Our poisoned education: Shia clothes and Sunni textbooks

Published: January 29, 2012

Institutes are poisoning young minds by inculcating sectarian differences, sugar-coated in the name of ‘modern education.’ PHOTO: CPS

When I was studying at university, during a discussion over an economic issue, my professor (a PhD) uttered these words:

Alhamdulillah, I am a Sunni, I am a Muslim.”

These words took me and many other students by surprise. The bizarre logic of uttering those unnecessary words in the midst of a discussion, especially when the class comprised of students from diverse religious backgrounds, was unfathomable. Even if she considered it essential to make a reference to the Islamic economic system, she could have easily done that in a mild tone without boasting about her own religious and sectarian affiliations wrapped in an ‘Alhamdulillah’.

The structure and expression of her sentence gave the impression that she deemed her religious views divinely superior to others. At that point, none of the students present, including myself, dared to cut her off in the middle and question her statement. I ignored the unsettled voice in my head that insisted I should question her heavily intolerant undertone. I told myself that students at this age (between 20 to 23 years) are expected to act maturely, so I held my tongue.

The incident, buried in my memory, resurfaced after three years when I took up teaching. It was during the initial days of Muharram this year, when one of my students confronted me as I entered the class.

“Ma’am, why are you wearing black?” she inquired.

“Why, what’s wrong with that?” I replied casually.

You are not a Shia, are you?” she interrogated.

“Well, what I wear has nothing to do with my faith.”

The young lady’s unexpected attack made me paranoid.

“Ma’am, since Shias wear black during Muharram, it is inappropriate for us to use a similar dress code,” she confidently clarified her reason.

This attack hit hard, because my student was 15 years old. I might have let go of this incident too, had I not encountered another. I came across one of the students from a renowned Islamic school based in Karachi that claims to impart modern education (according to the Cambridge system) in an environment for ‘Islamic grooming’. I found her studying Islamiyat from a book that was not a part of the GCE endorsed booklist, nor was used by any other major schools. When I inquired the reason behind not studying from the GCE endorsed book, she explained that her school does not allow using that book because it was a Shia book. This was completely untrue.

The truth, however is that the book was not in agreement with the self-righteous, orthodox religious philosophy that the school adhered to, and aimed at inculcating the same beliefs in the young minds. A further inquiry about the ‘Islamic environment’ of the school revealed that all female students of the school were obligated to wear a hijab, while all male students were required to wear a prayer cap, regardless of their age. The same dress code was also enforced on the teachers, thus justifying their claim of a ‘Shariah compliant’ faculty.

Recently, many such institutes have opened up across the metropolis promising modern education in an ‘Islamic environment’. The students of these schools come from urban families, mainly those who are so torn between their modern lifestyles and the new wave of ‘religion mania’ that saying Khuda Hafiz (May God be your Guardian) instead of Allah Hafiz  (May Allah be your Guardian) is a matter of concern for them.

Teaching religious values is not wrong, but my contention is the definition of ‘Shariah compliant Islamic education.’ These Islamic schools propagate views of their respective sects, rather than preaching on common grounds. This is much more dangerous than the sectarianism spread through the madrassah system, where poverty and illiteracy are used to justify mindsets. These institutes are poisoning young minds by inculcating sectarian differences, sugar-coated in the name of ‘modern education.’ Ironically, these schools are registered as conventional private educational schools and are not registered under authorities regulating the madrassah system, which means that there is almost no check on what is taught in these schools.

Only a decade back, at the same age, I was least concerned about what colour I wear in a certain month. Back then, we competed with other schools in sports, theater, and oratory skills. If the trend of promoting sectarianism through modern education continues, by the next decade, students in this country will be competing each other in terms of Barelvis, Deobandis, Salafis and Shias.

I do not even want to imagine how damaging the degree of that competition could be.

Read more by Sana Iqbal here and follow her @sanarites.


Sana Adnan

The author is a business graduate and a mother who teaches economics and loves to write. She tweets at @sanarites (twitter.com/sanarites)

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

  • Danali Dahraj

    ALLAH (SWT) forbids Muslims to divide into sects; Refer to 30:31 to 30:32 of The Holy Qu’ran!Recommend

  • http://shahidrizvi.wordpress.com/ Shahid Hussain

    Dear Writer..

    I am totally agree with you…a very well written post… Recommend

  • Rizwan

    @Sana well written .. add a bit more. I have studied in a convent school we had to follow the secondary board but during our 8th grade Islamiyat period the weird thing was there use to be not two but three divisions . yes Christians , Muslim (Sunnis) and Muslim (Shias) .. always would remember this because before that never had idea of what was the difference. I have studied my “Quran” from DarulUloom Karachi remember that and finished nazra in grade 6. Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal

    Dear Readers,

    An unedited and detailed version of this article is now posted on my blog http://sanarites.blogspot.com/2012/01/our-poisoned-education-system.htmlRecommend

  • R.A

    "Shia clothes,Sunni txtbooks"
    But western thinkings.
    We cannot get out of any of these.

  • Syed Ali Hamza Khan

    The article does present a grim picture.I,being a Shia Cardiologist in US,am certainly worried about the increasing threat of sectarianism back home.Whether it be Shias or anyone else,anyone preaching hatred in any form ought to be condemned vehemently.It sure indeed is surprising to note children talk about sects,let alone the youngsters belonging to the 20’s or so age-group.The results of this divide could be devastating to say the least in the years to follow.We are all Muslims and ‘one entity’.The more united we stand,the more progress shall be ensured. Mohammad Ali Jinnah was not a fool to ensure UNITY as one of the basic tenets for prosperous country building.But Alas,if we will abstain from wearing ‘black’ on the pretext that Shias wear it during Muharram,doom is what we are vouching for.Pakistan’s Shiite population is nearby 20% which is an underestimate.Suppression of such a number is nothing but a dream of certain bigots who were the same ones labelling Quaid-e-Azam as Kaafir.No wonder,inheritance is such an eye-opener!Recommend

  • Bee

    So how can we stop this?Recommend

  • Ali

    i TOTALLY agree with the writer!
    i fear times to come
    may God have mercy on this nation(s)Recommend

  • Huzaifa

    Highly apreciate your endavours to promote peace, a very interesting article through out,and spreads a message of great fidelity.
    No doubt our religion prohibits the sectarian ship, n instructs the ummah to b united under a same righteous platform, but the policy of Lucifer since the begining of times has been divide n rule. The way you took the initiative and encouraged your audience to come on the common terms is certainly the duty of every muslim, But the duty of a true muslim doesn’t end here.. theres a next step to it which is to create the awareness once they are on the common terms, each individual we come across its our duty to warn them of their wrongdoings, i was looking for this hadith for u, which mentions the time when prophets ummah knows the truth n fears to warn thats the time when they should fear wrath of allah. westerns have made us beleieve dont get into dicusion of religion as it creates conflicts, maybe it does if the intention is to create the conflict but for a true warner whose veracity is an orthodox gets into a religious discusion , does it for a very noble casue.So i believe its all about the intention of the person. and the religious discusions should take place in a calm manner, the differences should be disscued and sorted out so that no differences remain at all. may allah help us all to b strong muslims.Recommend

  • Liaquat

    Dear Writer

    i totally agree with you Recommend

  • Shais Memon

    As long as Qur’an and Sunnah is taught, it is all good. If the head of certain school believes that certain text book is teaching things which are not compatible with Qur’an and Sunnah, then they have a right not to use that book. Afterall, somebody from certain school of thought wrote that book too.. isn’t it?

    And whats wrong if they do it under ‘Shariah compliant environment’? Doesn’t every school has its own uniform? If these schools opt for a uniform according to the dressing requirements of Islam then why is there an issue? Recommend

  • AZ

    agreed. well written sanaRecommend

  • prakash

    @Bee: Simple……..keep religion out of school and education curriculum.
    Better keep it confined to the four walls of the home till such time the individual is mature and tolerant enough to decide for him or herself what is right and wrong.
    Certainly does seem very difficult in the present Pakistani society.Recommend

  • Syed Raza Hussain

    Good vision ! Sana Iq.Recommend

  • HP

    @Bee: Yes we can stop this brother..
    If we love humanity, (no matter what religion he/she follows)
    If we stop following those who teach you hate.
    If we separate religion from politics.
    If we stop interfering any other person’s belief / religion, Its personal between him and his ALLAH / GOD, no one will get benefit from it, not in this life nor after life, and no one will accountable at the Judgment day for what he/she did in his/her life.

    I am a Shia Muslim and I love my religion, but this is between me and my ALLAH, no one will be my lawyer at the Judgement Day, I have to face my ALLAH alone, No one will accountable at the Judgment day for what I did in my life.Recommend

  • Muhammed Usama Aziz

    these liberal extremist have problem for every thing that is associated with religion. Be it religious uniform, or saying ALHUMDULILLAH or any other thing. Islam is in danger not because of ‘mullahs’ but because of these so-called educated extremist who oppose everything in the name of religion.Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal

    This has to be dealt with on various tiers.
    -On the government level by ensuring that school curriculum is screened and free of any hoate mongering.
    -On parental level, by making sure to investigate the school thoroughly before sending ones child to a certain school in temptation of ‘modern islamic education.’

    @M Muneer:

    “When shia community present material to sunni they present them after spitting in it. When shia friends meet with sunni they hit them on their back or wherever they get chance with thinking that they hit while sunni understands that it is in freindship and part of strong attachement or warm welcome.”

    I guess you missed the title of the post. It is not about what each sect believes about the opposite sect. The article is about how this hate mongering is institutionalized and channelized into young minds through mainstream education system.Interestingly, so far there aren’t any many major shia schools that claim to spread hate monegring through modern Islamic education. The above article is not just my opinion. It is based on well researched facts. If you are interested, I can give you links to the websites of some of those schools which clearly states that who administers those schools.
    Secondly, I am not against following Shariah. The question is who will define Shariah and whose Shariah?
    As far the other venom you have written about the community, I am actually surprised that how an educated person (I assume that you are as your comments are written in english language) can come up with such childish thoughts. Just imagine if the same venom will be fed in young minds from very young ages, what would be their mindset once they become adults.
    P.S. despite of not belonging to the community my younger brothers studied from a school ran by a shia administration (due to academic quality). They spent 10 years in the same school and during that tenure I never ever came across anything taught to them that was religiously biased. Even the books used were same as those used in all other conventional schools. There are black sheeps in every community and two wrongs do not make a right. This is no excuse to open up educational schools in order to manufacture potential sectarian hate mongers.Recommend

  • Khizar

    @ Sana Iqbal

    1st after reading the title i thought another discriminant article towards sect . . . But i really admire your truth fullness and positive approach

    We all are Pakis n Muslims v should stick to common teachings socialy not emphasize on differences . . . I my self have faced this M graduate of A Well known University in khi, During a class on of teacher said to student while degrading Shias by saying something absurd about ” Imam Jaffar e Sadiq ” . It was very sad to hear that but as u said no buddy knew how to reply as it also matters about grades also . . .

    But in no way extremism should be allowed in paki society all should live in peace n harmony without creating sectrian debates specially in high profle public private university sector . . Recommend

  • RAW is WAR

    Great article. If Pakistan progress this way, then the country is heading towards dangerous times.Recommend

  • http://sumaiyahasan.blogspot.com Sumaiya Hasan

    Gandhi once addressing Hindus said:
    It is a matter of deep humiliation that we Hindus regard several million of our own kith and kin as too degraded even for our touch.”
    I think the same quote goes for us (Muslims) alsoRecommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal

    @Muhammad Usama Aziz:

    For Your Information, Neither I, nor anyone else for that matter has a problem with saying Alhamdulillah. Please read the article carefully and open mindedly. The bone of contention is to use and exploit the word ‘Alhamdulillah’ in order to endorse one sect’s superiority over the others.

    Peace. Recommend

  • Khizar

    @M Muneer:
    U are another infiltered mindset , there nothing such happens as u said about floor mats, spitting etc one of my uni sunni friend also thought these as he clearly use to say my elders and molvi sahab says u do these But when he use to go with us come to our home he found nothing crap as u said and He himself admitted the fact that all were night ryhmes and nothing alse . . .

    Same writer of article also pointed this that student was taught that this is shia book but it was not . . .

    So u are only misguided ppl and nothing else moreover in educational institues v all live,eat,paly , work togather there no place to such extremist so called false thoughts . . .Recommend

  • Musthaq Ahmed

    @Syed Ali Hamza Khan:
    Being ONE is a philosophical fallacy. There are two at every point of time. Pakistan is the whimsical one separated out of two and dreamed of staying one. No use repeating medieval platitudes sitting in a land of Kafirs. Those who suffer along with muslims will understand how to rescue them from medievalism which will end with the end of their imaginary unique existence.Recommend

  • BT

    So, the Darul Uloom is not spreading any sectarianism? Your statement might be a smack down on these madarassa haters!Recommend

  • Fahad Masud

    You have the means and the ability to get your voice out to the mases….I really do have i a solution to this problem….I went through a similar yet different phase…if you could contact mei would like to share it with you…and see how good it is and where does it lead us to!!Recommend

  • usmanx

    I am sunni, i have wonderful shia friends who are like family to me. i don’t want any one hurt in Pakistan. Let’s respect each other. Unfortunately, the people that need this message are not not reading.Recommend

  • farqaleet

    To put it in a nutshell,I would say


  • Syed

    I foresee a country where Shia read ‘Sunni’ books and Sunni wear ‘Shia’ clothes, to show solidarity with each other. We need to put some time and effort into understanding the difference, and that they are not poles apart as is normally perceived.

    Be a flag bearer of a Jihad- educate the people. I will inshAllah.Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @M Muneer:

    When shia community present material to sunni they present them after spitting in it. When shia friends meet with sunni they hit them on their back or wherever they get chance with thinking that they hit while sunni understands that it is in freindship and part of strong attachement or warm welcome.

    lol OMG!

    Where do you guys get this stuff?!

    It be hilarious if this wasn’t like the new Pakistani anti-semitism against Shias…Recommend

  • Shahzad Hasan

    @M Muneer:
    Your argument is quite valid but I don’t see any other way of presenting Ms. Iqbal’s point of view since her motif is not “the sectarian divide” itself but actually its influence on our educational systems. There is no doubt that the sectarian divide exists in Pakistan: a diverse nation not just in terms of culture but religious believes. However, Ms. Iqbal is focusing upon how this religious diversity (with an evident majority of Sunni Muslim population) impacts our educational system. Education (especially state funded K-12) should be devoid of such types of religious divisions: the only reason for which West is progressing (no matter how much we hate west that’s the reality). In US for example there is more religious diversity then in Pakistan however this is not part of there educational system: a place where a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim (Shia, or Sunni) and an atheist is equal. Recommend

  • Mohammad Hadi Changezi

    @ M Muneer I have come across these kind of comments a lot and it is really sad because almost all were from reasonably educated individuals. Why are we so afraid of questioning these silly beliefs. And almost always these things that you have mentioned is explained in the perspective of third person. No body have ever claimed to have experienced such things first hand. If you really want to know the truth you have to come out of your comfort zone and meet educated and sane Shia individuals. We all have that tendency of sitting in our comfort zone pointing fingers at each other.

    As far as the article is concerned, it is well written no doubt. I also believe that these are medieval times for Muslims and there is no such thing as Muslim Ummah and unity that we are wishing for so eagerly. These things are myths and after fighting for 1400 years amongst each other if we are still waiting for that to happen then I must say we are one wishful thinkers, Amongst such hatred and misconceptions displayed by M Muneer type of individuals we are at loss hoping for Muslim unity. Recommend

  • mir

    i just dont want to imagine what will be consequences when kids educated from these schools will come in mainstream of society, look at the terrorism and sectarianism in our society these are the seeds which were sowed back in Zia’s time, there must be movement against such schools and we must save our future from further terrorism and sectarianism. Keep sectarianism out of schools.Recommend

  • http://al-hadi.us Najib Fahs

    The point made in the article is a sad but true fact. All youths and elders are being brainwashed with lies for one purpose: hate and condemn the other sects. The jaafari Shia are a far worse victims of the lies than the Sunnis. The Shia are the ones being accused of kufr, they are the ones being killed with pride, and are the ones being discriminated against the most. Allah made it incumbent upon us to READ, rather than blindly accept what we are told. This blind acceptance is one of the reasons for this continual worsening disunity. Yes there are some shia groups who do indeed insult some specific companions and umna Aisha, and this is wrong morally and ethically. However the majority of the shia do criticize some companions and umna aisha. why don’t you go read the reasons behind these before taking a blind and hateful and uneducated position. Don’t forget that many Sunnis love muaawiya and yazeed and their followers despite all their despicable deeds and deviations!! How do u think the Shia feel about this??
    On a side note, If you dnt want to wear black on Muharram in commemoration of the imam of all Muslims, al-Hussein, then this is your problem and don’t impose it on otherwise. How logical is it to ignore the martyrdom of our imam to celebrate this day with joy and festivities? It is very illogical. Go READ.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Great article.
    The Sunni:Shia divide is about 70:30. The leaders of this overwhelming majority apparently do not want to tolerate the minority view, not because of religious principles as they are very learned in this subject but because they understand the potential political mischief this can and is creating, with an aim to gaining power. The government and vested powers instead of suppressing this is exploiting it in an extremely short-sighted policy that is having disastrous results.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    I never heard of this sunni muslim but i have seen pakistani leaders dont wanna give speech
    in urdu there national language at any forum and every burger or new richer trys very hard to
    be kala Englishman.Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    Brave article by author, Sana Iqbal. Institutional sectarian and religious bigotry is rising.

    I know a teacher who was asked by a principle not to reveal her Shia background. Some Sunni conservative parents would stop their kids from attending school out of spite. In the Pak army, a few anti-Shia recruiters were found rejecting applicants based on sect names. Vali Nasr called the 80’s, the Sunnification of Pakistan. Generous critics call it Wahhabification. Regardless, our educational institutes reflect Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni Supremacist beliefs going mainstream. The ‘enlightened’ Barelvi sub-sect also gave into extremism in the Qadri/Taseer murder. Youngsters learning twisted religious notions at school is worrisome.

    Religious intolerance, bias, prejudice, bigotry and discrimination exist in these forums. Many give dubious excuses for disliking headlines mentioning victims as Shia, but won’t so much if it mentioned victims as Sunni. Same way they’ll ignore the economics prof was wrong to interject faux religiosity and sectarianism in the middle of a lecture. Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Shais Memon:
    But that’s the thing. It is not just the Quran and Sunnah being taught. It is one specific narrow focused sect ideology being imposed, rejecting what was already approved and recommended by the board.

    And there are clear signs that religious intolerance is also being taught against other sects and Pakistanis, which is considered extreme and hateful, justifying it through falsehood. (the student incorrectly stating who wrote the board recommended book and openly stating that ant-Shia sectarian bigotry is the reason they’re reading something different, should be telling you something about the poor, prejudiced, un-Islamic and unethical level of education. Unless you’re in agreement with such thinking?)

    Taliban type Madressahs claim they are ‘Shariah-compliant’. Does it mean it’s alright? Or is there something else behind the labels where we know their concept is rather twisted? Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal

    Exactly. Thats what the message is. People aren’t using their own minds. They are relying on what is conveyed to them by the commercial mullahs who are all promoting their own brands of Islam.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Iran is the one and biggest Shia state, no suuni or shia masjid there….only masjid and both are praying…no diffrences, one leader either sunni or shia…1500 youngesters are here from 53 muslim countries for islamic uprising…Most of them are sunni….i dont know on which era pakistani brothers are livingRecommend

  • ahsan

    I really appreciate your writing Sana! Good work! Islam teaches us to be united. Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Muhammed Usama Aziz:

    It’s such bogus false equivalence, knowing that it’s superstitious religious murders, massacres, mobs, extremism, intolerance and sectarianism eating up Pakistan, that makes it difficult to take extreme hypocritical right-wing conservative views seriously.

    Did you miss the part that she was in the middle of an economics lecture, and didn’t just say Alhumdullilah, but also threw in her sect as well, for no good reason?

    There’s the fake forced pandering, hypocritical or munafiq religiosity akin to a Republican ‘family values’ Evangelical politician on Faux News and then you have the very same sectarianism that conservative Pakistanis tell everyone else, especially minorities, not to touch on.

    This lady made it a point to do both. And it ties in well to the rest of the article on unnecessary forced narrow minded religiosity in Pak’s institutions. Recommend

  • Munir

    one of the best blog i have every read. THUMBS UP.
    bless u :)Recommend

  • curious

    I am just curious – are children of Hindus and Christians permitted to go to college in Pakistan?Recommend

  • Abbas, ZA

    Just reminds of Afridi who identified himself as muslim in India !!!!!–thats how far the poison has crept. In Pakistan-Afridi would have been ok. In India-thats the fastest way to loose respect and be treated cheaply.Recommend

  • Questioner

    nice and well written article, until I reached the end I was in total agreement,
    You point that they require students to wear cap and female students to wear veil, again lies in the area whether schools can regulate the uniforms or not. I studied in school where dress was necessary to have certain size and form, hair styles were regulated also.
    Secondly when you raise question about them not being registered as Madrassah but as Private school you pointed out that this means there is very little check. This is where we are wrong also. Check should be all the Schools regardless of being religious schools (madrassah) or private schools. When we try to regulate one type of education and have no checks for other it’s discrimination. Our private non-religious schools are producing more dumb extremists than one can image. Recommend

  • Ali Wazir

    Alhamdulillah, I am a Sunni, I am a Muslim.

    I dont know why you had a problem with that. It just seems like a statement of fact. I dont see any sinister undertone. If he had called someone Kafir I would see your point. Just to show how innocuous it is:
    “Praise the Lord. I am a Roman Catholic, Christian”

    Even the student exchange could be given the benefit of the doubt. If you wear Black in Muharram it could lead some one to think you happen to be a Shia ,Muslim. A student may ask a teacher if that relationship exists, out of curiosity.
    Its not fair to project your insecurity on others.

    “Ma’am, since Shias wear black during Muharram, it is inappropriate for us to use a similar dress code,” she confidently clarified her reason.

    Is Nothing to go bananas about. You challenged her, she had to give some sort of explanation.

    And all this Khuda Hafiz vs Allah Hafiz business. What the difference??. Most ppl use them interchangeably. Is their an insidious plot to it, I am not aware off.?

    Seriously articles like these probably do more to fuel sectarian paranoia, than any thing else. Recommend

  • Ammar

    Not a bad article, but rather sadly even the topic of article is clearly a misguided one. Just because you have been taught and brought up in a particular way is right. I do not mean that what you all you have written is right or wrong but Islam is not about having a handy knowledge and then, taking out what suits you. Unfortunately that has what been happening in our society. Everyone knows where the polarization of Islam started from. Why cant we just remain in harmony without being critical of other sects. Why is it necessary for one(extremists) sect to call another one a ‘Kafir’ ?? Why do they have to call a war upon them ?? and that too in such a cowardly way of targeting innocents (such as lawyers, doctors and scholars). Be it the other way. Where have our tolerances gone ? Was this the Islam Prophet(s.a.w) brought for us ? Even in his days, there were his enemies and unbelievers, but never did he rage a war against them. I hate to write this, but its getting hopeless day by day. The only way out is a uniform education system throughout the country, and application of law!Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Another of those amateurish laments bemoaning the lack of unity among Muslims.

    Now, consider this:

    (1) On one level, Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims get along very well as friends and neighbors and individuals and co-workers.
    (2) On another, Shias and Sunnis rarely have any difficulty finding common purpose against non-muslims who question/reject/threaten Islam.

    So unity, as Islam requires, fully exists. Quit whining about that. The problem is not lack of unity, but of the need to follow TRUE Islam.

    Is that important or not? Or is it more important to agree with everybody and just get along, like many non-Muslims?

    Not everything or everyone’s way can be true. That’s why there can never be the kind of unity this article talks aboutRecommend

  • Kazmis

    A 15 years old girl asks her teacher why are you wearing black suit in Muharram? This question may be asked even by a 50 years old lady. Why you wear symbols of other faiths? Why different faiths have different markings for show off like Hindu ladies mark their forehead with Bindya,etc etc. Pakistan was created on the theory of Two nation theory, which always exist between two people. Recommend

  • Humanity

    “It is a fact that Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they bring about change in their own selves.” (13:11)

    The seed of sectarian hatred planted and nurtured jointly by the Sunnis of all assorted flavors and Shias of all assorted colors, has now become a mature tree yielding bountiful harvest of evil. First they all banded together to expel Ahmadi Muslims from the ‘circle of Islam’. Now they are working hard on pushing each other from the pale of Islam, be it Shia, Salafi, Barelvi, Deobandi, Wahabi, and so on. That is, each of the 72 sects of ‘muslims’ now proclaims to be the one entitled to stay within the circle of Islam, while every one else is a kaffir. As you sow so shall you reap!

    “Have you seen the one who has taken his own emotions as his god.” (25:43)Recommend

  • Baqar

    kudos…for writing something presumably inciting in a very good mannerRecommend

  • Imran

    U have pointed out towards one of the core issues in our society. It is highly appreciated and i hope people would try to think about it keeping there prejudice and grudge against each other aside. Very Well Done!!Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed

    Sad but true! Unfortunately, we especially people of Pakistan have become to embroiled in practices, traditions & customs than actual religion. Wearing black or white, wearing a hijab or a burqa, a prayer cap & trousers rolled up is more important than speaking the truth, not cheating with fellow human being, respecting other religions.

    This all is because our so called religious leaders are un-educated & intolerant bunch of people with no vision & understanding.

    It is sad because, Muslims were more progressive than any other people in the world, Muslims were poets, philosophers, mathematicians, explores, medical practitioners/pioneers & scientists before the rise of the West.

    And look at us now. Muslims (majority) have developed a siege mentality across the world, now who can our children become progressive when they are told that Islam is in danger & so are they!!!Recommend

  • http://abbasnama.wordpress.com xill-e-ilahi

    @M Muneer: how did your comment get past the moderators, anyway? which world are you living in?Recommend

  • Ziber

    @M Muneer

    you need proper guidance and gone are the days when you had to beleive your dada jaan mama jaan… You shold be a sunni by researching into the facts of the sects not because your mom and dad told you to be sunni


  • MMK

    the moderator is only accepting those comments in favor of his own thoughts….such a biased paper….??? where is the freedom of speech??? where is my comment??Recommend

  • adnan X

    dear writer!
    very well written !!
    if we take our history back in early 80’s then we don’t see this sectarian diversity to such an extent because no matter be it sunnis or shias , they all shared almost the same mind set until general Zia ul haq imported the third creed and then it all started. this third party penetrated people’s mind and now they are spreading exponentially.
    i remember back in school time our urdu book had a chapter of “hazrat salman farsi” and now you dont see it anywhere. there are countless examples i can quote but its futile because majority are blind-folded and just following the footsteps of their commercial mullahs.

  • Mark

    Retards , Why r u guys teaching religion in the first place in school. Recommend

  • Nehal

    The only conclusion which you can drawn after reading this article is to stay away from all those institutions which are imparting religious education in any style as writer did not give any suggestion to solve this problem !Recommend

  • Azim

    totally agree with you….. IN modern times diversity is the main thing we should respect. IF they says that this book is shia book and thats why we are not teaching this in our schools than why are you teaching the other o levels and a levels book which are made by Christians and Jews? If Muslims do not have faith in books being made by their brother muslim whether hes from other Firqah than why you have faith that books being made by other religion persons….? Recommend

  • Danali Dahraj

    @prakash: Those who say keep religion out of curriculum, don’t know what religion is.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @Danali Dahraj:

    ALLAH (SWT) forbids Muslims to divide
    into sects

    So, which one is the true and only one to be?Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    “after fighting for 1400 years amongst each other if we are still waiting for that to happen then I must say we are one wishful thinkers”

    Changezi sahib,

    It’s rare to find a Muslim to who either knows or wants to know anything about the history of Islam Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/zaeemj1 Lord

    There is alot sectarian in tolerence towards shias especially and I have faced it my self.Situation is getting worse but thank God masses are not affected.Recommend

  • Atika.rehman


    The comment by M Muneer has been removed as it was against our comment moderation policy. Thank you for pointing it out.

    To read our comment moderation policy, please click here: http://tribune.com.pk/comments-policy

    Atika Rehman
    The Express Tribune Blogs desk


  • kaalchakra

    LOL, I am amused to see how my brilliant moderator friend or friends edit out my comments. Come on guys/gals, you need not be so paranoid about Islam (unless you fear that letting some comments go will put you at moral risk in Pakistan).Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Yuri: “which one is the true and only one to be?”

    The one that Danali Dahraj follows, probably the quranist sect.

    BTW, ironically, quranists are also the folks who have the least interest in actually reading or following the quran. Recommend

  • John Johansan

    Wouldn’t all this be so much easier if we restricted ourselves to believing in things that can be proved, and not things for which there is no evidence?Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal


    Dear Readers,
    Thank you for your comments, appreciation and criticism. They are much appreciated. I noticed that some people are assuming that the intention behind this article is supporting one sect over the other or exposing the religious divide. Let me put this straight, that this article does not intend to attack the religious views of any sect or religion. The only intention behind this article is to highlight that how sectarian hate mongering against other sects is being infiltrated in a dangerous way in our education system, which should not be the case as it poses a serious danger to peaceful coexistence in the society. One’s religious views are one’s own personal matter and no one has right to attack them or propagate hatred against them in any way and even Islam doesn’t allow that.

    I agree with your solution because the only practical solution of this issue is that the government takes up the responsibility with honest intentions and I sadly I do not see that happening. Unfortunately, we as individuals cannot go to the school administration and ask them to change their teaching methodologies on a personal level. So that leaves us with a single solution that is to create awareness about the issue among the masses and especially parents and avoid sending our children to such school in mere temptation of so called ‘Islamic grooming.’

    I agree that all schools do and they should regulate uniforms but only to the extent of teaching sense of discipline. The uniform regulation that this article referred to is obligating students at even kindergarten level to cover their heads with hijab in the case of girls, while boys have to wear a prayer cap and keep their shalwars rolled up above the ankles. Convent schools are known to be one of the strictest when it comes to uniform regulation but do they ever ask students to dress like nuns and priests? Certainly no. And these Islamic laws are not even made obligated on people at such young ages. There is a certain age after which a muslim is expected to follow religious obligations. Moreover, no one denies the importance of these Islamic laws but following or not following them is a matter between an individual and the Almighty, who has the sole power of reward or punishment. No body has a right to use the power of stick to ask someone to wear a hijab or roll the trousers above the ankles.Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Tribune Reader

    Xenophobia is not just limited in Pakistan towards Minority Sects but is also there towards Non Religious people, their seen as Kafir as well on the same level. The right wing religious people have some obsession to save our soul, Lol.Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal

    @Adnan X:

    Totally agreed, and precisely that is the point I want to establish. If you go only two decades back, we studied in schools with religiously diverse student population and yet it was very normal and comfortable for us to get along with each other without bothering much about who believes what, and trust me we did not grow up to be all that bad muslims. I never even asked my friends about her what sect they adhered to let alone investigating their dress codes. We had a simple ‘Mind your own business’ policy and it should be that way. Why suddenly the need of teaching young children about not to wear a certain color on a certain month because one sect adheres to it? As far the disbanded GCE endorced is concerned, the book has been in use for ages by all other major schools such as The City School, Beaconhouse, KGS etc. Are all these schools producing bad muslims or propagating Shia beliefs. This was an outright stupid and ridiculous excuse given by the school only to provide a cover for their orthodox Taliban-Style ideologies. Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal


    Thank you for understanding and supporting the honest intentions behind this article. Your comments are much appreciated. Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal

    @Fahad Masud:

    Sure. You can discuss your suggestions on this forum and people can give their views in agreement or reservations about it. In case you are not comfortable of discussing it on this forum, then you can leave your comments on my blog (find the link below) and I will get back to you.
    http://sanarites.blogspot.com/2012/01/our-poisoned-education-system.html Recommend

  • http://www.quranreading.com/ Holy Quran

    I also accept your statement. Islam allow to each group of people to obtain education and develop sense what’s the purpose of my life.Recommend

  • Sid

    So sad to see such a beautiful country , falling prey to the clutches of hatred. If anyone thinks that it wont harm them , it simply the game of fire, which in the end will burn your own fingers. Till the end of 70’s we have an unmatched society, where haters are outcast. I do agree with the Allah hafiz thing as it was once part of the 80’s govt. gazette emphasizing on saying Allah Hafiz, as it will please certain sects and some countries. Even we have change the sequence of Quaid’s principals in urdu from Itehad, Eiman, tanzeem to Eiman Itehad and Tanzeem. Such a confused nation looking to be love to hate.
    Just preying for mercy of God, as it is heart breaking to see Man killing Man in such a beautiful society.Recommend

  • M Muneer

    Mr. Khizar, i asked few issues with my shia freiend and he said leave it it is not happening now, may be some ppls were doing earlier. So you cant deny and how can you say that one come to my home and didnt find anything, Khizar, do you think that if i do something bad and will show you openly, offcourse not, i will do it in hideouts. so this response is not valid.Recommend

  • M Muneer

    @Mohammad Hadi Changezi:
    i agree that sana written it well but she is biased.
    while talking to topic mentioned, no one will say that i do it, all it is happenning in under the table.
    But most of the peoples responded have avoided to mention about abusing of Mother of Momineen and sahabahs. I hope that can not be denied as it is present on different blogs/ chat rooms openly galian given to great respected peoples.

    The reason i gave all these to show what is the basic reason of this gap between two. It was necessary to mention to explain.Recommend

  • http://amnahhussain.blogspot.com Amna

    that was nicely put! Recommend

  • Rick

    @R.A: Ah, yes, of course. It’s the wests fault again. Nothing to do with bronze age dogmatic belief systems. Recommend

  • M Muneer

    If the madressah are spreading hates then what about imam bareys (keep in mind it is not religious place or mosque). The same doing by both not one. thtas why i say all proecssion must be banned that is not related to religion.Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal

    @ M Muneer:

    Sir, I think you are not getting the point. Let me clear this once and for all. I am not biased towards any sect. I respect all religious personalities, be it wives, companions, progeny of the prophet (P.B.U.H). I did not write this article to tell people about who believes in what and honestly speaking, I feel, that is none of anyone’s business to question anybody else’s religious views. This point behind this write-up is very clear. Sectarian beliefs are not suppesed to be taught in mainstream educational institutes. Children need to go to school to become good human beings, scientists, doctors, engineers etc. and contribute positively to the society. It is pointless to teach them to hate anyone mindlessly if s/he doesn’t agree with your religious views. As far as your argument over beliefs practiced in hiding, Quran is very clear on that matter.

    I think I have cleared myself enough over your and anybody’s concerns of writing a ‘biased article’.


  • M Muneer

    i just dont want to imagine what will be consequences when kids educated from these schools will come in mainstream of society, look at the terrorism and sectarianism in our society these are the seeds which were sowed back in Zia’s time, there must be movement against such schools and we must save our future from further terrorism and sectarianism. Keep sectarianism out of schools
    Mir, this seed was not sowed by Zia, it is sowed 1400 years b4 after death of Rasool Allah SAW but we dont want to open ourselves and keep quite on issues. Then these seed were watered by different religious scholars now the generations are grown ups with those thinkings,
    To create a better society we have to go to the roots and try to bulid the bridge. First and basic thing that respect shud be given to the Sahabas not in front and behind the same the many problmes will be solved. Recommend

  • M Muneer


    what ever the disions i.e. 70:30 or 85:15 the balme cvannot be given to majority, there were reason that this gap is widening we have to go the roots of the problem which i mention in my yesterdays post and has been taken out by most respected Sana Iqbal because she doesnt want to face the reality and to blame the sunnas.

    one point agenda:
    Just only give full respect to our Sahabas and Mothers of momineen and all will be ok.

    The sunni muslim cannot accpet the abusement of above. Recommend

  • M Muneer

    @Najib Fah

    If someone love Muaawiay not coz shia do not like, bulkeh they love coz he was a Sahabi, first katib wahi. He is having great place & standing for himeslf. Sunna ppls cannot abuse him coz Shia do not like. It is stupid argument. No need to see the reasons of disliking. For Sunnas Umme Aisha was lovliest wife of Rasool Allah and sahabas were his best companions, its enough for us to respect. Some peoples keeping quiet on Yazeed but most dislike and it is not your and my decission that he & who will face what consequences just leave this on god and we will not get any benefit by giving medal to anyone or by disliking or liking to anyone.
    concerning wearing black … i dont think that thi issue matters it can be ignored.
    it is because of the gap created by the two scholars they have to sit and sort out it. Recommend

  • Ammar

    @M Muneer

    You clearly seem to be a product of such a madressa. Be a man to accept the fact that what madressa’s(not all) are teaching is often not constructive and spread hatred in the society. And you are talking about Imam bareys, I havnt heard of any straight extremism from there. I can bet you have never been into an imam bara! Dont have the guts to go there!

    Yes, difference opinions lies everywhere that doesnt mean teaching or preaching hatred. You need to get a life man. You have been too much into denial and only looking through what you have been brainwashed. Go read the book ” Then I was guided” and then hit your knowledge. Shake your beliefs. And then ask yourself, who is right and who is wrong ? and the answer would come from within!Recommend

  • M Muneer

    @Sana Iqbal:

    I am sorry
    Sana i think you are just blaming unnecessarily to muillas only and tagging them as commercial what if you mention ‘commercial zakireen and Allamas” also with that.

    These wording shows your thinking and it appears your a biased side, so you cant claim and not having any right to discuss the issue on opposite group. You are doping the same for whihc you are baling to your opponents.

    YOu are not responsible to throw the dust on others and do the same by yourself.Recommend

  • M Muneer

    @Sana Iqbal:

    I am sorry to say that you have not written your views with open mind. YOu have also done the same as you blame for others. YOU called commercial mullah what if you mention it “Commercial Zakireen and Allamahas” who are tryng to promote own brand of islam and impose on others. Will it be ok?Recommend

  • M Muneer

    @Ali Wazir:
    Good point mentioned by Ali wazir, if Sana Iqbla would take it positievly they she would nnot have the material to write thats why she forcly wrote that wordings and start her lecture. Concerning black dress it could also be taken that a student asked for the safe side that if student knew it then will take extra care that will not say anyword fropm which her teacher will feel sad. Recommend

  • M Muneer

    It seems that the regulator is posting only what he likes and what belong to his group. I posted yesterday the post no 7 or 8 it appeared but today it has been taken off. while others letter are present there.
    It shows that they by themself promoting groups posting their views only.
    They dont allow the post of other person whihc dislike them.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    Maybe its time to have Pakistani Domestic T20 teams named after different sects- Sunni warriors, Shia Wildcats, Ahmadi Champions,etc.. How insanely fun would that be!Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal

    @M Muneer:

    i mention in my yesterdays post and has been taken out by most respected Sana Iqbal because she doesnt want to face the reality and to blame the sunnas.

    What is your problem, sir? Despite of your consistent personal attacks I have been respectable towards you. While writing my previous response to your comments I made it a point not to respond to any of your comments. I have already mentioned it earlier that I respect difference of opinion but since you are talking so much about sunnah, please care to learn about the ethics of communicating on a public forum. Sunnah teaches you a very decent way to put forth difference of opinion, just in case you missed that part of Islamic teaching.

    P.S. For your information, I m only a contributor at ET and not a moderator. I neither screen nor control any of the comments posted here. Your posts were moderated/removed by ET officials because they were not in compliance with ET’s comment policy. Please refer to Atika Rehman’s comment above for further details and stop bashing me for removal of your comments.


  • kaalchakra

    Tribune Reader

    A small point, but theologically important.

    Muslims enforce Allah’s will, not save souls. The saving soul nonsense is the obsession of Christians.

    P.S. Moderator Willing. Of all Pakistani discussion forums, Express Tribune has the most paranoid censoring practices. So one never knows what Express Tribune want to be said or what not to be said on matters of Islam and related religions.Recommend

  • kashif

    i totally disagree with …Recommend

  • Cynical

    Who ever said ‘religion is opium for the mass’ was right on target.
    The quality (actually lack of it) of average comments here is an ample proof.Recommend

  • Danali Dahraj

    @Yuri Kondratyuk: Muslims should just be Muslim, the name given to us by Allah (SWT).Recommend

  • Danali Dahraj

    @curious: Yes they are, and they have a choice to be excused from Islamic studies and Muslim History subjects.Recommend

  • Danali Dahraj

    So quick are we to declare a sect Non-Muslim, when ALLAH (SWT) in The Holy Qu’ran (30:31-32) forbids Muslims to divide into sects. Alhumdulillah, I have not divided myself into any sect; Faith is a personal thing, however religion because of it’s social aspects and influences on society and culture is not entirely personal.Recommend

  • Shahzad Hasan

    Well, its a pity being an Islamic nation how much intolerant and bellicose we all are when it comes to religion. Islam, in my petty knowledge is a religion of peace and harmony, something that we brag about but actually never show, Religion itself exists and messengers of Allah actually are sent upon for the purpose of enlightening the minds towards the right path. However, Allah subhanawata’llah has also given us the brains to chose between right or wrong.
    Nonetheless, the purpose of this article is really not about the religion but how it effects the society we live in. Clearly every human being is different as Allah said in the Holy book, and so is the way of interpretation of the religion (Islam). Hence when people here say that we have to sit together and abridge our differences (shias and sunnis), it may be possible but not for the sake of this article.
    Sectarian neutrality is something that is needed in all the schools in the country at least state funded. Teachers as well as the administration needs to be trained for this. I have seen women from the rural towns who barely even know how to write (angutha chap) teaching Islamic studies and Urdu. You get the picture.
    A good teacher produces good students and good students yield a progressive country. From the comments I have read I think we in 21st century when the world is on the verge of exploring new life and new planets (allowed in Quran “seeru fil arze…) if someone might think its haram), we are still living in dark ages. However there is still hope and an emerging light that I have seen from Ms. Iqbals article evident of the potential we have..God bless Pakistan Recommend

  • Mj

    This is what it essentially boils down to:
    “My childhood indoctrination is better than your childhood indoctrination”

    Hate would be reduced greatly if people would just see each other as fellow human beings instead of rivals in religion, race, nationality and other petty divisors. Good article, btw. Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Sana Iqbal:

    Your welcome. And thank you for recognizing the problem. Credit to you and Tribune for breaching what usually is a taboo and difficult topic. Many are in denial, some will rationalize it and some will project their own prejudice and hate onto you. We definitely need all the progressive teachers we can get.


    If you could, please take a look on another article relating to DG Khan in the last week, where one extremist bigot openly wanted violence against Hazaras in the comments section. It is still up there. Was not satisfied at all with how that was moderated. Recommend