SHAFAQNA – Over the past year I was exposed to a great deal of hatred and scathing criticism as to the opinions and issues I “dare raised” through my writing. While I will refrain from sharing some of the comments I was subjected to … no need to go there!! I wanted to share one excerpt that made a lasting impression by the sheer nature of its lunacy.
Hatred it appears is firmly anchored in ignorance, bigotry and a distasteful dose of arrogance.
While I claim to no other truth but my own, I cannot for the life of me understand how so many so-called “brothers” have insisted in beating me up black and blue with their commands to obedience (not literally speaking of course) arguing only they, have mastered the Scriptures.
Though I am the first to recognise that my religious education is spotty at best – I never asserted I was a scholar of Islam; I still hold that whatever guidance I received I did from the source itself. Why trust in those who are inherently fallible, when God purified His custodians with a great purification?
Why not do as the Quran commands, and hold on to the rope of Allah never to disunite? Why disunite from the rope [AhlulBayt] indeed?
Forgive me for taking the Sunna [tradition] of the Prophet Muhammad literally when he called upon his community to keep to the Quran and his AhlulBayt for guidance so that none would ever go astray.
Forgive me for following into those footsteps which echoed loudest to me and made me see a truth I would have otherwise not grasped.
Forgive me again for following when called upon … I had no choice in the matter. And though we like to think that we are in control of our fate, I long realised that the only freedom we have is to submit to His Will, and follow if He so chooses to guide.
I cannot help where my heart lies. I cannot help where my loyalty is bound, and I certainly cannot help but mourn those lights they so fervently attempted to obliterate … If memory serves me right there have been many swords, arrows, poisonous drinks and all matters of betrayal that befell Al-Muhammad.
If we can, and we should honour those companions closest to the Prophet Muhammad why must we shun those closest still – those so close in fact they were covered by prophethood, and in Ghadeer appointed a confirmation?
But I guess Wahhabism is not a school of forgiveness. It is rather exclusion and violence it preaches … and in the darkness bind them … sorry that was from Lord of the Rings. But you got the gist!
One more thing: my goal here is not to gloat, or have a pity party over my bruised ego. I’m hoping that the following will somehow spark people back to sanity. Religion should never be used as a weapon of war or slander.
Here is a crazy idea: maybe, just maybe we should allow for our scholars and religious leaders to lead the way – provisioning of course that they are not made-in Wahhabland.
While I continue to believe that Wahhabism is a diseased ideology anchored in hatred and exclusionism, I also think that we have a long way to go before we call ourselves united.
What about we learn to respect our scholars and lecturers for the tradition and institutions they represent rather than see in them people we may like or dislike. Is it that we dislike what they say or the truths they are revealing about our laggings?
In any case, together is always better … division did not exactly work out for us anyway.
And so it begins:
“Ms Catherine I cannot believe the lies you are spreading about Islam and what you call the tragedy of Karbala. Everyone dies, why do you Shia have to make such a big deal about the death of Hussain? So Hussain died! So what! Abu Bakr died … I don’t see you holding mourning rituals for him. Uthman was murdered and what did Hussain do about it? NOTHING. So yeah he died, and now Shia Islam will cry forever! Islam is not about mourning it is about the Sunna of the Prophet. Did the Prophet Muhammad told you to cry and build his grandson a mosque. Did he ask you to go and visit his grave over and over again and pray to him as if he was a god.
Respect yourself and stop spreading lies about Mua’wiyah and Yazid. They were great leaders and the only reason you Shia hate them is because they rejected your Imams. Get over it already it happened forever ago.
Now I understand that you were taught Islam by the wrong people and I guess you were too stupid to understand the difference in between real Islam and whatever it is that you Shia do but come on! Wake up and stop writing your lies.
You should know that the Shia of Ali will go to Hell. By the way, Jibreel did not make a mistake stupid woman, Ali was not supposed to be a prophet. He was the son of Abu Talib who himself died a kaffir [unbeliever] so shut up!”
I’ve chosen this particular comment since it really holds a mirror to the bigotry which has transpired against Shia Islam and plagued many theological debates. The premise so far has been that Shia Islam is divorced from mainstream Islam – the kind of Islam Riyadh would like to absolutely control.
This argument: that Shia Islam speaks another theological language, exists only in the mind of Wahhabi ideologues. Reality as it happens speaks of a different rationale altogether.
Shia Islam is not removed from Islam at all … how could it be when it is so deeply anchored in its tradition? How could it be when even Sunni Islam confirms the very basis of Shia Islam tenets?
I must have gone mad right? I’m not a scholar and yet I can tell you with absolute certainty that Sunni Islam’s greatest scholar: Bukhari not only enounces but confirms the very premise of Shia Islam … he also therefore debunks that of a Sunni Islam – at least the Sunni Islam Saudi Arabia has projected out of Riyadh since the 18th century.
The following was taken from Bukhari, a revered Sunni Muslim scholar:
Yazid bin Haiyan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
I went along with Husain bin Sabrah and ‘Amr bin Muslim to Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be pleased with them) and, as we sat by his side, Husain said to him: “O Zaid, you acquired great merits that you saw Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), listened to his talk, fought by his side in (different) battles, and offered Salat behind him. You have in fact earned great merits, Zaid! Could you then tell us what you heard from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)?” He said: “O my cousin! By Allah! I have grown old and have almost spent up my age and I have forgotten some of the things which I remembered in connection with Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), so accept what I narrate to you, and what I fail to narrate, do not compel me to narrate that.” He then said: “One day Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stood up to deliver a Khutbah at a watering place known as Khumm between Makkah and Al-Madinah. He praised Allah, extolled Him and delivered the Khutbah and exhorted (us) and said, ‘Amma Ba’du (now then)! O people, certainly I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Rubb and I, in response to Allah’s Call, but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it.’ He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said, ‘The second are the members of my household, I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family.”‘
To my Wahhabi detractor I would like to say this:
To your question why do we make such a big deal of the death of Hussain? His name was Hussain ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, son of Fatimah al Zahra, grandson of Lady Khadija. Imam Hussain was from the people of the cloak.
Why do we mourn him? How can you not? How can you not learn of Imam Hussain and recognise that his stand was the embodiment of piety, wisdom, courage, truth and everything the Prophet Muhammad came to assert by God’s Will?
Allow me to answer your question by another: if Jacob could cry Joseph’s assumed death until he became blind, will you deny our tears when Hussain ibn Ali’s death came by the hands of those who claimed themselves holier than the guidance the last prophet of God left us?
Do we pray to our Imams as if they were gods? Do you pray to the Kaaba and those buried on its holy ground?
Do we believe that Gibreel made a mistake? Of course we do not! How could an angel of God EVER make a mistake?
Since you challenge our reverence for Imam Ali, the same Imam Ali the Quran makes mention of when it is said that there are those who sell their soul for their religion, let me ask: what is your ire with the first Imam?
What has the son of Abu Talib done to you that you feel the need to challenge whom the prophet erected upon his shoulders? Was it not the Prophet Muhammad who said that if not for the wealth of Khadija and the sword of Ali there would have been no Islam?
As for Abu Talib … are you of those who decide which people are destined to reach the Heavens?
Why such vile against the house of the Prophet Muhammad when you claim such respect for his message?
I will agree with you on one point: my ignorance.
I will admit wholeheartedly to my lack of knowledge … although whatever statement I have ever made I did through research. Again, I only ever claimed to my own truth.
As for my inability to recognise true Islam I will say this: I have held on to those two weighty things and for the life of me I will never let go. Call me what you wish but I will not deny my Imams … no more than I will deny my prophets.
Maybe our divisions would have never taken place if paper would have been brought when asked for … maybe then History would have suffered less redacting.
Lastly … Mua’wiyah … Yazid, the son and grandson of Abu Sufyan. What great leaders they were indeed. So great they rose an empire upon the blood of the holy household.
What a legacy it is to honour but that anchored in renunciation of the word given.
You follow your house, I shall follow mine. On that maybe we can agree.
It is hard for me to debate sensibly when the blood of our Imams has yet to dry from your legacy’s hands. But no matter:
You plan and they plan, and still He is the best Planner.
By Catherine Shakdam – Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies. this article appeared first in the Huffington Post