Islam - as balance between Individualism and collectivism
Islam as perfect system of life has a unique feature - balance
between Individualism and collectivism. It believes in the individual
personality of man and holds everyone personally responsible and
accountable to Almighty God - Allah.
Do good things to get Allah’s reward. Picture by Ruzaik Farook
It guaranties the fundamental rights of the individual and does not
permit anyone to tamper with them. It makes the proper development of
the personality of man as one of the prime objectives of the educational
policy. It does not subscribe to the view that man must lose his
individuality in the society or the State.
According to the Quran, "man should have nothing but what he strives
for "(Al Quran - or what he does (good or bad) 53.39).
The Prophet Muhammad (sal) explained the concept of individualism as
mentioned in the Quran as follows in the Hadees. Narrated Aba Hurairah (Rali)
Allah's messenger (sal) said. When a person is dead, his deeds cease
(are stopped) except from three.
(a) Deeds of continuous Sadaqah (act of charity) e.g. an orphan home
(orphanage) or a well for giving water to drink etc.
(b) (Written) Knowledge with which mankind gets benefit
(c) A righteous, pious son (or a daughter) who begs Allah to forgive
his or her parents. (Sahih Muslim - The Book of (Vasaya - (Wills and
Further the Holy Quran speaks of an individual as follows." And
whatever suffering Ye Suffer, it is what your hands have wrought (XLII:
From this, we understand that an individual suffers because of his
own actions (bad action). Thus, Allah further says about individualism
as follows: "God does not change The condition of people unless they
first change that which is in their hearts" (Al-Quran XIII :12)
Individuals forming a community should strive honesty for their
better conditions. Consequently Allah in II change their condition here,
individual effort is very much required for their progress and
development. Moreover, Allah add to the concept of individualism the
"For each is that which it hath earned and against each is only that
which it half deserved" (Al-Quran - 11:286)
Infect, according to Islam, every man or woman should try his best to
earn the merit from his or her good action. Again Allah categorically
says as follows. "Unto us are our deed and unto you are yours" (Al Quran
Everyone should do good things to get Allah's reward in paradise.
Otherwise, he will have to suffer in the hell. On the other hand, it
also awakens a sense of social responsibility and organise human beings
in a society and State and let an individual subscribe to the social
good or benefit. Prayer, in Islam is offered in congregation which
inculcates social discipline among the Muslims.
In Islam, everyone is enjoined to pay Zakath and it has been laid in
the Quran that: "In their wealth the beggar and the destitute have their
due night". (Al-Quran LI: 19)
Jihad had been made obligatory which means the individual should when
the occasion rises, sacrifice even his life for the defense of and
protection of Islam and the Islamic State. The Holy Prophet (Sal) said
as follows: "All mankind is a fold every member of which shall be a
keeper or shepherded into every other and be accountable for the welfare
of the ertire fold."
"Live together, do not turn against each other and make things easy
for other and do not put obstacles in each others ways."
"He is not a believer also takes his fill while his neighbour
"The believer in God is he who is not a danger to life and property
of any other" In short, Islam neither neglects the individual nor the
society - it establishes a harmony and a balance between the two and
assigns to each its proper dua."
Let Muslims as individuals and as a nation should play the assigned
role to receive Allah's pleasure and reward at last. That should be the
ultimate target of every Muslim in society.
Nainativu Nagapooshani Chariot festival
Nainativu is one of the small, inhabited islands off the coast of
Yahlpanam (Jaffna) peninsula and is less than thirty miles from the
nearest point on Thamil Nadu, South India.
This tiny island, like many other parts of Eelam (Ceylon/Sri Lanka),
was populated by the Nagas who were a pre-historic, Dravidian race of
people, and who were the forefathers of the early Thamils of Sri Lanka
and Thamil Nadu.
Also, Thamil merchants and fishermen from the Cholan and Pandiyan
kingdoms of Thamil Nadu have long come here and to the surrounding
islands to obtain gems (naga-rathnam), and collect conch shells that are
found in the warm shallow waters around these islands.
The conch shell is essential for certain Saivite rituals and a
particularly perfect specimen of one spiraling to the right can fetch an
Thamil pilgrims have also been coming to Nainativu since time
immemorial for worship at the Temple of the Serpent-God, (Nayinar Kovil
that was later converted into a Saivite temple, the famous Sri
Nagapooshani Amman Kovil), the Nagapooshani Amman temple itself, and the
Buddhist shrine, including Manimekalai, the heroine of the Thamil
Buddhist epic of the same name, who arrived in about the 1st century CE
to worship at the island's Buddhist shrine.
The heroine of the epic is described as wandering amongst the
island's 'long sandy dunes and lagoons'.
The Saivite temple called Sri Nagapooshani Amman Kovil at Nainativu
has been a famous shrine, very popular among the Thamil-saivites all
over the world.
In the sanctum sanctorum (karu-arai) of this temple is an ancient
stone-figure of a five headed cobra (Nayinar) and another unidentified
image, believed to be a stone-figure of Amman (Sakthi). Over a 100,000
devotees all over the world attend the annual high festivals of this
temple held in the Thamil month of Aani (June/July) every year.
This year the festival falls on June 18. Childless couples, including
many who are non-Hindus, receive the blessings of the Nagapooshani Amman
here upon performing a form of worship called "Naga Santhi".
Nainativu Nagapooshani Amman
Hundreds of such couples return with their newly born babies to this
kovil to fulfill their vows.
Usually, they offer gifts of tiny cradles and babies made of gold or
silver, to the Nagapooshani Amman.
Today, less than 2,500 Thamils and about 250 Thamil-speaking muslims
live on this island. Many thousands of Saivite-Thamils of Nainativu
origin, live in the various cities and towns of India, Europe,
Australia, and North America.
As the launch approaches the main jetty (pier) of Nainativu, the
pilgrim will see the distinctive red and white-striped walls of the
kovil. Although there was a kovil here for many centuries, that ancient
kovil was destroyed by the Portuguese in the beginning of the 17th
century (circa 1620 CE).
It was rebuilt and re-established commencing from around the end of
18th century. Thereafter, in June, 1958, and again in March 1986, the
Nagapooshani Amman temple here was attacked and set on fire by certain
group of people and sustained severe damage. Thus, the present structure
of the saivite temple (Kovil) is not ancient. Every building here is
less than 200 years old.
However, on either side of the southern entrance to the main temple
there are two very ancient objects. On the left as you enter is a large
stone with a Thamil inscription of Parakramabahu I (12th century CE) on
In the first part of this inscription the king says that foreigners
coming into the country must land at Uraturai,$> (Kayts) and those
landing at other ports must meet at Uraturai, and that they should be
This undoubtedly refers to merchants and pilgrims from the Thamil
kingdoms of the Cholas, Pandiyas and Cheras.
The second part says what measures should be taken if ships carrying
elephants or horses for the King, and merchant ships are wrecked.
On the right of the entrance is a large life saver-shaped stone, an
ancient anchor. Arab ships used to carry such anchors.
Less than half a kilometer down the road from the Kovil is the
Nainativu Buddhist temple, called "Nagadipa Viharaya".
Buddha is believed to have visited Nainativu, then called
Manipallavam or Naga-Theevu (island of the serpent), to resolve a
conflict between two kings of the Nagas.
However, this present Buddhist temple was erected in early 1940s by a
Sinhalese Buddhist monk who came to Nainativu and lived there for some
years, assisted by the local Thamils, on vacant lands purchased from
local Thamil individuals.
How To Get There:
Half the enjoyment of a pilgrimage to Nainativu is actually in
getting there. The road from the city of Jaffna runs across a long
causeway to the island of Velanai (or Kayts) from where another causeway
leads to Punkudutivu.
The landscape is flat and sandy, dotted with numerous palm trees and
completely different from everywhere else in Sri Lanka.
On the far side of this second island is a point called Kurikadduvan.
From Kurikadduvan, one must take a launch to Nainativu.
Public and private buses run regularly from Jaffna to Punkudutivu and
the launches are timed to leave just after the buses arrive.
The total distance from the city of Jaffna to Kurikadduvan, is about