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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 Testaments).

Further the Holy Quran speaks of an individual as follows." And whatever suffering Ye Suffer, it is what your hands have wrought (XLII: 29).

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 following idea:

"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 XXVIII:55)

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 starves."

"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 enormous price.

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 it.

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 protected.

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 30 km.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas
Mount View Residencies

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