Muharram is your holiday, not mine

Published: December 2, 2011

If you want to have a party in Muharram, thats fine by me; just don't get all emotional if I don't attend.

I am a Shia Muslim living in a country that offers me no security. While I agree that no one in Pakistan is really safe from the constant terror attacks, the recent acts of sectarian violence with absolutely no accountability paints a very bleak picture for me. 

People, in general, tend to target people who are a little different from them, and this is the sad reality of life. In Pakistan, Shias are no exception. Aside from the obvious threat to their security, there are other things that worry us Shias, and make us contemplate about how open-minded our society really is. Here is my list of things that make my blood boil.

The writing on the wall

The last time I checked, being different was not a crime. Just because some of my beliefs are not identical to the mainstream Islamic ones, doesn’t make my life any less important than yours. What makes it worse is the fact that I am a Muslim too, but I am treated like I’m not. Do you think the attacking graffiti on the walls makes me happy? All those statements labelling Shias as ‘kafirs’ (infidels) and those that state that we are ‘wajib-e-katal’ (someone who should be killed) really sting. I chose to ignore it, however, this doesn’t justify the practice.

Calling the 9th and 10th Muharram ‘holidays’

Another thing that really bothers me is how people label the 9th and 10th Muharram as ‘holidays’. Stop calling them holidays! Seriously, it offends me significantly. It might be a holiday for you and everyone else, but it is not for me. For me, this day means everything.

You might think it’s a great idea to have a major exam immediately the day after Ashura, because for you, the 9th and 10th of Muharram are two days of absolute nothingness, during which you can easily plan study-dates.  The same doesn’t apply to me. I am not using my beliefs as an excuse to shun my responsibilities, but please, can you be more considerate?

Invitations to parties

Coming to the constant invitations during Muharram; you want to get engaged, married, or have parties in Muharram, fine, go ahead. I am sincerely very happy for you. Just don’t get all emotional if I do not attend when invited. Muharram for me does not end after the first ten days, contrary to popular belief.

What Islamiat text books say about my beliefs

Not just at a primary level, but in universities too, Islamic studies do not even touch on my beliefs. I have to call Hazrat Ali (AS) a Caliph, but if I dare call him an Imam, my marks are deducted. Why? Did I say something wrong? My religion is Islam too and if my beliefs vary from yours, why should I get less marks than you?

This is my country; I was born here and my father was born here. I have every right to be here just as everyone else does. You think your statements of ‘restricting religious activities of juloos’s (congregation), processions, and majlises will end sectarian violence’ hold even the slightest hint of truth? Weren’t there blasts inside masjids (mosques)? Those weren’t processions – it was just was a group of people praying.

And don’t even get me started on target killings. The massacre in Quetta of Hazaras? The brutal murder of Shias in Parachinar? What do you call that? Why are we being attacked for no reason?

This might sound like a bitter rant to you,  but what do you expect me to do? I have grown up in a society which has no tolerance. The society, my society treats me as an outcast. I have to constantly fear for the lives of my loved ones. Every time someone leaves the house, a ritual of duas (prayers) and ayats (verses) are recited in an effort to keep him or her safe. I completely understand that terrorism in this country has now reached a level that no one is left unaffected. However I firmly believe that minorities are the ones suffering the most.


Sidra Rizvi

A student of Mass Communication working for social media who tweets as @Sidra_Rizvi

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • yuti

    yay. so you can’t blame the hindu zionists, RAW, Amrica and CIA for this. Oh wait – the jews , the isrealis too !or is This is a conspiracy that the world is responsible for? Shias are NOT discrimated against right ? this is propaganda being spread by the rest of the world. ha ! A day should come when pakis acknowledge their faults and take charge instead of pointing fingers at others.Recommend

  • Ovais

    stop whining … if you know , Rawalpindi exit routs are blocked on muharam , karachi and lahore as welll … the most sequred rally in karachi , kindly check out the saddar town office they have 7 – 8 charts of muharram procession …. the problem is the level of tolerance in our society , two shias die karachi is burnt , 24 soldiers died what happened …
    Kindly see the other side before posting any thing like that , we do let atleast Shias have their processions and whatever they do, so dont blame those who have to take a holiday on 10 muharram .Recommend

  • SN

    Sects, by nature, are divisive. If we hope to live as one society or even as one country, we need to stop applying the the “us vs them” philosophy. You are muslim, stop calling yourself shia or sunni or whatever. Just be muslim, or pakistani, or better yet, just classify yourself as a human being. That way you belong to every “sect”.Recommend

  • Red

    I support minority rights to the fullest extent but this article was not well-written.Recommend

  • UMAR

    My name is Umar & I fully endorse Ms. Rizvi’s views. Thank you sister for being so honest & courageous ! May God Bless you !Recommend

  • Malik112

    Instead of holiday u can call it a Holy Day….Recommend

  • Pakistani

    All you did in this article is darkened the demarcation boundary between the muslims. Atleast you made ME believe that you are you, and me is me and we are different – though I believed otherwise. My believe was whatever your believe is, its your personal matter, rest we stand on the same platform.

    As far as the killings are concerned, at least the killers were able to convince and promote hatred in one person’s mind, that is you.Recommend

  • Zaki Khalid

    Spreading sectarian strife and hatred: ET at its finest.Recommend

  • Aswad

    I don’t Understand this Thinking ” I am a Muslim but Little bit different then the main stream ” ..
    seriously?? Why people love to create divisions … For GOD sake stick to what is Supreme and do not make idiotic stories about the Holy Religion !! this “Sectisum” just pisses me off ….Recommend

  • Dr Killjoy

    Hate to break it to you, but your suffering is not equal to – or greater than – the suffering of anyone else. Everyone’s suffering in their own way. It is condescending to assume you are suffering more because you have Minority status in this country, unless you are Asia Bibi and currently on death row for Blasphemy. Recommend

  • Asad Shairani

    Just like you’re requesting others not to get emotional if you don’t accept their invitations in Moharram – you need to stop being emotional about people calling the two off days as holidays. I agree that that intolerance is rampant in this country but overall, your post is really immature.Recommend

  • Duaa K

    Sidra – I can only try to understand where you are coming from. Our society in general is not very tolerant. However, this isnt helped by your very emotional rant. By highlighting differences, those too at times petty ones (calling 9th – 10th muharram a holiday) It is a holiday – what you choose to do on that day is your business and yours alone. But calling it a day off is not wrong and nothing to be spited at for. I’m just a little astounded by your pettiness, The very tihing you are trying to preach (tolerance) is the very thing you yourself are failing at.

    On the other hand, I agree, the sectarian violence that occurs is shameful. And I am not even going to bother placating those feelings by saying all minorities in Pakistan tend to get targeted. What is wrong is wrong. But pointing fingers and ranting on blogs is not going to solve it. It is absolutely mandatory to have a thick skin when living in Pakistan. Recommend

  • :S

    Please get your facts straight. I dont know any body in my circle who celebrate parties, weddings etc in Moharram. Imam Ali and Imam Hussain is as much mine as they are of yours. Dont call them as only yours. We all are muslims and we really appreciate them for their sacrifices for Islam. I dont know what your motives are but please for god sake don’t divide muslims. I strongly disagree to your opinion!!Recommend

  • Malik112

    Religion is for losers…..Recommend

  • MF Hussain

    Its religious people like you who are against religious people like you.
    Essentially your religiosity is the deathly nectar that feeds the hate that you suffer.

    The way I see it its two evils pitted against each other. Fine by me. Recommend

  • Jaff Syed

    Bravo Sidra….thats the reality actually which no one wants to know or talk about. you would see people talking about ohhh..dont spread sectarianism…duhh…it prevails in our society, ask from the ones who re killing shia’s everyday..and they re proud to do so…? they should be thankful to shia’s for not reacting in the same manner…may Allah give hidayat to everyone to let every individual have his/her own belief and practice it… Recommend

  • Adil

    I guess you’re too obsessed with your Shia identity. I have many Shia friends, but they never complain. They realise that intolerance affects the Pakistani society at large. And all groups are discriminated against, including various Sunni schools of thought as well.

    I suggest you stop portraying an exaggerated sense of victimization and get up and do something to alleviate this state of intolerance that we’re in. Being divisive will certainly not help. Except that it’ll be welcome fodder for international agencies wanting to point another finger at the human and religious rights situation in Pakistan…Recommend

  • Salman

    So much respect to you! well done.. Recommend

  • sidra

    u let??Recommend

  • Ali Abbas

    @ovais: get your facts right then speak up. “2 shias die?” From where are you reading your script brother? Roll back from 1947 to this day and you will see that the numbers speak for themselves. Muharram is one exception when there are processions and shias gather in large numbers but there have been entire era’s in Pakistani history when Shia blood was spilled like water be it Dr, Eng, Scholars etc. The entire shia community was massacred in large numbers and no one spoke about it back then because well accept it or not the norm is “if its a shia dieing its acceptable“.
    About Karachi being burnt, really? Do you think it was shias who burned the city on 10th muharram after the blast? Or in the recent event? Or is it that you value life more over property? Tolerance is running low in all of Pakistani nation I agree.
    and last but not the least i know people who organize picnics on 9th n 10th muharram as it is a two day holiday for them but i am least bothered.Recommend

  • sick of this

    so what do u want???? Recommend

  • Ali Abbas

    @all: demarcations and sects are not created by us or anyother minority for that matter. I would love to be called a muslim and a pakistani but instead people choose to call me a “shia”-muslim and a “mahajir”-Pakistani..Recommend

  • F

    This blog might be exaggerating the situation a bit but there is one thing that hit home.

    “Not just at a primary level, but in universities too, Islamic studies do not even touch on my beliefs. I have to call Hazrat Ali (AS) a Caliph, but if I dare call him an Imam, my marks are deducted. Why? Did I say something wrong? My religion is Islam too and if my beliefs vary from yours, why should I get less marks than you?”

    I completely agree with you on this Sidra. The discipline of “Islamic studies” in schools in excessively biased towards the Sunni faith. The Board of Education needs to present history in an unbiased fashion and allow children to read about both sects side by side. I think this will make sunnis and shias understand each other better and dispel any myths that we have about each other. This does not mean we have to prove one side wrong or the other right, we need to understand that history is subjective depending on the source. Recommend

  • Really?

    So biased Pakistani society is against the Shia community that our current and previous president subscribe to the faith. The wealth and power yielded by the Shia comunity in Pakistan is disproportionate to the relative population. Your view lack merit barring a few outlier incidents. Recommend

  • FRizvi

    I am shia too and a fully practicing one – however i dont completely agree with the extent of discrimination that the writer claims. I have lived in Pak all my life and attended jaloos and majlises and i dont think there is anymore threat to our lives than there is to other minority groups – religious, ethnic and social alike. We live in a country where ppl identify one another by the divisions they belong to and they always find reasons to single them out and target them.

    as for the syllabus in schools and universities, you have to accept that the country is a sunni majority and we study sunni islam in schools. the reason why you are downgraded for voicing your shia belief is not because of religious intolerance, its becuase thats not what the school syllabus teaches. our education system has little room for argument and free thinking, as long as you regurgitate what is in the books, you are successful. so please dont confuse intolerance with education systemRecommend

  • M Bilal

    It is you who is trying to promote sectarianism in the society… articles like such only create panic in the mind of both the Shias and the Sunnis… Pseudo intellectuals like you are the reason for divide in the society… Some ill minded people are there who love to see blood shed but that doesn’t justify calling whole of society as psycho maniac.Recommend

  • Muslim

    Hazrat Ali, Hazrat Hassan and Hazrat Hussain are equally important for sunnis as they are for shias. Moharram is a sacred month for every muslim. kindly stop telling everybody that you are a better muslim than the rest of us. there is no shia sunni in islam.. we r jus muslims and we’d lyk to stay only muslims for the rest of our lives!! stop separating yourselves from us!! open ur eyes and see how many people are killed daily in our country… for once in ur life think of urself as only a pakistani muslim. forget all the sects and forget all the difference for which ppl lyk u are responsible! again i dun care if u r a sunni or shia or pathan or sindhi or watever.. for me u r only a pakistani muslim who is just over reacting and seperating herself from us!!Recommend

  • M Bila

    @yuti: For you silly blogs like such are the best entertainment on web… The lady in this article is simply raising the issues that only less than 10% of Shias Muslims in Pakistan would feel genuine.Recommend

  • Shah

    If anything Shias are quite privileged & organised in Pakistan. No sect, no religion should be allowed to occupy the streets and public places during any religious events. When one sect asserts its presence and its religious dogmas so imposingly what else kind of response should be expected in return by the rest, but similar extremism in the name of religion.
    Live & let live.Recommend

  • sidra

    i am entitled to my opinion.& im not the one who created differences, i was raised in a society seeped with them already. and to everyone saying this is a bitter rant….. well people like you are the ones who have created differences. Recommend

  • The Reader

    The moment I read this blog, I knew this girl was calling for trouble as is evident from the comments. Poor you, Sidra Rizvi! But next please come up with something sensible and not sentimental.Recommend

  • Whatever!

    Stop being a victim, please! If you don’t want to call it a holiday, then don’t do it. I have nothing against Shias or their religious practices, but seriously, this whole Oh-poor-us-We’re-greiving-and-you’re-being-so-insensitive attitude is getting a little too much… you can’t force the rest of the world to shut down for 30 days too! Recommend

  • Your Conscience

    This article is as trivial as a the sermon of a narrow minded sunni cleric..Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    For all their different beliefs, Shias have it far better than any other minority in Pakistan, including the poor Ahmadis,
    Shias are getting their days off to mourn during Muharram, others can take the time to relax, but we don’t have to be so sensitive to your beliefs. Pakistan is probably more sensitive to the Shia minority’s sensitivities than other countries are to their own minorities. For the vast majority of Pakistanis, those days of Muharram are holidays, and scheduling exams makes sense. If you are observing religious rites during those days, then it makes sense for you to study beforehand. The majority Sunni population can’t completely change to accommodate a small Shia minority’s religious beliefs.Recommend

  • Faizan Raza

    Some of the above comments are SOLID proof of how our views aren’t respected enough. If you say Shias are not suffering more than anyone else, you clearly live in a world of your own. Denial won’t do much good to you. We have no gain in exaggerating things. Sidra wrote what we exactly feel, and how things exactly are. And I COMPLETELY agree with her. If you think it’s ‘immature’ then let it be so, but that’s exactly what the truth is.Recommend

  • Citizen

    if it really offends you then please do not come to streets to make our life miserable… one cannot go to get milk or the masjid to pray cuz there is a juloos to pass 4 hours from now!!!! Please visit Gulistan-e-Johar and ask everyone how difficult it is for them..! one cannot come from office late at night cuz a juloos is passing.. Recommend

  • Khurram Mansoor

    I do not feel commenting here, but have to laugh off this article as Muharram has been a holy month for centuries even before the advent of Islam. For me its the first month of the New Islamic year. Be it Shias or Sunnis.Recommend

  • MH

    @Ovais : “we do let atleast Shias have their processions ”
    What made you think that you let us have the procession or we are dependant on your permission??Recommend

  • Yasir

    First of all, we have to come up against these holidays thing. Whenever someone dies or something happens; holiday is to announced the very next day. We have to realize the importance of these days not just by giving holidays. But, indeed letting everyone contribute in the society and community by working for it. Not, by providing the holidays and sleeping at home or wasting the time.

    And, I think we should highly discourage the word “Sect” or the writings made spreading the hatred like this baseless article. We, are MUSLIMS and Proud to be it.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    If you think that our Islamiat textbooks should take into account Shia views and beliefs, then they should also take into account the views of Ahmadis and Alevis.Recommend

  • Ahmad Mirza

    I do not belong to any sect; the gestures of the prayer might be different but purpose is the same; I would agree to the opinion that once you stop calling yourself shia or sunni this divide will automaticlly disappear. Stop calling yourself a minority as it hurts the feelings of every Muslim; just because your beliefs are a little different then the rest of the Sects; does not make you an outcast but when you call yourself a “Minority” you automatically cast yourself out; well then the graffiti on Iranian walls is Die Wahabis; Sunnis etc etc; we cannot just make stereotypes if we see a specific class of public acting in a specific manner. Unfortunately these are just my personal concepts and majority of our Pakistani brothers fail to have a tolerant behaviour for other peoples activities; if you want to do something who is stopping you; you do it anyway; secondly in Islamabad i dont see as many police men guarding a Masjid but outside a Bargah you see dozens of them. 7th Avenue is the bloodline of 4 sectors and people have to take long deroutes on 9th and 10th because of processions on it; in Lahore late at night around 4 PM; i was waking up to YA Ali; Nara-e-Haidri but nobody came out to protest or ask them to be silent; though there were only a few of them. Try having a loud conversation in UK, US, Europe or even Turkey at 4 am in the morning and you will know yourself. My friend lives right opposite to a Bargah in a congested Place where one loud speaker can wake the dead from the grave; yet the Bargah has 4 loud Speakers each in every direction; does someone tell them to turn them off at Sham-e-ghariban? the Answer is ‘NO’; they respect their activities and bear them silently to not to hurt anyones emotions.

    VERDICT 1: This Stereotyping is not the best of the things of to do for Nation Building; If we learn to live together as one by being tolerant, considerate, and compassionate; then we can live peacefully with ourselves, our neighbours and the rest of Pakistan.

    VERDICT 2: This Society is evolving and it will not evolve untill and unless we start adopting the policy of Tolerance, moderation and calling ourselves simply “Muslim” Followers of “Quran” the last revelation Written by the Supreme ALLAH (SWT) Recommend

  • MH

    ET – stop publishing pointless articles! I must say your tactics of gaining attention is so cheap that it stinks!Recommend

  • basma

    its a very god read and there are points which are right but the fact that only the shia’s are in danger is something debatable the juloos and majalis are given high security and they are taken care of but the fact that there is a loophole in the systems does not mean that sunni’s are on to something this is merely just wanting a reason to create a difference between people and we dont need them coz we already have alot of them
    i am a sunni and i know there are 4 people praying back at home when i leave the house coz they dont ask u if you are a sunni before blowing themselves upRecommend

  • wizz

    I am not a Shia but i am strictly of the view that everyone living in the country should be allowed to practice their beliefs.

    I don’t think Shias face much discrimination, Pakistan is a Sunni majority country so yes for most of the population, 9th & 10th are just holidays. About Shias being murdered, well its Pakistan, here the killers don’t discriminate, they kill everyone. Remember the incident at “Nishtar Park” where all top Sunni Maulanas and many more were killed in a blast.

    I can show you more walls with stuff written based on ethnicity so that’s just what happens here. About exams right after the 10th ! well we all have had exams right after Eid, Bakra-Eid, 12 Rabi Awal etc. so there is nothing to complain about there as well, thats just how the system works.

    I suggest you pay more attention to whatever that needs to be done in Muharram and do it properly without worrying and complaining about stuff that is beyond your control. Life is’nt perfect for anyone and we all make compromises.

    I hate when the minorities complain if they are robbed, killed or face discrimination. This is Pakistan. The Police mobile outside my office building keeps asking for 50 bucks. If own a bike in Karachi, your life is as miserable as a street dog. You will be stopped at each and corner of the road. You will be robbed every time you take out your cell phone in Public, You will be robbed if you are coming out of a bank/ATM with some money. You carry a great risk of being shot during aerial firing episodes. If there are riots you bike will be burnt irrespective of ethnicity, religion , sect. If you’re looking for a job, you will never get a good one unless you somebody high up.

    So guys just stop complaining and accept the fact that Pakistan is tough country to live in. The only discrimination here is based on the amount of money & contacts you have. Recommend

  • Asjad Khan

    Well I agree to most of it expect the Holiday point…Holiday is a neutral term I think…it has no bias against or for…it just an expression of a day that means you dont have to go to office or study or business. But if your offended by it, I might as well stop calling it that…! and security situation…my friend its all the same for us…!Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    Express Tribune should realize that this is blog associated with a newspaper before it indulges into “rant-o-rama” posts like these.

    The author says:

    Another thing that really bothers me is how people label the 9th and 10th Muharram as ‘holidays’.

    Nothing personal, but she needs to learn to check the facts before she writes.Holiday is a compound word of “holy” and “day”. I hope she checks the following links: and

    Furthermore, she writes that Shias are targeted because of their ‘minority’ status. I wish she had noticed that a lot of influential, perhaps even the President of the country, come from the very sect. Moreover, it is easily forgotten that while the people died during 10th Muharram procession were not only Shia. They were other sects, too. Most of them were there on voluntary duties. And, the guards, who tried to save Shias from getting hurt last year at a Chelum event, were not Shia. Still, they protect them and laid their lives for them.

    Rather being so disgraceful, you should ponder on the teaching of Hazrat Ali more deeply.Recommend

  • hani

    @Ovais: “two shias die karachi is burnt , 24 soldiers died what happened …”
    your ignorance makes me laugh…u say dis as if shias killed those 24 soldiers, dunt forget shias makes a significant part in pak army those dead soldiers were our loss as much as urs…
    as for blocked exit routes… exactly, if people from outside r not bombing shia processions den sumone frm inside is… they r so convenienty hiding in rat holes provided to them by political islamist groups… also y doesnt anyone complain wen a JD procession is held in faislabad showing off more weapons than the police or rangers, chanting slogans to kill everybody who doesnt belive in their version of islam. Recommend

  • TS

    while you were complaining about how all non shias are intolerant towards you i kept wondering y can’t you be more tolerant….. For many non shias who do not have processions to attend on 9th and 10th will consider these two days as holidays….and holidays is not a bad word…it just means you don’t have to go to work…so if they plan these two days according to their wishes why are you having so much trouble? you go to your processions and let us go to where ever we want to …… and you get disturbed by graffiti on walls done by some deranged islamist groups, you really need to widen your horizon!Recommend

  • hani

    @Your Conscience:
    u may not have noticed but unlike many narrow minded sunni clerics she hasnt declared anyone “wajib ul qatal”… ignoring the fact that shia community is being targeted and killed is not goin to do any good for anybody, the law enforcing agencies shud know that.Recommend

  • Ovais

    i dont know what LET means ,,, ???Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Shias are in a far better situation than any other religious minority in Pakistan and, given the case of most other Muslim countries, there is a remarkable level of tolerance and religious harmony between Shias and Sunnis in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ali Zain Kara

    @Ovais: Karachi was not burnt when 2 innocent scouts directing the road traffic (HELPING THE USELESS POLICE OUT) were fired on mercilessly. The Rangers and Police stood there, watched the SSP terrorists fire and go hide in the Khatam-e-Nubuwat Mosque. Why didn’t they take action? In 1995, Mehfil-e-Murtaza was victim to one of the first few sectarian attacks. 6 men entered the Mosque during Fajar prayers and as soon as the prayers ended, made everyone stand in a line. They were shot at with Kalashnikovs and SMG’s. 2 of the culprits were caught, and admitted to their crime in court. They were released by Mian Nawaz Sharif in exchange for a few thousand votes from the SSP supporters. You forget the Bloody May incidents, where the Shia Imambargahs were targetted, bomb blasts ripped through the mosques during prayers and hundreds of my brothers died. You forget the Karachi bomb blast on Ashura, the Chehlum bomb blast in Lahore, and then you have the audacity to say we are not targetted? Get your information right my friend, before your ignorance and illiteracy leads you to a darker side then you already find yourself in. And no, you dont “let us have our processions”, we have them anyway; THEY ARE CONSTITUTIONAL HOLIDAYS GIVEN BY QUAIDE AZAM MOHAMMAD ALI JINNAH, AND THE PROCESSIONS TOO HAVE BEEN AUTHORISED BY HIM. The Quaid was a Shia Muslim, and it is because of him you are here in Pakistan practicing Islam freely, rather than being persecuted in India. And this is how the country repays his biggest favour: by killing the people who share his faith.

    @Sidra Rizvi: the article is brilliantly written, but you forget that a lot of share similar concerns. I’m a Shia, and I don’t feel secure in this country. But I know that no matter how much they bomb us and try to kill us, I will not stop practicing my religion. It is time the govt. took notice of what’s going on in the country. Shias make up 20% of Pakistan, and that makes us a sizable minority. Articles like this show our side of the picture, but im not sure if this is the correct format or the correct place where they should be made public. I agree with some of the readers that it does sound a bit like whining, but it gets the message across perfectly!Recommend

  • Ovais

    Look at the reality please ,,, maybe i was too harsh in my wordings , But that procession even promotes sectarianism , If i am a sound enough sunni muslim to stay in my house and observe a day with no entertainment, than stop blaming us or even the govt since this promotes hatred.

    I can write a blog (which obviously wont be published) on why muharram is my holiday and it will have much more likes , but i am sane enough to not promote sectarianism Recommend

  • Ovais

    and the school syllabus dont want to promote sectarianism or division , and yes at the cost of immamat Recommend

  • YH

    You are implying that if i get killed in a similar situation, you want my parents to remain tolerant.
    You are implying that we see our people getting killed and not say a word.
    We are also Pakistanis, We also sacrificed our lives for this nation, We do care about the Soldiers that were killed. We have always tried to promote unity among Muslims, but what did we get in return ??
    I you really knew why do we take out these processions and mourn the days of Muharram , u wouldn’t be talking about taking a holiday.
    If u want us to be tolerant, then beware as we are taught to set up a mark that no one else would be able to achieve.Recommend

  • Bilal

    Indeed if Shia people holding top offices in the country can’t protect their minority, they should quit. It’s just like Yemen where Ali Abdullah Salah was a Shia and Shia’s were fighting him for their basic rights.

    I have no problem with their belief and their actions as long as they are not creating trouble for the wider part of the society. Unfortunately, the 9-10 Muharram do make trouble for alot of people having nothing to do with Shia ideology. If they need to take off from work or whatever, because these days are important part of their belief, it is perfectly fine. But calling public holidays with potential threat to law and order is not desirable. It is like imposing your religious belief on others.

    Tolerant and logical Pakistan is quite far away.

    Express Tribune should be more responsible. Recommend

  • Syed Najam Gardezi

    Sidra, you truly reflect my feelings. agree to every bt of your article. Recommend

  • |TopGun|

    Different from the mainstream? Its you who’s creating the difference here, rather pushing it. What mainstream? And do you want to be a minority in your own *home* or you just want to gain sympathies? Although so many of the points you meant to convey are actually right, but you’ve presented them all wrong. Before you or anyone else starts to refute my comment on emotional or religious basis, let me tell you that I’m a practicing Shia Muslim.

    Writings on the walls?
    That’s a whiner. Or you should include the writings that target *all* Muslims. Muslims all over the world are being targeted by writings that are taken as scholarly work by rest of the world. You should worry about that rather than these extremist comments which get straight away bans on any moderated forums or a punch in the face in real life.

    Calling 10th Muhurram as a holiday & invitations to parties…
    That generally offends me too, but then for those who do not practice what we do on those days have nothing else to do, and why would you have a problem because they plan study dates or even go to parties? I would not specifically oppose this point but you could just ‘tell’ them the reasons instead of letting your blood boil, I’m sure all Muslims love the Prophet (saww) and his family and they would be considerate if the facts were brought to their attention. For the invitations given to you, you can always decline with an explanation and the fact that you got invited only tells their ignorance of your beliefs or the event in general.. and an explanation from your side would deal it better than bashing it around here which is immature.

    Target killings..
    Although its true that Shia Muslims are being targeted, but so are non Balochis in Balochistan, Pathans in Karachi, Urdu-speakers in Karachi, Punjabis in KP, Pathans in Punjab and Pakistani’s all over the world. I actually really favor this part of your writing, but then again, I’m more than offended by the way that you represented me as a minority in my own home. This is a *serious* issue that we need to protest against, but this is not a minority issue.

    I can not empathize with you on the course work part so much because there was no such case in O levels’ coursework and the syllabus was inclusive but I did have Islamiat in the junior school and I never faced such problems other than my teacher some times changing (A.S) to (R.A) and me then provocatively changing the ‘red marking’ back to (A.S.) with no further action from both sides.

    We have all rights to undertake processions and I think we are using all those rights as well and I don’t think any one can shut that down without shutting down the republic with it. And just by your own point that mosques and all the Muslims are not safe from the terrorist attacks, you should rather be righting for *all* the Muslims and promoting unity.

    @Ovais, you are promoting division too comparing a ‘Shia death’ to a ‘Muslim death’ when Shias are Muslims. And you don’t *let* us carry out those processions, it’s our right.

    @yuti, your rant itself is racist and useless if that is what you came here to make a point about.Recommend

  • Mahin

    Sidra, I am a Muslim. And 9th and 10th Muharram are not just holidays for me. I am not shia sunni or however you want to classify Islam. I believe in Allah and His Prophet and as such hold everything sacred.
    When I leave my house, my mother still goes through rituals of saying duas for me. Robbers and Target jillers donot ask your religion before they shoot you. I fast and pray on the 9th and 10th of muharram as well. For Hazrat Ali and for Hazrat Moosa.

    Instead of generalising and making the sectarian (which is bull anyway) differences so obvious, it wouldve been nice if you;d preach to ALL the muslims and asked them to respect the day because they will ALL be accountable for calling 9th and 10th Muharram a holiday. And I dont think this is just for Muharram, lots of people tend to behave the same way for 27th Ramzan and so forth. I am guilty of being happy that its Ramzan because school gets off early, I am sure youre aware of many other people as well, who do the same?
    You know, we need to really get these differences aside and work as muslims. Im, afraid its all in your head. There is no ‘mainstream’ Islam. Its all just Islam. How can you feel marginalised if youre a muslim?
    We all might not be tolerant, but you should know one of the most powerful political parties and our President himself as Shia origins. whatever his short comings might be he is a democratically elected president by all rules, and I dont see anyone berating him on his religion? I have a feeling you need to change your company :) Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @The Reader:
    Shouldn’t minorities have the right to speak out. That’s the least they deserve. If they feel discriminated against whats the harm in them speaking out. She says, “What makes it worse is the fact that I am a Muslim too, but I am treated like I’m not. “ Can’t believe victims are being bashed for speaking out. What will become of them if they are not even given the right to speak up.Recommend

  • Dosti Zahra

    Almost all of the above comments have the exact same view towards Shias that the author is trying to point. She is not trying to create more divisions, in fact she is saying that if there are differences that Muslims in general like to create, then those same people should reward some respect towards Shias who THEY have deemed different than themselves.

    However, the biggest arument that the author herself forgot to point out was that what the Shias are mourning is an aspect of Islam, an Islam that is same for everyone whether Shia, Sunni, Ahmadi, Ismaili, Qadyani or whatever they identify themselves is. The truth it is the mourning of the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s grandsons who died saving Islam itself.Recommend

  • Asad Hasnain

    I feel so bad that people are making there own points out of the real message of the write-up by Sidra Rizvi

    No body realize how bad things must have been for them to push themselves from saying Muslims to Shia Muslim .

    How could no body ever saw the grafti all over declaring Shiates as “Kaafir” , and “Wajib-ul-qatl”

    How could no one ever counted or noticed atleast, the dozens of educated lawyers, doctors, business men in metropolitan, and hundreds of common poor people (Including Piligrims) relating to the shia sect killed brutally during past couple of years. ( while media doing good job sweeping it under the carpet labeling it broadly as Target Killings of PEOPLE , not defining the people.)

    Why no body realize, that in secular countries , no minority of Isalm (being it Shias, khojas, bohras, ismails etc) are targeted or treated as abondend, why this only happens in the great ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN

    Why our Islamiat text books only teaches us All is Well, and We (Muslims) have been doing great for the last 1433 years. no mention of un-natural(not in Jihad too) death of three out frist FOUR Caliphets of Islam , forget the rest. Any body knows what Ummaiyates did, and abbasis, and Ottoman caliphates did? and who did what to the decendents of Holy prophet (PBUH)?

    Why in our Islamiat text books , there is no or only a slight mention of the event of Karbala with diplomatically correct statements not definning the lines of who was who.

    What level of Hypocrisy do we possess only God Knows.

    as some one said, ” Pakistan ka Allah Hafiz” (May God Protect Pakistan)Recommend

  • good boy

    Well I am pretty sure you highlighted this issue to get your article published. I believe we are going through some significant other problems right now which had brought the entire nation to a state of insecurity/ war and there you are still not out of your typical Shia Sunni problems. Get over it guys… b/c of this our country is still in the stone ages. Recommend

  • MK

    oh dear Lord. I am SOOO sick of reading all these ‘ I am a Muslim, yet I don’t pray’, ‘I am blah, but I hate religion’, ‘Religion vs culture in Pakistan’ immature blogs here on ET. Kids, grow up. Religion is a personal matter between you and God. Lets just leave it at that, and forget the man-made labels of us and them, Sunni, Shia, Ahmadi, etc etc. Btw, this was an inane article, that seriously detrimented the point it was attempting to make.

    Peace xox.Recommend

  • Khurram Zia Khan

    Totally exaggerated views of writers on many issues,I am a muslim I am against procession on Muharram & also on Rabi Ul Awal,If some one is killing Shias then followers and religious scholars of other communities are also got killed.I think you forget the Nishter Park incident of April 2006 when lot of sunni ulemas killed but shops were not burnt but after a bomb blast in Muharram procession a large number of shops were burnt by angry protestant.I think I can answer all the arguments mentioned by you but refraining myself. Now you realize that all of you say that Sunni sect in in majority in Pakistan but ever you realize that now sunni sect is sub divided into 2 more segments and both the segments are fighting with each other. All Shias are Shia Muslims but all Sunnies are not Sunni they are either Bralvi or Deobandi. I agree we have a sad state of affairs in our country but in my view they are not targeted against any community.If people of Hazara Community killed in 2-3 incidents in Balochistan some months ago, then what you say of dead bodies people of Balochistan picking on a daily basis.I think as an educated person you try & promote harmony rather then projecting discord.Recommend

  • The Reader

    All my life I have lived with Shias, studied with them, befriended and talked to them while knowing that deep down they despised us other Muslims and considered themselves a cut above the rest. What you are reading is just one side of the story, friend. Shias are extremely bigoted against other sects and Sidra would agree. I would like her to defy my statement.

    Besides this, I agree that she has the right to voice her opinion. Surely her beliefs, life and views are not any less important than others but let us stop for a while and think, is her manner of speaking proper? Why act so ridiculously immature while making a (valid) point? We agree that minorities do not get the respect and right they deserve and together we should endeavour to erase the differences but Sidra’s blog is nothing but a mere attempt to widen the differences.Recommend

  • naveed

    What stupidity! The two must learn to read it their way as:
    Holiday and

    Peace! :-)Recommend

  • Aqeel

    i really appreciate Ms. Sidra Rizvi. Why Sipah-e-Yazeed arranged rally on numish on 1st Moharram because they just come on road for tasal they are terrorist. Our Juloos are from last 1400 years. I request to all of you please condemn to SSP. and Kill them bastard.Recommend

  • Dr. Bilal

    @FRizvi: I really appreciate your views as a shia muslim. hats off to you….Recommend

  • lala land

    Firstly, the writings on your wall calling you a kafir and wajib-ul-katal shouldn’t worry you. If shias were non Muslims they wouldn’t be allowed to go for hajj. There are extremists on both the sides, be it sunis or shias. I’ve seen shias saying ridiculous stuff about sunnis, does that mean all shias are haters?
    Secondly, muharram is not only significant to shias but EVERY Muslim. so people who have parties, weddings bla bla on these days are ignorant.
    You can’t really generalize looking at a certain group of people and say ” oh my god, i’m insecure, they’ll kill me!” that’s paranoia nothing more.
    I’m a sunni Muslim and respect this month. We don’t have parties and weddings in our family on these days.
    Lastly, ET- stop dividing my country and its people.Recommend

  • Aqeel

    Holiday means chuti meray bhai. not Holy day.Recommend

  • MSF

    I belong to the same “sect” as the author, and I feel obliged to voice my opinion on this article.
    Indeed, the group of Muslims called “Shia” has been persecuted and targeted for more than 1400 years for a number of political reasons under various monarchies and other systems of governance.

    This persecution spiked in Pakistan in General Zia’s reign as a supplement to boost the militant religious sentiment desperately needed for the Afghan War, and also to curb any danger of Iranian revolution seeping into Pakistan. Not many people know that the Pakistani scholars were the first ones to congratulate the newly born Islamic Republic of Iran for the revolution, but the global power circle did see the new Iran as an “ally”. One does’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to understand these rudimentaries of recent history.

    The persecution continues to this day, but we see more and more people awakening to the realities of history and politics. Anyone with human conscience would grieve the unjustified killing of another human being, regardless of caste and creed. But with such a long history of being persecuted, any reports of any violence or harassment against a Shia feels like a death in the family. It is only natural if Shias feel marginalized or alienated.

    However, the US versus YOU mentality is not something to fall into. And this is something of fundamental importance for the Shia’s living in Pakistan today. It is extremely important to keep the head even on the shoulders amidst such circumstances. Realize that a vast majority of Muslims sympathizes with us Shias. Realize that even the so-called “hardliner” Iranian regime has banned any activities that would result in a Shia-Sunni rift. Not just Iranian regime, most of the Marja-Taqleed have forbidden against any communication that may drives Shias and Sunnis away from each other.

    Agreed, there are certain dirty elements in our society that won’t spare any chance to harm the Shias, but let’s not associate those rare parasites with any school of decency. I am very certain that no Sunni Muslim in his right mind (i.e. a vast majority) would support the activities of AWSJ, TTP or any of the other acronyms causing bloodshed and hatred in Pakistan.

    Let’s not get carried away with emotion. Let’s try and stick to the teachings of the Prophet and his righteous Ahl-ul-Bayt; and to the characteristics they have pointed out of a true “Mo’min”.Recommend

  • HussainGardezi

    Its a nice column, at first I thought its not good but really good efforts for Shiites. Sidra Rizvi.Recommend

  • Sarosh Rizvi

    this article is most touching and logical. petty on who still worried about there grocery. you are not stopped by Juloos only. you are stopped by political strikes you are stopped by suicide bomb you are struck by drone attack you are stopped by CNG strike. do not give lame reason against congregation of in mourn of IMAM HUSSAIN.Recommend

  • waqas

    This is the point:

    9 – 10 th Moharram are only days for shia’s to show and practice Islam.
    Ramdan: for all muslims to practice Islam.
    12th Rabi-ul-awal, for sunni’s to show and practice Islam.

    Brothers and sisters, Islam is not day particular days… get a life… if u cant live 365 days like u live in Moharram, Ramdan. Then sorry no use of these practices.Recommend

  • Ovais

    I dont want your parents to remain tolerant… what about the parents of 1000 that died in karachi …if you call abt discrimination kindly check realityRecommend

  • MH

    @Ovais: I would say that is freedom of religion. If everyone start thinking like you then we would end up banning all the melaads, juloos, everything!Recommend

  • sidra

    @The Reader: all your life you have lived with shias not saying a word because they know people like you wont even bother to understand. the same reason why you have so many issues with me speaking out. im not creating differences, i am merely speaking out against them.Recommend

  • to editor

    dear editor,
    you have given place to an article which talks on sect discrimination. you have had heard what shias have to say.. now also give the place to sunnis. (the point is do not promote sect discrimination) Recommend

  • Sana Iqbal

    Kudos to the author for her courage to write this piece. This is true at its core.

    As far as touching beliefs in schools syllabus is concerned I would like to bring something to the information of the author and other readers.

    The Cambridge International Examination (CIE) has made the 12 shia imams as a mandatory chapter of the O’ level syllabus along with the 4 caliphs and other companions of Holy Prophet, which means both shia and sunni students get a chance to study about each other’s belief system in a non controversial way as the content is designed to take care of respecting the two schools of thought. All the CIE endorsed books have the said chapters in the manner explained above.
    I am an o’ level teacher too, and a few days back I got a new student studying at Nakhlah in Karachi, a school that claims to impart both religious and modern education at the same time and follows the Cambridge board. However, I discovered that unlike students from other cambridge system schools, the Islamiat book that the said student was using was different and was not among the ones endorsed by the CIE. On inquiring about the reason of not using the CIE endorsed book, I was told that the school does not allow using those books at schools as they termed them ‘Shia Books’ (for obvious reasons).
    Please note that Nakhlah school is run under Deobandi administration Recommend

  • A Shia.

    Dare I say this blog wants to make me puke, not only the person who’s written it has stayed all superficial and took a whining tone but the hate I see in the comments section will forever disgust me! Shiaism is much more than processions on 9th/10th muharram. And those who write/speak hate about other muslims are definitely ideologically insecure otherwise why would they care? Recommend

  • rehan abbas

    its , marvellous rizvi sahaiba MOLA SALAMAT RAKHAI AP KORecommend

  • Nandita.

    @The Reader:
    * sigh * i don’t know what to say to that ! Just, forget religion all of you ! It is really not that important. Just be human. Humanity – maybe that should be a religion. Anyone wants to join in ? Recommend

  • Ovais

    unfortunately your opinion of your greatness is your problem …Recommend

  • Ahsan

    I am a Twelver Shia and I agree with the author that being different is not a crime. But to promote innovations and practices which are not even part of Shia faith is wrong and should be stopped. It is unfortunate that Indo-Pak “Shias” are involved in several rituals in Muharram which were not even practiced by Imams of Ahlul bayt (as).

    And a reminder to Sidra Rizvi: In our madhab i.e. Shia fiqh, Mourning for Imam al-Hussain (as) is mustahab but covering of head is wajib for women. Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Sidra Rizvi is focusing only on one side of the picture saying shia community is being discriminated. I wonder y does Sidra ignore da fact dat 4m 1st Moharram to 8th Rabi ul Awal its not sunnis who block da roads, its not sunnis whose leadership scream discrimination. If whole country is on risk being targetted why does Abbas Komaeli a prominent Shia religious leader screams dat millat e Jafria is being targetted and we will go to struggle till any extent??isnt it the whole pakistan isnt it da sunnis also who r targetted???
    Iran, a shia majority country does not allow sunnis to even call aazan in sunni way, de r discouraged to be a part ov government and armed services and de r nt even allowed to celebrate 12th rabi ul awal as da Birth in shia sect is claimed to be on 17th rabi ul awal.
    its pakistan where both prime minister and president r shias. as sidra spreads irani views y doesn she look wht is bein done in a place where its her sect in majority
    n regarding wall chalking, i wonder where did she see such stuff as shia kafir but yes v do c but i have seen posters at sharah e khurasan with lines to Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) saying Kaaba to bana dia karbala na bana sakey..
    i feel etxremely sad for the 2 scouts martyred on 1st moharram at khi but attempt on burning a sunni mosque dere might b a good reply for sidra rizvi.Recommend

  • Ayesha Ahmad

    Regardless of all the criticisms, I’m really happy to see your write-up published! way to go Recommend

  • Ovais

    you know 38 likes to my comment and no supporter ,
    the reason being the other side is tolerant enough to let this blog go , cant say the same abt the writer or her supporters tough. we don’t agree but our quietness is our tolerance cant say the same about the havoc in karachi.

    I am not tolerant enough to remain quiet and I apologize for that. Blaming the majority for every thing is a very good excuse considering the people dont reflect at their side of matters as well .( sorry to put it bluntly)Recommend

  • Tania

    Sidra, I am a Shia as well living in the same country as you are. What you have written is hands down respectable. You have raised valid points for which many of us, no doubt, have an itch to. But if you think about it, wouldn’t writing it in a friendly, non-offensive manner be much better? I take your side, yes, because all these things do exist, but do you not think this article points more towards increasing the hostility between the sects?
    Believe me if you had written this in a calm manner, which i am supposing you weren’t while writing this down, you would’ve gotten a much more positive response making people think otherwise.
    Regardless of the fact about which sects we belong to, we are Muslims and we are here to end the hostility not increase it. Think about it =).Recommend

  • Syed Hassan Bokhari

    Hazrat Ali (R.A) is our Caliph too, not just the Shia’s… I do not believe in there being any sect in Islam, but since there must be discrimination according to the people, the only thing I would want to say about these things would be that the 9th and 10th are not special days in any way, not holidays nor days of mourning.

    How can a saheed be mourned for? Their passing should be celebrated since the person who did such an act on them should be the one mourning his/her act.

    “Hum zinda-o-javed ka matham nahi kartay” — The last line of a beautiful saying by Allama Iqbal.

    The rallies and processions are pure drama, which the bralveis have also started to follow. There is no such thing as a mubark jhoota of the Prophet (PBUH), all these things are innovations in the faith, which obviously lead to shirk at some point or another.Recommend

  • The Reader

    @Sidra: Sure I’d like to understand you but it’s your diatribe and somewhat offensive attitude that bars people like me to discuss things with you let alone religion. Reference: your blog

    @Nandita: No denying that Humanism comes first, it is far more important than religion but you see the whole debate that Sidra has sparked here is about religion so my comment was more or less directed towards that. As for you, I must say I am impressed by your positive approach and comments. It is people like you who should write for ET. Have you considered this? :)Recommend

  • Mj

    You will be discriminated against if you are not all of the following:
    1) Male
    2) Sunni. The more dogmatic you are the better it is
    3) Heterosexual
    3) Blind follower of religion, customs, and traditions
    4) Rich, or at least middle class

    Tolerance, never mind acceptance – is in short supply as you can see in many of the comments above. What saddens and worries me is that even the supposedly educated class is not much different compared to the masses.Recommend

  • sidra

    @The Reader:
    and this blog is because of attitude like yours in the first place. you think if we were face to face you would have even let me finish?Recommend

  • Batool Mahdi

    I agree with a few of the statements the writer made. However, as said earlier by one of the people above, the article was not well written. All the above statements could have been formed in a more rational and appropriate manner instead of being extremely controversial and sentimental.
    Sidra, your article has been read by more than 100 people and will be further read by more people. So use this opportunity and platform well as you, then, become a representative of your particular sect. Recommend

  • sultan

    Miss Rizvi u must have noticed that your article was not well received. I am also a Syed and a Sunni Muslim I know that Imam Abu Haneefa was a student of Imam Jaffer. Everyone gives exalted position to Imam Jaffer. I have no difference with Shia Muslim nor with any other sect. You have to understand the killers are terrorists who just want to destroy the fabric of our society. I remember there were no intersect hostilities before 1980’s. It all started during the Zia era. Just remember tolerance is the key. We are Muslims & Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Antebellum

    Spreading discontent and hatred among the masses.Typical of ET and their Secular-liberal bloggers!

    Vote PTI, vote for Pakistan.Recommend

  • |TopGun|

    This is about Pakistan and not Iran, or we would have to bring in the whole of Arabia in to it. And your comment here is the most discriminating one.Recommend

  • Asif

    Yar this not big masla.

    This happens in every society which chooses to live in grouping without mixing. I live in my daba and you live in your daba.

    We can do interfaith surmons with the Church but not among Shia and Sunnis.

    Large part of what goes in Shia mosque is a mystery to Sunnis simply because no one around them knows. The more we talk the more this will get resolved.Recommend

  • Just a Gal

    “DIVIDE AND RULE” that’s the entire theme….
    Well, big Api(cuz I am hardly 15 here)….my mommies a shia and dad a sunni and the interesting thing is that I am neither of them “I am just a Muslim”
    If u just analyse it….. discrimination is not only against shias but towards sunnis or any other so-called sects too….If you ask shias they have serious problems against other sects and the if you go for sunnis, they are disgusted by other sects…..But in the center stand some good neutral Muslims…Now we don’t know which sect will be rewarded so just do what you think is right…….A neutral 9th grader……So its better we unite and stop annoying the youth…Recommend

  • The Reader

    Sidra: Aww are you really that hyper always? I can almost picture a cute little girl fuming with anger and frothing at the mouth. :) Please accept my apologies for making you angry. Please start and finish, it is your blog. I won’t say anything you find intolerable and against you, okay?Recommend