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The broken bow

Published Aug 25, 2013 04:50am

So often one hears a fellow Pakistani bemoaning how polarised a nation we are.

But sometimes I feel that what they mean by polarisation in this context is the presence of the rich ethnic, religious and sectarian diversity that this country is actually blessed with.

This diversity on most occasions has simply refused to come under the all-encompassing umbrella of ideological unity that the country’s establishment, its religious allies and the urban bourgeoisie have been shoving down our throats for the last six decades. They refuse to realise that organic diversity (and not synthetic homogeneity) is what drives democracy and best utilises the inherent economic, cultural and sporting genius of a nation.

But no doubt there is also polarisation of a more disturbing kind in the Pakistani society.

On occasions it’s been like a black comedy that can generate sheer bafflement.

Every Friday at my office during the second half of the morning session, I notice guys who regularly go for Friday prayers at the mosque break up into little groups. One day I decided to figure out why this happens or why they are all not going to the same mosque (or to the one nearest to the office).

It is easy to understand that the Shia among them would visit the Shia mosques.

But one Friday I was rather amused when I overheard a group of Sunni colleagues discussing why they would not go to a particular (Sunni) mosque because the mullah’s sermons there offended them.

It turned out that the lads were Deobandi Sunnis, who, due to lack of time, had had to visit a nearby mosque whose mullah belonged to another Sunni sub-sect, the Barelvi — which, nevertheless, is the majority Sunni sub-sect in Pakistan. So the discussion was to locate a Deobandi mosque nearest to the office.

A senior colleague, who’d seen me talking to these guys, approached me in the evening, smiling: “Did you see how they were whining?” I smiled back: “I’m not very good at understanding these things.”

He shook his head and then said something that took me by surprise. He said: “I was the one who introduced them to the mosque they are now whining about. I’m sure in their hearts they now believe I am a heretic.”

This colleague is a very religious man, with a beard and all, so his claim did baffle me but not for long.

I soon realised what he was suggesting. He belonged to the Barelvi sect. It was a strange experience because on various occasions I’ve seen him agreeing with his Deobandi counterparts on so many issues, especially on things like the blasphemy law, the need to enforce the Sharia, etc. But here they were all, refusing to go to each other’s preferred mosques.

This actually shouldn’t come as a surprise in a country where the state has for long been active in defining what or who a ‘Muslim’ is in a society brimming with various Islamic sects and sub-sects. This has left the sects judging one another, sometimes overtly and sometimes discreetly.

The state did not learn anything from the findings of the famous Justice Munir Report in which — after the 1953 anti-Ahmadi riots instigated by the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Majlis-i-Ahrar Party — Justice Munir noted that according to his interviews with a number of ulema on the matter, he found that no two ulema agreed on a uniformed definition of a good Muslim.

Later on history recorded another rather amusing episode. During the movement against the Z A. Bhutto government in 1977, led by an alliance of various anti-PPP parties (the PNA), the alliance leaders met at the Karachi Press Club to brief the press about their plan of action.

Demanding the imposition of Sharia laws and the ouster of the ‘secular- socialist’ Bhutto regime, the alliance’s top three parties were representing the country’s main Sunni sub-sects.

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) followed the Deobandi school while the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) was Barelvi in orientation. PNA’s third main party, Jamaat-i-Islami, had a following among middle-class urban Sunni conservatives and pro-Saudi elements.

Newspapers reported that after outlining their plan of action and professing their unity of purpose (i.e. the downfall of Bhutto and the imposition of Sharia), the PNA leaders broke for the evening prayers.

In those days there were no prayer rooms or mosques at places of work, and certainly none at the Karachi Press Club (though there is one now).

So some journalists cleared a room for the PNA leaders to say their prayers in.

Urdu dailies, Imroze, Jang and Musawat, then went on to report how a commotion of sorts broke out amongst the PNA leaders when they couldn’t agree on who would lead the prayers as all three followed their own respective schools of Islam.

The issue was not political but sub-sectarian. Some newspapers reported that JUI’s Maulana Mufti Mehmood refused to offer prayers behind JUP’s Shah Ahmed Noorani (and vice versa).

Syed A. Peerzada in his book Politics of JUI quotes a JUI leader who alleged that the reporting of this discord was the doing of the PPP’s Kausar Niazi whose job it was to exploit the sectarian differences between the PNA’s religious parties.

This might be true, but then this was perhaps the easiest thing to do: i.e. to disturb the make-up of what Bhutto might have (correctly) thought was, at best, a cosmetic face of unity among the political-religious figures of Pakistan.

The fact still holds true, and like it or not, perhaps it always will.

Comments (99) Closed

Aug 25, 2013 06:54am

A very sad story! Here is a recipe: take a lot of tolerance (someone has to teach that to us all over again!); then add some plain old good manners ( we need to be taught that too!), and add some "caring" for your fellow man; mix all these till fully blended, then make religion a personal matter, not something that we should shove down peoples' throats. Maybe we will become a more "likeable" people that way, and our country become more like a place on planet Earth, than a place in Hell! But who will be our teachers??

Aug 25, 2013 07:37am

Sects in religion are as old as religion itself. And most of these sects started by pioneers of religion. So blaming Pakistani people for this division is not justified. Since majority of Pakistani ,religion first and country second so it's no surprise we saw so much sectrain divsion. They just following there first choice which is hurting other priority.

Tariq K Sami
Aug 25, 2013 08:15am

Look at the bright side. Its a miracle that they all go to Mecca regardless of all their differences.

Tariq K Sami
Aug 25, 2013 08:16am

Look at the bright side. Its a miracle that they all go to Mecca regardless of all their differences.

raw is war
Aug 25, 2013 08:23am

you don't have non-muslims in pakistan. How diverse can you be?

Aug 25, 2013 08:35am

Reminds of a Cartoon in Ibne Insha's book. Few fierce looking, bearded fellows are standing in a cricle drawn on the ground. And they are shouting, "Nikal Islam kay Dairay say!!!"

Aug 25, 2013 09:08am

As a student, like many others of my generation, I strongly believed(naively) that all our ills were due to lack of the spirit of patriotism. This would always irritate one of my teachers who'd then give us a lengthy lecture on how he thought it was actually too much patriotism to the absolute neglect of 'ourselves', as individuals with certain rights, that was at the root of the problems we faced in Pakistan. After all these years, his words ring so true.

Aug 25, 2013 09:47am

We are a broken nation with broken people. Even before partition, our elders talk about "Muslims" having more of an inferiority complex or an identity crisis, more so than, say the Hindus. We completely disregard the significance of the white band in our flag and are the antitheses of the strength and unity that we declare Islam breeds.

To be clear, I am not judging Muslims in Pakistan, but judging the malpractice and misuse of Islam for personal gain. If we are incapable of understanding the basic essence of Islam, or for that matter any religion, what possible chance do we have as a society that is supposedly based on the very principles?

We are done. We are finished as a nation. That is not pessimism, that is the history of our country talking. We have not broken away from British Rule, we have merely divvied it up between the privileged few (rulers) and the cowards (the fanatics that hide behind religion, vying for power) and the conformists (us, that have lost the will to rise and have a backbone).

I am sickened to my core when own country is paving the way to eject humanity and empower ignorance and religious dogma. Shame on us. Shame on me.

Aug 25, 2013 09:52am

Would a Protestant attend mass at St.Paul's Cathedral? Would a Sikh pray in a Shiva temple? Would an Orthodox Jew attend services in a Reformist synagogue? You make it sound like these differences are limited to Islam. I can't think of a single religion that isn't divided into sects and sub-sects. This is how philosophical and theological differences have played out through out human history. How or why would Muslims and Pakistanis be different? And by the way, please read into the fundamental differences in belief between the sects you mentioned (particularly the difference in belief over whether the Prophet was an ordinary man sent with a message, or a being of light that is omnipresent and omnipotent). The differences in belief actually ARE severe enough to incite such incidents of separate worship.

Aug 25, 2013 10:00am

Perhaps in no other religion is there a race to be recognized as the "perfect" adherent or a "perfect" representative - bragging rights is all it is. No Buddhist wants to have a race to proove himself / herself to be a perfect Buddha, no hindu cares about such perfection, as it is assumed it takes several life-times to achieve moksha, and no christain wants to be claim to be perfect - Jesus had said 'let who is without sin amongst us be the first to cast a stone' and no one stepped forward.

Well, the race to be a perfect muslim in Pakistan is a joke.

Karachi Wala
Aug 25, 2013 10:21am

Wait and see.....all those who for last sixty plus years do not want to say prayers together, will all line up soon or shall I say, will be lined up soon for their Janazah prayers, once Taliban's take over of Pakistan is completed......

Aug 25, 2013 11:46am

@DrTK: that is an amazing comment! who will be our teachers? we have none really to teach us these things at present. But I think we can look back to QuaideAzam ect, they never gave a **** about who is from what sect. what exactly is the harm in praying behind someone from another sect? I think in the end we are praying to the same God, may HE accept.

Aug 25, 2013 11:47am

@Khiz: " Would a Sikh pray in a Shiva temple?" haha....there are millions of sikhs who along with hindu friends pray in temples...and hindus go to gurdwara everyday. U r not aware of everyday life in india.

Aug 25, 2013 11:51am

@Khiz: I have many sikh friends who go to temple along with hindu friends. Diwali, Rakshabandhan, are the festivals which are celebrated by both community members

Aug 25, 2013 12:06pm

@Khiz: I honestly don't know why you got so many thumbs down because what you've written is true. There are fundamental differences between the beliefs of Deobandis and Barelvis and they existed even before Partition. One only has to read the virulent fatwas and edicts of the Ulema of the two sub-sects against each other to realize that, unfortunately, it's not a new phenomenon.

The problem is not that we don't go into other sects' or religions' mosques or places of worship to pray. The problem is that some of us are becoming so intolerant as to blow them up.

Capt C M Khan
Aug 25, 2013 12:34pm

NFP I do not mind if they went to their own mosques, this is their RIGHT and freedom of choice. I am worried because they divide in a similar manner when one of the minorities among them is attacked and they just carry on as "Business as Usual". That defeats the whole purpose of religion, which should be like a body if one part is hurt, the pain is felt all over, but not as we have been witnessing. All of them are not practicing what is required and some of them are practicing HATE. Unless they all sit in one room and agree on a Code of Conduct, Pakistanis will never become a NATION but, will remain a CROWD or as I read somewhere MADDENING CROWD. Sad but true as per our past history of sixty six years.

M. A. Shehzad
Aug 25, 2013 12:50pm

This simply proves that these so called 'ulema' have nothing to do with religion but for their very own vested interests and ulterior motives. They are all surely working on the agenda of their paymasters.

Aug 25, 2013 01:48pm

@Khiz: I'm sorry, but you are utterly clueless about how people in the civilized world live. The answer to all of your questions is "yes", unless you're talking about people who chose to continue to live in the middle ages.

Aug 25, 2013 03:31pm

@BRR: My 17 year old son thinks religion is a waste and he never visits any temple. And still, he is one of the finest human beings I have known in my life. He enjoys Maths and Music.

Aug 25, 2013 03:38pm


When it comes to crimes, Muslims have the major share. Four percent in UK are muslims, but 14 percent prisoners are Muslims.

Shocking? Google it.

Aug 25, 2013 03:53pm

Very well said. The funny thing is those who started this process with whisky glass in hand many years ago with the clear thought that it was stategy towards a particular end and not to be confused with idealogy, are most likely safely dead and their offsprings and followers now reside in lands far away and write opinions and blogs pontificating on the evils that prevail.......ironic. The good thing is that the author has both his feet firmly planted on the ground here in Pakistan.

Aug 25, 2013 04:14pm

@Tariq K Sami: It is Saudi police not miracle . Otherwise they arguing and fighting each other . During Sadam strict rule nothing happened in Iraqi holy places now they are bombing and killing every other day

Aug 25, 2013 04:23pm

How can we bring different sects together? How can we preach love? We talk more and more for religious tolerance but we never talk about religion. It never preaches hate

Aug 25, 2013 04:26pm

@Khiz: yes sikhs pray in shiva temples

Aug 25, 2013 04:28pm

@Khiz: How clueless you are. There are many families in the Punjab where one brother is Hindu and the other is Sikh. Millions of Hindus pray in churches and mosques all over India everyday.

Aug 25, 2013 05:05pm

@khij - I am an atheist coming from a Hindu family. When I was in the school and college during the 80s and 90s, I'd often accompany my friends to their place of worship which used to be temple, gurudwara, buddhist temple, jains place of worship and even dargah which one of my Sindhi friend used to often visit. When I migrated to a Western country, I befriended some Indian Christian friends and would happily accompany them to Catholic/Protestant Church. Probably, the real tolerance comes from being on the fence.

Aug 25, 2013 05:03pm

Here in a small town in Kent, UK I see at the mosque all kinds of Muslims happily attending prayers behind one Imam and supplicating to Allah. The worshipers are black, white, brown, yellow, young, old, children, women - nobody cares two hoots or asks questions. All are welcome at this Ahmadi Mosque.

Aug 25, 2013 05:18pm

@Khiz: Why do you think that Sikhs do not go to temples. I have seen several Sikhs praying in various temples. I have also seen number of Hindus visiting various Gurudwaras. I myself have visited few Gurudwaras in Delhi and other places and also churches at few places. And in doing so I never thought that I am doing something extra ordinary. And which omnipotent and omnipresent light you are talking about? You call it Allah, we call it by several names, Christians call it Jesus. If you really think that the light you are talking about is really omnipotent and omnipresent then it is present everywhere and in every being. Then why discriminate against any sect within Islam or any person outside Islam because that light is present in you as well as in me.

Aug 25, 2013 05:21pm

The conclusion: Religion divides, with no exceptions.

Aug 25, 2013 05:28pm

Do you NFP belong to any sect? In which mosque you prefer to pray?

Aug 25, 2013 05:29pm

@MG: It is unfortunate that I can give you only one thumbs up. Excellent post.

Aug 25, 2013 05:30pm

@raw is war: You obviously know nothing about Pakistan.

dr mustafa shaikh
Aug 25, 2013 05:42pm

I am sorry to say but that's a fact that muslims are the most divided religious group in the world, to the extent, that it has become a farce.To me, there would be no end to muslim's misery till they give up fighting among them on these petty issues.I see this happening by year 3300.

Aug 25, 2013 06:14pm

If every Muslim read the noble Koran with interpretation in their native language then there would be no sects/divisions' in Islam! "Arm yourself with knowledge" there would be no need for conflict amongst the Muslims!

Aug 25, 2013 06:21pm

When the State makes religion its business, individuals will always seek ways to profit from it. Not for nothing have wise men said that the State should not show bias towards any religion.

Aug 25, 2013 06:34pm

I completely agree with the writer. Would a Ansari Muslim sunni boy marry in Sheikh Comminity or Qureshi Community muslim or in Ahmedi or Shia community and vice versa. Would a Kasai Muslim boy dare to marry in any other community. Would a Sindhi Muslim boy dare to marry a Pushtu girl or pathan girl or punjabi muslim girl , Bangla girl and vice versa. No unless it is a love marriage. The muslims in Indian Subcontinent including Pakistan and Bangladesh are torn by caste system like in India and they are unable to mix. The only solution is to have secular education and be taught in schools that all religions are equal and all are human beings first having 100% same DNA and chromosomes; then and only then this madness of hate and bombing each other would start dissapearing.

Aug 25, 2013 07:58pm

@Khiz: EXACTLY, that's the whole point - these differences are significant enough to separate religion from state or else we can never agree upon anything. Once you impose sharia law then the question is what sharia should we follow. Even within the same sub-sect the interpretation can widely differ from person to person. We can have a secular state with freedom to all sects and sub-sects. The state should have no business interfering in people's beliefs, or else we'll have chaotic and divided society like we now have in Pakistan.

Rick Martin
Aug 25, 2013 08:42pm

Hi Nadeem,

Pakistan was created on basis of religion i.e. Islam. All the other religious minorities have been chased out, killed or converted to Islam. At present Pakistan is 98.5% Muslim and only 1.5 % other religions with no state protection & physical safety and of course no say in national affairs. It is another matter that different sects of muslims are at war among themselves after the cleansing of the other religious minorities. So next time you don't have be hypocritical by saying that there is religious diversity in Pakistan because solution for problem can be arrived at only if you analyse the problem properly.


Aug 25, 2013 09:10pm

In a Punjab wedding between 2 of different sects each invited his Mulla. The 2 began to fight which would preside.

Smarter one proposed: one recites Nikah the other gets the loot. Second promptly agreed.

All religious and sectarian wars are about money and power - Economy. Christian vs Jew, Catholic vs Protestant, Hindu vs Muslim.

At Prophet AS death Medina split in 2 camps:

A: Medinan Majority to continue Secular Republic - pro-Christian, pro-Woman, pro-Progress, pro-Peace, pro-meritocracy, pro-free trade, for the poor and the weak

Aug 25, 2013 09:43pm

For a few weeks Dawn is chopping off the last line of the post that should have read:

" .. As in 1947 Hindu/Muslim Socialism vs Free Enterprise, Jinnah will win again. When asked he was Sunni or Shia, he said

Aug 25, 2013 09:47pm

I find it interesting that my earlier comments have incited such debate. Allow me to respond to some of the comments.

First to my Indian friends. I commend you for being proud of how your nation has tried to assimilate all religions and peoples into one monolithic identity just like your fellow Aryans in Germany tried to do. Sikhs (and indeed Indian Muslims) indeed do attend Hindu temples as you mention. However, this is NOT Sikhism. Since we Pakistanis are the successors to Nanak and continue to be guardians of his birthplace, his holy handprint and his last resting place, let me tell you what Sikhism is about. Nanak thought 'Ik Onkar' which means ONE God who can NOT be represented through idols. It is theologically wrong for any Sikh to go into Hindu temples and the holy book, the Guru Granth sahib specifically says that one must not worship the Hindu gods (for example "Those who serve Shiva and Brahma do not find Salvation. The Fearless, Formless Lord is invisible"). So yes my friend, you in India are leading Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Jains and others into your temples in violation of their religion. You do so by forcing them with threats of social ostracization and with pressure to not be different in 'secular India'. So thanks for telling us 'what is happening in India', but we don't believe in forced assimilation

Secondly, to those disliking my remarks. Let me elucidate that I don't mean to say that these differences should incite hatred or infighting. Absolutely not. My Holy Book tells me "There is no coercion in religion" and "To you your faith, to me mine", However, what I am saying is that is that our differences are pretty severe and people shouldn't try to force us into one master category as 'Sunnis'. Shall I go pray in a church because I love and respect Jesus and await his return? Shall I go pray in a synagogue since I believe in the 10 commandments? Since I can not do either, how can I pray in a mosque where they believe that the Prophet (SAW) was not a man created from sand but a creature of light who can still hear and answer their prayers? Isn't that the same as me going to a Church to pray to a Prophet? We are different in our worship, but what should unite us is the belief that each of us has the right and freedom to worship as we wish. That will fulfill the dream of my Quaid (a former Aga Khani who converted to 12 imam Shia'ism) of a nation where you are 'Free to go to your temples, to your churches and your mosques'.

Rajeev Nidumolu
Aug 25, 2013 09:50pm

Is there any major religion which is monolithic without schisms? During the course of human history every religion suffered schisms and internal fights with violence. To advocate monolithic union of a single religion is bound to fail because of nature of human beings. Modernism involves divorcing the affairs of state from religious ideology and keeping the belief system as a matter for private individual

Aug 25, 2013 10:16pm

BRAVO!!!! NFP. It is so sad because in no other religion people so judge you whether you are a true "religionist" or not. They accept you because you came. That is the NORM. As a Hindu I went to Gurudwaras, Buddhist and Jain temples and was always welcomed and treated the same. As a converted Christian I go to any church if my own type is not easily reachable. I go to Gurudwara, Jewish temple, Buddhist or Jain temple if the occasion so offers the opportunity and partake in their sweets or meals. It doesn't destroy or corrupt my Christianity. Your faith is a your personal construct between you and your God and no one else's business. Did God (or Allah) authorized these extreme zealots who castigate other sub-sects of Muslims?

Tariq K Sami
Aug 25, 2013 10:30pm

@AbbasToronto: Absolutely. Ditto.

Masood Hussain
Aug 25, 2013 10:34pm

Muslims of Sub continent may think them selvs rightly or wrongly superior to other communities as far as their rituals and nearness to God,but i confess that they are 200% more liberal,accomodative and progressive

Tariq K Sami
Aug 25, 2013 10:33pm

@Saeed: Really the Saudi police is around for less than a 100 years. What about the other 13 centuries.

sanjay mittal
Aug 25, 2013 10:41pm

A lot of battles in this world are about which is a better religion and if you dont acknowledge mine is the better one-- I will kill you.

I am born a Hindu, am comfortable as a HIndu but by belief many times an athiest!

Here are a few questions to all the religious people. Maybe they can give me some answers.

a) The earth is now believed to be 4 billion years old. Astronomical data and recovery of dinosaurs bones, radio and carbon dating tell us many facts. Now are all these things "untruths" ? How do they tally with the "truths" you are trying to impose on others

b) You may have a right to follow your system of beliefs--and I mine. You may believe that what I believe is true is absolutely wrong-- but then do I not have the right to believe that your truth can be wrong also?

c) In case religion is so pure why do we need to kill a non religious person or a person of a different religion to enforce it?

d) How can you us sheer numbers to create a state which forces your religious beliefs on people who have a different religious system or are atheists?

Now my list can be long. But this can be a good starting point.

Bakhtawer Bilal
Aug 25, 2013 10:50pm

@Khiz: Very well said. I will have all the respect for you and folks of your sect, if they really believe so. Deobandi may not like going to mazars, that is ok, but why do they blow up the mazars, along with the folks in there, just because Deobandis do not like going to Mazars. If we can have freedom of choice, nothing like it.

Aug 25, 2013 10:52pm

@Khiz: Sir, ur question, "Would a Sikh pray in a Shiva temple?" Yes they obviously can, and they do. Being a hindu myself, no one has ever stopped me from praying in a gurudwara, mazaar, or a church... Please open your eyes to a wider world.

Tariq K Sami
Aug 25, 2013 10:55pm

@AbbasToronto: Agree with most of what you say. The Arabs killed the son of Fatima. They killed Hussain. Eternal damnation awaits them. And in this world they will remain in slavery inspite of their huge wealth.

Aug 25, 2013 11:06pm

@MG: At the end of the day everyone saving the religion. Pakistan , mullah or politician are all soft target but religion always get the clean slate. Have you heard anyone, that I ashamed of my religion.

Aug 25, 2013 11:43pm

@Khiz: Yaar, tum ho kya?

Aug 25, 2013 11:44pm

@Khiz: Yaar, tum ho kya?

Aug 25, 2013 11:47pm

@gopali: to reply to your post earlier, I guess it will be fare to say that when it comes to rape Indians have the biggest share! or is that to harsh?

Aug 25, 2013 11:47pm

@dhananjay: This guy (Khiz) is a very rigid mindset(like our RSS types).Don't waste ur energy and writing skills on him

Tariq K Sami
Aug 26, 2013 12:55am

@Khiz: Ditto.

Tariq K Sami
Aug 26, 2013 12:55am

@Khiz: Ditto.

Aug 26, 2013 01:08am

@sanjay mittal: Excellent post. Like what you said: "In case religion is so pure why do we need to kill a non religious person or a person of a different religion to enforce it?".

In reality, religion is weak, insecure and very, very under-confident.

Aug 26, 2013 01:41am

NFP: You missed an important point here: who allowed to pass the law to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims?

Aug 26, 2013 02:19am

A church allowed muslim to have juma prayer in the church. Such is the tolerence of christians. Can you ever imagine a mullah allowing christian to hold a service in a mosque.

We have to learn to respect each others religion. State and religion should be seperate as in all muslim countries. I know that Pakistan was made on the basis of religion. Look where we are now.

Aug 26, 2013 02:24am

@Tariq K Sami:

Re: " ..The Arabs killed the son of Fatima .."

Fatima was Arab too.

My point is not Arab vs non-Arabs. You should read Arab "neo-cons killed the Arab liberals", and in the end they are the losers, Pakistanis take note.

Aug 26, 2013 02:30am

@Rick Martin:

Religion is a red-herring in creation of Pakistan. Jinnah was free-enterpriser and live and let live type, Nehru was winner-take-all politics and controlled socialism. It was about economy.

Aug 26, 2013 02:35am


Re: small town Kent peace.

The same true in Toronto 45 years ago when Muslim community was miniscule. We all - Sunni, Shia, Qadiani, secular, prayed together.

When we grew we split along sectarian lines, and within sects along class lines. Just give your small mosque a few years.

Emir Muaviya
Aug 26, 2013 03:16am

@Tariq K Sami: Karbala and events leading to death of Hazrat Hussain was indeed very tragic and a black mark on our Ummah - but that happened 1400 years ago. Let's not kill and maim /cripple humanity in its name or against it in Syria,Iraq,Saudi Arabia Pakistan or anywhere else. Enough is Enough. As regards, NFP article there is no problem if the 3 leaders of PNA do like to pray behind each other nor there is a problem if your office mates go to 3 different mosques or no mosques at all; so long there is no killing,bombing and other destruction.

Aug 26, 2013 05:03am

@Mo: Do u know that according to Reuters report last year, pakistan is third most dangrous country in the world for women to live in (Afghanistan#1 and Cango#2)??. Indian is not much better (#4 on the list), but keep in mind that when u point one finger to someone else, u are pointing 4 to yourself

Tariq K Sami
Aug 26, 2013 05:24am

@dhananjay: Really if everything is so hunky dory so how come 2000 Sikhs were butchered in Delhi after Indira Ghandhi's assasination.

Agha Ata
Aug 26, 2013 06:31am

I don't want to believe it, but it seems that religions are the cause of the most problems in the world. So what can we do?

Aug 26, 2013 06:45am

@Siddharth: I am sorry you feel that way. In fact that is not the case. In fact, I even agree with the mantra of your inspirational leader who said "Ishwar, Allah dhairoon naam". I think all paths lead to one divine truth. We were all created by Him and serve Him in our own way. HOWEVER, our paths are different, and I just don't appreciate people trying to say that the paths are all the same, when it is the destination that is identical, but not the paths. I was merely using historical and theological facts to bust the false illusion that it is OK for a Sikh to pray to Hindu deities when the Guru Granth Sahib specifically says not to do so, or for a Muslim to pray in a Church. Similarly, the sects within Islam have differences where their means of worship are different enough to justify separate places of worship. This does not mean we hate each other. We share one God, one book and one Prophet. We just have different ways of trying to please him. Live and let live, but don't try to bulldoze us all into one monolith.

As for those who ask "tum ho kya", I answer : Har aik baat par kahtay ho tum kay tou kya hai. Tum hee kaho kay yeh andaz-e-guftago kya hai :)

Am just a student of world religions and history who is trying to bring facts into a debate dominated by 'feel good BS'.

arshad sherazi
Aug 26, 2013 07:20am

Growing up in a small city not aware of any sub sects in religion was an advantage of sort.That was the reason most of us were just sunnis and we prayed in all the mosques as proximity allowed us to enter the premises without any hesitation.I am not sure what is the situation there now regarding sub sects,but I am sure that people of my generation and our elders are still simply sunnis. Now the fact remains that sunni is a sect too although a major one and our adherence to it mostly is by birth. Any where in the world affiliation with any religion is not without exploitation.Realization of this syndrome started in the west during and after the crusades,European after heavy loss of lives and paying heavy taxes felt exploited by religious figures of the time. Just to remove Z.A Bhutto from power these religious parties were united,yet they were miles apart is an on going phenomenon in Pakistan.Sadly instead of taking matters in our own hands we are waiting for heavenly intervention.

Komal S
Aug 26, 2013 09:15am

@gopali: Good, as long as he does not hate people because they are religious.

Aug 26, 2013 09:45am

The problem is not in the religion. The problem is what we THINK is religion. We need to reevaluate ourselves as we have polluted our set of pure beliefs with culture and have adopted veracious appetite for more rather than justly equal.

Aug 26, 2013 10:02am

Let there be more and more sects and sub sects, so that they break each others head and pakistan get rid of them'

Aug 26, 2013 11:27am

@Khiz: Let me correct on some of the points you've made in your post.

  1. I take it when you say fellow aryans in germany, you mean, the Nazis. Your perception could not be further from the truth. India is the home of 3rd largest muslim population(almost at par with Pakistan) in addition to several other religions. Approximately 80% population is Hindu. Now if something like Nazi germany was happening, where persecution happened, don't you think the world would take a notice. Where are the news my friend?

  2. It surprises me that you claim to be a student of religion and yet claim that Pakistanis are the successors of Nanak? If that is so, why are Pakistani sikhs such a oppressed community? If you remember correctly, the foundation of Pakistan was as a separate country for Muslims and not SIkhs.If being a gaurdian of the birthplace doesn't make you a successor, just like having Bethlehem doesn't make Palestine Christian. If you have really studied religion then, you should know that the later Sikh gurus had taken up arms to repel Islamic invaders and fight the Mughals, then tell me my friend how is an Islamic Pakistan a successor to Nanak?

  3. Certainly, you've never been to India - not only, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims frequent Hindu places of worship, Hindus too, frequent Gurdwaras, Mosques and Churches. I myself being a Hindu, frequent to Mosques, Churches, Gurdwaras when I get the time. This isn't forced, but a belief and respect in the other religions. Can a person do this in Pakistan. Tell me, how much Hindu temples are there in Pakistan?

Yes, it is important to have religious freedom. I may pray at a place of my liking, irrespective of my religion. In the name of religion, there has nothing but madness in the last two millennia across the world. There has nothing but furthering of personal interests in the hearts of madmen who proclaim to fight to protect the name of allah, god or ishwar.

n s parameswaran
Aug 26, 2013 12:26pm

@Khiz: I do not know what you mean by "So yes my friend, you in India are leading Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Jains and others into your temples in violation of their religion. You do so by forcing them with threats of social ostracization and with pressure to not be different in 'secular India'. "

There is absolutely no force and nobody is being forced to go to temples. You have fallen victim to some propaganda. In fact in many Hindu temples it is the other way round - Non Hindus are not allowed.

Please check with impartial sources before you post such things.

afroze fatemah
Aug 26, 2013 02:17pm

they(religious leadership) don't get the simple logic i.e-> United we stand,divided we fall. they have forgotten the saying of Allah & Prophet (s.a.w.w) that firmly hold the Rope of Allah and dont become divided .People are of two kinds; either your brothers in religion or your brothers in humanity. Imam Ali

these people are not religious scholars , they are more inclined towards their political and personal interests. they are far from religion.

Capt C M Khan
Aug 26, 2013 03:00pm

@Agha Ata: 1896 West invented mechanical transport Mullah shouting for Sharea, 1903 West invented first flying Machine Mullah shouting for Sharea, 1961 West landed on Moon Mullah shouting for Sharea, 2005 West went beyond Mars in space Mullah shouting for Sharea,

Not only are Mullahs dividing us, but are also blocking our progress/education/knowledge etc.

Aug 26, 2013 05:01pm

@AbbasToronto: For your info, this particular mosque was established in 1961 and has flourished peacefully and is devoid of negatively thinking people.

What is your excuse for being so repulsive and acerbic in your assertion?

Aug 26, 2013 05:32pm


46 years of experience on 4 continents, particularly in Toronto, Montreal, Seattle WA, Dearborn MI, and elsewhere. Happens like the sun comes up every day. Sad but true.

Aug 26, 2013 05:42pm

To all Indians, as if you live in a model country and milk flows in your streets and bricks are made of gold and you come here to our newspapers and teach us very that. hunn

Aug 26, 2013 06:20pm

@abbas: I agree with the sentiment of your statement, but not entirely with your statement. I think religion IS what you THINK. It is how you UNDERSTAND a belief system - a system that cannot be explained by logic and reason. Which is why it is so easy to manipulate and abuse people through religion.

Aug 26, 2013 06:24pm

@Agha Ata: If you know this Question, then I am sure you know the Answer as well.

Satish Sharma
Aug 26, 2013 06:59pm

@Khiz: You have not read Granth (or it seems much of anything) .Read what Guru Gobind Singh said before indulging in teaching profession. Specifically -- you can read his prayer -- that starts with the verse -- "Deh Shiva Var Mohe .."

Shiva ..give me a the boon, I guess he like Bulleh Shah (after him) did go to the temple :-)

Aug 26, 2013 08:43pm

Quad-e-Azam's Pakistan quickly degenerated into a playground for Generals and Mullahs.

Aug 26, 2013 09:27pm

This is inevitable with any religion that obsesses with the One True Way. Unity only comes through tolerance for diversity, as humans we are all meant to think differently and can only coexist if we are tolerant to others beliefs. Islam in its effort to impose Unity of Worship on its adherents has instead created deeper uncompromising rifts between groups of people, who all think ONLY their way is the right way and all others misguided and destined to hell.

The sad part is that they truly believe that to be the case.

Mr Singh
Aug 26, 2013 11:38pm

@Satish Sharma: deh Shiva var is not written by Guru Gobind singh. it's in dassam garanth. which maximum Sikhs don't accept as granth. this is a disputed book. every Sikh consider Guru Granth Sahib as true Guru. dasam Granth is known as story of previous birth ( pichla janam) of Guru Gobind singh. so even if this is written by him. in previous life he was not Guru of Sikhs. but maximum Sikhs don't believe in this fake story of previous life. so this granth is rejected. this granth came to limelight after Sikh's Most powerful political and religious party akali dal' s alliance with right wing Hindu party Bjp. and we don't believe in shiva. and Guru Granth Sahib don't accept Shiva as God. and it's disgusting for me to worship a shivling. and no human civilization will allow this. it's male organ of stone. and females pouring milk on it in temples. I don't like.

Aug 27, 2013 02:38am

Utterly un-spiritual people make spiritual practices and thoughts in dogma for material gain. Spirituality starts when one starts going with in oneself discarding Asatya (False), Mithya (Time & space dependent temporary truth) to reach to the Satya (Truth). That Satya is One - the soul is sole. When Dharmic say Namaste - they are saying the Soul with in me is also same as Soul within you and I acknowledge this truth by bringing hands together, we are One. If this oneness is there then Salam (Shalom, Salute or Shanti) is automatically achieved.

Salute has become militaristic ritual in later day Abrahamic faiths called religions, because to begin with they were Armed Legion. Armed legions naturally needs enemy and external diversity provides them those enemies. Day before yesterday native Hindu-Sikh were enemies, yesterday Ahmedis, today in the morning Shia and now in the evening, it is Barelwi. Dark night with no electricity for lights is approaching very fast!

In subcontinental context it was going to happen. If Raja Mansingh converts for keeping his Jagir and for expanding it, then he has to help the aliens attack his neighboring cousins. If those cousins decide also to convert then he has to make sure that they are termed differently in alien courts so that they do not get to keep all of their Jagir and some portion of it he gets as earlier converts. The whole thing was for darbari material gain. It happened when Romans divided Jews by creating Christianity using Jesus's name 200 years after his death. Later Abrahamic religions perfected this technique of using native spirituality to enslave distant native people.

Aug 27, 2013 06:15am

@Agha Ata: It is not the religion thats causing the divide it is the people benefiting from religion and this divide. It's ironic that purpose of any religion is to unite people and get them to be good to others but it's followers and specially the champions (clergy) uses it for divide and rule or use it as franchise business, it's about selling the the signs of Allah for petty profit. Religion is like a tool a hammer it's how one uses it. People tend to forget or fail to acknowledge that religion (as well as sect) is personal. It is as important for the other person as yours is to you. So enjoy yours and let others enjoy theirs and keep your opinions about others to yourself. To understand this point I suggest reading Bulleh Shah's poetry, the translations are available on the web.

Aug 27, 2013 06:28am

@Tariq K Sami: It's actually 26000 Sikhs (ref: CBC documentary on IG assasination) but Tariq sahib how would you respond to the killing of hundreds of thousands of Bengalis in East Pakistan (need I give references on that and how many I can). I don't know why discussions on these pages somehow drift to India-Pakistan BS, it's very frustrating to see people pointing fingers at each other when neither has clean backyard.

Aug 27, 2013 06:39am

@AbbasToronto: "pro-free trade, for the poor and the weak" wow, seems like the fine gentleman is a little more than he is confused, but he has been writing meaningless in the past. You have left Adam Smith miles behind.

Aug 27, 2013 01:56pm

@Mr Singh: Even Mohmmad 's uncle wrote a poem or stuti dedicated to lord Shiva,,dont believe me then find on internet about it

Aug 27, 2013 02:02pm

@Nasiroski: Agree with you. NFP's erudite piece is forgotten and the usual, the Indo Pak gully cricketwalahs have taken over the debate. In addition some more masala by way of Guru Gobind Singh vs Guru Nanak varieties of Sikhism - has been introduced by a presumably non resident Mr.Singh.

Aug 27, 2013 05:10pm

@Khiz: People like you get so much into the nitty gritty details and lose sight of the basis philosophy of religion and humanism. If you look from the eyes of love and devotion you won't see a difference between a Temple, a Gurudwara, a Mosque and a Church.

Aug 27, 2013 05:49pm

It's amazing you say Pakistanis are polarized as a society. I'm Indian, and work in Europe. A colleague of mine is Pakistani. He has been quite friendly for many months. I wished him on Eid

Aug 27, 2013 06:06pm

Great article

Aug 27, 2013 06:12pm

@BRR: no one is perfect , no race is perfect. a perfect man would be a monster in whom all virtues are unlimited no vice occurs... Perfection is restricted to divinity. if human being were supposed to be perfect then there would have been no difference between God and human

Aug 27, 2013 09:01pm

Great article

Aug 27, 2013 09:01pm


I think you're missing the point. You

Satish Sharma
Aug 27, 2013 10:28pm

@Mr Singh: it's a good thing to be judge of "previous lives" of people and gurus.

I guess you will also deny GGS's visiting shrines and doing havan ? .. of course that's all made up too .. I can quote you from Japji also .. but I think you are not going to listen to anything anyways .. there is a saying about "bxxxxxx ke aage been bajao " ..

If you don't know something it doesn't mean it has no existence or value -- your understanding of what's in granth is not shallow but rather negative - these things should be read with an open mind if you want to understand them - with closed mind you can read but never understand.

arshad sherazi
Aug 28, 2013 05:12am

@Satish Sharma: Misconceptions about Hinduism are abound because of idols and apparent worshiping of those idols.That is reason the Hinduism is not considered monotheistic by other predominant group of faiths.You should have made it clear to Mr Singh about shivling's symbolic existence which instead of male organ,is a symbol of the origin our universe moreover,mixing up of word ling with other homonym or the mutation in pronunciation gave way to the different interpretations of the practice.When it comes to degrading other faiths similarities among religions are abound too.

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