Sufis Attacked in Pakistan

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Sufis Under Persection in Pakistan
Claiming to be the 'Mystical Side of..


..Islam', the Sufis in Pakistan have fallen under heavy attack, even suicide bombers blowing up and killing and wounding many at their shrines for worshiping dead Muslim 'saints'.
Take a look at this video on YOUTUBE.. (back 2 months ago)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8TYIP0mQ4w

...then leave your thoughts and comments for the rest of the world to see.

KASUR, Pakistan — In Pakistan’s heartland, holy men with bells tied to their feet close their eyes and sway to the music. Nearby, rose petals are tossed on tombstones.

This peaceful tableau is part of Sufism, Pakistan’s 'mystical' brand of Islam, which attracts many worshipers at about a dozen major festivals throughout the year. Each day, thousands visit shrines dedicated to Sufi saints.

But the rituals came under heavy attack in 2010, as minority hard-line militants took responsibility for five shrine attacks that killed 64 people — a marked increased compared with 2005 to 2009, when nine attacks killed 81 people.

Attacks in previous years occurred in the middle of the night or when worshipers were not present, apparently in an effort to avoid casualties. But in 2010, terrorists carried out suicide bombings when thousands of worshipers were present, and in the nation’s largest cities, like Karachi and Lahore.

The increase in attacks, and a direct effort to kill those who practice a more mystical brand of Islam, has torn the fabric of mainstream worship in Pakistan. But as worshipers continue to visit the Sufi shrines and many Sufi festivals continue in the face of threats, it also evidences the perseverance of Pakistan’s more moderate brand of Islam.

“It’s a very disturbing picture that militants have extended their targets to shrines, which are symbols of popular Islam in Pakistan and are widely visited,” said Rasul Bakhsh Rais, a professor of political science at Lahore University of Management Sciences. “However, I don’t think the militants are succeeding – thousands of people still visit the shrines despite these attacks.”

Although there is no official data, the number of people who informally follow Sufi traditions is believed to be in the millions. They have long been condemned as un-Islamic by fundamentalist groups because they worship saints and perform music and dance.

The United States, meanwhile, sees Sufi Islam as a counter force to terrorism, and has helped promote it by giving more than $1.5 million since 2001 on the restoration and conservation of Sufi shrines in Pakistan.

Amir Rana, the director of the Pak Institute for  Peace Studies, a think tank that analyzes religious conflict, said there were  several reasons for the recent spike in attacks on Sufi shrines.

Groups within Al Qaeda, which have increased their strategic operations in Pakistan since 2007, have expanded their ideological war on the sectarian divide.

Mr. Rana also said militants suddenly changed their strategy in 2009, when they started soft targets, or popular and less secure venues, such as the Meena Bazaar in Peshawar, as a way to retain their radical sympathizers.

Other experts say that fragmented militant groups in Pakistan have fully spun out control, and the shrine attacks fit a larger pattern that finds extremist groups who in the past have focused on Kashmir and Afghanistan now turning inward to assert their power and ideology within Pakistan’s borders.

“Militancy keeps on demanding sacrifices,” Ayesha Siddiqa, a security analyst who says she is a descendant of a Sufi saint, said. “So if it’s not targeting the enemy outside, it’s targeting the enemy within.”

In the eyes of some extremists, Sufi loyalists can be viewed as cohorts of the Pakistani government. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi both carry saint-like status because they are from prominent Sufi families that have been caretakers for shrines synonymous with the ruling elite. In turn, those in power often use such devoted followings as a tool for recruiting voters.

Pir Tayyab, a hard-line Deobandi cleric who has been associated with militant organizations, including the Pakistani Taliban, said that while it was acceptable to pray for a saint’s soul at a shrine, it is forbidden to search for God’s qualities in a saint.

“The singing and dancing that takes place at shrines is disrespectful,” he said. However, he said, bombing a shrine is also unacceptable. “It is not correct to disrespect a grave or to remove someone from his grave.”

While provincial governments have scaled back some musical performances in response to threats, the large gatherings persist, drawing big and determined crowds at major shrines on a near weekly basis.

The only major cancellation over security fears was made by the Sindh provincial government, which canceled musical performances that were a permanent feature of Karachi’s festivals.

Prodded by protests that demanded more security, the government of Punjab, which oversees more than 500 shrines, is spending $400,000 on increased security at 15 of its major shrines this year, including the installation of cameras, security gates and metal detectors. At some shrines, officials said donors had paid for new security installations.

But security is rarely a deterrent to attacks. The Pakistani Taliban remains unfazed by the government’s efforts to safeguard the shrines. The government installed two security gates in 2008 at Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine, the most famous shrine in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. But in October 2010, two suicide bombers detonated explosives there, killing 9 and injuring 75. Since the blasts, and just before an annual Sufi celebration, the government installed 18 security cameras at the shrine.

 

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Comments   

#10 taariq hassan 2011-04-04 04:15
Pakistan was doomed from day one and now the Taliban which it invented are bringing it to its bloody conclusion sooner than later.
Sufi Islam is the real Islam of the Sub Continent that was brought to South Asia from Central and Western Asia and spread the word of Allah without using a sword. It spread using peaceful methods such as songs, trance dancing and respect for holy shrines.
You Wahhabis should all go to Saudi Arabia and don't come back. We Muslim Punjabis were all Hindus once and should face that fact with tolerance and acceptance. Islam is not a anyone else's business but the individual's.Mu lti faith India is relatively successful country and Pakistan is a total failure which is getting worse for ordinary Pakistanis. Go figure that one out.
#9 Ershad Shaik 2011-04-02 19:53
Salam alaykum,
I think unorganized bombing at the graves is not logical, government of Pakistan should take measures to educate people of real islam and spend money in this sector more than speanding money in killing pakistani talibans.
Government should teach and convert the heads of these shrines so that they give up this practice and follow the true islam.
If the heads are not accepting what is truth and continuing their evil ways then government should use force.
But everything should and need to come from the people who are ruling us, if not change your rulers.
#8 Saad Saeed 2011-04-01 11:56
Asalamulakum; Music? Dancing? sounds like they were in churches to much.
#7 Yusuf Estes 2011-03-31 06:33
Salam alaykum,
Yes, you are right. It is OK to recite from one part of the Quran in the first rakah and then from an earlier part in the second rakah.
I have asked scholars and students of knowledge about this in Madinah and they tell me, our prophet, peace be upon him, did this on more than one occasion and the imams in Arab countries do this sunnah as well.
Allahu 'Alim.
#6 asma 2011-03-26 01:37
Assalaamu Alaikum Shaikh Yusuf since many days m wondering abt this issue since many days plz do answer my question, is it mandatory to read the Quran in its order during salah or can we read any part of the quran? for example if i read a few ayahs of sura Al-Mulk in my first rakah and few ayahs of sura Al-Araaf in my second rakah or shd i do vice versa only as sura Al Araaf comes first and then comes Sura Al-Mulk. Jazakallahu khairan.
#5 Marvi 2011-01-18 00:32
Assalam o alaikum,
I totally agree with brother Sohail's comment.. and Ameen on his dua..however,i' d like to add that blowing people up is not the solution, preaching the correct Islam to the ignorant ones is the utter most need of the hour.. May Allah guide people of Pakistan esp, as I see them deviating more and more each day..
#4 Muhammad Nawaz 2011-01-11 23:39
Asalamualaikum
One can prayer for Saint's Soul, But he should never try to find GOD's Quality in that Saint.
Bombing on Shrine of Great Saints of Islam will never be accepted, and can't have any logic, according to Islam.
It shows disrespect to Saints (May ALLAH Show HIS mercy on them).
#3 Sheikh Shah 2011-01-10 13:45
Alhamdulillah atleast our terrorist brothers are doing something for Islam this time by bombing the enemies within Islam
#2 Imran 2011-01-09 18:17
I disagree with the weird practises of Sufi's but support their right to believe.Islam rejects opressing or killing people in the name of religion so live ad let live!

We have no right to threaten or intimidate those who disagree with us on matters of faith including Muslim people.

Allah is the only judge!
#1 sohail 2011-01-09 11:03
In my humble opinion and knowledge as a Muslim there is no place for music, singing and dance in Islam in any form or shape. In Quran and Hadith Allah and his messenger has not ordered or showed us to pray by way of singing, music or dance. If you submit to Allah Deen then you have to follow Quran and his messenger not some human Ideology. It can be something but not Islam. May Allah guid us all on his right way. (Ameen)

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