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Why 6th July remains important for Shia Muslims even after 39 years

Mohammad Ammar / Shiite News Exclusive.  Shia Muslim citizens remember 6th July as a landmark day when they won recognition of one of their religious rights by the state through a peaceful campaign.

Nearly four decades ago, Shia Muslims rallied under the dynamic leadership of a pious scholar Mufti Jafar Hussain to protest.

In 1980, their protest shook the foundation of dictatorial regime of General Ziaul Haq who had ruled Pakistan as Martial Law dictator since ousting Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s elected government.

Most importantly, timing mattered much because no opposition party had courage to come out on streets to challenge unelected and unconstitutional regime in 1980.

The unelected Zia regime who lacked Constitutional legitimacy had ordered bank authorities to deduct Zakat from accounts of all Muslim citizens.
In accordance with Shia Islamic jurisprudence interpretation, Shia citizens are required to pay khums i.e. one time 20 percent on their saved money.

First, Zakat is not applied on saved money, according to them. However, they too pay Zakat but on crops, etc. And second, they pay khums or Zakat either to Shia Islamic religious authority or under their permission.

Hence, Shia Islamic scholars, religious leaders, notables and youths raised objection to forced collection in the name of Zakat.

Unconstitutional and unelected dictatorial regime under Gen Zia tried everything to suppress and gag the legitimate peaceful protest. But, he failed.
Finally, the regime held talks with representatives of Shia Muslims and finally conceded to their legitimate demand.

Although their struggle remained peaceful since the day one, the protesters lost one of their comrades.
Mohammad Hussain Shaad from Shorkot embraced martyrdom due to firing at the protesters. Hence, Shia Muslims remember him the first martyr of their struggle in 1980s.

Not only for Pakistan, but 6th July remains an unavoidable point for historians of political Islam and Shia Islam across the world.

Timing mattered

Most importantly, timing mattered much. Back in 1980, no opposition party had courage to come out on streets to challenge unelected and unconstitutional regime. Zia regime also enjoyed support from some religious parties.

Many achievements in one struggle

Therefore, Shia Muslims peaceful struggle encouraged other political opponents to emulate them to attain legitimate rights.

Another important aspect had it the 6th July gave Shia unity and the practical idea of leadership of a pious scholar and a party.

First, that struggle rallied them under Mufti Jafar Hussain’s leadership. He was among two Shia Islamic scholars who had signed the Objective Resolution in 1950s. Many a times, he had advised founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah on Islamic issues.

The 6th July struggle gave Shia Muslims Tehreek-e-Nifaz Fiqh-e-Jafaria in reaction to unelected General Zia’s divide and rule policy. One has to note that a sectarian outfit with divisive slogan had forced Shia Muslims to demand Fiqh-e-Jafaria or for them.
Even after that, sectarian hatemongering outfits tried to deceive compatriots on Shia movement but

Allama Syed Arif Hussain al Hussaini, the successor of Mufti Jafar Hussain rebuffed all charges. He made clear that they demand enforcement of Fiqh-e-Jafaria for Shia Isna Ashari specifically.

Constitution of Pakistan 

Notably, Constitution of Pakistan guarantees their rights under Article 227 (Provisions relating to the Holy Quran and Sunnah). That states: “227 (1) All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, in this Part referred to as the Injunctions of Islam, and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such injunctions.
“1[Explanation.-In the application of this clause to the personal law of any Muslim sect, the expression “Quran and Sunnah” shall mean the Quran and Sunnah as interpreted by that sect.] “(3) Nothing in this Part shall affect the personal laws of non-Muslim citizens or their status as citizens.”

In 1980, their protest shook the foundation of dictatorial regime of General Ziaul Haq.

Since many Shia leaders, scholars and organizations own the July 6, 1980 as a day of their united struggle, they claim they inherit that legacy.
Shia Ulema Council, Imamia Students Organisation, Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, Tehreek Baidari-e-Ummat-e-Mustafa, Asgharia Students Organisation and others own the 6th July struggle.

6th July in history of Political Islam 

That means the 6th July remains a source of joint celebrations. No doubt, 6th July continues to remain a source of inspiration for rights struggle to all Pakistanis.

Not only for Pakistan, but 6th July remains an unavoidable point for historians of political Islam and Shia Islam across the world.

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