It is difficult to ignore the latest trend in the past few decades which finds Shia Muslims across the globe being harassed, persecuted, targeted, and killed in mass amounts by other Muslims. Indeed, it is the greatest shame when we realize that the most terrorizing enemy is found in our own backyard among people who follow the same religion. However, as with any religion, there exist different schools of thoughts and sects. These differences however, are not an excuse for Muslims to start pointing fingers at each other accusing them of apostasy and disbelief.
Unfortunately, there are many ignorant “scholars” and Islamic fundamentalists belonging to the Wahabi sect who have falsely instructed their followers and taught the Muslim youth to develop hatred and animosity towards Shia Muslims. The school of Wahabism has harbored its roots in places like Saudi Arabia and has for decades trained their students who are imported from different countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, etc so that they return back to their countries and propagate a false ideology among the people. What is the end product of such misguided school which has strayed far away from the pure Muhammaden Islam? It is none other than the formation of groups such as Al Qaeda, Taleban, and Sipha Sahaba who have graduated from the Wahabi school only to start their mission of eradicating the Shias and Shiasm. We find them today under the label of different names and in different colors, but their identity is one and the same.
If we carefully analyze the political arena today, it wouldn’t be difficult for us to realize that the real founders who financially supported and encouraged the development and growth of these poisonous groups are the oppressive governments of the western world. In fact, these factions of falsehood are nothing but “tools” created and manipulated under the hands of regimes that hold ill-will towards Islam. Having Muslims kill each other does nothing to advance the cause and rank of Muslims in the eyes of the world. Perhaps this is why there is little condemnation of the continuous attacks on Shias that take place within countries which also happen to be allies of the United States and Israel.
Today we witness the Shia genocide in Pakistan which is the product of a twisted mentality systematically promoted by the US and its puppet Arab regimes. Yesterday we witnessed the start of an ongoing oppression and blood shed of Shias in Bahrain. It would also be worthwhile to remember the Shias in Iraq, particularly at the time of Saddam Husain’s corrupted regime. And who knows who will be the next target tomorrow among the Shias? Over the course of history, thousands and thousands of Shia believers have been killed, tortured, their body parts severed, their belongings looted, their women violated and their children orphaned without any mercy or compassion. Statistics confirm that last year was the deadliest ever for Shias in Pakistan, with over 400 dead in targeted killings. In the latest anti-Shia violence which marked the first major tragedy in 2013, more than one hundred people were killed and two-hundred others were wounded in twin suicide attacks in an area dominated by Shia Muslims. No matter what labels we use to describe the tragedy, the fact is that what is happening in Pakistan to the Shia minority is an ugly truth, an indelible human stain and an act of genocidal ideology the bitter memory of which will rankle in the minds for many years to come.
One question that is worth asking is: why does the animosity and aggression exist to this degree only against the Shias? Why not the mainstream Sunnis or Hindus or other unique faiths which differ significantly from their own? Actually, their point of difference is not the belief in one God, nor is it the belief in the Seal of Prophets. They have no problem with Muslims praying five times a day or going to pilgrimage. They have no problem with Muslims growing beards or reciting the Quran, so long as their own interests and goals are not bothered or interfered with. And so long as the recitation of Quran stops there and does not translate in the practical application of the Holy Quran and its super users – the purified family of the Prophet (SA) who are the “walking Quran” on earth. Rather, their greatest objection is the fact that the Shias belief in the concept of Wilayat and leadership of pure and perfect personalities embodied in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his progeny.
It is unique and excellent characters such as Imam Ali ( and Imam Husain (peace be upon both) which pose great dangers for the tyrants and aggressors of today because of their strong leadership qualities. The Zionist regime and its puppet governments have realized that there is no other school than the school of Imam Husain (pbuh) that has the greatest source of energy and determination to eradicate injustice and stand against every manifestation of oppression, no matter who and what it is. The energy of resistance that is fueled every year in the holy months of Muharram and Safar by the mourners of the tragedy of Karbala is what creates immense fear in the hearts of the oppressors and tyrants. They have no problem with Shias crying and mourning over a leader who passed away centuries ago, but if that mourning and lamenting carries with it the energy of revolution and resistance of all examples of “Yazidis” in every time and age, then they will do and are doing anything and everything to fight the Husaini movement.
When they witness the extraordinary and miraculous Arbaeen processions where millions of Shias march yearly towards the shrine of the holy grandson of the Prophet in Karbala to renew their pledge of allegiance to him, they have reason to worry. After all, the same miracle which manifested there and brought multitude of people to walk barefoot for many kilometers with their women and children, is the same miracle and energy that will remove them from their thrones, eradicate their governments, interfere with their political agendas, and bring destruction to their regime. Hence, the first item on their agenda is to eradicate the Shias and the school of Shiasm, to prevent the increasing love of Imam Husain that is increasingly being instilled in the hearts of the believers, and to conceal the reality about this path of truth which stands crystal clear to those who see.
For Shias and followers of Imam Husain (pbuh) we say – it is no surprise that our path is filled with thorns and needles, for surely the believer must be tested as Allah (SWT) says, “And that He may purge those who believe and deprive the unbelievers of blessings.” [3:141] Sheikh Al Kulayni narrates that he heard Imam Ali (pbuh) saying to one of his companions: “Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe”, and that they will not be tested?” [29:1] The Imam then asked him, “What is the test?” The man answered, “We believe that the test is in religion”. So the Imam replied, “They will be tested as the gold will be tested for its purity, and they will be refined in the same way that gold is refined and purified” (Al Kafi). It is easy for the believers to give up the path of patience and be desperate of our Imam’s anticipated reappearance at the end of time. However, it is clear from the following tradition that the reappearance of our Imam (AFS) will not happen until the stage of test and trial to the believers is completed. A companion named Jaber Al Jo’afi asked Imam Al Sadeq (pbuh): “When will our Faraj come?” The Imam answered while crying, “The hastening of our reappearance will not be until you (the Shia) are tested with tribulations again and again, till Allah (SWT) eliminates the bad while only the purified ones are left. “ (Bihaar Anwar)
However, our knowledge of facing pain and suffering through trials should not disturb or discourage us from treading the path of truth and dressings ourselves with the garb of patience and perseverance. After all, Imam Ali (pbuh) has advised us, “Do not be intimidated from the path of truth due to its little amount of followers.” Sure enough if you review the history of the believers, we will see that this path has been consistent with pain and suffering which requires much patience and sacrifice that is rooted and energized by the grand sacrifice which Imam Husain (pbuh) presented in Karbala. In essence, Karbala has taught the Shias how to act and react to the oppression and injustice of their time and how to take Imam Husain (pbuh) as their template and role model in standing up to the tyrants of their time. Without Karbala, the true Shias will not be Shias, and without Imam Husain and his practicing followers who follow his great example, the idols of injustice and corruption will still continue to live on.
Author: Jerrmein Abu Shahba
Jerrmein Abu Shahba, originally from Egypt and guided by the grace of Allah (SWT) to the truth path of AhlulBayt (AS), obtained her bachelors degree in Biology and masters in Chemistry at Rutgers State University. Jerrmein is actively involved in Islamic projects and helps organizes annual youth camps with the goal of spreading the pure message of the holy Household. She contributed as a writer for the Islamic Insights and Voice of Unity magazines, volunteers as an editor for the Islam.org website, and translates Islamic literature including the latest translations of books authored by her father, titled The Final Conclusion – Your Journey to Certainty and The World Finally Speaks at Karbala Tribunals.