Sectarian Violence: A snapshot from History

 Raja Taimur Hassan
ImageTo understand what has gone wrong with sectarian blood ship in Pakistan, there is need to revisit our history and explain those historians’s tails which have link with recent sectarian violence in Pakistan. But the dilemma is those historical dimension has been almost completely overlooked which have strong connection with these conflicts.
Religious Scholars believe that, Sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia is an anomaly happening because of historical contingency and not due to the essence of respective creed.

According to Religious scholars, sectarian violence started when the discourse was set through ‘Taqleed’ and conflict started as way to end differing opposition. In political history, Quresh and No-Quresh and Arab and Non-Arab split are also tale to sectarian conflict and divide.

Historically sectarian violence started between Sunni and Shia in Fatimid Islamic Caliphate in the shape of Karamathians and Batniya movement.
Although there are considerable differences between Sunni and Shia Islam, the two Islamic sects share common traditions, beliefs, and doctrines. All Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad was the messenger of Allah. All believe that they must abide by the revelations given to the Prophet by Allah (as recorded in the Quran) and by the hadith (sayings of the Prophet and his companions). The concepts of piety, striving for goodness, and social justice are fundamental to Islamic belief and practice.
Additionally, all Muslims are expected to live in accordance with the five pillars of Islam: (1) shahada— recital of the creed “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet”; (2) salat—five obligatory prayers in a day; (3) zakat— giving alms to the poor; (4) sawm—fasting from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan; and (5) hajj—making a pilgrimage to Mecca once during a lifetime if one is physically and financially able.

It is obvious from history that Shia in initial days just meant as a group or follower like Shian-e Mauwiya and Shian-e-Ali and after Karbala turned into a sect and brought all symbols and cosmology.

In subcontinent, the Shia prominence increased when in 16th century religious scholars were expelled from Persia during the change of Safavid dynasty who then taken refuge in subcontinent. It also became apparent when Aurangzeb Irani-Torani split was converted into Sunni Shia divide.
However, it is evident from history that there is much Sunni contribution to South Asian Shi’i ‘Ashura practices, and a wide ranging Sunni role in the consolidation of Karbala narrative and the ‘Majlis’ tradition.
However, vested interest of some internal and external forces who do not want peace and stability in Pakistan are regularly trying to create controversies in these sects. They do not want to get us united. We should now understand this vested interest of “Divide and Rule”. So there is need of time to harmonize our common believe and let the controversies behind.

The writer is a public policy analyst and consultant at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute Islamabad.

About Social and Development log of Pakistan (SDLP)

Social and Development log of Pakistan (SDLP) is an attempt to highlights real public issues, which include social, economic and political issues, and complete policy analysis of that issues having experts opinion and analysis on it. SDLP will raise all public issues on the basis of facts and try to advocate at the highest forum which may influence the policy-makers and draw their attention towards the real problem. SDLP also welcomes contributions to our blog. For that you may send your queries/suggestions/articles etc at Twitter: or @taimur__ Facebook:
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