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Archive for July 2008

Shab-i-Miraj means the night of Ascent. It is the blessed night when the Holy Prophet of Islam was spiritually transported to heaven and he reached a high stage of nearness to God Almighty which is beyond ordinary human comprehension. The Ascent took place on 27th day or Rajab, 2 years before Hijra. The journey was not with a physical body but was a vision of the highest type. On the way the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, met Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and some other Prophets. The purpose of the Ascent was to confirm the high status of the Prophet of Islam, a position which all Muslims believe, is impossible to attain by any other human being. It is related that even Gabriel, the Angel who was accompanying the Holy Prophet remarked at one stage, ‘I am forced to stop here. I cannot go any further, but you O Messenger of peace and friend of the Master of the worlds, continue your glorious ascent.’

It is also related that the Holy Prophet continued his journey until he reached very close to the Throne of God Almighty and attained the utmost nearness to Him. After having drunk fully at the Divine fountain of spiritual knowledge he came down to impart the knowledge to mankind.

It was on this journey, that five daily prayers were made obligatory upon Muslims.

Celebrations:
According to popular belief, the Miraj or Spiritual Ascension took place on 27 of Rajab. On this day, in some Muslim countries the houses and streets and specially the mosques are decorated with colorful pennants and buntings, and at night they are well illuminated by means of electric lights, candles or even oil lamps. As evening approaches the worshippers assemble in the mosques and engage themselves in glorifying the Lord and in singing hymns in His praise and in praise of the Holy Prophet. Public meetings are also held generally after Isha Prayer in larger mosques where speakers throw light on the spiritual status of the Holy Prophet, and various aspects of his life. The story of his spiritual ascension is narrated in detail. After the meetings sweets are generally distributed. Muslims of means give money in charity and also distribute food among the poor. The devoted ones spend the whole night in the remembrance of God.

Q.1. (i) What is the reality behind Shab-e-Meraj? Did our Prophet visit Baitul Maqdas and the skies and see the paradise and hell and meet other Prophets there? How could he meet the Prophets there when he had led them in prayer in Baitul Maqdas, a short while ago the same night? Had those Prophets whom he met over the skies, also reached there by riding the Burraq?

ii) What is Burraq? Is it a heavenly animal? Does it look like a horse with flying wings? Is it scientific and rational?

iii) Did the Prophet travel in Meraj while awake or in his dream, like some scholars say? Did he see Allah? Does the event find mention in Qur’an and Hadith? How should the Muslims celebrate Shab-e-Meraj?

…Mohammad Burhanuddin; Hubli.

Ans. The word Me’raj (Ascent of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is derived from Urooj, which means, ‘height’, ‘ascension’. It occurs in Hadith. The Qur’anic word for the event is ‘Israa’, meaning ‘the journey’. The event is briefly mentioned in the Qur’an, its detailed provided by Hadiths while the people’s fantasies add the usual garnishing. Taken from Qur’an and Hadiths the essential details of the event (with necessary explanation and discussions) are as follows;

The Heart Operation
Archangel Jibriel alongwith two other angels visited the holy Prophet (Pbuh) one night, while he was asleep in the Hateem part of Ka’abah. The angel then operated upon his heart and made some changes probably because the material body could not withstand the space travel with the required velocity without certain protection. The related part of the narration reads; ‘… Jibriel among them took upon himself to make a cut from the throat down to a part below the heart of the Prophet till he emptied the chest and the stomach. Then with his hands he washed it with Zamzam water till the stomach was cleaned. Then was brought a golden tray in which was a golden light filled with faith and wisdom. Pouring it inside, the chest and the veins of throat were filled up. Then the opened part was closed…’ (Bukhari)

By incorporating the changes in the body system, his body was probably converted from material into Noorani (lightening) body to withstand the journey of space. It may be remembered that the material bodies of people destined for heavens would also be changed to lightening bodies after The Maidaan-e-Hash’r (The place of great gathering) before taking them to heavens.

Burraq
After the transformation of the body, a conveyance named Burraq was presented before him. Burraq, the narration says, resembled a horse-like animal but its very name indicates that it also possessed a lightening body. The word Burraq is derived from the root Bar’q which means ‘electricity’ in Arabic. Burraq signifies that he had to be taken with the velocity of Bar’q that is electricity or light which is 300,000 km per second.

In the Mosque of Jerusalem
No wonder, within no time he reached Baitul Maqdis or Masjid-e-Aqsa. The Qur’an has summarised the event in one verse; ‘Exalted is He (Allah) who took his bondsman (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Masjid-il-Haram (Ka’abah) to Masjid-il-Aqsa (the Mosque in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof we have blessed, in order that we might show him our signs…’ (17:1)

In Baitul Maqdis, the Prophet (Pbuh) led in prayer, all the earlier Prophets who were gathered for the occasion (naturally in their Barzakm or transitional and transcendental bodies). The journey from one holy Mosque to the other and the Prophet leading signifying that the inheritance of Divine leadership was being transferred to him from Bani Israel who no more deserved the honour.

Towards Heavens and Beyond
From there, he was raised to the heavens where he again met and conversed with different Prophets. Then came the most honoured moment of the journey as he was elevated to a point beyond heavens, called Sidrat-ul-Muntaha. What he observed there is described in Qur’an in the following words; ‘One free from any defect in body and mind then He (‘) rose and became stable, While he was in the highest part of the horizon. Then he approached and came closer and was at a distance of two bows length or (even) closer. So, He (Allah) revealed to his bondsman (Muhammad) whatever he revealed. The Prophet’s heart lied not in what he saw. Will you then dispute with him (Muhammad) about what he saw? And indeed, he (Muhammad) saw him at a second descent near Sidrat-ul-Muntaha. Near it is Paradise of Abode. When that covered the Sidrah, which did cover it, the sight (of Prophet Muhammad) turned not aside nor it transgressed beyond the limit. Indeed he (Muhammad) did see of the greatest signs of his Lord (Allah)?. (53:6-18)

Whom did he meet? Allah or Jibriel?
There has been difference of opinion among scholars right from the days of Sahaba about whom the Prophet (Pbuh) met and saw at the place beyond heavens and horizon. Some say he saw Allah while others opine that he saw Jibriel in his original form. Ibne Abbas swore by the earlier while the Prophet’s wife Aisha strongly reprimanding the idea of physical sighting of Allah, favoured the latter opinion.

Both these assumptions invite serious apprehensions that could not be answered satisfactorily. Did the Prophet set eyes on Allah Quran says; ?No (material) vision can grasp him?. (6:103) When Prophet Musa (A.S) expressed his desire to see the Almighty, he said; ?You can not (bear to) see me (in your material mould)?. (7:143). Those supporting the ‘saw Him’ theory say that it was an exclusive honour of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) alone and an exception that the Lord appeared for him. It may also be argued in the light of what I have written above that the holy Prophet, during Me’raj was in a spiritual mould. What goes against the idea of Allah’s appearance before the Prophet then’ Well, primarily the holy Prophet (Pbuh) himself never claimed seeing Allah, while narrating the events of Me’raj. If he had, it would have been the most important part worth description. Secondly, none of the companions insisting on ‘Deedar’ (sighting) ascribe the claim to the Prophet. Instead, they say so based on conjectures. Thirdly, the Prophet’s wives should have been the first to be privy to such information if it was true. Not only none of them narrated thus but also Hazrat Aisha strongly denounced and even reprimanded such claims. Fourthly, the description in Qur’an, of the person, whom the Prophet (Pbuh) met in Me’raj seems too materialistic to fit the conception of Allah. Read them again; ‘.. Then he approached and came closer and was at a distance of two bows length or (even) closer..? And lastly, the Prophet himself denied that he saw Allah in Me’raj; ‘Narrated Abuzar that he asked the Prophet (Pbuh); Did you see your Lord? He replied; He is Noor. How can I see Him.? (Muslim)

The second theory of seeing Jibriel in his real form is also very unlikely. It is an anticlimax of a very extraordinary miracle described with much importance by Qur’an and Hadith. Seeing Hazrat Jibriel, a frequent visitor to the Prophet (Pbuh) (even in his original form) would not have been such a big event. The traditions also say that Hazrath Jibriel was not permitted to accompany the Prophet to Sidratul-Muntaha. He alone was elevated upto the all-important destination and hence the question of his seeing Jibriel there does not arise.

If neither Allah nor Jibriel, then who was he, whom the Prophet met there? Naturally some personage who is in between them both in stature, Haqeeqat-e-Ahmadi, of whom Muhammad r was a part and material manifestation. The Prophet (Pbuh) was informed and shown his own spiritual reality at Sidrat-ul-Muntaha. The Qur’an briefly mentions only the following; ‘So He (Allah) revealed to his bondsman (Muhammad) whatever he revealed… Indeed he (Muhammad) did see of the greatest signs of his Lord (Allah)’.

(And surely Allah alone knows the absolute truth.)

The Five times a day Salaat was ordained for the Ummah on the occasion. The Prophet (Pbuh) was also shown Paradise and Hell during the journey. After the great event he was again taken back to Ka’abah. The whole journey was completed within the night.

After the detail of the event, the answer to the uncovered parts of the question is the following.

Other Prophets also travelled by Burraq
1. The other Prophets, whom Prophet met, were also there with their transcendental bodies, which could travel in space as he did. They also travelled back to heavens from Baitul Maqdis with the help of their Burraqs at lightning velocities. There is a mention of other Prophets also possessing Burraqs in Muslim, in the Hadith describing Me’raj, reported by Anas Bin Malik.

Nothing Unscientific
ii) Hadiths clearly state that Burraq is a mute-like animal. There is no mention of wings. Only earthly animals with material bodies need wings to fly against the gravitational force. The basic constituent of Burraq’s body, as the word indicates, is electrical energy, instead of the elements of earth. There is nothing unscientific about this. The realities pertaining to the subjects which science has not covered yet cannot be termed unscientific. Science has not comprehended till date, the subject of spirits and spiritual bodies. There are a large number of Allah’s creations that are invisible to human eyes, as human sight can only comprehend the matter and not energy. The angels and the Jinns possess non-material bodies constituted of light and heat energies. The existence of other beings should not be unbelievable.

Neither Dream Nor Awake
iii) The Qur’an in Surah Israa, in which the advent is mentioned, indicates the state in which the Prophet (Pbuh) was carried to his journey. It says; ‘… And we made not the vision which we showed you, but a trial for mankind..’ (17:60)

It was neither a dream nor the state of wakefulness in the material sense. The Qur’anic word for the vision is ‘Ru’ya’ which is different from a dream. We find in one of the Hadiths describing Me’raj thus; ‘… They (the angels) came in such a state that the heart (of the Prophet) was seeing them. The eyes were asleep but the heart was awake. Likewise, the eyes of (all) the Prophets sleep but their hearts do not sleep..’ (Bukhari; Kitab-ut-Tauhid; Narration of Abu Hurairah)

The above narration of Me’raj in Bukhari, which is a very lengthy one, ends with the following words; ‘..And when he (Muhammad r woke up, he was in Masjid-il-Haram (Ka’abah).’ (Ibid).

So, the material body of the Prophet (Pbuh) was in a state of sleep after the Me’raj, while during the vision his transcendental body actually visited the places and witnessed the signs of Allah. In sleep he was taken and to sleep he was returned before and after the journey. During the journey, he was not asleep. He saw and witnessed everything with a transcendental body and with eyes, which were not material. Such is the vision of Prophets.

The Veracity of 27th Rajab
About the celebration, I must point out that there is not a single Hadith or authentic narration certifying the popular belief about 27th Rajab being the date of Me’raj. There are differences among scholars regarding the date, month and also the year of Me’raj. However, there is nothing against praying and glorifying the Lord and remembering the Prophet (Pbuh) on a particular night. At worst, it would be a distortion of a date in history, if the date is not actually true. It certainly is not a Bid’at unless the prayers of 27th Rajab are assumed to be obligatory part of Deen.

Source: http://www.islamicvoice.com/december.98/dialogue.htm

The Official Olympic Flag
Created by Pierre de Coubertin in 1914, the Olympic flag contains five interconnected rings on a white background. The five rings symbolize the five significant continents and are interconnected to symbolize the friendship to be gained from these international competitions. The rings, from left to right, are blue, yellow, black, green, and red. The colors were chosen because at least one of them appeared on the flag of every country in the world. The Olympic flag was first flown during the 1920 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Motto
In 1921, Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, borrowed a Latin phrase from his friend, Father Henri Didon, for the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius (“Swifter, Higher, Stronger”).
The Olympic Oath
Pierre de Coubertin wrote an oath for the athletes to recite at each Olympic Games. During the opening ceremonies, one athlete recites the oath on behalf of all the athletes. The Olympic oath was first taken during the 1920 Olympic Games by Belgian fencer Victor Boin. The Olympic Oath states, “In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”

The Olympic Creed
Pierre de Coubertin got the idea for this phrase from a speech given by Bishop Ethelbert Talbot at a service for Olympic champions during the 1908 Olympic Games. The Olympic Creed reads: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

The Olympic Flame

The Olympic flame is a practice continued from the ancient Olympic Games. In Olympia (Greece), a flame was ignited by the sun and then kept burning until the closing of the Olympic Games. The flame first appeared in the modern Olympics at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. The flame itself represents a number of things, including purity and the endeavor for perfection. In 1936, the chairman of the organizing committee for the 1936 Olympic Games, Carl Diem, suggested what is now the modern Olympic Torch relay. The Olympic flame is lit at the ancient site of Olympia by women wearing ancient-style robes and using a curved mirror and the sun. The Olympic Torch is then passed from runner to runner from the ancient site of Olympia to the Olympic stadium in the hosting city. The flame is then kept alight until the Games have concluded. The Olympic Torch relay represents a continuation from the ancient Olympic Games to the modern Olympics.

The Olympic Hymn
The Olympic Hymn, played when the Olympic Flag is raised, was composed by Spyros Samaras and the words added by Kostis Palamas. The Olympic Hymn was first played at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens but wasn’t declared the official hymn by the IOC until 1957.

Real Gold Medals
The last Olympic gold medals that were made entirely out of gold were awarded in 1912.

The Medals
The Olympic medals are designed especially for each individual Olympic Games by the host city’s organizing committee. Each medal must be at least three millimeters thick and 60 millimeters in diameter. Also, the gold and silver Olympic medals must be made out of 92.5 percent silver, with the gold medal covered in six grams of gold.

The First Opening Ceremonies
The first opening ceremonies were held during the 1908 Olympic Games in London.

Opening Ceremony Procession Order
During the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the procession of athletes is always led by the Greek team, followed by all the other teams in alphabetical order (in the language of the hosting country), except for the last team which is always the team of the hosting country.

A City, Not a Country
When choosing locations for the Olympic Games, the IOC specifically gives the honor of holding the Games to a city rather than a country.

IOC Diplomats
In order to make the IOC an independent organization, the members of the IOC are not considered diplomats from their countries to the IOC, but rather are diplomats from the IOC to their respective countries.

First Modern Champion
James B. Connolly (United States), winner of the hop, step, and jump (the first final event in the 1896 Olympics), was the first Olympic champion of the modern Olympic Games.

The First Marathon
In 490 BCE, Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, ran from Marathon to Athens (about 25 miles) to inform the Athenians the outcome of the battle with invading Persians. The distance was filled with hills and other obstacles; thus Pheidippides arrived in Athens exhausted and with bleeding feet. After telling the townspeople of the Greeks’ success in the battle, Pheidippides fell to the ground dead. In 1896, at the first modern Olympic Games, held a race of approximately the same length in commemoration of Pheidippides.

The Exact Length of a Marathon
During the first several modern Olympics, the marathon was always an approximate distance. In 1908, the British royal family requested that the marathon start at the Windsor Castle so that the royal children could witness its start. The distance from the Windsor Castle to the Olympic Stadium was 42,195 meters (or 26 miles and 385 yards). In 1924, this distance became the standardized length of a marathon.

Women
Women were first allowed to participate in 1900 at the second modern Olympic Games.

Winter Games Begun
The winter Olympic Games were first held in 1924, beginning a tradition of holding them a few months earlier and in a different city than the summer Olympic Games. Beginning in 1994, the winter Olympic Games were held in completely different years (two years apart) than the summer Games.

Cancelled Games
Because of World War I and World War II, there were no Olympic Games in 1916, 1940, or 1944.

Tennis Banned
Tennis was played at the Olympics until 1924, then reinstituted in 1988.

Walt Disney
In 1960, the Winter Olympic Games were held in Squaw Valley, California (United States). In order to bedazzle and impress the spectators, Walt Disney was head of the committee that organized the opening day ceremonies. The 1960 Winter Games Opening Ceremony was filled with high school choirs and bands, releasing of thousands of balloons, fireworks, ice statues, releasing of 2,000 white doves, and national flags dropped by parachute.

Russia Not Present
Though Russia had sent a few athletes to compete in the 1908 and 1912 Olympic Games, they did not compete again until the 1952 Games.

Motor Boating
Motor boating was an official sport at the 1908 Olympics.

Polo, an Olympic Sport
Polo was played at the Olympics in 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924, and 1936.

Gymnasium
The word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek root “gymnos” meaning nude; the literal meaning of “gymnasium” is “school for naked exercise.” Athletes in the ancient Olympic Games would participate in the nude.

Stadium
The first recorded ancient Olympic Games were held in 776 BCE with only one event – the stade. The stade was a unit of measurement (about 600 feet) that also became the name of the footrace because it was the distance run. Since the track for the stade (race) was a stade (length), the location of the race became the stadium.

Counting Olympiads
An Olympiad is a period of four successive years. The Olympic Games celebrate each Olympiad. For the modern Olympic Games, the first Olympiad celebration was in 1896. Every four years celebrates another Olympiad; thus, even the Games that were cancelled (1916, 1940, and 1944) count as Olympiads. The 2004 Olympic Games in Athens was called the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad.

Olympic Photo Gallery – beijing 2008

Source: http://history1900s.about.com/od/greateventsofthecentury/a/olympicfacts.htm

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According to legend, the ancient Olympic Games were founded by Heracles (the Roman Hercules), a son of Zeus. Yet the first Olympic Games for which we still have written records were held in 776 BCE (though it is generally believed that the Games had been going on for many years already). At this Olympic Games, a naked runner, Coroebus (a cook from Elis), won the sole event at the Olympics, the stade – a run of approximately 192 meters (210 yards). This made Coroebus the very first Olympic champion in history.

The ancient Olympic Games grew and continued to be played every four years for nearly 1200 years. In 393 CE, the Roman emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, abolished the Games because of their pagan influences.

Approximately 1500 years later, a young Frenchmen named Pierre de Coubertin began their revival. Coubertin is now known as le Rénovateur. Coubertin was a French aristocrat born on January 1, 1863. He was only seven years old when France was overrun by the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Some believe that Coubertin attributed the defeat of France not to its military skills but rather to the French soldiers’ lack of vigor.* After examining the education of the German, British, and American children, Coubertin decided that it was exercise, more specifically sports, that made a well-rounded and vigorous person.

Coubertin’s attempt to get France interested in sports was not met with enthusiasm. Still, Coubertin persisted. In 1890, he organized and founded a sports organization, Union des Sociétés Francaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA). Two years later, Coubertin first pitched his idea to revive the Olympic Games. At a meeting of the Union des Sports Athlétiques in Paris on November 25, 1892, Coubertin stated,

Let us export our oarsmen, our runners, our fencers into other lands. That is the true Free Trade of the future; and the day it is introduced into Europe the cause of Peace will have received a new and strong ally. It inspires me to touch upon another step I now propose and in it I shall ask that the help you have given me hitherto you will extend again, so that together we may attempt to realise [sic], upon a basis suitable to the conditions of our modern life, the splendid and beneficent task of reviving the Olympic Games.**

His speech did not inspire action. Though Coubertin was not the first to propose the revival of the Olympic Games, he was certainly the most well-connected and persistent of those to do so. Two years later, Coubertin organized a meeting with 79 delegates who represented nine countries. He gathered these delegates in an auditorium that was decorated by neoclassical murals and similar additional points of ambiance. At this meeting, Coubertin eloquently spoke of the revival of the Olympic Games. This time, Coubertin aroused interest.

The delegates at the conference voted unanimously for the Olympic Games. The delegates also decided to have Coubertin construct an international committee to organize the Games. This committee became the International Olympic Committee (IOC; Comité Internationale Olympique) and Demetrious Vikelas from Greece was selected to be its first president. Athens was chosen for the revival of the Olympic Games and the planning was begun.

1896 – Athens, Greece

The very first modern Olympic Games opened in the first week of April 1896. Since the Greek government had been unable to fund construction of a stadium, a wealthy Greek architect, Georgios Averoff, donated one million drachmas (over $100,000) to restore the Panathenaic Stadium, originally built in 330 BCE, with white marble for the Olympic Games.

Since the Games were not well publicized internationally, contestants were not nationally chosen but rather came individually and at their own expense. Some contestants were tourists who happened to be in the area during the Games. Athletes wore their athletic club uniform rather than a national team one.

Pole vaulting, sprints, shot put, weight lifting, swimming, cycling, target shooting, tennis, marathon and gymnastics were all events at the first Olympics. The swimming events were held in the Bay of Zea in the Aegean Sea. Gold medalist, Alfred Hoyos Guttmann described it: “I won ahead of the others with a big lead, but my greatest struggle was against the towering twelve-foot waves and the terribly cold water.” (Guttmann, pg. 19) Approximately 300 athletes participated, representing thirteen countries.

* Allen Guttmann, The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992) 8.
** Pierre de Coubertin as quoted in “Olympic Games,” Britannica.com (Retrieved August 10, 2000 from the World Wide Web. http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/2/0,5716,115022+1+108519,00.html).

Histories of the Olympic Games

1896 – Athens
1900 – Paris
1904 – St. Louis
1906 – Athens (“Unoffficial”)
1908 – London
1912 – Stockholm
1916 – Not held
1920 – Antwerp
1924 – Paris
1928 – Amsterdam
1932 – Los Angeles
1936 – Berlin
1940 – Not held
1944 – Not held
1948 – London
1952 – Helsinki
1956 – Melbourne
1960 – Rome
1964 – Tokyo
1968 – Mexico City
1972 – Munich
1976 – Montreal
1980 – Moscow
1984 – Los Angeles
1988 – Seoul
1992 – Barcelona
1996 – Atlanta
2000 – Sydney

Source: http://history1900s.about.com/library/weekly/aa081000a.htm

Introducing iPhone 3G. With fast 3G wireless technology, GPS mapping, support for enterprise features like Microsoft Exchange, and the new App Store, iPhone 3G puts even more features at your fingertips. And like the original iPhone, it combines three products in one — a revolutionary phone, a widescreen iPod, and a breakthrough Internet device with rich HTML email and a desktop-class web browser. iPhone 3G. It redefines what a mobile phone can do — again.

Source: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/

Massage

Posted on: July 28, 2008

Click on the images to view the full size

Flowers

Posted on: July 28, 2008

For those who haven’t seen it before, MTV’s My Super Sweet 16” is one of the many things in television pop culture today that is seriously messing up the minds of kids today, leading them down the path of excessive consumerism and obsession with wealth and entitlement. The MTV reality TV show follows and documents the 16th birthday celebrations of upper class teenagers. Now these are no ordinary birthday parties. We’re not talking about a day at Dave and Busters or the bowling alley. On this program we have stretch Hummers, horses, live dancers, famous rap stars, decked out ballrooms, and budget rolls in excess of $300,000. You won’t see any “paltry presents” like Apple iPods or Gap clothing here. Instead, the doting parents of these spoiled rotten kids prefer to give them top of the line BMW’s and Land Rover’s, capped with red bows on top to quench their material thirst. The show, although quite entertaining, proclaims the non-stop need to spend, spend, and spend to the utter collective delight of all luxury car dealerships and luxury boutiques everywhere.

Spoiled Bratty Kids Come In All Sizes

The show features spoiled teens of all race, nationality, and even sex – black, white, Persian, and even shockingly, a few teenage boys among the mostly teenage girls. The show follows the same template, tracing the excitement and expectation of throwing a “sky’s the limit” 16th birthday bash. We get to know the teen as she brags about her wonderful lifestyle and how much she owns in the way of material possessions. The majority of these “daddy’s little girls” stomp their feet and pout until their rich dads buy them the dream party that they want. The mothers that usually accompany these prissy little girls are no different – encouraging and stoking their behavior. In one episode, one mother even ended up trying on the same expensive dress that her daughter was trying out, sending the daughter into an angry and competitive tail spin tizzy of materialistic proportions.

The Excessive Lavishness Knows No Bounds

The show always starts with an elaborate ceremony usually complete with stretch limos and servants to hand out the official decorative invitations to chosen members of the teen’s high school in a manner befitting a royal coronation. The party usually takes up an entire decked out ballroom, with servers, dancers, and show-stopping celebrity singers. $75,000 jewelry and dresses line their wardrobes, adding to the excessive opulence. Throughout each episode, the birthday girl’s teenage guests scream and “woohoo” about the historical nature of the event and how it will go down in history as the best party ever and how everyone will always remember this – to the collective eye rolling of every single television viewer in the United States, myself included.

The end of each episode is never complete without the mandatory birthday girl walking outside with her guests in faux both-hands-to-the-cheek amazement at the ridiculously expensive luxury car awaiting her. While the girl drives away in her birthday present, her throng of friends and guests are left hollering and cheering her on with lavish love, admiration, and envy at her fortune.

It’s Really Entertaining But Also Really Sad

The alarming thing is not that these teeny boppers expect to be thrown lavish over-the-top birthday parties, but it’s that their wealthy parents are so boastful and encouraging of such a superficial lifestyle. The show proudly shows off the birthday teen’s opulence and extravagance, seemingly suggesting that such actions are perfectly normal. There are never glimpses of the ordinary masses, as the birthday teen’s friends and guests are almost always all filthy rich as well, with material throngs and possessions of their own. We never see any bitterness or ridicule by the guests or outside observers as the critics have all been effectively filtered out.

The show is admittedly quite entertaining, but not for necessarily the right reasons. It instills the wrong values in children and younger viewers today, particularly those approaching their 16th birthdays. Rather than preaching hard work and dedication, the show encourages feelings of material entitlement in the nature of “if you loved me you’d buy this for me”.

However I must admit, My Super Sweet 16 is terribly funny and interesting to watch. But when I laugh at the foot stomping, pouty girls in the show, I am doing so in the same manner that I would while watching a celebrity train wreck such as the salacious paparazzi antics of Britney Spears or Paris Hilton. I laugh because it’s so stupidly funny, but at the same time I feel sad for them – for the type of persons their own parents have groomed them into one day becoming.

As for my own 16th birthday way back when, I got an ice cream cake custom baked by my mom. I rented a few Nintendo games from Blockbuster, invited 4 close friends over for a video game sleepover party, and partied like a rock star at home. I grew up just fine, although getting a luxury sports car as a present would have been nice.

Source: http://www.moneybluebook.com/my-super-sweet-16-messing-up-and-spoiling-kids-for-the-next-generation/

After India’s massive innnings and 239-run defeat in the first Test in Colombo, Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan captain, has criticised India’s batsmen for playing in the Twenty20 mode and said they lacked focus.

“The way the Indians have played this Test is an eye-opener not just for us but for all cricket-playing countries,” he told the Indian Express. “They dealt with this like a Twenty20 game. I think they were not prepared for Test cricket.” He was speaking after India were bowled out twice in about four sessions of play, with the Sri Lankan spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis sharing 19 wickets.

Ranatunga wanted India to focus more on Tests than on Twenty20s. “If the Indians keep getting their priorities wrong, they will go down ranking-wise. Ultimately, it is the rank that is very important,” he said. “And it is this performance that will determine the future of the game in your country. Focusing on the Twenty20 game is a short-term thing. If the game is not protected, we are in for a major disaster.

“The Indian batsmen aren’t too focussed. That is something that can creep into our cricket. That is something I don’t want to happen,” he said. Ranatunga has repeatedly stressed that while Twenty20 generates much-needed money, playing Test cricket and representing your country should remain the priority .

India have four days to recover from the loss – their third heaviest – before the second Test starts in Galle.

Source: http://content-ind.cricinfo.com/slvind/content/story/362706.html

Sri Lanka 600 for 6 dec (Jayawardene 136, Dilshan 125*, Warnapura 115, Samaraweera 127) beat India 223 (Laxman 56, Murali 5-84, Mendis 4-72) and 138 (Gambhir 43, Murali 6-26, Mendis 4-60) by an innings and 239 runs

In a match dominated by not one but two spin wizards, Sri Lanka completely destroyed the Indian batting line-up twice over to script their best win at home. India started the fourth day needing 242 runs to avoid the follow-on but, with 77 minutes to go to stumps, they had slumped to their third-worst Test defeat ever with an abject collapse against Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.

Murali and Mendis, assisted by the ever-alert close-in cordon, did not loosen the vice-like grip they had had over the batsmen from the moment the ball was thrown to Mendis in the 10th over of India’s first innings. With Mendis keeping the batsmen on a leash – his only two bad deliveries were the full tosses in his first two overs – and leaving the batsmen mesmerised, it was Murali who smiled his way to two five-fors and his 21st ten-wicket haul, which was also his fourth at the SSC.

There was no respite for the batsmen from either end as 19 wickets fell to the spin pair, who bowled 87.5 overs out of the 117.5 that India faced in the match. Murali was always likely to be a threat, but Mendis showed that his six-wicket haul against India in the Asia Cup final was not a one-off. His bowling action is almost as intriguing as the kind of deliveries he bowls: in his final stride, the index finger of his left hand points upwards, as if giving the batsman out. On the basis of this performance, that action is completely justified as one of the most anticipated debuts of recent times turned out to be the best for a Sri Lankan.

The Indian batsmen had struggled in the first innings, but the second was a greater embarrassment as Murali and Mendis nailed the batsmen with similar deliveries to the ones that had done them in in the first innings. With India trailing by 377 in the first innings, the follow-on decision was a no-brainer. The new-ball bowlers were fresh: they bowled only 16 overs in the innings, with Murali and Mendis bowling 49 successive overs in tandem. In the second innings, the fast bowlers had even less work to do: Jayawardene summoned his spinners after five overs and the move worked immediately. Murali accounted for Sehwag in a controversial manner, with what was the last ball before lunch. Sehwag shouldered arms to one that pitched barely on leg stump and straightened. Umpire Mark Benson turned down the appeal, but changed his mind after what seemed like errors from the Virtual Eye and third umpire Rudi Koertzen.

The next session sealed the game for Sri Lanka, as India lost five wickets. Perhaps hoping for a repeat of Kolkata 2001, India sent Laxman, the first-innings half-centurion, at No. 3. He hit three beautiful boundaries off the medium-pacers, before Mendis had his number. This time it was the quicker googly which baffled him. Laxman didn’t have a clue about which way it would spin, and was trapped plumb in front.

Sachin Tendulkar was a tad unfortunate when he missed a sweep outside the leg stump, the ball catching the back of the bat and lobbing to leg slip. Tendulkar stood his ground, and it needed a review to send him on his way. Gambhir was drawn forward for the second time in two innings and beaten in flight before Prasanna Jayawardene completed an exceptional stumping.

Just before tea, Murali and Mendis worked their magic again in successive overs. Sourav Ganguly hadn’t looked comfortable against Murali and edged to second slip. Mendis then made Rahul Dravid revisit the first-innings horror when a quick carrom-ball legbreak just missed off stump. The next ball, a googly, had Dravid playing in front of his pad. The inside edge lobbed to short leg and, though the appeal was turned down, the review came into play again, making Dravid the third Indian batsman to perish in that manner. The rest was just a formality, which Murali and Mendis finished in style, Mendis taking the last two in the same over.

The first half of the day was slightly better only than what transpired later. Muralitharan completed his 64th five-for with Harbhajan Singh’s wicket, but it was Mendis who inflicted major damage. Even Laxman had trouble picking him, the carrom ball being his main tormentor. Laxman was let off in the second over of the day, as an outside edge off Mendis bisected the keeper and Mahela Jayawardene at slip. The other batsmen were even more clueless. Anil Kumble and Zaheer were trapped by Mendis’ top spinners. Harbhajan played for a Murali doosra, but got an offspinner, which resulted in an easy bat-pad catch.

Despite having only the tailenders for company, Laxman didn’t farm the strike, twice allowing his partners to take a single off the last ball of the over. Harbhajan fell in the over that followed, while Zaheer survived. When Ishant Sharma joined him, Laxman finally took more of the strike and continued to do so until he was fairly confident in Ishant’s ability. Laxman had himself grown in confidence, reading Mendis better and employing the wristy flick. Despite the odd leading edge, he continued to attack. But Mendis, having bowled an unbroken 27-over spell, returned from Murali’s end to get his man. He first beat him with a 95kph legbreak, angling in and then breaking it away, before squaring him up with a googly, ending his 158-minute stay at the crease. Dravid and Laxman foxed in each innings of his first Test – as dream debuts go, there can’t be many better than this.

Through the first two-and-a-half days of the match, the pitch seemed a shirtfront and a draw seemed the most likely result, especially given the inclement weather at the start. The magic of two outstanding spinners meant the game didn’t go into the fifth day. Sri Lanka last lost a Test at home in April 2006, against Pakistan in Kandy. With Murali and Mendis so frighteningly effective in tandem, it’s hard to imagine an overseas team defeating this double threat any time soon.


July 2008
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