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Remembering Imam Ja’fer Al-Sadiq

REMEMBERANCE: Imam Ja’fer Sadiq, peace be on him, was born on the Seventeenth of Rabi Al-Awal in the year 80 A.H. or in the year 83 (AH). His grandfather Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him, his family, surnamed him Al-Sadiq.

He was surnamed Al-Sadiq because his speech was truthful. He had valuable speech about the science of monotheism (tawhid). Imam Ja’fer Al-Sadiq suffered greatly during the lifetime, he took advantage of the period following the downfall of the Umayyids and the coming to power of the Abbassids dynasty to propagate the great religion of Islam and make Muslims aware of their duties towards Allah.

Imam Ja’fer Sadiq was well known Islamic figure among many schools of thought. Abu Hanifeh, the leader of the Hanafi school of thought said that “I did not find anybody more knowledgeable in jurisprudence than Ja’fer-Ibn-Muhammad.”

Malik Ibn Ans, the leader of the Maliki School of thought said that “several times I had the opportunity to meet Ja’fer Ibn Muhammad whenever I saw him he was either praying or reading the Holy Qu’ran or fasting. He was among the pious scholars who feared God.”

Ibn Hajar Asghalani, the distinguished Islamic historian said that “Ja’fer Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Hussain Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib was the most honest among Jurisprudents.”

The school of Jurisprudence flourished during the sixth Imam, Ja’fer Al-Sadiq and was referred to as the “Jafari School” of fiqh. The days of Al-Sadiq were the days of knowledge and Jurisprudence, theology and debates, traditions and reports, here-sides and misguidance, and welfare.

Ja’fer Ibn Muhammad Al-Sadiq was enormously knowledgeable. He had no desire for worldly matters and was a very pious person. He resided in Medina for a while and taught his followers the secrets of the holy religion of Islam. Then he entered Iraq and lives there for sometime.

He never fought with anybody for “Khilafa” (leadership). The Jurisprudential knowledge of Ja’fer Ibn Muhammad Al-Sadiq filled the whole world.

Ja’fer Ibn Muhammad al Sadiq was among the “Sadat” and Jurisprudents of the Abdul-Bait. He was perpetual worshipper and reciter of the Holy Qu’ran and perceived the profound meanings of the Book.

There were hundreds of thousands of disciples and companions of Imam Ja’fer and his father Imam Baqer. Among them were about four thousand eminent scholars, whose names and accounts have been preserved in biographical book.

So great was their influence that subsequent traditions like the founders of the later Sunni schools of jurisprudence, Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafei and Maliki relied upon them and took traditions from them.

Ja’fer al Sadiq was a noble Imam. His supplications were accepted. If he asked Allah for something, it was between his hands before he completed his words. The Imamate of Ja’fer al Sadiq lasted for over thirty years.

Ja’fer al Sadiq adopted a wise policy to spread sciences, knowledge, Islamic Commandments, wise sayings and virtues. He suppressed misguidance through producing evidence in support of his beliefs. He adopted Taqiya as a shield to carry out his wise policy.

His teachings were a service for the Islamic Law, his worships were guidance for men, and his debates were war against the heresies. For this reason he went on jihad till he passed away.

Ja’fer al Sadiq was among the masters of the members of the House (ahl al Bayt). He died on the twenty-fifth of Shawal. He was buried at al Baqi in the grave where his father Muhammad al Baqr, his grandfather Zayn al Abidin, and the uncle of his grandfather al-Hassan Ibn Ali, peace be on them.

Imam Ja’fer Sadiq said:

Who is the faithful?

The faithful is the one:

who earns ‘halal’ income

who has good virtues

and a pure heart

who donates his extra income

for charitable deeds

who refrains from idle talking

who does no harm to people

and who treats all justly.

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Third Sri Sathya Sai World

Youth Conference in India

SPIRITUALITY: The Sri Sathya Sai Organization has the honour of hosting the Third Sri Sathya Sai World Youth Conference. The theme of this conference is “Ideal Sai Youth-Messengers of Sai Love”.

The conference will be held in Prasanthi Nilayam in India during the week of Guru Poornima on July 26-28.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in the second Sai World Youth Conference declared, “Young men and women! The prosperity and well-being of the world depend on the conduct of the youth. Only when their conduct is good, the world can have an ideal future.

Only young men and women are capable of eradicating the evils prevailing in society. If we have virtuous youth, all ills of society can be removed.” Based on this declaration, the objective of the three-day conference is to inspire and guide Sai youth to serve society and at the same time to gain a deeper understanding of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings. With a strong foundation in Sai’s teachings, youth today are the leaders of tomorrow.

During the conference, emphasis will be placed on how to realize one’s Divine nature through spiritual transformation and Love.

During the conference, various topics of interest to the youth will be discussed.

Invited speakers will elucidate on ways to selflessly serve society, practise Human Values in daily life, attain purity of the heart, and realize one’s Divine nature. The conference will be composed of plenary sessions and workshops which are open for all, while the workshops will be limited to delegates.

Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Minister of Youth Affairs of Sri Lanka, and over 200 Sai youth from Sri Lanka will be attending the conference in India.

In recognition of the increasing role and contribution of Sai youth to the society they live in, the youth wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Organization was founded.

It has grown over the years to include members from over 100 countries.

They undertake service projects in their community committing their lives to Swami’s universal teachings of Love for all mankind.

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May weapons be silenced

Holy Father speaks on the Anniversary of Conversion of St. Francis of Assisi:

Peace: Launching a “pressing and heartfelt appeal to stop all the armed conflict which bathe the earth in blood,” Pope Benedict in his reflection to mark the 800th anniversary of the Conversion of St. Fancis of Assisi called for all weapons to be silenced and expressed his solidarity with “all those whom war and its tragic consequences cause to weep, suffer and die in any part of the world.”

The Holy Father who was in Assisi on 17th June called St. Francis a “great teacher of our faith and praise,” and went on to say: “May St. Francis, a man of peace, obtain for us from the Lord an increasing number of people who accept to make themselves instruments of peace through thousands of small acts in daily life: and that all who have roles of responsibility be motivated by a passionate love for peace and an indomitable determination to achieve it, choosing the appropriate means to obtain it.”

Referring to the “conversion of the young Francis”, Pope Benedict said that “after 25 years of a mediocre life full of dreams, spent in the pursuit of worldly pleasures and success, he opened himself to grace, came to his senses and gradually recognized Christ as the ideal of his life. My pilgrimage to Assisi today is intended to recall that event and to relive its significance and importance.”

Source: Vatican Website

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World’s only Church dedicated to



St. John Dal Bastone Church

ONLY CHURCH: The feast of St. John Dal Bastone Church, Thalangama will be held on July 29. The hoisting of the flag will be on July 19.

It is claimed that this unique and magnificent church is the first and the only church dedicated to St. John Biotteconi or popularly known as John Dal Bastone hailing from Paterno,in the district of Fabriano, Italy was a Sylvestro Benedictine monk who lived in the 13th century and was canonized on August 29, 1772.

The foundation stone for the Thalangama church was laid on October 27, 1872, which year happened to mark the centenary year of the canonization of Saint. In 1881, the church building was completed and Sylvestro Benedictine monks looked after the mission and later it was administered from several parishes.

St. John Dal Bastone...

In 1972, the Franciscan Friars were entrusted with the mission and to date they serve the spiritual needs of the faithful. Today, St. John Dal Bastone Church standing high as a pillar of faith of Thalangama people, marked the 125 year in 2006.

John Botteconi nicknamed the staff (Dal Bastone) was born on 1200 March 24 in Paterno, Fabriano. His father Bonello and mother Superla had five children and John was the youngest. During his childhood John grew physically and spiritually and progressed in virtue.

As a boy John was keen and capable of learning. Because of John’s constancy in his studies his parents sent him to Bologna to study humanities. There he preferred more to care for his soul than for the studies of humanities. He did not absent himself from the religious instructions that were imparted in the churches of the religious Orders of the diocese.

However he applied himself to the study of humanities and soon became sufficiently instructed. Whilst wrestling in prayer, many things ran counter to purity thus caused him to be concerned with. God answered his prayer by afflicting him with a purulent sore on one side of his thigh.

With this sore God inspired John to look for what was better and more necessary for his soul. Journeying back home, he rode on the back of a donkey, which made his thigh weaker as to render John lame for the rest of his life. This forced him to walk only with the help of a staff for this he was nicknamed ‘John of the staff’ (Dal Bastone).

Attracted by the fame of the sanctity of the venerable Sylvester Guzzolini, John went to meet him hoping to receive into the Order. Rejoicing at this holy intention Fr.Sylvester tested him while for a while and finally received him. John confined himself to fast and pray and to read spiritual books.He followed closely his spiritual father that he sooner began to observe the monastic way of life.

Seeing that John had made progress in his holy profession, his spiritual father caused him to be promoted to priesthood. However, his whole body was full of ills that gave him great pains and made him continually suffer.

He placed himself in great and distressing poverty and did not want to keep with him anything beyond his need and without permission from his spiritual father. He was a sound advisor with natural qualities and was strong with grace before God and man. Therefore his fellow monks confidently sought his advice in their difficulties and doubts,

All this and especially following command of his superior, John began to preach the word of God. After the death of his spiritual father Sylvester on November 26, 1267, John became more firm in his holy intent.

In imitation and collaboration with his spiritual father, John began to perform many miracles. Meanwhile, John’s sore became worse and he was brought to Fabriano for treatment. On the vigil of the Lord’s incarnation, on March 24, 1290 Lord took him to heaven. His body was laid in the church of St. Benedict.

After his death his soul miraculously appeared to three of his brethren. Various miracles of St. John grew in number. These miracles were recorded by public notaries and verified by a commission appointed by the Bishop. With the passage of years Holy Mother Church set the seal of approval on his heroic life and virtues.

(Church sources)

-----------------------------------------

Catholic Social Teaching & its

contribution to Social Change

Rev. Fr. (Dr) Leopold Ratnasekera O.M.I., Ph.D., Th.D.

SOCIAL TEACHING: The Catholic Church’s teaching on social questions is officially over a hundred years old with the first historical social encyclical “Rerum Novarum” (New Things) of Pope Leo XIII in 1892 written in the background of the industrial revolution in the late 19th century.

Ever since, the Catholic Church has always kept abreast of the social currents that brought in many changes in the world of work, economics and politics.

Convinced of her duty towards society, she has in the light of the Christian vision of man and history, expressed in clear terms her teachings on human dignity, justice and human solidarity that should rule social change, especially when changes bring about a drastic social revolution affecting entire cultures, continents and world population in general.

And so, in the train of “Rerum Novarum” followed successively, “Quadragesimo Anno” (40th Year) written by Pope Pius XI, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of Retum Novarum, “Mater et Magistra (Church as Mother and Teacher) by Pope John XXIII in 1961, “Pacem in Terris” (Peace on Earth) by the same Pope in 1963, “Gaudium et Spes” (Joy and Hopes of the World- the pastoral constitution issued by the Ecumenical Vatican Council II) in 1966, “Dignitatis Humanae” (on Religious Freedom) by the same council in 1966, “Progress of Peoples” by Pope Paul VI in 1967, “Octogesima Adveniens” of 1971 celebrating the 80th anniversary of the first social encyclical, and finally the three great social encyclicals issued by Pope John Paul II of revered memory: namely “Laborem Exercens” on the dignity of the worker (1981), “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis” (Concern for the Social Question) in 1988 commemorating the 20th anniversary of “Progress of Peoples” and finally, “Centesimus Annus” of 1992 celebrating the centenary of “Rerum Novarum”. An integral humanism and the ideal of solidarity are hall-marks of all these teachings.

These form the major documentary evidence showing that what is going on in the secular world is an important concern for the Catholic Church. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (opened in 1967) fulfills also the prime vision of the Vatican council concerning Church’s mission and task in the world.

The Church believes in the basic principle of the social relevance of the message of the Christian religious Faith and the social implications of the Gospel message, since the work for the renewal and transformation of the world is part of its commitment.

Her intention is to help build a more humane and just world operating in this sphere not only on humanitarian grounds of human justice and human needs but inspired by her faith and Gospel message that is meant for giving the secular realities a nobler value and to let them be ordained according to the will of the Creator and his divine Providence.

We are convinced that it is part of divine providence that man exercises due responsibility for his world, not however in absolute freedom but in the light of God’s will and his law. It is a type of participatory or dependent autonomy and one that is not absolute.

In all these, the demands of the natural law written in the heart of man and the voice of conscience that discerns between good and evil remain the infallible criteria of integral human growth of persons and which direct the progressive journey of human history through right moral choices and ethical conduct.

To be continued

 

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