Perhaps I am suffering from a bad case of amnesia. I think my parents told me that I am a Sunni and I was supposed to follow the sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). My parents taught me to love others, to care for the poor, to work for the betterment of the society, and to respect our neighbors. But somehow it all seems so foreign to me. Perhaps it is not me! Maybe my faith has betrayed me. Or perhaps, somewhere, somehow, I feel my faith was taken away from me; altered and modified to suit someone else’s agenda; mutilated and obscured to a point where I can’t even remember this being the same faith that I was brought up with.
The Sunnism I see all around me is not the Sunnism that I remember. I don’t remember going to mosques and listening to hate speech towards others. I don’t remember mullahs asking us not to seek Western education. I don’t remember clergy stopping girls from attending school. I don’t remember being led by the most notorious terrorists of that time. I don’t recall Sunnism condoning and approving terrorism. I knew of no sipahs, no lashkars, no psychopaths who enjoy slicing throats of innocent people in the name of Sunnism. We practiced our faith with love and tolerance and not with guns and bombs.
Perhaps I was following the wrong brand of Sunnism. Perhaps I was a weak Sunni. Maybe the whole nation (Pakistan) missed the true message of Sunnism and was operating in some type of denial. But I would take that “denial” in a heartbeat over what we have now. Whatever it was – it was certainly better. With billions of petrodollars invested to alter the real message of Sunnism, and military agencies used to orchestrate a detestable platform of Sunnism – I feel that my identity was stolen from me.
I feel so suffocated when I stand next to other Sunnis during prayers. The faces that once beamed politeness and courtesy now seem so crude and savage-like. The calm smiles and pleasant eyes are replaced by ferocious looks and bloodthirsty eyes. I feel disgusted!
How can they call themselves Sunnis?
They stand quiet as thousands of Shias are slaughtered by Sunni extremists. They watch and do nothing as hundreds of Christians lose their houses to the fire of hatred that burns in the Sunni hearts. They let Ahmadis be gunned down by those who carry the flag of Sunnism. They are led by the terrorists and the most murderous organizations include the word “sunnah” in their names.
I feel I have nothing to do with these neo-Sunnis. They are not who my parents were. They are not who my grandparents were. They are destroyers not builders. They are terrorists not humans.
So I want the Sunnism of my childhood back. I want to pack this Arab sponsored Sunnism in a box and ship it back to Saudi Arabia and then never let it back on my sacred land. Perhaps that is why Pakistan was named “pak” i.e. free of impure ideologies – ideologies that glorify murder and human rights violations. I wish I was a Christian, a Shia, an Ahmadi – at least I would have something to be proud of about my faith. I have no pride in being a Sunni today.