Friday, January 03, 2014

Sunni versus Shia War Spurs Discussion of Changing the Direction of Muslim Prayers

Originally Muslims prayed towards Jerusalem.  This was done because Muhammad encouraged his followers to practice the Jewish and Christian beliefs of bowing towards holiness and the Temple.  However, the direction of prayer changed to Mecca as Muhammad was engaged by the Jewish refusal to convert en masse.

Since then there have been no serious discussion of changing the direction of prayer as the hajj to Mecca and prayer to Mecca hybrid together to make the city the holiest in all Islam.  That is until the Syrian Civil War heightened tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Iraqi Prime Minister (and practicing Shia) Nori al-Maliki has suggested the city of Karbala, Iraq be the new qibla (direction of prayer).  The Iraqi city is the home to the tomb of the Shia Imam Hussein.  Hussein's passion and martyrdom at the hands of Sunnis is a defining feature of Shia Islam.

Needless to say Sunni scholars are very upset at the very suggestion.  It is clear this is a dig at the Wahabi Sunni Saudi Arabia which currently controls the city of Mecca.

Personally I doubt this suggestion will gain any traction but it is clear that the Sunni-Shia cultural war will continue to get worse as fighting continues in the Levant.

1 comment:

Dina said...

Oi. That's all I can say to this.