24 October, 2017

Eid – Time To Renew Resolve To Find Unity In Diversity

By Lukman Harees

Lukman Harees

Eid-ul-Fitr, one of the two major events in the Islamic calendar, is celebrated by all the Muslims irrespective of their global location in a spirit of festivity. It is a joyous occasion which comes after the blessed but spiritually rigorous month of Ramazan. Eid-ul-Fitr is being celebrated with fervour by Muslims in Sri Lanka too, extending our bonds of goodwill beyond the confines of the community. Muslims thus traditionally make it a habit to share their joy with their non-Muslim neighbours, mutually reciprocating the gestures of goodwill shown at Avurudhu, Christmas or Deepavali. Sri Lanka in that way is a special country where people can be seen to be enjoying the warmth and brotherly feelings amongst one another at these special occasions, with little regard to the vicious attempts by some elements to divide them. 

In the month of Ramazan, Muslims engage in many acts of charity. However, despite everything  appearing on the surface to be the same, yet the simplicity, the importance of values and the spirit of sharing and caring may in a way got lessened to a considerable extent due to materialism and commercialism being  woven into the very fibers of our culture. Thus,with all the going around ,our lesser privileged brethren tend to be forgotten. It should be borne in mind that there are many out there who have no sense of celebration in them. There are many belonging to all communities who still languish in refugee camps after the War, and thousands rendered homeless and out of employment after many natural disasters –more recently during the Meethotamulla waste dump tragedy and worse ever floods. There are those who are in hospitals ,and orphanages going through bleak and lonely days with no one visiting them. Friendless, deprived of company, they will have no one to offer solace or comfort. It is therefore imperative that Muslims use this joyous day to think and spare a thought for these deprived brethren with warm and hope.

It is also imperative that a sense of compassion is inculcated in our children so that when they too will think of their unfortunate brethren while also teaching them the art of giving without allowing them to live in a world confined to computers and social media. Our younger generation should be reminded that while we can at least celebrate in some form or another, there are yet millions of children around the world who don’t even have the basic necessities to make not this day even all their daily lives survivable. This should also an apt occasion to be thankful for many divine bounties without living a life of greed.

We cannot divest ourselves from the misery of others. We cannot shrug it off saying that it does not concern us. Many people tend to be inward looking. They may at times donate money to charity and feel rightly it may seem so that they are doing their duty. However, the fact that if once seen to be with these people the perception of charity changes. There is a feeling of belonging when the recipient and giver meet.

Another area which should concern Muslims while they are in the festive spirit is to learn to treat people and treat them alike irrespective of all religious differences as one human family as per Islamic ideology and teachings. Al Quran says: ‘Oh Mankind! We have created you from a male and a female and have divide you into tribes and nations to distinguish ( and no despise ) each other’ and our Greatest Role Model was called as the Mercy unto mankind and not just to Muslims. Islam thus teaches us to be kind and compassionate. All human beings deserve dignity and mutual respect, by the very fact that they are born into the human family. Universalism is stressed again and again in the Quran and Prophet(SAW)’s example, which Muslims have undertaken to emulate.

This sense of humanity will thus ultimately decide the quality of our life on earth and rewards in the hereafter. This spirit of tolerance and compassion which was cultivated during this month of Ramazan will be much needed in days ahead, at a challenging time in our history where vicious campaigns are afoot to sow hate, discord and ill-feelings amongst communities. Prophet of Islam (SAW) showed much compassion and offered forgiveness even to his avowed enemies and those who made his life and lives of his family and companions a misery and laid obstacles. On this blessed day of Eid, these examples should be fortified in our lives by extending goodwill, brotherhood and friendship to all communities who have been living in amity for centuries. It is said in every religion that hate can be dispelled not through hate but through love and affection.

Eid, in essence, is therefore a follow-up to Ramadan in the sense that it tells us, as the month of fasting did, that our duties and responsibilities to our fellow beings — our neighbours, our families, indeed those whom fortune has not treated well — are not to be taken lightly or ignored. The crucial point here is that Eid is an opportunity for Muslims to demonstrate to themselves and to others that Ramadan has made them better human beings than they earlier were. On Eid day thus, it is thoughts of others, of fellow feeling, of respect for others that are paramount. 

There is a liberality about Eid, that principle which allows for a broadening of the soul and thereby accords to the pious Muslim the privilege of comprehending the universe he is part of a little better than he did earlier. All these being true about Eid-ul-Fitr, here’s wishing all readers of Colombo Telegraph and everyone else Eid Mubarak !

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Latest comments

  • 11
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    It is always good to read Mr Harees. But, he reminds me of my Muslim friend abroad during my student days. He belonged to the Ahmadiya sect. He used to dutifully hold up a placard saying something like “Love to All and Hatred to None”. We all knew that the only ones who would blow him up would be those who belonged to his religion. That seems to be the problem with the Muslim community. A large section of them has become radicalised. The easy camaraderie that existed in the past among all communities in Sri Lanka is not there any more. A poison has been introduced and it is spreading fast. It is not confined to the Muslims. The political leaders should nip it in the bud. But, they profit by encouraging the strife as they stand to benefit. We have cycles of such behaviour setting our country back when each cycle takes place. We have started a new cycle, this time against the Muslims. The sooner it is stopped the better.

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      The Pakistan government has PASSED a law which precludes Ahmadiya sect from main stream Islam. Pakistani Ahmadiyas are regularly lynched for blasphemy.

      • 9
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        and their all weather friends China has passed a law that no muslim can name their newborn with a muslim first name.(it was tested in state prior to it) there are no friends only interest and when the going gets tough the pakistani and chinese run through the window then the motherland takes over the island and rules over again as it ought to be- keep your languages (they are irrelevant as english is about to be at EU- on 16th June saw the french President revert back to T. May viva la france!!) private like the very smart hardworking classical Basque people. zero unemployment.

        • 0
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          Apart from banning Burqa and other religious practices, during late April 2017, 29 Islamic names were banned in Xinjiang region. (correct me if this has become country wide, and any Muslim names as you said above). However, restrictions on religious expression are only going to fuel more fire on radicalization and violence when China will have to decide if it’s going to take more trouble holding the region with no economic value.

          Islam or any religion itself can be banned by a country but their individual beliefs can no way be eradicated wholly. They tried this in Spain(Granada) and Philippines in the past but the religion is back and getting stronger.In China and Russia, the Muslim population there are among the highest.

          When our non-Muslim SL brothers return after years working in Saudi, we don’t see them converted to Islam. Instead we see them with more hatred towards Saudi for overly controlling them and not allowing them practice their religion.

          This is only a backfire friendly strategy.

  • 3
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    Growing up in Colombo , on days of Ramadan my siblings and I used to wait impatiently for the bowl of watalappam from our neighbours . Those were anxious times, but the wait was fully worth it . Today , we live in a different location and a few years ago a young couple of the Islamic faith move to the house opposite . That avurudhu ,we sent them a tray of goodies . They did’nt open the door , although they were at home . The young chap gives me a the occasional wave . Chance of getting some watalappam today – zilch . Sad .

    • 6
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      The Oracle (your name says you are fake and can’t win a lottery) So you awaited with greed and they (muslim) gave it you because you gave them something in return (they weigh and consider) but the new wanted nothing from you because they felt (feelings run deeper than words) the pain. Be nice to them say a few nice words and they would befriend you or perhaps they are too poor to associate with you so they did not bother opening the door.

      • 3
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        Arancha

        You can always shoot the messenger , but I am not in the habit of spinning yarns. The fact remains that Sri Lankans of the Islamic faith have become very introverted in recent times. This is not the right way forward to bring about unity and harmony as Mr.Harees tries to articulate . We are all Sri Lankans first .

        • 7
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          When I have to shoot a rising star I shoot. you are no messenger of God but an idiot who has not read life itself.
          The next President of Singapore is reserved only for a Malay -go fetch.
          watch the space.
          Sinhalese Have No Brain!! ……………………………………………………………………………………….Hard Truths was a book based on 32 hours of interviews over a period of two years. I made this one comment on the Muslims integrating with other communities probably two or three years ago. Ministers and MPs, both Malay and non-Malay, have since told me that Singapore Malays have indeed made special efforts to integrate with the other communities, especially since 9/11, and that my call is out of date. I stand corrected, but only just this instance! I hope that this trend will continue in the future.
          statement that he stands corrected on how well-integrated Malay-Muslims are in Singapore (Asia One, March 08, 2011 [29])

    • 7
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      The Oracle Sinha-Le is a Mahadana Muttha!! [Edited out]

  • 6
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    lokman ansaree

    show your colors and patriotism at first. go to jaffna with your all clergies and arrange blood donations like our monks. show your colors. show your patriotism. donate some bloods for needy peoples. do not be cowards. show your colors. our monks have done that. you are just an idiots. only talking no actions. you people need only money. build mosques. no humidity in your hearts, money greediness engulfed your humanities. even killing or beheading for profits is the only your concern. not suitable for human society. get passed away soon and go to your heaven and sleep with your almighty. you all are not suitable for human society. dalite crowds,. shellfish lots. you know only to lament no god but Allah. that engulfed all your human qualities. money and Allah only your world you know. go to Allah soon. world can be suitable place for humans with human qualities. if you all can do that please.

  • 9
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    Eid Mubarak Mr. Lukman Harees! Let us build an inclusive Sri Lanka. A nation where our diversity will be our unique strength. Will you extend your goodwill to countless animals who face the brutal knife every year in the name of Islam during this festival? What is your perspective on animal sacrifice? Isn’t it time Muslims themselves questioned this barbarity? I just had a phone call from a buddy in France. He said his North-African Muslim neighbors had just slaughtered a sheep on their residential balcony in Paris. Do you approve this kind of terrible cruelty against those who cannot speak for themselves? Cheers!

    • 14
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      bittara rakenna bung! but it’s the sinhalese who are killing the humans over there so why talk about slaughter of a goat in a north africans home? talk about your blooming sinhala buddhist murdering self please? you cannot make veggies of all it is suicide for many. I know of so many women in the west who are strong willed and gave up because their biology could not stand it and they are crying they can never do it.
      Find a pedigree black alsatian then stop giving him beef and see what happens? his hind legs falter at first. You are pinatu, Breed Counts!!
      Europeans introduced ciggies today they do not want anyone to smoke saying their baby would die – this is going over the top. but more folk die of drink and drink related than ciggies Yet they will not ban booze because it’s the blood of christ!! holy moses gay hegel thickhead bung!!

      • 3
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        Marikkar, Consider slaughering yourself for next year’s Eid. Cheers!

        • 6
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          Ben Hurling, the village have nots the breed counts!! No medicines can cure the vulgar man fishing in muddled water for personal gains. The less power you have the more you try to use it weak bittara rakenna bung!

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      Ben Hurling—————-“What is your perspective on animal sacrifice? Isn’t it time Muslims themselves questioned this barbarity? “———————————————————————– When did you join Modi’s growing Hindutva lunatic fringe? Are you telling us you are a born vegetarian/Vegan? Don’t the Sri Lankans of all religious persuasions eat meat, flesh of animals, fish, birds, …. ?————————————————————————————————————————- When I was 10 years old I asked my father’s monk friend how did he reconcile the idea of Ahimsa with meat eating by Buddhist monks. —-He had an fantastic explanation. He was supposed to beg for his food from the lay. So he couldn’t or shouldn’t demand any particular type of food or reject anything the lay offered him. Hence he ate whatever was given to him including meat. I was not happy with the answer and was going to ask the next question when my mom intervened with her stern face basically she asked me to shut up without saying in words. She thought I was going to offend our guest. Though hypocritical it was a clever practical position. In other words have the Ahimsa and eat the meat too. That was the first and last time I ever questioned monks on meat eating. ———————-

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        Native, I believe in treating all living beings with kindness, specially animals. For those who need to take a life in order to survive, then let them do so humbly and with respect for the life they are forced to take, showing as much mercy and compassion as humanely possible in an otherwise regrettable situation. However, for those of us who no longer need to kill in order to survive, then let us cease to do so merely for the satisfaction. Liberal, compassionate Muslims are appalled by this practice. But, they are being hopelessly overwhelmed by the utter stupidity of countless millions of so called “pious” idiots, who cannot think for themselves. Person who called me from Paris was a Turkish Muslim, who was shocked by the barbarity of his “Muslim” neighbors against a helpless animal begging for life on their balcony. Cheers!

        • 10
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          As you once admitted to us on CT you are a down right `sinhala buddhist` when cornered by Gamini who called you a Fascist! You try to change the world but remember to ……..
          “”Make No Distinctions!”” because you get hit at every nook and corner…….that is life on this planet.These are characteristic of NPD, BPD, PTSD or CPTSD.- tatte motte bung! So don’t hide behind the Brahmin Priest caste not the Brahmin Scholar caste because you took over kataragama to pollute the south. When the island is lifted wholesale even native naxalite vedda would get stuck by a thunderbolt if he revolts.

        • 11
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          “”Person who called me from Paris was a Turkish Muslim, who was shocked by the barbarity of his “Muslim” neighbors against a helpless animal begging for life on their balcony. Cheers!”” mottaya they live in high rise buildings and the balcony is their garden(outdoor space) – Muslim Turkey the former Ottoman empire is playing the game that they played from the days of wars with the Roman Emperor Carlos and Henry viii- you are not a man of reading just a grammar rules the world fascist like Churchill. Turkey is not european culture! period. The day brexit vote was counted I went down the streets and asked a few whites (men and women ) how they felt- tears rolled down their eyes `we lost hospitality` Now recent statement of theresa may : says all 3 million EU nationals will be treated as British.- fair it’s the way they do things at hospitals, tourist industry which the blacks and asian can’t match- nothing to do with colour. Hard Truth- UK had MRSA while the blacks and asians were cleaners then the eastern europeans were brought in and MRSA went away. So don’t talk bull when your DNA is close to muslim of lanka.

        • 0
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          Ben Hurling, you are a third rate dupe master. French staple diet itself is meat. Pork, beef, mutton and chicken they love. How they are going to eat it without killing. Why fabricating a story about your Turkish friend. If anybody slaughter animal (even for food) in balcony or openly, police will take action. If they slaughter in the kitchen or covered garden, nobody will bother about it. Not even an idiot will slaughter an animal in their balcony. What pleasure you get by writing comments like this?

      • 7
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        Native Vedda, Adivasi Champion Booker prize winner malabari/bengali Arundhati Roy was hooted (double speaking) 6 years back at Freedom House (Quakers) Euston London by the crowd- she was playing to the tune of global Dr Manmohan Singh.

    • 3
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      Come on, don’t pretend you don’t know where the meat comes from

  • 4
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    Thinkers of the caliber of Lukman Harees give us hope.
    Successive GoSL carved out vote banks based on this language/religious divide going knowing well the continued damage to the economy. Lankans must see the corruption which has resulted – we are way down in the Failed State Index.
    Thank you Lukman for your courageous stand.

  • 6
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    The best country practicing unity in diversity is Singapore, which was the vision of their founding father Lee Kwan Yew, where all citizen are treated equal. There are four equal official languages which are found in every government forms and notices. The National Anthem “Majula Singapura” (Long live Singapore) is in Malay, though 75% of the population is Chinese. Language of education and administration is English. There is complete religious freedom with equality of all religions and no places of worship can be built against the law or in an intimidating manner like how Buddhist temples are cropping up in Srilanka . Admission to universities and government service is on merit and allocation of state built houses does not discriminate people on ethnicity. Tamils though only 8% of the population, have been elected as Deputy Prime Ministers and Presidents. I understand the post of next President is reserved for a Malay. There may be a Tamil Prime Minister in the future.

    • 1
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      The Malay Tun Mahindapalan would like to know that even army commands are given in Malay.

    • 0
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      But there is ‘discrimination & racism’, though not (yet) at institutional levels. If you ask the Indians and Malaysians living in Singapore about racism and discrimination they face on a daily basis from the Chinese, they will tell more to your surprise.

      • 3
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        “”Indians and Malaysians”” are the underdogs of the western system and don’t manufacture arms to start a boston tea party But are in the democratic club- protest and contention` therefore they can never make a singapore of their own – opposition leader the terrorist of the democratic western system Nair’s ashes can never be sent to Singapore from his exiled home at Canada. The Saudis are paying the price to be in Saddam paid by going out forcefully. Brunei stays in and pays its dues. Today Google is paying the price to be in the club – $2 billion fine. The japanese have to pay the american sailors a fine for fukushima disaster. The germans have to pay for volkswagen- whom does the englishman and american pay? they are the police. russia and china do not need american and EU commercial planes any more. Keep to your kitchen woman or read a book than spread legs on CT. muslims are emotional crusaders and fatal walla O wackobar boom!! the tools of the europeans to take over the east in total then europe finishes the muslims with ease.- less is more!!! German techniques que??.

      • 4
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        You seem to be a person who wants to run down anything which is not Islamic. Can you name a single Muslim majority country which comes anywhere near Singapore in terms of racism. I agree that there is Chinese resentment against Indians and Malays but that is on individual basis by people like taxi drivers and small hawkers, and if anyone reports any racial abuse or discriminatory practice, government will take stern against the perpetrators. There had been no violence against minorities since independence. Your accusation that this happens on a daily basis s a blatant lie. Compare this with Malaysia where there is institutional racism in every walk of life. Indians are called “Keling” in a derogatory manner. It is the same as Sinhalese calling Muslims “Hambaya” There is racial discrimination in education, employment and even in trade. Government gives houses and shops only to Malays, and Chinese take them on rent from Malays and prosper. Rich Chinese and Indians send their children abroad for education. Official language is only Malay and state religion is Islam though Malay Muslims form only 55% of the population. There was an anti Chinese riot in 1969 where several Chinese were killed and their properties destroyed. Please stop spreading false accusations and since I have relatives in both countries, you cannot bluff me. Another country that is practicing unity in diversity is Switzerland. it has four equal official languages including Romansh which is spoken by only 2% of the population. There is no racial discrimination between Germans, French or Italians. Unlike other European countries they have restricted Muslim immigration and are trouble free.

  • 0
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    The vitriolic abuse spewed out at anybody with even a marginally divergent viewpoint clearly demonstrates the underlying fanaticism among certain sections of the Sri Lankan community .

  • 4
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    Unity in Diversity in Saudi, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Afghanistan.

    • 3
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      Unity of diversity does not apply to infidels. Not even liberal Muslims, women, LGBT people or those who belong to the wrong sect with in Islam. Amply displayed by endless violence all over Muslim majority nations and elsewhere. “Religion of Peace” takes takes root and holds sway with bloody violence. Just like Christianity used to do not so long ago. Thankfully Christians seemed to have evolved some what. However, not the “Allahu Akbar” screaming brigade of lunatics. They are firmly stuck in medieval times. Cheers!

      • 1
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        Ben Hurling,

        I fully agree. They want Unity in diversity and Human rights etc only when they are a minority. In another 20 years time, when a majority of Sri Lankans will be shouting allahu akbar and have only 3/4 of what they should be really having, lets see if Unity in diversity and Human rights will have any place.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 2
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      ranjith(sprrw) scatterbrain sorcerer ——-Another brilliant piece. Thanks.

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