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Shi'a Pundit

Devoted to the viewpoint of Islam of Muhammad SAW and Amir ul-Mumineen, Ali ibn Abi Talib SA, in the Shi'a Fatimi Ismaili Dawoodi Bohra tradition.

April 2, 2003

Coalition enters Najaf.

A dear friend asked me what right I have to issue lanat upon Saddam and the fedayeen. My answer was not that Saddam is a tyrant, or that the fedayeen are fighting unfairly, or any other such irrelevant issue - these are material concerns of war and politics, and I don't care to judge. Were I defending my home or a holy place, what tactics wold I adopt? Barring a trial by fire, I have no way of knowing the strength of my character in such a scenario. God willing I never will.

But the reason for my lanat is simple. The desecration and disrespect of Ali AS for pure political gain :

Iraqis fired on U.S.-led troops from inside the Ali Mosque in Najaf, an important Shi'ite Muslim shrine, on Wednesday but the Americans did not return fire, an official at U.S. war headquarters said.

In the history of Islam, Ali AS has been a beacon of truth, and there have been many who have sought to either muffle its brilliance or turn it towards their own ends. And invoke Islam to justify their naked greed. I can think of three in particular. Lanat upon them as well.

But Ali AS cannot be vanquished. It has always been clear who respects Najaf and Karbala, and who does not[1]. I do trust our forces to take the city, and preserve the shrine.

And Najaf will be secure, inshallah:

US Commander Says US Troops Enter Najaf

U.S. Troops Attack Fedayeen in Najaf

Frontline Report: US Forces Enter Key Iraqi City of Najaf

Army seizes part of Najaf

US claim victory in battle of Najaf

and, most importantly, Najaf folk welcome US troops :

HUNDREDS of civilians welcomed US troops who reached the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Najaf in central Iraq with "cheers and waves", a military commander involved in the operation said.

The commander of the 101st Airborne Division's Aviation Brigade, Colonel Greg Gass, said Najaf was becoming "more and more secure" to US forces after more than three days of combat for control of the strategically important city.
"The big thing was the reaction from the civilian populace," Gass said. "We had civilians welcoming the soldiers yesterday, clapping and waving and cheering them."

I am still waiting for confirmation that not only have troops entered Najaf, but they have secured teh Tomb of Ali complex without damage from the vermin, who foolishly believe that they will gain sanctuary.

AP file photo - Iraqi Muslims make their way to the holy mosque of Imam Ali in Najaf in 2001. I have photos of the Tomb of Ali from my own family's visit back when I was in 7th grade, and more recently my in-laws traveled to Karbala and Najaf last year. The photo does not do the tomb justice.
[1] This article erroneously states, "For many Shia Muslims, these visits are more important than the pilgrimage to Mecca." This is blatantly false. No Shi'a believes the shrines of Najaf and Karbala to be more holy than Mecca. But neither can the love for these sites (and the grief) be overstated. If this be a contradiction, let it be so.

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Nahj-ul Balagha

About Shi'a Pundit

Shi'a Pundit was launched in 2002 during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The blog focuses on issues pertaining to Shi'a Islam in the west and in the Islamic world. The author is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Bohras adhere to the Shi'a Fatimi tradition of Islam, headed by the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS).

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