I am not of your sect

If we are killing then let me be the first to die for I am not of a sect that considers itself superior to another. I consider every one equal and all of us guilty.

Rai Muhammad Azlan Shahid September 03, 2010
I have grown up, like many others, in an environment and society where no one was happy to tell me the simple fact that I am Muslim and I belong to Pakistan. It sounds strange but it is a fact, because we have a very strong sense of details we love to divide everything and go into unnecessary details. As I was saying while I was growing up I was told that I am Sunni Muslim and I am better than the others. Being a rebel I always wondered what yard stick or a chemical test decided that I was 'better.' Why did I belong to a certain 'good' sect and why was the person from a different sect judged by different standards.

Islam never taught us to follow such class differences

I am not a scholar but what I have learned from Islam is a simple fact that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us to hold strongly to the tenets of Quran and Sunnat as tightly as we can and that these were the ultimate quality standards. But sadly we changed that parameter as well. Today we create a hue and cry that everyone is against us everyone is trying to kill us. But actually we have been killing each other in the name of sects and “real Islam”.

In Pakistan for last three decades we have been fighting with each other on different fronts. Such as the length of pants, where to put hands while offering prayer, and whether to or not to offer Durood and many other dogmatic intricacies. We have also battled against many around us by being divided among Shia, Wahabi, Suni, Barelvi, Deoband etc. Apparently each of us is right and the people from other sects are totally wrong.

Sometimes I think we do not need enemies

We play the role ourselves. On the martyrdom anniversary of Hazrat Ali R.A. processions of people from Shia sects were attacked in Karachi and Lahore. Shots were fired in Karachi while a triple blast took place in Lahore. In the post-blast chaos  people set light a police station on fire and prevented fire brigade and ambulance services from doing their jobs.

As always someone came and claimed the responsibility of the whole fuss. Some people say that a third party orchestrates these incidents to create an atmosphere of distrust between the two sects. Even if this is true - I would say that I am responsible, because I never behaved like one Muslim brother is supposed to towards another brother. I created an empty space that has now been now filled with violence and distrust.

It is time to wake up and open eyes

We have made too many mistakes already. The time for finger-pointing is over. If this attitude cannot change then let me be the first to die because I am not from your sect. I consider every one equal and all of us guilty. If my sect is the best at the price of another then I don’t want to be the best. We have been being fooled by letting people make us think there is such thing as  “real Muslim.” I think we should now try simply be Muslim and Pakistani.
Rai Muhammad Azlan Shahid The author is an MSc in Marketing from the University of the West of England. Currently he is based in Lahore and associated with the area of education marketing. He blogs at RaiAzlan.com and tweets @Mussanaf (https://twitter.com/Mussanaf)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.