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  1. According to the article,

    “Security forces this month began blocking roads leading to the shrine of Imam Hussein, the grandfather of the 12th imam, in the centre of Karbala, where the ceremonies were held. Security was further tightened after twin car bombs in a market near Karbala killed four people on Tuesday. Some 38,000 soldiers and police were helping secure the city, with measures including 2,000 policewomen for women-only checkpoints, sniffer dogs and explosives detecting devices, officials said. Shiite pilgrims are a frequent target for Sunni insurgents, especially during times of commemoration ceremonies.”

    Actually none of this comes as a surprise for those who have a profound understanding of the historical schism in Islam.

    The Shia faction within global Islam originated from the death of Muhammed, in a succession dispute. Shia Muslims believe that Muhammad had appointed Ali (his first cousin and son in law) to be his successor. When Muhammad died, Ali and Muhammad’s closest relatives made the funeral arrangements. While they were preparing his body, Abu Bakr, Umar, and Abu Ubayda met with the leaders of Medina and elected Abu Bakr as caliph. It was not until the murder of the third caliph, Uthman, that the Muslims in Medina invited Ali to become the fourth khalifa. Ali’s rule over the early Muslim community was often contested: Ali was opposed by (among others) Aisha, wife of the Prophet and daughter of Abu Bakr, who accused him of being lax in bringing Uthman’s killers to justice. After Ali’s army defeated Aisha’s forces at the Battle of the Camel in 656, she apologized to Ali and was allowed to return to her home in Medina where she withdrew from public life. In the end however, Ali was murdered.

    Mu’awiya Ummayad, the man that contested Ali’s rule, declared himself caliph after Ali’s death. Ali’s elder son Hassan accepted a pension in return for not pursuing his claim to the caliphate. He died within a year, allegedly poisoned. Ali’s younger son Hussein agreed to put his claim to the caliphate on hold until Mu’awiya’s death. However, when Mu’awiya finally died in 680, his son Yazid usurped the caliphate. Hussein led an army against Yazid but, hopelessly outnumbered, he and his men were slaughtered at the Battle of Karbala. Yazid formed the hereditary Ummayad dynasty. The division between the Shia and what came to be known as the Sunni was set.

    Which basically makes this schism within Islam inherently political. Furthermore, ‘Shia’ derives from ‘Shī‘atu ‘Alī’ which means ‘the faction of Ali’.

  2. Muḥammad ibn al Ḥasan is believed by Twelver Shī’a Muslims to be the Mahdi, an ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imam of the Twelve Imams. Ali Ibn Abu Talib was the first Imam of this line, and in the Twelvers’ view, the only rightful successor to the prophet of Islam, followed by male descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah Zahra, who was married to Ali. Contrary to the Sunni caliphs, who were elected, the 12 imams have to be hereditary successors in the line of Ali through his marriage with Fatimah. This is the basic framework in which the schism between Sunnis and Shi’ites evolved: according to Twelver Shi’ism, Ali was brought up in the household of the Prophet from a very young age, and hence he was taught Islam by Muhammed himself, (when there were no other Muslims as yet) which makes him the first genuine Muslim on earth and simultaneously the sole companion to the Prophet and only true guardian of pure Islam. (pure Islam in Shi’ite eschatology, that is) Shi’ites feel in essence that Sunnism was established later, the first caliphs converted later to Islam and they held NO legitimate rule as elected temporal rulers in comparison with Ali !

    Each Imam was the son of the previous Imam in the line of Ali, with the exception of Husayn ibn Ali, who was the brother of Hasan ibn Ali.

    Also, the Day of Ashura, on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar, is commemorated by Shia Muslims in particular as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali at the Battle of Karbala. During Muharram in general and particularly on the Day of Ashura, Sunni terrorist actions to disturb the commemorations escalate, particularly in countries like Iraq and Pakistan. The combination of Shi’ite festivities with regards to Hussein’s martyrdom and the birth of the 12th imam , are perceived by Sunni Muslims (and particularly Salafis) as a political rally against Sunnis, one that directly refers to the political origins of the Sunni-Shia split.

    Which again dispels the myth that Islam is a religion of peace.

  3. And that’s basically what necessitates these stringent security measures.

  4. Essentially, Shi’ites derive their own Moral Supremacy within Islam, which they believe is surpassing that of Sunni Islam, from the hereditary lineage of Ali. Which is why both groups are continuously at each other’s throats !

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