughout this course, the only voice of sanity from the Islamic community was coming from the Shi'ah quarters even as eminent Sunni intellectuals maintained an apprehensive — they must have feared ostracism — distance from the issue in their regular newspaper columns and television appearances. The voice of reason continued as we heard the Shi'ah opinion on several other social issues: Maulana Kalb-e-Sadiq's advice of going easy on طلاق/talAq, Maulana Kalb-e-Jawaad's balanced counsel on the matter of حجاب/hijAb and the formation of their separate personal law board by Indian Shi'ah women, barely a few days after the formation of the All-India Muslim Women Personal Law Board, to facilitate women's education, progress and development are just three examples. It was then that I attempted to refresh my memory of the decade gone by.

Interestingly, I found that most Muslims that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was hobnobbing with — and most Muslims apparently enamoured with him — before the 2004 elections were Shi'ahs. Of course, the self-styled "Atal Bihari Vajpayee Himayat Committee", formed before the 2004 elections, comprised several Sunnis as well. The Hindu columnist Harish Khare wondered, "... is this effort to reach out to Muslim voters a temporary phenomenon, confined only to the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, or are we witnessing sincere efforts aimed at a historic revision of the BJP-Muslim ties?" That was one of the most sought after questions in every political observer's mind around that time. But one has reason to doubt that religious leaders like Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Ejaz Ali, Maulana Jamil Ahmad Ilyasi, Tanvir Ahmed, et al, who paid glowing tributes to the then prime minister from the podium, actually translated their words into votes for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections that followed. And the BJP had received so much of bad press since 1992 that it seemed unlikely Muslims would ever vote for the party no matter what concessions it was ready to give to the community. The saffron party wasn't that naïve not to have known that. Therefore, let's consider concrete actions instead of words.

Vajpayee too cerebral for the Hindutwa brigade? An activist of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad raises slogans against then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during a protest in Ahmedabad, April 2004

Among other pro-Shi'ah measures taken by the NDA Government, Vajpayee had promised the sect ownership of the درگه/dargah of Shah-e-Madan — euphemised as 'Karbala' — near Lodi Road, New Delhi. In case of foreign policy, the then prime minister had visited Iran in April 2001, where he had extolled the Iranian Revolution under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and spoke to the Majlis, invoking two couplets of Khwāja Shams-ud-dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e-Shīrāzī (Hafez): "mezAj-e-dahr tabAh shod dar in balA 'Hafez'/ kojAst fekr-e-hakImI o rAy-e-barahmani//" [ref: terminal couplet in the linked page] {"Overwhelmed by all the destruction witnessed on earth, the world has lost both the sound thoughts of a sage and the mature opinion of a Brahmin"; interestingly, the Government of India's (Press Information Bureau's) site translated "hakIm" not as "sage", but as "Iranian"!} Vajpayee had hitherto or thereafter never been to another Islamic country to sing paeans to its transformation into a theocratic state. If praising the theocrat Khomeini — who saw in the Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlawi) of Iran a reflection of Yazid (ibn Mu'awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan), the tyrant who had ordered the execution of Hussain ibn Ali — was not a Shi'ah-Sunni discrimination on the part of the Indian 'statesman', what else was it? Vajpayee's constituency Lucknow, research yielded, had about 150,000 Shi'ah voters. The vision of the poet-prime minister must, however, have had a wider scope.

Could it have been a two-pronged political strategy — embrace the relatively progressive lot among the Muslims on the one hand, and create a schism in the Islamic society on the other? I called up the journalist in whose position I had joined The Pioneer after she left the office citing reasons of health. Rupa Sengupta, as heard from my then colleague Udayan Namboodiri, would hardly ever speak during the editorial meetings with Chandan Mitra. Rather, she would be all ears, noting down whatever Mitra would have to say on a given topic, virtually verbatim. Her submissive behaviour, however, put her in a kind of an advantageous position. She had the chance to read Mitra's mind and, thus, in effect, the BJP's. Sengupta told me my presumption was quite right, and lamented that the RSS couldn't gauge Vajpayee's gameplan and unduly belittled and ridiculed him. Other journalists say thousands of swayamsewaks, irked by the then premier's 'newfound love' for Muslims, went to the extent of sabotaging the BJP electoral campaign and extended help to the respective rival candidates in hundreds of constituencies across the country. In the next few months, my understanding of Vajpayee's 'pro-Muslim' policy received further support from many correspondents covering the BJP beat, whom I would chat with at the Press Club.

Was this a dangerous or a workable political strategy? Have Indian Shi'as really taken the modern ways of society in their stride? How true is the popular Sunni stereotyping of their Shi'ah brethren as 'traitors' (this is albeit rarely admitted by a Sunni leader publicly)? The East India Company readily accepted the 'services' of Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq but, once its battles were won, did not deliver on the promises of largesse it had given to the two Shi'ahs. Not to be overlooked is the fact that Tipu Sultan was a Shi'ah too. So, the Sunnis cannot possibly mean the Shi'ahs single them out for betrayal, sparing fellow Shi'ahs, can they? Therefore, do the Sunnis insinuate that it is in the 'genetic makeup' of a Shi'ah to cheat, irrespective of the religion/community of his target?

From the viewpoint of governance, should Indian wisdom take a route different from that of the British? If the Sunni perception is true, are non-Muslim Indians better off dealing with the majority sect that rigidly states there are certain issues on which it does not agree with the rest of India, or with the minority sect that is seemingly more flexible but might retract any of its statements any day? Politeness may be genuine or fake; rudeness for sure is always genuine. Is grey preferable to black-and-white?

My rethink concerning the country's Shi'ah population couldn't have reached anywhere without some support from history that is even older. My good offices with an erudite colleague from Acme Tele Power Ltd, Abbas Jalis Rizvi, a Shi'ah, came in handy. I now got a Shi'ah perspective of the whole Islamic story. Then, I needed documented historical accounts to strike a balance between Ustaaz Shibli's and friend Rizvi's versions. Though for different reasons, both the versions had projected Shi'ism as the less orthodox/rigid sect.

But lo! My two sets of prejudiced education on Islam received the first jolt when I found that in the very first reason that led to the split of the community, Sunnism being more orthodox than Shi'ism came across as a myth. The Prophet's succession as agreed upon by the Shi'ah is roughly based on Mohammed's DNA! No one but a descendant of the رسول/rasUl can be a Shi'ah Imam. Whereas the Sunnis follow the الخلفاء الراشدون/al khhulAfA' ar rAshidun — "rightly guided Caliphs". Back to the present era, we see a Shi'ah woman in the Middle East cover her face up to the chin whereas a Sunni woman would leave the chin exposed. Anyway, the two instances of relative Sunni rationality and modernity, respectively, are perhaps the last arguments in its favour from a modernist's perspective. Negotiable procedures that the Shi'ahs allow but the Sunnis don't are numerous — نكاح المتعة‎/nikAh ul mut'Ah (temporary marriage; lit. "marriage for pleasure") is just one instance. A few others will follow. Let us now get to a hardcore political issue: religious extremism and, finally, terrorism.

The atrocities committed by Sunnis on Shi'ahs far outnumber those the latter committed on the former, starting from the Abbasid Caliphate era up to these days' frequent bombing of Shi'ah mosques by Sunni militants in Pakistan. The Sunnis who call Shi'ahs traitors must be reminded that treachery had perhaps begun in their own fold. The Abbasids had garnered the support of the local Shi'ah population by claiming the dynasty's familial links with the Prophet. However, once the Umayyads were defeated, the Caliph embraced Sunni Islam and disowned the Shi'ahs, showing no gratitude towards his wartime associates.

Who's this Henrik Ibsen? This grafitti inside a mosque in Iraq reads "al wahhAbiyat ai'dAr ul irAq (Wahhabis are the enemies of Iraq)"

India has its own instance of Shi'ah-Sunni clash, and quite a recent one at that. Kashmiri Shi'ah leader Aga Syed Mehdi, son of spiritual leader Aga Syed Mustafa al Moosavi, was killed by Sunni militants through a landmine blast in November 2000. The aftermath of the incident — Mehdi's funeral was attended by two of NDA Government's ministers — witnessed two rare phenomena in the Valley: One, mourners in thousands in the Budgam, Srinagar and Baramulla districts shouted anti-Pakistan slogans while holding the militants responsible for the explosion and, two, there were mini Shi'ah-Sunni riots in various parts of the valley.

Even in terms of what Muslim fanatics term as "jihad", which has a global reach, القاعدة/Al Qaidah is much more menacing than the حزب الله/Hizbullah; the second does not operate much beyond Lebanon. In fact, the advocates of تكفير/takfIr {excommunication of the كافر/kAfir (non-believer)} in the Qaidah fold want total annihilation of the Shi'ahs from the face of the earth. Perhaps the only global news made by Shi'ah extremism was the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, demanding writer Salman Rushdie's head.

India, of course, has thankfully been spared a prolonged trauma of Shi'ah-Sunni strife perhaps because Islamism's hands are too full engaging with kAfirs at the moment. Besides, the Indian Shi'ah population constitutes even less than 13% of the entire Indian Muslim population and their mosques can be counted on fingers. That is, they hardly have the potential to challenge the Sunni political position in India until something that I will propose subsequently materialises.

To a non-Muslim Indian, it should not matter which sect of Islam honours the القرآن/Qur'an more in word and spirit. To him, it does not matter whether the words of أهل البيت/Ahl al bait {lit. "members of the house/family (of the Prophet)"} qualify as Hadith. He hardly cares who all are authorised to issue a fatwa (this is another of Shi'ah merits; just about a handful of their members in the whole world have this authority; among Sunnis, however, every other day a Maulana Tom, a Maulana Dick or a Maulana Harry, masquerading as a مجتهد/mujtahid (one who can apply اجتهاد/ijtihAd, the Islamic law of independent interpretation of the Qur'an and the Sunnah), issues a fatwa, damning the world that irritates him; curiously, many Indian Sunnis take fatwAs too seriously, knowing little that they are not binding for the sect, unlike the case with the Shi'ahs. Most non-Muslim Indians would hardly care how a caliph was selected after the death of Mohammed and how he is selected now. To the atheist Indian, a مهدي/mahdI {the believed redeemer of Islam who will live on earth 7, 9 or 19 years before يوم القيامة‎/yaum al qiyAmah (the Day of the Resurrection)} cannot be possible anyway; so how does it matter whether he would or wouldn't be related to the end of days? How many non-Muslims can tell by observing a Muslim offering his prayers the differences in the صلاة‎/salAh and, thus, reckon whether touching the prayer mat or a تربة/turbah with one's forehead is a 'purer' expression?

What a non-Mulsim can easily tell, however, is who of the two is following the Shari'ah and who is merely 'vigilant' to check if the society around is in order. And some rules of the Shari'ah are something that makes shiver run down the spine of every non-Muslim. That, in fact, is the very idea behind this code — instill the fear of justice in the minds of potential criminals. Yet, the 'justice' is sometimes just unpalatable to our post-Industrial Revolution tastes. One instance should be enough to demonstrate it.

A woman friend of mine was working in Riyadh many years ago. One day as she was buying vegetables, a vendor, wrongly presuming a foreigner would not be insured as much under the Shari'ah as a Saudi Muslim, tried to molest her. On screaming, the lady soon found some cops rushing to her rescue. A local قاضی/Qazi instituted a makeshift court immediately. The woman was then given a chopper and ordered to chop the convict's right arm off. She shrieked and pleaded she couldn't even visualise herself doing something so ghastly, leave alone execute the order. It was but construed as contempt of the court and she was deported back to India, a country that does not have the stomach for such 'justice'. Maybe for this reason, Sunnis get an excuse not to follow the Shari'ah in criminal cases though they swear by its words in civil cases like the nikAh.

By now, some Sunni readers must have started looking for the writer's motive behind penning this essay. Well, there is a motive. As a linguist, I am concerned with the artificial, bigoted change that Urdu and Bengali are undergoing at the moment in Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively. If left in the hands of the Sunnis, خدا/khhudA — "Khoda" in Bengali — will soon become an extinct word, replaced completely by "Allah" and the beautifully rounded نستعليق/nastA'lIq (Persian) script will be elbowed out by the flat نسخ/naskhh (Arabic) script, the letters of which are not only less comely but also difficult to be penned by fingers. In fact, though my first Arabic teacher Shibli could bend his fingers to make the letters look like Naskh, following the اعراب/ai'rAb methodology (where diacritics are a must), the second, Mr Mohammed Manzar Alam, who helped me refresh my knowledge of the language at Delhi RK Puram's Talim-al-Qur'an mosque, found it extremely straining to write Arabic in the Arabic script. Yet, more and more students of Urdu are being forced by their Sunni teachers to abandon the Nasta'liq script. Worse, the number of Persian words used in Urdu is constantly declining.

These days, a student would find it confusing to note that while he is taught in the first lesson that Urdu evolved from the interactions between لشكراردوِ/lashkar-e-Urdu (pilot army) of Muslim invaders who spoke Persian and Indians speaking northern dialects, from the second lesson onwards, coming across Persian words is a rarity.

And of course, the mention of my favourite poet Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan 'Ghalib' is a must. Though born in a Sunni family, his tolerant views and agnosticism owed largely to the company of his Zoroastrian-turned-Shi'ah teacher, Mullah Abdus Samad Harmuzd (to honour his teacher's request for anonymity, 'Ghalib' would often argue no such person ever existed).

Maulana Kalb-e-Jawaad: "Malicious propaganda has been launched on the Internet by Zionist forces against Shia Islam", November 2007

Shouldn't India, whose semi-intellectual policy makers have little appetite for gore but a great stomach for inconclusively long debates, welcome that community within Islam that suits its sociological palate better? Even legally, the percentage of Shi'ahs would make a perfect case for their "minority" status; shouldn't a law be made redefining the term to exclude the massive Sunni population from this club of privileges? It would also be conveniently 'secular'; a pro-Shi'ah government cannot be called anti-Muslim! In addition, the nation will benefit from the relatively modern Shi'ah opinion on women's status in society, especially their education and marital rights. At least the Indian Shi'ah women are allowed more liberty than both their Iranian and Indian Sunni counterparts.

Finally, the likes of the Indian Mujahideen — comprising mainly Sunnis — will be further cornered and Islamic terrorism will stand thoroughly confused about its future targets. If in a fit of frustration they attack the Shi'ahs, this as well as the new pro-Shi'ah policy of a new government will leave the Organisation of Islamic Conference a house divided. That would be of great advantage to India in the international community. In terms of geography, the fanatics who dream of creating a Mughalistan stretching between Pakistan and Bangladesh will suddenly find a non-Sunni barrier, which may have more affinity with Iran rather than Pakistan, in between. The history of prevalence of Sunnism and Shi'ism in various parts of the world indicate clearly which state patronised which sect. Politics for sure turned some countries that were once Sunni into predominantly Shi'ah states, Iran being the best example. India may well try it out with its Muslim population. In the long run, more Muslims would prefer being in that fold which enjoys more state-sponsored privileges, notwithstanding the allegiance they claim to have towards the Sunnah. And how India would stand to benefit through this intra-Islamic conversion has already been explained. India might well have lesser troubles if more of its Muslims were Shi'ahs instead of Sunnis.

India, think about it!

Clarification

Several readers have pointed out that the solution proposed in this article is not the ideal one, and that Shi'ah extremism has been as violent as its Sunni counterpart in various parts of the world. The writer agrees to both these contentions. At the same time, he notes that for ages columnists and sane political leaders, while speaking from the platform of the Fourth Estate, have been advising the state to take the ideal path to sort out the problem of Islamic extremism. But has it worked? Have the crafty politicians, who far outnumber the ethical ones, bothered to pay heed? No. It is a given that the knave will listen to what is clever, and not what is ideal. The whole exercise of lecturing the devious rulers of the country on the virtues of a caste-less, religion-less society serves no purpose other than getting congratulatory messages from a tiny club of 'admirers' a day after the publication of one such article. This is, therefore, not an article for other journalists to read and opine about but for the politicians to study and ponder over. Will it work? History suggests it might. After all, the Shi'ahs of India have been known to be more docile and given to reason and dialogue than their Middle Eastern fellow followers. In the Middle East too, the writer sees Shi'ah extremism as a clever political ploy to find supporters to the 'Islamic' cause when other diplomatic measures fail. In clearer terms, the writer finds that while Wahhabism is borne out of a certain school of interpretation of Islam, the Shi'ah call to all Muslims for 'universal brotherhood' per se has nothing to do with an exhortation from the scriptures.


The writer is a mathematician and linguist, now a corporate communicator and has been a science journalist, a teacher and a marketing manager (in reverse chronological order) in his previous vocations

6 comments:

Red Baron said...

Extremism in any form is bad,Shia or Sunni.Imam Bukhari a radical cleric is Shia,how can we guarantee that majority Shia population would not equate an Iran like situation .Shiraj ud Duallah and Tipu Sultan are not good enough examples to convince me.So should I say citing the examples of Akbar and Suleiman the lawgiver of Ottoman empire as Sunni rulers being exceedingly tolerant? No ,it doesn't work that way.From child execution,to stoning women,to every inhuman form of punishment can be seen in the current Shia Government of Iran.Moreover the self flagellation aspect common amongst Shia Muslims in South Asia especially doesn't present the rosiest of pictures.
The most important thing that we need is religious tolerance and reduction of role of religion in public affairs.The aim should be to strive for a secular society which is missing in India.The question is not just about Shia Sunni,its about religious overdose.In subcontinent even if we remove all Muslims,I can bet people would still be against public display of affection and still we will have to laugh at ourselves for being more intolerant than many Muslim majority nations like Turkey,Egypt,Tunisia and Malaysia where women are free to wear bikinis.I don't say in India they are not,but society raises far more questions.So on the whole freedom is taking a backseat,as I could see through the IPL cheerleader issue when the hue and cry was raised mainly by the self proclaimed guardians of "culture",who were 99.99% Hindus.
The aim should be to promote tolerance and education and maximizing individual liberties.

Anonymous said...

Shias may be rigid in how they follow Islam, but there are many important fundamental beleifs/factors that distinguish them from other muslim sects.The first and foremost being that they do not treat other sects as Kafirs( non-believers). Moreover,they believe in co-existence with non-muslims as well as other sects.No religious leader from the Shia community had ever issued any Fatwa to kill or annihilate non-muslims or members of other sects.One will see number of terrorist outfits from Sunni sects e.g Al-Qaeda, Lashkare Tayaaba,Indian Mujahideen,Jaishe Mohammed and so on, but not a single outfit sprung from the Shia sect( you cannot call Hizbullah a terrorist organization as it has no other agenda except to protect Lebanon from the invasion of Israel).
Shia leader in India, Maulana Kalbe Jawwad also talks of unity amongst Shias and Sunnis and he was the only Muslim leader at whose call over 8 laks muslims(shias and Sunnis) assembled at Lucknow to protest against America.
Another important point raised by the author is to give a seperate status of minority to the Shias of India( as all the benefits are snatched by Sunnis leaving nothing for the Shias)
Lastly, Mr Red Baron should correct himself that Imam Bukhari is not a Shia. He is a Sunni.

Anonymous said...

As far as the fatwas are concerned,the fatwa on Salman Rushdie is by Ayatollah Khomeini very much Shia.Regarding co existence of other communities one can clearly see a massive persecution of Sunni Balochis,Zoroastrians and Bahai people besides Sunni Kurds since the Iranian revolution.Not much co existence of other religions peacefully there. Iran's actions has to be taken exemplary because of the 15% Shias most of them are Iranians.Moreover Iran was "Shia'sed" during the rule of the Safavid dynasty who had an excellent record in depopulating Iran of Zoroastrians.In Iraq too these days,one doesn't hear of a lot of tolerance by Shias though Saddam can be blamed for this conflict.
Yes,I also agree with the above poster Syed Ahmed Bukhari is Sunni not a Shia.

Anonymous said...

Though I did not read the article till the last, but got fascinated by your interest hence thought of dropping this message to you and Abbas both.
1. The Shiah Belief Of Selecting Ali as the successor is ot based on the DNA, but as announced by prophet With the Command of Allah swt .(during his last pilgrimage). Let me give you a complete History.
After performing the last Hajj rites, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) left for Medina. When he reached Ghadeer-e-Khum, near Johfa, the archangel Gabriel descended with the verse" 1) "O Messenger (of Allah)! Convey what has been revealed to you from your Lord. And if you do it not, then you have not, delivered His message (prophethood), and Allah will protect you from the people. Surely Allah will not guide the disbelieving people."(Al-Quran - Chapter 5 (Surah Maidah) Verse 67))." Upon hearing this, prophet summoned All the people who had attanded th elast pilgrimage. It was a deserted place and Prophet waited everyone to come (those who had gone ahead and left behind in the last journey). When they gathered, prophet gave his surmon, starting with the praise of Almighty Allah. he then called Ali to Himslef and announced "MAN KUNTO MAULA HO FAHAZA ALIUN MAULA" ("Of whomsoever I am the master, Ali is his master too. As soon as the Surmon was over, another verse was revealed " "This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed my favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion."(Surah Maidah, 5:3)"

My Question to All Scholars is to Study the two ayahs, their place of revealtion, the incident pre-post etc and minutely study the chain of narrations to get to the truth.

This Event is popularly known as "event of Ghadir Khumm" - Ghadir Khumm is a place located between Mecca and Medina in the vicinity of al-Juhfah . It was the place where pilgrims (hajis) from different provinces would part company and take different routes for their respective homes....

There are at least 185 sunni books which have mentioned the event of Ghadir.

In case of understanding the same, I would be more than happy o provide you reading materials to find your the truths in your history
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As far as the second point of Shiites not considering non muslim is as Kafir is very Simple. If you understand the meaning f Kafir it means the one who does not acknowledge/agree. By Arabic grammer, EVERONE is a kafir (of some issues)Be it shia, sunni, moslem, non-moslem. All .
If Shias are Kafir for Khalifa Rashidin, Sunnis are Kafir of Acceptance of Imams. Hinsus are Kafir of not accepting Islam, Moslems are Kaafirs for not bowing to idols. Why should religious leader from the Shia community ever issue any Fatwa to kill or annihilate non-muslims or members of other sects when religious are to be respected. It has a long debate and one need time to really go deep into the subject....Leaving it to some toher time.

Suggestions are welcome at syedjnaqvi@hotmail.com

Surajit Dasgupta said...

Syed J Naqvi sAhab,
as-salAm-O-alaikum
! My comment, "The Prophet's succession as agreed upon by the Shi'ah is roughly based on Mohammed's DNA!" was a quip. You took it literally. The remark is based on the following historical fact: Unlike the Sunnis, who believe in the caliphate of the first four preachers who ruled after the death of Mohammed -- Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman Ibn Affan and Ali -- the Shī'ahs refuse to follow the authority of the first three. I further learnt that the sect you belong to also believes that Ali and his descendants by the Prophet's daughter Fatimah -- whom you call إمام/imAms -- are the only legitimate Islamic leaders, owing to what you believe is their special spiritual powers [that they are معصوم/mA'sUm (immune to sin), etc]. Look at the highlighted part of my last sentence and you would know what I meant by "DNA".
احقر٬
سرجيت داسگپتا

Agha, Pakistan said...

These are the 14 Infallibles.

An introduction to fourteen infallibles
Hazrat Muhammad (SAW)
Hazrat Ali (A)
Hazrat fatima (A)

Hazrat Hassan (A)
Hazrat Hussain (A)
Hazrat Zain ul Abidin (A)

Hazrat Imam Baqir (A)
Hazrat Jaffer sadiq (A)
Hazrat Musa Kazim (A)

Hazrat Ali Reza (A)
Hazrat Ali Naqi (A)
Hazrat Ali Taqi (A)

Hazrat Hassan Askari (A)
Hazrat Imam Mehdi (A)

http://www.shiasofkashmir.com/mohammad.asp

Non other than the 14 mentioned above are Ma'suum (Immune to Sin)

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Surajit Dasgupta treats no individual, organisation or institution as a holy cow.