Western journalists need to learn a lot more

A couple of years ago I was watching the Ashura ceremonies in Iraq, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan on BBC television. The reporter covering this story mentioned that Imam Hussein and his followers were slain in the battlefield of Karbala by "the sunni army." It left my head spinning like a top! There were no concepts of sectarianism at that time. The beloved Prophet Muhammad SAAW) and his Household were neither "sunni" nor 'shiia.' They were just 'Muslims.' They would be flabbergasted to know the divisions created and the violence that's systematically carried out in their names by the so-called Muslims of later times uptil today.

Also, recently I was watching a documentary regarding the divisions within the Muslim community aired on Canada's CBC. The host referred to the doctrine of 'Salafiism' as "hardline Islam dating back to 1400 years ago." Again, I could hardly contain my astonishment. There were absolutely no such labels as 'salafiism' etc. during that era of history.

The Salaf doctrine or Wahabism came about as late as the mid 18th century in the Arabian Peninsula when Mohammad ibn al-Wahab (a man with his own idiosyncracies) made a political deal with the Mohammad al-Saud, the head of the al-Saud tribal family. According to this deal, al-Saud would endorse al-Wahab's self-concocted austere ideology with the title of "pure" Islam and in return, al-Saud would get political recognition and support from al-Wahab followers. This Wahab-Saud alliance exists till this day in Saudi Arabia. The al-Wahab supporters played an instrumental role in bringing the Sauds into power. This episode is little beyond ambition, power & politics.

On the contrary, the Islam 1400 years ago was the Divine Message directly from the Glorious Quran brought to us by the beloved Prophet (SAAW) as we see it today, pure and free from the interpolations of Hadith, fatwas and Western interference .. and it is anything but "hardline."