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Friday, 5 February 2010

The Birth of Shia-Sunni Unity

The crowd that had gathered in Shah Bagh, Dacca (British India) that winter morning was the largest gathering of Indian Muslims in the memory of anyone living in 1906. It was the twentieth annual session of Mohammedan Educational Conference.

A miracle happened. The Indian Muslim community included the largest number of Sunnis anywhere in the world. On that winter morning of December 30, 1906, it formed a political party in which Shias and Sunni came together without the slightest friction. It was called the All-India Muslim League. Aga Khan III, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Shia sect was elected the president a year later. Welcome to the Valley of Love.

The birth of Muslim League in 1906 was the first time in the entire history of Islam that the largest Sunni community elected an Ismaili to be its president (the last time Muslims came anywhere close to this was in the days of the Umayyid Caliph Omar bin Abdul Aziz in 717 AD, and it was short-lived).

This newborn unity was taken to unprecedented heights in the next few decades. It reached the highest point in the 1940s when the same community of Indian Muslims, which included the largest numbers of Sunni anywhere in the world, declared a born Shia to be its “Quaid-i-Azam”, or great leader. Beyond the Western borders of the sub-continent, the largest Shia state of the world, Iran, was going to declare a Sunni poet, Iqbal, as its spiritual inspiration (“The present times are the Age of Iqbal,” the Iranian Poet-Laureatte Bihar declared not long afterwards).

5 comments:

farrokh namazi said...

I wish we, Shias and Sunnis could come together, now, especially now that all that is happening is happening. Lets us come together, forget being Shia or Sunni, just remember that we are khaleqe khoda and what hurts one hurts all. We are as Saadi said, parts of one body, if any part is hurt, the whole body hurts and falls ill. Time to remember, recall, feel and work on this

ReeBz said...

Another post full of information as usual,I think this can be the best place for the people like me and those who are more younger, as we never get to know such information of our history by any other known way..

@farrokh, i think that there is unity between sunnis and shia now,to our surprise no riots breakout after such terrible bomb blasts in shia processions, they both know who is their real enemy.. good and bad people are everywhere so here too few elements of evil are also present..we just need to find those black sheeps among us!

Khurram Ali Shafique said...

Farrokh and ReeBz, thanks.

History of Pakistan can only be understood in terms of "seven stages". Beginning from 1886, each twenty years form a "stage". Our mode of perception and even the way we feel changes as we enter a new stage.

It is the seventh stage since 2007, and that is the stage where things reveal their reality. You can see that happening. Whether our future turns bright or dark depends on how we act right now.

Thinking said...

hmm...Shafique Sahib...nice post.

Poeple are intelligent enough to understand who is the reall enemy.

It is time to make bond with everyone around even of different faith. This is the only way of survival....thanks.

Fareeha said...

Bravo! A very nicely written article.

It is TIME for all muslims to come together and work hard for Pakistan's success. It doesn't matter if one is shia or sunni; Such meaningless differences should never stand in the way of Pakistan's advancement.

I really wish to Allah that Pakistanis become true patriots like the ones back in revolutionary days! But it will take a lot of courage and hard-work to overcome our differences. We will have to teach ourselves every second that we MUST NOT FALL APART!!! Pakistan's enemies especially take advantage of our differences.