Four types of lesser Muslims of Pakistan

by admin

The following notice engraved on the wall of Lahore’s historic Begum Shahi Mosque signifies all what is wrong with Pakistani society today in terms of religious intolerance and sectarian violence.


Photo credits: Aown Ali

The notice reads (in Roman Urdu): ba ittefaq-e anjuman-e-hanafiah wa hukm-e-shara-sharif yeh qarar paya keh koi wahhabi, rafizi, naturi wa mirzai masji haaza mein na aaway aur khilaf-e-mazhab-e-hanafi koi baat na karay – faqir ghulam qadir mutwalli masjid begum shahi 1313 A.H.

English Translation: With the consent of the Hanafi Muslim Association and also in accordance with the Islamic Sharia, this was decided that no Wahhabi (Salafi), Rafizi (Shia), Naturi (rationalist Muslim) and Mirzai (Ahmadi) is allowed to enter this mosque nor is anyone allowed to say anything against Hanafi sect in this mosque. By Faqir Ghulam Qadir, Custodian of the Begum Shahi Mosque, 1313 A.H. (1895 A.D.)

It may be noted that Hanafi Muslims (comprising Barelvis and Deobandis) represent almost 65-70% of total Muslims in Pakistan. Shias represent 20%, Wahhabis represent 10% while Ahmadis are estimated to be 3% of Pakistan’s Muslim population.

In sum, the above notice identifies four sects or groups of Muslims who are in numerical minority in Pakistan, and remain subject to various forms of social stereotypes, persecution and (in case of Shias and Ahmadis) target killings.

1. Wahhabi: Salafi or Ahl-e-Hadith Muslims are those who do not follow any specific school of jurisprudence including that of Imam Abu Hanifa. They are routinely stereotyped in Pakistan by majority Sunni Hanafi population (Barelvis, Deobandis) as well as by Shias and Ahmaids as Saudi agents or lesser Muslims. They have been subject to sporadic violence by Deobandi Jihadi-sectarian groups, e.g., massacre of Wahhabi Muslims in Kunar province of Afghanistan by Deobandi militants of Jamaat-e-Islami and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

2. Shia: Shia Muslims follow the jurisprudence of Imam Jafar Sadiq, and consider Imam Ali as the first and foremost rightful successor to caliphate after Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) death. Shia Muslims are routinely stereotyped as infidels, lesser Muslims and Sabai (Jewish) agents by extremist Hanafis and Wahhabis. Shias are also the most target killed faith group in Pakistan.

3. Ahmadi: Central to the Ahmadiyya Muslims is the belief in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Ahmadis are the most persecuted faith group in Pakistan because the constitution and laws of Pakistan do not allow them to call themselves as Muslims nor are they allowed to practice their faith in a free manner. They are routinely harassed, stereotyped as British agents and remain subject to violence and target killing.

4. Rationalist: Naturi is a derogatory label used for those Muslims who try to rationally interpret and practice Islam. A key example of rationalist Muslims is Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan who believed that “work of God (nature and its laws) was in conformity with the Word of God (the Quran)”, an adage that earned him the title of Naturi. Followers of Sir Sayyid, Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz and Javed Ghamidi etc are variously labelled as Naturi by other sectarian Muslims.

8 Comments to “Four types of lesser Muslims of Pakistan”

  1. It is request to Owner/Manager of this blog that please mention the Photo Credits. This picture was taken by my friend Aown Ali. Thanks

  2. Comments from a Facebook Page:

    Ali Abbas Taj Shocking to read this growth of intolerance. In Masjid al Haram, everyone is together but not in Masjid Begum Shahi Lahore.

    Good works PakistanBlogzine PB , I did not know this.
    12 hours ago · Like · 2

    Ali Abbas Taj Omar Merchant
    zahid sharab pene de masjid main beth ker
    ya woh jaga bata de jahan per KHUDA nhi
    (GHALIB)
    12 hours ago · Like · 2

    Ali Abbas Taj Good one Omar Merchant
    12 hours ago · Like

    Ali Abbas Taj We have to drop this I am right and everyone else is wrong song.
    12 hours ago · Like · 1

    Abbas Ali Very nice..I did not know that this goes so much far back in the history of this region..
    12 hours ago · Like
    PakistanBlogzine PB ‎Ali Abbas Taj Thanks for liking.
    11 hours ago · Like · 1

    Maryam Sadiq Very sad.
    3 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1

    Sabah Hasan A generalization in the definitions needs to be corrected, as it is otherwise a mis-statement: Shia Muslims do not consider any other sect, including Wahhabis, to be lesser Muslims.
    2 hours ago · Like · 2

    Asif Mall Mullahs are constantly creating more Pakistani minorities by delaring more & more Muslims & Kafirs; with this speed very soon all the minorities combined together will become majority in Pakistan.
    about an hour ago · Like · 1
    PakistanBlogzine PB ‎Sabah Hasan It is a fact that Shia Muslims routinely badmouth against Wahhabi Muslims even in those incident which do not involve Wahhabis. For example, acts of violence by extremist Deobandis (SSP-ASWJ) are attributed to Wahhabis.
    54 minutes ago · Like

    Sabah Hasan I stand by the content of my statement, which you have not addressed, PakistanBlogzine PB
    54 minutes ago · Like · 1
    PakistanBlogzine PB ‎Sabah Hasan Technically you are right. It is, however, a fact that Wahhabis are routinely stereotypes as enemies of Ahl-e-Bait by Shia Muslims. If that does not render them as ‘lesser Muslims’, what else does? I, however, agree that there is no ‘Wahhabi Kafir’ movement in Shia circles.
    35 minutes ago · Like

    Sabah Hasan ‎PakistanBlogzine PB, I respect your right to decipher things as you prefer to. To me identifying a group of Muslims as one’s apostatizers and killers or identifying them as agents of a foreign potentate is not the same as calling them lesser – or for that matter superior – Muslims than oneself. It is just calling them apostatizers, killers and agents.

  3. @Shiraz, Apologies for the omission. We have now inserted due credits in the post.

  4. Hey, why don’t you write for Express Tribune or other mainstream media outlets. This is such a wonderful post.

  5. I think this is why the mosques are separated according to Fiqh.
    It is not mentioned in the scripture that others are non-muslim but just not allowed.
    ok. Better these will not enter in others’ premises.

  6. I have no sympathies with any sect, Mullahs or their followers, therefore being a law abiding citizen i hereby with all humility request to correct words i-e “Ahmedi Muslims” in this post. Constitution of Pakistan 1973 declares Ahmedis are non Muslims. I expect that the management will adhere to the constitution. Thanks

  7. Ahmadi Muslims Ahmadi Muslims Ahmadi Muslims. Arrest me please :-)

  8. These mullahs are the ultimate “kuffar” (“infidels”). How they destroyed the beautiful, incredibly secular I grew up in. In a fairer world, their filthy personal lives would alone suffice to make them pariahs of Pakistani society.

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