American doctor at home in Sri Lanka
comes as no surprise that Dr. Laurel
chose to live closer to the Kalubowila Hospital. But what is
surprising is that Botsford has almost given up her.....
plants going into extinction
Sri Lankan who came back home
language of flowers
of all beings...'
American doctor at home in Sri Lanka
comes as no surprise that Dr. Laurel
chose to live closer to the Kalubowila Hospital. But what is
surprising is that Botsford has almost given up her American way of
life and has settled for our very own nelun ala, gotukola and red
food in Sri Lanka is so unbelievable. I cannot believe - so many
kinds of fresh vegetables, the red rice and the fruits! I have lived
here for three years and I do not think I can ever go back,"
have even tried the seeni sambol, pol sambol and the lunu miris.
They are wonderful," she said.
Botsford who has worked as a scuba diving instructor in the Maldives
has undergone many injuries during her life. "I was essentially
a sports person and I have been injured many times. My injuries
helped me to understand the injuries of other people and their
pain," she said.
of Sri Lanka, Botsford said that Sri Lankans ought to open their
eyes to the wonders around them. Botsford does not cease to talk
about the maalu miris (capsicums), murunga (drumsticks), the
mukunuwenna, kathurumurunga, diya labu and the kohila. "These
are such wonderful things and so full of goodness. This is all I
eat, my food is Sri Lankan and I feel so great!" she exclaims.
am a vegetarian not for a religious or moral reason. It is simply
because it does wonders for my body," she explained.
think that many people in Sri Lanka think with their
taste-buds," she pointed out. "We must concentrate on the
taste of the food and not on the salt and the oil. When you eat a
cabbage leaf, concentrate on the taste of the cabbage," said
Dr. Botsford who went on to say that vegetables eaten raw gives one
all the vitamins and the minerals.
are wonderful. But we cannot deprive our bodies of the food they
have been used to by starting on salads and greens all at once. They
must be gradually incorporated into the diet," she said.
I will have a glass of wine and some cheese, but that is it. No beef
and meat for me. I am living with these wonderful vegetables and
produce of your country," says Dr. Botsford who practices
acupuncture treatment and Shiatsu massages.
we have to keep in mind that it is better to cut down on the coconut
oil because of the very high fat content in this oil. What Sri
Lankans ought to concentrate on is in cutting down the stored fat in
their bodies - this means exercising more," explained Botsford.
"Begin your aerobic activity with a step on your staircase,
step on it and back, go on and on till you feel that it has raced up
your heart!" she said.
said that most people exercise in the evening and this means that
the body finds the easy way out by burning the fat in the food of
the day. "What we must concentrate on is burning up the stored
fat and for this to happen one must exercise early in the morning.
We must also remember that when we speak of walking, it must be a
brisk walk and not a stroll," said Dr. Botsford.
in the morning when the stomach is empty is the way to cut down on
stored fat. But do not get me wrong, exercising in the afternoon is
fine too," she said.
feel a deep sense of spirituality here in Sri Lanka. It has nothing
to do with religion," she pointed out. "I love the gentle,
slow lifestyle and I prefer it to the hectic pace in the USA,"
has studied acupuncture here in Sri Lanka because she was convinced
about the treatment after she was cured of cervical spondylosis, a
condition which Western medicine could not cure her of.
"Thereafter I was determined to study acupuncture and today I
am qualified in acupuncture, auriculotherapy, lasertherapy
therapeutic massage, physiotherapy, moxibustion Shiatsu, basic
homeopathy and energy healing," said Dr. Botsford.
Laurel Botsford is a woman of varying abilities. She practices the
Shiatsu massage with great confidence. Though Shiatsu is a Japanese
massage technique, Botsford does it with ease, determining how much
pressure to give, when, where and to whom.
uses not only her fingers, but her hands, elbows, knees and feet.
is a wonderful massage. It makes the tired aching muscles and mind
feel great comfort, relief and relaxation. And when a person dozes
off during treatment, I consider that to be the greatest
compliment," she said.
said that Shiatsu works on the deeper energy levels of the body,
encouraging free and evenly balanced flow of this energy along the
body's energy channels.
have traveled much in the USA - though I am from Texas, I have been
living in Missouri, Colorado, New Jersey and Wisconsin. This is
because my father was a pilot and we had to move to several
places," said Botsford. I have been to Japan too. But there is
no place like Sri Lanka," she said.
plants going into extinction
use of plants for medicinal
purposes is not something new for Sri Lankans, who have for many
years relied on the wonders of nature. Our ancestors understood the
value of medicinal and endemic plants. This is why they made use of
such plants without destroying them.
today due to the greed and selfishness of man, valuable medicinal
plants are now being gradually up-rooted and destroyed for various
medicinal plants found in the jungles and remote areas in the
country are most often destroyed to make room for human
encroachment. Smuggling these plants out of the country to meet the
growing demand overseas has also resulted in a grave threat to
endemic and native plants.
despite the efforts made by conservationists, nature lovers and even
the Customs Department, much remains to be done if we are to protect
these plants from becoming extinct.
protection of these medicinal plants is important not only for Sri
Lanka but for the whole world, as most of these plants are found
only in Sri Lanka. If destroyed these plants would be gone forever.
to The Sunday Leader, Naturalist, Kamal Edirisinghe said as recorded
by the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens there are 3771 flowering plants
in Sri Lanka. "Out of the 3771 flowering plants 926 have been
recorded as endemic to Sri Lanka," says Edirisinghe. Also there
are 343 types of ferns out of which 58 are endemic to Sri Lanka.
though Sri Lanka is a small country, around 1500 plants have been
identified as medicinal plants. However, there still remain a large
number of medicinal plants not yet identified or made use of in the
country. Among these plants are a number of fern types,"
the endemic plants in Sri Lanka are the kokum (Kokoona zeylanica),
gal demata (Impatiens repens), bu karal heba (Achyranthus bidentata),
nagameru yam (Ipsea speciosa)), iru raja (Zeuxine regia), girithilla
(Argyreia populifolia) and idda (Walidda antidysenterica).
went on to say that due to deforestation - the cutting down of
trees, bushes and plants to make way for new paths and roads and the
removal of medicinal plants in large numbers - have resulted in many
valuable medicinal plants being threatened with extinction. Endemic
plants such as kokum, gal demata, iru raja, bu karal heba and the
nagameru yam and medicinal plants such as ekaveriya (Rauvolfia
serpentia), duhudu (Celastrus paniculatus), kothala hibutu (Salacia
reticulata), venivel (Coscinium fenestratum), vanaraja (Anoectochilus
setaceus), madara (Cleistanthus collinus), dorana (Dipterocarpus
glandulosus) and muruvadul (Marsdenia tenacissima) are on the verge
to Edirisinghe, as fern types are most often more sensitive than
other varieties, they are likely to get destroyed faster than other
medicinal plants. "If there is a change in the climate or
weather pattern then, these plants can easily be destroyed. Due to
the destruction of jungle areas where the climate is cool and shady
these fern types lose their natural habitat," Edirisinghe said.
the rare and endemic fern type plants found in Sri Lanka are the
mayura sheeka (Actiniopteris radiata), patidathu (Ophioglossum
pendulum), kuda hadaya (Lycopodium pulcherrimum), maha hadaya (Huperzia
phyllantha), ek peth piyum (Ophioglossum reticulatum) and thaniwella
to Edirisinghe, medicinal plants removed for their roots face the
risk of going extinct much faster. People have a tendency to remove
the whole plant instead of only part of the root. "For example
the bin kohomba plant is in great demand these days and is most
often removed completely for medicinal purposes. People should be
taught to remove only the excess roots instead of destroying the
entire plant," Edirisinghe said.
to Edirisinghe, among the medicinal plants where the roots are most
often used in Sri Lanka are the thotila (Oroxylum indicum), ath
demata (Gmelina arborea), beli (Aegle marmelos), palol (Stereospermum
suaveolens) and mahamidi (Premna latifolia).
Sri Lanka there are 108 creeper varieties that are most often used
by native doctors for snake bites, dislocation of limbs and broken
bones. Among these are the rasa kinda, kiri vel and kalavel
to Edirisinghe, the only way to protect these valuable and endemic
plants in the country is to encourage people to grow them at home
even as a small time business and encourage others to grow them as
from selling these plants and earning an income these plants can be
protected for future generations. Plants such as katuwel batu,
amukkara, nil avari, rathnithul thithpili, polpala, nika, pawatta (Vanapola)
aloe vera, vadakaha, lunuwila and gotukola can be grown as a
business venture. Medicinal plants including kothala hibutu have a
good demand in the foreign market," says Edirisinghe. "It
is the responsibility of every Sri Lankan to make an effort to
protect these valuable plants for our future generation,"
Sri Lankan who came back home
Phylix Selvadurai left Sri
Lanka in 1975, he had about 30 pounds in his pocket. Determined to
study accountancy, this popular young man had about 85 friends
accompanying him to the airport. But when he reached the United
Kingdom, he was alone.
missed my parents a lot and my friends too. The loneliness made me
sad, but it did not stop me. I did not give up in my goal in life. I
wanted to achieve what I went there to achieve. And I did. I kept on
going. I wanted to get my qualifications and perhaps return in
1979," said Selvadurai. But Selvadurai did not come back,
because of the situation in Sri Lanka at that time, instead he began
to work in the United Kingdom.
you set a goal, you have to keep on going till you achieve it. I
began my property developing career in 1985. Accountancy gave me a
very good background. I have been doing very well in property,"
said Selvadurai modestly.
Selvadurai's Moreland International manages a property portfolio of
80 million sterling pounds. They are also engaged in developing
property worth over 10 million sterling pounds in and around London.
love Sri Lanka"
loved Sri Lanka and even when I left Sri Lanka, I thought that I
will always come back. You see, I love, Sri Lanka," pointed out
Selvadurai. "Giving jobs to people gives me great
satisfaction. If I give jobs for 100 people, there may be
four people in the family, in this way about 400 people will be
looked after. That is the best charity I can do," pointed out
Selvadurai today is the managing director of Moreland International
Land and Development in London and managing director of Global
Investments Lanka Holdings in Sri Lanka.
Selvadurai said that he wants to do everything possible here in Sri
Lanka. "You can have buildings, but you need the right staff.
We need to create training programmes," pointed out Selvadurai.
"We need to come up with our hotel school," he pointed
plan for Sri Lanka is a long term plan. I am looking for a 20 to 30
year plan. In 1982, Sri Lanka was among the top five destinations in
the world, then the problems started. I want to have eight hotels in
Sri Lanka," said Selvadurai.
Selvadurai began the first phase of an apartment hotel called Global
Towers in Wellawatte. He intends to commence work on the next tower
soon. "We will have rooms, executive suites, two bedroom suites
and three bedroom suites," said Selvadurai about his intentions
for hotels in Sri Lanka.
will have a spa tourist resort within the next three months. "I
want to have a hotel in Nuwara Eliya with spas and swimming
pools," he said. He is planning a fourth hotel in Vavuniya.
"There is nothing there now," pointed out Selvadurai.
will go to Trincomalee too," he said, speaking of his plans for
the near future.
the next five years I plan to invest Rs.4.5 billion," said
Selvadurai. "I have spoken to many Sri Lankan expatriates and
they want to come back to this lovely country. I love London. I have
spent 30 years there," said the essentially Sri Lankan
Selvadurai, who keeps coming back here and finally he decided that
Sri Lanka was the land for him, the land where his heart is and thus
the five hotels.
am planning to bring 50 to 100 expatriates who will invest here.
They will be part of the corporate culture, " said Selvadurai
who has brought here his own money and not borrowed money from any
can be admired about this millionaire with a heart is that he has
worked as a cab driver, as a counter- assistant in a pub and even
cleaned floors. "I am not ashamed. I have worked hard and
climbed the ladder. I have been honest and hardworking. I have been
studying and supporting myself doing various jobs. And eventually I
have made my success," said Selvadurai.
always told myself that I did not come here just to be a taxi
driver, I worked in a wimpy bar and I cleaned dishes, but I knew
what my goal in life was, so I was not distressed. I worked in these
jobs while I was studying and then resigned. I self-supported
myself. I worked and I studied and I lived there - paying my bills
and my rent. I am a self made man," pointed out Selvadurai.
of life, he said that he believes in fairness. "My life has to
be meaningful - when I live and when I die. I want to know that I
have done something valuable to other people. Being valuable only to
yourself is not enough. I do not want to see an uneven society, I
want to see a fair and better society without racial barriers,
colour barriers and religious barriers. I do not believe in these
things," he added.
of his family life, Selvadurai said that his parents and brothers
and sisters back here in Sri Lanka gave him the warmth and love of
family life. "Thereafter in my marriage I experienced love and
warmth again. My wife Sussanah and my two children give me the
greatest happiness," said Selvadurai with a smile.
nobody can tell me what it is like to be in the kitchen, what it is
like to wash dishes. I know it all. I know about it," he said.
about his parents, Phylix Selvadurai spoke lovingly about his mother
and father. "My father told me that money will be in your hands
today and in another person's hands tomorrow. Do not forget your
friends and family. "So I might become famous one day, but I
will not forget, I have a long way to go. I want to give a lot of
jobs," he said.
left Sri Lanka because the economic benefit in other countries are
better. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country but the money is not here.
We must improve this country," said Selvadurai.
of his Global Towers Hotel, Selvadurai said that he is happy with
his hotel and was even happier that he was able to get a CEO as
Chandra Mohotti. "I had eyes for him when he was working as the
general manager of the Galadari Hotel. I have watched the way the
Galadari Hotel came up. I wanted to have a five star quality manager
to run this hotel. Fortunately I got him," said Selvadurai.
of Sri Lanka and its hotels and entertainment, Selvadurai said that
in any country, its beaches naturally become the most prominent
area. "They will worship the beaches. But look at our
beaches," said Selvadurai pointing out to the drying fish and
dirt on the Wellawatte beach.
Sri Lanka the moment tourists arrive, they take them south, but what
about Colombo? Let us clean the beach, have lights and night shops
so that there will be night shopping on the beach. There is hardly
any local entertainment. Let us bring the entertainment to the
beachfront. Let us make these two or three miles of this beach the
most fantastic place to be in.
will be engaged in property development in Sri Lanka to the value of
12 million sterling pounds and I like to include the beachfront in
my plans," confided Selvadurai.
Selvadurai is a Sri Lankan with many successes and valuable assets.
Yet despite all his achievements Selvadurai says that his greatest
asset in his life are not financial - that they are his son Marcus
and his little daughter Sophie. "They are the most valuable
assets in my life," said Phylix, the man with a heart.
language of flowers
Lakshman de Silva
are one of the loveliest things
in the world. A lot of folklore,
beliefs, legends, superstitions and proverbs are clustered around
many of them. Here are some charming beliefs about some flowers.
rose is the queen of flowers. It is a symbol of purity,
incorruptibility and love. Rose is beauty. Girls used to put a rose
under their pillow to see the face of their lover in their dreams.
Rose petals are scattered at weddings to ensure a happy married
following is a legend about the rose. God who in his wisdom created
light, likewise made the rose, made it chaste and pure with sweet
fragrance. The Virgin Mary is associated with the rose. She is
called the (Rosa Mystica) Mystical Rose.
forget me not is a flower which symbolises friendship and loyalty.
In Europe, men and women wear it in devoted determination to remain
constant to each other.
is an ancient superstition that the flower pansy, in its juice has
the peculiar property to evoke instant love as in Shakespeare's
Midsummer Night's Dream. Titania falls in love with the first ass
she sees when Puck has dropped Oberon's juice of 'love-in-idleness'
into her eyes. The flower was originally white says a legend but was
turned purple by Cupid the god of love in the same play. Shakespeare
refers to this legend:
the imperial voters passed on in maiden meditation, fancy free yet
marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell,
fell upon a little Western flower
milk-white, now pure with love's wound,
maidens call it love idleness.
daisy flower - there is the custom of knotting long stalks together
and making daisy chains. This goes back to antiquity.
primrose is the symbol of pleasure in Hamlet. Shakespeare refers to
the primrose path of dalliance. Primrose League Conservative
Association was formed in memory of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of
daffodil is considered an unlucky flower by the gypsies, but most
other races consider it as a bringer of good luck. A folk belief has
it that the first man to see daffodils bloom in spring shall be rich
before the summer came. The powdered root of this flower was held to
be a cure for some forms of insanity.
for the flower violet, the story goes, this flower stood proud and
erect until the shadow of the cross fell upon it since when it has
hung its head in undying sorrow at man's inhumanity. This flower is
the symbol of innocence and faithful friendship. The Catholic Church
uses it as a colour of mourning.
carnation is regarded as a symbol of good luck and happiness. In
Italy and Spain this flower is used in love portions. It signifies
fascination, especially the power of a woman to attract a man.
According to a legend, the carnation flowers were formed by the
tears of the Virgin Mary as she stood at Golgotha gazing at her
represents a person or things of special whiteness or purity.
According to a legend, the lily grew from the tears of Eve shed when
she was driven out of the Garden of Eden. Lily flowers in the hand
of the statues of St. Joseph is a symbol of his purity. Lily is also
the symbol of motherhood and of marriage.
is called windflower after Greek Anemone, daughter of the wind. The
legend goes that Adonis was a youth beloved by Aphrodite (Venus),
the goddess of love. He was killed by a wild boar while out hunting
and the flower anemone sprang out of the ground from his blood at
the command of Aphrodite. According to another legend it turned red
with the blood of Christ.
go hand in hand with human life. They are used for worship at
churches and temples. At weddings, bouquets for brides, bride's
maids and flower girls. Flowers adorn homes and also occasions and
parties. Greetings and messages 'say it' with flowers. At funerals
wreaths are laid in graves by family members and friends.
and hymns go with flowers:
* Lily Of The Valley
* Mystique Rose - What Tree
* Flower E'en The Fairest
* Is Half So Fair As Thee
of all beings...'
the year 1853 on December 22 was born an
infant girl to a simple, humble, God fearing couple in a
remote and obscure village, Jeyarampati about 60 miles west of
Calcutta. The young parents of the precious first born,
Ramachandra Mukerjee and Shyamasundari rejoiced at her birth.
They named her Sarada, an epithet of Goddess Saraswathi.
few days before conceiving the child, the mother Shyamasundari
had an unusual experience. When she was resting by a pond, she
saw a little girl with her anklets tinkling come to her from
nowhere. The girl had hugged her saying, "mother, I want
to come home." At this Shyamasundari fainted. She was
found and taken home. When she came round, she felt the
presence of life within her which she surmised was that of the
little girl who entered her womb.
miraculous incidents have happened in the births of saints and
prophets too. So Sarada's birth itself is shrouded in
Mother Sri Sarada Devi
is an accepted fact that Goddess Amman - be it - Parasakthi or Kali
- manifested herself, appearing as a little girl dressed in skirt
and blouse and wearing anklets. Many have vowed seeing her in person
or in their dreams.
like any other Indian girl was brought up in the typical Hindu
tradition. None would have even dreamt that this little girl going
around doing the household chores along with her mother would one
day emerge as the holiest of holy women in India and become a symbol
of Indian womanhood, a household word, a pointer and a beacon light
to all women, Hindus or otherwise.
the turning point came in her life when as a little child of five
years she was given in marriage to Sadadhar, a young man from
kamarpukur, who was a Kali devotee, who later was known as
Ramakrishna. He was a young man of 23 years. Their marriage also was
by divine will. When Sadadhar got to know his parents were looking
for a partner for him, he told them that the girl born for him was
at Jayarambati, at Ramachandra Mukerjee's house. Sure enough his
parents found Sarada.
this incident Sarada had gone to a temple festival with some senior
ladies. One of them playfully asked her whom she would marry, she
pointed at a young man who was none other than Sadadhar himself who
had also come for the festival. If this is not the work of divinity
what else is? Sarada stayed in her parents' home till she came of
was a divine union. Sri Ramakrishna was a Sakthi devotee. He saw all
women as the manifestation of Goddess Parvathi or Kali. It was said
he would laugh and cry and then in ecstasy go into a trance or
samadi. He perhaps had direct communion with the Goddess. When
Sarada joined him as a young beautiful maiden, he gazed at her face
and sunk into a state of ecstasy because he saw Kali in her face. So
he did the Shodasi pooja, with her seated in the place set for Kali.
Sarada also accepted it without displaying any emotion.
seemed the two of them were in samadi when the pooja ended. They
were an ideal couple who crushed and conquered the natural physical
leanings. "Have you come to drag me into the mine of sinful
life?" was what he asked when she came to him. "Why should
I?" replied Sarada. "I have come to be of support to you
in your spiritual journey." Together they went on their
spiritual journey finding bliss in the service to fellow human
Shyama Sundari's disappointment at not having a grand child, Guru
Maharaj told, Sarada, "Very soon children all over the world
will call you mother. You will be mother to all, even if you do not
have a child of your own." And so this Holy Mother became the
Universal Mother. Many people affected in life in some way or other
sought refuge at her little Nahabat, a small room close to Guru
went to her for solace. She was beyond caste, creed or religion. She
treated all alike. She showed concern for each and everyone who went
to her with one problem or other. Once, a woman who was of a dubious
character, was not allowed to go to her by one of her ardent
devotees. She waved him aside saying, "If one of my children
falls into a muddy ditch will I not take him, clean him and keep him
in my lap?" Such was her love and compassion that have no
were many incidents in her life to show that she was no ordinary
human being. There was the intervention of divinity throughout her
life. People who hardly knew her would gaze into her face in wonder
- for there they say was their own mother.
some others have seen Kali's face in her. Once when she was
travelling, she was confronted by a dacoit and his wife. Sarada had
no fear because her heart was filled with love. With the purity of
innocence, she addressed them as father and mother. They were
completely taken aback. They shed their fierce nature and with equal
affection considered her as their daughter and escorted her to her
destination. It seemed later the dacoit had confessed that in her
face he saw Kali herself. That is quite possible given that she is
an incarnation of Goddess Kali herself.
Dev always made Sarada feel she was the mother of all beings and in
the course of time she also accepted the situation and her heart was
full of the love of a mother for her child. During her last days,
she said, "for those who have come, for those who have not
come, for those who will come in the future, I am the mother of
all." Her pure thought transcends the ethereal world. What more
proof to show she is an incarnation of Mother Goddess herself?
"Whoever calls me mother is my child," said the Holy
Mother on another occasion.
Westerners regarded her with deep love and respect and piety. Sister
Nivethitha awed by her purity, dignity and honour, her strong mind
and large heart remarked, "Is she the last of an old order or
the beginning of a new?"
was not educated in the strictest sense of the word but Guru Dev's
influence on her had a positive impact on her thoughts and words.
together with her spirituality led her to a state of bliss, and
blissful oblivion. At that stage only God remained in her thought
and nothing else. She realised the truth through Guru Dev. Her words
are gems of wisdom suitable for all ages and all stages.
you want peace of mind, do not look for faults in others. Rather
find out your own fault. Nobody is a stranger my child, the whole
world is stranger my child, the whole world is yours."
Meditating on her words of wisdom itself will give one inner peace
and happiness. Sri Ramakrishna said of her, "She is my
Saraswathi who has come to bestow knowledge to all." There is
nothing but pure love for all and sundry.
Swami Vivekananda kept the Hindu flag swaying high in America, he
wrote to Swami Shivananda in 1894, "You have not realised the
wonderful significance of Mother's life. Without Shakthi there is no
regeneration, for the world." He felt that in India, Shakthi
was held in dishonour which is even today an unfortunate fact.
According to Swamiji, Mother has been born to revive that wonderful
Shakthi in India. Quite true, incidents in the Mother's life have
proved it without doubt.
account of the Holy Mother's birth and bearing, her gentle might and
mien cannot be said in a few words. It is like draining the sea into
a small channel. Her sayings sum up the wonder woman she was. These
words of our Holy Mother Sarada Devi shed more light on the divine
mother and what a realised saint she is.
discriminate. Try to realise that the outside object which is
attracting your mind is impermanent, and turn your attention to God.
performing Japa, take the name of God with the utmost love,
sincerity and self surrender.
mantra purifies the body, man becomes pure by repeating the name of
God. So repeat his name always.
Lord has given the fingers. Make the best use of them by counting
sins are counteracted by meditation, Japa and spiritual thoughts.
on the Lord who pervades the entire universe. He will shower His
blessings upon you.
never finds Him without love and devotion.
alone is true. Everything else is false.
goal in life is to realise God and to be always immersed in His
blessed Mother, Praised be thy name!
Majorem Dei glorium - for the greater glory of God!
Shezna Shums and Jamila Najmuddin
worldwide commemorate the beginning
of the holy month of Ramadan. With fasting now observed in each and
every Muslim household for a period of approximately 30 days,
fasting, as stated in the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an, "is
prescribed to all Muslims, as it was prescribed to those before
around the world, throughout this holy month, will sacrifice eating
and drinking from dawn to dusk, offer charity and take part in
special prayers. Ramadan, as the holy books mention is the
commemoration of a month of sacrifice as well as joyous celebrations
that follow thereafter.
began preparing for the holy month of Ramadan several weeks ahead.
During this month even my children fast from dawn to dusk. Ramadan
is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar," said Mohammed
time is a sight not to be missed. Ifthaar is the breaking of the
fast in the evening where Muslims follow a tradition of eating
dates. "We usually break the fast by eating dates. A healthy
meal is then followed with the intake of fresh juices so that we are
healthy to fast the following day," Salim said.
is also said that fasting is the only worship in which Allah has
said that He himself is the reward for it. This means that one
develops a bond with the almighty that Allah himself becomes the
Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet, (peace be upon him), said:
"Allah, the lord of honour and glory says: All other deeds of
man are for himself but his fasting is purely for me and I shall
reward him for it.The fast is a shield. When any of you is fasting
he should abstain from lose talk and noisy exchanges. Should anyone
revile him or seek to pick a quarrel with him, he should respond
with: I am observing a fast. By him in whose hands is the life of
Muhammad, the breath of one who is fasting is purer in the sight of
Allah than the fragrance of musk. One who fasts experiences two
joys: he is joyful when he breaks his fast, and he is joyful by
virtue of his fast when he meets his Lord."
is an important and significant part of the Islamic life as it is
one of the distinctive features of the Muslim community and is one
of the five pillars of Islam. The other pillars of Islam are
testifying there is no God but Allah and Muhammad (SAL) is the
messenger of Allah, giving Zakat (charity), performing Hajj and
performing one's daily prayers.
is required for Muslims both female and male who have reached
puberty, are sane, healthy and are capable of bearing the fast.
there are also those who are not obliged to fast and they are
children, a person who is sick or insane, who is travelling a long
distance, a woman who is menstruating or a mother who is breast
feeding a child.
month of fasting also begins at the sighting of the new moon either
by a respected person or when a holy institution establishes the
of the main conditions that Muslims have to practice when observing
a fast is having the true intention to fast, which means that he/she
has to refrain from eating or drinking which will break the fast.
of the recommended measures while fasting is that a predawn meal is
taken even if it is drinking a glass of water while when breaking
the fast, Muslims should break the fast with dates and water.
traits that should be encouraged are to give charity and spend time
in spiritual retreat. However, things that should be avoided when
one is fasting are lying, using foul language and avoiding blood
donation as this could weaken a person. And if a person misses some
days he or she is recommended to make up those missed days at a
month of Ramadan is indeed a time when spiritual retreat should be
encouraged and one such time is during Laylat-Al-Qadr (Night of
divine decree) - this is a holy night which could fall on any odd
date during the last 10 days of Ramadan.
person should spend time in the mosque and read the Qur'an during
the night and also attend to special prayers.
is also during the month of fasting that Muslims should give Zakat.
This is an amount of 2.5 percent of ones assets. This charity should
be given to a number of categories and to mention a few - the poor,
family members who are in great need of assistance but cannot ask
directly for money and travellers who are in need of money.