My Urdu language Op-Ed published at Urdu Times, USA/UK/Canada.
Please click the link below to read the PDF file in Urdu: an English synopsis is also shared below.
Ibtila Musalsal hay, Karbala Musalsal hay (Sufferings are eternal, Karbala is eternal)
Begins with some verses, of an elegy written in the memory of Imam Hussain by Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the iconic poet of Urdu literature. Such elegies have become an established genre of Urdu literature.
Discusses the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, in Karbala fourteen hundred years ago.
Imam Hussain’s martyrdom and before that his father Hazrat Ali’s murder, who was the cousin and son in law of Prophet Mohammed, created the schism in Islam and divided Muslims in two sects the Shias (the followers of Ali), and the Sunnis (those claiming to be following the practices of the prophet). Shias constitute about 10 % of global Muslim population, though they are concentrated in Iran as the majority, and significant minorities in Pakistan, India, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, and Lebanon.
Imam Hussain opposed the usurpation of power by the family of Muawiah, and his son Yazid. It was the bloody conflict with Yazid that led to brutal martyrdom of Hussain and his 72 followers by the huge force of Yazid’s commanders.
A strong majority of Muslims agree that Imam Hussain stood for truth and justice and for upholding the principles that prophet Mohammed stood for. His name is a symbol of justice, righteousness, and opposition of all dictatorships.
Since the time of Imam Hussain’s martyrdom Shias have been brutally persecuted and that persecution carries on till today, and it is currently rampant in Pakistan where processions of Shia mourners are bombed and Shias are the killed by targeting and identifying them.
Mentions the name of several Sunni sectarian organizations that have adopted military style names, like Anjuman Sipah e Sahaba (Soldiers of the companions of the prophet), the Lashkar e Jhangwi (the army of Jhangvi, an extremist an fundamentalist Sunni leader) and are supported by Taliban, the Al Qaeda, and other such groups.
Most recently Bahrain also saw horrendous brutalities against Shias, and the Syrian conflict may also be attributed to the schism in Islam and anti Shia persecution. After the Iraq war Shias gained some dominance there.
Expresses sadness that the Ahmadis who are also persecuted in Pakistan do not express any overt support for Shias.
Mentions that Iran the largest Shia country has adopted Islam as the state religion, and proclaims Islam as a stated based on Shia Islamic jurisprudence. Several Sunni Muslim sates have also adopted Islamic law in their constitutions.
Suggests that these sectarian and religious killing could only be reduced and even eliminated by the separation of religion and state in Muslim countries.
Advises that despite all the persecution of Muslim minorities, even these minorities do not expressly support secularism leading to separation of religion and state.