Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Islamic new year and religious fantatics

Moharram ul Haram is Islamic calender's first month. Therefore, as a rule, it should be celebrated across Muslim world. All people of all religions and cultures celebrate their new years with various forms of prayers, worships, thanksgiving, alms giving, and lot of fanfare. Unfortunately, Muslims don't celebrate their new year in any special way. No special prayers are made; no one really cares to visit an orphan with gifts in hand; no one bothers to take time to buy special items for one's own family members. Tragedy of Karbala looms large on our new year. Though Karbala shows a classic example of sacrifice for the religion of Allah, some sects of Islam (eg. Shi'sm) consider any celebrations as against the norms and culture of Islam. Where these people have brought ma'tam (self torture by hitting oneself repeatedly by palm of right hand or by cutting one's head and arms and chest with sharp edged object) from cannot be ascertained. Too much twisting of historical facts must have gone in to convert an Islamic new year into a case for 40-day mourning. [No other religion in the world has any example of such long mourning].

One way of looking at Muharram is to look at Muslims themselves. Muslims, as a general rule, are seriously outdated in their approach towards life, business and almost all major products of our time. We are not media savy and anyone, even the stupid Hindu fundamentalists, can easily convince the larger world that indeed Pakistan was involved in Mumbai attacks on 26th Nov, 2008 (sic). We are also, therefore, incapable of defending our new year and its much needed celebrations. We are being taken on a ride by a minority which thinks, rightly or wrongly, that in Moharram they can dictate terms to the majority. Very sad that majority Sunnis cannot do anything substantial about the minority sect. Now that the President of Pakistan, that one idealistic man with no records to prove, is also a Shia, Moharram has become even more of a trouble than anything else. Pakistan, it must be noted, comes to a standstill during at least first 10 days of our Islamic new year.

I asked my elders whether these dramatic events were there during their good days. And I was told that only 10th Moharram would be a public holiday with a solemn march of Shias through the main M.A Jinnah Road, Karachi. Now, 5th Moharram march of shias bring Karimabad, mina bazaar, Liaqatabad, and other adjoining areas to a standstil. Then, 7th Moharram procession of shia stops almost half the traffic of Karachi (area around Kharadar, Saddar, M.A Jinnah road is badly affected). Then on 8th Moharram once again there is some shia procession through M.A Jinnah road. Then again, 9th Moharram is a public holiday for no good reason. 10th Moharram being the Ashura and one the greatest days in the Islamic calender, is once again a public holiday. One cannot but note that entire 10 days are wasted. Business suffers; people die during traffic jams; and much of these shia processions are actually violent. If they find any shop opened, they ensure that the shop is badly damaged or even burned. So sad, that in the name of Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S) these people inflict untold miseries on so many people. If that is the message they understand of the grandson of Holy Prophet Muhammad (salahu alihi wasalam) then I am sorry they need to re-pack and get back to basics.

For one, what is the reason behind so many processions on such an important artery of Karachi. Why take the entire city hostage by closing M.A Jinnah road? Why not any other area? Why disturb millions of people for your own so-called religious activity? Did Imam Hussain (A.S) teach you to disturb so many people? I have asked this question to so many Shias but none has ever answered me. Because there is no answer to all this mess. And what purpose does this ear-banging marsiyas serve to countless Shias romping the city in their cars? Why can't you people just keep your religion to yourself? Again, no answer. How do you explain something which is at once irrational and highly disturbing.

Even the Shia a'lims don't stop their followers from disturbing the city for so long. No Shia a'lim ever takes stand against these illegal activities. Our police, which has a lot of Shia officers among its ranks, actually helps these road blockades. How sad!

I hope some Shia, holder of common sense, will read this blog and stop this mess once and for all. But, as is my experience with this country and with the Shias living here, things only go bad. And from bad to worse. Never good. Never better.

And our new year celebrations, it seems, would always be ruined by ear-thrashing marsiyas and city blocking long marches. Long live Pakistan!


Muhammad Danial said...

I completely agree with you views, When it comes to ourselves, no body thinks the damage they are causing to their sorroundings and just doing it by the misuse of religion.

fatme said...

I am reading your article and I see that you do not know what are you talking about .I am Muslim and yes we do not celebrate the Islamic new year in that fashion simply because we believe to be nice and good and take a gift for the less fortune is an act that Muslim should do all year long and we are not waiting for any one to tell us when to do it and I can see that you are mixing between Muslim Sunni and Muslim Shia the Shia who hit themselves because of what happen in Karbalaa are the same kind of Muslim that celebrate the Islamic new year the sunni will do neither because they believe in only 2 holidays.

fatme said...

I am Muslim Sunni by the way and I would like to say this . About the disturbing from the Muslim Shia celebration that blocked the road I will ask this why the government help them celebrating by giving them an area to celebrate ? and show them that the Muslim sunni respect them and their difference every country should treat their citizen fairly and equally even the minority .
I am Muslim Sunni and we are a minority in the USA but we are still get to celebrate what eid and no body can harm us because the law here protect all the citizens .