KARACHI: A recent video clip showing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan prostrating himself at the shrine of a revered Sufi saint in Pakpattan has sparked a heated debate on the social media.
Imran visited the shrine of Baba Fareeduddin Ganj Shakar (RA) with his wife on Wednesday night. The couple laid a floral wreath and a chador on the grave of the Sufi saint.
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Imran was criticised for what appeared to be a sajda (prostration) at the doorsill of the shrine, not only by religious conservatives but also by those who claim to hold liberal and progressive views. Critics said Imran could stoop to any low in his quest for the office of prime minister.
This is more detail of the recent visit of Imran Khan and his wife inside the mazar, near the grave. Imran calls it spirituality. pic.twitter.com/FumEuL6mog— Syed Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12) June 29, 2018
This is Khawar Maneka ex-husband of Imran Khan’s wife moving towards the mazar. This illustrates in graphic detail the ritual of ‘sajda’ that is being debated ferociously on social media. You can guess who is in the jeep. pic.twitter.com/7IvXptgufR— Syed Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12) June 29, 2018
There were some sane voices among Twitterati who urged people to refrain from criticising personal beliefs.
Shouldn’t be bothered how someone practices his/her faith (or doesn’t). As long as they are not preaching or committing violence, it’s their business. So kindly lay off IK’s ‘sajda.’ Millions of Pakistanis do it. Your puritanical condemnation of it doesn’t make you any better.— Nadeem Farooq Paracha (@NadeemfParacha) June 28, 2018
I'm sure getting to the bottom of this #Sajda issue is going to put 22m kids in school, tackle the water stress headed our way, head off the economic mess we're looking at, expand the tax base and help us calibrate a smart foreign policy.— Kamran Bukhari (Advocate) (@MrSKIB) June 29, 2018
Absurd#PTI #PMLN #Elections2018 https://t.co/dATUZdqBtJ
Despite political differences ,— aliahmadkurd (@aliahmad_kurd) June 29, 2018
Abominable to prey someone on religious grounds.#Sajda
Supporters and followers of the cricketer-turned-politician jumped into the fray, defending their leader and explaining the difference between ‘sajda’ and ‘kneeling down in respect’.
After all these years the opposition has arguements against @ImranKhanPTI only on the basis of the following: #Shadi #NangayPairUmra #ZulfiBukhari #Shero #Sajda #kaptaanChapal , #ImranKhan #DaniyalAziz #CapitalTV @fawadchaudhry @FarhanKVirk @USharifAnsarii— N A V E E D (@NoWeeeeed) June 28, 2018
All the commotion on mainstream and social media led Imran to come up with a clarification during a television interview on Thursday night.
He said a true Muslim only prostrates himself in front of God. “You can’t be Muslim without believing in Allah and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This was not prostration, it was done in respect of Baba Fareed who was a great Sufi saint…I have read a lot about him,” Imran said in the interview on Dunya News.
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The PTI chief clarified that his act was one of pure respect, love, and devotion. Baba Farid is someone who helped spread Islam in the region, he added.
“Millions of people gather at his shrine to show their respects and devotion towards the revered saint. It is wrong to say that I prostrated myself in front of the shrine … I only paid my respects and expressed my devotion towards him by kissing the doorsill of the shrine,” he added.
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