Islam Condemns Sectarianism
By: Professor Maqsood Jafri
I feel shocked when somebody asks me; what is your sect? I simply say; I am a Muslim. The fact of the matter is that when you say that you are a Muslim, the Muslims don’t believe you. They don’t understand what you say. The reason is that they are divided into sects. They boast and brag about their sectarianism. When general Zia-ul-haq was the president of Pakistan, on his orders a form was distributed to all government servants. They were asked to fill out the form and mention their sect. I had criticized this government policy which further fanned sectarianism and extremism in Pakistan. Dr. Allama Iqbal through out his life had been condemning sectarianism and crusading for unity. He had been preaching rationality, tolerance, moderation and modernity in the light of analogy and rational Inquiry.
There is a big difference between the approach of philosophers and priests. The differences between two philosophers are academic. These differences are not personal. Aristotle differed with Plato on many intellectual points. Bergson did not agree with Hegel on many issues. Similarly the rationalists, the idealists, the empiricists, the positive logicians, the intuitionists and the Marxists differ on many academic issues but they have never issued the edicts and decrees of infidelity and heresy against each other. They respected each other and learnt a lot from each other’s writings. Their method of approach is scientific and objective. But, unfortunately the clerics are hardliners and extremists. On ideological and doctrinal differences the priests are always ready to tear each other into pieces. They issue decrees of killing of the people who do not agree with them. In the name of religion the believers of different cults and creeds had been mercilessly shedding the blood of humans. Recently in Ireland the Catholics and the Protestants killed each other. They belong to the same faith but on...