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How low can we go?

Iqbal Ebrahim

This question comes to mind because today when we look at the world around us we begin to question the direction humanity is taking/ going. To many the events of this world are just a ‘happening’ but to some of us especially of the generation of yesteryear we look upon with disbelief, fear, trepidation and a deep sense of bewilderment at those events.

‘We have created man in the best of moulds, then, reduced him to be lowest of the low. Except for those who believe and do righteous deeds; for they shall have a reward unfailing’ (Quran 95: 4-6)

As a result of having been created from the ‘best of moulds’ means that we humans have that natural inbuilt potential for goodness. From all of God’s Creation of all living things, mankind is the one only one endowed with the power of thought and conscience. We were created in the ‘best of moulds’ thus we were not born sinners or evil by nature yet we see such terrible sin and evil being perpetrated and played out that we wonder what has happened to us.

 But look around you and witness the behaviour of mankind, you will find that it has sunk to the lowest depths of wickedness, depravity, callousness and evil. Just as we say ‘beauty, good and evil are in the eye of the beholder’, some of us see the ‘evil’ but on the other hand some see nothing wrong, to them it’s the new world and it’s ‘freedoms’.

This new found freedom leads to social deterioration and that further leads to the collapse of moral values in society. We see in society the degradation of those moral values that have maintained a healthy society being swept away – end result? All sorts of serious crimes, corruption, drugs, alcohol, pornography, rape, prostitution, premarital and extra marital sex, nudity, gays and lesbians, same sex marriages, sexual harassment, adultery, and crime increasingly committed by and also against youth and children.

When we watch the overseas TV news channels we increasingly get reports of famous figures who are now being accused of the abuse of many underage children in their past. The reports include sexual child molestation, paedophilia and a whole host of perversions and abuse of underage children. However this is not limited to other countries, increasingly there are reports that this type of abuse taking place in Botswana too.     

This world is fast becoming a generation in which the Laws of God, our Lord and Creator, are becoming subservient to the laws of man. Unfortunately some of us have a tendency to ape these types of developments that we glean from overseas, and we like to transpose and even impose them onto our life long religious, cultural and traditional values. Just because people especially in the so called developed world, shout out loud under the cloak of ‘individual rights’ and ‘human rights’ we fall for their arguments. Fair enough, human rights, but what about the rights of our Lord and Creator who has forbidden such acts?

‘Not equal are the blind and those who clearly see; nor are equal those who believe and work deeds of righteousness and those who do evil….’ Quran 40:58 and; ‘…nor can goodness and evil be equal…..’ (Quran 41:34)  

‘…..thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes and his judgements, and his commandments, always’. (Bible – Duet 11: 1)

Are we willing to succumb to their arguments that are cleverly based on denigrating us to make us to somehow feel as backward, old fashioned, under developed and  anyone who objects to those so-called freedoms and individual rights becomes ‘politically incorrect’.

Are we so naïve and fickle minded that we are willing to impose the ‘rights’ of man over and above the rights of God thereby subjugating the commands of God to the commands of man just because we want to please some people many of whom openly proclaim they are atheists?

Every individual has to make the judgement of what is good and what is evil, whether this perception is based upon religion, law, culture, or individual mind set. But remember that whatever we do in this life we will be called to account for it; ‘That day you shall be brought to Judgement; not an act of yours that you hide will be hidden’ (Quran 69:18).

And the Bible says: “God is going to judge everything we do, whether good or bad, even things done in secret” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)   

With those cleverly constructed arguments of individual / human rights and the rights of choice we fall into a quandary. We know our religious beliefs and teachings are straight forward and are contained in our sacred texts. But what happens is that we tend to take our beliefs in on a pick and choose basis. We follow what we want to and the other injunctions we choose to ignore.

For example adultery is prohibited but some ignore this religious injunction and say that it is perfectly acceptable to commit adultery while others think it to be wrong. With the arguments of individual choice, does this mean that someone can say that it is permissible for them to indulge in narcotics and drugs since it is their own body, and yet others might believe it to be a crime? For example, sixteen is considered as the legal age of consent to sex in some countries yet it is punishable elsewhere as it is considered sex with a minor in other countries of the world.  While abortion may be legal in one country, it is a crime in another. 

Where does this freedom stop? In other words everyone has the right to decide to say or do anything that is right or wrong, and all people should be left to their own discretion to believe and practice what they perceive as “correct.” But in our traditional and cultural upbringing the rights of the society as a whole far outweigh the rights of an individual. What is worrying is that we see those who shout the loudest about ‘rights’ tend to introduce many WRONGS in the name of those rights.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”


Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”


Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.


Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)


Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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