Pakistan

Seminar on Imam Hussain (A.S.) and Sectarianism

salamyahussainI am appalled to read “Sectarianism at IBA: A bomb waiting to explode” authored by Wasay Yasir at Aaj TV’s blog (http://blogs.aaj.tv/2012/05/sectarianism-at-iba-a-bomb-waiting-to-explode/).
 The author is of the view that permitting students to hold a seminar on Imam Hussain (AS) is tantamount to encourage sectarianism. He wrote: If Shias can have Youm-e-Hussain (A.S.) at IBA, CBM, SZABIST then the Sunnis are bound to feel discriminated against and would rise to have the Khulafa-e-Rashideen commemorated as well.”
 
I am sure the author has not studied about Imam Hussain (AS), his ideology and sacrifices and the contents of the seminars or Youm-e-Hussain (A.S.) that are held in educational institutions. Nor he has any knowledge about our Sunni brothers’ traditions about commemorating sacred persons.  
 
Imam Hussain (A.S.), the grandson of Hazrat Muhammad, holy prophet and last apostle of God Almighty is co-chief of youths of Paradise. Sunni and Shia Muslims believe in it according to a saying of Hazrat Muhammad (S.AW.W.). All Muslims believe in paradise and hell and spend their lives to get a place in paradise. There are many sayings of the holy prophet (P.B.U.H.) about the greatness of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (peace be upon them). Therefore, Imam Hussain (A.S.) is not a controversial person between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
 
However, Sunni Muslims are divided into many schools of thought. Deobandi and Wahhabis don’t commemorate birth and death anniversaries. Take the example of Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. No such programmes are held because they don’t believe in observance of these days. Unlike them, Shia Muslims have a rich tradition to observe these days as regular annual feature. Many Sunni Muslims copy Shia Muslims and hold special programmes on the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussain (AS).
 
Since the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS), Islam and Muslims were divided into two main groups. One group is supporters of Umayyad ruler Yazid and other group recognizes Imam Hussain (AS) as their hero and role model. True Muslims are proud of having Imam Hussain (AS) as their leader.  Even today, this difference of opinion persists.
 
The speakers/scholars who address congregations on Youm-e-Hussain or seminar highlight the lifestyle of Imam Hussain (AS). They narrate how Imam Hussain (AS) spent his life and why he challenged the despotic rule of Umayyad caliph Yazid.
 
Another point is the fact that even non-Muslims acknowledge Imam Hussain as their hero. Imam Hussain is globally accepted as a role model revolutionary leader. The world’s statesmen, philosophers and intellectuals were inspired by Imam Hussain.
 
So, holding an annual programme in commemoration of Imam Hussain (AS) cannot be opposed as sectarianism. Instead, Imam Hussain (AS) is a symbol of unity between Sunni and Shia Muslims.         

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