Shab- e- Barat (Shabraat)

Posted on 29. Oct, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Shaban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar year. This festival of Shab- e- Barat (aka Shabraat) is usually celebrated either on the 13th or 14th day of Shaban. Eventually, it happens to be just 15 days ahead of Ramadan, the holiest period of Islamic faith. The night of Shab- E- Barat, symbolizes a night of forgiveness. During this time, people usually pray to God in preparation of the holy Ramadan and also for forgiving all their previous sins. According to a particular Islamic school of thought, this night the Prophet takes pain in visiting all homes and subsequently makes an attempt to relieve the humanity of all sorts of pain and suffering. The night of Shab- E- Barat immortalizes the entry of Prophet Mohammad to the holy city of Mecca. The festival of Shab- E- Barat is renowned for its famous celebrations. Since, this festival is essentially celebrated in night; the sky gets brightened as a result of dazzling fireworks. Houses and streets are also enlightened by candles and festive lights. Various types of sweets and other desserts are distributed at random in the night, and also sent to friends and relatives. Some people spend their time in charity works during this time. For young ones the occasion is celebrated enjoying firework displays around the cities.

Fatiha (the blessings), are also recited over the meals on the eve of this festival. This is done in the name of the Prophet, his daughter Fatima, and her husband Ali. A very popular Islamic belief is that if someone prays to Allah (the Islamic form of Almighty) all through the night of this festival, he might be forgiven for all sins committed. Some people also visit the mosques to offer prayer and practice meditation. Muslims are known to offer the optional Namaz during the late hours.

Gandhara Civilization in Pakistan

Posted on 28. Oct, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Fasting Budha  (Pic by Ghazi Ghulamraza on Flickr.com)

Fasting Budha
(Pic by Ghazi Ghulamraza on Flickr.com)

Pakistan is the land which attracted Alexander the great from Macedonia in 326 B.C., with whom the influence of Greek culture came to this part of the world. During the 2nd century B.C., it was here that Buddhism was adopted as the state religion which flourished and prevailed here for over 1000 years, starting from 2nd century B.C., until 10th century A.D. During this time Taxila, Swat and Charsaddah (old Pushkalavati) became three important centers for culture, trade and learning. Hundreds of monasteries and stupas were built together with Greek and Kushan towns such as Sirkap and Sirsukh both in Taxila. It was from these centers that a unique art of sculpture originated which is known as Gandhara Art all over the world. Today the Gandhara Sculptures occupy a prominent place in the museums of England, France, Germany, USA, Japan, Korea, China, India and Afghanistan together with many private collections world over, as well as in the museums of Pakistan. Nevertheless, the zenith of this Gandhara Art is one and only “Fasting Buddha” now on display in Lahore Museum, Lahore.

Finally, the religion of Islam penetrated in this part of the world as early as 7th century AD. from the west with the Arabs and during the 10th century AD from the north with the Turks. Islam replaced the early way of life of worshiping idols and introduced new philosophy of faith in one God. With Islam in came a new culture in this land from Arabia and Central Asia. Hence, a new type of architecture, hitherto unknown in this area, was introduced. Tens of thousands of Mosques, Madrassahs, tombs and gardens were created by the Muslim rulers all over the Sub-Continent. The new style of Islamic architecture prevailed and matured in this land for over a thousand years. The most important contribution of the Muslim rulers to this land, however, is a new language ‘Urdu’ which became the national language of Pakistan since its independence in 1947.

The legacy of the predecessors at the time of the independence, on August 14, 1947, came to Pakistanis as a treasure which may be called as Pakistan’s national heritage. So rich and diversified is this heritage that Pakistani nation can be proud of its glorious past, be Islamic, Post Islamic or pre-Islamic period as far back as pre-historic times. It is now incumbent upon the future generations in Pakistan to treasure our national heritage and save it from further deterioration and theft.

The establishment of NFCH (National Fund for Cultural Heritage) is much appreciated and a great interest is shown by the general public hence since its establishment in 1994 hundreds of proposals were received from different agencies and individuals for the conservation, preservation and publication of the Pakistan’s national heritage. It is hoped that with the continued patronage of the government, the Philanthropists and the Business Community to the NFCH we shall be able to achieve the aforesaid goal.

Conversation about Weather

Posted on 27. Oct, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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