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  • A country obsessed with racial and religious conflicts
    Sri Lanka, as a nation has been wasting time debating sensitive racial and religious issues for the past several years, without gaining anything. Only thing the country has been witnessing as a result is communities distancing themselves from each other, while portraying a false unity among them. 
    The situation seems to have come to a head with people of various communities being emotionally charged over these issues subsequent to the attacks on three Christian churches and three major tourist hotels by the Islamic terrorists on April 21, 2019, which was also the Easter Sunday.
    The terrorist attacks which caught the nation off-guard demanded united action by all communities and political parties to handle the immediate situation and to prevent future recurrence of...
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  • Burqa ban: Security, human rights and male chauvinism
    A few years ago, on a Turkish beach exclusively for women, a bikini-clad woman offered her prayers. The video clip of the woman going through the postures of the Muslim prayer went viral and created a major debate among the Muslims.  Some censured her for not adhering to the dress code for prayers, but others said what mattered was her piety and not the dress.
    Following the release of the Easter Sunday terror attack commission report, Sri Lanka is mulling whether to ban burqa – the Muslim dress that covers a female body from head to toe – and niqab, which only shows the eyes of the wearer, but the issue needs to be looked at from human rights, security and spiritual angles to come to a right decision.
    If at the one end of the spectrum is public nudity, burqa will...
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  • South African Muslim bodies seek intervention over burqa ban in Sri Lanka Foreign Minister of South Africa urged to intervene
    South African Muslim organisations have called on the country’s foreign minister to intervene in the proposed Sri Lankan ban on the burqa and closure of hundreds of Islamic schools. This followed the announcement by Sri Lanka''s minister for public security, Sarath Weerasekera, during the weekend that his country would ban the traditional full-face covering worn by some Muslim women because it posed a threat to national security. This was quickly followed by a statement from the Sri Lankan foreign ministry, which said a decision would only be taken on the proposal after consultations and further discussion. The United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) has now asked South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor to intervene in the matter. UUCSA had earlier also called for such intervention when...
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  • Banning Burqas and Madrasas illegal: Fmr MP
    Former MP M.M .Zuhair said yesterday it would be unlawful to ban Burqas and Madrasas. Issuing a statement, he said some observations and recommendations of the Commission on Easter Sunday attacks are invasive of the absolute protection given to every person under Article 10 of the Sri Lanka Constitution. He said the Commission’s report though good in parts, can be seen as an attempted assault on Islam for the heinous crimes of a dozen suicide bombers. The right to the freedom stated in Article 10 is ‘assured to all religions’ under Article 9. No one, not even Presidential Commissions can invite or promote the State or any limb of the Executive or Judiciary to violate the freedom guaranteed under Article 10.This protection is guaranteed notwithstanding any national security concerns, as the law stands today. In this constitutionally...
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  • Pakistan says likely ban on Niqab in SL to serve as injury on Muslims
    The Ambassador of Pakistan to Sri Lanka, Saad Khattak today said the likely ban on Niqab in Sri Lanka will only serve as an injury to the feelings of ordinary Sri Lankan Muslims and Muslims across the globe. In a tweet, the Ambassador said that at today’s economically difficult time due to COVID-19 pandemic and other image related challenges faced by the country at the international fora, such divisive steps in the name of security, besides accentuating economic difficulties, will only serve as fillip to further strengthen wider apprehensions about fundamental human rights of minorities in the country. Minister of Public Security Rear Admiral (Retd.) Dr. Sarath Weerasekera said today that in addition to banning the burqa, the cabinet proposal would also include banning the niqab which covers the face of the wearer except the eyes. The...
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  • යුරෝපයේ රටවල් 8 කින් හිස්බුල්ලාට සහාය
    මානව හිමිකම් වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටින ප්‍රමුඛ නීතිඥවරයකු වන හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා වැනි මානව හිමිකම් ආරක්ෂා කරන්නන්ට ගරු කරන ලෙස ශ්‍රී ලංකා රජයෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිමින් යුරෝපීය රටවල් අටක මානව හිමිකම් තානාපතිවරුන් ඒකාබද්ධ නිවේදනයක් නිකුත් කර තිබේ. නෙදර්ලන්තය, ජර්මනිය, එංගලන්තය ස්වීඩනය, එස්ටෝනියාව, ලිතුවේනියාව, ලක්සම්බර්ග් සහ ෆින්ලන්තය...
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  • Eight EU HR Ambassadors raise concern over Hejaaz Hizbullah
    In a statement issued today, Eight Human Rights  Ambassadors of Europe including the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden called on the Sri Lankan government to " respect human rights defenders such as Hizbullah". The statement issued by the Ambassadors of the United Kingsdom, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and the Netherlands said that after ten months of Detention, Hejaaz Hizbullah was being accused of speech related offences. Prominent Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department on the 14th of April 2020. He was thereafter accused in the media of various activities related to terrorism. He was thereafter produced on the 18th of February 2021 where the Attorney General informed court that the entire case against Hizbullah was to be based on purported statements made by children. Hizbullah...
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  • Circular on burial of COVID-19 victims issued
    The circular containing the guidelines with regard to the burial of COVID-19 victims has been issued, the Health Ministry said. Some key guidelines are as follows, The relatives of the deceased should inform the Director/ Head of the health care institution (Where the death has occurred) of their desire to bury the corpse without delay. The Director of the hospital/ Head of the health care institution should obtain a written request from relatives for burial. The relatives need to provide a coffin in advance. It is the duty of the director/ Head of health care institution to transport the corpse in a coffin provided by the relatives to a designated location in Colombo Institute of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (office of JMO) / BH Welikanda where the corpse will be received by the designated officer. The vehicle transporting the...
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  • Muslims to raise concerns over Iranaithivu burial with global bodies
    A leading Muslim organisation in Sri Lanka will this week send an official letter of concern to the global Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the World Muslim Congress, seeking their intervention to urge the Sri Lankan government to allocate a decent land for the burial of Muslim COVID-19 victims. The Daily Mirror learns that the Sri Lanka Islamic Centre, which is a member of the World Muslim Congress will raise serious concerns with the global bodies and will also send a letter to the World Muslim Congress office in Geneva urging for immediate intervention after the government announced that burials of the COVID-19 dead would take place on the Iranaithivu Island, in the Gulf of Mannar. Senior Muslim officials said they were disappointed at the government’s decision to allocate the Iranaithivu Isle for the burials and instead urged...
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  • Hizbullah and Madrasa School Principal further remanded
    Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah and Principal of Madrasa School Mohammed Shakeel were further remanded till March 18 by the Fort Magistrate’s Court today. They were earlier remanded under section 2 (1) (h) of the PTA and section 3(1) of the ICCPR Act.   http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Hizbullah-and-Madrasa-School-Principal-further-remanded/108-206945 Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
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The Holy Month Of Ramazan And Holy Quran:

by Dr Sulaiman Rifai, Naleemi (London)

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By Sulaiman Rifai

More than one billion Muslim people are fasting this month from dawn to dusk all over the globe. This is indeed a blessed month and Muslim people are happy to welcome this holy month. Muslim devotees are dedicating their time and energies in devotion, supplication and religious rituals during this holy month.  More times are spent in the mosques, more people are reading the holy Quran, and more charities are exchanged between people. Fasting is one of five pillars of Islam.  It is beyond the scope of this article to cover all aspects of this pillar and yet I will try my best to give some basic points about fasting and most of time our Non-Muslim brothers ask. Why do Muslim fast and how do they starve from dawn to dusk and how do they go without water or drinks whole day  and now it is nearly 17 hours in western countries. Some people see it as a daunting task. But believe me it is not a difficult task and even 8 years old children could do it. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of beautiful aspects of Islam that unites all Muslims all over the world and gives practical dimensions to the universal brotherhood of Muslim people.

First of all, fasting is not a unique practice in Islam alone and it has been prescribed in most of world religions and it is still being practised in Judaeo-Christian religions and it is still practised in other religions as well.   Almighty Allah allude to this fact in his Holy Quran and Says :(O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you that you may ward off evil) (2:183.)


This is not a new practice in Islam alone and yet it is worthy to note here that Islamic method of fasting is different from any other forms of fasting and Muslim not only abstains from foods, drinks and sexual intercourse but the process of fasting whole month develops a deep sense of spirituality in Muslim society and in fact whole month is a spiritual training camp for Muslim society: children, adult, young and old and men and women and rich and poor and all sort of Muslim people observe fasting and there are many social and communal benefits in fasting and yet we fast because we have been commanded by Allah to do so and why do we fast we fast because it is divine command and that is first and foremost reason that Muslim fast all over the world during this month. Moreover, it increases our spiritual feelings and it cultivates goodness and piety in hearts and minds of Muslims people and it brings them together and closer and unite them and we Muslims all go to Mosques for night prayers and it increases our feelings of brotherhoods in Muslim community and its cultivates kindness in the  hearts of rich among us to help and donate for poor and needy in the society and that is why you could see that Muslim people do a lot of charity works specially during this month.

It also teaches us how to control ourselves and teaches us how to resist our desire and lust during day times. Muslims really enjoy fasting during this month as it brings them a lot of spiritual and communal goodness and even children in Muslim communities enjoy it. How could otherwise, a child of 6 years old observe fasting for 17 years in this summer time. This is a great happy occasion not mere starvation and thirsty.  Fasting is indeed, some spiritual experience that w e can not describe it with words rather every one should experience it to realise its physical, spiritual and social goodness. Islamic teachings are not mere philosophical teaching and it is practical teaching that every one in the society can practice them. Fasting is not mere abstaining from food and drinks rather it is all about self control of human soul and it is all about abstaining from all sort of bad habits and bad manners.

Moreover, three basic elements constitutes in human beings namely his soul, his mind and his body and Islamic teachings aim at developing  all these three elements equally and it is beauty of Islamic teaching that it never ignore or overemphasise on either of  these three constituents. In order to fulfil spiritual needs of man it does not demand to renounce physical needs of human body at the same time in order to fulfil badly needs it never ignore spiritual needs of human beings and in the ways, Islam does not ignore intellectual development of human beings at expense of other two and maintaining the balance developments of holistic human personality is one of the objective of fasting: it cultivates a deep sense of spirituality in Muslim man and it also help him to concentrate  his mind on any subject. No other religion on earth has such a comprehensive system that enhances all these three constituents of man than Islam. This Islamic ritual holistically develops human personality. Today, in Western societies people have enhanced and developed their intellectual skills but yet, some of these educated people are spiritually bankrupted in these societies.

Our Holy prophet has mentioned merits of fasting and holiness of this month in his sayings.  This month is very much special one for Muslims for many reasons. It is a holy month because fasting is prescribed in this holy month and it is holy because, any good act done by a Muslim will be rewarded by Almighty Allah seventy times more than in any other month, it is holy because, first 10 days of this month are mercy and Allah bestows His mercy abundantly for His devotees and its second ten days are enshrined with divine Forgiveness and during the last ten days Almighty Allah frees many people from torments of Hellfire.  It is a holy month because; devils are chained in this month and Human inclination and willpower to do good deeds dramatically increased in these days. It is a sacred month because, doors of Paradise are opened and it is a blessed month that is because the angles of Allah descend in this month. It is sanctified because, there is a night in this month which is better than thousands years. In addition to these rewards there are hundreds of blessings in this holy month and that is why Muslim people all over the world venerate this holy month and they make special preparation to get maximum rewards from this month. Above all, this month is a unique month because almighty Allah revealed His last and final divine Message to our prophet Muhammad in this Holy month and that makes this month holiest of all months. This final divine revelation is a historical turning point in the destiny of humanity and human history. The Holy Quran alludes to this divine phenomenon in human history as (The month of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed: guidance for mankind and clear proof for the guidance and criterion between right and wrong) 2:184. This divine revelation changed the destiny of mankind and brought them from darkness to light.

To understand such a historical change one needs to go back into the history and life style of Arabs prior to this revelation. Historical records of pre-Islamic Arab history confirm that Arabs lived in a malicious and cruel society. Their faiths, religious practice and way of life were primitive and they had superficial belief system and their social and cultural life style was uncivilised and   they would flight for any trivial issue and they would bury marry as many girls as they want and they would bury new born babies alive and they would kill their opponents for small matters. They would loot and robe other people’s wealth and properties for no reasons and they would exploit others in their business transactions and alcoholism was their way of life and all sort of evils and bad practises prevailed in that society and this is a very short description of  Arab society prior to Divine Revelation:

The divine revelation totally changed these Arab people within 23 years and these cruel people became most influential personalities of world and they inspired and influenced  most of nations within a short period of human history and they conveyed the message of Islam to the half of the world within a short of period. This social revolution would not been possible without divine guidance and we fast to honour the great blessing of divine guidance as well. It is duty of every Muslim to share these blessings with our non-Muslim brothers and at least to let them understand these teaching of fasting so that they may become conscious of the significance of fasting for Muslims and it may be one good practice that we Muslims invite our Non-Muslim brothers for our break fasting programmes so that they could understand the spiritual and communal sides of fasting and its holiness. This can be good opportunity to present Islamic teaching in a positive manner to our Muslim brothers and in western countries Muslims leadership celebrate Muslim occasions with Non-Muslim bothers and sisters so that we communities could come closer and understand each others culture and way of life more profoundly and as a Multicultural country this paragon may be applicable in our country as well.

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