Customs and Ceremonies in Pakistan
By Kamran Bukhari
In Pakistan, as elsewhere in the east, people have a knack of highlighting the significance of an occasion with a particular custom. Life among traditionalists, in fact, can be one long, colorful ritual.
The Pakistani round of rituals is based on sound psychology. It is designed to entice man-and woman-into playing his role in life in a responsive manner. In doing so, it cushions him against some of the doubts, fears, and confusions that are the lot of the people in more individualistic societies.
To help man understand his purpose and significance in the scheme of things, each stage of his life is marked by a ceremony. This endless series of ceremonies helps him realize that he is something special, with a key position in life's bewildering pattern.
The Pakistani ceremonies begin as soon as a child is born. Throughout his life, he experiences their rich symbolism. Besides, they provide his relatives and friends with a welcome escape from life's drudgery.
The very first ceremony, the AZAN, is performed when the baby is barly hours hold. The traditional Islamic call to prayer is said in the baby's ear by his grandfather or some other venerable relative or friend. To commemorate this occasion, sweets are distributed among those present.
The baby's eyes are lined with KAJAL and SURMA (colirium) and a small SURMA dot is applied on his forehead to ward off evil eye. Superstitious parents often tie lengths of black string around the infant's wrists. Since a black mark is commonly regsrded as a blemish, the belief is that both the black dot and the black string will outwit the evil eye into thinking that the baby is unattractive and leaving it alone.
The tradition of not selecting name until the baby has actually arrived on the scene is explained by the wish not to tempt fate. In most Pakistani families, naming the baby is the prerogative of the grandfather. Parents have little say in the matter.
All this is changing and many old customs, especially those rooted in superstitions, are dying out. Since a name is seldom agreed upon before the baby's arrival, it is not uncommon that a child is known by a nickname for quite a while.
Partly because of the superstition but mostly due to sentiments, the first garment of an expected baby's layette is made from an old shirt of the grandfather. An old garment is not likely to tempt fate. Besides, some of the grandfather's fine attributes, it is piously hoped, will be passed on to the infant when he wears a KURTA made of the old man's shirt.
The child is officially named when the AQEEQA is performed, usually within 40 days of birth. A barber carefully shaves off the child's hair thus ensuring, so the belief goes, a strong, thick growth. The shorn curls are weighed against silver, which is given to the poor. To commemorate the occasion a sacrificial offering is made, one for a girl and two for a boy. The meat is distributed among the poor. In some cases, close friends and relatives also receive a share.
The various ceremonies that mark the different stages of a man's life have two features in common: a distribution of largesse to the poor and the spirited feasting and merrymaking by close friends and relations. To bless the occasion and, perhaps, to justify gaiety, the ceremony is usually given a religious flavor.
The simple KHEER-CHATTAI ceremony, performed to mark the fact that the baby is old enough (six to seven months) to begin cereals and broth, also involves much feasting. There is a gathering ot the clan, and the young brothers, sisters and the cousins of the infant place a bit of KHEER (rice pudding) in his mouth. The adults `, then takeover and, after an elaborate dinner, enjoy a dessert of KHEER. Food is also distributed among the poor.
The child next comes into the limelight when he is four years, four months, and four days old. He is now considered old enough to learn to read and the occasion is santified by the BISMILLAH ceremony. BISMILLAH is the first word in the Holy Quran. It means In the name of God. Traditionally, the little boy, dressed in an ACHKAN (high collar, knee lenght tunic) and cap is the center of attraction as he sits on the stool facing the MAULVI (priest). Little girs are dressed like brides, complete with DUPATTA (stole), jewelry and hennaed palms. Promped by the MAULVI,the child repeats BISMILLAH and then writes the first letter of the alphabet on a writing board. The inevitabnle feasting, distribution of sweets and gaiety follows. Sweets are also sent to the neighborhood mosque and distributed to the poor.
After the Bismillah ceremony comes the AMIN. This solemn ceremony is performed when the child finishes his first reading of the Holy Quran, usually around the age of 10, sometimes even earlier. The MAULVI, who so painstakingly has helped his young pupil to master the Arabic script and to read the SURATS (verses from the Holy Quran) is traditionally given a POSHAK (robe) complete with turban and shawl. Gifts are given to the child and sweets are served.
With the child himself, the two most popular ceremonies are his SAALGIRAH (birthday) and his ROZA KUSHAI, which celebrates breaking of the first fast during the month of Ramadan. The birthday enables him to whoop it up with his friends.
As for ROZA KUSHAI, it marks more than the child's first fast. He is 12 years old, the age when fasting becomes obligatory. The carefree childhood years are behind him and he is ready to participate in religious observances. Hence, there is an air of solemnity about the elaborate SEHRI (a meal which is served about an hour before dawn). At sunset, the IFTAR is again a lavish affair, with a dozen delicacies to reward the young man for self-denial. His friends, cousins, and older relatives are there to congratulate him and share in the repast. Naturally, the poor are not forgotten.
One of the skills highly prized in the young girl is the ability to read well at MILAD. To offer thanks is a spontaneous reaction, of course, but people prefer to make it an impressive event. And so a milad is organized to offer thanks to the Almioghty for the blessing ranging from the birth of a child, to recovery from an illness, to success in examination. Normally, the milad is rounded off with a distribution of sweets. However, some may organize an elaborate tea or sumptutious dinner.
The next series of cereminies centers on marriage, the culmination of youth, the flowering and fruitation of life, man's commitment to the human race, his acknowledgement of nature's immutable cycle of growth and decay.
Many arrangements must be made for different ceremonies accompanying the marriage. First comes the MAYUN or LAGAN, three or four days before marriage. This marks the retirement of the bride to a secluded section of the house. During this time she is to appear shabby which will then enhance the value of her emergence as a beautiful bride.
The day before the marriage the MEHNDI ceremony is held during which the girl's hand and feet are painted with henna.
Pakistani marriage present an interesting paradox. The Muslim marriage is a social contract. The consent of the bride and the groom to the marriage (ijab and qabool) in the presence of at least two witnesses is all that is required to solemnize the wedding. Thereafter the QAZI (religious scholar) and the guests offer a short prayer for the success of the marriage. The ceremony is over. Dried dates are then distributed to the guests. The gay feasts, such as MAYUN and MEHNDI, commence days before the actual ceremony. They are high-lighted by a vast variety of rituals, many of them quite archaic, but nevertheless imbued with a certain sentiment appeal.
Wedding customs vary from province to province, even from family to family. But the underlying idea is to emphasize the sanctity of the institution. The marriage unites not only the young people but also both of their families. The bride and groom assume prescribed responsibilities to their in-laws. A trust so carefully and elaborately tied is almost impossible to loosen.
A wedding does not, of course, bring to an end the ceremonies that occur in a man's life as regularly as milestones. Yet the ceremonies that bind him so firmly in marriage constitute a high point. By the time he aquires a wife, he has learned to accept and adjust to his place in life's complicated pattern. After that, inevitably, attention shifts to his first-born.
Security Ordered for Woman Who Eloped
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A 24-year-old Pakistani woman threatened with death after marrying without her family's permission got special protection on Thursday on the orders of President Pervez Musharraf.
Shaista Almani eloped with Balakh Sher Mahar in August in defiance of tribal customs in which marriages are arranged by the partners' families.
Local media said the couple were forced to flee after returning as man and wife to their home town of Pannu Aqil in the southern province of Sindh when Almani received death threats.
Some news reports said Mahar had divorced Almani under pressure from his family but her life was still in danger.
The official APP news agency said Musharraf had ordered Sindh authorities to take all possible measures to ensure her safety.
"The President also directed the provincial government to take action against those who are harassing Ms Almani," it said.
Every year, hundreds of women are killed in feudal rural Pakistan for offences deemed to have offended family honor or Islam, including adultery, marrying without the consent of their families and failing to bring an adequate dowry.
It was the second intervention by Musharraf in less than two months in cases relating to women.
In November, he ordered a probe into whether a 23-year-old woman was the victim of a so-called "honor killing" in central Pakistan after examination of her body showed signs of torture.
Her father later admitted to police that he strangled her after she eloped with her lover.
But rights groups say many cases of murder for financial gain or other reasons are presented in Pakistan as honor killings as authorities tend to deal with them more leniently or not at all.
By Caryn S. Lennon, J.D.
What happens when love isn't enough? When you've tried everything and the marriage isn't working? When divorce seems like the only answer?
No one is ever really prepared for how complex and stressful the process will be, or how many difficult decisions have to be made before husband and wife can divorce. The choices are critical, because your entire future is at stake.
Unfortunately, too many people end up getting a divorce the traditional way: by hiring lawyers and going to court. The cost is huge, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the end no one really wins, and both parties have spent their investments, retirement funds, or the children's college education fund on lawyer's fees and court costs.
There is an alternative. "Cooperative divorce" is a process in which husband and wife work together to reach an agreement on issues such as parenting plans and financial plans. It sounds impossible, especially to individuals still struggling to accept the idea that the marriage is over. However, you don't have to like your spouse to negotiate an agreement. What you need is the knowledge that cooperation is in your own best interest, whether you want the divorce or not. You must be willing to set aside your emotions, take responsibility for the decisions, and get help.
The Emotional Divorce
Treat your divorce as a series of events, each of which should be handled separately. The first event is your emotional divorce, the process of accepting on an emotional level that the marriage is in trouble and that separating is appropriate. Understand that you are likely to experience many difficult emotions. Anger, fear and guilt are common feelings for couples about to separate. You are taking a life-altering step when you leave your marriage, whether it is your choice or not. Emotions, however, shouldn't be the basis for your most important decisions. Getting the emotional divorce first enables you and your spouse to think clearly about legal and financial matters. There will always be some issues worth your time and effort, and some better set aside. Decisions about your house, investments, pensions and children should be made calmly and rationally, taking into account what you need, which is not necessarily what you may think you want.
The Financial Divorce
The financial divorce is next. The key to a successful cooperative divorce and a secure financial future is preparation. You can only make intelligent decisions if you know all your options. Books, seminars and websites can be useful sources of information. Get advice on your rights and obligations from experts. Consult an attorney about the law, an accountant about tax questions, and a Certified Divorce Planner™ (an expert in divorce finances) for financial issues.
Begin by collecting all the information you can about your family's finances. Bank statements, tax returns, W-2s and 1099s, brokerage statements, bills, loan documents and other financial records are critical to determining where you stand financially and where you will be in years to come. You have to know your starting point to plan your future, so you will need to determine what you are spending and how much income is available to meet your financial needs. Remember that you will be supporting two households on the same income in the future, so expect to have to make changes.
Accuracy is really important, too. Most people have no idea how much they actually spend because so much of our spending is cash. Add up those cash withdrawals every month when you're doing your budget. Don't forget expenses that aren't regular either. Anticipate and plan for annual costs such as homeowner association fees, or the money might not be available when you need it.
When you have a clear picture of your finances you can begin to make decisions on the issues: support (child/spouse) and division of assets and debts. There are guidelines for these decisions. Support issues are generally decided on the basis of need. All states have a formula into which you insert income figures for the parents, number of children, and other factors in order to calculate child support payments. The result may or may not meet your actual needs, since there are no adjustments for your unique circumstances. You can negotiate for an amount that differs from the guidelines.
Spousal support is based on need of the recipient and ability of the other spouse to pay, but not all jurisdictions provide guidelines. If you have prepared a thorough budget and can demonstrate a clear need, it will be easier to negotiate for temporary or permanent spousal support.
Property is generally divided according to what the couple thinks is fair. You may agree to divide the marital assets 50/50 or you may not. It's your choice. Most couples who work with a Certified Divorce Planner™ do not split assets evenly. If you can't agree, a judge will make the decisions for you. The law provides factors for the judge to consider (length of marriage; age and health of spouses; ability to earn; education levels, etc.), but you have to convince the judge by presenting evidence of what is an "equitable distribution" of the assets.
The Legal Divorce
The final step is the legal divorce, or what lawyers call the "dissolution of the marriage" by a court. You will need to negotiate a settlement agreement that includes the provisions you've made for support, division of property, parenting and any other matters that concern you. Using a mediator will save you time and thousands of dollars. Mediators guide you through the decision-making process step by step, showing you what to do and helping you make choices for yourselves. Working together and sharing the cost of mediation lets you resolve the issues efficiently and economically, often in only a few hours. The end result, a Property Settlement Agreement (or Separation Agreement, or Marital Separation Agreement) is a map for your future. The agreement will be attached to the petition which is sent to the court when you are ready to request an inexpensive, uncontested divorce.
The system of marriage that existed in Kerala in the past were diverse and ingenious. The marriage is the most decisive event in the girl's life, after she has attained puberty. Even before, when she is a small child there is a custom called 'Kettukalyanam'.
Kettukalyanam was the practice among Nayars (also Kshatriyas, Ezhavas, Arayas, pulayas and even certain tribes) to conduct ritual marriages of their daughters usually several girls of different age groups belonging to a tarawad had their marriage conducted in the same place and on the same occasion. The adult males married the girls. Some times one adult married several women.
In some cases, the bridegroom belonged to the Kshatriyas or Aryapattan or Elayatu communities (lower status sub-castes among Nambootiris). He also acted as the priest. He tied a sacramental thread around the neck of the bride. Then the brother of the child bride carried her on his shoulders to a decorated pandal, a thatched shed improvised for the occasion in the front courtyard of the house.
The bride would be in her wedding shawl (mandrakodi) which covers her face as a veil. After the wedding is performed by tying the thread, the priest - bridegroom washes his hands, an act which symbolises his severance of all relationship with the girl whom he had just initiated into wedlock. The real marriage of the girl has yet to take place after she attains puberty. But for a girl to attain puberty before she had her Kettukalyanam among Nayars, Kshatriyas, Tiyyas is very expensive, elaborate and festive than the real marriage ceremonies. The ritual marriage ceremony would be concluded by sumptuous feasts for four days consecutively in which friends and relatives would participate. On the fourth day, the women of the village took a ceremonial bath along with the girl and returned to her home to make merry and rejoice with dances and songs.
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Investing Basics: Setting up your financial goals
Money has little to do with some of our most important personal goals. These include spending more time with family, doing volunteer work, or developing a hobby. Yet, other personal goals clearly can be defined as financial goals. These include:
Paying off your debts. By establishing a repayment plan, you can repay your debts in a systematic fashion. A repayment plan may take years. It requires discipline to control your spending. For example, to pay off $5,000 in credit card debt at 14% interest requires monthly payments of $240 for the next two years. That's assuming you make no additional charges. As long as you owe, you sacrifice other financial goals for the sake of paying creditors.
Saving for a down payment on a home. You may be thinking about buying your first home in a few years. The normal size of a down payment is 20% of the home purchase price. At today's home prices, this means saving somewhere in the range of $25,000 to $50,000. To save $25,000, you would have to set aside just over $4,000 a year for each of the next five years, if you can earn an 8% rate of return.
Saving for a child's college education. For the school year that began in August 2002, the average yearly tuition bill at public four-year colleges or universities rose 9.6% to $4,081, the College Board said in its latest survey. For private institutions, tuition prices rose 5.8% to $18,273 a year. By setting aside $260 every three months for the next 15 years, invested at 8%, you will have saved $30,000. This should make a considerable dent in the future cost of your child's college education. This assumes you use a college savings plan or other tax-advantaged account.
Saving for retirement. For most of us, saving for retirement is our most important financial goal. We may live 20 or 30 years after we stop working. Financial planners strongly advise against depending entirely on the income you receive from Social Security. To maintain a comfortable living, you may decide you want to save $500,000 in another 30 years.
Fortunately, you can invest with a tax-deferred account such as an IRA or 401(k) plan. In addition to postponing any taxes until the future, these accounts offer compounded growth. For example, if you invest $5,000 a year for 30 years at 8% in an IRA, the account will grow to almost $567,000. If you were to save with a taxable account and were in the 25% tax bracket, however, the amount would only reach about $395,000. This is the power of compounding you receive by using a tax-advantaged account.
Finally, keep in mind that it's quite common to have more than one financial goal. It's important to identify all of them, and set up a savings plan for each goal.
Top New Year's Money Resolutions
It's January. The credit card bills from your overspending at Christmas are beginning to hit the mat. You are worried that you are soon going to get a letter from the bank manager. How are you going to turn your finances around? With some careful financial management and ensuring that you are taking advantage of the best deals available you can sort your finances out in the coming year.
Tiscali's top 10 recommendations for your financial New Year's resolutions.
1. Switch to a cheaper credit card HSBC Standard charges 18.9% interest and the Lloyds TSB Classic - 17.9% on their credit cards. These are the worst examples of high rates of interest but many common cards are still charging high rates of interest when bank rate is at its lowest for many years.
Why pay nearly 20% interest when you need only pay 0% for six months as an introductory offer for a transfer of balance on a range of cards. You may also find that you have a period with no interest on any new purchases. You should also consider, for the longer term, which cards have the lowest APR. Use our cardfinder service to see what is the best deal for you. You just need to know the name of your card and you can compare it with the other cards on the market and check whether you can do better. For example if you changed cards from the most expensive and you had an outstanding balance of around £500 a month you could save yourself around £50.
Check out the current best buy table here. You should also think about how you use your card. If you pay off every month perhaps it might be worth finding a card with a longer interest-free period or no annual charge. Or perhaps it might be better to choose one with cashback or airmiles.
Check out other great deals here.
But remember, most important of all, don't get yourself into trouble by borrowing more than you can afford to pay back - either on a credit card or a loan. Make sure you know what you can afford to pay back on a monthly basis and borrow no more than that.
2 Consolidate debts with a cheap loan If you have an overdraft and credit card bills and other debts you might find that your best option is to find a low-interest loan, pay them all off and only be paying back to one lender - debt consolidation. Very often these are at much lower rates than overdrafts or cards unless you are lucky enough to get a 0% interest credit card. You need to shop around as there can be a big difference in rates offered. For example some of the highest rates on a £5K loan over 3 years are Lloyds TSB Standard at 15.9%, the Barclayloan at 15.9% and the Royal Bank of Scotland - 16.2%. Compare these with some of the best deals currently available
Lombard Direct - 7% typical APR.
But beware some low rates are only offered for short periods and then revert to a high rate so check the APR (annual percentage rate) and usually the one with the lowest APR will be the cheapest loan. Don't borrow more than you can afford to pay back and remember that if you use your home as security for a loan and don't keep up repayments you could lose it.
3 Think about changing bank accounts You may not be getting the best value out of your bank. Does your bank pay interest on your current account balance? Does it meet your overdraft requirements? Remember, if you have an overdraft do not go over your overdraft limit as you will end up paying a "penalty" rate of interest. You can find out whether there is a bank account better suited to your needs using our handy bank account tool. And following regulatory changes moving banks should now happen much more smoothly with all your direct debits and standing orders being changed without hassle. All you need to do is get in touch with your new bank, and agree with them the date upon which you want to make a transfer and they do the rest for you. Using your authorisation they will contact your old bank, arrange for the transfer of the balance, but also contact each of your direct debit companies, give them the details of the new bank and instruct them to take the debits from the new bank. The direct debit companies themselves will get a confirmation of that for security purposes from your old bank, tie the two up and hey presto you just have to deal with your new bank. It should be as simple as that.
4 Take a look at your mortgage With interest rates at their lowest for many years you might find it pays to switch mortgage. However, you must ensure that the savings you will make will outweigh any extra costs and penalties you might have to pay. You could have to pay an application fee for a special loan (perhaps £250-300), a valuation fee, and lawyers' fees too, and this bill could easily hit £700-800 in total. This may wipe out the savings. Check out our mortgage finder and see whether you could be better off.
If you are paying a lower mortgage rate than you have done for some time be sensible and think about what to do with the extra cash. If your mortgage lender will allow it you might do well to continue paying the old rate - overpaying - which then reduces the length of your mortgage. If not think about saving the money either in a high interest savings account or perhaps investing it in bonds or unit trusts for the longer term. Find an independent financial adviser to ensure that you get the best unbiased advice.
5 Move your savings to a higher paying account Don't have your savings moldering away earning you only 0.01% in the Woolwich Instant Cash Account when you could switch to an account paying far more. There are many poor paying bank or building society accounts and why stick with them when you could be earning something like 4.00% on Cahoot's Easy Access account. If you have more to invest or are happy to give notice you could get even higher rates. Use our savings checker to make sure you are getting the best deal available.
6 Get a better insurance deal Many people just keep going back to the same insurance company each year without finding out whether they could be saving themselves money. When you have to renew your car or your house insurance get a range of quotes to find out which is the cheapest. If you buy travel insurance don't just buy it from the travel agent you may be costing yourself money that you could be buying icecream or ski-passes with. You can get insurance quotes online to see how competitive your current deal is.
7 Don't leave it to the last minute to get an ISA January tends to see the start of "ISA season" where many people realise that they are not making the most of the Chancellor's generosity which means that you can save or invest without paying tax on your interest or profits. If you have some money to save or invest an ISA can make sense - check out our ISA section for details of how they work. Make sure you give yourself time to do your research, consult an adviser and make the most of your allowance.
8 Fill in your tax return on time If you have been sent a Self Assessment tax form if you don't fill it in by the end of January you could find yourself paying a penalty of £100. Check out our advice on filling in your tax form.
You should also make a resolution to keep all your financial documents in good order. The taxman can charge you a penalty of up to £3,000 for each failure to maintain or retain adequate records to back up a return (or claim).
• You need to keep any P60, P45 or P11D forms from your employer which have details about your pay (including bonuses) and tax deducted benefits in kind, expense payments and possibly about share scheme arrangements.
• Anything you are sent by the Benefits Agency about your State pension or other taxable social security benefits.
• Any information from your banks and building societies about the interest on your account(s).
• Details from all or any company in which you own shares about dividends you receive.
You need to keep the records for about two years after the end of the tax year to which they apply. Self-employed people and business partners will have to keep their records for about six years. (A tax year starts on 6 April in one year and finishes on 5 April in the next.) If there is an enquiry into a return, the relevant records must by retained until the enquiry is over.
9 Check out your pension situation To ensure that you are not left in poverty in your old age you should ensure that you have got adequate pension arrangements. First of all you can find out the value of your state pension arrangements which will give you a better idea of how big the gap you need to plug between what the State provides and what you feel will keep you in an appropriate standard of living. For an individual forecast complete form BR`9 and send it to the Retirement Pension Forecast and Advice Service. To get the form call 0845 731 3233.
10 Switch energy suppliers You may be paying around £100 more than you need to if you aren't buying your gas and electricity from the cheapest suppliers. Tiscali has teamed up with uswitch to give you an independent guide to the best fuel deals available. Check our Cut your Bills tool.
If you follow this plan you should certainly have a wealthier and wiser new year.
Women not prohibited from driving in Islam, says Al-Qarni
By Somayya Jabarti & Maha Akeel
Sheikh Ayed Al-Qarni, a prominent Saudi Islamic scholar, has said that Islam does not prohibit women from driving but that the matter must be seriously discussed. He said he preferred a woman driving her car herself rather than being driven by a stranger without a legal escort.
“There is no definite text (either in the Qur’an or Sunnah) that bans women driving,” said the scholar, who is known for his moderate Islamic views, in an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper. He called for a debate on the issue by prominent scholars.
Al-Qarni’s statement was welcomed by many Saudis, including women, who expressed their hopes that women would be allowed to drive in the Kingdom in the near future.
The issue is likely to top the agenda of the next national dialogue, which will focus on women. According to Dr. Rashid Al-Rajeh, deputy chairman of the forum, 30 women will take part in the event to be held in Madinah next month. “The prohibition of women driving is not an established religious rule,” Al-Qarni said. “If a woman is given the choice between driving a car herself or being alone in a car with a stranger, then I would choose that she drive herself,” he added. The scholar, however, does not want to give the impression that he necessarily believes that women should drive. “I personally will not allow my wife or daughters or sisters to drive. But I tell my brothers to keep the matter open for debate by a responsible scientific body,” he said. “We have to address all issues, including women driving, in a wise and rational manner,” he added.
He also said that women should be given a “wider opportunity to participate fully in society, which needs to listen to what women have to say.” He called for the setting up of special courts to look into women’s grievances, such as their complaints about husbands and fathers.
Faisal Ahmad, a postgraduate student in Islamic studies at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, said scholars must take decisions on important issues with responsibility. “Permitting and prohibiting things shouldn’t be done lightly. When one permits or prohibits something in Islam, it’s applicable to all Muslims. So when driving for women is prohibited, it means that all our Muslim sisters in the world are committing a sin when they drive,” he pointed out.
“I cannot but help thinking that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never prohibited women from riding horses or whatever in those times...so what is the difference now?”
“I can understand some of us do not want our sisters, daughters, mothers or wives to drive but it’s not due to their being unable to drive. In fact, many of them drive abroad, but here in the Kingdom, many men in the streets and in cars do not practice Islamic conduct,” he told Arab News.
In her comment, Rana Abdul Aziz, a religious education teacher in a girls’ school, stressed the need to separate tradition from religion. “What is culturally or socially rejected is different from what is religiously acceptable,” she pointed out. “I appreciate what Sheikh Al-Qarni said and his differentiating between what Islam allows and what he personally would or would not allow.” She concluded wistfully: “I wonder when, or if, others will see the light.”
Dr. Afaf Al-Bar, associate professor of Arabic at King Abdul Aziz University, agrees with Al-Qarni that Islam does not prohibit women from driving. “But the problem is that our society is not ready for women driving yet,” she said. Even though she can drive abroad, she does not think that the social environment in the Kingdom is suitable for women driving. “There are also problems such as lack of parking facilities, bad road conditions and reckless driving,” she added.
1. در فرهنگ ما بر خلاف آنچه بما نسبت میدهند، وقت شناسی ازاهمیت ویژه ای برخوردار است. تنها با این تفاوت که تآکید برماهیت وقت شناسی است نه شکل آن. همانطورکه تشبیه "وقت طلاست" زبانزد خاص وعام است، بزرگان شعر و ادب فارسی به ماهیت وقت توجه خاص نشان داده اند که هرحرف جائی وهر نکته مقامی دارد. برای مثال به این کاربرد وقت از نظامی گنجوی توجه بفرمائید:
نه دانش باشد آنکسرا نه فرهنگ که وقت دوستی پیش آورد جنگ
به عالم وقت هر چیزی پدید است در هر گنج را وقتی کلید است
غافل منشین نه وقت بازی است وقت هنراست و سر فرازی است
ویا این بیان شیوای مولوی:
درنمازش چو خروسم سبک ووقت شناس نه چو زاغم که بود نعره او وصل گسل
بیان فیلسوفانه ناصر خسرو:
آسایشت نبینم، ای چرخ آسیائی خود سوده می نگردی، مارا همی بسائی
بسیار گشت دورت، تا مرد بی تفکر گوید همی قدیمی، بیحد و منتهائی
ایام بر دوقسم است، آینده و گذشته وان رابوقت حاضر، باشد ازاین جدائی
پس توبوقت حاضر، نزدیک مرددانا زان رفته انتهائی، زآینده ابتدائی
مرهرکه رابینی، یا هرکجا نشینی گاهی زدرد نالی، گاهی زبینوائی
بعبارت ساده ترباید گفت همانطورکه زندگی کردن مدیریت محدودیتهاست تاازمواهب زندگی بهره مند شویم، وقت شناسی مدیریت زمان است تاازامکانات بودن لذت ببریم واین وجه تمایز انسان متمدن از متجدد است که از زنده ئی کردن به زندگی میرسد وبرخلاف انسان متجدد زندگی را فدای زنده بودن نمیکند. انسان متمدن جبر زمان را بخوبی میشناسد ولی باآن در ستیز نیست. او حتی درتطبیق شرایط زندگی خود با مدیریت قراردادی جامعه درتعیین وقت راه اعتدال را درپیش میگیرد تابدام هیاهوبرای هیچ گرفتارنشود. برای انسان متمدن زنده بودن زندگی نیست وبرهمین منوال بدنبال زمان دویدن وقت شناسی نخواهد بود.
2. تآکید بیش از حد برشکل وقت شناسی نه تنها مفید بفایده نیست، بلکه میتواند با فشارروانی که بر روحیه انسان وارد میکند، آسیبهای جبران ناپذیری ببار آورد.
فرهنگ ایرانی نه تنها برماهیت وقت شناسی تآکید دارد، بلکه با فرم آن نیز سازگاراست ولی کاربرد ماشینی آنرا درتمامی زوایای زندگی بسط نمیدهد. ازانصاف بدوراست که اینهمه دقت و ظرافت در تحویل سال و انجام
فرائض مذهبی وکشاورزی و غیره را نادیده بگیریم. واژه ساعت بمفهوم امروزی آن در آثار بزرگان ادب فارسی نشان ازکاربرد همگانی آن دارد. به این اشعار فردوسی توجه کنید:
ویا این تقسیم وقت اوحدی مراغه ای در هفتصد سال پیش:
شب سه ساعت به امر حق صرف کن سه حساب و کتاب ورقعه و حرف
سه به تدبیر ملک و رآی صواب سه به آسایش و تنعم و خواب
روزراهم بدین قیاس نصیب بکنی گر مدیری و مصیب
دراینجااوحدی در مشاوره خود برای ملازمت پادشاه، شب را به 12 ساعت تقسیم میکند که بنظر میرسد ساعات شبانه روز همان 24 ساعت امروزی بوده است. بنابراین اندازه گیری وقت ازقدیم وندیم در فرهنگ ما وجود داشته و مورد استفاده قرار میگرفته است و ما هرگز نه با ماهیت وقت شناسی بیگانه بوده ایم و نه با شکل و اندازه گیری آن. ولی اولی همیشه بر دومی ارجح بوده است. حتی درکاربرد اداری وقت، مفهوم ضرب الاجل دلیلی دیگر بر اولویت فرهنگی است که شرایط زمان و مکان را درک میکند ودربند سیستمهای ماشینی نیست.
ولی دنیای غرب بابسط کاربرد ماشینی وقت درتمام شئون زندگی، مشکلات عدیده ای برای شهروندان خود ببار آورده است که شاید ساده ترین آن مشکل ترافیک باشد. نه اینکه ما مشکل ترافیک نداریم، بلکه این نیز ساخته و پرداخته تحمیل تجدد وارداتی بر علیه شناخت فرهنگی خلق و خوی مردم است. درست است که اگر درساعت معین خودرا به فرودگاه نرسانیم، پروازرا ازدست میدهیم ولی لزومی ندارد که خودرا به آب و آتش بزنیم تا در ساعت معین به مهمانی برسیم. اگر میزبان نتواند نیم ساعت برای دیر وزود آمدن مهمانان در نظر بگیرد، او با شرایط زمان و مکان بیگانه است.
SENATE REVIEWS IMMIGRATION PROPOSALS
By Ehsan Tabesh
Washington, D.C. August 5, 2005 (Revised Version) - On July 26th, the Senate Judiciary Committee discussed proposals for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation's immigration laws which have resulted in “exploited workers, divided families, community tensions, and public frustration,” according to Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA). Two separate Senate bills, S.1033 and S.1438, were discussed by their Co-sponsors, Senators Kennedy and McCain and Senators Kyl and Cornyn, respectively.
Iranian Americans face several community specific immigration needs including relief from backlogs created by security checks, and more clearly defined entry and exit security regulations for H and F visa holders. These are not addressed by the proposed legislation.
However, some of the Iranian American community's immigration needs that overlap with the needs of other immigrant communities are addressed by S. 1033. Referred to as the “Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act”, S.1033 calls for a laundry list of reforms that include a worker visa program for unskilled workers, the opportunity for illegal aliens to adjust to legal status, an exemption for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens from the annual cap on family-sponsored immigrant visas, and an overall increase in the number of visas issued.
The legislation, as Senator McCain explains, “Was a response to the estimated 10 million person skilled and unskilled labor shortage” that was estimated by 2010, and reflects a compromise between what was once viewed as the conflicting agendas of national security and immigration reform.
In contrast, S. 1438, the “Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act of 2005,” proposes improvements in border security and visa verification measures which include a Biometric entry-exit system, broader authority to detain and remove “dangerous and illegal aliens”, and federal custody of illegal aliens apprehended by state or local law enforcement.
Although the legislation grants the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to identify an individual as subject to detention and removal, Senator Kyl emphasized that “There is nothing in our bill that deports these illegal immigrants.”
Following the Senator’s testimony, a second panel of experts met to discuss their recommendations for immigration reform. Author and immigration lawyer, Gary Endelman, criticized the divisions created among families of immigrants and advocated for abolishing limits on preferences given to the migration of families’ of permanent citizens. Additionally, Endelman supported the removal of limits to the H-1B temporary work visa program and called for a change in the criteria for allocation of immigrant visas from country of birth to occupation.
Although the Senators disagreed on the nature of the immigration overhaul, they agreed to propose and enact legislation by the end of the year.
In the coming weeks NIAC will provide a more detailed analysis of the current immigration proposals.
Top Eight Reasons NOT to immigrate to Canada
8. Discriminatory and Dishonest Immigration System.
Immigration to Canada is based on a point system, obtained with your education, qualifications and job experience. Points are good enough for immigration, but in Canada, they are not good enough to get a job in your field. Amazing, how the credentials that qualify you to come to Canada are the same credentials that don't qualify you for your profession in Canada. The reason is, Canada only wants immigrants to do the labor jobs - pizza delivery, driving taxis, factory work etc.
7. Out Of Control Cost Of Living.
From rent, to utility bills, to shopping, to phone, internet and cable bills, to gas, to car insurance, to eating out, to basically anything you have to pay for or buy, the cost of living in Canada has become astronomical. Recent immigrants are astonished as to how expensive everything is. It is estimated that compared to most countries around the world, the cost of living in Canada is on average five times greater.
6. Health Care Disaster.
Practicing physicians in Canada are in a shortage, 1 in 4 Canadians cannot get a family doctor. Canadian doctors are leaving to move permanently to the United States. Statistics Canada and the Canadian Medical Association both have identified that for every 1 American doctor that moves to Canada, 19 (nineteen) Canadian doctors move to the United States! Doctors in Canada are overworked and underpaid, and there is a cap on their salaries.
5. Very High Taxes.
Yes, you have the GST, the PST, totaling 15%, on practically everything you purchase and many other taxes taken out of our weekly paycheck. You have to pay a whopping amount to the government, out of your hard earned salary, so that the government can turn around and give it to beer drinking, hockey watching welfare bums. Fair? It does not matter, it's Canada.
4. Money Hungry Government.
Canadian Embassies around the world lie to foreigners, painting this picture that Canada is Utopia, because they want foreigners to come to Canada. Why? Because foreigners bring money! So after being deceived, these foreigners come. They must bring with them at least $10,000. Canada has an immigration quota of 250,000 per year. So please do the math, 250,000 multiplied by $10,000 each equals a whopping 2.5 Billion dollars that Canada gains from immigrants every year.
3. No Culture.
Unlike almost every other country in the world, Canada has no culture. Actually American culture is what dominates Canada. When was the last time you had some 'Canadian' food? There are no Canadian traditions and no national identity. What does it even mean to call yourself a 'Canadian'. . .nothing really. People living in Canada, still identify themselves as to where they 'originally' came from.
2. Worst Weather.
Yes, Canada has the worst weather conditions of any country in the world. Freezing cold temperatures, snow, ice, hail, winds, storms etc From the Prairie provinces to the Maritimes, from the Territories to southern Ontario, the weather is so horrific and disgusting that many Canadians leave Canada simply because of this reason alone.
1. No Jobs.
Yes, coast to coast, there are no jobs. Immigrants are highly qualified (MD's, PhD's, Lawyers, Engineers etc.) but they are driving taxi cabs, delivering pizza's or working in factories. Even people with bachelors degrees from Canadian Universities cannot find jobs after graduation. This is the tragedy associated with immigration to Canada. I feel sorry for those immigrants who are stuck in Canada for the rest of their lives. It is indeed a very sad and hopeless future.
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Multiples Born to Older Moms Do Not Suffer Higher Risk of Complications
While many studies have found that single babies born older mothers are at increased risk for birth complications, a new study says that multiples born to older mothers do not face that same risk.
Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the University of Kansas studied data from more than 147,000 twin pregnancies and more than 5000 triplet pregnancies. They found that twins born to older mothers were not more likely to experience birth complications and that triplets born to older mothers actually fared better than those born to younger mothers.
The researchers believe that the fact that many older mothers conceive through assisted reproductive technology (ART) may contribute to the trend. Multiples conceived through ART are less likely to be identical, and identical multiples are more likely to suffer complications at birth. Also, mothers who conceive via ART tend to be monitored more closely than are mothers who conceive multiples naturally.
The study appears in the September issue of Fertility and Sterility. (09-17-02)