“I am Muslim and nothing else,” says 23-year-old Sana*. Growing up in a multi-sect home it wasn’t until Sana was a teenager that she felt the distinct divide society wanted to categorise her in. An outgoing and ambitious young professional Sana, with a Shia father and Sunni mother, continues to resist societal pressure to declare allegiance to either religious sect.
Her live and let live policy along with the unwillingness to “choose sides” is something she staunchly stands by and contrary to popular belief nothing about Sana indicates she is not a well-adjusted individual. Living in a loving home where understanding and tolerance supersede prejudice and narrow-mindedness she is happy to have the opportunity to be exposed to both sects.
Aurangzeb Khan, 22, has also been raised in a multi-sect home. Since he turned 12, Aurangzeb showed an inclination towards his mother’s sect, who is a Shia. He admits he was initially uneasy about the distinction between how he and his father offered their prayers but says,
Hands by my sides or folded, all I know is that I am praying before the same God.
My paternal grandfather was of a Sunni background (before he converted) and my grandmother’s family was of Shi’ite Sayyid lineage (before they converted). One astonishing thing about the Baha’i community is the nature of the constant mixing; among the Persian Baha’i Jewish, Zoroastrian and Muslim backgrounds intermingle in the same individual. It’s perhaps the best way for the world to heal when we’re all (more closely) related together.