Original Articles

Preventing a Coordinated Attack on the Sunni Islam – by Ali Shahzad

The Moharram of 2020 was marked with a pandemic, with unprecedented rains, and with a looming global economic meltdown. But none of those were as dangerous or perilous for the Sunni Islam as the recent attack on Shia ziarats and azadari. Yes, you read it right. The legal attacks on Shias of Pakistan (with over 30 blasphemy FIRs) are a veiled attack on the Sunni Islam.

The enemy intends to destroy the essence of the true Sunni Islam in Pakistan.

Here is the background. Most of the Pakistani Sunni population follows an Islam that is patterned after the three powerful forces of Rasul-Allah (s), Quran, and Ahlaybayt (s). This is in accordance with Prophet’s own instructions: “O People, I leave amongst you two things which if you follow, you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allah and my Ahl al-Bayt (family).

This form of Islam is extremely powerful since it derives its power from the conduct of Rasul (s) and Ahlaybayt and the instructions of Quran. It gives a unique identity to Muslims. The symbols of Hussain’s (s) stand against Yazid in Karbala connects through a chain of events that goes back to Abraham’s stand against Namrood, Moses’s against Pharaoh, Jesus’s against the Romans and the temple, and on and on. With that identity, Sunnis of Pakistan can be proud of their religion, their values, and their aspirations.

But the enemies of Sunnis want a different Islam. They want a guilt-infused Islam where people feel ashamed to call themselves Muslims. They want an Islam where life becomes about casinos and concerts, about skyscrapers and gold-plated cars, about jewels and harems, and about luxurious hotels and lavish lifestyles. So much so that the greatest honor for a Muslim becomes when he or she says, “I am pretty modern and not very religious”. In other words, discounting Islam becomes a source of honor and pride.

In proverbial terms, they want Sunnis to sell their souls to the devil. Once that happens – there is no stopping. When a nation loses its honor, nothing remains. It becomes a laughingstock.

So how do adversaries destroy Sunnism from the inside? They use two methods.

In the first method they brand Islam as a terror infused religion. Ironically, the same Arab countries that invested billions to fund extremism in Pakistan, are now siding with the largest human rights violators (for example, violations of Kashmiri and Palestinian rights). In addition to the terrible human cost associated with terrorism, the psychological damage it does is that it makes people hate their own religion.

They start finding faults with their own values. They start questioning their identity. With this guilt-infused and shame-ridden propaganda, the true Sunni identity and honor starts dying down – replaced by a subservient and spiritless identity that submits to the will of all but Allah.

In the second method they try to destroy the symbols of attachment that people have with what they hold sacred. If you destroy the symbols, you destroy the identity. That is when the enemies of Sunni Islam attack the mazaars, the norms, the values, the expressions of love for Rasul (s) and Ahlaybayt, the poetry, the congregations, the literature, the art. In a protestant styled indoctrination, they tell Sunnis to forget about everyone – even Rasul (s) and Ahlaybayt – and form a direct link with Allah.

They know that if these symbols are destroyed, the true spirit of Islam will be gone – replaced by this awkward mix of luxury hotels and Kaaba in Mecca, both struggling to find their place in this new reality. Where concerts with half nude dancing girls wrapped in a green flag with “La illaha illal lah” stated on it will become the new normal. Where no one will be shocked when Muslim nations will ignore human right violations of Kashmiris and Palestinians. 

The greatest symbol of resistance against such transgressions is something that is sacred for both Shias and Sunnis: Karbala. The enemies of Islam know that. That is why they want to start a sectarian war in Pakistan. They attempted to turn Pakistan into Syria, but their efforts failed. They realized that just as he did 1340 years ago, Imam Hussain (s) stands between their evil plans and Pakistan as a truly free Islamic nation. Now, they want to go after the symbols of Imam Hussain (s).

Whether it is ziarat or azadari, they know that they cannot conquer the Sunnis Islam unless they first dismantle what has protected both Sunni and Shia Islam: the power of Karbala.

That is why, the current attack on Moharram is not an attack on Shias. It is an attack on the Sunni Islam so that the Sunni Islam can be easily molded into a formless, identity-less, thoughtless, enslaved system that can become someone’s lapdog.

The Sunnis of Pakistan are too honorable and intelligent to fall for that. They will not allow their religion and country to lose their identities. They will not fall for this trap. They know that when Yazid becomes a symbol of honor, something truly dishonorable is going on in their religion.

They know that when a nation loses Imam Hussain (s), it loses everything. They know that in this battle to corrupt their religion and beliefs, they will prevail because they are holding on to Allah, Prophet (s), Quran, and Ahlaybayt.