Hindu Muslim Unity: Pakistani Muslims protect Hindus celebrating Holi

Muslim children playing Hindu Holi
Muslim children playing Hindu Holi

KARACHI: Pakistani students formed a human shield around the Holi celebrations at the Swami Narayan Temple so that Hindus could celebrate their festival with abandon.

Hindus, who make up almost 2% of Pakistan’s population of around 180 million, are the largest minority in the country. Most of them live in the country’s Sindh and Punjab provinces.

The National Student’s Federation (NSF) carried out this exercise to show their solidarity with Pakistani Hindus, to promote the protection of religious minorities, and advocate interfaith coexistence.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Hindu brahmins participate in Shia Ashura

Ashura procession, Delhi
Ashura procession, Delhi

DELHI:  Indian Shiites commemorated Ashura, which for them is a day of mourning that honors the martyrdom of the Imam Husain, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, who was supposedly killed at the 7th century Battle of Karbala. That historical event prefigured the schism between Sunnis and Shiites, and is remembered annually through passion plays known as the ta’ziyeh or taziya and startling scenes of ritual scouring and self-flagellation.

Joining the throngs in Delhi on Tuesday was an unusual community of mourners. They carried out their own taziya procession and beat their chests in lamentation. But they were Hindus, not Muslims. A report in the Times of India follows these Hussaini Brahmins, also known as Mohyals, a community of Hindus in North India who adhere to certain Muslim traditions and rituals. According to Mohyal lore, a number of famous ancestors fought on Husain’s side at Karbala and died in the battle. The community now bears the legacy of that mythic lineage.

They embrace an eclectic range of Hindu and Muslim practices. “We believe that both Hindus and Muslims should follow each other’s rituals and traditions,” Rajinder Kumar, a Mohyal man tells the Times of India. “Our community observes Muharram and women keep fasts just as Muslims do.”

Despite the relative obscurity of these Hussaini Brahmins, their existence speaks of a wider legacy. For centuries, the subcontinent has been a crucible for many divergent traditions and beliefs, some coming into friction, most existing in harmony. Muslims celebrated Hindu holidays; Hindus still worship at the old shrines of Sufi saints.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Hindus & Muslims travel to Iraq to protect Imam Hussain shrine

gateway to Hussain shrine, Iraq
gateway to Hussain shrine, Iraq

MUMBAI: 125 Hindus, in addition to thousands of Shias and Sunnis, have registered their names to travel to Karbala, Iraq to defend the holy shrine of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad from the anticipated attack by the extremist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), which has unleashed a reign of terror on the predominantly Shia Iraq.

One of the most important events in early Muslim history was the battle of Karbala fought in 680 CE in which Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet through his daughter Fatima  al-Zahra and her husband Imam Ali, was slaughtered along with a small band of disciples in a bloody battle against the tyrant Caliph Yazid. This event occurred in the Islamic month of Muharram, and it is for this reason that this month is observed with great solemnity in many parts of the Muslim world.

Prof. Yoginder Sikand, a former Professor of Islamic Theology, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi writes, “What is particularly striking about the observances of the month of Muharram in large parts of India is the prominent participation of Hindus in the ritual mourning. In several towns and villages, Hindus join Muslims in lamenting the death of Hussain, by sponsoring or taking part in lamentation rituals and tazia processions. In Lucknow, seat of the Shia nawabs of Awadh, prominent Hindu noblemen like Raja Tikait Rai and Raja Bilas Rai built Imambaras to house alams, standards representing the Karbala event. The Hindu Lambadi community in Andhra Pradesh have their own genre of Muharram lamentation songs in Telugu.”

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Hindus observe Moharram

The “imambara” is flocked by Hindus and Muslims both, who observe Moharram by offering prayers and holding majlis in which men and women chant and weep, mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hasan and their followers.

“My mission is to promote Hindu-Muslim unity. We can do so by taking part in each other’s religious programmes and sharing their joys and sorrows,” says Harish Chandra Dhanuk, a Hindu who participates in the Islamic holiday. Dhanuk’s is the third generation in his family, who religiously observe “Moharram.” “I have seen my father and grandfather doing the same during their days,” he said.

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Hindu-Muslim Unity in Orissa: Hindus join Shia procession

BHUBANESWAR – Hundreds of Hindus Thursday joined Muslims in Orissa to observe the 10th day of Muharram, to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed.

Hindus joined Muslims across Orissa and participated in the tazia (replica of the Imam Hussain’s shrine) processions. A Hindu family in Orissa’s Sambalpur district took out a tazia procession during first Ashra (ten days) of Muharram.

Only 2.1 percent of Orissa’s population of 36,706,920 are Muslims. Muslims and Hindu families are known to participate in each other’s religious functions.

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