When two suicide bombers exploded themselves in the shrine of the revered Sufi saint Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh in Lahore, the ensuing devastation—in which at least 50 people were killed and scores injured—rendered meaningless the promise of Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947. Jinnah had said, “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed...that has nothing to do with the business of the state. You are free, free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan.” These stirring words were then perceived as an explicit assurance to the religious minorities of their rights in a country where Muslims constitute over 95 per cent of the population. Six decades later, as Pakistan remains trapped in the vortex of violence, even the Muslims are in desperate need of assurances such as Jinnah’s. Mosques and shrines of saints are targeted regularly, votaries of different Muslim sects are subjected to suicide bombings, and just about every mullah seems to enjoy the right of declaring anyone who he thinks has deviated from Islam an apostate, a non-Muslim, whose killing is religiously justifiable. In the darkness enveloping Pakistan, it won’t be wrong to ask: who isn’t a kafir or infidel, beyond even the religious minorities of Christians, Sikhs and Hindus?
fatwa, deobandi kafir, brelvi kafir, ahle hadith kafir, kuttay, wahabi کافر
War On The Kafirs
The broad Sunni-Shia division does not explain all of it
- Most Sunnis adhere to the Hanafi school of jurisprudence. Only 5 per cent of the country’s population belongs to the Ahle Hadith sect or Wahabis.
- The Sunnis are subdivided into the Barelvi and Deobandi schools of thought
- The Deobandis and Wahabis consider the Barelvis as kafir, because they visit the shrines of saints, offer prayers, believe music, poetry and dance can lead to god
- Barelvis constitute 60 per cent of the population. Deobandis and Wahabis together account for 20 per cent
- Another 15 per cent are Shias, again considered kafir and subjected to repeated attacks
- Since 2000, the Sunni-Shia conflict has claimed 5,000 lives
- Others considered kafir are the religious minorities—Christians, Ismailis, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Ahmadias, etc, who account for 5 per cent of the population
- So, 20 per cent of the population effectively considers the remaining 80 per cent as kafir
Shrapnel from every explosion strains the social fabric, tears its rich tapestry, and undermines the traditional forms of devotion inherited over generations. Take the twin suicide bombings of the Data Ganj Baksh shrine of July 1, which has been blamed on the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) even though it has vehemently denied its involvement. This Sufi shrine defines the spirit of Lahore, which is often called Data ki nagri (Data’s abode). Here lies buried Syed Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery, popularly known as Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh, whose shrine is mostly visited by members of the Barelvi sect of Sunni Muslims. The shrine, famous for mystical dancing by devotees, is a Lahore landmark.
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However, the adherents of the Deobandi school of thought, to which the Taliban belongs, are opposed to the idea of Muslims visiting Sufi shrines and offering prayers, a practice known as piri-faqiri. The Deobandis deem piri-faqiri to be heretical, a gross violation of Islamic doctrine; ditto mystical dancing. The Deobandis, therefore, consider the Barelvis as kafir whose neck can be put to sword, no question asked.
A week before July 1, the TTP had sent a letter to the Data Ganj Baksh administration threatening to attack the shrine, claiming its status was equivalent to that of the Somnath temple in Gujarat, India. The symbolism inherent in the comparison wasn’t lost—the Somnath temple had been repeatedly raided by Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi, ‘the idol destroyer’, who believed his marauding attacks would sap the fighting spirit of the Hindus. The attack on the Data Darbar was, similarly, aimed at demoralising the Barelvis, besides striking at the root of Lahore’s religious and cultural ethos. The Daily Times pointed out, “For 1,000 years, the city has been sustained by the cultural openness and tolerance that Data gave us. For 1,000 years, the shrine has fed Lahore’s hungry, clothed its naked and given shelter to the shelter-less. All that was brought to a halt when the night jackals in straitjackets struck like the cowards they are. Pakistan’s Islamic pluralism is now the target.”
Deoband mufti speaking against Pakistan,Quaid-e-Azam,Kashmir Movement-1/4
Deoband mufti speaking against Pakistan,Quaid-e-Azam,Kashmir Movement-2/4
Deoband mufti speaking against Pakistan,Quaid-e-Azam,Kashmir Movement-3/4
Deoband mufti speaking against Pakistan,Quaid-e-Azam,Kashmir Movement-4/4
“Labelling others infidel has become a preferred task of mullahs. The Quran is wrongly used to disprove others’ faith.”
Zakir Naik against creation of Pakistan
Renowned Islamic scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), which furnishes legal advice on Islamic issues to the Pakistan government, laments, “Labelling others infidel and kafir has become a preferred task of the mullahs. It’s clear that every sect considers others heretical, kafirs and dwellers of hell. Even verses of the Quran are wrongly used to disprove others’ faith and sects.” In a way, a minority of Pakistan’s population has taken to declaring the rest as kafir. Look at the figures—95 per cent of the Pakistani population are Muslim, of which 85 per cent are Sunni and 15 per cent Shia. But for the five per cent belonging to the Ahle Hadith (Wahabis), the Sunnis prescribe to the Hanafi school of jurisprudence. They are further subdivided into the Barelvi and Deobandi schools. Most agree on the following composition of Pakistan’s population—60 per cent Barelvis, 15 per cent Deobandis, 15 per cent Shias, 5 per cent Ahle Hadith, and the remaining 5 per cent constituting Ahmadis, Ismailis, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis, etc. This means only 20 per cent of Pakistanis (15 per cent of Deobandis plus 5 per cent of Ahle Hadith) strictly consider the remaining 80 per cent as kafir, even willing to subject them to death and destruction.
Renowned Pakistani writer Khaled Ahmed points to the irony: “Within Sunni Islam, the Deobandis and the Barelvis are not found anywhere outside India and Pakistan. The creation of these two sects was one of the masterstrokes of the Raj in its divide-and-rule policy.” He says the Deobandi school took roots in India in 1866 as a reaction to the overthrow of Muslim rule by the British. This school believes in a literalist interpretation of Islam, and apart from Wahabis, considers all other sects as non-Muslim who must be exterminated. “That’s why they work side by side, from politics to jehad,” says Ahmed, adding that though the Barelvi school of thought is the dominant jurisprudence in Pakistan, “it is not as well politically organised as the Deobandi school.”