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DateLine Monday, 15 September 2008

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Ramadan is the month of Quran

All Muslims know that this is the month of Quran and most try to recite the Quran at least once throughout this month. It is very commendable to recite the Quran in Ramadan since normally it is said that each letter is rewarded 10 times and in Ramadan it is 100 times reward. However we read this without knowing the meaning.

The Quran is not for just recital - rather it is for the guidance of human beings. So we should really not only recite but read and understand, practise and preach it as well. For this ideally we must all know Arabic language.

Sadly, we the Muslims are the only people who learn a language - a language of their own holy script only to read but not to understand or speak or write. Since learning Arabic is not going to be practical in the near future, at least we must try to read the translations, though translations will never be equal to the original since the Quran is the word of Allah Himself.

It is a pity that most Muslims do not know what is in the Quran. This month is a good time for us to try to read a translation at least once to know what is said in the Quran. Most translations have just 600 pages - if we read just 20 pages which will not take even 15 minutes we can finish reading the Quran in this month.

If every Muslim and non Muslim know what is in the Quran, certainly this world will be a better place to live in. We teach our school children so many subjects - why didn’t we think of making it compulsory to read the Quran during our school days?

It will be a very good idea to include the Quran reading - not just recital only - as part of the curriculum of Islam up to Grade 11 so that the whole Quran is read as part of school education to make the Muslim students knowledgeable in order to form a better future generation.

If anyone wants a free translation of the Quran in English or Tamil please call Almuslimaath on 2736577


Memorable Abdul Cader and his Fez Cap

Abdul Cader who appeared before the Chief Justice to swear in as a lawyer was not allowed swearing as he refused to remove the Fez Cap he was wearing and kept his religious rite.

When he filed action for refusing his religious rite, he cited as evidence, photographs of King Farook of Egypt wearing his headwear while taking part in the funeral procession of Her Majesty the Queen Victoria where all British aristocrats participated in complete attire of tail coat etc. with their top hats under the arm pit or in hand.

All Ceylonese of all faiths admired the religious rite of this Muslim fighters who won his case and allowed to swear as lawyer with Fez Cap on. Even at present all Sri Lankans see it is a memorable Abdul Cader Fez Cap victory of colonial days.

May the clergy of Christians, Hindus, Islam and Buddhists be rightfully and respectfully allowed to keep their own traditional religious rites without any ruling associated with Victorian, Roman or hidden colonial nature.



The above is a weekly Rupavahini programme telecast on Mondays between 6.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. September 8th telecast was its 100th programme, but consisted only of views, comments, commendations et al from University dons, writers, artistes, naturalists, students etc. All showered praise which it richly deserves, but none spoke of the individual of whom I am going to write about.

A few years back I happened to see this programme, very fortunately, introduced by ‘Muna Mama’ and the young boy.

I have been addicted to it ever since. The one individual who carried the entire ‘show’ was and is Oushada Hamy. He is a store-house of knowledge on the ancient irrigation and agricultural systems of the country.

When he talks of how the ‘Mahaveli Experts’ ‘killed’ the ancient tank systems, one’s blood boils. This person should be made the Competent Authority for Irrigation and Agriculture of this country. I have dubbed him Mahaushada Hamy.


Sound pollution in Buddha's time

It was a coincidence; the day the BBC announced that Monks were protesting a court order and the remanding of a monk for sound pollution I happened to be reading a Jataka story No 118.

It described the plight of a monk who "Throughout the three watches of the night, as well as the hours of waking, was never quiet; so that the other Brethren could not get a wink of sleep," When this was brought to the notice of the Buddha he told the monks that in a previous birth this monk was a cock that was strangled for crowing at unsuitable hours.

Without sounding too cocky, perhaps we too can learn a lesson from this parable.

NIDUJAY Melbourne

 Anti-smoking campaign

It is surprising to find that still there are smokers in public places bus stands, hotels, shops, main roads inspite of the Government’s prohibition order. When passive smokers report the matter to the hotel owners, or shop keepers, they don’t prevent the smokers from smoking inside the hotels or shops. As. a result, the smokers do not respect the anti-smoking order.

The policemen too are ignoring the smokers and do not take any action against them.

But, according to the Mahinda Chinthana, smoking must be stopped completely in society.

Hence, it is the duty of the Government to make the anti-smoking campaign strict and effective by bringing in Parliamentary Legislation to band smoking completely.

If something is proved to be harmful to society, it must be completely done away with. That is the law which will bring a successful application.

According to the religion of Islam, smoking of any kind is considered to be harmful or forbidden in Islam. How about other religions?

M.Y.M. MEEADH – Kandy

Heroes forever vs the deserters

It was reported in the front page of the Daily News of September 3, that 305 Army deserters were jailed, while many more of them are awaiting a similar fate.

Quite in contrast to this disgraceful news item, to say the least, a Sunday newspaper publishes in their magazine a series titled ‘Heroes forever’, dedicated to the Army, Air Force, Navy and Police personnel, in appreciation of their bravery, courage, even in the sacrifice of their precious lives in the defence of their motherland.

They have stood the acid test of exceptional bravery and at the same time saved the lives of many of their comrades. Indeed they are heroes forever and will remain so in the hearts and minds of their loved ones, while occupying a cherished and hallowed place in the halls of Fame.

They may not boast the olympian gold but their names will be carved in letter of gold, never to be forgotten, by a grateful nation.

While on this theme I am reminded of the memorable words of the heart warming song “Farewell mother, you may not press me to your heart again, for well you know that on the morrow some will lie beneath the soil.

In the battlefront we stand with the enemy in view and thoughts of the bright and happy home go far away, farewell mother..... still they march bravely forward, confident of the words “How can man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods.

Their one burning desire is to free their beloved nation from the clutches of the dreaded enemy and win they will.

Truly has it been said “The coward dies many times before his death, the valiant tastes death but once.”

P. BEN COREA – Wattala

Textbooks in VCDs

The news item ‘School text books in VCDs’ appearing in the Daily News (DN August 27) made me write this comment to keep the Minister of Education informed of how difficult it is to carry out this program in rural schools in the island.

The majority of schools in this country are very rural and remote area schools where the access to the modern technological development is not yet furnished. Many schools do not have any electricity or any such facilities. I’m surprised to hear that, how can the Minister supply these schools with sets of VCDs, where there is no any technological equipment.


Use of CFL electric bulbs

The Ceylon Electricity Board had stated recently in the Daily News the use of incandescent bulbs invented by Thomas Alva Edison in 1879, of 75 Watts and above will be banned for use from end of December 2009, and also gradually phasing out all other types in due course thus conserving electricity.

In the Daily News of Saturday September 6, a very important article appears on Page 12 under Environment titled ‘CFLs and murky mercury’.

If anyone reads this article carefully, he/she will get the shock of Moses, due to the dangers, lurking in the use of CFL bulbs. Accidents are prone to occur and if and when a CFL bulb drops from the hands of any householder/user, the consequences are grave. Has the Ceylon Electricity Board ever thought of ascertaining what would happen to the consumers in such an event?

Mr. Minister please look into this serious issue.

T. J. S MARJAN – Enderamulla

Railway Museum

The Ceylon Government Railway (C.G.R.) which was formed in 1862 for the main purpose of laying the rail route to Kandy to meet the requirements of the planters has played a vital role in the economic development of the country.

Ceylon being a colony of the British empire almost all requirements for the Railway came from England. From the ordinary bolt and nut to the heavy Locomotive GARRATT’C’ class weighing 122 tons and 70 ft. 5 inches long builders Beyer Peacock came from England.

Railway is in possession of valuable artefacts used during its long history that will be of interest to researchers and railway enthusiasts. But it is a matter of regret that we have not been able to keep them under one roof so far.

Very important collection of documents and photographs relating to the Ceylon Government Railway are preserved in the Royal Commonwealth Society library in England.

A Railway Museum will no doubt will be an attraction to tourists especially those from England, who will like to see what their forefathers have manufactured for the Ceylon Railway.

I hope our new General Manager though burdened with an enormous task of putting the wheels on the correct track will spare a little time to get the Railway Museum off the ground, if necessary with some assistance from the Museum Department, before these priceless artefacts that are now kept at different places, cut and sold as scrap, as what happened to the ‘Baby Garrat’ no. 293 the only one imported for service on the Udapusselava narrow gauge railway that ran from Nanuoya to Ragala.

B.B. Perera – Katubedda


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