Muharram is your holiday, not mine

Stop calling the 9th and 10th of Muharram 'holidays' - it offends me. For me these days mean everything.

Sidra Rizvi December 02, 2011
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.
WRITTEN BY:
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 necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (294)

Naqi Akbar | 9 years ago | Reply Being a Shia myself; a few observations. 1. I read about the four rightly guided caliphs at school. at home i had my commad over the life skteches of 12 Imams. 2. As i observe in pakistan 65 years, it was founded by a 12ver Shia, it had Shia Army Chiefs (one bad Yahya; one good Musa (hazara), one air chief (mushaf Mir), many journalists of fame (ZIM, Hussain Naqi, saqlain Imam), No body stopped their way to progress and fame. 3. a country cannot be shut for two days just because of 20 per cent people. the consent of respect for Imam comes from the rest 80 percent. even salafi brothers cannot ignore the sacrifice of Imam. 4. How ever one thing hurts; people in their wave of materialism are being disrespectful; planning marriages even in the ten days. that sounds bad. 5. What can be the best payback to The Holy Prophet (PBUH) who must have been grieved on 10th Moharram and his beloved Grandson Imam Hussain can be: a. fight against incompetency (at the highest level) b. oppression in all forms c. strive for justice. instead of blog fighting we need to be practical!!!!!
someone | 9 years ago | Reply this lady is just trying to create an impression which is actually baseless.........
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