When I was in Karachi, I lived in an area where the majority of people were shias. It was known to them that I am a direct descendant of Ali ibn Abi Talib. 40th generation. From Hussain then Zain al Abideen and moving from Jafar Sadiq to my generation. Thus, I did get a great deal of respect from both Shia and Sunni persons around me. I never took Sects seriously. In fact, at that time, I did not even care. I did my thing and I never interfered with other people’s practice or beliefs unless there was clear injustice.
One day, early in the day , a whole bunch of people came to visit me. They were Aga Khanis and Khojas . I had a lot of business going on with these people. Very nice, honest and down to earth people. They shocked me that day when they invited me to the “matam” ( mourning over the tragedy of Al Hussain in Karbala) ceremony in Moharram at a place called “mehfil e khurasan” in Karachi. I agreed to go but I was curious to know why I was invited.
Some discussion revealed to me that they thought I was shia. What a predicament!
So, you think that because I am Syed, I must be Shia? I asked. Of course, they all nodded. You are from Al- Hussain. You must be.
I had this to say:
Let’s imagine that me and you are living in the time of Muhammad PBUH. How many Shia and how many Sunni lived around him? He was the Last Prophet, a Muslim and all those with him were Muslims. Are we not that too?
I do love my forefathers. Naturally. My own blood. The ones before me and inshallah the ones after me.. I love them immensely as you love your own, I am sure.
Islam and it’s processes are clear in the Quran. Just following that makes you a Muslim. And being “muslim” is what is required from a muslim.
So why the Shia and the Sunni? Why not ” la ilaha ilAllah, Muhammad Rasool Allah”?
You would agree that I know my blood better than you, right?
Disagreement on historical facts, events and even the action or decisions of Caliphs is not a part of faith to me. Allah will not ask me about what my father did nor what the greatest Shaikh of this time did.
No sir, I am not of the Shia nor the Sunni. I am a Muslim. I try and follow the Sunna of my beloved Prophet and I definitely love my lineage. So does that make me ( as said on Tash ma Tash once) a Shunni?
The guidance I have received is the Quran and life demonstrated by the Prophet PBUH – ALL of which confirmed to the Quran. I pray for all the Caliphs and rulers of Muslims to this date. Even the current Rulers. I am too small and far away in time from the first Caliphs to talk about them. I was not there. No one alive today was there. Honestly, it is not even something I can talk about. All I can discuss is the Quran. Not history.
So why do we have such divisions and disputes? Don’t we all agree on the core belief and faith?
These were my very genuine concerns that were never satisfied with an explanation.